Month: May 2011 Page 2 of 3

Rice pudding.

I think what I need today is one of those peaceful, inspiring blog entries where you sit back and sip your tea and know that all is right with the world.  Unfortunately, I’m not seeing any.  I’ll probably find some if I head off into foodie blogs, but I also won’t see the next few hours, and I have stuff to do.

“Funny” emails are right out.  Sarcasm isn’t going to cut it.  People’s religious sentiments usually make me want to smack them on the head, but if they’re “be nice” instead of “here’s why I get to what I was going to do anyway, which was be a jerk,” I’ll go for that.  My Zen calendar is frustratingly goofy today, and I don’t need girl power.

Twitter and Facebook are full of mindless chatter.  Trivia is just distracting.  Even puns are sour this morning.

I really hope my attitude problem isn’t due to my character.  Yesterday, I burst into tears for no discernible reason other than that my main character was upset.  She’s going to be upset again today.  Hoo-ray.  At least she’s not depressed…oh, that’ll be tomorrow, when she realizes that she’s almost killed a movie star through her own incompetence.

In other projects, I need more info.  I hate being told that I’m not doing a good job and then not being given the tools I need to wow people.  But I guess that’s part of the gig; if people knew what, exactly, they wanted, they’d write the damn books themselves.  But it’s frustrating.  It’s frustrating looking at my bank account and going, “I’m bending over backwards for this?  I’d be making five times as much doing tech editing.”

I’d go out more, but I don’t have the money.

Instead, I think I’m going to let my character take over and make some rice pudding with raisins.  She wants to mess with it.  I don’t think she can help it.  Well?  What did you want to do with it?

Hm…she says.  Balsamic.

What on earth for?

Starch is so starchy.

It’s rice pudding.  Of course it’s starchy.

You need better rice.  That sushi rice is two years old, at least.  De, I’m being polite here.  It has to be at least three years old.  It’s like wandering around with lettuce in your teeth.  Embarrassing.  It even smells old, and you know it.

Fine, fine.  Add the damned balsamic.

I would have done something more original with it if you’d let me mess around with it earlier.

Sure.  Like what?

Rice pudding doesn’t have to be sweet, does it?

Fine.  Make some risotto.

Good point.  I’ll have to think about it some more.  You’re definitely indulging in a sweet tooth when you’re eating rice pudding.  Almond butter?

You’re just saying that because you want to play with the almond butter.

Why not?  Almond butter and balsamic.

ONE bowl.

Okay!

Okay, I see your point.  It’s very good.

And not too sweet.

And not too sweet.

Indypub: Lightning Source/Ingram Digital

A note on Lightning Source/Ingram Digital:  I contacted both of them through separate contact methods to see what they charged for fees, just for digital.

The same woman sent me the same files, saying, “This information must have been crossed in email.  I am sending to you again.”

One of the files said, “See Attachment A for fees,” then attached an Attachment A that referred to DRM and supported formats, so I can’t report on fees yet.  Apparently, it’s either free to submit an ebook to LSI or there’s a fee for it, but until I get Attachment A, no real answers there.

Each title may be subject to a Title Setup Fee as detailed in Attachment A tothe Agreement – Services and Fees Schedule…Setup charges, if any, are billed per submission, not per title. All renditions submitted with the initial setupare covered under the setup fee. Each rendition or revision submitted after the initial setup will be subjectto an additional setup fee.

Besides the Agreement (no attachment A), ebook manuals, w9 form, and a list of retailers, I got what looks like an FAQ:

  • Do I need an ISBN for my Ebook? Yes, the publisher is responsible for purchasing their own ISBN (www.isbn.org/) For titles distributed in both POD and electronic formats, ebooks require their own unique ISBN.  You may use the same ISBN across multiple eBook formats of the same title or you may assign individual ISBNs for each format of the same title.  If your title will be available in both eBook and POD formats, please setup the POD title prior to submitting the eBook edition.
  • Ebook Pricing The retail price and wholesale discount is determined by you, the publisher (but cannot be lower than 25%). The industry standard discount is 55%. ***Really?  For an ebook?  I thought 30% was pretty standard for ebooks, 40-45% for POD.  This leaves 37.5% royalties on ebooks.***
    • LSI will deduct seven and one-half percent (7.5%) of Net Sales to publishers as a Fulfillment Fee. (see Section 5.2 Wholesale Compensation of the attached agreement)
  • Files ready to submit? All submissions must come ready for downloading.  You will  also need a marketing image in the form of a .jpg file.  This should  be on the front cover only and 510 x 680 pixels in size (RGB color  space). The files need to be unencrypted with no protection or security settings. Please refer to our eBook Operations Manual for additional  information pertaining to eBook  formats.
    • Lightning Source accepts four formats for title information and pre-converted ebook files on our website, through your LSI account:
    • .pdf (for the Adobe Reader)
    • .lit (for MS Reader)
    • .pdb (for Palm Reader)
    • EPUB 1.0.5
  • If there are no  problems with your files – It  takes approximately 1 to 2 business days to process your title  submission.
  • The publisher is  responsible for approving the proof.   You will receive an email from pubproof@lightningsource.com<mailto:pubproof@lightningsource.com> containing a proof of your title.  You have the  option to approve or reject the proof as well as an opportunity to indicate  comments or request  revisions.
  • The proof approval  stage also begins the process to view your title for downloading.  Please allow  1 to 2 business weeks  from the day of the proof’s approval for  your title to appear on our retail partners sites.
  • A revision fee of $25 will apply for revisions to the file after the file has been approved for sale by you. The charge only applies if you change the file at a later time.
  • When a consumer/retailer purchases your ebook, they are given access to a link (provided by Lightning Source/Ingram Content Group) to your title, which they can then download.

The list of retailers:

  • EBDL Retail Partners (March 4, 2011)
  • BookSense / American Booksellers Association (ABA)
  • BooksonBoard
  • Cokesbury.com
  • Computer Manuals Ltd.
  • Diesel eBooks (Tools of the Shade, LLC)
  • eBookMall
  • Fictionwise
  • Lybrary.com
  • Powells
  • Publisher Services Inc.
  • Textbooks.com (MBS)
  • Payloadz.comEDigitalMediaStore.com/Audiobooks.com (audio & e-book)
  • eCampus.com
  • eBookShop (South Africa)
  • CyberRead
  • BOL.com
  • Direct Ebooks (Ireland)
  • All Romance eBooks (romance books only)
  • All Romance eBooks / Omni Lit (all books)
  • Lulu.com
  • eBook Pie
  • Entourage Systems
  • Wizpac Txtr.com (Germany)
  • Campus eBooks (Denmark)
  • The Book Depository (UK)
  • DittoBook
  • Team Research / Astak
  • TookBook (Croatia)
  • Bookshop Krisostomus (Estonia)
  • Kalahari.net (South Africa)
  • Advantage Media Group (Australia)
  • eCommSource (Ireland)
  • Kobo Books (Canada) (also powers Borders.com)
  • Saraiva e Siciliano (Brazil)
  • Fishpond (New Zealand / Australia)
  • AudiobooksDirect (Australia – audio only)
  • For-Side.com (Japan)
  • MP Publishing (UK)
  • DMC / The Copia
  • EC Media International / The Wink Store (India)
  • The PocketBook USA
  • DEA (Italy)
  • Tradebit (Germany)
  • Infibeam (India)
  • Page Foundry
  • Best Price Wholesale
  • WOWIO
  • Feedbooks (France)
  • BeamItDown Software
  • Suomalainenkk (Finland)
  • SBS Special Book Services (Brazil)
  • Asia Books (Thailand)
  • TreeFreeMobile
  • Wiltronic / iView
  • Booksygen (France)

As you can see, Ingram Digital/LSI will get you into a lot of markets – many of which (Lulu.com) are mainly distributors, not retailers.  It doesn’t look like they get any more of a cut than is already removed from your wholesale price, though.

