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Posts Tagged ‘E-book’

eBook pricing has been in the news a lot lately, because the Department of Justice is investigating the Big 6 and Apple for price fixing.

Right now we have the Agency model where publishers get to set the prices for their eBooks and they’ve set them quite unrealistically to try to hold on to their print sales.  First, one could easily argue that a high eBook price isn’t exactly going to drive a Kindle or Nook user to go buy the print version.  It’s actually driving them to buy a less expensive eBooks.  Which is good news for indie authors like us.  For example, at one point in Men’s Adventure on Kindle, Steve Berry was #1, I was #2 and #3, then there there were two Clive Cussler titles, then I was #6.  So 50% of the top six books in that genre were mine in that snapshot a little back.  In War, I have 11 of the top 50, more than W.E.B. Griffin, one of the masters of that genre.  I have two of the top ten science fiction sellers on both US and UK Kindle (Area 51 and Atlantis).  I submit it’s not necessarily that my books are so great but also an issue of pricing.  At $2.99 to $4.99 , I think my books look a lot more attractive than a $14.99 book from some trad author.

I’ve previously pointed out how pricing an eBook over $10 makes no sense financially.  Frankly, I’m of the opinion that pricing an eBook over $5 isn’t that great and at Who Dares Wins Publishing we recently reduced prices on all our titles to under $5, including our nonfiction.

On the other end of the spectrum is the uproar over the .99 eBook.  John Locke has made a lot of headlines for his savvy move of selling over one million eBooks, except all are priced at .99 except for his book about selling one million eBooks which is $4.99.  I kind of love the logic there.  But I’ve also pointed out that one million eBooks at .99 equals 166,000 eBooks at $2.99, which several indies, myself included, have achieved with much less fanfare.

The big cloud I’m seeing on the horizon is the growing awareness in NY that they need to revise the way they view the eBook.  It’s not competition for their print sales, it’s part of their overall revenue stream.  I predict we will see a lot more books from the Big 6 priced under $5 in the coming year.  I think there will be more direct to eBook publishing, where the book might never even come out in print.

What does this mean?  The playing field is going to level out.  New York is going to get leaner and more efficient and embrace the eBook instead of viewing it as the enemy.  Indie authors are going to have to work harder to keep their readers and also consider, if successful, what to do when NY or Amazon or whoever comes calling with offers.

The biggest thing all writers—trad, indie, hybrid—need to realize is that there is no one ‘right’ path to Oz.  In fact, we’re all starting from different places, not necessarily all from Kansas, and Oz might even mean different things to each of us.  To each their own, but the ones who succeed will be the ones who keep their options open and constantly educate themselves on the business and also are able to act decisively.

The bottom line is that you, the reader, will vote with your wallet.

Readers Rule!

 

 

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(Information on free eBooks at end of post!)

My first assignment after graduating the Special Forces Qualification Course was to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a First Lieutenant.  I was one of the last officer executive officers on an A-Team (Now they are Warrant Officers).  Then I was chosen to command ODA 055 (Operational Detachment Alpha, which is where A-Team comes from).

We did a lot of really interesting stuff some of which I still can’t discuss.  There was a then classified program being run in 2d Battalion initially called, seriously, Jedi Warrior.  They changed the name to Trojan Warrior (the symbol for 10th Group is the Trojan Horse, not the condom).  My team got the distinct honor of being chosen to take all the evaluations for Trojan Warrior without getting any of the training (we were the standardization score to judge the teams taking the training).

The team in the program did things like blood-packing, biofeedback to control heart beat and body temperature, martial arts, meditation, and a lot of other interesting stuff.  When I was watching the movie: Men Who Stare at Goats, I was stunned at how much of that movie was real and from either the Trojan Warrior program or the First Earth Battalion which I was briefed on while a cadet at West Point.  I’ve always been attracted to strange things.

Then, when he was at the height of his career, which one can debate how high that was, Steven Seagal called me to ghost write a book for him about Operation Grill Flame.  This was the classified remote viewing unit run by the CIA.  We’d had some experience with Grill Flame in Lebanon and when General Dozier was kidnapped in Italy.  Anywho, Seagal claims to have been in the CIA and been affiliated with that program.

Whatever.

I’m a novelist.

Buy at Amazon

So I started doing more research.  I learned the Soviets had investigated paranormal activity extensively.  One theory is that they actually sunk the USS Thresher using remove viewers.  This became the opening scene of my book Psychic Warrior.  What I did was punch things forward, where the Trojan Warrior program was completed, and then a deeper program launched, where not only would Special Forces soldiers be able to remote view, they would be able to project avatars onto the virtual plane and then bring that avatar into the real world to conduct real missions.

