- Alaskan Totems Billionaire Shapeshifters, Austen Chronicles, CEMurphy, Murphy Lawless, Take A Chance
2016 in review is a work related round-up, because it’s been an absolutely awful year personally. The other day somebody sent around a “some good things must have happened at least on a personal level in 2016, please post them!” and I honestly couldn’t think of anything actively good enough to stand out.
So, this year in publication review: startingly good, actually. I had 5 books come out, including the graphic novel of TAKE A CHANCE, which we’ve all been waiting for forever. :)
MAGIC & MANNERS
An Austen Chronicle
A retelling of Pride & Prejudice, where the sisters have too much magic instead of too little money!
Kobo || Kindle || Nook || Amazon (print) || Audible & at bookstores near you! (ask them to order you a copy!)
The Heartstrike Chronicles: Book One
Immortality, ancient grudges, powers beyond the ordinary…familiar grounds, but I hope you’ll like what I’ve done with them. :)
iBooks || Kindle || Kobo || Nook || Audible
Alaskan Totems Billionaire Shifters
A sudden fun delve into writing billionaire shapeshifter romance, which turns out to be a thing!
iBooks || Kindle || Kobo || Nook
TAKE A CHANCE
A vigilante without superpowers in a world that now has supers! My 2009 comic book in long-awaited graphic novel form!
Amazon || Nook || Comixology
(& at nearly any comic shop or bookstore, just ask them to order it in! ISBN 978-1909276628!)
YEAR OF MIRACLES
Collected Tales of the Old Races
A return to the Old Races universe with the titular novella plus a dozen new and republished short stories!
iBooks ||Kobo || Kindle || Nook
To my intense dismay, due to year-end postal slowness, neither YEAR OF MIRACLES nor ATLANTIS FALLEN has a print edition yet, but they should both be available early next year.
I have two books lined up for next year: the 1945 urban fantasy REDEEMER, and a Regency romance called BEWITCHING BENEDICT, which, despite the title, has no magic in it. :) It’s charming, though, and I’m looking forward to finally getting it out to readers.
Tentative plans for other books include PROMETHEUS BOUND (the next Heartstrike Chronicle), at least one Murphy Lawless novella, and, with any luck, a second Regency to follow BENEDICT. The second Austen Chronicle, SORCERY & SOCIETY, is slated for 2018, and we’ll see what else I manage over the next year. ♥
The Magic & Manners Project: Publication Process
Part two of my series on all-out self publishing, a project I’ve taken on with MAGIC & MANNERS, a Jane Austen pastiche in which I wondered what would happen if the Bennet sisters had too much magic rather than too little cash. Part One, which focuses on finding and working with a production team as well as developing a work flow (including a Helpful Check List) is here.
This week I’m going to look at the actual publication process. I’ve been working through Amazon and Ingram, who are both doing what’s called Print On Demand (POD), which means the book is printed when you order a copy, rather than having copies sitting around a warehouse waiting for someone to order them.
I assume you know about Amazon. :) They have a couple of self-publishing arms, one for print books (CreateSpace) and one for ebooks (KDP). Bookstores, very reasonably, don’t want to buy print books from Amazon, and Amazon has a captive audience for its ebooks, as they’re the largest distributor of them and have the lion’s share of the market with their Kindle e-readers. I am, largely, not going to talk about Amazon, because it’s such a closed ecosystem the whole process is somewhat different.
Ingram is one of the two largest book distributors in the world; they are, in other words, the people from whom the bookstores buy their books. They have a self-publishing arm, IngramSpark, and it used to be that in their listings (where bookstores order from) they listed the self-published books separately, in an area where they wouldn’t come up for a bookstore unless the store went in there specifically looking for it…which bookstores had no reason to do. A while ago, though, I read that Ingram had changed that policy and that Spark books were now available broadly throughout their system, and I’ve been very interested in pursuing a self-published book with them since, because the theory here was that a self-published CE Murphy book could now turn up in (say, the Barnes & Noble) system and cause them to say “oh sure we’ll order that.”
It’s not actually that easy, because without a reason to look for a new CE Murphy book there’s no reason they would, but in theory, it *allows* them to, at least. I’ll get to promotion in a later post, because it’s going to be too big to bite off here, but in short, right now that’s why it’s really fantastic for readers to go into their local bookstores and ask if they can have a copy ordered in, and suggest short-ordering (which means just ordering a couple of them) some for the shelves.