On the one hand, a lot of markets (at least, on paper); on the other hand, a lot more work and expense:  you have to buy your own ISBNs, you have to provide preformatted files, the requirements for cover images are exact rather than somewhat flexible, if you make any changes post-approval (such as to update your list of books you’re marketing), it’s a $25 charge, plus the mysterious fee/no fee for setup.  Also, they want you to set up your POD before you do your ebook; if you’re not doing PODs yet (like me), this may or may not be an issue.  I didn’t see anything in the agreement saying this must be so…but I’d wait for the fee schedule, eh?

Rachael Running

Ray’s signed up for Girls on the Run, a 5K race on May 21.  She ran a mock 5K yesterday.

I went inside the school to find everyone; they were all bunched up around Ray’s classroom.  Her teacher is one of the leaders of the two groups of girls, 39 total (there were supposed to be 40, but one missed).  The teacher shoved a stack of neon pink, bepinned race numbers in excessively curly script into my hand.  “If you see one of the girls without a number, give them one.  But only if they have tennis shoes on.”

I shoved papers at kids.  They looked at me as though I were an attacker.  “Take this.”  Then the attention would be all on the paper, turning it back and forth. “What am I supposed to do with this?”  But I’d already moved on.

Behind me, I heard people saying, “That’s Rachael’s mom.”

One girl said, “She’s pretty.”

I passed out numbers.  It was chaos, new girls coming in from all over, everyone eating snacks.  When it was time to go, there was even more chaos as girls realized that they’d left things inside the locked classrooms.  I made Ray go back and get a jacket.  It was 55 degrees out; I’m a mother.

Down the stairs.

And then all the girls went the wrong way, had to be chased outside.

Finally, fifteen minutes late, they were outside.  A few parents.  Almost more teachers than parents.  They wanted to know if I wanted to run.  Noooo.  I’m sure Ray would have been happy to have me there, but I didn’t want to slow her down, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  Of all the stupid things to worry about.  But I didn’t want to run…they just wanted me to pass out cups of water, so stop with the internal monologue.

Cups, jugs of water–no illusions about recycling, here.  I should have taken them home with me, but I didn’t think about it until this morning.  The sudden ideas that hit you in the morning:  I should have recycled those damned cups.

They formed a circle and did some warmups.  The teacher didn’t see the girl who was jumping up and down to volunteer to lead the exercises.  She called on some girls twice, didn’t see this girl.  Who, if I remember correctly, was one of the last girls to come in at the end of the race.  Some girls get weeded out for some reason.

Then they did cheers:  I forget what they were, but they were silly.  About how good girls are.  It scares me.  This attitude that the only way to fight being crushed is to insist that you’re better.  I mean, I remember that brown eye-blue eye experiment.  We had a sociology teacher in high school who pulled it on us.  I got into it.  Brown eyes!  Brown eyes!

Look, this is the same trick the Nazis used.  This is the same trick all politicians use.  “I’m not saying that you are inferior, I’m just saying that I’m superior.” But this isn’t a day to be overly creeped out by cheers, I guess.  Except I am.  It’s fluffy and cute and wrong.  I guess I’ll just have to take it out on Ray later, the minute she says some asshole thing about boys.  She’s done it before.

Then they yelled about the route.  Follow the chalk.  If there’s no arrow showing that you should turn, don’t turn.  Coach at the beginning, teachers along the route, coach at the end.  Two laps, starting with a circuit all the way around the field.

I got a noisemaker, three jugs of water, cups, and a bag for trash.

They ran.

Some of them didn’t run; they started out walking, didn’t even try.  Run, run, the teachers were yelling.  They tried, went back to walking.  There was chalk; some of them colored on the sidewalk and wrote pump it up messages as they left the field and headed into the parking lot.

It seemed like it was all too soon, and they were gone.  Completely out of sight.  Time passed.  I got bored.  I walked around the school, I stood at the edge of the parking lot with my hand shading my eyes.  I stuck the noisemaker inside my shirt so I’d have my hands free to pour water (yes, I think about these things) and talked to the teacher and other mom who were left behind.

