Tag Archives: Publishing

What do you think is the right price for an ebook?

There has been a lot of talk about this lately. I’ve heard both sides, and I completely understand all sides of the argument. For now, I’d like to take off my author hat, and speak as a consumer.

A few weeks ago, my son just HAD to have a particular book on release day.  I cringed when I saw the $14 price tag.

$14 For an Ebook?

Huh

Initially I told him he had to wait until it went on sale. But eventually I caved. The kid’s not asking for a video game, after all. It’s a book. Still… $14 for memory space?

As an author, I totally appreciate the time and effort in creating a book, and yes, I did pay the price. But I can’t help but feel a little scammed when there are so many great books out there without a “Best-Selling Author” tag that are $4.99 or less.

Today, I ran across the same problem with a book that I was really interested in.  I came across a blurb for it on an agent’s website when it initially sold. Today, it came up recommended on Goodreads.  I was all ready to buy it. It sounds great.

But at the $9.99 price tag, I hesitated.

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

And the hardcover is $13.59. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Why spend $9.99 on an ebook when you can spend a few dollars more and get something you can hold?

I’m wondering… if Amazon hadn’t driven prices down so low on ebooks if I would have even blinked about spending $10 on a book that I wanted.  If all books were around this cost, I wouldn’t have a choice, right?

 

But this is my worry.

How many people out there are like me, and want the book, but decided to pass and get two other books for 4.99 instead?

Where, as an author, I’d like to see average book prices be higher, I have to worry and wonder about houses that charge so much more than other books on the market.  I suppose if they are throwing big marketing dollars at the book, that people will be influenced to buy no matter the price.

But what about the people like me who stumbled across the book by accident and just want to read the story? Are they risking turning them away?

This is one of the quandaries that keeps me in limbo about whether or not to submit to certain houses. I don’t want people to say, “Why is your book so expensive? All these other books a five bucks.”

I’m wondering what you think. If you are an author, try putting your author hat aside. Think as a reader, or a consumer/buyer of ebooks.

What do you think is the right price for an ebook?

And maybe another question:  Should ebooks be premium priced for the first several months, and then the price drop once the paperback comes out? Or would fewer books even get to paperback if less people are buying?

What are your thoughts?

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“I’m sending My Novel Out to Query.” Are you sure you want to do that?

I just got an email that really disturbed me.  No, it was not from one of those creepy guys on Facebook who friends you and then sends you scary PMs… This was from someone I actually know.  Well, cyber-know at least.

This person is a critique partner. Someone working on their first book.

What did the email say that disturbed me so much?

“I’m going to send this out to agents. Can you look at my query and synopsis?”

OMG.

Was I worried about helping with a query and synopsis?  Nope. Not at all. I do it all the time.

So what was it that drove a jagged, rusty bar through my heart?

“I am going out to query.”

I feel incredibly thankful for that little angel on my shoulder who whacked me upside the head two years ago and said “Don’t do it. Your novel sucks.”

Some people, unfortunately, do not have a little angel. Or if they do, they’re not listening.

A quote from Dan Blank keeps coming to mind.  It’s something like: “Writing a book for the sake of writing a book is a worthwhile experience. Not all books should (or need) to be published.” (I totally paraphrased that)

Anyway. I’d like to remind everyone that a sizable number of first novels should be placed in a drawer and never thought of again. Call them a learning experience. A small portion of these can be resurrected, but should be used as an outline and completely rewritten. I would guess that less than one percent are worthy of publication.

But does it hurt to try?

Jury is out on that.  If you have countless hours to waste researching agents/editors and then have even more hours to send a manuscript out that has no chance at all at publication – more power to you. The chances of them remembering you and instantly deleting your second or third manuscript are slim, right?

(Did that last paragraph seem slightly jaded?  If so, GOOD. It was meant to.)

My other big worry is that after a few rejections, instead of shelving manuscripts that are not ready, authors will turn to self-publishing. [Cringe] The thought makes me shiver.  You think critique partners can be harsh?  Try a review from someone on Amazon who is angry at you for wasting their time or money.  Have you read those kind of reviews?  I feel so sorry for those authors!

(Aside: For the record, I think self-publishing is great… If you are ready and have received professional line editing and copy editing)

It took me 17 drafts of my first novel before I decided to shelf it.

Two years of work, sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

Was it worth it?

