Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Physical Book is NOT Dead

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Whenever a new piece of technology pops up in the mainstream world, people get all up in arms about what it means for the prior piece of “technology”, for the previous way of doing things. When CD players came around it was all “OMG! What will happen to my cassette tapes?!” and then MP3 players came on the scene and it was all “OMG! What will happen to all my CDs?!” and so on. We won’t even go back as far as the record (which people still collect) and 8-tracks.  Do some things become obsolete?  Kind of. It’s true I do know someone who’s still listening to tapes in his car, but he’s a rarity.

So of course when Kindle and Nook and all those other e-readers started popping up, everyone’s first outcry was “Won’t someone think of the books?!?” closely followed by “I just *LOVE* to hold a book. To smell a book. I can’t possibly adapt to anything other than a bunch of bound paper in my hand!” Yeah, yeah. I still know people like that, and it’s fine. I get it, but adapting is a way of life folks and you may have to do it at some point…but probably not with books.

That’s right. I said it. I don’t think books are going to fall to the wayside and die a quiet death like the 8-track. Do I think digital books will gain popularity and more people will lean that way? Yes. It’s easier to get e-books, you can find lots for free, it’s perfect for lazy hermit type folks who don’t want to leave their houses, etc. I think people will still want their physical copies to put on their shelves, but maybe not copies of everything they’ve ever read. Even I don’t want to display some of the things I’ve read because they were either bad or well…I just don’t want people to know I read them! Hah. I do think if something is good enough, people will want the hard cover or paperback to proudly display on their shelves, to take to book signings and to sit on their bare coffee tables.

I also don’t think libraries are going to be obsolete. Might they try to evolve and move things more digitally? Why yes, I do suspect they will since we have already seen that movement from physical card catalogs to computerized catalogs. They’ve also uploaded many professional published articles to their online databases. It makes life easier, but that doesn’t mean the books aren’t there for people to pull out, photocopy, take notes from, etc.

There are always going to be the people who aren’t into electronics or can’t afford to buy the pricey items. The libraries and bookstores will still be there for them. I go to the local bookstore often for my writing group and there are always people milling around browsing and buying. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

As someone who buys the majority of her books digitally, even I’m not ready to give up the physical completely. My proof? Two awesomely amazing books purchased this week that I will proudly display on my  shelves !

Hannah Moskowitz’s Gone, Gone, Gone                                                                       Joe Peacock’s Mentally Incontinent 

World Book Night 2012

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Yesterday, April 23rd marked the first US World Book Night. What is World Book Night? It’s an event to help promote reading in teens and adults by giving away free books. Volunteers had 30 different books to choose from (we made a first, second and third choice in case they couldn’t get their first choice).  The books were special printed and the authors of the books gave up royalties for the copies given out.

I decided I would give my twenty copies of Sherman Alexie‘s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian away at my local Starbucks and the plaza where I hang out the most and do my writing.  Problem being? I’m super shy! I was able to give a couple away, but thankfully one of my closest friends was bribed by a free coffee to come help me. Thank God for her!

People were surprised but receptive. Free is free! The biggest surprise was probably from the guys in the Game Stop. Some of them totally didn’t want it but we pushed it on them. One of them, who said he reads on occasion, read a little aloud for everyone!  He was quite into it. He just happened along the part of the story where the main character talks about his love of books and how it gives him a boner . They were sold after that. Heh boys can be predictable! Haha!  There was one person who totally refused. Which made me sad. Who doesn’t want a free book? I figure she totally wasn’t a reader and that’s the kind of person this night is supposed to help the most. Shame.

I also contacted a couple friends of mine who are middle school teachers to see if they wanted a copy or two for their classroom or  to give away to special students in their classes. I love the idea that the book can be kept in the room for students to read or given away as a special prize for a hardworking student who could get a lot out of that particular book.

With the books, they gave us a  book giver pin, some stickers and bookmarks. Sadly, I only received seven bookmarks so I used some of my own promoting my book and some postcards promoting  The Spirit Keeper written by my author friend Melissa Luznicky Garrett.  Nice to be able to cross promote!

Even though I had to get help handing them out, I was still happy to be a part of the whole experience and look forward to doing it again next year. I’ll just have to work on my public speaking skills before then!

Here are some great articles on the program:

Millions of Books to be Donated Monday in Worldwide Charity Effort
World Book Night Celebrates Reading with Paperback Handouts

Did anyone else participate? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Reader Survey Results

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As promised on Tuesday, today’s post is all about the results of the reader survey I posted. It was only up for a couple of days so the amount of people polled isn’t huge, but enough to give  an idea of what readers out there are thinking.

# of people who took the survey: 53

# of questions: 10

1. Do you own an e-reader?

Yes
No
62.3% – yes
37.7% – no

2. How often do you buy books?

Once a month
Two – four times a month
Five + times a month
Other (please specify)
Once a month was the most popular response at 46.5%
There were a couple of “other” responses such as “when things come out” and “only once a year but I by several at the same time”

3. How often do you download free books?

Once a month
Two – four times a month
Five + times a month
Never, I don’t own an ereader
Other (please specify)
There was a two way tie on this questions 26% for both once a month and never and 24% for 2-4 times and 5+ times a month
This actually surprised me. I thought more people would take advantage of the freebies. Perhaps they don’t know of sites like Pixels of Ink or they think because something is free it must not be any good?

4. Do you read books by indie (self-published) authors?

Yes
No
I was super happy to see that yes won out at 84% for this question. Thanks for giving us a chance!

