Unfortunately we don’t have the whole truth.
What we have are a series of facts that might or might not give you access to the truth — and the “facts” such as they are are constantly manipulated by people who want you to go this way or that way.
Traditional publishing, of course, has a lot invested in having you go their way. Money in publishing has always been in volume, and the more authors they get to publish with them, even if the authors objectively make near nothing, the more money they make — particularly in these days when they’re selling ever-renewable electrons, as much as anything else. This is why they try to claim to own electronic rights due to the penumbras and emanations of contracts signed before any such thing existed. Volume.
However this week Hugh Howey brought the truth a little closer to us — almost within our grasp.
Now with every writer needing to choose between self-publishing and submitting to traditional publishers, the decision gets even more difficult. We don’t want to screw up before we even get started.
When I faced these decisions, I had to rely on my own sales data and nothing more. Luckily, I had charted my daily sales reports as my works marched from outside the top one million right up to #1 on Amazon. Using these snapshots, I could plot the correlation between rankings and sales. It wasn’t long before dozens of self-published authors were sharing their sales rates at various positions along the lists in order to make author earnings more transparent to others [link] [link]. Gradually, it became possible to closely estimate how much an author was earning simply by looking at where their works ranked on public lists [link].
This data provided one piece of a complex puzzle. The rest of the puzzle hit my inbox with a mighty thud last week. I received an email from an author with advanced coding skills who had created a software program that can crawl online bestseller lists and grab mountains of data. All of this data is public—it’s online for anyone to see—but until now it’s been extremely difficult to gather, aggregate, and organize. This program, however, is able to do in a day what would take hundreds of volunteers with web browsers and pencils a week to accomplish. The first run grabbed data on nearly 7,000 e-books from several bestselling genre categories on Amazon. Subsequent runs have looked at data for 50,000 titles across all genres. You can ask this data some pretty amazing questions, questions I’ve been asking for well over a year [link]. And now we finally have some answers.
When Amazon reports that self-published books make up 25% of the top 100 list, the reaction from many is that these are merely the outliers. We hear that authors stand no chance if they self-publish and that most won’t sell more than a dozen copies in their lifetime if they do. (The same people rarely point out that all bestsellers are outliers and that the vast majority of those who go the traditional route are never published at all.) Well, now we have a large enough sample of data to help glimpse the truth. What emerges is, to my knowledge, the clearest public picture to date of what’s happening in this publishing revolution. It’s a lot to absorb, but I believe there’s much here to learn.
Go read the whole thing. We wait the more detailed report too. And meanwhile, see below for some good reading choices.
Please pass word to all your writer friends that we accept submissions for Book Plug Friday at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should include the TITLE, AUTHOR’S NAME as written on the cover, a short BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK.
(Charlie here:) A couple of other hints: you don’t need to make a big pitch to get into BPF. Like Vivien in Pretty Woman, it’s pretty much a sure thing. IF you include the information above. Second, don’t knock yourself out doing fancy formatting in your blurb; I strip and clean it before I format the links anyway.
Now available on Kindle! This epic story of England in the first half of the seventeenth century, a half century of unrest that culminated in the English Civil War, begins with the accession of the first Stuart king, James I, to the throne of England, continues with the infamous “gunpowder treason” of Guy Fawkes, and proceeds through every crucial event leading to the fall of a 600-year-old monarchy.
This new edition of David Hume’s classic history is a gently updated “modern English” version. It contains the full narrative history; it is not censored, bowdlerized, or politically corrected. Hume has his full say, and now the modern reader can readily hear it.
The editor, a professional copyeditor, originally took on the project of updating Hume’s language so his son could read this great classic with pleasure and full understanding as part of his high school homeschool course on British history. Every sentence of the volume was rigorously inspected; only those changes that improved readability and comprehension were implemented, with great care taken to preserve the felicity, nuance, and power of Hume’s prose.
Baron Lucius Giovanni, Captain of the battleship War Shrike, finds himself without a home or nation, his ship heavily damaged, and crew in bad shape. The odds against their personal survival are slim. The time of humanity has come to a close. The great nations have all fallen, either to the encroaching alien threats or to internal fighting and civil war. The aliens who seek to supplant humanity, however, have not taken one thing into account: Lucius Giovanni. He and his crew will not give up – not while they still draw breath. If this is to be the fall of humanity, then the crew of the War Shrike will go down fighting…and in the heat of that fight, they may just light a new fire for humanity….
From airships lost between universes, to golems winning the fight against racism, Lou Antonelli explains the many ways the world might have been. Dip into this collection, where you’ll experience:
• Where technology suppresses magic in an apartheid-like state.
• Ancient civilizations that succumb to their own nuclear holocausts.
• Alternate worlds in which Christianity is just one of many minor Earth-bound religions, and others where it rules and spans outer space.
• How the America’s westward expansion would have happened if the New Madrid earthquake had allowed the North American inland sea to reform.