 

Totally!I learned tons from the experience.  I took what I learned to my NEXT novel.  And when that was done, I took what I learned from writing my second novel into my third novel (all the while pumping out novellas and shorts and getting professional feedback) And I took all of that experience and dove into my fourth novel.

Each. Got. Better.

And even after I thought “maybe my novel is good enough” I was STILL shy of certain agents, and ESPECIALLY my target publisher.  It was not until agents or editors started saying things like:

 “Your writing is strong, but I do not have a place for science fiction right now”

or things like:

“This is not for me, but if you have another book in “xxxx” genre please send it directly to me at [insert email address]”

… that I started sending out to the agents and houses at the “top” of my wish list. And by the way – They ARE NOT reviewing my first novel. That is still safely sitting on my shelf, waving and smiling at me every day.

My point is, don’t feel pressured to publish your first novel. If you are serious about writing, and you are unsure, just move on to the next one. I guarantee novel #2 will be better.

But if you do decide to go for it, good luck!  I wish you all the best, and totally hope you are in that one percent of shining stars.

JenniFer_EatonF

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The Results Are In! How Did Others Do With Their Breathless Critiques?

The results are in, and here’s how things panned out…

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7.12% – “Other”

7.14% – Received few/unhelpful comments. They did not mention anything about submitting again

21.43% – Received useful comments, but they did not mention anything about submitting again

28.57% – Received comments and an invitation to send a query once they were done.

35.71% – Fast tracked – asked to send in the full manuscript as soon as it is complete.

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Interesting.  It seems a lot of people were fast tracked.  That means there must be some sparkly manuscripts out there.  I wonder what the stats are of “fast tracked” manuscripts that actually end up published?

The world may never know.

Thanks for contributing!

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The books I read in 2013: Listed from “Best” to “Not So Best”

Wow. Totaling them all up, I read 21 books in 2013. That’s not too shabby. Ten of these are novellas, so I guess that would equate to the equal of 16 full-length novels.

Up until two years ago, I felt accomplished if I finished ONE book in a year.  I’ve found that reading GOOD books has improved my writing in leaps and bounds. If you are not reading, Why not?

These are the books I read last year, in order of how good I thought they were. Now remember, I can be easily swayed by an explosion, so some of these got pushed down the list simply because they were not as exciting as another book.  A few of them are down there because, well…. someone has to be at the bottom, right?

You also might see me saying that I don’t like a certain kind of novel. So why did I read it? As an author, I try to “round” myself out. If I only read explosions I won’t be opening myself up to different pacing and different types of tension. I look at every book I read as a learning experience. If I forget that I’m reading, and think “Ergh! I’ll have to read it again to study how they did (insert really great thing here)” Then those books ended up in the top 5. Okay… maybe the top six. :-)

If you’d like to know my opinions on a book that I did not review feel free to drop me a line.

So, here’s my list from Best to “no so best” of 2013.

#1:  Obsidian, A Lux Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I got close to the end of the year before I found a book good enough to take over the number one position from “Slipping a Toe In”.  Obsidian is a great Sci-Fi love story.  I was on edge from page one.  Very well done. (Search this site for my full review)

#2: Dipping a Toe In by Linda Carroll-Bradd – A snoozer of a Sweet Romance that wowed me with the writing style. (Reviewed)

#3: Sweet Blood of Mine by John Corwin – YA paranormal from a boy’s perspective. Great YA first person voice. Just Loved it! Bring on book 2 (Reviewed)

#4: Crossing Hathaway by Jocelyn Adams – Awesome Hot Romance.  Great Fluidity of Writing. Big fan of Jocelyn Adams. (Reviewed)

#5: Caught Up In Us by Lauren Blakely – Picked this up while researching “Best Selling” Contemporary Romance.  It did not disappoint.  Great characters you could relate to.

#6: Shadows, A Lux novella by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I’m trying to decide if I would have rated this higher if I did not read book 2 first.  I think this is better as a book two than a book one.  I liked knowing what was going to happen. It made the whole experience more “tense”. Stupendous voice.

#7: Eye of the Soul – By Terri Rochenski – Great World building.  A classic-style fantasy tale.

