Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel Provides the following article from his blog. He brings up an excellent point. Are agents necessary any longer? Let Brian know what you think – and I would love to hear too!
A few years ago, Samuel Moffie submitted The Perfect Martini to 100 literary agents. Actually, he submitted 90% of the first twenty pages of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions disguised as The Perfect Martini. Any guesses on his success rate? 100 out of 100, right? No. Only one agent responded positively, but that’s because the agent recognized the original author. 99 agents declined. Just to be clear, yes, the critically acclaimed, award-winning, nationally revered Kurt Vonnegut. Rejected.
Agents are concerned with commercial viability, that’s first and foremost. Period. Literary quality is a secondary bonus, if present. Now, if Vonnegut wrote a novel where a dominant vampire becomes master to a naive, submissive, shape-shifting werewolf, I’m sure he would have fared better.
Here’s the point. Why spend months, or even years, writing and submitting queries to agents who are clearly looking the other way? If they passed on Kurt Vonnegut, what chance…
Yes, I have been MIA for a few days. I have been trying my best to stay away from my computer for a while, remove myself from the temptation to drive myself NUTS and burn myself out with my reading. I knew that J.K. Walker’s beta of Fallen Eyes was due to arrive, and I wanted a “fresh palate” to start on the beta.So, I have been working on the sweater I am doing for Bob and basically enjoying some of this beautiful Colorado mid-winter sunshine.
Remember, you can WIN the first editions of J.K.’s books through Rafflecopter.com – just click the photo of the three-volume edition to enter!
Or, how CreateSpace is going to push me to an early grave.
You see, I already have an author that publishes on CreateSpace. Erich had already set up his first book, and as his second was basically the same number of pages, the price was the same when I uploaded it.
Now, another author I am working with wants to print on CreateSpace too. OK, fine. The only thing is, she asked me what she should charge for her book. So me, being the helpful sort, decided to research the question and get back to her. And publish what I found here, since it is the nice thing to do for others, right?
(Rubbing bruise on forehead from banging head on wall)
OK, so first I went to the Createspace site for information, right? Well, after 45 minutes of searching, going through “community” interactions and following links (which were, of course, mostly broken and took me exactly Nowhere, I think – (you notice I said THINK) I found the answers I need at:
Now. Once you watch this video, you will note that it tells you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Sigh. OK, next step:
Calculating Your Royalty
List Price (set by you)
– Our Share
= Your Royalty
Wow. OK. Helpful? Nope.
So, next step. What is “Our Share”? And how is it calculated? Hummmm. Well, let’s see. The Royalty Calculator is copied from the link listed above, so it looks a little weird, but I think you will get the idea:
Use the royalty calculator to figure out how much you’ll make every time your book is manufactured.
Amazon Europe For books printed in continental Europe
So, looking at this, IT APPEARS that if my client charges $7.99 for her book, a pretty reasonable paperback price for someone who isn’t on the New York Times Bestseller List, she would make .75 cents in the US, but in Europe she is actually LOSING money every time someone purchases her book. . . Huh??? Wow. PAYING people to buy her book!
Monkeying around with the calculator, it looks like the least she could charge for her book and actually make money no matter where it sells is $11.99. That would net $3.15 in the US (unless she goes with “Expanded Distribution” which is something my brain can’t take right now, but she would only make .75 on the sale then) 1 pound 14 in England and 1 euro 52 elsewhere. I am not going to go into the conversions!
So, to break it down further:
The royalty payment you receive for each unit printed to fulfill orders through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it is the sale price less the per book charge, the per-page charge and our 40% revenue share. For information on book charges and our revenue share, please see our book Distribution and Royalties tab.
And note, of course, that in very light type at the very bottom of the page:
* Figures generated by this tool are for estimation purposes only. Your actual royalty will be calculated when you set up your book.
Sigh. I need a Single Malt and an Advil. And I have a Master’s degree . . .
