Tag Archives: ebook

March 22, 2011

Is the book world going mad…or moving with the times?

Filed under: Getting published,Writing — Tags: , , , , — PD Martin @ 8:50 am

Everything seems to be changing in the book world. Of course, ebooks aren’t new. In fact, for a few years now people have been predicting that print books will become obsolete as the new medium for story-telling takes over – ebooks/e-readers. And yet, it hasn’t quite happened.

So what is the current status of ebooks? For this blog I went searching for some stats. Unfortunately Aussie stats seemed harder to come by*, but The Association of American Publishers said that ebook sales from January 2010 to January 2011 had increased by 115.8%, from $32.4 million to $69.9 million. If my book sales (ebook or print) went up by 115.8% I’d be pretty damned happy!

Of course, no ONE person benefits from the massive increase, although there have been many success stories hitting the news. Amanda Hocking is one. According to Novelr, Amanda Hocking sells 100,000+ copies of her nine self-published ebooks per month.

Then there’s J.A. Konrath, who in the past has combined traditional print sales with self-publishing to make a living as a novelist. However, in a December 2010 blog, Konrath said he’d changed his mind about the need to be published by one of the big publishing houses and was recommending self-publishing all the way. It was also as his ebook sales hit 1,000 a day!

And this week, there was another attention-getting headline: American author Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 advance for two books (sounds even more dramatic when you say half a million), opting to self-publish instead. In an interview with the one and only JA Konrath, Eisler said: “I know it’ll seem crazy to a lot of people, but based on what’s happening in the industry, and based on the kind of experience writers…are having in self-publishing, I think I can do better in the long term on my own.”  You can read the full interview for more information.

My main concern with self-publishing (whether it’s a print book or an ebook) is an editorial one. I recently picked up a book (print) and was only about ten pages in when the major point of view (POV) problems annoyed me to the point where I put the book down. I very, very rarely put a book aside, but in this case I couldn’t continue reading. It was simply “wrong” — confusing omniscient POV with third person POV and switching within a paragraph and sometimes even within a sentence. At this point I wondered who (publisher) had published a novel with such major problems…and that’s when I realised it was a self-published book. If the author did get the book edited, it was probably by a friend rather than a qualified editor. J.A Konrath, who is known as a bit of a guru in self-publishing and ebooks, talks about the importance of paying for a good cover design and formatting. I’d add the need to pay a good editor, particularly for authors who haven’t been published before. To put it in context, I’m a published author with five published novels behind me…and when I wrote an ebook in 2009/2010, I paid a professional editor.  I’m not naive or conceited enough to think my prose is perfect! By the way, Coming Home is only available as a FREE book until 31 March. I’m inspired enough by these stories that I’ve decided to sell it on Amazon and Smashwords for US$2.99 instead of giving it away! So if you haven’t downloaded it yet, pop by my website in the next 9 days.

Where to from here?

It’s hard to say if ebook sales will again jump by 115% or similar from January 2011 to January 2012, but ebook sales certainly seems to be in an upward trend. And it’s a trend that’s leaving traditional publishers (and agents for that matter) in a bit of a spin. Since hearing of Barry Eisler’s news a couple of days ago, I can’t help but wonder what his agent and publisher are saying! The publisher has lost two new novels, obviously expected to sell well if they were willing to offer such a large advance, and the agent has lost his 15%.

*Note: By harder to come by, I mean I didn’t want to PAY for the information (I’m frugal/cheap) and I didn’t want to spend hours looking (I’m lazy/time-poor).

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January 10, 2010

Trials and tribulations

Filed under: Coming Home ebook — Tags: , , , , , , — PD Martin @ 10:25 pm

This week’s blog is a little late – but the timing ties in nicely with the work I’ve been doing this week on Chapter 4 of Coming Home. I’ve just finished it!

As you probably know, Coming Home is book 6 in the Sophie series, and I’m writing it online as an interactive ebook.

I’ve made some changes to the format of Coming Home recently:

  1. I now post each chapter online on Monday morning (Aussie time), along with the questions for the next chapter.
  2. At the end of the 12 weeks I’ll edit the book in its entirety and re-launch it as a free ebook. There could be major edits, major changes!
  3. Given I’m posting each chapter online now, I don’t think I’ll be running my weekly ‘sneak peek’ competitions anymore. They seem a little redundant…what do you think? Write a comment below this post or email me if you have any suggestions.

