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Picking a pen name (or marrying a real one)
May 25, 2015 | 5:00 am

dragonsanddreamsYes, “Becca” is probably a friendlier name for the author of a kid’s book than is “Rebecca.”  But what about other factors, such as shelf position, not to mention the possibility of even marrying right? Oh, the possibilities. Kindle Boards has a lively discussion on writers’ names, with thoughts from authors of various genres. Related: Google links to pen-name generators.   ...

A History of Pen Names (Infographic)
May 18, 2015 | 4:22 pm

pen namesHere's a fun infographic from PrinterInks about pen names. Who had what pen name? How were the most prolific authors with pseudonyms and more. Some will be familiar--we all knew Mark Twain was a pen name, right? Others might not be. I'll even admit that I didn't recognize some of the authors (pen or real), but I won't admit which ones. I'd hate to be accused of not reading the "right books." However, some of you might not be so shy so feel free to share your surprises (if any) in the comments. And if you want to stay mum and just enjoy...

Gaughran Exposes Author Solutions as Worse Than We Thought
April 30, 2015 | 10:42 am

Author SolutionsSeriously, I've thought Author Solutions was pretty bad, horrible and no good. But the latest article by David Gaughran makes it clear that they are even worse than I'd thought. For those of you who may have been either under a rock or hiking in the Himalayas (do they have cell signal there now?) for the past few years, Author Solutions is a scammy operation offering way overpriced "self-publishing services"  to inexperienced authors. And probably to some experienced ones as well since they often do a good job of hiding their relationship with otherwise respectable companies, like Nook Press. Here's the part...

Amazon asks Kindle Direct authors and readers to lobby Hachette in contract negotiation
August 9, 2014 | 3:37 am

Amazon’s PR push in the Hachette negotiation seems to have moved beyond simply posting announcements to forums. I just had a rather lengthy email show up in my inbox from “Kindle Direct Publishing,” which begins with the salutation “Dear KDP Author.” I’m not sure if I received it because I created a KDP account at some point while looking into it, or as a member of the press. Either way, I’m reproducing the letter here in full. The letter essentially expands upon Amazon’s recent forum post about the situation, laying out Amazon’s belief that Hachette wants to charge too...

July Author Earnings report surveys DRM, genre sales
July 18, 2014 | 3:34 am

ae-julyHugh Howey and Data Guy have done it again, producing another interesting report on a sample of data scraped from Amazon. The July report re-runs the numbers for their main chart based on the new data, then branches out into a couple of interesting new measurements—including one that I specifically asked for back in May. The main measurements show basically incremental change from the last few reports, In terms of daily revenue to authors (taking into account royalty percentages from publisher sales and Amazon revenue percentages from self-published works), Big Five authors take 37% of total Amazon daily revenue...

Author Earnings: More indie than Big Five debut authors can earn a living self-publishing
May 26, 2014 | 5:49 pm

indie-old-vs-new-pieHugh Howey’s Author Earnings has come out with that report I mentioned yesterday, on the implications of the data they’ve gathered for new and tenured authors, and boy is it a doozy. It’s overloaded with charts and statistics, and I’m sure I missed the full import of what they’re saying, but there were a few interesting facts to come out of the way they massaged the numbers. If the figures can be believed, Big Five publishers are earning most of their money out of established authors, either in long-tail backlist or new books by well-known writers. Only 37% of...

April Author Earnings report remains consistent with February report
May 25, 2014 | 3:20 pm

dailybestsellersLast week, Hugh Howey came out with another Author Earnings report. He’s got some interesting analysis of the figures, but perhaps the most interesting thing is how consistent the numbers are. The market share values only changed by a couple of percentage points from the February sample to the April sample (and generally did so in favor of indie publishers). Indie-published books represent 30% of overall daily unit sales, up from 27% in February. Big Five sales are down to 37% from 39%. In terms of daily revenue to authors from bestsellers, Big Five has held steady at...

New author advocacy group Authors Alliance seeks to counterbalance Authors Guild on fair use issues
May 14, 2014 | 11:28 am

Origin 5142014 112418 AM.bmpA group of writers and copyright experts concerned over Authors Guild overreach has formed its own new author advocacy group, the Authors Alliance, to advocate in favor of fair use of works. Publishers Weekly has a fairly long interview with one of its directors, law professor Pamela Samuelson of the UC Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. (Samuelson’s name has popped up a few times on TeleRead as one of the critics of the proposed Google Books settlement and the Authors Guild’s role in it, and an organizer of the Berkeley Digital Library Copyright Project.) The Authors...

RIP Farley Mowat, acclaimed Canadian author and environmentalist
May 8, 2014 | 2:25 pm

farley mowatSorry Joanna if you were planning on writing this because he's Canadian. I wanted to write it because he was one of my favorite authors as a child. Farley Mowat died yesterday at age 92, just days away from his 93rd birthday. He was author of 45 books, many of them about nature, but the one I loved most is [easyazon-link asin="0316881791" locale="us"]Never Cry Wolf[/easyazon-link], which was about Mowat's experiences living among wolves at the request of the Canadian Wildlife Service. It's a great book, and I'd highly recommend you read it, but that's difficult as I'll explain in a moment. First...

Specialty programming: good news for TV, bad news for books
March 10, 2014 | 4:43 pm

specialty programmingMy friend David Rothman posted this NY Times article on Facebook this morning, with the comment 'good news for TV, bad news for books.' The article talks about this golden age of cord-cutting, specialty programming (like on Netflix) and high-end cable series, with the following aside: "I was never one of those snobby people who would claim to not own a television when the subject came up, but I was generally more a reader than a watcher. That was before the explosion in quality television tipped me over into a viewing frenzy." This was an interesting reminder for me that, amidst...

How misinformation harms authors (or writers or whatever we’re calling ourselves these days)
March 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

how misinformation harms authorsNate at Digital Reader featured an article in his Morning Coffee about opting out of Scribd if you're a Smashwords author. I was curious as to the reasons the blogger thought I might want to do this, and I read the article. Which I discovered was some serious misinformation. Not surprisingly, the blogger raised the piracy issue, but not the issue I thought he'd raise. I thought he'd talk about how the digital fingerprinting from Scribd was less than perfect and use that as a reason. Nope, he went in a whole 'nother direction. The problem with Scribd’s view on piracy is...

Beware Author Solutions, and never ever pay for publishing
March 9, 2014 | 1:11 pm

Author SolutionsIf this isn’t Rule One of self-publishing, it should be: You should never, ever, ever pay someone to publish your work for you. Full stop. End of sentence. Now, it’s fine to pay for useful services, of course. If you can afford it, it could be a good investment to pay someone to edit your work, or to design your cover art, or even to format your book for you if you don’t feel confident of your own skills in that regard. (Though I’d honestly recommend paying $40 for Scrivener and spending a few days learning...

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