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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Writing Wibbles

As always, let’s start with a big FAR Manor welcome for the new blog followers:

  • Thaddeus Howze — fantasy writer and computer technologist
  • Nicola Slade — a fine UK-based writer of fine cozy books of my acquaintance — hi Nicky!

Visitor badges are on the table, as always.

Sometimes, writing is like chasing a receding goalpost — but sometimes you catch it anyway. I finished Chasing a Rainbow over the weekend, a total of just over 17,000 words. After a quick typo pass, I decided to let it marinate for a week before starting a paper edit this weekend.

I’m also thinking about how I want to release it on an unsuspecting world. I know some authors have had good luck podcasting their stories, so I’m seriously considering that route (once again, with the ability to buy the eBook right away). Boran may take a shot at painting the cover, which would be pretty cool. That would give me time to make sure the story is in good shape, so it’s likely to see the light of 'pod sometime later this year.

Not much movement on the White Pickups front. sigh I’m in a similar blockage mode with Pickups and Pestilence that I was at one point with White Pickups, which suggests to me that I might be pushing the story in the wrong direction. Whatever it is I’m doing wrong, I hope the characters will let me know soon. I’m about ⅔ done with the story.

The “one photo, three genres” project is off to a roaring start. Three Sprites, One Silent has (as I type) 199 reads, which puts it very close to being my all-time most read #FridayFlash. Only Geek vs. Zombies has passed the 200 mark so far, and that just barely (at 201). I hope the next one is as well-received.

Speaking of #FridayFlash, my Christmas/motorcycle/horror story To Begin With was named #FridayFlash of the Month for December! I got interviewed and everything — go check it out! Good publicity is good publicity, you know.

And… there’s some other cool publicity-related stuff I'll get to next week…

While Amazon is officially discouraging authors giving out eBook sales figures, I think it’s safe to say that Xenocide hasn’t exactly marched to the top of the best-seller lists on either Amazon or Smashwords. Especially Smashwords. Even with a coupon that made it free, I only got a few more Smashwords free downloads than I did Amazon sales. It makes me glad that publishing Xenocide was a trial run, to see how much effort it took and what I’d need to do to smooth the path for the White Pickups release. But given the numbers, I’m seriously questioning whether it’s worth the effort to release an ePUB on Smashwords, even with the automatic distribution to Nook/Sony/iBooks/etc.

While a quick Google suggests the eReader market is split 67%/22%/11% between Kindle, Nook, and the rest, I also found an eBook sales page that suggests eBook sales are split 58%/27%/9%/6% between Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and the rest — which says that Nook users buy more eBooks than Kindle users. But my experience, and what at least some others are seeing, doesn't line up with this. For example, indie author Stephen Knight posted his sales figures on Monday, and to say his numbers are heavily skewed toward Amazon is an understatement (over 95% of his revenue came from Amazon!). This suggests to me that adding one’s books to Kindle Prime, which makes them Kindle-exclusive for the duration, doesn’t leave much money on the table. I’m not sure what’s happening here — it would be interesting to see how other writers are doing — but it could be that indies are having an easier time of it on Amazon’s store.

We’re all groping our way forward in the dark. Beware of people trying to sell flashlights.


  1. Sounds like you've been busy larry! I can't offer any thoughts of self publishing cause I've never done it, but it was interesting to read what you had to say about smashwords.

  2. Interesting stuff Larry...and congrats on your stats!

  3. Hi Larry:

    Nice Writing Wibbles. Would you mind commenting on a couple of questions? Thanks so much.

    Is there any advantage in selling ebooks, in your opinion, by being published by a small independent publisher? Why would some authors decide on this route?

  4. Hi all!

    Yup, Helen, plenty busy. I'd like to be writing more often than I am, but it'll come. Mason won't need as *much* attention pretty soon.

    As for the data-gathering, that was the purpose in releasing Xenocide in the first place. It has far exceeded my original goals… and like the Mars rovers, it just keeps chugging along and sending back new knowledge. ;-)

    Thanks, Tom — still need that last page view, heh!

    W.K., welcome to the free-range insane asylum! I think there are two advantages to smaller publishers — some of them really "get" eBooks, and many of them treat authors more like partners than resources. There are a lot of reasons authors might go with a smaller publisher — I think if you asked ten authors, you'd get at least six unique answers.

  5. Thanks Larry for your comments. I guess a publisher can act as a motivator of sorts to prod a book out of a procrastinating author and perhaps provide some useful advice. Other than that, I don't see much of a need and think such publishers could unnecessarily interfere with a book's prospects. I found these 2011 first-year stats from one self-publisher interesting http://johnhartness.com/2012/01/06/2011-by-the-numbers/.


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