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Writers of A2K: What do you think about this?

 
 
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 09:29 am
I think it's pretty cool.

Would you consider doing this?

What do you see as the potential downfall of this type of publishing?

Quote:
Welcome to disruption. 26-year old Amanda Hocking is the best-selling "indie" writer on the Kindle store, meaning she doesn't have a publishing deal, Novelr says.

And she shouldn't. She gets to keep 70% of her book sales -- and she sells around 100,000 copies per month. By comparison, it's usually thought that it takes a few tens of thousands of copies sold in the first week to be a New York Times bestselling writer.

The comparison isn't entirely fair, because Hocking sells her books for $3, and some $.99. But that's the point: by lowering the prices, she can make more on volume, especially impulse buys. Meanwhile e-books cost nothing to print, you don't have to worry about print volumes, shelf space, inventory, etc. And did we mention the writer keeps 70%?

Previously one of the best selling Kindle writers was J.A. Konrath, but it was assumed he was popular because he previously had a publishing deal and so already had notoriety. That's not the case with Hocking, who published stories on her blog before turning to Kindle. In fact, out of the top 25 best-selling indie Kindle writers, only 6 were previously affiliated with a publishing house.

Back of the envelope math suggests that selling 100,000 copies a month at $1 to $3 a pop and keeping 70%, Hocking can make millions per year, straight to her pocket.

Welcome to the new era, the one that scares traditional publishers to death and will make the world better for writers and readers alike. Congratulations to Amazon for making it possible. And congratulations to Ms. Hocking on her success.


 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:05 am
@boomerang,
The downfall for me is that I don't own a Kindle and dislike reading this way, so this author is not available to me. I don't see how this will "make the world better for writers and readers alike" if some readers can't read it.
Gargamel
 
  4  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:13 am
Absolutely.

You have to consider that most writers (and most talented writers--aka those not named Patterson, Brown, Palin, Beck) publish to small presses, and that these companies essentially regard authors as ore to be mined. Why? Because a successful first book sells around 5,000 copies. A successful second book also sells around 5,000 copies. I'm specifically talking about fiction here, but the numbers for nonfiction can't be much higher--my point is that the market ain't so big. The very concept of an "indie" writer keeping 70% of the profits is revolutionary.

So **** yes, give me my money.

The question is, and I don't know the answer: is Kindle really "indie"? By which I mean, how exclusive are thy? Several blogs have been parlayed into book deals by larger publishers, so this girl's story isn't an anomaly. But will Kindle publish Stegner fellows' avant garde dissertations? Will they publish experimental fiction?

Whether this new kind of electronic publishing is a game-changer depends entirely on whether Kindle (or whomever) publishes the type of authors typically signed by small presses or is exclusive to the motherfuckers whose books line the shelves of airport bookstores. If I'm the latter, I'm already making a pretty solid profit the old-fashioned way.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:13 am
@engineer,
the iphone, ipad, ipod touch, and most other smart phones also have access to kindle or other readers

i think it's pretty cool, i found a few writers (and have bought both real books, audio and e books by them) from free short stories they've provided on blogs, this is sort of an extension of that
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:43 am
@djjd62,
I'm all for indie authors making money and lowering the bar for publication, just like in the music business. That said, I don't read books on iphones, ipads, ipods, kindles, smart phones, etc. so if the world goes this direction, I end up reading classics from libraries instead of new fiction. If that indie author would have never been published otherwise, then the market gets bigger and my part of it stays the same, so it's a win. If my part of the market gets significantly smaller, then I lose. It might still be an overall win, but not for me.
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:53 am
@engineer,
But engineer, you're the one losing out, not the authors.

I don't have a kindle, at least not yet. The thought of being able to purchase a paperless book for as little as a dollar is one more check mark on the plus side for getting one.

I don't have an iphone either, but I don't begrudge those who sell their apps on them.

The world has moved on gunslinger.

I think of the first person who said, "I'm not going to use this new fangled 'book' thing. I'm gonna get my reading done the proper way, from a scroll of parchment."

I think is marvelous that the author can get paid for what they do, and not end up getting rejected by the "they" at the publishing company.

It's good business, and it's good for the art.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:56 am
I don't have a Kindle either. I didn't think I'd like reading that way but my mom has changed my mind about how nice they are. Now I'd like to have one but just can't convince myself to splurge on it right now.