So, are we clear here? I should have been able to find the info easily. Once I finally, finally found the right page, it wasn’t that hard, just play with the calculator. But apparently I am not the only one who was having trouble, as every website that I found out there gave conflicting information!
As for how they calculate their share, I found this page:
That is a whole OTHER ball of wax that simply breaks down to where they get the figure they are calculating for “Their Share” and really isn’t all that useful in the long range, except that you do need to know what you are paying for.
I would love comments, thoughts, or whatever. . .
Oh, and just to CMA (Cover MY Ass) : DISCLAIMER
All information on this page, whether copied or paraphrased or whatever, is the property of Amazon.com and Createspace.com and probably KDP.Amazon.com also. All information is provided as a service to my readers, and in no way is meant to reflect on Amazon.com or it’s affiliates. All links are directly to Amazon.com and/or Createspace.com and/or KDP.Amazon.com. All commentary is based upon my own experience and is not meant to reflect upon Amazon.com or any of it’s sub-companies or affiliates.
Mark’s input on his sales, rankings, ratings, etc. is fascinating reading. It is always a huge question for authors, especially self-published authors. How do you best get your work out there in an efficient, cost effective manner which helps get your work in front of the right people?
I had to laugh, under “Ratings and reviews” he posts that he didn’t get any good ratings from the people he sent review requests too. I, of course, e-mailed in high dudgeon (we had been conversing by e-mail for some time by now, very pleasantly, about his books, and I had written a rather fawning review . . . ) about how I most certainly HAD written a good review for him. He replied, with a laugh, that yes, I had, but I was one of those “unplanned” reviews he loved so much. Uh, Oh. Yea. LOL!! I read “Sleight of Hand” and was totally charmed by his writing, his characters and his world building. So, of course, being me, I wrote and told him so. That e-mail led to long e-mail conversations which I have very much enjoyed and continue to this day.
As i was going through my e-mails, I noticed this blog post and realized how smart it is and how helpful I thought it was. Therefore, here it is, and I hope you find it as interesting as I did..
Now. GO OUT AND BUY MARK’S BOOKS! You will be very glad you did!
Sales, rankings, ratings, reviews and marketing roundup
This has my numbers!
It has the worst marketing mistake I made!
It has a challenge to find a book that beats SoH’s rating!
It has a reading recommendation while you wait for Wild Card!
It has predictions 🙂
This is pretty much the last opportunity I’ll have to feed back on the success of my first phase marketing plan for the Bite Back series, so I’m taking some time out from Wild Card to report. It is also a suitable date for an analysis, as it’s 9 months (plus a few days) after I pressed the Amazon Save & Publish button for Sleight of Hand.
The reason for this being the last opportunity is that, soon Raw Deal will be published, and this prequel novella is being provided free as a marketing ploy. This is a significant change from the original marketing, which was based primarily on…
This article was originally published at Readful Things Blog
Please check out their blog – if you are an author, book blogger, reviewer or anyone interested in books or writing, it is a wonderful site!
The Kindness of Strangers:
How To Fund a Self-Published Novel With Kickstarter
Like it or lump it: self-publishing costs money. Every element of your book must be excellent. You must spend your hard-earned shekels or your book will look amateurish.
Good things are rarely cheap, and cheap things are rarely good. Don’t skimp on buying the expertise you need, and don’t publish unless your writing is as good as the work of the design and production experts you hire. You’re book is up against almost 2 million eBooks and nearly 30 million hard cover and paperback books—and that’s on Amazon alone. If you’re going to go head-to-head against 32 million other works, yours has to be letter-perfect.
First, a quick review of what I spent. Some of my purchases were ill-considered—I didn’t follow my eBook-focused strategy and wasted money on printing. (I should have handed paper books to a POD printer.)