The new procedure of posting the book chapter-by-chapter has some challenges for me. Already this week I can see edits and changes I’ll need to make. For example, I’ve drafted Chapter 4 with Sophie looking at the most recent victim’s skeletal remains. But I think I may end up having to make the body ‘fresher’ to fit in with other elements of the case and give the detectives and Sophie. What this means is that when you read Chapter 4 this week Sophie’s looking at a skeleton of a boy who was killed six months ago, but when I release the final book this may change!

My other challenge at the moment is that I’m away at the beach, spending 90% of my time on holiday with my husband and three-year-old daughter and 10% of my time writing. I also don’t have Internet down here (except for an hour or two in the local library a few times a week), which means I don’t have access to my usual research materials – being able to email a forensic pathologist while I’m writing and getting an answer back within a few hours or a day, looking up my extensive book collection or spending an hour or two searching for body decomposition states after 6 months in bushland (and whether six months’ decomp is more forensic pathologist or anthropologist). Just your average crime author research!

This may mean even more edits in a few weeks’ time when I’m back into my normal routine.

Aside from that, I’m really enjoying writing Coming Home and being in Sophie’s head again.

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December 4, 2009

The countdown is on

Filed under: Coming Home ebook — Tags: , , — PD Martin @ 10:21 pm

With only a few days to go, it seems the basic premise for the first chapter of Coming Home has been decided. Thanks to everyone who’s voted so far!

What sparks Sophie to investigate her brother’s murder? Thirty percent of voters went for: After 28 years with no abductions or murders similar to John’s a young boy is abducted (or found dead) in very similar circumstances.

The two options coming in equal second are only at 18%, so I can’t imagine they’ll topple option A. Which means it’s time to start thinking about this new murder in Australia. Will it be in Victoria again? Shepparton? How will the murder be similar to John’s and will there be any differences? I still won’t start writing – I’ll wait until the voting officially closes, just in case – but I can now start thinking seriously about Chapter 1!

I’m really looking forward to Tuesday and starting the next instalment in the Sophie series. It’s been a little longer than normal between projects/books for me this time and I can feel myself getting itchy hands. It’s funny, if I haven’t written for a while I literally find myself typing in the air, wanting to move my fingers across a keyboard as quickly as possible. And Tuesday’s the day!

If you haven’t voted yet there’s still time….voting closes:
Australia: 9am Tuesday 8 December (AEDT)
UK: 10pm, Monday 7 December
US: 5pm, Monday 7 December (EST)

So at 9am (well, after I drop my daughter off at my mum’s) I’ll be hitting the new book! I might even video the start.

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November 27, 2009

Quaking in my boots

Filed under: Coming Home ebook — Tags: , , — PD Martin @ 11:10 am

You guys are deciding Sophie’s fate. That’s right, you get to vote for what’s going to happen in each chapter of my next book. Ahhhh!!!

You’ve probably never thought about the decisions an author makes when writing a book. From the get-go, we’re making decisions – some big, some small. In terms of crime fiction, it’s things like:

  • Who is our main character and what are they like?
  • What’s the crime?
  • Will someone die?
  • Whodunnit?

These are massive decisions, plus along the way an author is constantly deciding what will happen next, how the crime will be solved, what clues will be left and how the main character will develop.

This week I launched Coming Home – I describe it as an interactive ebook, in which participants get to have their say in the plot and characters. And it’s extremely scary for me that these decisions are largely out of my hands. Sure, I nominate the options, but ultimately you decide.

It was less than 48 hours ago that I “launched” and I’ve found myself constantly clicking on the “show results” section for each of the initial two questions. I have my favourite/s, of course, but majority will rule.

You vote, I write it. I’m a slave to your whims! And I’ve already had one suggestion for a future question: “Vote for lesbian love scene” Yes or No?  As you may have guessed, this was suggested by a man!

Anyway, this is a scary process for me and I’ll probably blog about my progress each week. Who knows how the book will unfold. I can tell you this: I haven’t planned any follow-on chapters/options/questions. I have NO idea where this is going.

No wonder I’m quaking in my boots.

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