#8: Romance Novel Book Club by Kastil Eavenshade – as naughty as this book was, it was just too darn much fun.  Very readable and hard to put down.  A romance writer poking fun at the romance genre – brilliant (Reviewed)

#9: Stone Chameleon – Jocelyn Adams New, interesting world from one of my favorite authors. I hemmed and hawed over this one. I ended up ranking it down because there is a heavy vampire theme, and apparently I’m not crazy about vampires. This book really grew on me as I read, but it took me a while to engage because of the bloodsuckers.

#10: A Touch of Greek by Tina Folsom – Despite its faults, I really liked this. Consider it a “Guilty Pleasure” (Reviewed)

This Wicked Magic by Michele Hauf – The little Engine that could – Slow start, but great roller-coaster-ride ending. (Reviewed)

Whirlwind – Romantic/Erotic Short – Excellent writing, but it was really just a sexual fantasy with not much story involved.  I like a little more meat to chew on (ah-hem… sorry) The writing as good though.

Talbot’s Seduction – Kastil Eavenshade Great historical setting. I love this author’s ability to bring me back in time. I just wish I liked her main character in this series more.

Alone No More by Terri Rochenski– Great Historical Writing. Really felt like I was there. The middle of the story was a touch slow for my tastes

Resonance – JA Belfield – Great Premise. This is a “linker” novella that does not stand alone.  I loved the scenes in the “other world”.  Very Imaginative

Purely Relative by Claire Gillian– While this had a great ending, the beginning was a bit slow for me.  The writing was awesome, though.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Purchased to research the publisher. My review earlier in 2013 says it all.

18 Things by Jamie Ayres – I hate putting a novel this good below some things that were not written as well, but I really did not enjoy this book.  That is a reflection of a bad match of book to reader – not a reflection of the book, because it was awesome and thought-provoking. (Reviewed)

Capturing the Marshall’s Heart – Didn’t hold my attention, despite being by one of my favorite authors. Great Western setting though – which may have been part of the problem. Western is not my cup of tea.

#20 and #21: 

I decided not to post the titles to #20 and #21 in respect to the authors, because they were awful. Just awful.  (Oh, not the authors… their books)

Some books, like #3 “Sweet Blood of Mine” do wonders for the self-publishing industry.  Others, like #20 and #21, are the kind of books that give self-publishing a bad name.

Please, please, please don’t self-publish your book without professional opinions. It makes you look bad. It makes your reader mad, and it brings down the writing profession in general.

So, what were your favorites  of 2013? Any good suggestions for me to read this year? Anything I should avoid?

JenniFer_EatonF

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Writers: Don’t worry about the Statistics

I came across this article that really hit home.

Why statistics discourage prospective writers

We all hear the statistics.  1 in 500… 1 in 5000… 100,000 novels are being queried right now.  They are all scary.  Many people are daunted by this.

This article points out something that I hadn’t thought of.  Think it over.  All of us have at least one friend who is querying thinking there novel is great, and they are getting rejected.  I talked to someone the other day doing this and the only other person whose read her novel is HER HUSBAND.  Really?  What are you thinking?

Now, if all of you count up their one or two friends who refuse to get beta readers, and are SURE they are geniuses without getting a lick of feedback… are you counting them up? Are you getting a mental picture?  Get my meaning?

This is what I am getting at.  So what if you and 499 other people query at the same time.  If 300 of these are sub-standard, your chances just increased, didn’t they?

If 50 of the remaining 100 had bad queries, or boring plots, your chances just increased, didn’t they?

What you have to ask is this… Are you destined for the slush pile, or are you one of then ten that the agent or publisher is actually going to read?

Make your choice now, and work hard to get yourself out of the slush pile, and onto that agent’s desk.

If you are thinking of entering a contest – READ THE FINE PRINT

I was going to keep my big alligator mouth shut, but I can’t.  I just can’t.

A call for submissions was recently announced that is an incredible opportunity…  A contest to write a prequel to one of the classic children’s movies from the 1980′s. How cool would that be. Right?

A group of friends and I gathered our kids, and we watched the movie.  We brainstormed, and we were excited.

Afterwards, I breezed over to the web-site and looked up the history of the time period that they provided as a basis for the world-building… and ideas started to flow.

Then I checked the fine print

As I looked over the terms and conditions, a few things popped out at me as HUGE red flags.  I thought, “Hmm, this is a major publishing house, and a big American iconic company.  There’s no way that I can be reading this right.”

So, I did the smart thing, and contacted a lawyer.

I’m so glad I did.  What they told me, horrified my socks off.  Really, it did.  Those suckers flew right across the room.

