Indies Unlimited Welcomes Former Monty Python Stars

indie newsbeat python styleEditor’s note: Chris James is absent, recovering from another bout of the highly infectious disease, FailedWriteritis. In his place, for this edition of Indie News Beat we are pleased to welcome some very special guests: former Monty Python stars Jon Cleaze and Erik Idol!

Jon Cleaze: Hello everyone! I’m here today to tell you about a wonderful new opportunity for all of you sad, little self-publishing authors out there whose books no-one’s ever heard of. Oh dear! Did I say ‘sad’?! Oh my, please forgive me! Ha, ha! Of course I meant to say ‘pathetic’. Oh well [claps hands], the news is this: The Guardian newspaper has begun a new, monthly competition to find the very best self-published books. Marvelous, isn’t it? Yes, I thought you’d like it. So now, you’ll be able to submit your tawdry self-published book to The Guardian and find out if it really is any good at all. Oh dear! Did I say ‘tawdry’?! Ha, ha! Of course I meant to say ‘crap’.

Erik Idol [tapping Cleaze on shoulder]: Er, excuse me.

Jon Cleaze: Yes? What do you want?

Erik Idol: Well, I was wondering…

Jon Cleaze: Yes?! Come on, spit it out! I haven’t got all day!

Erik Idol: I’d like to submit my novel to The Guardian Self-Publishing competition. Continue reading “Indies Unlimited Welcomes Former Monty Python Stars”

Indie News Beat: The Potential Perils of Percentages

IndieNewsBeatwithCJHave you ever wondered about those percentage royalty rates Amazon offers? What is it with Amazon giving 35% for a sale in a certain price range, and then 70% in a higher price range?

The reason I ask is because of our need for predictability. We like certainty; we like the comfort of knowing what we’re going to get and what’s going to happen. But with many of us, the problem is that predictability tends to evolve into a sense of entitlement. If you’re in a position of power, the fastest way to get people to hate you is to deny them something to which they believe they’re entitled. Parents the world over have to walk the tightrope of whether to discipline their children, since the act of punishing them by denying them something is just as likely to exacerbate undesired behaviour as to correct it. At the societal level, over the last few years regimes in many countries have been finding out the best way to turn a localised insurgency into a full-scale revolution is to deny their populations access to the internet, something which didn’t even exist a generation ago. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: The Potential Perils of Percentages”

Indie News Beat: The Shifting Stigma

Indie News BeatUnless you were living under a rock last month, you’ll have heard about Hugh Howey’s incendiary new website in which he and an anonymous friend collate a mass of book sales data to show that self-published titles are taking more and more of the spoils. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from nearly everyone (it seemed), given that so much data analysed in such depth was perhaps bound to be open to selective interpretations.

Over on Publishers Weekly, Smashwords founder Mark Coker took a more sober approach, pointing out that: “What matters is the directional trend, and the strong social, cultural and economic forces that will propel the trend forward in a direction unfavorable to publishers.” In an excellent article which is a must-read for all Independent Authors, Coker goes on to describe how the perception of stigma is shifting. From just a few years ago, when self-publishing had “failure” written all over it, we’re now moving to a point where traditional publishing is getting its share of negativity: the lousy royalties on e-books and their own vanity imprints ready to fleece the unsuspecting Indie, which Coker politely calls “misguided”. The more heated the debate gets, the more useful it is to listen to a cooler head. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: The Shifting Stigma”

Indie News Beat: Which Perspective Would You Like with 2014?

As another New Year kicks off, it’s worth taking a look around at what’s being said about this crazy industry we call publishing. For many of us, it’s the data that matters: the most popular sites for readers, the titles they’re buying, which genres are ‘hot’ (and is there a snowball’s chance in hell we could bang out 50k words before that genre goes cold?). However much we may dislike marketing our books, we need to decide where they should be, what the ideal price point is, and many more variables which could see a few more copies downloaded.

So what might this year hold? If you can make it through the hyperbole, a good place to start is Ten Bold Predictions for 2014. Yes, last year was the best ever, except that now the price of eBooks is “plummeting”. Good news for readers, but if the mainstreams are finally bringing eBook prices down to what Independent Authors have been selling them at for a while, where does that leave the latter? Another telltale factoid is that “ebook revenue has tapered off”, which also supports the suggestion that mainstreams now understand they’ve milked the eBook market as much as they can. The problem for Independent Authors is that it removes a fundamental selling point: that our ebooks were cheaper.

An interesting perspective, and much useful information, is to be had in this article by Paul Jarvis. He describes his own experiences with using Indie sites to sell his books, and talks about publishing a book on Amazon as though it were a bit of a chore: “It took 12 hours [for his book to be on sale] which isn’t bad… Basically, there’s a lot of waiting for Amazon…” I found Jarvis’s use of Indie sites to sell his books to be a refreshing change, given that in my experience, Amazon is the number one place where a book has to be available. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: Which Perspective Would You Like with 2014?”