[THE WRITER’S LIFE] LEMONADE, ANYONE? When your books won’t sell

Everyone knows that you don’t pass up a kid’s lemonade stand. When you come upon a handmade sign, a wobbly card table and an icy pitcher of lemonade, you buy a cup. If the beverage looks a little sketchy, you don’t say, “no thanks, I’m not thirsty,” you say, “Yum. I think I’ll save this for later,” and you walk down the road a bit and pour it out behind a bush. Lemonade stands are not about thirst. You never, ever decline a cup.

Being an author is a little like having a lemonade stand; particularly if you’re doing a lot of the promotion and marketing yourself. You lug your card table and books and banners and bookmarks to whichever event is scheduled for that weekend; craft fairs, bookstores, library events, or conferences. You set up shop, hoping that the hundreds of people expected to attend will clean you out of your box of books and your pile of postcards. And sometimes I’ve seen that happen. To the guy next to me [more…]


Is It Fair Use? 7 Questions to Ask Before Using Copyrighted Material

Fair use allows you to use someone’s copyrighted work without permission. However, invoking fair use is not a straightforward matter. Before you use any part of anyone else’s copyrighted material – even for quotation purposes – you have to consider the risks that are involved. After all, would YOU like someone else to use YOUR copyrighted material without asking first?

Source: Is It Fair Use? 7 Questions to Ask Before Using Copyrighted Material

Oh No, I Think I’ve Misplaced My Modifier! | Grammar – Bigwords

Misplaced Modifiers

Grammar can be pretty funny. Whoever thought grammar was serious business hasn’t looked at some of the cartoons and memes on Facebook! And they obviously haven’t attended one of my workshops!

One of the more humorous gaffes that occurs in grammar (mostly in written language) is the misplaced (and sometimes dangling) modifier. These are often hard to find and easy to miss — whether you are the writer or the reader — but when you do find them . . .

Source: http://bigwords101.com/2016/blog/oh-no-i-think-ive-misplaced-my-modifier/

Hummingbird – Do We Have a Viable Alternative to Amazon for Ebooks?


Hummingbird for Book Publishers. Sell the e-books and audiobooks you publish from your own branded storefront. Missing out on direct to consumer digital sales? With Hummingbird, you can be up and running in minutes and start selling your e-books and audiobooks directly to your readers via your own branded storefront and branded app. Why send your customers to another company’s website? You can even sell the books of other publishers/authors, and get paid the Merchant cut!

The short info you need:

Hummingbird pays 73% of your own titles and 12-23% of the retail price other titles sold from your storefront.

Direct deposit to your bank account.

Looks like there’s no download charges, or tax withholding.

This could well be a decent addition to your portfolio of sales vendors.

As always, do the due diligence on the vendor, and please do make comment of you have experienced them or have other info.


Source: For Book Publishers – Hummingbird Digital Media

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Rejection makes the world go round by Hanneke Hendrix | European Literature Network


Like lots of things that are a direct result of rejection (such as murder, heist and depression, just to name a few), the writing of my novel The Dyslexic Hearts Club was kickstarted by a rejection letter. A few months before I had sent a proposal to a foundation that provides residencies for writers, prestigious residencies, accompanied with a sum of money, which, of course, weren’t handed out for free. A lengthy description and synopsis of the novel had to be handed in. Like a friend of mine said, before he posted his plan: “I really don’t mind selling a chunk of my soul for free money.” Neither did I.


Source: Rejection makes the world go round by Hanneke Hendrix | European Literature Network

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Bookticker Promotes Ebook Deals and Discovery | Digital Book World


Bookticker, a new data-driven website for ebook deals, launched today. The platform uses metadata feeds from publishers to display new ebook deals in real time.

Bookticker specifically focuses on promoting bestselling titles with reduced prices, publisher-promoted titles and titles that’ve fallen in price without any promotion.

“We wanted to create a site that would promote publisher deals but also expose deals that consumers may not otherwise find,” said Founder Greg Aden. “We also wanted to generate deal visibility that was purely publisher-driven rather than the result of pressured discounting by the major retailers.”