This kind of thing might be what pushes me over the edge. I love to try out new writers and I'd do a lot more of it if I could try them out for $3 or less. I don't really have the time to spend hours browsing in bookshops trying things out anymore either so this helps in that area too.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:59 am
@Gargamel,
If you do this kind of publishing let me know because I would for sure read your work. You can be the person who pushes me into spending the money.

C'mon. I dare ya.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:00 am
@chai2,
Quote:
I think is marvelous that the author can get paid for what they do, and not end up getting rejected by the "they" at the publishing company.


Well said!
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:05 am
@Gargamel,

Quote:
But will Kindle publish Stegner fellows' avant garde dissertations? Will they publish experimental fiction?


it's up to the authors of the dissertations and experimental fiction



dear Gargamel,

here's how you're going to get your work onto kindle

http://www.ehow.com/how_4489551_sell-book-kindle-format.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_6522046_become-kindle-author.html




you're going to decide if it gets onto kindle

Amazon will get a cut of the sales, but you put the book out there.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:07 am
@Gargamel,
Gargamel wrote:
By which I mean, how exclusive are they?


apparently not at all

you write, you pick a cover, you pick a price, you convert it using software that's free from Amazon, you upload it - you advertise it - hopefully you get money
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:25 am
@Gargamel,
Gargamel wrote:
The question is, and I don't know the answer: is Kindle really "indie"? By which I mean, how exclusive are thy? Several blogs have been parlayed into book deals by larger publishers, so this girl's story isn't an anomaly. But will Kindle publish Stegner fellows' avant garde dissertations? Will they publish experimental fiction?


KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is a self-publishing platform, so yes.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:48 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

But engineer, you're the one losing out, not the authors.

I agree, but the question was "what do you see as the potential downfall of this type of publishing?"

To me the downside is that I would no longer be able to get books in a format I enjoy reading. That is only true if traditional authors stop publishing in print, but that is my potential downside. I'd toss in another downside that not everyone can afford a kindle, but I think the price will eventually be at the point where everyone could afford one if they wanted it.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:51 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
but I think the price will eventually be at the point where everyone could afford one if they wanted it.


I can pop ebooks onto my $50 coby player - the screen's tiny, but it's doable

Prices will continue to go down (remember your first inverse polish notation calculator and how much it cost?), quality will improve, access will increase.

I think it's fabulous all round.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:54 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Prices will continue to go down (remember your first inverse polish notation calculator and how much it cost?), quality will improve, access will increase.

But my first RPN calculator is no longer made and no one has made a better one since! They now sell for over $100 on ebay. Luckily mine is still in great shape after 25 years.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 12:40 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

chai2 wrote:

But engineer, you're the one losing out, not the authors.

I agree, but the question was "what do you see as the potential downfall of this type of publishing?"

To me the downside is that I would no longer be able to get books in a format I enjoy reading. That is only true if traditional authors stop publishing in print, but that is my potential downside. I'd toss in another downside that not everyone can afford a kindle, but I think the price will eventually be at the point where everyone could afford one if they wanted it.


I thought "downside" was meant as far as the writer or the publisher, not the reader.

Oh well, just looking at it differently.

Now, I rarely buy books, I love the library. I have no problems waiting for a book I want to read to become available.

People who can't afford a kindle, but eventually feel the need to get one, can save the money by not buying a few books, and going to the library instead.

There's always a way.

I used to enjoy the format of 8 track tapes.

0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 12:52 pm
There's been discussion about this in publishing games and music as well.

If your distribution channel is entirely electronic, then the marginal cost is essential zero.

Game companies have experimented with lowering prices on games that are just downloaded, and in spite of the reduced price, their net profit goes UP, because the sales volumes goes WAY up.

Maybe Super Cheap Video Games Are Helping, Not Destroying, The Video Game Industry

Quote:
One of the early economics lessons you learn in any competent intro econ class is the concept of elasticity. The basic concept is how much does demand increase for a product if you lower the price. If a product is highly elastic, decreasing the price can often earn you more money. A simplified version of this: I have a widget that I want to sell for $100 dollars, but only one person is willing to pay that price. With that pricing, I'd make $100 (gross) on the widget. However, if I were to drop the price to $1, let's say 1,000 people are willing to buy at that price. Then, I'd make $1,000 (gross) on the widget. So, even though producers often fear lowering the price, if there's strong elasticity, lowering the price can often make you much more money (and, yes, the marginal cost matters here as well).

