Tag Archives: bestseller

Deconstructing Best Sellers in Your Niche Genre

I’ve been studying thrillers because I’m about to write a thriller series. Even though I’ve written a couple of novels with thriller elements, I want to nail this genre. I want my novels in this series to fit right up there with best-selling authors.

And that has involved a lot of work. I spent a bunch of money flying to NY to attend Thrillerfest (and I’m so glad I did!). I took a masters class, and all-day ATF workshop (the highlight of the week!), I met with and shmoozed with best-selling authors. I listened to panel discussions. And so much more.

In addition, I’ve been doing hours of research online. I’ve made phone appointments to talk with experts (FBI, ATF, park rangers, lightning experts, etc.). I am heading up to Seattle to scout locations and meet with local ATF special agents and park rangers in Mt. Rainier.

Yes, I take my writing seriously, and that means I do my homework. Before I wrote my latest novel in my Western series, I went to Wyoming to get a feel for Laramie, the state penitentiary, and the environs. I also went to many museums, dug into newspaper archives, and read passages from books that I couldn’t check out and had been written decades ago that shed light on the 1870s (the decade in which my series is set).

One of the most important things a writer can do, and which I’m in the process of doing now, is deconstruct best sellers in her genre.

 

I can’t emphasize this enough. Few writers that I work with ever take the time to do this. Sure, they read mysteries because they want to write mysteries. But they aren’t tearing them apart.

That’s so important to do! Why? Because best sellers in a niche genre have a specific structure.

For example: I took four thrillers that I love, which are very different from one another, and I made a chart and briefly wrote a summary of the first four scene in each novel. I put the novel titles at the top of a sheet of paper and I put scene #1, scene #2, etc. down the left side. Guess what I learned just from this simple exercise?

That those first four scenes accomplish very specific things. That those scenes have specific action and purpose. What did I do then? I plotted out my first four scenes based on their structure. I feel very confident that those scenes I write will be exactly what I need to kick off my thriller.

Do Your Homework!

I’ve written on how to write a sample chapter in your targeted genre. That’s a very helpful thing to do, and that’s my next step.

Think about grabbing a half-dozen novels in your genre and try making a chart, like I do. Here’s what I do when I want to tear apart a genre.

I take pieces of paper and runa vertical line down the middle. On one side I put the scene # and plot summary—just a few sentences to tell what happened in the scene. On the other side facing it I write what the scene did structurally for the story.

If a scene shows the hero working in his job and thinking about how his best friend just got married and he wishes he could find the right woman, I might write “see hero in his ordinary life. Establish his core need for love.” There is no exact way to word this. Just keep in mind you aren’t trying to copy the plot in any way. You just want a feel for the pacing of the story and how complicated it is, when certain plot elements come into play, how many subplots and what kinds there are.

When you study the mechanics of tone, pacing, description, and all your basic elements, the style and voice will fit the genre. With deconstructing plot, you can get a feel for the actual kind of storytelling you need to do.

Many authors use charts to lay out their scenes, and I find them extremely helpful. This is very similar. You may just want to create a brief paragraph summary of each scene in the novel you’re deconstructing, or you may want to go deeper into the details, showing the time covered in the scene, the overall amount of time the entire novel covers, or following subplots. Play around with ideas to find one that works for you.

Because I didn’t want to copy the structure exactly when I deconstructed a novel, I didn’t try to match each scene exactly. I wanted more of a general overview so that the plot I came up with could have room to breathe and grow.

But you might find you want a much closer match. You might, for example, choose a popular thriller and decide to have the exact number of scenes with each scene basically accomplishing the same objectives, aiming for the same length.

