Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ohhh. Amazon you sly dog ...

There has been a seismic shift in e-publishing in just the last few years.

A. The paperback market has been shrinking, not just on the consumer end, but the distribution end as well. thanks to big box stores who have been very busy in trying to drastically narrow the selection of paperbacks a consumer sees on the shelf at all.  There used to be a top 10 national bestseller list in every genre, mostly because each region had its bestseller's list and that was aggregated into a national list. Now, realistically, there are only three top sellers in each genre because these stores don't want to mess with regional sales. They want one easy list to buy from.

B. The technology has finally caught up to make self-publishing very easy.. I spent a bit of time learning how to work programs like Calibre, only to find out that now I don't really need them. Amazon, Smashwords and the Nook now do the Word Doc converting for you.

C. Who hasn't heard of the woman who has made $30k in one month off of Bigfoot erotica. ... That's not a typo.

That's offered up some good things. With anecdotes like that, several professional writer's organizations are getting ready to approve bylaws that allow ebook authors to join. To see these organizations go from naked skepticism to embracing epublishing in a few short years is amazing. It's like watching a behemoth turn a pirouette on a dime. 

As for probably the worst part, now that's easier to upload your book and there's little shame in doing so, you might as well do it.


Along with about several other million other writers, aspiring writers and Baby Boomers who decided that they want to be writers during their retirement years. 

Despite all that, Amazon's stayed on top of it all with their bag of tricks. Going beyond the mobi. conversion tool, they've kept switching things up and delivering on promises that  make it worth your while to be exclusive with them, including being their part of their Amazon Prime library. 

There's also Kindle Worlds to entice established authors with the promise of "free money" for letting fan fic writers publish-- and profit share -- their efforts in the world of their favorite author. (Oddly enough, now some fan-fic writers are grumbling that they their hard work -- in someone else IP, shouldn't be "taxed."*)

Update: The Vampire Diaries franchise author, L.J. Smith, who was kicked offer the series is now using Kindle Worlds to get back into the series that she put on the map. 

It makes Amazon really tempting as your one-stop publishing shop, which has been their savvy goal from the beginning. The minor miracle here has been how they've stayed on target for so long. 

Makes me wonder what their next step is.

*So we gone from fan-fic writers being grateful they don't get cease-and-desist letters to some how thinking they should be the sole beneficiary of work they based on someone else's world. A world that took an author, an agent and a publisher, years to develop and grow. Just saying.

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