We've seen over and over again that video games appear to have very high price elasticity of demand. Two years ago, we wrote about some experiments by Valve, where it tried lowering prices of games by 10%, 25%, 50% and 75% -- and saw the increase in sales at a stupendous rate. While the 10% decrease only resulted in 35% higher gross revenue (already pretty good!), at a 75% discount, the gross revenue shot up by 1470%. Think about that, for a second. Basically, dropping the price by 75% increased revenue by almost a factor of 15. Not bad.

Last year, we saw a similar experiment that also had great results. An online video game store in Sweden tried dropping its prices by 75% and saw an increase in sales of 5500% (in unit sales). When looking at the gross revenue, it appears that it came out approximately to a similar 1300% increase.

And now we have some more examples. Capitalist Lion Tamer points us to an article that looks at some super popular iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps that drastically cut their price, but saw their gross revenue shoot way up because of it.

Street Fighter IV for iOS recently slashed its price by a breathtaking 90% overnight, from £5.99 to 59p. Within 48 hours its position in the overall Top-Grossing chart (that's the list of all apps, not just games) instantly rocketed from 116 to 2. Coincidence or magic? You decide. But that's not all.

And just to reiterate -- we're monitoring the Top-Grossing chart, ie the one measuring money made, NOT the ordinary number-of-sales one, where SFIV currently sits comfortably on top of everything else. What that means is that the game's sales have increased by dramatically more than 1,000% (because it would have had to sell 10 times as many just to hold the No.116 position at the new price, never mind climb 114 places).

And yet, time and time again we hear how execs at big entertainment companies feel the need to keep raising prices. Hell, we just mentioned how Nintendo's President Reggie Fils-Aime was complaining that cheap games might kill the industry. Apparently, they don't teach basic economics to folks who become president of Nintendo.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 01:41 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:


Quote:
But will Kindle publish Stegner fellows' avant garde dissertations? Will they publish experimental fiction?


it's up to the authors of the dissertations and experimental fiction



dear Gargamel,

here's how you're going to get your work onto kindle

http://www.ehow.com/how_4489551_sell-book-kindle-format.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_6522046_become-kindle-author.html




you're going to decide if it gets onto kindle

Amazon will get a cut of the sales, but you put the book out there.


I'm going to look at this later.

Veddy interesting.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 05:16 pm
@ehBeth,
That says the authors keep 35% of the profits though, not 70% as per the original post.
0 Replies
 
Gargamel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 12:43 pm
@ehBeth,
Aha! Thanks for doing the research. Now if I can get you to think for me I will be unstoppable. Not to mention smarter.

Given that the only requirement for publishing to Kindle is that you "feel like it," I think the medium could very well be a game-changer--provided the Kindle and other wireless reading devices remain viable alternatives to the iPad and other tablets, particularly as these products evolve and their price goes down.

In my first post I mentioned that only a very exclusive group attracts a large readership. Moreover, they attract most readers. In other words, in terms of audience size, most authors have nothing to lose by publishing to Kindle. Though until this methods catches on in academe, the dense galaxy of MFAs and creative writing professors will still prefer publishing hard copies through small presses, so as to obtain some weird idea of prestige, teaching jobs, and the convenience of an agent or marketing department.

Yet those of this group too shitty or too far out to publish well the old-fashioned way should flock to Kindle, I think. Facetiousness aside, there is a ton of amazing unpublished work out there, much of it the black sheep of published authors. And there should be much greater appeal to publishing to Kindle than there is to publishing to the internet, which we have long understood is awash with 1) embarrassing poetry 2) tedious blogs 3) inaccurate, misleading research, and 4) all types of crazy ass ****. Whereas a Kindle owner presumably reads books at least semiregularly. Publish your work to Kindle and it is immediately available to people who take the time to sit still and move their eyes. Further, you put yourself in the company of well-established authors. Your work may be saved in a list that includes Alice Munro. Of course, egregious, mildly pornographic sci-fi riddled with typos may eventually dilute the quality and compromise the reputation of material self-published to Kindle, but even still you would be in far better company than you would be on the internet (yes, yes, you can access Kindle books from the internet, but you know damn well what I mean).

I really have no idea whether tablets are as serious a threat to wireless reading devices as it seems like they should be. But the proliferation of the iPad would obviously demolish the protective wall between your work and the internet. You would become just another asshole with something to say. Too, a percentage of ex-Kindlers who convert to the iPad would be more inclined to play Farmville or Mafia Wars (or to thumb-down all of H2O Man's most recent posts) on their commute than they would be to read about your protagonist's time-travelling search for himself.
0 Replies
 
 

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