Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Time Rats 1 on pre-order

Yesterday evening Time Rats 1 The Trouble with Time went live for pre-order on Amazon, and nice readers who nominated the book on Kindle Scout got an email telling them how to get their free ebook.

It's quite strange, being used to doing everything myself, to have Kindle Press do it instead. I prefer to be the only person available to make mistakes, knowing I can correct them as soon as I spot them. I was fretting last night because their formatter hasn't put my chapter titles in the table of contents, thus resulting in a boring list of Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 etc. - just what I wanted to avoid. I've asked for this to be put right, and hope it will soon.

I'd be really grateful if my advance readers would write a review - even better if you copy your review so it's on both US and UK Amazon. Reviews do help to sell a book, and it doesn't matter how long or short they are.

Time Rats 1 will go on sale to the general public on April 5th. This is really exciting and nerve-racking. I feel so lucky to be in at the start of Kindle Press, which I think is going to be huge. Go Amazon!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Big Publishing, Kindle Scout, and the next Lee Child

Lee Child and his publisher, Bantam Press (a Random Penguin imprint) have done well for each other. There's no reason Child would want to jump ship. But what about the next Lee Child? Let's imagine Lee Child 2 has written a gritty, compelling thriller. What would he do with it?

He could self publish. But he's a newbie, and like all newbies, thinks traditional publishing is the real deal. He wants to be able to answer, when friends ask who his publisher is, with the name they'll have heard of, Penguin or Harper Collins. He has visions of his book stacked in the windows of book shops; a desk, a queue, a pile of books, a pen. He doesn't know his vision is twenty years out of date.

So he buys a copy of Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, and sends out his three chapters to agents. One of two things will happen:
  1. An agent will think she can sell his book to a publisher. She will sign him up, and maybe get him a publishing deal. Unless he is insanely lucky, the advance is likely to be modest, and his royalty will be around 8% for print, 25% for ebooks, paid twice a year, out of which he will pay his agent 15%. The ebook will be priced high, to protect print sales. The print version will have only a few months in bookshops to find its readers before being returned and pulped - but the publisher retains the rights for the length of the copyright, 70 years after the author dies. There won't be much in the way of marketing. If the book does not perform well the publisher will not want his next book, and he will have to change his name and start again.
  2. More likely though, he will not be able to find an agent to take him on. After a frustrating year or so, he'll look at other options.
Self publishing can seem daunting. It's a steep learning curve. While Lee Child 2 is poking around the internet looking for guidance, he'll probably come across Amazon's Kindle Scout. Advantages from LC2's point of view: unlike submitting to agents, it's a quick process, less than 45 days to get a decision. If chosen, his book will be on sale in two or three months. He'll receive $1,500 advance immediately, and a royalty of 50% paid monthly, for all rights but print. If sales earn him less than $25,000 in five years, he can get his rights back. And best of all, Amazon will market his book. All he needs is a good cover, and he's discovered while prowling round the internet that good covers are readily available and affordable.

I think, as Kindle Scout gets bigger and better known, and some Kindle Press authors become best sellers, it will become the first place an ambitious new writer will try. Amazon will corner the market in fresh talent. And this might just be the coup de grĂ¢ce for Big Publishing, who now account for less than a quarter of ebook purchases on Amazon, while indies are closing in on 45% (see Author Earnings). Compare and contrast Harper Collin's now defunct Authonomy with Kindle Scout - I could write a whole other blog post about this. Amazon has a sense of purpose and direction Harper Collins woefully lacks.

The Big 5 should make the most of their big hitting authors, because once they are gone, there probably won't be any more coming their way.

Friday, 4 March 2016

My Kindle Scout Author tee shirt arrives!

Yesterday a parcel arrived at the workshop, all the way from Seattle

Inside was my exclusive Kindle Scout Author tee shirt, to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of Kindle Press Publications. In their first year they have published over 100 books, which have garnered more than 5,000 reviews. Amazon does not mess about.

I'm very pleased with my author tee shirt. I like the colour, and the V neck (so much nicer than a round neck) and the lovely soft feel of the fabric. The fit is perfect.

I shall be wearing this a lot this summer, hoping people will ask me what it is. I fear I cannot be relied upon not to tell them even if they don't ask...