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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...

How to reward great authors when reading them through (legal) free means
February 12, 2014 | 12:53 pm

reward great authorsI have just finished my first five-star read of the year---which I know is not saying much given that it's only February, but it's been a long time since I've read a book which really knocks my socks off. The book---[easyazon-link asin="B008QXVDJ0" locale="us"]The Golem and the Jinni[/easyazon-link] by Helene Wecker---is set in turn-of-the-century New York City (and is rich in historical details of this period) and finds the two titular mythical creatures washed up randomly upon its shore. The Jinni, a creature of fire, finds water-logged New York City unsettling, and hooks up with a mentor (a Syrian tinsmith) who tries...

Authors Supporting Our Troops: Book drive for soldiers
February 11, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Imagine having to share one Harry Potter book with 12 of your closest friends – and it was the only book you could read for weeks or even months. Any of the Harry Potter books are fun to read, but after the third consecutive reading you probably no longer need the book to recount the lines. That’s the situation a number of American soldiers face overseas. Armand Rosamila is trying to change that with the Authors Supporting Our Troops book drive. Rosamila has heard stories of the lack of books soldiers have overseas. So, he is collecting signed books from authors and publishers...

J.K. Rowling reveals her Harry Potter regret, but should she have told the world?
February 5, 2014 | 2:19 pm

j.k. rowling harry potterLong after a story has been told, authors may go back and look at the finished work. Sometimes the reaction is one of the pride and peace. They can relax feeling it turned out right. But, sometimes, authors may have regrets about the choices they made for certain characters. J.K. Rowling is in the news again after she told British fashion magazine Wonderland that Hermione Granger should have ended up with Harry Potter and not Ron Weasley. “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” Rowling told the magazine (She was being interviewed by actress Emma Watson). “That’s how it...