1. Structural edit: $1200
2. Line and copy editing: $740
3. ISBN #s (purchase of 10): $250
4. Bar Code (for point-of-purchase price scanning): $25
5. Design and print bookmarks: $70
6. eBook conversion: $150
7. Print ARCs: $100
8. Cover and interior design: $1500
9. Shipping: $220
10. Print 500 books: $1873
My original budget was $5000 and I set out to raise half that through a program called Kickstarter.
Kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/hello is a website that helps people raise money for creative projects. Each creator—artists, writers, sculptors, inventors, filmmakers, musicians, and others—provides potential sponsors with information about his or her project, including a brief video pitch. Sponsors make pledges on the Kickstarter website. If the artist meets the funding goal on time, pledges are collected and transferred to the artist, less a 5% fee to Kickstarter. Amazon Payments charges a fee of 3 to 5% for collection and disbursement of funds. Sponsors enjoy the security of knowing that pledges aren’t collected if the funding goal isn’t met.
On July 13, 2012, I launched a $2500 Kickstarter project. During the 30-day pledge-raising period, my project that raised $3,027. Direct contributions raised an additional $1,185 for a total of $4,212. After fees, I grossed $3,909. After paying for the rewards to backers, collateral materials, and shipping, I netted about $3400—a bit more than half the cost of self-publishing Little Deadly Things. http://littledeadlythings.com/
So, how do you use Kickstarter to raise funds for your self-publishing project? Hard work plus a few basics is all you need. Here’s what I learned.
Aim low. Set a funding goal that you can attain or exceed. If you fall short of your goal, your project will not be funded.
End your project on the second weekend of the month. The first paycheck of the month pays the bills. The second check is more disposable. Don’t end a project at month end, when the money’s spent.
Short projects work better than long ones. Maintain a sense of urgency, and stay focused. Most successful projects are open for thirty days.
Backers help people they like. People you know won’t care about your project so much as they will care about you. They don’t have to like your book to support you. You’re looking for a pledge, not a pat on the back.
Rewards rule! The perceived value of the reward should approximate the size of the pledge. Browse Kickstarter to see what other project creators offer.
Rewards, II. You must include low-dollar value rewards. Nearly one out of three of my Kickstarter backers pledged $10. Their reward was an eBook, (which carried no inventory or shipping costs).
Rewards, III. International backers prefer eBook rewards due to extra shipping costs and customs fees. If you ship print books internationally, indicate “Gift” on the customs form to avoid customs fees charged to the backer.
Rewards rule, IV. Shipping is the tail that wags the dog. I underestimated these costs. Also, I offered posters as one of the rewards. I had to purchase mailing tubes and extra postage. Wish I’d thought that through!
Do NOT kick in your own money in order to hit your goal. It may be considered money-laundering. Get caught, and your project will be taken down and the pledges cancelled.
Compliment Kickstarter with direct mail. One-third of my support came from people who do not frequent the internet. Bone up on how to write a fund-raising appeal. Ask local shopkeepers how they handle requests for donations. Six percent of my proceeds came from shops I patronize.
Support one of the nation’s premier young writers program. Read Little Deadly Things. Little Deadly Things funds a quarterly scholarship for the Grubstreet Young Adults Writers Program. http://www.grubstreet.org/index.php?id=22 You can help YAWP—and read a damned good novel—with your purchase. Buy from the LDT site, or from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Little-Deadly-Things-ebook/dp/B0093O0UBI Or borrow the Kindle version free, from the Amazon Prime Lending Library. (Amazon pays me a royalty for each loan. It’s a good deal!)
Kickstarter is a heckuva lot of work. But it’s worthwhile. Best of all, it will make you a better writer.
This review is of the Audio edition of Mr. Burke’s novel.
I am a huge fan of James Lee Burke. He is, in my opinion, a poet of the highest caliber. His language draws the reader into the soul of the Louisiana bayou. Into the life, the language, the heart and mind of a world whose culture, history and people are both unique and fascinating. His language draws you in, paints pictures in your mind. You come to know these people, to see, feel, hear, and know the things they know. He is, in a word, one of the very best writers I have ever read.
