Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story


This article is essential reading for new authors.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

ASandfriendsweboptAuthor Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest.

Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing.

Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so…

View original 2,915 more words

How To Win Sales And Influence Algorithms

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

Matt Iden & Nick Stephenson Matt Iden & Nick Stephenson two crime/thriller writers who have been working together to increase their promotion and marketing range since June 2014

I’m hosting a discussion today between two authors who are using creative ways to share audiences, something which has the happy side-effect of increasing their respective sales.

As I said on Thursday, I think creative forms of collaboration – especially in terms of marketing strategies – are going to be big this year.

Traditionally published authors may have to compete with each other ways that may not be relevant/important to self-publishers – like agents, deals, grants, prizes, or co-op. But self-publishers have nothing to fear from cooperating with authors they are nominally competing with, and everything to gain.

The market is so large that no writer will ever reach all the readers out there, and the odds of getting noticed can improve greatly with the right kind of cooperation – as many authors…

View original 2,236 more words

The Web is All About The Writing


Wonderful insights from Lorelle, as always. Plus lots of resources.

Originally posted on Lorelle on WordPress:

Blog writing tips and articlesReading “7 Things You Need to Know about SEO in 2014” from Compete Pulse, I was fascinating to read that “size matters:”

Most blog posts range between 400 and 600 words, but the ideal length for highest ranking is actually around 1,500.

Many still believe that a successful website is one that offers the information the customer needs and nothing more. Or that the ideal post length should be short, 200-450 words.

It’s not. It’s about the words. It’s about the words it takes to make your point and answer the question.

In spite of my 2007 article, “Blogging Is About Writing,” on Darren Rowse’s Problogger, I still hear that blogging isn’t about writing. Learning how to write for the web isn’t as important as learning HTML, PHP, WordPress, SEO, web analytics, JavaScript, and serious coding.

After four years researching and fighting for a Writing…

View original 2,133 more words

Kiss Your “As” Goodbye: A Simple Grammar Trick for Better Fiction


Yes, I’m a grammar Nazi; totally irrational. I wince when newsreaders mangle grammar. Nothing stops me reading faster than an author who misuses words: “peak” or “peek” for “pique.” And “rein” for “reign”… It’s sad, and I wish I could get over it.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 7.36.42 AM

Today, AWESOME W.A.N.A. International Instructor and author-editor-teacher-extraordinaire Marcy Kennedy is here to guest post about a dreaded topic—GASP—grammar. Yes, I admit it. I’m a Grammar Nazi. I remember correcting my eldest nephew when he was learning to talk. Steaks are good, people are well. Chickens are done, people are finished. We raise crops, and rear children. 

This was being a good auntie.

Then he went off to first grade…

His teacher asked him if he was done, and he matter-of-factly replied, “Chickens are done, people are finished.”

So yes, I’ve had to learn to not be a jerk about grammar (and gently correct the kiddos even though I was cheering inside). But take heart, if a Grammar Nazi makes an error, we get 543 e-mails correcting us.

Even Grammar Nazis oops. We need refreshers and ALL need a fresh set of eyes on our work because a lot of…

View original 1,649 more words

Starting From Zero


Wise words. Everyone starts at zero — it’s the journey, and where you end up that counts.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

lets_get_digital_amazonSuccess can seem unattainable to those starting out. It’s easy to forget that even the biggest sellers started from zero.

Amanda Hocking didn’t arrive on the scene as a fully formed sales machine. She didn’t have a platform which she had been diligently building up for years, nor did she come from trade publishing. She was unable to convince an agent to take her on and decided to self-publish instead, and then sold a million e-books in nine months!

Detractors tried to paint Hocking as an anomaly — and she was, in the sense that anyone who is phenomenally successful at anything is an anomaly.

But that missed the point: she was able to sell as much as the biggest names in publishing without the help of a publisher.

Soon, others followed suit. Authors like Bella Andre, Hugh Howey, HM Ward, Liliana Hart, and Barbara Freethy have sold millions of e-books…

View original 1,012 more words

How I Write Fast (AKA: How I Wrote 70k in 20 days)


If you need a process, give this one a try. It’s perfect if you’re a procrastinator.

Originally posted on JULIET MADISON:

“You’re a machine,” people have told me. “How do you write so fast?” I’ve been asked. Well, today I’m going to tell you how.

writingfast-istockLet me start by saying that what I do may not suit everyone, it is just the way I work. If you can take something helpful away from my process to help your own writing, then that’s great. If not, then that’s perfectly okay.

First, a bit of background info…

I’ve been writing seriously since late 2009, so in a few months time that will make it five years. I’ve written six novels, three novellas, two partials/proposals (synopsis and three chapters), and a few short stories. Three of my novels are published, one is contracted (and another but it isn’t written yet), the other two novels are on submission. Two of my novellas are published, the third one is contracted. I self-published one of my short…

View original 3,313 more words

Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin


So sad. Billion-dollar publishing conglomerates being bullied by big bad Amazon…

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

amazonhachetteThe internet is seething over Amazon’s reported hardball tactics in negotiations with Hachette.

Newspapers and blogs are filled with heated opinion pieces, decrying Amazon’s domination of the book business.

Actual facts are thinner on the ground, however, and if history is any guide, we haven’t heard the full story. Here’s how it started.

In a historical quirk of the trade, publishers and booksellers negotiate co-op deals at the same time as the general agreement to carry titles. (For those who don’t know, co-op is the industry term for preferred in-store placement, such as face-out instead of spine-out, position on end-caps, front tables, window displays, and so on.)

At publishers’ insistence, the same practice has continued in the online and e-book world, namely that negotiations regarding virtual co-op (e.g. high visibility spots on retailer sites) take place at the same time as discussions over general terms and publisher-retailer discounts.

There is a lot…

View original 1,805 more words

15 Ways To Improve KDP – Progress Report

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

kindle-direct-publishing The London Book Fair is underway again which makes it a perfect time to review the list of suggestions I presented to KDP last year.

As regular readers will know, I crowd-sourced a list of feature requests, bug fixes, and common problems via my blog and the most popular self-publisher hangout, Kboards.

The KDP reps at the Fair spent a great deal of time going through your list of suggestions. They asked for clarification at various points and I was able to follow up with them by email afterwards.

At the same time, a parallel effort led by Marie Force, Laura Florand, and Diana Peterfreund presented a similar list of suggestions at NINC in October last year. There were probably more such efforts too.

In any event, here’s the checklist, with progress (if any) indicated.

1. More Data! (see original request here)

A very common demand was for…

View original 1,832 more words