Then, I wanted to run.  I wanted to be away from the waiting and standing around and momming.  But it was too late; I had to wait and stand around and mom and be ready to pour water and blow my noisemaker.

Thrillsville.  Why do I get myself into these things?  Because I love Ray, and she wants me to be there for her.  But I hate standing around.  I should have run.

It took too long.

Finally they started to come back.  At first I didn’t think it was them; there was a boy in front, still in his school uniform.  It was the kid who was at the carnival, running the whack-a-frog game.  Fifth grade, maybe?  The one who, after every time someone would hit the see saw with the stuffed frog on the end, would duck and cover, then calibrate the wooden box the frog was supposed to land in, so the next person would have a better chance of winning extra tickets.

I hadn’t seen him before with the girls; he must have joined them in the parking lot.

I passed out water, not minding that I had to pass out water anymore.  Their faces were red.  They straggled in in ones and twos, to the sound of really loud, annoying noisemakers trumpeting at them.  One of the first girls in looked like she was going to die.  She had an ear infection, and her mom made her sit out the next lap.

At first I couldn’t believe they had another lap to run.  They looked so exhausted, and it had taken sooo long, like twenty minutes, for the first girls to come back around again.  I felt awful for them.  But they kept going.  Six ounces of water, 12 ounces, and they were off again.

The last group came in walking, with the coach and the teachers telling them to Run, Run!  They ran past the finish line, drank some water, drank some more water, and had to get chased off again.

Ah, I’ll never understand these things.  There was a waiting list for spots in these two groups.  They’ll get kicked out of the program if they miss more than twice.  The stated goal was to run 5K.

It’s probably the parents.  “You must gooooo.”

Ray wanted to go.  “You don’t get to slack off on karate, and that means you’ll be in an extra class after school four days every week.”  “Okay!!!”  You could hear the multiple exclamation points in her voice.  And she’s doing great at it.  Looking forward to it being over, but just doing great.

There wasn’t much of a break after the last girls finished the first lap, and the first girls came back through on the second.  The boy was in the lead.  I blew my noisemaker and cheered for him.  We all did.  Gave him some water.

The first girl came through.  She got a goodie bag and a lei and a green t-shirt.

If you wanted to get your race-day shirt, you had to finish the race.

The girl looked less tired than she had after the first lap.  That seemed to be the case for all of them.  They seemed stunned.

Ray came in eighth or ninth, I forget which.  I ran over to her and hugged her.  She’d been running with a student teacher the whole way.  I asked her if she ran the whole thing, and she said they’d done some walking, too.  But mostly running.

It took another twenty minutes for the rest of the girls to come in, but nobody had to be picked up in a car or anything.  They call came back in.  The last girls from the first lap walked back in, ran across the line, picked up their bags and their leis and their t-shirts and their water.

I watched the girls run over to the playground and play.  After a 5K.  Running back and forth.  They didn’t have the endurance, but they bounced back so quickly.

Finally they were all back, and it was time for pictures.  I have a set of crappy cellphone pictures in which Ray is rarely paying attention.  In one, she hides behind the student teacher.  But they’re all like that, all doing things, not paying attention.  Except a few that are mugging for the camera, including the last girl to come in.  Maybe they tune her out because she wants the attention but doesn’t want to do the work.  I don’t know.

Green shirts.  A lot of girls in green shirts.

Then it was time to go; they scattered.  I picked up some trash, momming it again, shoving the bag in a trash barrel.  Upstairs, stuff, wait for the teacher to get ready to go, downstairs, out to the car, home.

Mother & Child: Three Extremely Short Horror Stories

Available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Coupon for FREE ebook, this Friday-Sunday only:  Use code MP94F at Smashwords or I’ll cry like a baby…

Mother & Child

Three Extremely Short Stories of Mothers, Children,
and the Uncanny Bonds between Them

A boy who wants to rescue his mother from her perfect, imaginary life—at any cost.  A girl who finds her life’s calling in a journal entry about a classmate’s pain.  A mother who knows that just because everyone else has decided it’s Judgment Day, her daughter doesn’t have to get Judged, too.  Three extremely short stories of mothers, children, and the uncanny bonds between them.

