Archives for posts with tag: Marketing Books

Amazon.com recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription-style option for readers essentially permitting them unlimited ebooks in the Unlimited program for a standard monthly fee. What ebooks are in the Unlimited program? All books in the Amazon Select program, whereby readers borrow an ebook for a period of time for free. Because Amazon maintains a “Global Fund,” the borrowed ebook earns for the author a varying royalty determined as a percentage of the Global Fund, which may change from month to month. There are some 500,000 ebooks in the Select program, which are now in the Unlimited program.

You should be aware of two major rules affecting Select, and fherefore Unlimited, ebooks. First, if you decide you want to go this route, Amazon demands exclusivity. Meaning that you are required to remove the book from other vendors, typically Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Second, you are locked into the Select program for three months, whereupon, unless you uncheck the re-enroll box, you are automatically re-enrolled.

I tried Select about two years ago with a title, U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy. This is a novella based on a screenplay I wrote for a producer looking for another “Men in Black” or “Galaxy Quest,” and scored a five-star review on Amazon.com. I had sold a few copies of this ebook on Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords. Then I put the book on the Select program, according to the rules. I got no borrows whatsoever. After three months, I put the ebook back on sale and relisted it on the other vendors.

So my experience with Select was not good and I really can’t recommend it.

By the way, U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Here’s the 5 star review:

A very clever humorous novella! July 26, 2013 Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase “I had never read any work by this author, but I met Lisa on Facebook and twitter and she seemed a very nice person. For that reason, I thought I would try one of her books, but I really had no expectations; being a nice person is no proof that she will be able to write. As it turns out, she also was an excellent author! By about the time I was halfway through the book, I found myself very involved with the characters and wholeheartedly cheering them on! I took a chance on someone I never read before and was rewarded by finding another favorite author. It wasn’t until I had finished the book and read the end material that I learned that she had many other works published and some with pending movie contracts. I would highly recommend this 82 page funny novella to anyone who enjoys a well written book with excellent character development in unusually subtle ways. Read this little book and I’m sure you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was. I am looking forward to reading more of her works as I’m sure you will be, too!”

When Amazon launched Unlimited, they did not notify or ask the permission of Select authors before their books were automatically enrolled, they just went ahead and did it, causing a stir at Publishers Weekly and elsewhere. Because some authors did not wish to become a part of Unlimited, Amazon was forced to offer Select authors a way to unenroll their books from Select, and therefore Unlimited.

Why would you wish not to be a part of Unlimited? Two authors on the Books & Writers group on LinkIn have already expressed their fears that readers would begin borrowing so many books to make their monthly fee worthwhile that the authors’ royalty would be substantially reduced.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Amazon Unlimited counts a reader’s sampling of more than ten percent of the book as a sale! I don’t know about you, but I sample books—for-sale books—all the time to get a sense of the author’s style, how the book opens, and so on. As result of Unlimited’s sampling gambit, a number of Unlimited ebooks have precipitously leapt into the top 100 books on Bowker Ebook Ranking and elsewhere. In other words, Unlimited sampling artificially inflates “sales figures.” The problem became so dire, so quickly, that Bowker removed Unlimited ebooks from its ranking!

Finally, Smashwords has issued a blog denouncing both Select and Unlimited because of the exclusivity rule. Naturally, Smashwords has a vested interest in taking this position—they’re Amazon’s prime competitor after Barnes and Noble. Most authors, including me, list their books directly with Amazon and Barnes and Noble and then distribute to Apple, Kobo, Scribd, and so on via Smashwords. This is a good strategy because Amazon and B&N pay royalties on a monthly basis, whereas Smashwords pays only quarterly. Further, meeting the independent formatting rules of all those vendors is difficult. I find it easier just to let Smashwords handle that through its fantastic conversion program.

So there you have it, my friends. If you’ve never been published before and have written a ebook, you may wish to try Select and Unlimited to try to win readers who are unfamiliar with your name and your work and who don’t have to pay for your book (or your book is included in their fee along with all the other books they borrow). Personally, I think that unknown authors offering their books for free or for a minimal amount is demeaning to their work and an unsound strategy. Better to promote on the social networks, offer free samples, and/or publish stories in an established traditional venue and win name recognition that way.