There are other ways to deconstruct a novel than the one I use. Example:

Scene #

Chapter

Opening line

Pages

POV

Characters present in the scene

Date

Location

Gist of what’s happening

Conflict

POV’s goal for the scene

Author’s goal for the scene

The reader reads on because…

The scene advances the story because…

Scene/chapter hook

Feeling it leaves me with

Deconstructing can be done with any type of book genre. And it leaves plenty of room for your originality, voice, style, plot ideas. You don’t want to be a copycat. Sure, go ahead and write a mail-order bride historical romance. Yes, there are dozens out there. But they are huge sellers. Thousands of readers want more. There is nothing wrong with adding another one.

How original do your plot and characters have to be? Maybe not all that much. But if you can come up with an interesting scenario no one else has done, some characters with problems and personalities that are fresh and engaging, there is no reason your novels won’t sell up there with all the others.

So spend time on this and really nail your genre. It may take weeks. Don’t rush. Plot out your story, flesh out great characters, and practice writing a scene or two. Be sure to refer to your research chart that looked at the mechanics for your scenes. Show the chapters to critique partners, or find some readers of that genre willing to give you feedback to see if you nailed your genre.

Once you feel you have, you’re ready to get writing that book.

Another thing that helps as you read through these books is to keep a notebook and jot down phrases and expressions, word choice. I found this helpful when doing my historical, as I picked up adjectives and verbs that fit the era. I later did more thorough research online for slang, expressions, and vocabulary for the 1870s West. But even with contemporary novels, jotting down interesting phrasing or words that catch your eye can help spark ideas for your book (without copying them exactly).

Source: livewritethrive.com

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How to Sell Books in Your Local Community

Often times when writers dream of becoming bestselling authors, we picture worldwide success, with our novels translated into dozens of different languages and adapted into major motion pictures. One of the most important things to keep in mind, though, is that learning how to sell books is a process that starts small and, usually, starts locally.

Your Book Marketing Depends on You

Learning how to sell books is an extremely important skill as an author.

If you are a traditionally published author, you may have a team of people who will help you with marketing, but even then, it is mostly up to you to sell your work. If you are a self-published author, it is completely left to you.

Selling locally is a great way to start because it gives you an in-person advantage. You can be far more personal with people than you can ever be online, which gives a greater sense of who you are and what your books are like.

4 Ways to Sell Books in Your Community

Not sure how to sell books to the people in your local community? Here are four things you can do to get started.

1. Set up an event at your local bookstore

As scary as it can be, you have to take the first step when it comes to promoting yourself. If you wait around for someone else to invite you to an event or ask you to do a signing, you may be waiting around forever.

Take the initiative to send an e-mail or walk into your local bookstore and ask if they would consider hosting a book signing or a presentation/Q&A.

Whatever event you have in mind, make sure you have a clear idea of what it will be so you can properly pitch it. Remember to always be polite and offer the suggestion in a way that will show the bookstore how it will benefit them, as well.

Especially if it is an indie bookstore, talk about how you can promote the location and urge your readers to purchase books through them. The event should be mutually beneficial.

2. Create promotional material

There are a variety of websites you can use to create catchy posters and business cards for a relatively inexpensive price. If you are not comfortable with doing the graphic design yourself, consider asking an artistic friend for some help (make sure you pay them for their time, return the favor however you can, or at least take them out for a cup of coffee afterwards).

Once you have said posters, go to your local library and coffee shop and ask if it would be all right to hang them on their community boards. Wherever you can, put one up.

It might be a good idea to include a QR code on the post that goes to your blog or someplace where readers can easily purchase your book.

Business cards are a must, as well. Make sure they have your name, headshot, and links to your website and social media pages. Whenever you meet someone new in your community, give them a business card. It’s a great and easy way to keep in touch with new friends and let them know about your books.

3. Go to events in your community

One of the best ways to get your community connected with your book is for you to connect with your community.

Whenever there is a local, bookish event, try to attend it (and take your business cards with you!). Authors love to chat with other writers and going to a signing or release party is a great way to start networking.

Others who are attending the event are likely to be big readers, too. Talk to them! Ask them what kinds of books they like, if they’re long-time or recent fans of the author hosting the event, and so on. Once you get into a conversation, you can mention your own book and maybe even swap contact information.

