Friday, July 23, 2010

eBook? Paper? Prices?

Okay, I never thought I could love more than one. Smelling, touching and enjoying a paper book was always at the top of my most enjoyable pastimes. I questioned eBooks immediately and never imagined I could enjoy an electronic book like a paper book. Plus, my budget prohibited even considering ever, ever owning an eBook. Then a wonderful friend gifted me with an older Kindle 1. I now understand being able to love more than one. I really am enjoying my Kindle.

I have at least four books I would love to read as a Kindle book. I probably won't be reading them.....at least not on my Kindle. Why? They are over $10 each. I simply cannot afford to pay $11.99 or more for a Kindle download when a used copy in very good condition is half the price. The problem, however, is that I am running out of space to put books. I am enjoying my Kindle so much that I planned on making most purchases really low-priced eBooks or freebies.

I know publishers have been fighting off Amazon to have the rights to sell their books for a higher price than the recommended limit of $9.99 suggested by Amazon, but if they get their ways, will we be looking at eBooks being priced at $20 eventually? Who will buy? Will the reader say the hell with it, give away or sell some of their books taking up space, and merely continue to buy used or lower priced copies of paper books?  An eBook will never offer the sensation of a good, paper book, so I won't ever get tired of that or give it up.

So, right now, the best thing is that we have the option of eBooks and paper books. I'm not going to pay that much for an eBook even though I would have preferred it. I will buy the cheaper paper book and just make room for it by donating another book off my shelf or giving it away to make room for the new one.

eBooks.....they should remain reasonably priced. Under $10. I know many will disagree, but this is merely my own opinion. I won't support an eBook priced higher than $10. I will wait or find a more budget-friendly alternative.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How Indie Publishing Can Raise Money for Charities

This is a very special post. Why? Isn't it just another book I'm going to tell you about so that you'll go out and buy it, enjoy it and feed the authors and publishers who brought you the entertainment?

No. Well, it is a book I want to tell you about, but the only ones who will profit from buying a copy of DARK THINGS will be the readers who are definitely going to enjoy a collection of stories that will surely entertain and creep you out (that is a good thing for horror fans, right?) and the ASPCA. For those who don't know what that is, it stands for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The ASPCA has shelters all over the country who are humanely housing, feeding, neutering, spaying and attempting to adopt out dogs, cats, beloved pets. They run on shoestring budgets, all of them dependent on donations from the national organization and also local patrons. Animal charities truly need our help. The economic struggles in this country have affected so many families already living on the edge, that some have had to move from or leave their foreclosed homes. Many pets are being left behind. It isn't the right thing to do and most of us would never leave a family pet behind, but it is happening. Shelters, normally on a tight budget, are now overwhelmed with left behind pets. They  need our help.

Publishing eBooks has become a digital revolution. It is possible for independent authors to publish eBooks and bring many books into the hands of readers that might not have been possible in print. Three authors, myself included, have given of their time and talent, to pen four stories of dark fiction that will please all who love the genre. Every single cent from the proceeds of the sales of DARK THINGS will go to the ASPCA. Black Car Publishing will not receive one penny. The authors have donated all their royalties. Here are the blurbs for the stories in the book.
                                    "From Patty G. Henderson, Her Apparition is a chilling and tragic tale of a house with an unrestful spirit that must reveal a long ago, brutal murder before it can rest. And in I Sing the Body Dead, Henderson weaves a touching story of a young girl's unholy gift she shares with her mother and the terrifying consequences of calling up the dead.

From MJ Williamz, The Hunted is a vampire tale set in the steamy, sultry city of New Orleans. With vibrant storytelling sure to please the thirst for blood among vampire fans, Williamz blends the allure of New Orleans and the exciting story of an unlikely relationship between an ancient vampire and the descendant of her arch-nemesis, a vampire hunter.

VW Massie presents Skin, a tale that builds to a frightening and unbelievably chilling end. Two sisters become the unwilling victims of demonic beings using modern technology to terrorize us. Maybe you'll think twice about installing that cable box after reading this story. And you will never again look in the mirror without a shiver and without thinking of Massie's Skin.

DARK THINGS is now available for purchase as a Kindle book on Amazon.com for only 2.99. This is a great read to take to the beach or to curl up with on a late night. However, I can't guarantee that you'll be able to turn out the light after reading DARK THINGS.

If you enjoy the supernatural/horror genre or even a mystery with a big splash of horror in it, order a copy of DARK THINGS. You won't just be getting a chilling collection of short stories, but you'll be helping out millions of unwanted pets waiting for new owners who need our help. It's only spending $2.99 for reading pleasure and a worthy donation. Win-Win situation.

Order from Amazon at: DARK THINGS by Patty G. Henderson,     MJ Williamz and VW Massie.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Will Cover Artists Be a Thing of the Past or the Next Most Important Thing to the Success of Your eBook?

