Write

Write

write | Guy L. PaceTo write, or not to write–that is the question:
Whether ’tis wiser in the heart to suffer
The stings and barbs of reviewers and readers
Or to take up pen against a sea of paper
And by writing, satisfy them.

(Apologies to Shakespeare.)

Okay, I promise not to hack The Bard any more.

Carolina Dawn is in the second round of editing with my editor. It’s been a year since I started the project during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I went through the rough draft a couple of times to fix a few things, make sure my timeline wasn’t all messed up, and polish it up. Then I let it simmer for entirely too long. I know. It was a busy summer.

I’m not working on a project this year for NaNoWriMo. I’ve done three NaNo’s, and produced three books. That’s a pretty good score for now. I plan to work on more short fiction and maybe put together a small collection. I may compile the Spirit Missions into a single, special volume and include the two short stories (Amy’s Lesson and The Gift) published here. That might be fun.

When I get closer to a publication date, I’ll keep you all posted and fill the Events page with readings, signings and all that. I hope next spring gets very busy with this third book out.

One of the best parts of writing, I found, is getting to meet readers. Especially young readers.

Keep writing.

 

Royalties

What are royalties?

BugBear BooksRoyalties are the part of the price of a book that actually goes to the author after all other costs and fees. So, it doesn’t mean authors wear crowns. Here’s a little taste of the business side of writing and publishing.

If you check out Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers on Amazon, Nook, or Kobo, you’ll see that the price for the e-book version is $2.99. This is, I think, a reasonable price for an e-book. The print/paperback editions, as published through IngramSpark, are $10.95. As a self-published author, I get to set the pricing at a point that seems reasonable to me. I collect a nominal amount of royalty for each sale and the sale prices cover the costs of printing and/or producing the books. Marketing or promotion comes out of the royalties (my pocket).

Amazon, and most of the other e-book sellers, pay the author or publisher up to 70 per cent of the price of an e-book as long as the price is between $2.99 and $9.99. That seems the sweet spot for e-books. I went to the lower end of the price structure simply because I want my books accessible, and I felt the percentage was enough to cover my own costs and effort.

Hybrid Publishing

Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers first came out published by a–now defunct–hybrid publisher, Booktrope. When I signed up with them, they set the price of the e-book editions at $3.99 and the paperback editions at $13.99. My royalty from Booktrope would be 30 percent. Since I assumed that Booktrope would manage the creation of the e-book format, print format, and some marketing–as well as editing and proofreading support–that amount seemed fair. With most hybrid publishers, that is generally the deal with authors. A 30 percent royalty and the hybrid gets the 40 percent cut. Assuming that the hybrid does the work expected and the quality is decent, that is a reasonable and fair deal.

Even at $3.99 for the e-book, that price supports the production and release of an e-book edition just fine. The overhead costs of producing an e-book is very low. Much more so that production and printing–even on-demand printing–of a paperback or hard cover book.

Unfortunately, hybrid publishing is a hard business. Publishers come and go on a regular basis and authors get left in the cold. One friend has been through several hybrids with her books, and she sells a lot more than I.

Traditional Publishing

So, why are some e-books priced at $13.99 and higher?

If you look at books on Amazon with e-book prices above $10, you’ll see the publishers are traditional publishing houses, generally out of New York City. You’ll see new books released in the hard cover first, as with most traditional publishing processes, and the e-book released at the same time at a price of $13 to $20. Considering that the costs to produce the e-book edition are the same as, say, Sudden Mission‘s e-book edition–that seems like a very high price.

It is. You see, traditional publishing still follows the old model of producing a hard cover edition first, followed in a year or so by a paperback, maybe a trade paper, edition. Go to your local Barnes & Noble. How many hard cover copies of new books do you see going out the door? I’m talking the ones not on the bargain table. There are quite a few on the shelves, but they’ll get returned in a week or so when they don’t sell. The publisher will, if they are not damaged, re-sell them to other bookstores if they can. Eventually, the books that don’t sell get destroyed. Someone has to eat that cost.

But, traditional publishers figured out that if they release the e-book edition at the same time, the sales of the e-book will help subsidize the cost of producing–and later destroying–the hard cover edition. It’s a win-win for the traditional publisher, assuming the folks in the reading audience buy this concept.

How much does the author get in this? Well, a big name author can command between 12 and 15 percent royalty, maybe more. Less if represented by an agent. A less well-known author, with an agent, will get about half of whatever the royalty agreement is.

Bestsellers

Let’s have a little fantasy here. Say Sudden Mission became a best seller this year and we sold 50,000 copies of the e-book.

As a self-published author, at the current price for the e-book edition, my royalty for this year would be:

$104,650.00

With a hybrid publisher, at the $3.99 price for the e-book edition, my royalty for this year would be:

$59,850.00

With a traditional publisher, at a $13.99 price for the e-book, my royalty (after an agent takes a cut, I get 3 percent) would be:

$20,985.00

Granted, this doesn’t take into account the time, effort, and expense promoting the book. That includes attending conferences, SF&F cons, travel, hotels, all that. Yes, that is all on the author. Traditional publishers only cover travel and promotion for the top-tier authors. When it is all said and done, the author in each case would spend about one-third of the royalty for promotion. And, when that year of “bestseller status” is over–it is over. Royalties after the big year generally arrive in tiny dribs and drabs.