Events at bookstores are not the only ones you should attend, either. Go to classes at your local library or an open mic at a coffee shop. You never know who you’ll end up talking to or who might be interested in buying your book.

4. Write an elevator pitch

These are a must for any book. Any person advising you on how to sell books will eventually tell you to write an elevator pitch.

Simply put, an elevator pitch is, as the name suggests, a pitch for your book that you can relay in the time it would take to ride an elevator with someone. It should be short and snappy, no more than a few lines.

Not sure how to get started writing your elevator pitch? Condensing your book into a one- or two-line premise is a great place to start.

After you’ve written your pitch, rehearse it until you can repeat it in your sleep. This way, when you chat with a fellow reader/writer at an author signing and they ask the inevitable question, “What’s your book about?” you won’t have to stammer and desperately search for the right words.

Writing a glowing description of your book can take days and endless revisions. You don’t have to think of it on the spot.

With an in-person pitch, though, you have to think on your feet. If you’re like me and you don’t like coming up with something on the fly, it would be a good idea to write and revise an elevator pitch you can easily memorize and repeat with a smile.

For an example of what this should look like, here is a pitch I wrote recently for one of my novels:

Lila, an immortal witch, falls for Melody, a mortal witch hunter. The two end up on the run when the demon Angelique decides Lila would be the perfect addition to her team in the upcoming apocalyptic war against humanity.

The pitch should introduce your main character(s) and the antagonist/conflict.

How to Sell Books in Person

Selling books locally is a lot different from networking online, but it comes with several advantages. People are more likely to buy your product if they feel like they have connected with you on a personal level. Plus, getting to know your readers (or potential readers) is such an important part of being an author.

And remember, it isn’t a big deal if you don’t make a sale right away. Sometimes you make a friend first, and maybe later that friend will become a customer, and a long-time fan.

How do you promote your work in your community? Do you have any other tips for how to sell books in your local community, or strategies that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments.

By The Magic Violinist
Source: thewritepractice.com

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First Lines from the Best Books of the Year

We try to not judge books by their covers, but first lines? Well, that’s a different story. In a world of so many books (and so little time!), we have to be selective…and a great opening can make the difference between “want to read” eventually and “want to readnow.

Check out how the winners of this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards hooked readers below. Which first lines make you want to read more?

“Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.”

 

BEST MYSTERY & THRILLER
Into the Water
by Paula Hawkins
“There was something you wanted to tell me, wasn’t there?”

 

BEST HISTORICAL FICTION
Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
“My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon.”

 

“Dougal—you settle down now, please.”

 

“I have an impressive collection of trophies that I did not win.”

 

BEST SCIENCE FICTION
Artemis
by Andy Weir
“I bounded over the gray, dusty terrain toward the huge dome of Conrad Bubble.”

 

“If you’d asked me back at the beginning of my career to guess which character I was most likely to return to, fifteen years after I’d played her for the first time, there would have been only one answer.”

 

“Regardless of how you got here, I’m so glad you did.”

 

BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
What Happened
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
“This is my story of what happened.”

 

BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
The Radium Girls
by Kate Moore
“The scientist had forgotten all about the radium.”

 

“In recent years, no more than a week goes by without news of a cosmic discovery worthy of banner headlines.”

 

BEST FOOD & TECHNOLOGY
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
by Ree Drummond
“When I was in my early twenties, I thought I was busy.”

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION
BEST DEBUT GOODREADS AUTHOR
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
“I shouldn’t have come to this party.”

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
A Court of Wings and Ruin
by Sarah J. Maas
“The buzzing flies and screaming survivors had long since replaced the beating war-drums.”

 

BEST MIDDLE GRADE & CHILDREN’S
The Ship of the Dead
by Rick Riordan
“‘Try it again,’ Percy told me. ‘This time with less dying.'”