I don’t know about you, but I was watching my daughter run in her first 5K on Judgment Day.  We were better off than most.  Plenty of bottled water for the girls.  We slept in the car for two days and drove over the pass as soon as the traffic settled down.

I didn’t know my husband had been taken until then; the phones were out.  I yelled at him from the front door to help me carry in the coolers, but nobody answered.  The window by his computer desk was busted outward.  The blood on the window, his, was mixed with quicksilver.

I didn’t find out we were pregnant for another two weeks—one of my neighbors walked the mile and a half up my driveway to tell me.  She knew I didn’t keep up with the news at the best of times, and I was still grieving for Keith.

My first reaction was, “What, the men, too?”


Apex Book Salon of Evil Wits: Nick Mamatas – Starve Better

Once in a generation, someone comes along who can made fun of you, totally skewer you, and make you enjoy it.

If you’re a writer, Nick Mamatas is that guy.  In Starve Better, the former Clarkesworld editor’s new book out from Apex Book Company, he slams writers, both professional and otherwise, up one side and down the other.  I laughed with him…at first confident in my ability to not be one of those writers, at least, not anymore.

And then he hit something I’d done two stories ago.  Well, it was too late.  I’d already laughed at all those other writers; I may as well laugh at myself now.  I didn’t rush out, withdraw the story submission, and rewrite the damned thing, though.  Those sins have already been committed.

I won’t get into the details; we’re having a book discussion (with Nick!) starting May 15.  I mean, you can start early if you like, but no spoilers until then.

But let me say that the description of the book doesn’t do it justice:  erm, another book about writing?  Really?  Ho-hum.

Nope.

I was reading this in the bathtub (I like to read books naked), and my husband had to come in and check on me, because I was laughing so hard.  Tip for the loving spouse:  never find out what your significant other is laughing about when they’re reading, because they will insist upon reading things to you, like this:

The legendary Edward D. Hoch published hundreds of short mystery stories and had a story appear in every issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine for thirty-five years.  His sentences had all the finesse of a cow’s moo mid-tip, but his Nick Velvet series and other stories worked very well.

Or this, from later in the same chapter:

Not only does that keep the shitty sentences from being examined until they fall apart (a nearly but not quite instantaneous event) but it takes the setting of the pace away from the reader and puts it back in the hands of the writer, or more accurately, the production staff.  Again, this is just like a movie–don’t blink or you’ll miss something!  We’re in control here, you just sit back and passively receive the images.

On second thought, maybe he didn’t mind too much.

As full of snark and insight as a book of Oscar Wilde quips, Starve Better lances the boils of precociousness and commercialism in one fell swoop.

P.S. Also see his excellent, funny blog post here on writer abuse.  Every writer has abuse stories, from parents who don’t understand to horrified inadvertent readers who are convinced you’re going to hell…but not every writer gets called to the mat on NPR about it.

 

Indypub: Bookish.com (Publishers acting as retailers)

Okay, let’s say you make cake for sale.

No problem!  You start your own shop and sell cake or you sell cake to other shops or both.  Depends on which direction you want to go.

Okay, let’s say you make stories for sale.

Well, crap.  You used to have to sell your stories through an agent to an editor to a publisher to a printer to a distributor to another distributor to a retail outlet.  But that’s what happens when you let the merchants take over the business.  The people making cake don’t make the money, and the cake gets stale.

Now, you can write stories and sell them at your own shop or to other shops or both.

The distributors are figuring out how to get their fingers in the pie, by making sure that story shops won’t buy stories from people who make stories.  Want to give an ebook away for free directly to a school or library?  Good luck with that.

But the publishers are in even more of a pickle than the writers; the distributors are going right around them to pick up writers.

