Archive for the e-book Category

Amazon May Not Be the Bad Guy

The recent news about the IPG-Amazon struggle has people saying all the same things. “Amazon is flexing its muscle and hurting the little guys.” “Big bad Amazon.” Shelf Awareness ran the story with quotes from authors and publishers all complaining about Amazon’s tactics.

My understanding of the dispute is that IPG wanted better distribution terms for its ebooks—I believe it requested no discounting—and Amazon said no. Which the company has the right to do. Amazon already capitulated when the Big 6 publishers colluded to set their own high prices—a collusion that is now the subject of lawsuits and investigations.

So like all other retailers, Amazon wants to control the sale price of its inventory, and since it couldn’t get Independent Publishers Group to agree to its terms, it took IPG’s products off the shelf. (Caveat: There may be more to the issue than I realize, and if you know more, please leave a comment.)

The people hurt most by this are the authors whose ebooks are no longer selling at Amazon. But it’s important to remember that these authors have a choice. They chose to publish their work through a small publisher, which in turn, contracted with IPG for distribution. Or maybe some authors are working directly with IPG. Either way, these authors have chosen to hire middlemen for publication and/or distribution. Middlemen that take a chunk of the profit, and in this case, refuse to meet Amazon’s terms.

But this is the new age of publishing! Authors don’t need publishers, or distributors for that matter. Anyone can upload their ebooks to Amazon though Kindle Direct Publishing and to Barnes & Noble through PubIt. Granted, if you want to sell on Kobo and Sony, you need a distributor. But Kobo and Sony’s market shares are almost insignificant, and at the same time, they are the ebook retailers doing the discounting that, in turn, triggers Amazon to drop its price.

I pulled my books down from Kobo and Sony for that very reason. They caused me to lose far more money at Amazon than I ever made from either. And Amazon has never discounted my books except to match another retailer’s price.

I understand authors wanting to control the price the book is sold for, and thus, maximize royalties, but if your book is not selling on Amazon, you’ll never maximize your profit. From my perspective, it makes far more sense for IPG to pull its books from Kobo and Sony, and thus eliminate the discounting issue, than to give up its authors’ opportunity to sell on Amazon.

What is IPG offering its authors—besides getting their books pulled from the biggest retailer in the marketplace? I realize distributors may be able to get some print books into bookstores, but what can they do for ebook-only authors that those authors can’t do for themselves?

Of course, some—or many—may have signed contracts with small publishers (that in turn signed with IPG) and therefore, they no longer have the right to control their own work. But instead of complaining about Amazon, they should be contacting their publishers about finding a new distributor. Or if they work with IPG directly, maybe they should terminate that agreement and either find a new distributor, or better yet, simply join the indie revolution and upload their books to Amazon, B&N, and Apple themselves.

Another blogger has offered some excellent alternatives for IPG as well. I expect to take some heat for this, so tell me, what do you think?

 

First Book in Series Is Free

Secrets to Die ForI wanted to let everyone know that Secrets to Die For, the first book in the bestselling Detective Jackson mysteries, is free Wed. (22) and Thurs.(23) on Amazon. Grab one while you can.

 

If you thought The Sex Club was the first book, you’re also right. Here’s blog about that change.

The New Jackson Story Is Here

As you may have heard, the new Jackson story, Liars, Cheaters & Thieves, is now available. With each of these novels, I try to feature different crimes, different types of victims, and different story structures. In this one, the victims are male military veterans, a subject I’ve wanted to write about for a while.

But I didn’t want to immerse the plot in the military culture, so like my other Jackson stories, it’s set in Eugene. Liars, Cheaters, & Thieves also includes some features unique to Eugene that I’ve been wanting to work into a story, so you’ll get to know my hometown a little better.