In a nutshell, whether you win or lose… if you enter the contest they have the right to use your story, and your name to sell it at any time.  Even years later… once you’ve hit it big.  They have a story by you that they own… and there’s not a dern thing you can do about it.

Here’s the worst part — We writers enter these things all the time.  We figure that if we don’t win, we can change the names and the world and sell it as something else, right?

Nope.  You can’t. NEVER. They own your story for eternity.

I’m going to give you the direct quote sent to me. If you re-write the story and publish it with different names and change the world…

“Are you sitting down? – they can sue you for using your own story that they now (and forever) own, and they would 100% win in court.”

That’s insane. And I’m ashamed.  I’m ashamed because I LOVE the brand behind this contest and everything having to do with them.  I grew up with them and I was uber-excited to have a chance at being part of it.

Not anymore.

In respect of the brand that I love so much, I will not tell you who it is.  If you don’t know, then you are not in danger, but if this sounds familiar, and you are considering it, PLEASE take a look at the terms and conditions.

Do I still think this is an incredible opportunity?  Yes, I do.  But you need to weigh the risks against your chances.

If I spend six months creating a masterpiece, and it is not chosen, I deserve the right to revise and use my story elsewhere.  In my mind there is no such thing as a story “Dependant on” the original.  Anything can be revised.

If you are going for it, good luck.  I wish you the best.

Sadly, I will not be any competition.

JenniFer_EatonF

There is a book out there that’s better than yours

I’ve been told time and again that there are thousands of books out there looking for representation that are as good as or better than yours. It’s just one of those “slap in the face” things that you are told when you start out in writing to make sure you understand that there is fierce (but friendly) competition in the query-market.

Up until today, I had read quite a few beta novels that were as good as my work, or would soon be just as good.  I throw out my pom poms and wish them all the best as they begin to submit.  I do.  Really, I do.  I am THRILLED when I hear that someone lands an agent or gets something published.  I think it’s awesome!

Today, I finished a beta that shattered me utterly and completely.  I just read a novel that will be querying the same time as mine.  It will be in the New Adult category, where mine will be in the Young Adult category, but that is still TOO CLOSE for my comfort.

Is the story like mine?  No.  Not at all, but it is Speculative Fiction.  So, what scares me?

Scare is not really the right word.  I have the sinking feeling that I have just read the next Hunger Games, or the New Adult equivalent to Harry Potter. I have never been so on the edge of my seat.  I have never been so absorbed thinking about a novel and dying to get back to it. I have never been so invested in characters that were not my own.

Swirls of emotion go thorough you when you are touched by something so deeply.  You begin to question yourself. Is your novel anywhere near this good?

You push aside all the accolades you’ve received.  You forget that people have told you how much they like your book.  All you can do is envision THAT OTHER BOOK sitting on an agent’s desk, right beside your own.

It’s humbling.  Very Very Humbling.

I contacted the author to let them know how I felt about their story, and to make sure they shoot for the stars, because this is where that book belongs.

I could feel the gushing coming through on her response.  And she should gush… all the way to a six figure advance.

How am I? Well, after downing a vat of Chocolate Almond Fudge ice cream, I slapped myself upside the head.

Her novel is NOTHING like mine.  There is even a possibility that someone might pass hers over and reach for mine because they have not seen a good high-paced alien explosion novel lately.

The publishing industry is so odd and unpredictable that you can’t know what will happen.

If she emails me in a month and tells me she landed an agent and a big six contract all in the space of a week, I will not be angry.  I won’t be surprised either.  I will do a happy dance of joy for her, because she will deserve it.

And then I will send out another query as I toast her success.

Yes, there will always be another novel out there that is better than yours.  But somewhere in the world there is an agent or publisher who will pick up yours and say “Holy cow! THIS is what I’ve been looking for FOREVER!!!”

Someday.

For now, I think I might need to get another half-gallon of ice cream.

_JenniFer____EatoN

Yay! The big Announcement for Paper Wishes!

Yay1!

I am super-excited to announce that I have signed a contract with Astraea Press for “Paper Wishes”!

Paper Wishes is the Re-envisioning of “Jack and Jill, Volume One”, which went out of print about a month ago due to Still Moments being purchased by another publisher.

We’ve started new edits, and “Paper Wishes” will be bigger, brighter, and cleaner than ever!