Solution:  go right around the distributors and retailers, directly to to the consumer.

Everybody’s trying to cut out everybody else (except the writers, who need to be controlled rather than excised).

Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin are starting Bookish.com, a website to do…what?  Be a book review site?  Sell books directly to consumers?   Somehow exert more control over writers?

Passive Guy talks about the idiocy of Bookish.com:  big publishers know what, exactly, about selling directly to consumers (or about recommending books that aren’t theirs to sell?)

But The Idea Logical Company talks about how Bookish.com is set up to retaliate against retailers Amazon and B&N.

I don’t think Bookish.com will be much of a game changer unless they take indy authors, either directly or through a distributor.

If they don’t, they:

  1. Won’t have as much work available as retailers that take on indy work.
  2. May come to find, as retailers who publish indies (like Amazon) start acting as publishers and opening up their own lines of books, that they do not have pick of the best indies anymore.

Should they sell indies, directly or indirectly?  (Indirectly = handing off more money to the distributors/retailers, which is what they’re trying to avoid, right?)  What effects could it have for big publishers to support work that hasn’t gone through the official chain of editorial command?  Will they have enough to sell, if they don’t?  If they don’t, will they have to take on more work (possibly solely as ebooks) and publish it faster, more efficiently, to even remotely keep up with Amazon?

Okay, granted, there’s the smart thing (which is not necesarily the wise thing), and then there’s what actually happens.  Personally, I find myself mystified about the whole thing.  It seems like the only reason to do this is to either a) pull all their books away from other e-retailers (too little, too late, IMO) or b) stop doing the things that made them succeed as publishers, like exerting at least a modicrum of editorial/story standards on books before they’re published.

The opportunity is there for big publishing to change, and it probably needs to be done.  But is this it?  Dunno.  If inertia is killing you, then taking on more baggage (joining with two other companies) may cause additional problems, rather than solutions.

 

Indypub: Lightning Source and a bitch about ebook distribution

I heard a negative comment about OverDrive yesterday that I won’t pass on because I can’t verify it, but it didn’t sound good.  Still waiting on more info from OverDrive.

Lightning Source, to me, is most familiar as a Print on Demand (POD) printer.  I didn’t know until recently that they distribute ebooks, too.

Lightning Source is part of Ingram, which is a book distributor.  I didn’t know that Ingram also distributes ebooks, but apparently they do; I’ll have to focus on that a different day.

From the LS Publisher FAQ:

What ebook services does Lightning Source offer?

Lightning Source offers a full suite of digital fulfillment services ranging from digital rights management to secure ebook delivery on behalf of retailers. With established alliances with major technology partners such as Adobe Systems Inc., Microsoft, Palm and others, we deliver ebooks in Adobe Acrobat ebook Reader, Microsoft Reader, and Palm eBook formats.

Must my title be in digital format when I submit it?
Yes. For ebook submissions Lightning Source accepts only digital file submissions.

In submitting a digital file, are there format requirements?
Yes. Contact your Client Services representative for complete specifications or refer to the eBook Operations Manuals on the Publishers Secure Site (to access, login at the top).

How do you add an ebook title to the Lightning Source digital library?
It’s easy. Contact your Client Services representative for full instructions.

How do resellers know which ebooks are available through Lightning Source?
All ebooks in the Lightning Source library are supplied to Lightning Source retailers and distributors directly by LSI. For specific questions, contact your LSI client service representative.

Can Lightning Source guarantee secure delivery of ebooks?
Lightning Source works hand in hand with our technology partners to provide the most current security technology for your product. The Lightning Source digital fulfillment system is secure from the encryption of files to secure delivery.

Does the Lightning Source digital fulfillment system include digital rights management?
Yes, Lightning Source supports the digital rights management systems of the platform providers.

Who decides user rules?
The publisher determines all user rules.

Who owns the content?
The publisher owns the content in the file.

Who decides what ebook formats titles are delivered in?
When setting-up an ebook title, the publisher determines in which formats to make titles available.

