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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do We REALLY Need the Publishing Industry?

Sylvia Day - Successful
Hybrid Author

Sylvia Day, the very successful hybrid author, thinks so. In an interview with Jeremy Greenfield she said "the world cannot survive without the publishing industry."

Why would a successful hybrid author (self-published AND traditional-published), say that? Why would she want to put up with the TP snail-paced, undermanned and generally inefficient business model after experiencing success doing things on her own - much faster?

Well the truth is, according to my own humble opinion, she does NOT think "the world cannot survive without the publishing industry."

She meant to say "the world cannot survive without "a" publishing industry. A huge difference. The difference between "the" and "a" is the same as between broken/inefficient and improved/competitive/viable.

Am I putting words into Ms Day's mouth? Perhaps. But, maybe not. You decide from reading the following interview (with links) in Forbes.com:

What Publishers Need To Do In The Era Of Self-Publishing

According to best-selling hybrid author Sylvia Day (Bared to You and over 40 other published works), “the world cannot survive without the publishing industry”

Perhaps a confusing message coming from one of the pioneers of self-publishing success. Day sold hundreds of thousands of ebooks self-publishing titles that had previously been published by traditional publishing houses and also creating original works. She moved more than half-a-million copies of Bared to You, the first book in her successful Crossfire series, before selling the rights to Penguin. The series has gone on to sell nearly nine million copies in all formats and the upcoming title, Entwined With You (out June 4) has already pre-sold a million units.

Still, despite her enormous success doing much of it on her own, Day sees the publishing industry as a necessity today for several reasons:

1. Provides a print distribution channel for books: “The publishing industry provides a viable channel which enables a wide distribution of books that we’re not seeing in any other way. Unfortunately, self-publishing doesn’t have that…. The paper book is still alive and well. It’s still there but getting to that requires a distribution network that we don’t have yet for independent.”

2. Not all books deserve to be published and widely distributed for mass consumption (despite that the tools now exist to make that a reality for many authors): “Some of the gatekeeper functions that we have in New York are also important.”

3. Foreign sales may be dependent on a publishing industry to manage the complexity of licensing, distributing and marketing overseas: “And because of foreign sales – they are still dependent on how books perform in the U.S. As the foreign market opens – and it is opening – a lot of publishers need to have a U.S.-based partner in order for them to adequately market titles in their territory.”

4. Last but certainly not least, the people: “I’ve worked with 12 different publishers and have worked with some of the best people in the industry. These people are repositories of information about books and the industry, likes and dislikes, and you need that vibrant community. Booksellers tie into this of course.”

Related: Q&A With Hybrid Author Sylvia Day

Read and learn more

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on Kindle :)))

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fan Fiction Gets a New Twist – Or Is Strategy a Better Word?

Stephenie Meyer: her Twilight books have
resulted in lucrative fan fiction spin-offs

For those who may not know - fan fiction is fiction written by fans of a popular published work and based on characters of that original work. An example of fan fiction is the many successful vampire-themed spin-offs of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books.

The inherent intrigue with fan fiction has been the violation of authors’ intellectual property rights and the inability of the original author to profit from fan fiction, even if his/her original work sold millions!

Well, the new strategy referred to in the title of tonight’s post is offered by Amazon’s new fiction publishing platform Kindle Worlds.

Kindle Worlds is offering a platform for fan fiction that will pay both the original and fan author. While not perfect, it is better than complete rip offs.

What is hard to understand by yours truly is the difficulty or complete inability of the publishing industry and members to enforce copyright infringement --- Could it be that, although laws are on the books, it just costs (especially for newer authors) too damn much to execute for the possible returns in most cases? I really don’t know – anybody out there know?

These details offered by Catherine Scott in The Telegraph:

Amazon launches fan fiction publishing platform

Kindle Worlds, Amazon's latest venture, promises to make fan fiction profitable for both original authors and those inspired by their stories.

Until now, authors have been unable to profit from fan fiction – even when books based upon their original work have sold millions. Amazon is aiming to remedy this with Kindle Worlds, a new platform whereby authors can license their work to be adapted as fan fiction. Fans can then publish their stories as e-books for the Kindle, and royalties will be paid to both the original author and the fan fiction writer.