So, the eBook revolution has begun. And I believe it to be a true revolution this time. eBooks aren't going back into the closet after false starts. Indie publishing especially has been pushing and embracing this eBook euphoria. New and formally traditionally published authors are finding freedom and financial satisfaction in independently publishing their own Kindle books and selling on Amazon while keeping all the profits for themselves. Why split it with a publisher?

A disturbing trend I have found is that when I buy and download some of the Kindle books from major publishers, they have no cover image. I was shocked and surprised. I also found no cover image for an independently published books as well. Are many of you discovering the same thing? Fearing it could be my Kindle 1 being on the "fritz," I actually downloaded a sample from one of my own Brenda Strange Kindle eBooks, knowing full well I had uploaded a cover image myself. Sure enough, my cover image was including in my Kindle purchase of my book. Yet, there were no cover images in three of the Kindle books I had ordered from a prominent mystery paperback publisher.

If the new wave of Kindle eBooks are going be completely text.....the book as published but minus any cover graphic, will the importance of cover art be the next thing to get hit in the publishing industry? If publishers will no longer even supply a cover image for your eBook purchase, why bother getting a real, attention-getting cover? Just push the brilliance of the actual book.....the author's story.

Or, could an outstanding, completely eye-popping cover be the most important sales tool an eBook author is going to have? When your browsing is no longer the spine of a book at a brick and mortar store, but the Internet page on Amazon or iPad or other online bookseller, you will need to stand out from all the other books vying for your eye-candy appeal. Unless you already have a ready-made fan base or brand, new or developing authors will need to appear as professional and "ready to be read" and draw more attention than other authors vying for the same space. If you're looking for a new author and you've got a page of covers, which cover will you click on first, the one with a plain, one color and single graphic or the professional looking, custom created cover with multiple graphics and unique fonts?  Yes, of course, your story blurb will also need to sell your book, but the cover, in a sea of covers, will be the initial grab. Or will it?

As we move into a digital publishing world, we still don't don't know what impact the eBook will have in the long term look of publishing. Will it be merely a slight tremor instead of the full blown earthquake we are anticipating? If so, what will the publishing terrain look like after the dust settles? Will covers be a major selling point in the eBook world or something that takes a back seat to the meat and potatoes of book publishing, the written word? As both an author and a book cover artist, I am very intrigued by the possibilities.

Thoughts? Comments?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Stigma..." It's Such a Nasty Thing

Indie publishing might be making waves and splashes in the big business world of publishing, but so many still won't let go of the stigma attached to self-publishing. I'm taking it upon myself to quit using the term "self-published."  No, not because I don't like it or because it means a bad and dirty thing.....No. It's because it still has the stink of stigma attached to it.

Let me expound. I was a fairly successfully published author by one of the bigger traditional, lesbian publishing companies, Bella Books. Yep, they are approved by the MWA. Imagine that. I requested and opted out of my contract. I had decided to independently publish my own books. It was MY own decision to break my contract with a well-established, traditional press.

For those who don't know, I write the Brenda Strange Supernatural Mystery Series. Bella Books published the first three books, THE BURNING OF HER SIN, TANGLED AND DARK, and THE MISSING PAGE, in trade paperback (I now own the rights and have published them as eBooks available in Kindle at Amazon).  The second book, TANGLED AND DARK, was reviewed and featured as a recommended read in the mystery community's highly praised magazine, Mystery Scene. The column was the Small Press Review by Mary V. Welk.  It was an honor to be featured in the Holiday issue #87, 2004 with the honorable Tony Hillerman on the cover. Mary Welk is sadly no longer doing the column. Betty Webb has taken the mantle.

What is my point in all this? I am still writing the Brenda Strange Mystery Series. I am a better writer since TANGLED AND DARK got recommended in Mystery Scene Magazine. What has changed is that I am no longer part of a traditional publisher. I am an indie author. My latest Brenda Strange book, XIMORA, is as good or better a book than TANGLED AND DARK. It was edited by the same editor that did the work for Bella Books. But my own publishing imprint, Black Car Publishing, published it. Mystery Scene Magazine refused to accept my book for consideration to be reviewed because I am an independent author. Their policy is to not accept independently published books. It made me very angry. I couldn't understand why an author is stigmatized by the mere fact that she chose to independently publish instead of give away her rights to a publisher. What difference does it make?  Mystery Scene didn't know how good my  new Brenda Strange book was. How could they.....they refused to even consider it. Just several years ago, I had one of my books recommended and reviewed in their magazine. And now, because I opted to take control of my writing future, my fiction must have gotten worse than before....not even worth a look at? It doesn't make sense and it is unfair. Why adopt such a broad and negative brush toward indie published books?  Maybe if I'd hidden the fact that Black Car Publishing is my own imprint, I'd have gotten the review. Why does it have to come to that?

Time to wake up and realize some very good work is being published independently. Continuing this practice of discrimination smells of prejudice and something worse. I don't want to point my finger only at Mystery Scene Magazine. I love the magazine and sometimes can afford to buy an issue here and there. They aren't the only ones who need to come into the light of the new publishing paradigm.