Are ebook titles returnable?
No.

How does a publisher get paid for ebook sales?
For each ebook sold, publishers will receive payments as well as detailed sales reports monthly that will indicate which titles were sold and what format they were sold in. These sales reports can be sent electronically or as a hard copy – whichever you prefer.

Who sets the cover price for ebooks?
As with all other formats, the publisher sets the cover price for ebooks.

According to Wikipedia, major retailers of LS include:

  • Powells.com
  • Ebookmall.com
  • Diesel-ebooks.com
  • Fictionwise.com
  • Booksonboard.com
  • eBooksAboutEverything.com

From another list, on ebook Architects:

  • Apple iBooks
  • AllRomanceeBooks.com
  • OmniLit.com
  • Powells.com
  • eBookMall.com
  • Diesel-eBooks.com
  • Fictionwise.com (only offers eBooks in MS Reader and Palm/eReader formats)
  • BooksOnBoard.com
  • eBooksAboutEverything.com

However, I can’t find anything from LS saying where they retail, so I have no idea whether those are correct or out-of-date.  I sent an email to LS to find out.

It annoys me that this isn’t something they brag about.  In fact, it annoys me, as a small press/author, that:

1) It’s hard to identify, say, the top 10 ebook markets.  How much money are they making?  How many ebooks are they selling?  Is there an objective way to tell where I want to make sure I get into?

2) It’s hard to identify where ebook retailers are getting their books from (distributors?  directly from the authors?).

3) It’s hard to identify when you have to set yourself up as a publisher in order to get into a distributor/retailer (well, other than Smashwords).  And trying to find out about fees without getting sucked in?  Sheesh.

4) It’s hard to identify the top 10 distributors.

5) It’s hard to identify the difference between an ebook aggregator and a distributor.  Is there one?  If not, why the term?

6) It’s hard to identify when independent authors are being de-facto cut out of markets, because of a combination of the above.

Granted:  It’s an evolving system, and practically speaking, getting into Smashwords, Amazon, and B&N will get you into most places.

However, who’s to say that those three markets will be the best ones, forever?  And who’s to say that they will be the best avenues to get into developing markets?  And what happens if all indy publishers take for granted that those three are the ones to hit, no more, and stuff happens behind the scenes in big publishing’s favor?

I just keep thinking, “What would I do if I were a big publisher?”

“Regain control over book distribution.”

“How would I do that?”

“1) Buy out Smashwords.  2) Renegotiate for current authors’ backlists–make it a condition of signing contracts for new books.  3) Reprice ebooks as impulse buys.  4) Push to make selling ISBNs illegal as well as selling a book without an ISBN.  That is, in general, raise the bar to get books on the market, lower the price of big-publishing books so impulses always mean buying from them, and prevent name authors from publishing anywhere but with the bigs.”

However, I think there will be another factor – I fear.  There will be more predators in the distribution chain, that is, gatekeepers between the author and the retailer, even as the need for them lessens.

Currently:

Author–>Publisher/Ebook formatter—>Original distributor (Smashwords)—>Retailer (sometimes same as distributor)

I fear we’ll develop a chain of distributors, like there is for small-press print books:

Author–>Publisher—>Printer—>Distributor (Atlas Books – time for a credit check!)—>Secondary Distributor (Ingram’s)—>Retailer

And I fear that the less we look into these things, the faster it will happen, and the less money authors will make.  Every time a gatekeeper is added, you lose money.

 

Indypub: Overdrive

Time to start working on how indy writers get into markets.

Overdrive: This is the system that my library district (Pikes Peak Library District) uses to get books. They also feed into Ebook.com.

It looks like Overdrive has two options: Content Reserve (which goes to libraries and other markets) and MIDAS, which allows you to sell books directly to consumers.

It looks like MIDAS is an ebookstore platform; you could sign up for the program and sell your own books (or someone else’s) at your website. I’m not sure whether I will ever sell books directly from my website or what software I will use to do so, but that’s later on down the road, both for thinking and blogging about.