Here you’ll find Antonelli’s version of Brigadoon, and of the sinking of the Titanic and the Carpathia. You’ll visit alternate realities that have been hiding Neanderthals, and pick up the lost Kodak snapshots of what might have been. With cameo appearances by O. Henry, Robert E. Howard, and Rod Serling, join this wild ride and delve into demonic possession, immortality, and the infinite variety of other worlds.
Including the 2013 Sidewise Award for Alternate History finalist short story “Great White Ship”.
Lou Antonelli is a modern speculative fiction author with classic sensibilities, honed by a long career as a newspaperman.
Alex Sanderson doesn’t like much of anything, but of all the things he hates, getting locked up in an alien prison on trumped-up charges tops the list. All he wants is a fair hearing and he’s sure he can get out. His cellmate on the other hand, she has different plans for Alex….
Note: This story contains profanity, some violence, and sexual situations, although not especially graphic, they may be offensive to some readers.
This story is a Novellette, about 14,500 words long.
The medical miracle of the twenty-first century. First they cured the genetic diseases.
Then they selected for the best natural traits.
Then they made completely artificial genes.
As the test children reached puberty, abilities that had always been lost in the random background noise were suddenly obvious.
At first their creators sought to strengthen these traits.
Then they began to fear them.
They called them gods, and made them slaves. Wolfgang Oldham was sixteen when the company laid claim to him. He escaped, and stayed free for three years.
When he was arrested, identified and returned to the company, they trained him to be useful.
They didn’t realize that they were training him to be dangerous The first book in the Wine of the Gods Series
Don’t worry. The computers have everything under control.
It had started with the widespread use of Alert. If you didn’t need bedrooms, and didn’t like to cook and clean bathrooms, all you really needed was a locker for clothes at a gymnasium. Exercise, shower and change, go back to work. Or out to dinner, or drinking with the guys. So the gyms had started offering walk in closets, with locking doors. Added restaurants. Lounges with TVs. Bars. Privacy rooms. With the advent of the dimensional cubbies—six meter cubes of space that didn’t actually exist in the real world—those oversized closets were transformed into various versions of living rooms, privacy rooms and home offices. It was the new upscale housing. Towers packed with cubbies, restaurants, theaters, shops, and exercise rooms. All controlled by state-of the-art Artificial Intelligence level computers. And they still called them Gyms.
Joe Mata and his bio-model Tommy were exploring the unused pedestrian tunnels in the basement and found a cubby, apparently abandoned before the interior was finished. They hadn’t expected to find themselves lost in a maze of ruins, dodging a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Alice Brown was mad about being grounded. Again! Her attempts to get around the lock of the dimensional door trapping her inside her parents’ cubby landed her and her bio-model friends in more trouble than even Alice could have imagined.
“So, you’re the ones…”
A mysterious package appears just as Maya and Nate start helping in their grandparents’ store. Inside is just one book: a faded copy of Free to Choose. In a race against time, they must decipher a series of cryptic messages to discover the secret under the staircase. But can a bunch of kids really solve the centuries-old riddle? Can they save their beloved town before it’s too late?
Under the Staircase™ Books
A mystery and adventure series that teaches treasured values: personal responsibility, individual liberty, and economic freedom.
Psst! Grownups: The first book in the series introduces a variety of Milton Friedman’s concepts—the Power of the Market, the Tyranny of Controls, What’s Wrong with Our Schools?, and other topics—using examples from kids’ day-to-day lives in school, with friends, and in familiar situations. Explore Under the Staircase at underthestaircase.com.
What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?
Sara Barnes has just discovered that she can. And this gift – or curse – will lead her on an extraordinary journey.
Follow Sara as her newfound ability leads her into adventures she never imagined. She will hunt down a serial killer, investigate a plot to murder one of her teachers, unravel a conspiracy between a mobster and a corrupt politician and face off against her nemesis: a woman who shares her talent, but uses it to destroy lives rather than save them. And Sara will have to manage all that while finishing college, becoming a doctor and falling in love, too.
Here are the first five books of the Dream Series, along with bonus material created especially for this collection. Included in this set are DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD, DREAM FAMILY and WAKING DREAM. In addition, you’ll find the short story BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE starring Sara’s parents. But most of all, when you open this box of dreams, you’ll find romance, suspense, humor and plenty of heart…
Assigned to investigate a deadly accident, Lieutenant Steve Maxwell uncovers corruption and criminal collusion reaching far above his pay grade. To save his career, he’s dispatched to a distant planet to help upgrade its defense forces. He’s in the company of an old friend and some of the most experienced Marines Steve’s ever met – including one of the most distracting.
Trouble is, the planet’s antiquated defenses make its new-found wealth a very tempting target – and there are those planning to take full advantage. As Steve and his colleagues strive to whip a rusty, run-down defense establishment into shape, the clock’s running out…