I am totally excited about this new opportunity, and I am really looking forward to working with a publisher as diversified as Astraea.

Stay Tuned!

Release date and

new cover to follow

Wahoooo!

http://www.astraeapress.com/index.html

When you are lucky enough to have choices. Stuff to thing about

When searching for a publisher, many authors target who they want, but settle for who will publish them.  Right?  This week, I found myself in the thrilling and cushy position of having a choice after being offered multiple contracts for Paper Wishes.

What’s Paper Wishes?  Ha!  I’m glad you asked!  Paper Wishes is the re-envisioning of Jack and Jill Volume One.

As most of you know, Still Moments Publishing was purchased by another publishing house on March 15, and Jack and Jill was not one of the titles automatically shifted under their fold.

This was not a huge surprise to me, as Jack and Jill was not traditional Romance.  The book really was a better fit for Christian Romance, so the minute I got my rights back, I began querying Christian Publishers.

Now – should this happen to anyone else, be prepared because the greater percentage of publishers out there (at least in Christian) DO NOT WANT previously published work.  This surprised me at first.  I had the nicest discussion with a really big house that liked my work, but had to decline because it had been published too recently.

But they were really a long shot anyway… and not so much on my radar.  I was mainly focused in on one publisher that I contacted the day Still Moments made the announcement.  I spoke with this publisher, explained my predicament, and we chatted about the publishing business in general for a while before I had even sent them my work.  We were very much on the same page, so I bit my nails as I sent them my submission, and to a few other houses as well.

Less than a week later, I had two contract offers, and a third arrived last night. I have the luxury of matching up what each publisher has to offer, and also weighing the changes each publisher wants. (Yes, there will be changes)

Requested Changes:

1.        Two of them want the cursing removed – and for anyone who has read my work, I really don’t curse.  But what I WILL have to remove is dernit, darn, gosh, Hell, heck … anything even remotely looking like an explicative.

2.       I will need to tone down the make-out scene to bring it more within the boundaries of Christian novels.

3.       One of the publishers wants me to change it from First Person to Third Person.

So I am weighing the required changes alongside royalties, distribution, foreign rights, cover design, print rights and overall package offered.

It’s wonderful place to be, and I hope to be making an announcement shortly.

JenniFer_EatonF

Please don’t send me to the slush pile! I’ve been good!

A temporary goodbye to the Little Blue Lady from Mars

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You are going to shove me into your hard drive and never look at me again.

No, I’m not!

I promise!

Alien Smile CloseBut I’m a rehabilitated alien! 

I made cookies last week and everything!

It’s not that.  Your interviews have been great. Hundreds of people have clicked on over to read them. I’ve gotten a great response—even when you’ve been abrasive, which is a bit odd.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Then what’s the problem?

.

Time is the problem.

Did you know it takes a few hours to do one of those interviews?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Ha!  You’re not doing anything.  I’m doing all the work. 

You’re just whining and complaining in the background.

Yes, but as much as I love you,

there is a little work involved in bringing you to life.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387So?

.

Well, I’ve got writing to do, you know.  I’m starting the sequel to Last Winter Red this weekend, and I have three books out to query now, and Fire in the Woods will be going to query in a few weeks.

Alien Huh CloseThey are more important than me?

Hmm. At the moment, yes, they are.  But listen, I promise to set up an interview for you at least once a month.  Twice once I get a little more acclimated to my new schedule, okay?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387[Sigh]

I guess I really don’t have a choice, do I?

Sorry.

.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I’ll miss you.

.

I’ll miss you too.

But I’ll see you in a few weeks, I promise.

Free_Fridays!

Alien SmileOkay. 

How about for the last Free Friday for a while, we give away a copy of “Make Believe”.

Great!  That would be awesome.

You know, the reviews for my story Last Winter Red in this anthology have been “off the charts crazy” good!  And several people have asked about more from the Last Winter Red world.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well, I’m happy for you, but not happy that writing the sequel means I have to go back into the hard drive.

Hey, I will keep my promise.

I even have an awesome author all lined up for April.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387All Right. 

.

Make Believe

Please bid the Little Blue Lady goodbye for a few weeks, and everyone commenting below will be in the running for an ebook copy (your choice of format) of the “Make Believe” anthology including my story LAST WINTER RED.

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The Little Blue Lady From Mars © Jennifer M. Eaton.

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F