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Month: July 2016

Releasing a series all at once or one at a time — which is better?

Posted in Just for Writers, and Release

fallingdominosI'm just about to start writing a new series. Unlike some of my others, this one is open-ended, rather than coming to a natural (if extensible) close after just a few books.

Is it better to release the new series books one at a time as they're finished, or to write the first several, and then release them quickly, one right after another?

Easy to say — hard to analyze. Lots of uncertainty.

For my own curiosity, I built a spreadsheet to help me do the analysis, and I'm sharing that here with you. As always, I am not responsible for any errors in my assumptions or algorithms — please do your own calculations using your own assumptions.

Assumptions

Time to write a book in the series: 3 months. That's 4 books/year. Sometimes it might be faster, sometimes slower.

I assume my partners (cover artist, conlanger) can keep up. That should only be an issue as the release schedule begins to crowd the writing schedule.

Length of series: Even if I write ahead, the various models end up the same beginning with book 10, so 10 books is enough for this evaluation.

Quantifying uncertainty

To analyze, you need numbers. Those numbers have enormous uncertainty associated with them. Tinkering with the parameters will give you an idea about the sensitivity of the results to the initial setting. Since I'm only interested in the comparative results of different plans, using the same parameters will help cancel out the uncertainty.

Libraries and independent authors

Posted in Distribution, and Just for Writers

Kansas City Public Library (my old hometown)
Kansas City Public Library (my old hometown)

As a courtesy recently for my local library's director who wanted to understand more about how she could get indie authors into her library, I put together an overview document for her which I thought I might share here.

This is entirely from the perspective of an old IT entrepreneur turned indie author, not a library distribution insider. But I've seen plenty of business model disruptions in my career, and I think some trends are likely. We'll see… 🙂

Introduction

As an entrepreneur who has spent her entire career building and running small and medium-sized software-related businesses with Fortune 500 customers, I am excited by the rapidly-evolving world that is the independent author movement.

As an independent author with a single-author publishing business (Perkunas Press), I consider libraries an important component of my business.

Many of us (independent authors, aka “indies”) are deeply informed about the publishing industry from the author and publisher perspective, but much less so about the library portion of the industry, and when we speak with our library colleagues, we find that they are also less knowledgeable about the indie movement.

I’d like to change that. This little document is a gift to the Director of my local library, in case she or her colleagues might find it helpful.

I will generalize with a broad brush, concentrating on those indie segments which are the leading edges of opportunities to work together. My own knowledge of library procedures and constraints is limited, and I apologize for any errors there in advance.

The publishing world today

Disruption

What is now typically referred to as the “traditional publishing” industry is in the middle of a classic business model disruption event, similar to the one that hollowed out the popular music industry a decade previously (c.f., the excellent “Ripped” by Greg Kot ).

Like most such events, the incumbent industry is still in denial and unsure of what is happening to them. The upstarts, however, are very clear about what’s occurring.

Sending your books out into the world

Posted in Distribution, Just for Writers, and Publishing

ThrowingBooksI've been coming up the learning curve for the issues of distribution ever since I started writing in 2012. I thought I'd share with you some of my procedures, since my internal “tips” document has just stretched to 10 pages and shows no sign of stopping.

I'm not going to look at marketing at all here. Instead, I'll focus on just the mechanics of getting my books into all the distribution channels I can.

If you note any particular omissions, I'd be grateful if you'd mention them in a comment, or if you would bring up differences for other countries. (Keep in mind I'm based in the United States — your mileage may vary.)

Goal

Worldwide distribution (in English for now) in ebook, print, and audio without going to extraordinary efforts.

I want to create my books, and then fling them out to as much of the world as I can reach. That's the first step. What good is it to make the world's readers want to read them, if they can't lay their hands on them?

Book Bundles

Posted in Formatting, Publishing, The Hounds of Annwn, The Hounds of Annwn Bundle (1-2), The Hounds of Annwn Bundle (1-5), and The Hounds of Annwn Bundle (3-5)

Hounds of Annwn Bundle - 1-5 - Full Front Cover - WidgetBook bundles are one of the great features of the ebook format. It's technically quite easy to bundle several standalone ebooks together into a single ebook file, whether it's a collected teaser of your own works, all the books in a series, or samplers from a group of contributors. Some bundles are constructed for a limited time super-sale, and others remain permanently available at discounted but not giveaway prices.

Over the next month or two, I'll be releasing some permanent bundles for the series books in The Hounds of Annwn. The problem is pricing.

If someone buys all four novels and the short story collection at full price, it costs them $31.95. I'd be happy to sell that as a bundle for 50% off, or $15.99. It's a nice compromise between the number of people who buy all the series books, and those that don't.

The problem is, I can't do that on Amazon, since I'm severely penalized for prices over $9.99, even though it's to the reader's benefit. The best I can do is to offer the five-book bundle on other retailers and directly from my own website, and the two volumes of mini-bundles on Amazon, at $9.99. That's only a third off the full price instead of half off, but what else can I do?

Stay tuned for announcements. The two mini-bundles will be released in August, and the all-books bundle a month or two afterward.
 
Hounds of Annwn Bundle - 1-2 - Full Front Cover - WidgetHounds of Annwn Bundle - 3-5 - Full Front Cover - Widget

Broken Devices has been released

Posted in Broken Devices, Release, and The Chained Adept

Broken Devices - Full Front Cover - 297x459Book 3 of The Chained Adept

CHAINS WITHOUT WIZARDS AND A RISING COUNT OF THE DEAD.

The largest city in the world has just discovered its missing wizards. It seems the Kigali empire has ignited a panic that threatens internal ruin and the only chained wizard it knows that's still alive is Penrys.

The living wizards and the dead are not her people, not unless she makes them so. All they have in common is a heavy chain and a dead past — the lives that were stolen from them are beyond recall.

What remains are unanswered questions about who made them this way. And why. And what Penrys plans to do to find out.

Order direct from the author, or see the publisher for retail sites.

Broken Devices (excerpt) – Chapter 1

Posted in Broken Devices, and The Chained Adept

Broken Devices - Full Front Cover - WidgetCHAPTER 1

The Grand Caravan arrived that afternoon in sunlight fresh enough with the spring season to ignore the dust of the travelers and settle on the bright colors of their exotic robes and turbans instead.

Outriders had preceded them into Tengwa Tep, and the merchants and citizens of that entrepĂ´t that could spare the time gathered on the southwest outskirts of the city as soon as the news had spread that the Grand Caravan had come, as scheduled, and that the trading season with sarq-Zannib and upstream Kigali had begun for the year.

Penrys rode well back in the caravan, dressed in the riding-length robes that all the dark Zannib wore, men and women, on horseback. Najud, her husband, was near the front, but the rest of her companions, as new to the caravan as she was, chattered excitedly about their first look at a Kigali city, its yellow brick golden in the light from the west, varied by the colorful stucco of its many residential and manufacturing compounds. By comparison, the caravan’s first stop, a few days ago, had just been a large market town.

She’d seen cities before, in Ellech, across the northern seas. Here it was the children that caught her eye—dozens and dozens of them, screaming with excitement. Some were with a parent, but mostly they ran free, the littlest ones trailed by irritated older sisters or brothers. Unlike their elders, with the long single braid that almost all Kigali not in the military used, the children wore their hair loose or, at the most, gathered into a tail.