“Indie” authors

Smashwords Teams with Scribd; Indie Authors

Smashwords Teams with Scribd; Indie Authors

This is big news for indie authors and readers. Smashwords signed a global deal with Scribd. Smashwords is the largest distributor of e-books globally, and Scribd is an e-book subscription service with over 100,000 titles that includes bestsellers and new releases. There are so many benefits to this deal I’m going to post what I found in my inbox, and link to a detailed article about the deal. I would also imagine this is going to benefit all small e-presses as well, especially the part about Smashwords authors getting their own bio pages on Scribd.

From my inbox:

Smashwords Author/Publisher Alert – December 19, 2013

Inside:

1. Smashwords announces global distribution deal with Scribd

2. Smashwords unveils web site redesign

3. Apple tickets help speed distribution to Apple iBooks

4. How smart navigation can help you sell more books

5. Retailer holiday schedules

6. Helpful author/publisher resources

Your Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/RyanFiield
________________________________________

1. SMASHWORDS DISTRIBUTION TO SCRIBD
________________________________________

I’m excited to announce a new global distribution agreement today with Scribd, an online reading community that boasts 10 million readers visiting their site each month.

There are two parts to the agreement:

1. Smashwords will distribute books to their subscription ebook service, where readers pay $8.99 to read an unlimited number of books (read below for the great terms Smashwords authors receive!).  2. Smashwords to sell books on their site.

And this article makes things clearer:

“I’m thrilled to learn about the partnership between Smashwords and Scribd,” said Quinn Loftis, a USA Today-bestselling Smashwords author of nine young adult paranormal romance titles, including the seven-book Grey Wolves series. “I look forward to distributing all my titles to Scribd via Smashwords because I appreciate the opportunity to reach more readers. My fans will appreciate the incredible value represented by Scribd’s subscription service.”

I’m looking forward to it, too. I already use Smashwords because I get distributed in so many other places. I’ve always had mostly good experiences with Smashwords and some that have been interesting and unexpected in a good way.

I also think this speaks loudly for e-books in general. I read a lot lately about how e-books have balanced out and some seem to think they are going to disappear. I don’t get that mindset and these people leave me gaping in wonder sometimes. And news like this global deal confirms what most of us who have been pioneering e-books have believed from the start. I also think it’s a huge boost for indie authors simply because for the first time in a long time I didn’t see them lead the article with term self-published authors. And from now on I’m sticking to indie author as a rule.

 

Self-Published Authors Big Sales; Baker Scorns Gay Cakes

Self-Published Authors Big Sales

I’ve been saving this to post because I wanted to read it over first. It’s interesting because it’s the first time I’ve seen something like this, and I never actually thought I would (in my lifetime). Things are changing, and fast. If it’s accurate, and I have no reason to believe it’s not, one quarter of Amazon the top 100 kindle books are self-published.

Orna Ross, director of the Alliance of UK Independent Authors, said this:

“We are in the middle of a major change. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we reached a situation where the majority of the top books are author-published. I don’t see what would stop that,” Ross said.

That’s a strong comment I don’t think I would have made at this point. But she could be right. Who knows?

The article goes deeper into why this is, and explains a few things with examples. I would recommend reading it if you are interested in self-publishing, if you have already self-published, or if you are still a snob about self-publishing and think that your small start up e-press is going to make you look better. I’m not being snarky about that. I’ve seen small writers with small presses turn their noses up at self-published writers more than once and I don’t think they are getting the full impact of why we’re starting to self-publish. I’m going to write a longer post on this and give a few more reasons why I was forced to self-publish very soon. And I’m not saying that lightly. I would prefer to work with a publisher at all times. However, things came up that left me no alternative but to self-publish, and a good deal of that was because of my readers. Different authors work in different ways. I’m more of a reader oriented author, and my readers come first. The publisher doesn’t. And I expect certain things from publishers, big or small, that I don’t often see.

In any event, you can read more here.

Baker Scorns Gay Cakes

A Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay ceremony was ordered by a judge they have to serve the gay couples. Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled the baker will face fines if he doesn’t follow the law.

 An attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Shop owner Jack Phillips had argued that making cakes for gay wedding ceremonies violates his Christian beliefs.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission last year on behalf of Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The couple was married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake to celebrate in Colorado.

Tony recently had a cake made for our anniversary and to celebrate our upcoming marriage. The baker was so excited he made it his top priority. Why we live here instead of there. And if a bakery in New Hope were to pull something like this, they’d be out of business within six months.

You can read more here.

Gay Author: Curt H. von Dornheim…LGBT Fiction and Non-fiction

When I first read Curt H. von Dornheim’s work, I found two of my favorite things combined in one author. He’s a gay author who writes both fiction and non-fiction, and the non-fiction is focused on more spiritual topics that resonate with people who are LGBT and might be searching for something more than they can find in the mainstream.