Psychic Warrior is now available for the first time on all eBook platforms.  The follow on book, Psychic Warrior Project Aura will be released later this year.

Oddly enough, despite their training, my team scored as well, if not better, than the two teams that received the training.  I believe that was because I had a superb team sergeant who made us a truly cohesive team.  We implemented things that I teach in Who Dares Wins:  For example, when we went to Denmark to go through their Combat Swimmer School, during the morning runs, we’d put our two slowest runners at the front of the formation and no matter how much the Danish instructors taunted and challenged us, we never broke formation and always finished together.  In the same manner, my team sergeant taught us to clip together as buddy teams on a center line when we swam.  We always swam as a team.

Free on Amazon

Today, The Green Berets: Eternity Base (until Wednesday) Black Ops: The Line (until tomorrow) and Black Ops: The Gate (today only!) are free. Please, download the free copy and if you love it please take the time to write a review on Amazon. Reviews really do help out authors.

2012 is going to be an exciting year and we will be sending out newsletters to coincide with some of our FREE book offers, including later this month when 6 of Bob’s book will go free for five days.

Readers Rule!

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author of provocative mysteries and thrillers

As fewer authors set up book signings and other events in which they meet readers face to face, creative types have come up with new ways for authors and readers to interact online. Here are seven fun resources and venues for readers to connect with writers:

Kindlegraph

This site lets readers sign up to receive a personalized book signature for an ebook. It’s a great way for readers to collect author signatures without having to attend book signings and buy print books. About 1700 authors are signed up, and I expect that number to grow. I’ve signed up and receive signature requests weekly. One caveat: You have to sign in through a Twitter account. They plan to change that soon.

eReaderIQ

This site provides Amazon Kindle price drop alerts, watches your favorite titles to let you know when they are available for Kindle, and gives you a regularly updated list of all non-public domain freebies on Amazon.com. It also offers a search engine that lets readers search the Kindle store by genre and keyword, but also define the price range, reader age, language and more. In addition, Authors can buy sponsorships to announce their e-books.

@author

Created by Amazon, this feature is in beta testing with only a handful of authors. In essence, you can email the author directly with questions about their book as you’re reading it. So far, I believe only authors published with Amazon Encore are available, but I expect it will expand.

Goodreads Recommendations 

This is a new feature that works much like Netflix suggestions, finding books you’ll enjoy based on what else you’ve read and how you rated it. But it’s more complex than that, and here’s what the blog says: “The Goodreads Recommendation Engine combines multiple proprietary algorithms which analyze 20 billion data points to better predict which books people will want to read next.” Try it!

Stop, You’re Killing Me 

This site is for crime fiction fans and offers complete lists of authors works and the order the novels were published in. It’s very useful for determining the order of a series, so you don’t miss anything or read out of order. It also lists books by character name (very cool) and posts reviews.

Kickerstarter

An innovative platform for readers and consumers of art to fund projects so artists can be creative. Investors receive something equal in exchange: tickets, art photos, books, etc. Here’s an example of an author with a finished book, looking for support money for a cover design and formatter. I know of this author but I’m not familiar with her work. Out of curiosity, I’m tempted to list my next Jackson book and see if 300 fans will kick in $3 each to fund the production of the ebook. They would receive a copy of the book the moment it was ready and likely a bonus as well, such as a short story. It would be nice to cut out Amazon’s profit on a few copies too. 🙂

PubSlush  

This site is similar, but is focused exclusively on books. Here’s the site description: “Authors submit ten pages and a summary of their book. We then let you (readers)  browse the submissions based on your preferences. You read a brief overview, and if it strikes your fancy, you click through to read a more in depth description. If you’re still interested, you read an excerpt. And if that leaves you wanting more, you support it (which is essentially like preordering the book)! You don’t get charged unless the book is published, so there’s no risk. And for every book we sell, we’re donating a book to a child in need.”

Do you have other interesting, unique or fun reader sites to add?

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My thriller, THE SHOP, has had a checkered career.  This book got me the agent of my dreams, one of the best in the business, who could get the undivided attention of every big publisher in New York.  She read the book on a plane during a terrible thunderstorm, and told me that reading the book was the only thing that kept her mind off the prospect of the plane crashing. She was positive the book would sell, and sell very well.

But that didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, my husband Glenn and I had built a promotional blog to attract agents and publishers called “Who Killed Brienne Cross”? http://www.whokilledbriennecross.com

Putting together “Who Killed Brienne Cross” was a labor of love. We created an alternate reality, adding stories, interviews, photos, and comments over two years’ time. Some of our friends commented, too—and those comments are pretty funny. If nothing else, “Who Killled Brienne Cross” should qualify as a very nice piece of performance art.  But I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t yearn to show it off to the world.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2011.  Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s thriller imprint, bought THE SHOP as part of a three-book deal.  THE SHOP will be rereleased, newly-edited and packaged, on February 6, 2012.

