The Next Big Reading Question

Aah, the smell of polyvinyl acetate and the rustle of dead tree pulp...
Aah, the smell of polyvinyl acetate and the rustle of pressed cellulose pulp…

There’s a debate sweeping the reading world; it’s been slowly heating up for several years, and is now ready to erupt and rage through the community. Friendships will be lost, and money will be earned, all depending on the answer to the crucial question: what are you reading the books ON ?

If you thought, however, that the choice in the question is between paper and e-readers – you’re stuck in the deep technological past. That question is so 2010! And it’s already been answered. Paper is, for all intents and purposes, dying: it’s going to go the way of the vinyl, steam train and horse-drawn carriage. None of those things had disappeared completely from our lives, and neither will paper books, but they will remain a domain of hobbyists and devoted fans of vintage.

With that matter settled, the reading world has moved on to the next big question: e-ink or screen?

Deader than a Deceased Dodo?
Deader than a Deceased Dodo?

The death of e-ink has been, rather prematurely, announced several times over the years, with each new technological breakthrough. It was supposed to be killed by Pixel Qi (I don’t even remember what that was!) in 2010; by Kindle Fire in 2011; by the iPad Mini in 2012; by sales plunge in 2013; and most recently, by Fire Phone and the sad, but not unforeseen, demise of Nook. It seems that by remaining firmly in the e-ink camp, I am just as outdated and old-fashioned as those paperback retroists yearning for the smell of glue and rustle of paper.

And yet, for what it’s worth, the trusty Kindle remains my favourite and by far the most used gadget. No phone or tablet shares its advantages: it’s robust (try throwing your iPhone across the room!), cheap (no real fear of losing or having a gadget worth half a minimum wage stolen), lasts throughout the entire holidays on a single charge, can be read in sunlight, on a bus, in an airplane, with no fuss. Why would I ever chose to read on anything else?

Ooh, shiny!
Ooh, shiny!

The demographics quoted in that last article are clear and unsurprising: the young people prefer shiny things that can satisfy their short attention span by enabling them to do a thousand things at once – AND read books. I’m not old enough to not get that. But I think it’s wrong to transfer the young vote into the future prediction – in politics and market analysis. Young people don’t work – and they don’t have holidays. They don’t yet appreciate the real worth of things – and of their own time. Let’s see how they deal with having to charge all their devices every day when they are on two-weeks vacation with their family, and how comfortable they are with having a gadget bought with real money being stepped on by their kid…

But of course, by that time the gadget-makers will probably come up with something else, something that will make today’s tablets as obsolete as e-readers, apparently, are today; Kindle Eye Implants, maybe? And then it will be the time to pose another Big Reading Question…

"Of course I'm looking at the road, dear - the Road by Cormac McCarthy"
“Of course I’m looking at the road, dear – the Road by Cormac McCarthy”

Until then, what is your choice of a reading medium?

Author Earnings: The Report (what everyone’s talking about)

Author Earnings: The Report (what everyone’s talking about)

This is the most important Report everyone in publishing is talking about. Based on the data gathered through trawling all of Amazon’s database, and complex calculations, a team of analysts fronted by Hugh Howey has finally reached their conclusions.

The report is long and detailed, but these are the main three takeaways:

  • e-Books are smashing paper books in sales, in every category where it’s fair to make the comparison. So, for example, while cookbooks, manuals and photo albums are still holding strong in paper, genre fiction on paper is as good as dead.
  • there’s a lot more indie writers being published, and read, than anyone (except indie writers and publishers themselves) ever suspected.
  • while earnings of the big publishers are still huge, when it comes to authors, indies score a lot more hard cash than traditionally published authors, not only in relative numbers but even in absolute.

The conclusion of the report is clear. Whether your book is dross or a work of genius, whether you’re a marketing guru or an introverted recluse, the decision to go the self-publishing route seems to be, increasingly, the only rational one.