 

What’s your favorite first sentence of 2017? Share it with us in the comments!
By Hayley
Source: Goodreads

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When Self-Published Ebooks Become Best-Sellers #FED_ebooks #author #writer #ebook

 

When Self-Published Ebooks Become Best-Sellers

 

What do publishers do in a world where anyone can publish a book? It’s a question with a good answer.

What isn’t as clear is what publishers do in a world where anyone can be publish a best-seller. One of the interesting trends in the ebook revolution is that established authors who have had long-standing relationships with large publishers have in some cases decided to abandon those publishers and go it alone. Some of them have been so successful at it that they’ve made more money doing it themselves than they ever did working with a large publishing house.

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market Take Bella Andre, for instance. She has been published by Hachette, Random House and Simon & Schuster but has long since left the traditional publishing world to go it alone. She told me earlier this year that she made over $1 million in 2011 and recently told TIME Magazine that she’s made $2.4 million this year. In the past three months, she has appeared on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller List twice.

This week, another self-published author with a long history publishing with full-service publishers rocketed up the list. Stephanie Bond’s Stop the Wedding is currently the No. 6 best-selling ebook in the U.S. Bond has been published by HarperCollins, Macmillan, Random House and others. In the past few months, Bond has had several top-selling titles that have graced best-seller lists (here, here and here, to name a few).

Publishers are of course not ignoring the opportunity in self-publishing. Most recently, Simon & Schuster decided to launch a self-publishing business in partnership with Author Solutions. Author Solutions is another good example of publishers trying to capitalize on self-publishing: One of the world’s largest self-publishing platform businesses, Author Solutions was acquired by Penguin earlier in the year for over $100 million. Publishers are also using the self-publishing world as a new source of talent. For instance, Simon & Schuster recently acquired the rights to distribute some self-published works by Tammara Webber (Slammed and Point of Retreat) and Penguin went ahead and acquired the rights to publish her hit Easy.

At $0.99, Stop the Wedding isn’t your typical ebook best-seller. Most ebook best-sellers are published by the largest publishers in the world and sell for over $10.00. So, the book isn’t racking up the revenues like the big boys — but it is racking up the readers and that’s something worth paying attention to.

Source: www.forbes.com By: Jeremy Greenfield

When Self-Published Ebooks Become Best-Sellers

About First Edition Design Publishing:

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

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Bestseller List #FED_ebooks #author #writer

First Edition Design Publishing

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NY Times Best-selling Book List

Hardcover Fiction

1. Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn

2. Inn at Rose Harbor. Debbie Macomber

3. Odd Apocalypse. Dean R. Koontz

4. Friends Forever. Danielle Steel 

5. Where We Belong. Emily Giffin 

6. Wards of Faerie. Terry Brooks 

7. Black List. Brad Thor 

8. I, Michael Bennett. Patterson Ledwidge 

9. Kingmaker’s Daughter. Phillippa Gregory 

10. Fallen Angel. Daniel Silva

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Paterno. Joe Posnanski 

2. Obama’s America: Dinesh D’Souza 

3. Shadowbosses. Mallory Factor 

4. Amateur. Edward Klein 

5. Wild. Cheryl Strayed 

6. Killing Lincoln. Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard 

7. Wheat Belly. William Davis 

8. Fool Me Twice. Aaron Klein 

9. Dearie. Bob Spitz 

10. Double Cross. Ben Macintyre

Trade Paperback

1. Fifty Shades of Grey. E.L. James 

2. Fifty Shades Darker. E.L. James 

3. Fifty Shades Freed. E.L. James 

4. Bared to You. Sylvia Day 

5. Best of Me. Nicholas Sparks 

6. Beautiful Disaster. Jamie McGuire 

7. Three Simple Steps. Trevor Blake 

8. Switch. Megan Hart 

9. 11/22/63. Stephen King 

10. To Heaven and Back. Marcy C. Neal

 — Publishers Weekly, Sept. 3, 2012

What’s your favorite?