5. What is the most you’re willing to pay for an indie published book?

$0.99
$1.99
$2.99
$3.99
$4.99
$5.99
$9.99
Other (please specify)
$2.99 won out with 22% but it was very closely followed by $4.99 & $5.99 both at 20%. Surprisingly, the third highest was $9.99 at 14%.  A popular “other” answer was that it depends on the book.

6. How do you choose the books you read?

By the cover
By the back cover blurb/synopsis
Based on recommendations
Based on reviews
Based on enjoyment of prior books by the same author
Other (please specify)
The two most popular responses were “based on recommendations” (73.6%) and a tie  with “by the back cover blurb/synopsis” and “based on enjoyment of prior books by same author” both at 60.4%. That means, authors, get people talking about your books, get more than one out there and work HARD on that blurb!

7. What is your biggest pet peeve about traditionally published books?

There were many answers for this, by PRICE by far was the most popular closely followed by the amount of time between books in a series and the flood of genres.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve about indie published books?
*sigh* I knew what the response to this question was going to be and yet it still hurts to see it.  The biggest pet peeve in indie book is LACK OF EDITING.  I think readers should keep in mind that nothing’s perfect, BUT they do deserve the best product an author can put out.  Yes you can find mistakes in traditionally published books (in fact, it seems more common then it used to be), but they are minimal comparatively. Don’t skimp on the editing indie authors!
There were also a couple complaints of the lack of ease at finding print versions of indie books.

9. Do you prefer to read series or stand alone books?

Series
Stand alone
Don’t care
People don’t seem to care if what they read is part of a series or a stand alone book  (67.9%)

10. Do you rate or review books when you’re done?

Yes
No
Sometimes
People only rate and review books sometimes (47.2%). Hey readers, it would totally help us authors if you were able to do that more regularly. We won’t push, but more reviews often equals more sales which equals more money we have in our pockets to put towards future book covers and editing! 

All in all I find the results to be quite interesting. Some of them were expected but there were a few here and there that surprised me (like the person who said they’ve paid up to $14.99 for an indie book!).  I hope other indie authors find this information helpful in their pricing and other aspects of their writing and promoting!

High or Low? How should you price your e-book?

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If you’ve been following the DOJ lawsuit against Apple and several big publishing companies, it may have gotten you thinking about the pricing of your own e-books.

If some of the major publishing houses are allegedly trying to raise their e-book prices, should you raise yours as well? Would they sell? What are people willing to pay for an indie published book?  Should I lower my price to be more appealing to those who are disgusted by what Apple and other publishing houses are accused of doing?

These are all questions you have to answer for yourself, but take the time to do some research and ask around. In fact, come back to this blog on Thursday and I’ll have some data for you (help take part in adding to that data by answering this quick 10 question survey)!

Some opinions of mine:

- No full length novel should have a permanent price of $0.99.  I *KNOW* the kind of work that goes into writing and editing and formatting a novel. Your work is worth so much more than barely a dollar. I think it’s perfectly acceptable for a short story or as a short term sale price.  Don’t sell yourself short.  For some extra insight, read this article about the DOJ lawsuit paying special attention to the last two paragraphs.

- Don’t be afraid to put things on sale or change your price permanently. Things are changing and people are willing to pay more than you might think for an indie published book.

- If you’re working on a series, there’s nothing wrong with pricing the books differently. Perhaps you make the first book cheaper to entice and hook the reader and then raise the price on the following books. I often find subsequent books in a series are longer as well so that’s another reason to consider raising the price.

- Keep an eye on other books in your genre. See what the pricing trend is and consider following it. Remember if someone buys one “vampire” book for $4.99 then they’re likely to be willing to spend the same amount on other “vampire” books.

What’s the deal with Triberr?

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For those that don’t know, Triberr is site that helps bloggers spread their posts to a larger audience. You join tribes (for a certain amount of bones which is their “currency”) and then you help the other members of your tribe by retweeting their posts to your Twitter followers and they (should) do the same for you.

Joining more tribes helps expand your reach (mine is currently around 107,400 people). Sounds nice right? I may be reaching over 100,000 people, but there’s no promise that  so many people will see the Tweet or click on it.  I guess it does up your chances though.

I belong to three separate tribes: Writers and Writing, Indie Ebooks and a specific author’s tribe.  Belonging to several tribes ups my reach, but that also means there are more posts for me to retweet. Not everyone blogs everyday but there are a couple of folks in each tribe that do. God forbid I miss a day of tweeting, I get all backlogged and have tons to do at once. Which annoys me to no end.

When I have so many posts to retweet I do admit it feels a bit like spamming.  One good thing Triberr does is spaces out your tweets. I’m not sure of the time between each one, but you could retweet twenty posts and they will go out every so often in a space of five hours or so, which is less spammy to me.

I also find issue with some of the posts and won’t always push them through.  If they don’t apply enough to writing or books or things I’d normally tweet about, I may give it a thumbs up but choose not to tweet it. I know others who won’t tweet any posts about erotica. To each their own.  Ideally, I’d love to be able to read every post before tweeting, but by having so many, it’s just not possible. I do get to several though and have learned some things and found some great free books through it.

I think the idea behind Triberr is a good one, but I’m not really sure how big of a help it’s been for my blog. I get a pretty steady amount of hits daily, but not a crazy amount and not so many from the retweets. I do think it has upped my Twitter followers though, which is nice.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing for people to try to broaden their readership, BUT scour the Tribes and be sure to pick ones that best go with the topics you discuss and like to share.  Try not to get involved in too many Tribes at once or you’ll be forever reposting.

If anyone else has anything to share about their own Triberr experiences, please feel free to share!