Content Reserve is their distribution system for publishers. So: OverDrive is an aggregator (distributor) for publishers.

Supported formats:

  • eBook with and without Adobe DRM (PDF and EPUB)
  • Mobipocket (PRC)
  • Microsoft Reader (LIT) for retail channels only
  • Windows Media Video (WMV)
  • Windows Media Audio (WMA)
  • Audiobooks and music without DRM (MP3)

As a publisher, I can apply for an account, which I did.  We shall see…they were really reticent about telling me what this was going to cost me.

Contracts blog.

An awesome blog written by (among other things) a lawyer, “The Passive Voice.”

Here’s his latest, on “Don’t Sign Dumb Contracts”:

With both publishers and agents, PG recommends a “minimum wage for authors” – a dollar (or Euro, etc.) amount that the author receives every six months or year for a book. If the author doesn’t receive that amount, all rights to the book revert to the author, free of any publisher’s or agent’s claim.

An example of a minimum wage clause would be if an author doesn’t receive at least $5,000 in royalties in any year for her magnum opus, Dogs and Cats Can Get Along Just Fine, she can send a letter to the publisher and/or agent notifying them that she is retrieving her rights and they don’t have a piece of the book any more. The publisher has a year to sell out any hard copies in stock, but can’t print any more.

Yeah.  I am totally following this one.

Indypub: Markets

Go to WonderlandPress.com for a coupon for “Abominable” (horror, adult) from today – Sunday.

I was going to just do one of these things a week, but 1) stuff changes too fast and 2) the more I dig, the more there is to know.

Okay, via Dean, a list of major ebook markets:

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Sony
Kobo
BooksOnBoard.com
PowellsBooks.com
Ebooks.com
Ebooks About Everything
CyberRead
ChapterOne.com
EBookMall.com
Fictionwise.com
Diesel-eBooks.com

and Smashwords, although I suspect Smashwords is more of a wholesaler than a retailer. Sad, because they’re so smoooth to use, as a reader.

So. I posted books at Smashwords, B&N, and Amazon.com, 5 as DeAnna Knippling and 3 as De Kenyon. I also have a print book (Choose Your Doom: Zombie Apocalypse) from Doom Press. All but one ebook went up starting April 4 or so, one or two a week.

Amazon: 6 DeAnna, 3 De (all)
Barnes & Noble: 6 DeAnna, 3 De (all)
Sony (Reader Store): 0 DeAnna, 1 De
Kobo: 0
BooksonBoard.com: 0
Powell’s: 1 (print)
Ebooks.com: 0
Ebooks about Everything: 0
Cyberread.com: Closed
ChapterOne.com: Can’t find?!?
Ebookmall.com: 0
Fictionwise.com: 0
Diesel Ebooks: 1 DeAnna (Haunted Empire, clearly marked via Smashwords), 2 De (also via SW)
And everything’s up on Smashwords.

Okay, so how are books getting/not getting to these sites? Where are the paths, and how long do they take?

Clearly, time to do more digging.

Update:

Rebecca notes there is also XinXii, so I’ll add that to the list:  0 books.

And Google Books: Choose Your Doom is there, but that’s it.

Update 2:

Hachette, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster have just announced that they’re going to have an ebook market at Bookish.com, starting July or thereabouts:

Lemgruber says the content will be a mix of aggregation, material supplied by publishers and authors, community-driven lists, and original material. But “the main editorial goal is to provide great recommendations” on what to read next. The site will also be “optimized for tablets and mobile.”

Update 3:

Ran into a question of whether Goodreads had most books available.

WHOAH.

There’s a link at the bottom of your books/ebooks that leads to a list of places where your book can be purchased.  An indirect retailer?

I found out that Choose Your Doom is available at all kinds of places, like IndyBound.

To answer the original question–Goodreads had most of my work; it’s missing the story I posted as DeAnna this week (Abominable) and one of my De stories (Attack of the 50-Foot Sushi Monster).

Update 4:

Another market, http://www.bookiejar.com

 

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