Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why E-Books?

A Lady's Choice was my first self-pubbed ebook, and I'm lowering the price in April to celebrate my birthday. This cover isn't what is online at this writing (things have to be approved first), but soon will be. It's softer and appropriate for the state of Washington, where I grew up.

The background is from beach sand on one of my canvases, and the blooms are really Barlett Pear from my front yard. I graphically tinted the background, and will probably do that with other category.

With the onset of epublishing now, an industry turnover, we're all rethinking publishing now. We're thinking how we are going to buy our books. How does this new thing work?

J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler have a lengthy conversation on this, both coming from different places in publishing, but deciding on the same road.

Publishers were not buying Konrath, and he decided to try self-pub. By the end of the year, he expects millionaire ratings on his self-pubbed sci-fis. Since he started, he now has a top agent and a movie query. But he's worked hard at this since 2005 (I think that was the date).

Eisler has his stripes in traditional or "legacy" publishing. (Legacy is a new word for this, I understand. I guess there's a reason :)) A mystery writer, he's leaping into self publishing with a short story that netted 20k, sold at 2.99/pop.

Different paths for these two hit writers. Same end. One thing they both stress is Cover Quality, and rates run from 300-600$ according to some. If you have time to ingest this whole dialogue, do. Tremendous information there for writers considering this, and readers who want to know why writers are turning to this format, and what's happening to the paper books they love?

It comes down to dollars. These two writers can make more by going out on their own, than having the publishers and others take their cut.

On the other hand there's Amanda Hocking with Switched (Trylle Trilogy, Book 1)
She couldn't get published traditionally-legacy, either, got disgusted and dove into self-publishing. She made 2 mil, made history as a 26-year old who had self-published for 10 months and now she's got a major deal with St. Martins, a traditional, very established "house".

And now there's more news from one of Romance's Biggies, Connie Brockway... Totally expected. We're already seeing romance writers considering options, like Julianne MacLean who is a favorite historical romance writer. She self-pubbed her dream book, something publishers did not buy, and it's flying on the downloads. (She probably doesn't know that I have a MacLean Trilogy. :))

I was just in my favorite bookstore, waiting for another Addison-Allen new one, and it was hardback, priced at $25. I don't know who can afford hardback prices any more, but good luck to them. I have never liked hard back. I like the feel of trade and paperback. I'll either get her trade, or download her e-book. (Probably wait for trade, if I can.)

Trade, paperback and downloaded books are all way cheaper than hardback. In these times, on-the-cheap is a priority. But understand that contracts mean business, and that is, if the contract states hardback, that's what the author gets. I'm certain there is manueverability between publishers and authors. Or I hope so.

And the best selling lists are changing. How we do business is changing. (I just added Arusha's picture in here, because I'm remembering her today. A silver Yorkie, she passed at 14.)

That's the scoop today. It's like a race now: authors with reverted backlists, such as myself are working furiously to get them up into e-pub. Not that easy, btw.

Despite the ease of e-readers, there is also a big financial whammy for authors and readers that has to be considered....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Stuff

Signs of spring. It's a perfect time to get some sunshine, take my camera along. These are from my yard. And I thought you'd enjoy them. I love daffodils and lily of the valley, spring flowers.

I'm researching new work, which involves doing the stuff, i.e. learning how to cook some Asian. I'll write about this later, over at My Jam Jar. All I can say now, is that it is good eats, and it is research :) I have several research projects going right now.

I often try to do whatever my characters might be doing--no jokes here, please. But in this instance, YouTube has furnished lots of information. In fact, YouTube can show you how to do almost everything.

These are gorgeous, too, and there is a whole wall of these gorgeous beauties behind my home.

I use all of this in my work, but am slowing down now, due to Spring Time house/yard stuff. You understand, I know.

I've written somewhere about Novel Interruptus, and how to deal with it. That's when life throws you a bad bullet and you just have to deal with it.

A few friends are experiencing that now, and these gorgeous shots are for them.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time Crunching: Work-Life

With spring here, or trying, I'm multi-tasking between writing, marketing, home stuff, family. So how best to spend my time.

NOTE: Check out the roses above and on A Lady's Desire. They're from my photos.

Priorities come first: paying bills, car/house upkeep, etc. Checking on how my daffodils are blooming...

But as a writer, it's bang for buck, or spending minutes where they count best. There's writing new stories, but also a whole realm of other necessaries included in this profession.

Promotion is definitely a part of any professional writer's life. Getting the "word" out there, generating those sales. On the marketing campus, networking is essential.

Twitter is my first choice for networking, learning interesting things I might not have found in my day's routine. Facebook is currently overwhelming me, in addition to e-publishing my early "classic" novels. You can refer to my other posts and an upcoming one at Sleuth's March 17th about the steep learning curve in self-publishing, e-format.

With a packed day, have to say that I'm enjoying every minute of my career with all its little necessary segments, i.e. creating and maintaining my website and blogs.

I'm entering several new communities, and making new friends there, such as The Romance Reviews. If you're an author, that is a great new place to promote, and offers free and paid advertising. Daily Cheap Reads is doing an excellent job for writers. Beautiful, hard-working people.

Then, as a mother and grandmother, I have a full plate. Did I say, "plate"? You can find more over at My Jam Jar, one of my blogs, but I love to cook and getting into Asian now with a bamboo steamer, dim sum, etc. (My daughter promised to teach me about chopsticks on her next visit. I have enough of them for everyone, so we'll all try.) At this writing, I'm cooking slow-cooker stew, because today was cold and rainy. (A slow-cooker is a writer's best friend, no more burning when absorbed by the story we're writing. But just watching the people of Japan deal with weather, on top of their country's damage, chilled me.)

On that full plate, are my hopes and prayers for the people of Japan. In the last few days, that was a priority, and I hope you've donated whatever possible, too. I am inspired by the number of countries involved in various phases of rescue/support, etc. We are now a global community, feeling this tragedy deeply. CNN and others are doing a terrific reporting job. If one ever digs into feel self-absorbed with their individual problems, one look at today's news and everything may be put into a different perspective.

On another note, apart from the tragedy, I can't wait for Sarah Addison Allen's next, The Peach Keeper. I've loved her work since Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery)

What's uppermost in a Writer's Day?

Exercise? Should be some of that in there, too. I try to walk 2.5 miles a day, but am a slacker when the weather is pitiful.

I'm focused on getting my reverted rights back out there, so that has been a priority with me in the last months.

Of all, one thing that I have just placed to the bottom of my list is too much free-wheeling on Internet and Social Media. Social Media has been an excellent resource in this world tragedy.

As a professional, Social Media is a must, but addiction to it is damaging, at least when in a time-crunch. And people, there is never enough time for everything.

But take time to smell the roses and appreciate them.

How are managing time and life today? Do you think you're doing your best? What can you do better?