No longer will we have to find a way to promote the book to publishers.

Now we want to promote THE SHOP to readers.

And so I have this labor of love—I’ll be frank with you, this is my baby—still sitting up there on the Internet, pretty as a picture and twice as sweet, and I’d like to put it to work.

So I’m asking.  Readers, fellow authors, entrepreneurs, marketing gurus, publishers, husbands, wives, kids, cute little kittens and
puppies.  How can we use this site to get the news out about THE SHOP? I’d love ideas, no matter how crazy, off-the-wall, staid, obvious, creative, or scintillatingly brilliant.

Please help.

http://www.whokilledbriennecross.com

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Being a middle child, a nice person, and a workaholic, I’ve spent my life trying to do the right thing and make people happy. As a member of a dysfunctional family, I’ve given up the goal, but as novelist, I’m still trying to satisfy my current readers while reaching out to new ones. Some days though, I’m not sure what I should be doing.

The new catch phrases in marketing are content and engagement. Content seems easy: Just keep writing stories that people want to read. But the experts say that’s not enough. They say I need to pen informative blogs, write short stories to give away, and create entertaining videos. So I’m doing all that.

Engaging readers is a less-concrete concept and I’m starting to think the idea is more hype than practicality. For example, a well-read post recently advised authors to do the following:

  • Listen—Create ways to listen to your readers and collect data about what you hear; use focus groups and surveys to support regular listening mechanisms.
  • Customer knowledge—Find out why people buy your products (or not), why they recommend you to others (or not), why they are repeat buyers. Understand what else they buy. Understand who your buyers are, what segment and communities they belong to.
  • Conversations—Find unique ways of connecting with readers, ways that will enhance your brand as an author, ways that enable dialogue, not one-way broadcast.
  • Collaborate—Go beyond listening and conversation to collaborate with your readers, perhaps testing your products in advance of a full launch or soliciting ideas for additional content.
  • Community—Build a community of your readers. Facilitate mechanisms for readers to interact with one another as part of this community and to broaden the reach to additional readers.

Some of this is intuitive and I’m already doing it. But surveys? As a consumer, I hate surveys, and I’m not likely to ever clutter my readers’ in-boxes with a questionnaire. Collaborate? Meaning ask readers where they’d like me to take the series or characters? I’d get as many different answers as there are readers.

In fact, that’s the biggest problem with engagement. Some readers like to interact with authors. They send e-mails, go to conferences, and participate in online discussions. Many readers, perhaps the majority, would rather not engage with the author. They simply want to read the books and move on. I’ve heard some readers say they don’t even like seeing an author bio in a novel, because they enjoy the story more if they don’t know anything about the author.

I understand and respect this. I also love readers who contact me to talk about my stories. So I’m trying to find the middle ground and make all my readers happy…without wasting time on activities that readers will ignore or find annoying.

Readers: How much and what kind of engagement with a novelist do you want?

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From Bob Mayer . . .

The end of the year is a time to reflect.  I just moved across the country and am settling into a new home so we can be close to our son and daughter-in-law, who expect to deliver their first child in early January.  The fact that I can write for a living anywhere in the country made this possible, and it’s readers who make that possible, so I’m feeling very grateful.

And I’m getting psyched because while 2011 was the year of breaking out in eBooks and starting in audio books, 2012 will be the year of writing, when I can push forward several of my series and introduce some new books.

First out of the gate will be I, Judas; The 5th Gospel, a thriller that I’ve just about completed where it appears to be the beginning of the Apocalypse and deep in the Amazon, Judas Iscariot is telling his 2,000 year old story to two intrepid survivors of an expedition sent to assassinate him.

A new Duty, Honor, Country will be published, moving Elijah Cord and Lucius Rumble forward from the ending of the first book, starting on the pivotal first night of battle of Shiloh and further into the Civil War.

A new series spinning off of Area 51 will launch in 2012:  Area 51: Nightstalkers.

Chasing The Dead will feature Horace Chase from Chasing the Ghost in a new adventure.

And The Kennedy Endeavor will take the characters from The Jefferson Allegiance and thrust them into another national security issue based on a historical secret dating back to Robert Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile crisis.

On the non-fiction front, 2012 will bring The Green Beret Survival Guide for the Apocalypse, Zombies and Other Lesser Disasters.  I’ve set up a crossbow range in my new backyard and am honing my skills.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there are a couple of other projects in the developmental stage that I’m very excited about.

So, thank you for 2011, and let’s hope 2012 is just as exciting and fulfilling!

From L. J. Sellers . . .