This example is a complete fantasy. But it does illustrate the differences between self-published, hybrid, and traditional. I was conservative on the traditional royalty rate and assumed an agent would be involved.

Bottom Line

Authors work hard to create a product. Most of the authors I know cannot support themselves on what they make from their work. They have “day jobs” and other ways to keep food on the table, pay for kid’s college, put gas in the car. Even authors who do well in the marketplace, do not make enough to live on just from the writing. Most authors I know who do well (better than I), rarely sell more than 10 percent of the books as in the above fantasy.

Those authors, including myself, are in the business because it’s a passion. A little fame, a little recognition–that all helps. We’d still write our stories anyway.

Keep writing.

 

 

Changes

Changes

Friday, about 400 authors received an email from Booktrope, our publisher. It shook our world. As of May 31, 2016, Booktrope will close its doors. On that date, the 1,000-something books of those 400-some authors (including mine) will no longer be available through that publisher.

So, on June 1, 2016, readers will no longer find those books available online.

This was a shock.

Many, or most, of the authors in this publishing family depend on income from their book sales to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Some are scrambling to get another publisher, some will go the self-publish route, others may just give up. Changes come hard for some.

I’m still processing this. I have only been with the company a year. We released Sudden Mission in August, 2015, and Nasty Leftovers in March, 2016. Both books have had some success and good critical reviews, and won awards. But it seems we just started this journey.

I’m with an incredible team that helped get both novels into shape for publication and I do not want to lose that. I’m making an effort to keep that team together as I go forward. I love the covers and artwork. The editing and proofreading were top-notch. I reached out to my team and we are working out details.

What things will look like after May 31 is anyone’s guess. I’ll know more as the business relationship with Booktrope dissolves and we get more information from them in the coming week.

So, in the meantime, Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers will remain available through the end of May on Amazon, Nook, and iBook. After that, I cannot predict how soon or if the books will return. I promise, I am working hard to sort this out and keep you informed of the progress.

The one thing I can guarantee now is that the books are still available until the end of May. If you want copies in e-book or print in the Vox Dei edition, get them this month. All the links are on the Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftover pages on this site.

Stay positive and keep writing.

 

Post Publication Letdown

Post Publication Letdown

Okay. I’m supposed to be writing.

IMG_5506But it snowed this morning. I have event dates to set for readings and other things and deadlines loom. I posted the book trailer for Nasty Leftovers on YouTube. Family health issues cropped up this week, too. I ordered author copies of both Nasty Leftovers and Sudden Mission, and some promo material. And it is post publication.

And I’m supposed to be writing.

I did get out for a few rides this last week and attended a spaghetti feed fundraiser for diabetes at a biker bar (Spokane has a few – this IS Harley Heaven, after all). I got to meet a few folks, talk about riding and motorcycles, and eat some spaghetti. Nothing like hanging out in a sunny, warm outside venue with folks clad in patched-up black leather, all for a good cause.IMG_5507

But I’m supposed to be writing.

Nasty Leftovers released last week and got a wonderful first review. Then both Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers got Radiqx Press awards. My granddaughters think Papa is pretty special, but they are still a bit young to read the books and understand what this all means. So, I play Minecraft with them and we have fun. Well … until they gang up on Papa.

I’m supposed to be writing.

I structured the third installment, Alien Alliance (working title)in Scrivener, with additional character sketches and a first chapter or two. I need to spend a little time in NeO, getting the outline fleshed out. But I haven’t opened it in a week. Sometimes, I think we need a NaNoWriMo in the spring so we can focus and get it done.

Yeah. I’m supposed to be writing.

You may notice that I included a lot of links in this post. That’s just to share some of the cool stuff going on and show off some of the important tools I use. Some are distractions, some are part of the legwork involved in being a published author, and some are just fun.

So. I’m supposed to be writing.

Yes. I’ll get it done. No worries.

Keep writing.

 

It’s Launch Day

It’s Launch Day

It’s Launch Day for Nasty Leftovers today! As I write this post, my publisher is getting the book up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBook. The ebook is available, but print copies may be a few days out, yet.

Nasty Leftovers-correct (1)You should see some reviews right away. We sent advanced review copies (ARCs) out to some reviewers ahead of the launch and most of those should be coming in over the next few days. One of my reviewers is caught in the Louisiana floods right now, so we may not get her review right away. The first review is already up on Amazon.

Getting the book ready for publishing isn’t a simple task. For just the ebook, getting the format and cover put together isn’t too difficult. A print version involves getting the format done first, then getting the cover done with the correct size spine for the page count, and the images set with the correct color settings. I’m just glad I have Vox Dei Publishing and Booktrope Editions to handle those tasks and get the book launched.

Getting the book written, edited, rewritten, edited again, revised, proofread, corrected and finally uploaded is enough work to keep me busy. My team at Vox Dei has been a real blessing and they all worked hard to make Nasty Leftovers a strong, powerful story, with a drop-dead gorgeous cover. I have to thank Scott Deyett for this cover (and link to his business).

Nasty Leftovers is available at:

Paperback or ebook on Amazon: Nasty Leftovers

Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook ebook: Nasty Leftovers

Apple iBook: Nasty Leftovers

(Note: Links will be includes when books are available at that vendor)

Thank you for your patience and support. This has been a wonderful journey. Now to start on the third installment.

Keep writing.