Now for the however – – – Hammer is a NIGHTMARE!!!! I don’t know where this man grew up, but I have a sneaky suspicion he is a something like a New Jersey native, as he certainly isn’t Southern! I don’t know if I find him more phony, hokey, or just plain obnoxious. I have to hold my sides and laugh hysterically when I see people who have apparently never stepped foot in Louisiana, or possibly even the South, raving about what a wonderful “Southern” reader Hammer is. Believe me – – this is NOT Louisiana Cajun, in any shape, form, or fashion! Obnoxious…… especially when he forgets to play up his phony southern accent and drops into his normal accent – is that New Jersey? New York? It certainly isn’t Cajun! In addition, if you are going to read the book, it would be really nice if you would at least look up how the names of towns and the names of people are ACTUALLY PRONOUNCED. What a mess. It made my skin crawl trying to listen to him.
Will Patton IS Dave Robicheaux. The accent, the smooth delivery, the pronunciations – all are spot on. He pulls you into the story, makes you a part of Burke’s world, and leaves you wanting more.
Here’s a shout-out to Recorded Books:
When you are deciding on a narrator for a particular book, actually LISTEN to the prospective narrator before you make a decision on who does the reading. If the reader is distracting, doesn’t fit the language, or sounds irritating for any reason, whether it be a lousy accent like Hammer or droning pitch, etc., it is going to RUIN the experience. I can’t tell you how many times I have failed to purchase the (more expensive!) audio books of certain authors because I can’t stand the narrator.
I buy a LOT of books – they are my entertainment, rather than sitting and watching the idiot box. And most of my books (over 600 at last count) are in AUDIO form. I listen to books just about every minute I am not sleeping or working. Losing out on good authors because of bad narrators is really disappointing.
Would really LOVE IT if you would re-record these masterpieces of Southern literature with Will Patton. I would be the first lined up to buy them!
I was on Goodreads earlier and came across a post entitled “Do people tend to criticize the books they read, in a rather destructive manner rather than constructive?”
Only a few responses are showing so far, but I find this question to be one I ponder quite often. What is constructive v.s. destructive “criticism.” One commentary by Feliks Dzerzhinsky was quite interesting and well thought out.
The following is my own post in response. I will be touching on this question over time, but I wanted to share my thoughts here and see what you, as a reader, think about the original question.
A well written and thought out commentary. However, I believe that the question refers to the degree of cruelty that some reviews seems to take joy in pouring vitriol onto the heads of the author. There is a great deal of difference between criticism and chivvying the author and being obsessively destructive. I can write some blistering reviews. However, those reviews are always well-thought-out and give specifics for why I think the author should go flush their heads.
I.e., in the case of Twilight. It isn’t only the book itself I am blistering, it is the publishing industry for taking that horrifically substandard tomb and forcing it down the throats of the public. With all of the good books awaiting publishing, they chose to print and force down our throats a book with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Apparently because the writer is “connected”.
What I find offensive is the “reviewer” who rates a book low and yet gives no truly logical reasoning for doing so. They simply say something cruel and hurtful about the author or the book without any reasoning process behind it. I read a 1-star review the other day regarding one of my favorite authors where the person said “This is a children’s book.” Just that, and a one star. Come on! So it would be a great book for a kid to read. So? Does that make it a bad book? No, it just didn’t ring this person’s bell. But! Was it well written? Were the characters believable? Was the editing well done? All those things could have been addressed and the book could have been rated on an intelligent level. Instead, the ‘reviewer’ didn’t review the book at all, she/he was simply dismissive. In other words, why even do it if you aren’t going to do it correctly? Apparently, just to hurt the author and anyone else who reads, or considers reading, the book.
Yes, the Twilight writer deserves to be “punched out” for the garbage she wrote. But if you are going to take the swing, it is tremendously more adult and civilized to do so by writing exactly WHY she and her publishing gurus should take it in the face rather than simply throwing a fit and falling down in it.