The Hachette Job
For those of you who have not been following along–and frankly, I have no expectation that the larger percentage of my readers will be, because it’s a topic that at best affects them from a distance–Amazon is trying to force publishing house Hachette to agree to more-favorable-to-Amazon contract clauses.
They’re doing this by:
– not listing Hachette titles
– setting Hatchette title prices at (sometimes extraordinarily) high price points to discourage readers from buying them
– setting shipping dates for already-available Hachette books at 3-5 weeks out, instead of making them immediately available
– suggesting other books when readers search for Hachette titles
This is not the first time Amazon has done this. (B&N has been known to do it too, for that matter.) And it’s not the first time that publishing houses and writers are the ones being hurt. Lilith Saint Crow spells out how writers are being hurt, and Harry Connolly writes about Amazon and an eye-opening experiment he ran regarding sales.
I hate this. I really do. Amazon is the biggest game in town; like Harry, 90% of my sales from self-published material comes through it. But for my traditionally published stuff, I have a favor to ask.
Don’t order SHAMAN RISES from Amazon if you’ve got another choice. A local bookstore is best by far: go in (or call) and ask them to pre-order you a copy of SHAMAN RISES. Or B&N, whether online or local to you, if there’s not an independent nearby.
And then–especially if you’ve cancelled an Amazon pre-order to do any of this–email Amazon and tell them you’re not ordering this book (or some other book, if you’re not looking forward to SHAMAN RISES (*sob*)) because their predatory approach toward publishing houses and writers gives you sufficient incentive to shop elsewhere. If enough people change their buying habits, even briefly, and tell Amazon why, it might get their attention.
Let me say this, though: if Amazon is your best available choice for whatever reason, please understand that I am *not* going to hold it against you if you keep shopping through them. It’s not like I’m going to stop *selling* through them, and I like to think I’m not quite that hypocritical. So really, truly: this is not a post to censure anyone ordering through Amazon. It’s just–if you can, this once, stick it to ’em.
(but for god’s sake pre-order SHAMAN RISES one way or another so the first week numbers are bright and shiny! O.O :))
By reader request, I’m posting Judith’s entire Escaping Stockholm essay as one post, too, for ease of linking and perhaps ease of discussion. I shall, however, put it all behind a cut tag straight off, in order to not re-flood the friends’ list. :)
If you wish to break it out and read each section individually, here you go:
Part One | Part Two | Part Three
Escaping Stockholm: Part 3
Introducing the third and final part of author Judith Tarr’s inspired rant on the changes in the publishing industry, and the expectations we writers have come to live with and accept.
Escape from Stockholm: An Epic Publishing Saga
Find Judith Tarr on LiveJournal | on Twitter | & at Book View Cafe
This is no longer the only game in town.
Oh, she’s acknowledging it when she says she can’t deal with it, but she’s not thinking about what it really means. Or how she can make it work for her. She’s living in Stockholm, where Daddy Agent and King Publisher have her convinced she’s this helpless, delicate little creative type who can’t possibly take her career into her own hands and succeed.
We had that in 1983, too. Bad agents, bad deals, publishers’ decisions that killed books and careers. The difference then was that authors couldn’t go much of anywhere else if they wanted to get those books to stores and reviewers and readers.
Now they can.
“But the work! The skills! The crowds!”
True. It’s work and it needs skills. And there’s an awful lot of what used to be the slushpile clogging the system, only now it’s the Kindle free-and-cheap collection.
But you aren’t a newcomer. You have a backlist. A readership. A platform as they say in the PR business. If you can use it to get higher advances, good. You should. We used to push, back in 1983 and 1993. Pushing doesn’t seem to happen as much or as strongly now. The options have shrunk. Terms have become worse and worse, along with the dwindling advances. The walls have closed in. There’s just not the same amount of negotiating room as there used to be. Authors to have to take it or leave it, more and more.
Or do they?
The tipping point is here. The point at which you realize you can make more money self-publishing or crowdfunding than you can get as an advance from a publisher.
So the question is, What can a publisher do for you that you can’t do for yourself?