About First Edition Design Publishing:

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

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First Edition Design eBook Publisher Aggregator Master Distrbutor 

What Makes A Bestseller? #FED_ebooks #Author #Writer #Indieauthor

First Edition Design Publishing

THE 21 KEY TRAITS OF BEST-SELLING FICTION

Do you wonder want readers want? In today’s writing tip, you’ll discover the 21 key traits of best-selling fiction excerpted from The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.

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 The 21 Key Traits of Best-Selling Fiction

  • Utility (writing about things that people will use in their lives)
  • Information (facts people must have to place your writing in context)
  • Substance (the relative value or weight in any piece of writing)
  • Focus (the power to bring an issue into clear view)
  • Logic (a coherent system for making your points)
  • A sense of connection (the stupid power of personal involvement)
  • A compelling style (writing in a way that engages)
  • A sense of humor (wit or at least irony)
  • Simplicity (clarity and focus on a single idea)
  • Entertainment (the power to get people to enjoy what you write)
  • A fast pace (the ability to make your writing feel like a quick read)
  • Imagery (the power to create pictures with words)
  • Creativity (the ability to invent)
  • Excitement (writing with energy that infects a reader with your own enthusiasm)
  • Comfort (writing that imparts a sense of well-being)
  • Happiness (writing that gives joy)
  • Truth (or at least fairness)
  • Writing that provokes (writing to make people think or act)
  • Active, memorable writing (the poetry in your prose)
  • A sense of Wow! (the wonder your writing imparts on a reader)
  • Transcendence (writing that elevates with its heroism, justice, beauty, honor)

To sell your fiction, you must pay attention to the Key Traits of Best-Selling Fiction. FYI, the twenty-one traits are arranged in a kind of rough order.

 Appeals to the intellect. The first five: utility to logic. To you, the writer, they refer to how you research, organize, and structure your story. These are the large-scale mechanics of a novel.

Appeals to the emotions. From a sense of connection to excitement. These are the ways you engage a reader to create buzz. Do these things right, and people will talk about your novel, selling it to others.

Appeals to the soul. Comfort through transcendence. With these traits you examine whether your writing matters, whether it lasts, whether it elevates you to the next level as a novelist.

Where do the 21 key traits come from?

They come from the most prolific, most complete, most accessible, most reliable survey of book readers in the world. They come from my study of the thousands of reader reviews on Amazon.com.

 Reliable? Yes. Why? Because most reviewers visit a page to write reviews based on their emotional reactions to books. They either love a book or hate it. They were either swept away by the characters and story and language. Or they felt cheated by the author. Either way, they have to speak out.

You can duplicate my research. I analyzed reviews of bestsellers, the good reviews, the bad, and the ugly. I found patterns in the way people responded and sorted reader remarks into categories.

Go ahead. Find the best-selling book in the area where you want to write fiction. Find your own patterns in the first two hundred reviews. I’d be astonished if they were far from my list. These are readers telling writers what they want—or in the instance of a bad review, what they don’t want. You can learn a ton from this kind of market survey. Give it a go.

Then get to writing to satisfy your readers.

Source: http://www.writersdigest.com

By: Courtney Carpenter  – August 8, 2012 

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

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First Edition Design Publishing Signs Best-Selling Author David J. Darling #FED_ebooks #Author #Science #ebook

First Edition Design Publishing

First Edition Design Publishing Signs Best-Selling Author David J. Darling

Darling expands to potential audience of 2 billion readers through First Edition Design Publishing’s world-wide eBook distribution.

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Author, David J. Darling, PhD

World renowned best-selling British astronomer and science author David J. Darling, Ph.D., has signed with First Edition Design Publishing. Darling was previously published by Hyperion, Delacorte, Harper Collins, Random House and Wiley.