I can’t find an author bio on Amazon, but I do know he’s a retired minister and once worked as a professional organist in some of the most prominent places in both the US and Europe. He also lived in Key West, where he had his own spiritual center and worked with people who had AIDS during the 1990’s. I’m not sure about his exact age, but he’s from an older generation of gay men who have more than their share to say, but haven’t been allowed to say it thanks to more than a few gatekeepers.

I’ve read several of his non-fiction books on the topic of “Creative Consciousness,” and loved them. I discovered Curt during an emotional time in my life about six years ago and his books helped get me through it all. He’s also a psychic spiritualist who keeps all his gifts very silent (he never charges a dime or exploits them). I met him and he did a reading for me I’ll never forget, so this isn’t hearsay. I guess if I had to compare it to anything…which is hard to do…he’s kind of like the Norman Vincent Peale of the gay community with traces of Slyvia Browne and John Edwards.

He doesn’t do social media and you won’t find him yanking your chain, so to speak, on facebook about his latest activities. That’s because when he’s not writing he’s usually helping someone else in need. He’s actually one of the most non-Internet authors I’ve ever met and he writes all his manuscripts out in long hand. 

I’ve also read his fiction and loved it just as much. The stories aren’t sexy, but there’s always a message with a deeper meaning. My favorite books are “The Little Baron’s Christmas Angel,” and “The Wings of Fate.” If you like LGBT books with literary quality that don’t sensationalize on overdone topics with over-the-top book dramatic book covers, these are for you.

Here’s a blurb for “Wings of Fate,” and you can find the rest of his books here on Amazon. He’s an indie author and has been since the 1980’s, so I don’t know if he’s distributed anywhere else.

This short story of ~13,000 words conveys an honest, terrific love story. This story is based on a true life experience of a forbidden love between two men during war time Germany. It is a love story that will fill you with emotions and prove love is greater than an evil like war and bigotry.

About two years ago I had the exceedingly wonderful privilege to meet Hanna Taube one Saturday afternoon as I was antique hunting in her extraordinary shop of fine lamps and imported antiques in Lambertville, NJ. She immediately caught my attention; a scent of 4711 perfume faintly surrounded her, an air of refreshment. She stood roughly 5’ 6”— and elegant, with an impressive style of fashion and a simple coiffure of slim, gold and silver threads perfectly held by a single pin in a chignon. There was a twinkle in her soft blue eyes that suggested genuine friendliness and knowledge. As she greeted me and bid me welcome I noticed a slight Germanic accent in her British form of English.

We chatted briefly and I made it my business to revisit her shop again, a few weeks later. This time we spoke in German and I was utterly charmed by this dignified lady. Well, in short, we became friends and I looked forward to my Saturday visits to her shop. It gave me not only the rare opportunity to speak German for a half hour, but also to slowly build a highly prized friendship with a lady my age who understood people. She took people at the value of their lives. Rich, poor, young, old, gay or straight played no role with her. Often we would have delightful laughs at life in general. Eventually we dropped the “Sie” and began to use the “du” form of German. This meant we were personal friends, like sister and brother.

She read some of the metaphysical books I had written and it seemed to bring us closer together. Then one unfortunate day she became hospitalized to have surgery performed on her neck, to help alleviate a numbing sensation in her right arm. I visited her in clerics at the hospital and we prayed together. And again visited at her home, also in Bucks County, PA. She mended quickly and I invited her to my Christmas Eve organ recital. It was then when she presented me with a gift, simply wrapped in a plastic bag. I immediately told her that I didn’t want to begin exchanging Christmas presents, but she interrupted my refusal by telling me it was not a Christmas present, but rather a wooden, hand carved plate that she had treasured for almost fifty years. AND, that if I didn’t choose to accept it she would understand. I unceremoniously accepted it from her and was quite impressed with the artistic measure of the wood carving.

Now, I’m not the sort of guy who has any religious wall hangings in my home, and there looking me sadly in the face was an eleven inch oak carving with the head of the crucified Christ. She told the story of who carved it, where it was carved, when it was carved and why it was carved. She also said that the more she got to know me, the more I reminded her of Rudy Hoffen.

This is a terrific love story; however, the names have all been changed to protect the guilty! Guilty? Shouldn’t it be the innocent? NO! Since I don’t want any damn law suits I’ve changed the identity of the ignorant, fearful, weak and guilty!

Non-Fic Indie Author Joe Mihalic Releases New Book: Destroy Student Debt: A Combat Guide to Freedom


I had a completely different post planned for today about how CNN is failing in ratings big time. But that can wait. Those who follow my posts know that I like to stick to topics about publishing in a broad sense.

And I think this post covers that well…especially because I DON’T SEE other publishing blogs talking about the successful indie authors that are publishing their own books on Amazon. They almost seem apprehensive about it.