90 sites to advertise your book

kindle

As far as I’m aware, this is the most comprehensive list of book promo sites anywhere on the internet. The list was compiled from various online sources, most notably – Rachelle’s Window (go there and thank her! 🙂 she also lists Alexa rankings for the sites) and my own research. As of updating this on April 17th 2016, all the links below are working. Note that I can’t guarantee that the sites themselves are still working, that the forms lead anywhere, or that you will actually get anything for your money.

Majority of these sites advertise books when they’re free, as part of KDP Select or Smashword promo. If you want to promote a paid book, you usually need to pay extra.

Don’t forget you can also promote your tweets and Facebook posts on Twitter and Facebook, though that is known to be not very effective unless you know what you’re doing.

Also, make sure to follow Lindsay Buroker’s blog, as she always has the most up-to-date notes on what works and what doesn’t in advertising.

If you think I’m missing something, let me know in the comments.

As always, you can express your gratitude by purchasing one of my books 🙂

URL Free Ad Paid Ad Comments
100 Free Books $75-100 $75-100
Amazon KDP Advertising CPC min $100 CPC min $100 Amazon’s own marketing
Armadillo eBooks Guaranteed Guaranteed $25 boost available
Addicted to eBooks Guaranteed registration required
Ask David  $15 one-time “promotion pack”
Author Marketing Club Membership + listing
Awesome Gang Guaranteed $10
Bargain eBook Hunter – now Hot Zippy Guaranteed
Best Indie Books $8-$30, free to premium members Requires registration
Book Butterfly free option also available various options, $50+  (reportedly not working, see comments)
Book Deals Daily $5 $5+
Bookpinning Guaranteed “Pinterest for Books”
Book Daily Membership + samples
Book Goodies Guaranteed
Book Goodies $5
Book Goodies $25
Book Goodies For Kids Guaranteed Children only
Book Matchers Listing + search service
Book Tweeting Service (now Tweet Your Books $59+
BookBrowse $2-7 pm
BookBub Various options. $60+ probably most effective right now. Novels only.
BookGorilla $40+ May also post deals from other sites
BookSlut $175-$450
Daily Free Books Guaranteed $7.5
Digital Book Today Not guaranteed 4 stars minimum
Digital Book Today Various options, $15+
eBookSoda $15 Flat Fee
eBooksForFree $12
eBook Daily Deals Guaranteed
eBookLister Not Guaranteed Not Guaranteed
Eat Sleep Write Book plugs from $50+
eBook Impresario $20+
eBooks Habit Guaranteed
eBooks Habit $10
eFiction Finds Guaranteed $5+
eReader Girl Guaranteed $20
eReaderIQ various options, $25-$180 BookBub model, claim 150,000 subscribers
eReader Cafe Guaranteed
English Books XTME $9-$30 No longer guaranteed. For Amazon.de
EReader News Today Not guaranteed Various options Very limited selection, 4 stars minimum
Fiverr $5 per service individual people advertising your book
Flurries of Words $4+
Free Books Hub $10+
Free Books Guaranteed
Free eBooks untested
Free eBook Dude Guaranteed
Free Kindle Books&Tips Not guaranteed,$25 $30+ 4 stars minimum
EReaderUtopia (Free Kindle Fiction) Not guaranteed Needs registration
Free Kindle Giveaway $10+
Freebooksy Not guaranteed $50
Frugal eReader Tweet package $15+
Frugal eReader $50+
Frugal Freebies $3-$8
Fussy Librarian Guaranteed
Get Free Books Not guaranteed
Good Kindles $10-$20
Goodreads custom budget largely ineffective
Hot Zippy Not guaranteed $15 own several other websites
Humanmade Guaranteed Boost your listing – prices vary
iAuthor UK £0.6 per click
Ignite Your Boook Guaranteed
iLove Ebooks various options, $25-$300
iLike Ebooks $0.99-$9.99
Indie Author Anonymous $5 $10-$20
Indie Book of the Day Not Guaranteed
Indie Book Promo Guaranteed Four options, $25+ or small options, $8+
Indies Unlimited Freebie Friday, 99c Thursday
International Book Promotion $30 a month social media burst One-off promotional events
Jungle Deals Guaranteed
Just Contemporary Romance Romance only various options, $10+
Kindle Book Promo Guaranteed
Kindle Book Promos Various options
Kindle Book Review Not guaranteed $5+
Kindle Mojo Not guaranteed $25+
Kindle Nation Daily Guaranteed
Kindle Nation Daily Various options, $100+ number of options, effectiveness reduced lately
Kindle Romance Review various options, $25+ Romance only
KUF Ads various options, $7.50+ several websites, incl. DailyFreeBooks
Kindleboards various options, $35+
Lendle various options, $35+
Lovely Books KDP Guaranteed, Permafree $7.99
Many Books $25
My Book and My Coffee Guaranteed On Hiatus
My Book Buzzing Guaranteed Requires registration
New Free Kindle Books Free only $5
Pixel of Ink Not guaranteed Very limited selection
Pixel Scroll – NOW HOTZIPPY $5+
Reading Deals Not Guaranteed $15
Reddit Guaranteed On the day. Must have account.
Robin Reads $25
Snicks List Guaranteed On the day
Writerful Books Free Manuscript assessment and reviews
YA Book Promo Central Same as Indie Book Promo YA only