I love this time of year because it marks a milestone, and for me, each New Year is a fresh start. It’s a time to reflect on the past, express gratitude for the bounty in my life, and make plans for the coming year. Last year, I gained a huge new readership, people who love my work and reach out to me to express their enjoyment. This has been such a blessing. Thank you for buying my novels and offering your verbal and emotional support as well. I am deeply grateful.

In 2011, I published four books: 1) Dying for Justice, my best-reviewed novel yet, with nearly all five stars, 2) The Arranger, a futuristic thriller, with almost as many great reviews, 3) Write First, Clean Later, a collection of blogs and nonfiction articles, and 4) Liars, Cheaters & Thieves, my latest Detective Jackson mystery, which released a week ago. Next year, my goal is to write and publish three more novels. I also plan to take some time off in the summer and to read more, year round. Best wishes to all of you in 2012.

From Laura Taylor . . .

Christmas is a time when we gather to celebrate the season and to set goals for the coming year.  Because of you, Readers, 2011 has been a joyous year for me.

I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of my romantic suspense readers for your enthusiastic reception of INTIMATE STRANGERS (which is currently free at Amazon Kindle), FALLEN ANGEL, DESERT ROSE, and MIDNIGHT STORM.  Thanks, too, for all of your supportive emails and 5 star book reviews – they mean the world to me.

I’m particularly blessed to celebrate this holiday season with the release next week of HEARTBREAKER.  2012 will, no doubt, be a hectic year for all of us. Under the heading of setting goals, my publisher will release several more of my romantic suspense novels.  You can visit my website (www.AuthorandEditor.com) for book release updates, or you can contact me on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter (AuthorLTaylor).  Drop by and say hello.

Meantime . . . thank you, Readers!  My wish for each of you is a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Hugs all around, LT

From C. J. Lyons . . .

During this holiday season I would like to take the time to thank all my readers. 2011 has been a banner year, and I couldn’t have done any of it without you!

2012 looks to be even busier. BLIND FAITH, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times list and spent six weeks on the list, was bought by St. Martins Press and will be re-released in August, followed by two more in the Caitlyn Tierney FBI thriller series.

You guys asked for “More Lucy, please!” so early 2012 will see the release of BLOOD STAINED, the sequel to SNAKE SKIN.

Readers have also been clamoring for Book #3 in the Shadow Ops Series, and it’s coming this summer! Finally Billy and Rose will have their chance at a happily ever after while they search for a traitor in their ranks.

FACE TO FACE, Book #3 of the Hart and Drake medical suspense series, debuted last month and immediately hit bestseller lists on Amazon. More importantly, it led to hundreds of readers writing to me and begging for another Hart and Drake story. I’m working hard to make it so.

While I’m busy writing, please feel free to keep writing or posting on my Facebook page. And if you want to keep up with all things CJ, sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.cjlyons.net

As always, thanks for reading!

CJ

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I’m happy to announce that I’m just days away from finishing Book Number Thirteen—ICON. 

I expect it will all come together, but there’s always some doubt about the outcome, since I’m one of those writers who doesn’t outline my books ahead of time.

Exciting, right?  Through the first two-thirds of the book, it doesn’t seem all that exciting.  It’s more like driving along in the dark, and seeing only as far as my headlights.  And I don’t have high beams. My headlights are wavering and dim.

I know there’s a destination up ahead, and it even has a name—the climax of the story.  Since I write thrillers, it’s usually the time and place where my good guy (or gal) faces off against the bad guy–the personification of evil.  Hopefully, my guy wins. Although sometimes I’m not too sure he will.

The road to this place is rocky and uncertain. Sometimes I go into a ditch and have to dig myself out, retrace my path or find another route.  That uncertainty is always there.  I don’t think of myself as a risk-taking personality, but in this one case, I leave a lot to chance.  Because I’ve (almost) written thirteen books, I am 99 percent sure that everything will come together at the end.

It always has.  

But finishing a book is an article of faith.

So.  This is my advice to writers just starting on their journey. If you love to outline, outline. If you just can’t bring yourself to outline, if that just doesn’t work for you, don’t.  Trust in the process and trust in the magnificent qualities of the human brain.  Your brain is way ahead of you.  It works while you’re sleeping, doing laundry, eating, raising children, going on vacation, or paying your bills.  Your brain is busy down in the mail room, sorting out all that correspondence, working overtime to bring your story to a strong and logical and possibly shattering conclusion.  This is flat-out miraculous stuff, which is one reason I cannot get enough of this whole writing deal.

Writing is about keeping the faith.  On so many levels, writing a novel challenges you as nothing else does.  Where else do you start with nothing—absolutely nothing—and end up creating a whole world?

Pretty darn cool.

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