The Kindle Worlds store is expected to officially launch in June and promises over 50 commissioned works ready for sale. It will then launch its ‘self-serve’ submission platform on which authors can add their own completed works for consideration. Fan fiction writers will be entitled to 35% of the royalties on any work over 10,000 words – half of the standard 70% paid to those who self-publish original work on Kindle.

Perhaps mindful of how vampire-themed Twilight resulted in an incredibly lucrative fan-fiction spin off, Alloy Entertainment has already licensed LJ Smith’s Vampire Diaries series for use on Kindle Worlds, as well as Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar and Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepherd. More major fiction titles are expected to follow.

Despite questions over intellectual property rights and the vocal opposition of authors such as George R R Martin and J K Rowling, neither the law nor the publishing industry has been able to stop the growth of fan fiction so far. Authors may decide that, if their work will be imitated anyway, they might as well get credited and paid for it in the process. If successful, Kindle Worlds will give authors some control over how their work is adapted.

Read and learn more

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on Kindle J


Sunday, May 19, 2013

E-Books or Physical Books? Do We Get the Same Reading Experience? (they do coexist, you know?)

King: A book is 'an object with a nice cover.
You can swat flies with it.'

One of the interesting things I’ve discovered since blogging about things digital and print Re their interfacing in the changing publishing industry: the belief that they are mutually exclusive and are at odds with each other.

And this belief is held NOT ONLY by non-professionals that were just raised in a certain era and refuse to change --- BUT, ALSO by some supposedly educated, publishing professionals (that were just raised in a certain era and refuse to change).

I’ve received comments from literary agents, editors, booksellers, distributors and various publishers that consistently and aggressively argue, or try to argue, that print has not been changed but a wee bit due to digital tech and that it will always be as dominant as in the past!

Of course, you have to consider the source for these comments coming from pipe dreams of ones who have lost positions/money or are deathly afraid of its coming inevitability (unless they adapt,  change and grow).  

Let’s get a couple of things straight --- print IS still the dominate format in publishing and, I suspect, will be for the near future --- But, print’s dominance is being gobbled up at a light speed rate considering digital and e-books nanosecond existence compared to print’s 573 year existence (German inventor Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press process in 1440).

Also, the print (traditional) publishing industry is, and has been for some time, shrinking down and adjusting through mergers and acquisitions, staff/structural and contract changes to tighten up, fit in and be more competitive in the new changing publishing environment --- where digital and print will be more sharing dance partners rather than adversaries.

Now for an outlook by famous author Stephen King in an interview with Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg:

Why E-Books Aren't Scary

Stephen King has filled HIS share of printed pages: Since "Carrie" was accepted for publication in the spring of 1973, he has written more than 40 books and countless short stories. His latest work, coming Nov. 9, is a collection of four stories titled "Full Dark, No Stars." In an author's afterword, Mr. King notes that he wrote one of them, "A Good Marriage," after reading a piece about Dennis Rader, the "BTK Killer" (for "bind, torture and kill") who murdered 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991. He wondered what would happen if a "wife suddenly found out about her husband's awful hobby."

Mr. King is realistic about where books are headed. In digital publishing, as a writer, he's what might be called an "early adopter." Back in March 2000, Simon & Schuster Inc. issued Mr. King's story "Riding the Bullet" as an e-book that was downloaded from the Web onto hand-held devices or computers.
More recently, Mr. King's novella "Ur" was written exclusively for Amazon's Kindle e-reader when the second generation of that device went on sale in February 2009. In the interview below, Mr. King discusses his thoughts on the future of digital reading and publishing:
The Wall Street Journal: Do we get the same reading experience with e-books?
Stephen King: I don't know. I think it changes the reading experience, that it's a little more ephemeral. And it's tougher if you misplace a character. But I downloaded one 700-page book onto my Kindle that I was using for research. It didn't have an index, but I was able to search by key words. And that's something no physical book can do.