Direct-to-Consumer sales are, for many companies, a great way to deal with disintermediation, that being, a disruption of the standard distribution chain. Companies like Amazon practice disintermediation, selling direct as retailers without needing field representatives and by surpassing/superceeding physical retail.
This last weekend, I was at BaltiCon in Hunt Valley, MD. I had the pleasure of being on a number of business/business of writing panels, and I noticed something very cool that I wanted to loop back around to talk about.
In one of the panels, I was the only traditionally-published author out of a group of five, but there was no animosity, no rancor, no posturing. It was five creatives who had all taken different paths to getting their work out into the world. It is my hope that we’re at a place where writers and creators looking to work in the SF/F prose field can approach the business with open eyes and a sense of freedom — of possibility.
There are many paths up the mountain, and as many ways of having a career as there are authors (and considering how some authors reboot their careers, there may be more ways than there are creators).
It’s not just Traditional and indie/self-publishing — there are a hundred gradations and combinations. Here are just a few: Continue reading
One of my pet peeves as a publishing professional: the author’s 70% share on KDP is not a ‘royalty.’ It’s the author-publisher’s share. Royalties are paid when rights are taken by a publisher and that content is then sold through vendors. KDP isn’t licensing rights and creating an end-product to sell, it’s just selling end-product. The use of the term ‘royalty’ muddles the reality of the relationship between an author and the vendor. Self-publishing is a solid path to publication now, but let’s be clear what KDP, Nook Press and other vendors are: vendors.
When you’re a publisher, you come to terms with vendors – how they’ll sell your product, what discount they get (which then informs their margin), whether they can return the product, and so on.
Signing a KDP/Nook Press/etc. deal is signing with a vendor. The thing is that KDP and other vendors that court self-publishers hold a vast amount of power compared to individual small business of self-publishers, so those vendors feel empowered to dictate terms, and are unlikely to negotiate those terms. These vendors depend on volume of sales across a range of agreements rather than on securing a distribution agreement with any specific author (though I imagine they might care more about signing up each new Hugh Howey or Sylvia Day book, or the like).
Lots of people are talking about that report, but since I’m not a statistician and I don’t have access to Amazon’s actual sales numbers, I’m going to talk about something I *do* know about, and that’s rapid release schedules in genre publishing.
Prompted by this New York Times article, I wanted to talk about my observations about reader impatience, quick-to-market releases, and market saturation. Rapid release has been going on in genre publishing for quite some time. The romance category has numerous authors who write incredibly quickly, keeping their names fresh. In SF/F, we have our prolific authors as well. Seanan McGuire, Chuck Wendig, and more. Angry Robot and several other small/medium publishers have shorter production windows, meaning that the time from acquiring the book to releasing it is less, sometimes much less, than the 12-15 months you might see at other times. Continue reading
Hello, my business-savvy Skiffy and Fanty folk.
Continuing on the thread of talking about the business side of publishing, I wanted to spend today talking about digital distribution, both generally and more specifically.
Ebooks are really new as far as the publishing business is concerned. They’ve been around longer than they’ve been important, and now that they’re important, things have been changing very quickly. Ebooks have gone from 19% of Unit Sales in Science Fiction in 2010 to around 43% by latest reports (my ‘now’ data is from early 2013).
And these days, we don’t just read ebooks on e-ink readers or on our computers. We have tablets and mobile phones. I still prefer to read physical books when I can, but I’ve gotten great use out of my e-ink reader, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t contribute as much to eye strain (I spend a *lot* of time looking at glowing screens).
Oyster is a ebook service that’s trying to apply the Netflix model to books. For a monthly subscription rate of $9.95, members can read an unlimited selection of the ebooks Oyster has in their library on iPhone and iPad. The selection is currently limited, but only in the way that Netflix’s selection was limited when it Continue reading