David Darling is the author of more than 40 titles including narrative science titles:  Megacatastrophes!, We Are Not Alone, Gravity’s Arc, Equations of Eternity, a New York Times Notable Book, and Deep Time. He is also the author of the bestseller–The Universal Book of Mathematics: From Abracadabra to Zeno’s Paradoxes. Darling’s other titles include The Universal Book of Astronomy, and The Complete Book of Spaceflight, as well as more than 30 children’s books. His articles and reviews have appeared in Astronomy, Omni, Penthouse, New Scientist, the New York Times, and the Guardian, among others.

Darling’s revised works, with new cover art created by First Edition Design Publishing, will now be published in eBook format by First Edition Design Publishing and distributed world-wide.

I’m delighted that some of my favorite books, including Soul Search, Zen Physics, and Equations and Eternity, are to be made available in digital form,” Darling said. “These titles, which explore everything from the origin of the universe to the nature of life, death, and mind, will now be able to reach a new, wider audience.”

Darling served as manager of applications software for the supercomputer company Cray Research in Minneapolis, US for several years, and it was during this time that his two children were born. While at Cray he wrote in his spare time for Astronomy magazine. In 1982 he decided to take the plunge into full-time freelance writing, which has been his occupation ever since, interspersed with lectures, school talks, and travel. He and his family moved back to England (Cumbria) around the time of his career change, spent the next 16 years there, returned to the US in 1999, and re-emigrated again to the UK in 2004.  He now lives in Dundee, Scotland.

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David Darling titles with new cover designs from First Edition Design Publishing

About First Edition Design Publishing:

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

First Edition Design eBook Publisher Aggregator Master Distrbutor

The Changing Politics of the Self-Publishing Stigma #indieauthor #writer #selfpublish #author #FED_ebooks

First Edition Design Publishing

Sticks & Stones: The Changing Politics of the Self-Publishing Stigma

Written by Terri Giuliano Long for indiereader.com

Bookselling This Week just reported that brick and mortar booksellers are making it easier for self-published authors to garner coveted shelf space in their stores. With indies crossing into this and other territory usually staked out by the traditionally published, the battle between self-published and traditionally pubbed authors has heated up. Rumor has it, one big-name author even resorted to rallying fans, fuming about the deleterious effect eBooks have had on her income. Another traditionally published author went so far as to refer to self-publishing as “literary karaoke.”

The lines, it seems, have been drawn.

The “literary karaoke” slur notwithstanding, the stakes are less about the quality of indie books and more about the money indies are grabbing from their traditionally pubbed brethren. From the outcry, you’d think self-publishers were stealing and eating their babies—and, in a way, maybe they are.

While traditional publishers have seen an increase in overall profits, their mass-market and hardcover segments have been hard hit by burgeoning digital sales. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), in 2011 e-book sales rose 117%, generating revenue of $969.9 million, while sales in all trade print segments fell, with mass-market paperbacks plunging by nearly 36%.

As sales decline, industry leaders worry that some houses may focus on the more profitable hardback format, publishingFirst Edition Design Publishing paperback editions of only their highest grossing titles. For conventional authors, especially mid-listers, this would be a significant blow. As Rachel Deahl reports in Publisher’s Weekly: “ . . . the shift will kill the much-needed second bite books get at the marketing and publicity apple.”

If e-books are causing the ruckus, why focus all the ire on indies?

Fact is, most people buy a book for one reason: they want a good read. Assuming the book delivers, they don’t care who published it; many don’t even notice. With publishing cachet exerting less influence on purchasing decisions, price has become more of a factor. In a depressed economy, it’s only natural to look for a deal—and indie authors offer one. With greater flexibility and lower overhead, self-publishers can afford to sell their e-books for a fraction of the price charged by large publishers.

Now, in addition to declining paperback royalties, traditional authors face stiff competition from inexpensive self-published e-books. No wonder they’re angry.

Nevertheless, casting aspersions by aggressively promoting the indie stigma is unfair – and unwarranted. “The idea that all self-published books are sub-standard is erroneous,” says literary agent Jenny Bent, founder of The Bent Agency in Brooklyn, New York. Will Clarke, one of Bent’s clients, self-published his first two books, “Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles” and “The Worthy”. After Simon & Schuster republished, Bent points out, “he got a full-page rave review for both of them in the New York Times Book Review.”

