For starters, the indie versus trad publishing or maybe both debate is still going on (and will probably be for a while yet).
SF writer Tobias Buckell cautions writers eager to jump into indie publishing that the big successes like Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, Bella Andre, H.M. Ward are outliers and that very few writers will find the same level of success. There is also an interview with Tobias Buckell at Teleread, wherein he explains some of his points in more detail. I’ve got some serious issues with both the original post and the interview, for while I agree with many of his basic points (“Being successful in the arts his hard”, “Keep an open mind and try all platforms and publishing methods”, “The big successes skew the data”, etc…), Tobias Buckell’s overall tone, his use of buzzwords like “cognitive surplus” and “survivorship bias” and the way he compares the indie publishing world to a cult and an echo chamber and snake oil salesmen drive me up the wall. In the comment section at The Passive Voice, they’re not impressed either.
Meanwhile, Chuck Wendig unsurprisingly agrees with Tobias Buckell, though his post doesn’t manage to raise my hackles quite so much. Plus, Chuck Wendig actually remembers that it was Flavor-Aid and not Kool-Aid that Jim Jones used to poison his followers in Guyana. I still wish we could retire the phrase “drink the Flavor/Kool-Aid” forever, because frankly I find it offensive. Never mind that Chuck Wendig and Tobias Buckell and others commenting along the same lines – writers, mostly newish, who are open to the idea of self-publishing, but still prefer trad publishing – have their own biases and their own clique of followers who latch onto their words, because they are saying exactly what those followers want to hear.
At Grub Street Daily, the blog of the Boston based Grub Street writing workshop, founder Eva Bridberg relates how she often had to defend her workshop in the early years to people who believed that she wasn’t qualified to teach writing and how many seemed threatened by her insistence on teaching writing, even though she did not have the “proper” credentials in their eyes. She relates her experiences to those facing many indie writers who have to justify themselves for daring to put their work out there without going through the proper channels and who get hostility from those who for whatever reason feel threatened by the rise of indie publishing. Found via The Passive Voice.
At The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, India Drummond explains how to get into Amazon’s new subcategories in the romance and SFF genres. Given how vague and broad and just plain ill-fitting many of the KDP categories were, this is a very good thing. Now to figure out how to get Hostage to Passion and Rites of Passage into the “pirates” category. Found via The Passive Voice.
The New York Times reports about the various daily deals offered by Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as about bargain books sites/newsletters like BookBub (Somehow, I always imagine Wolverine hawking cheap e-books, when I hear the name of that site), Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink. The article caused some hilarity of the “Duh – they only notice that now” variety in the comment section of The Passive Voice, though all I really took away from all this is that I am apparently highly atypical of the book buying population, since I hardly bother with this sort of special deals at all. Until I googled them for this post, I’d never actually seen BookBub or Pixel of Ink, though I’ve heard their names repeated hundreds of times on the Kindleboards.
The next post is not exactly new (it’s from 2011), but still relevant: At Futurebook, Piotr Kowalczyk from Poland explains why Kobo is better suited for international expansion than its rivals Amazon and Apple, namely because Kobo does not charge international fees such as the Amazon surcharge, supports languages like Polish which e.g. the Kindle does not support without hacking, uses e-pub rather than mobi format, which is more common among non-Kindle readers, and actually offers content in many languages. I totally agree with his assessment and would also add that Kobo readers are sold in brick and mortar electronics stores and supermarkets worldwide, whereas Kindles are typically only found at Amazon. I walked into a Media Markt electronics store to buy my Kobo Glo – straight from the pallet, too. A reader in Poland or Turkey or South Africa or Australia can do the same. And indeed, the rather detailed breakdown of sales according to country on the Kobo Writing Life dashboard prove that Kobo is selling in countries where Amazon is far from dominant. For example, our German language titles sell pretty well in Switzerland… on Kobo.
This is a great idea: Italian publisher RCS Libri has come up with a way to allow sampling an e-book via clicking on a Pinterest pin of a book cover. Here at Pegasus Pulp, we have only recently gotten started on Pinterest. So far, I have mainly used it to collect images related to the Silencer series and images related to the Zane Smith and Shoushan Kariyan series. We also have a board with book covers and one with inspirational quotes about writing and reading. I doubt that Pinterest actually sells books (though maybe those Italians have found the trick), but it’s fun, especially if you’re a visual person like me.