I’m embarking on the serialization of The Garden of Abracadabra on WordPress and Wattpad today! I’ll let you know how that goes.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

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In a blog Smashwords founder Mark Coker posted earlier this year, he discussed the issues of ebook pricing and royalty percentages among independent authors versus traditionally published authors. I discussed that issue, too, in my “Crunching the Numbers” blogs, the links to which I include below.

So I won’t repeat that material here. The gist of it is: an independent author is able to charge a competitively lower ebook price than a traditional publisher (a traditionally published author has no power to set the price at all). This is because an independent doesn’t have to support a Manhattan skyscraper, the costly print side of the business, or a high-priced staff. I would contend that professional authors (that is, authors previously or presently traditionally published, like me) but first-time and totally independent authors, too, are capable of producing an ebook with the quality (content and appearance) of a traditionally published book.

How does an independent potentially earn more if her ebook is priced lower than a traditionally published ebook? Because the independent earns a 70% royalty of the ebook’s price, as opposed to the 10—25% royalty paid by traditional publishers to their authors.

And traditional authors only earn that amount every six months, and the amount is funneled through the author’s literary agent, which adds yet more wait time. Whereas independents collect their royalties every month (two months after the close of the sales period, but if you earn royalties every month, as I do, that amounts to monthly checks from all the retailer sites on which you list your ebook. Every three months (quarterly) from Smashwords from the numerous e-sites they distribute your book to.)

That’s all well and good. But the question remains: how can independents compete against traditional publishing with its Big Media marketing power?

Mark Coker asserted in his blog that independents are capturing more and more of the market share of ebook earnings. He predicts that independents’ market share of ebook earnings in 2014 could approach 60%. He predicts the independents will capture an increased market share in the years ahead, with independent authors (collectively, mind you) earning half of all ebook sales and four times the amount of royalties earned by traditionally published authors by the year 2020.

For every dollar of ebook revenue earned, the independent author earns 70 cents, whereas the traditional author earns 15 cents.

I appreciate Mark Coker and Smashwords very much, but bear in mind he’s got a vested interest in getting you excited by the prospect of ebooks. He and Smashwords earn money when you list with them.

Mr. Coker admits this assessment doesn’t include traditional advances paid by big publishers to authors and the sad fact that the great majority of advances never “earn out” (earn revenue at those low traditional royalty rates to pay back the advance). This is one of my greatest objections to traditional publishing. Not that the publisher failed to accurately assess the commercial appeal of a book (as Mr. Coker asserts), but that the publisher doesn’t give an author a print-run and media exposure to give the book a fighting chance to earn out.

Mr. Coker also assumes that print books will continue to decline in importance. That may be so, but I still think many avid readers want to hold a glossy book in their hands.

These days, of course, young people are being taught to go to all things digital. It may be that, by 2020, ereaders will more common on the beach or in the park as the print books I continue to see on people’s laps.

Mr. Coker correctly notes the inventory of high-quality ebooks that never go out of print means those books must compete with the steady stream of new releases. Every author—independent and traditional—will be competing for a limited number of avid readers.

Competition has always been fierce in publishing. It will become fiercer.

Mr. Coker sets out 10 reasons why independent authors will capture 50% of the ebook market by 2020. Many of his speculations are assumed in the list. I’ll summarize it here. My comments follow each point in paranthese:

1. Print will continue to decline as more readers transition from page to screen. (That’s a huge speculation.)

2. More brick-and-mortar bookstores will go out of business. (The closure of stores has loomed large in this last decade. But old stores find ways of surviving, people still love their local bookstore, and new stores are slowly cropping up. So I don’t know.)

3. The perceived value of a publisher will decline to traditional authors as print declines. Traditional authors will explore independent publishing. (Absolutely true. Every traditionally published author I know has his/her own publishing company and ebooks for his/her backlist. Including me.)

4. Independent authors have become more professional in producing better books. (Probably true, but a lot of detritus remains out there.)

5. The number of self-published books will explode. (Yep.)

6. Independent authors mentor other independents. (I haven’t seen this at all.)

7. The stigma of self-publishing is vanishing. (Probably true.)

8. Authors are discovering the ease, power, and satisfaction of self-publishing. (Absolutely true, for the reasons I set out above. There are even more reasons I haven’t mentioned.)