Self-Published Books ”Refreshing and New”

Naomi Blackburn, founder of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book, a 400-member Goodreads book club, believes self-publishing has opened the door for new voices and given readers a far greater selection. Ranked #29 on the Goodreads list of top reviewers in the U.S. and #35 globally of all time, Blackburn reads nearly a book a day. She’s grown tired of traditional publishers “shoving dried-up authors down consumers’ throats and subjecting readers to substandard work, especially if they find a ‘cash cow.’” These days, Blackburn veers toward self-published books or works put out by smaller houses. “I usually find the works to be refreshing and new,” she says.

If bestseller lists are any indication, and surely they are, then millions of readers are following in Blackburn’s footsteps. Nowadays, indie titles regularly crack—even top —the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists. John Locke, Barbara Freethy, Gemma Halliday, and Amanda Hocking have all broken into the million-plus sales club, and well over 100 indie authors have sold more than 50,000 books. No, gorilla-size sales figures do not guarantee the quality of an indie title, any more than huge numbers indicate the quality of a conventionally published book. The numbers do suggest that readers see value in indie books and they’re purchasing indie titles in droves.

Which is perhaps why some offenders have resorted to bullying, aggressively promoting an indie stigma that ceased to be unilaterally credible (if it ever was) around the time The Shack—an indie publication—sat for approximately 172 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

With millions of indie titles on shelves, some are bound to be lacking. Sometimes, says Jenn, a book editor and blogger, also known as “Picky Girl,” the lack of quality is immediately evident. “A cover that looks childish, out of date, or amateurish often speaks for the story it houses.” By publicly decrying the need to perfect their craft or bragging about writing and publishing quickly, Indie authors make themselves easy targets, says M.J. Rose, bestselling author and owner of AuthorBuzz.com. “Self-publishing shouldn’t be an excuse to not do the hard work,” Rose adds.

True enough. But not all traditionally pubbed books are Pulitzer-worthy either. The difference is, when a traditional title garners negative reviews, only that book gets panned. No one cites examples of poorly written traditionally published books to support any conclusion about all traditional titles. Besides, lousy books are a non-factor anyway. Readers don’t talk about books they don’t like and retailers don’t put poor selling books in recommendation queues, so the books languish on the shelves.

Nor is it true, as detractors claim, that it’s impossible to separate the chaff from the grain. Jennifer, the blogger at Books, Personally, finds the best indie reads through her Twitter network and blog. Like Jennifer, readers can use their social networks to find fab indie titles. They can also peruse reviews on reader sites like Goodreads, ask their friends for recommendations, or rely on reviews posted by a favorite book blogger. For the most popular current titles, readers can check the IndieReader “List Where Indies Count,” a list of the top 10 best-selling indie books, updated weekly.

Today’s Indie Authors Choose to Self-Publish

No question, traditional publishers play an important role in the publishing world. Still, for better or worse, the days when they were the sole gatekeepers are behind us. Today, rejection by traditional houses says little about a book. “Some wonderful books [are rejected] for various reasons—nothing to do with quality,” says Jenny Bent. A publisher may reject a book because it doesn’t fit into a clear category. A traditional house may also turn down a book if it doesn’t have an obvious audience or if the author has too small a platform or a poor sales track with previous books.

In the old days, determined authors turned to self-publishing—or vanity presses, as they were called—as a last resort. Serious authors, concerned about being black- balled, dared not self-publish. As a result, talented authors like John Kennedy Toole, whose posthumously published masterpiece, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” won a Pulitzer Prize (1981), went to their grave believing their work did not measure up.

Today, many talented authors choose the self-publishing route and they do it for a variety of reasons. Jackie Collins recently shocked the literary world with her announcement that she planned to self-publish a new, rewritten version of her novel “The Bitch”. “Times are changing,” Collins said of her decision, “and technology is changing, so I wanted to experiment with this growing trend of self-publishing.”