Here’s the back cover copy:
Thursday night, a young veteran’s throat is slashed in a parking lot. Friday morning, an older women dies of a heart attack when she realizes her bank account has been cleaned out. The homicide-scene evidence points to the man’s cheating wife, but when Detective Jackson finds bizarre materials in their home and a link to a phony charity, the case gets complicated. When another man is killed, Jackson and his team decide to follow the money—but can they find the trail before anyone else is murdered?

I’m giving away a free ebook to anyone who comments or subscribes to my blog or newsletter today. In addition to commenting, email me and let me know if you want a mobi (Kindle) or epub file.

I’ve already got an idea for my next Jackson story, but I’d love to hear suggestions for subjects or social issues that interest you.

Thanks for stopping at my blog and supporting my work.

Why $.99 E-Books Don’t Work for Me

I’ve gone back and forth for months trying to decide whether to price the e-book version of my new release, The Arranger, at $.99 or $2.99…for the launch phase. The thinking is this: At 99 cents, I’ll sell more copies, the book will go higher on the Amazon charts, and I’ll get more exposure. But I won’t make much money…unless it hits the top of the charts and stays there for a long time. But can I count on that? Read more

The Futuristic Thriller Comes Together

I’ve been talking about this thriller for a few months, but it now has a title, a cover, a description, and a first draft. It hasn’t gone out to beta readers, so I’m still nervous. But here’s a glimpse. Let me know what you think.

The Arranger
The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and Read more

The $.99 E-Book (The Suicide Effect)

Last October I reduced the price of the first e-book in my Jackson series to $.99 to draw readers in. It was the best move I ever made. Now I’ve dropped the price of The Suicide Effect, a standalone thriller, to draw in new readers who focus more on suspense or thrillers than on mystery/police procedural. Read more

6 Ways to Read an E-Book

LJ with KindleSeveral readers have e-mailed me and said, “I’d really like to read your e-books, but I don’t how… Which inspired me to put together this list:

1. Buy an e-reader: Kindle is the most popular, but there’s also the Nook (Barnes & Noble), Kobo (Borders), Sony Pocket Reader, Pandigital Novel, and many more. When you make your choice, think about more than the device and price. Read more

Why I Love E-Books

I’ve recently joined the e-book revolution both as a novelist and a reader. As a novelist, e-books are allowing me to make a living. As a reader, I’m trying new authors because Kindle lets me download a sample before I buy. The easy access, low prices, and lack of space constraints make downloading e-books a daily temptation. It will be easy to accumulate far more books that I can ever read. But when you can buy a great book for less than $2, who cares? Read more

E-Book Self-Publishing Roundup

With Borders getting into the act, there will soon be four platforms on which authors can self-publish e-books directly to readers. I summarized them for comparison and thought I would share my findings.

Amazon: Digital Text Platform
This venture has been around the longest, has a reported 76% of e-book sales, and publishes content directly to the Kindle bookstore. Read more

New Day, New Goals

Last January, I set two main goals for the year: 1) establish a freelance fiction editing business and 2) write and sell a second Detective Jackson novel. With the help of a layoff from my job, I sort of accomplished the first. And yesterday, I signed with Echelon Press to publish Secrets to Die For next September, so I can happily check off the second goal.

And I did it with two months to spare, so now I can write like crazy on the third Jackson story during November, also known as National Novel Writing Month. I don’t expect to finish the novel in 30 days, but if I have 30,000 words down by December, I’ll be very happy. (And yes, technically it’s a new goal.)

I’ve also come to accept the idea that the publishing industry is moving—slowly—away from paper products. In fact, I bought a Kindle the other day (I still have a credit card!), something I never thought I would do. (It hasn’t arrived, so I can’t report on it yet, but I will eventually.) So now I’m thinking seriously about nonpaper media, with ideas such as 1) creating an audio version (podiobook) of The Sex Club, 2) creating a downloadable e-book of a story I wrote years ago and never tried to sell, and 3) podcasting the first chapter of several of my stories. All viable projects—all time consuming. But I have two months to spare this year, so why not branch out?

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LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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