Source: Bookticker Promotes Ebook Deals and Discovery | Digital Book World

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A New Take on Ebook Windowing | Digital Book World

Ebook windowing is a technique designed to prevent ebooks from cannibalizing print book sales. The original thinking went something like this: release a new title in print format only, thereby preventing e-cannibalization.

The result? Frustrated consumers. If you’re an ebook reader…

Source: A New Take on Ebook Windowing | Digital Book World

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What’s this Metadata stuff? – She Writes

Metadata. It’s a term we throw around a lot when we talk about the behind-the-scenes world of the publishing industry. Brooke has mentioned it a few times in her posts over the years, since She Writes Press was launched in 2012. It was a big thorn in our side when we were starting out, and it continues to be one of our top priorities as a publisher. But what it is this stuff, and why does it matter? As Project Editor and Author Liaison at SWP, I’ve had my hands full with metadata for a few years now. Here are nine quick facts about it, with a little bit of explanation for those in need.…

Source: What’s this Metadata stuff? – She Writes

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Are Authors Being Ripped Off? – Amazon “Kindle Unlimited” Scammers Netting Millions | Selena Kitt

JZ Comment: If this is true – and Selena Kitt is a very well established author – EVERY author who uses Kindle Select should be reading this and following the subject very closely in the near future.

How are scammers making millions off Amazon? (And off any author enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program?)

It’s easy. So say digital entrepreneurs scammers like Dave Koziel – who admits to outsourcing his material, he’s not an actual writer or anything. You see, all you have to do it just upload “books” stuffed to the gills with anything, even unrelated material (romance books, cookbooks, South Beach diet books, foreign language texts, any and everything you’ve got at your disposal) then use a click-bait link at the front of the book (something like “Click here to win a Kindle Fire!”) to take the reader directly to the very back. A German blog has detailed these tactics as well, although it seems the German Amazon store (much smaller than the U.S. one) is cracking down on this now…

Source: SCAMAZON – Amazon “Kindle Unlimited” Scammers Netting Millions

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JZ added Comment: On March 14th Amazon posted the following ‘Global Announcement’ in response to this:


We have recently received a number of questions on topics such as TOC formatting and our policing of abuse and fraud among KDP publishers.

In many cases, putting a book’s Table of Contents (TOC) at the end of a book can create a poor experience for readers, and in general we suggest authors locate TOCs to the beginning of a book. If the formatting of a book results in a poor experience or genuine reader confusion, or is designed to unnaturally inflate sales or pages read, we will take action to remove titles and protect readers. That said, absent any other issues of quality, locating the TOC at the end of a book is not in itself outside of our guidelines.

Relatedly, some in the community have contacted us about the activities of a small minority of publishers who may attempt to inflate sales or pages read through the use of various techniques, such as adding unnecessary or confusing hyperlinks, misplacing the TOC or adding distracting content. We both actively police for this type of activity on our own as well as investigate when the community points out such abuse (thank you to those of you who have helped us in this regard). Any abuse we find results in the immediate suspension of a title. Some circumstances, including repeat offenses, will result in KDP account suspension. In any abuse cases, we will also remove related pages read from the allocation of the monthly KDP Select Global Fund.

We have updated the Kindle Guidelines to reflect the above. As you might expect, our guidelines – along with our processes to identify abuse — will continue to evolve. Our goal is to most effectively meet the needs of the many authors who so constructively support this community and Kindle readers.


The Kindle Direct Publishing Team

Here Is The Full Author Earnings Report From DBW 2016

Author Earnings has been chronicling the rise of self-publishing on Amazon and is one of the definitive sources on how their sales directly affect the big 5 publishers. Data Guy has been quietly anonymous this entire time, he has been responsible for diving deep into big data and making sense of it for the entire publishing industry. He spoke publicly for the first time at Digital Book World 2016 and here is his entire Power Point presentation.

Source: Here Is The Full Author Earnings Report From DBW 2016

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