E-publishing: solid numbers

publishers-weekly-logo_smallI was looking for some numbers on e-book sales per device and store, and found this article on Publisher’s Weekly.

Here are some highlights:

“According to the Book Industry Study Group’s fourth volume in its “Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading” survey series, 73% of e-book buyers bought (or got an e-book for free) from Amazon, with 21% getting their e-books from B&N (…) Apple’s content stores were only used by 10% of e-book users, but that is expected to change as device sales pick up.”

That’s just for the US, though. I expect B&N was non-existent anywhere else in 2012 – it only just started expanding into Europe at the end of the year. Kobo probably takes B&N’s place in other markets.

I’m not sure why everyone expects Apple sales to pick up, it’s not like they haven’t been selling their devices in droves before – or is everyone pinning their hopes on iPad Mini? If that’s the case, why doesn’t anyone mention Google Play, which is just as expansive globally, and available on more devices? Especially in the light of this:
“iPad is the leading tablet used on Books-OnBoard, representing 63% of all tablet downloads, but Android tablets are growing share rapidly. A year ago, iPad completely dominated this, with 93% of tablet downloads.”

Curious bit about power buyers:

“According to the BISG’s consumer reading survey, “power buyers” (those who purchase e-books weekly) show an increased preference for reading on tablets, with more than 38% indicating so, compared to 19% a year ago.”

“The Kindle Store, for example, accounted for 46% of the e-book purchases of Galaxy users compared to 83% of Fire owners, while “other” outlets represented 19% of e-book purchases of Galaxy owners compared to 5% for Fire owners.”
I wonder what are the most popular “other” people use?

And here’s the bit I was looking for:

“50% of the respondents to a Diesel survey reported that they use dedicated e-readers, 20% use a personal computer, and 16% use tablets, but the tablet component is growing.” So that’s only 20% PC purchases. I presume most of them are still using branded bookstores instead of author websites. That doesn’t bode well for the author-vendor model.

“LiVolsi also pointed to a “migration of about 34% of our readers over the last 18 months” to sub-$100 Nooks and Kindles that don’t support content from other retailers.”

It will be interesting to see where we are next year…

Digital autographs are reality!

Thanks to Robin Burks, I just discovered a great little service for handing out digital autographs to readers of my e-books: Authorgraph!

Click here to request an “authorgraph” for any of my books

And don’t forget, you can order the first two volumes of “The Year of the Dragon” in paperback – and then request a physical autograph, if you want 🙂

The Islands in the Mist – TYOTD Vol. 3 COMING SOON TO AMAZON NEAR YOU!

Here’s the cover. I’ve teamed up with another artist for this and the next covers – a friend of mine, Sulev Daekazu (deviantART, tumblr). I’m very happy with what he’s created; it’s not his usual work, and I think it came out maybe even more cover-y than the previous ones. I’m looking forward to the next one 🙂

The launch of The Islands in the Mist is scheduled on October the 8th.