Industry superstars like New York Times bestselling authors Barbara Freethy and C.J. Lyons use self-publishing platforms to market their out-of-print backlists. Other authors are drawn to self-publishing because of its flexibility, the ability to publish within their own timeframe, for instance—perhaps to leverage topical interest or mark an anniversary. Others authors self-publish out of a desire for artistic control.

Self-publishing can also be a practical way to build an audience. Today, publishers expect authors to have a solid platform. By self-publishing, emerging authors can build the fan base necessary to attract a traditional publisher for their next work. Other authors, long-timers as well as newbies, feel they can make more money on their own. At $2.99 a pop, authors earn nearly $2.00 on every eBook sale. Even at 99¢, with average royalties of 33¢ to 60¢, earnings on a hot-selling book can quickly out-pace the meager advance offered to all but the superstars by a traditional house.

These days—insult-hurling aside—traditional and indie authors are more alike than different. Mindful of their increased scrutiny, self-publishers take full advantage of the myriad professional services available to authors. Indies hire experienced editors to copyedit and proofread. For their cover and interior designs, some work with the same graphic artists who design for the traditional houses. Professionals are available and widely used to covert documents to digital and paperback formats, and POD printing has gotten so good that, to the typical untrained eye, print-on-demand books are virtually indistinguishable from books printed on an offset press.

Literary agent and publishing consultant Joelle Delbourgo, founder and president of Joelle Delbourgo Associates, Inc., formerly a senior publishing executive at Random House and HarperCollins, says some self-publishers go a step further and work with a professional publishing partner, a strategy she recommends. A publishing pro with a track record of success can bring an author to the next level, Delbourgo says.

For a few years, Bethanne Patrick, a publicist and media consultant also known as “The Book Maven,” creator of the global reading community Friday Reads, was skeptical of self-publishing. Through her work in social media, Patrick has read more indie titles and gotten to know writers who’ve chosen to self-publish. More and more indie authors, she’s noticed, seek the advice of freelance editors, publicists, and marketing consultants—and she’s intrigued.

As well-educated and experienced writers—emerging authors who’ve honed their craft as well as established and traditionally published authors—increasingly opt to go the indie route, the bar is rising. As with indie musicians and filmmakers, indie authors bring new life to an evolving industry. Today, readers have access to a wealth of funny, poignant, brilliant voices of talented new authors from around the globe—voices that, just a few years ago, might have been silenced by the old guard.

The opportunity to self-publish—to publish their books their own way—has given both emerging and established authors more freedom than ever before. So, yes, now thatreaders choose which books to purchase and support, dollars may shift and some traditional authors may be forced to give up a slice of the pie. Change is never easy; inevitably, there are bumps and bruises along the way. But, like or not, indie publishing is here to stay. And the publishing world will be all the richer for it.

Terri Giuliano Long is a contributing writer for IndieReader and Her Circle eZine. She has written news and features for numerous publications, including the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. Her debut novel, “In Leah’s Wake,” began as her master’s thesis. For more information, please visit her website. Or connect on Facebook,Twitter or Blog.

First Edition Design PublishingFirst Edition Design Publishingbased in Sarasota, Florida, USA leads the industry in eBook distribution.They convert, format and submit eBooks to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, scores of additional on-line retailers and libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company also has a POD (Print On Demand) division, which creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network.

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We have lots of good news to tell you this month: another one of our eBook authors hit Amazon’s Bestseller list, we were interviewed over at examiner.com, everybody is live on Google Play, and accolades keep rolling in for First Edition Design Publishing. You can read it all here… MORE

First Edition Design PublishingFirst Edition Design Publishing, based in Sarasota, Florida, USA leads the industry in eBook distribution. They convert, format and submit eBooks to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, scores of additional on-line retailers and libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company also has a POD (Print On Demand) division, which creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network.

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