9. Readers don’t care who the publisher is. (Probably true, but I can’t say for sure.)

10. Professional writers are becoming more disgusted and alienated by the traditional literary agent/big publisher business model. (Absolutely true.)

All this raises a plethora of other questions. What percentage of the total book market do ebooks represent? The Hatchett Book Group, one of the Big Five Publishers, recently reported that 30% of its billion-dollar earnings in 2013 were from ebooks. That’s a stunning number. A mere four years ago, the percentage was only 10%, at best. So this is real progress. Yet 30% leaves the other 70% of the book market to print books.

That remains not a very good percentage.

The all-important issues of readership and market exposure loom large over independent authors. And the issues of quality of the writing and professionalism. A career path of hybrid publishing looks very promising, and traditional publishers and literary agents are starting to bow to a reality they never wanted to acknowledge before. I’ll address these issues in later blogs.

So there you have it, my friends. The news is good, but still not reason to break out the champagne. Being an author was never a get-rich-quick scheme. It remains a calling requiring your dedication, hard work, talent, and time.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

I’m reposting this because it fits in with my State of the Biz Series.

The following is a spoof, my friends, meant to send up the absurdities of Big Publishing’s marketing strategies. Apparently this hit so close to home, though, that when I posted it on Facebook back in August 2013, people actually took it seriously and made many exasperated comments. If you’re an author, I sincerely hope you get a chuckle, not a fit of weeping.

Here ‘tis:

As we all know, Big Publishing (BP) categorizes fiction according to the age of the main characters, who are meant to appeal to readers of the same age since everyone is so self-centered these days they only want to read about characters just like them (only much, much better or much, much worse). BP formulates its book marketing strategy according to these categories so you, the author, ignore them at your peril.

BP begins with Picture Books aimed at 3—5.5 years old (YO) with goofy illustrations that look as if they could have been drawn by a slightly slow 5 YO but in fact are drawn by cunning adults. BP moves on to Middle Grade, which has trended out to New Middle Grade (5.5—8). Middle Middle Grade (8—10), and Old Middle Grade (10—12.5).

From there BP leaps into the now somewhat dated but still hot Young Adult (YA), subdividing the category into Experimenting With Orgasms New Young Adult (12.5—14.5), Madly In Love With A Jerk Middle Young Adult (14.5—16.5), and Older and Wiser Old Young Adult (16.5—18.5), including the important subcategory Learning Archery, Watch Out Jerk Old Young Adult.

Now comes the hotter than hot, not dated yet but getting there fast, category New Adult (NA). BP is scrambling to subdivide NA into I’m So Troubled New New Adult (18.5—20.5), Crap, I’m Getting Old Middle New Adult (20.5—23.5), and I’m Supposed To Be Mature But I Still Ride A Skateboard Old New Adult (23.5—29.5).

The marketing demographic get dicey with I Felt Like Killing Myself When I Turned Thirty New-Thirtysomething Adult (29.5—32.5), Damn I Hate This Job Middle-Thirtysomething Adult (32.5—35.5), and I’m Divorcing That Jerk Old Thirtysomething Adult (35.5—39.5).

Dicier still are the Fortysomething Books–I Got Bifocals and My First Nose Ring New Forty (39.5—42.5), Having My Last Fling Middle Forty (42.5—46.5), and Having a Midlife Crisis Old Forty (46.5—49.5).

BP is puzzled how to market New Fifty (49.5—52.5) (dark, problematic downers), Mom Died And Left Me A Bunch Of Bills Middle Fifty (52.5—56.5). More saleable is the Still Flirty At Fifty Old Fifty Books (56.5—59.5).

It remains to be seen whether the readership will still be alive and solvent to buy I’m Still A Sixties Hippie at Sixty New Sixty books (59.5—62.5), let alone I Can’t Afford to Retire Middle Sixty books (62.5—65.5) or One Foot in the Grave Old Sixty books (65.5—69.5).

Book marketing is so difficult!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. Five-star rated! On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star pro and reader reviews, on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

‘Thank you for your readership!