In this case it’s blogger Joe Mihalic who started his blog, “No More Harvard Debt,” to let people know how he paid down almost six figures in student loans. He also self-published a book with the same title through the KDP program. And now he’s released a second book.

I’ve been in publishing for twenty years, since I graduated from college. And this is the kind of thing that excites me and I WANT to let other people who are interested in writing non-fiction know that you don’t have to only focus on the query-agent-gatekeeper route anymore. You can still do that, but you also have choices now that you’ve never had before.

And I think Joe is a good example of how publishing has changed thanks to the digital first market and Internet opportunities. If I were an agent, I’d step aside from the query wars and I’d be talking to him right now wondering what university he’ll be speaking at next.

You can check out “Destroy Student Debt: A Combat Guide to Freedom,” here. The quality of the book is as good as the content. There are also ten reviews up on Amazon and they look good. Nine are five star, one is four star. I’ll read it soon and leave a full review.

I’ll be focusing more on self-publishing and indie authors in the coming months that I think are worth reading. I also think it’s important to get some of the positive stories out there.

Self-Pubbed Romance Author on Bestsellers List…


Self-published author, Bella Andre, has been making a name and building a readership on one bestseller list in particular. As a result, Andre is helping self-publishing gain more credibility.

After a $1.99 Gold Box of the Day sale at Amazon, romance novelist Bella Andre took five spots on our Self-Published Bestsellers list with her series, The Sullivans. The Washington Post profiled her writing career last year.

I still find it amazing that even though it’s been coming for a while, self-published authors are gaining momentum and readers are taking them seriously now. And galleycat is making it even easier for readers to find these self-published books.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we have compiled lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

You can check out the lists here.

I’ve posted often about how readers now have to be more aware of what’s being published and that they have to vet and search in more places than they did in the past. I think links like this help. And I’m glad to see galleycat doing it.

"Indie" Author…or Self-Published Author?

Early this morning before I started working on a new series, I checked out a few bloggers I like to follow on a daily basis and found an interesting post. The title of the post suggested I was going to be reading about “Indie” authors. I’ve been published by small presses myself many times. I love “Indie” publishers and “Indie” authors and look forward to reading anything about them.

The blog post I’m talking about was a guest post on a publishing blog I frequent often. The regular author of the blog wrote a short introduction paragraph and I decided to skip it and move right into the guest blogger’s post to save time.

But I’d say about a quarter of the way into the guest post I stopped reading because things weren’t making sense. The author was talking about editing costs, cover artist costs, and a list of other expenses I didn’t expect to find in a blog post about “Indie” authors.

Then I started to wonder if I’d missed a few changes…whether or not it’s become common practice for “Indie” publishers to now charge authors fees. I’ve always been a little fanatical about this. The way publishing has always worked is that the publisher pays the author, with either an advance, a flat fee, or royalties. I’ve never paid a publisher a single cent to have any of my work published. I’ve never paid a literary agent a reading fee. For me, paying a publisher or paying a literary agent is an automatic red flag. And I stay far away from those types because I don’t think they are ethical.

I’ve been around for almost twenty years and I’ve seen a lot. I know for a fact there’s one small press out there that charges authors editing fees, and there have been literary agents charging reading fees since the beginning of time.

But as I continued to read this blog post something wasn’t right. The author of the post continued referring to herself as an “Indie” author, only it sounded more like she was talking about her experience as a self-published author.

So I went back and checked the blog owner’s introduction, which I should have done in the first place. And sure enough, the blog owner introduced the guest blogger as a self-published author, not an “Indie” author. And the post was about self-publishing, not small presses.

I’ve always been a staunch supporter of self-published authors. I admire them and I’ve supported a few right here on my blog. But as far as I’ve always known…and like I said I’ve been around for a long time…”Indie” publishers are considered small presses. And the distinction has always been crystal clear.

At first I thought maybe the guest blogger was so new she was using a term she shouldn’t have been using. But then I read the comment thread and found that I wasn’t the only one confused, especially with the title of the post. Others thought it was misleading, too. I found this on wiki. But the biggest surprise of all was that for every comment that said the guest blogger was misleading the readers, there was another comment defending the use of “Indie” when referring to a self-published author.

So I learned something knew today. Evidently, “Indie” is now being used to refer to self-published authors as well as small presses.

I’m not commenting with my opinion at all. I don’t think it makes a huge difference in the grand scheme for anyone. It might even catch on and become common practice. But I will say this. If I ever decide to self-publish anything (and I’ve thought about self-publishing very seriously in the past year), I’m going to proudly call myself a self-published author, not an “Indie” author. If I’m going to spend my hard earned money publishing my own book, I want full credit as a proud self-published author and I don’t want anyone thinking I was published by a small press. I also don’t want to mislead anyone either.