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Faded Mars
Jul 1, 2004

It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga.

I did a zombie horror serial a while back, got 7 episodes out each 20K words minimum. It did... okay. As in, probably made me a few hundred dollars when it was new. Still pulls in a few sales each month (slowly upping my $/hr average for writing it).

Would I do it again? No. Not unless I already had a huge fan base that would buy it up right away. Other people are correct in that romance serials are the only things that will likely do any real business. There are of course some one-offs, like Wool, but they are exceptions.

There are plenty of headaches that come with serials. The first is that people are going to bitch and moan at you constantly for two things: pricing and length. If you dare charge any money over $0.99 per episode, you're a baby-murdering rear end in a top hat. Why is this? Here comes the other part: no matter how clearly you state it in the blurb, no matter that it gives the page length right there on Amazon, you will still get people thinking that each episode is a full novel. And when they find out it isn't, they will crucify you in the review section. I'm talking like 1 or 2 stars here, most of the words being vitriol about how you, the author, are a dirty, lying con trying to take an honest reader's money.

Depending on how you are as a writer, you may quickly get tired of trying to churn out episodes on time. Especially if you get bitten by any of the stuff I mentioned above.

Even if you do a romance serial, you'll still get blasted for length no matter how clear you make it. Basically, unless you have a big fan base you can take advantage of, and don't mind crap reviews from moronic readers who couldn't be bothered to read the book's blurb, don't write serials.

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EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Faded Mars posted:

you're a baby-murdering rear end in a top hat

This sounds like hyperbole but is pretty close to the truth, I've never seen people get so upset about being offered a $3 half-novel.

laxbro
Apr 20, 2013
Relax.

How do self published horror novels do on Amazon?

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



The series is slated for a run of 100 segments...

http://www.amazon.com/Aer-ki-Jyr/e/B007R6913W/

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Yooper posted:

The series is slated for a run of 100 segments...

http://www.amazon.com/Aer-ki-Jyr/e/B007R6913W/

In aggregate, this guy is actually almost making a living. Each one of those sells, on average, once every three days or so. So he gets about 20 sales a day, at $2 a piece.

A1989 Honda Accord
Sep 9, 2014


Yooper posted:

The series is slated for a run of 100 segments...

http://www.amazon.com/Aer-ki-Jyr/e/B007R6913W/

It says it has 25,000 sold and the cover and blurb aren't the best in the world. I should take the sales numbers with a grain of salt, but he's either making money with it or has a crippling case of autism.

I'm just hoping serials aren't as stale as everyone says. I have a cover paid for and 3 of the planned 9 sets ready to go.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


A1989 Honda Accord posted:

It says it has 25,000 sold and the cover and blurb aren't the best in the world. I should take the sales numbers with a grain of salt, but he's either making money with it or has a crippling case of autism.

I'm just hoping serials aren't as stale as everyone says. I have a cover paid for and 3 of the planned 9 sets ready to go.

Guy has been working on it for over two years, looks like the more recent ones get more love, yeah I can believe 25k sales lifetime.

At an average of 75 pages per volume, he's at 4500 pages of text for those 25k sales though.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



EngineerSean posted:

Guy has been working on it for over two years, looks like the more recent ones get more love, yeah I can believe 25k sales lifetime.

At an average of 75 pages per volume, he's at 4500 pages of text for those 25k sales though.

$1200 a month, not too shabby really. I see other scifi writers cranking out a trilogy, or a set of novels and doing much better. Those same 4500 pages of text would have him 15 300 page novels, and scifi readers love the trilogies.

Once I wrapped up the trilogy my sales, on all the books in the series, shot right up. I'm seeing more borrows in a day now than I used to get purchases in a week.

DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


I came in to check and saw my name taken in vain on the first post so I thought I would drop my one cent and some updates.

Here is my webpage with my covers on them:
http://wwww.belvaille.com

I highly recommend getting your art via comparison shopping at like deviantART or conceptart.org or comicartcommissions.com. You can see their portfolios and whether or not you'd think it would match your work and often their rates. Or you can go to the forums and post a job. Sadly, the costs for overseas artists is WAAAAAAY less than US. I've never had any trouble except with US artists and that wasn't even much. I hired one guy who couldn't even be found by Google maps.

For editors, I recommend:

http://www.the-efa.org/

Though the list is usually pricey.

For the love of gently caress, please edit. I just finished my new novel a week ago and I will re-read the ending chapters for about a week (most recently finished, so less edited). Then I will go to Las Vegas for 7 days, check myself into a hotel where all my worldly concerns are taken care of, I will close the shades, bring four novels to read that aren't mine, and I will read and edit my book over and over and over. When I get too brain dead to continue, I will go downstairs and mindlessly put coins in a slot machine (as if anything accepts coins anymore). Go see some shows. Get stupified by lights and drunk people. Then go back upstairs to my sensory deprivation chamber and continue. The city is 24/7 so I will sleep when I want, eat when I want, wander around aimlessly. I'm in a 5 star hotel for about 1/3 the price of a real city. I've been doing this for years and years and it's super helpful. When I've done that editing, I'll incorporate them into the book, send them off to my copy editor for two weeks, get those edits back, edit it again, send it off to my proofreader, get those edits back, edit again. Then hopefully publish. I COULD publish today. Like right now instead of typing this. But I'm spending more than a month editing and thousands of dollars because I want a good product.


Audiobooks. Audiobooks are the poo poo. I was surprised how much moolah you can make from ebooks, but a lot of people like listening to books. I half-heartedly put my first book on audio and it makes money. I don't (can't) set the price, ACX does.

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Hard-Luck-Hank-Audiobook/B00KYXRVKA/

My second book is in production now. I contract with a producer, who takes a %. I basically do nothing (yay!). How much is it worth? You can apparently contact ACX aka Audible aka Amazon to have them give you a stipend to create your book. A stipend helps offset the costs associated with making it. I don't get it, the producer and voice actor(s) get it. But this is the email they sent me.

quote:

Congratulations Steven Campbell (Self-Employed)!

We’ve made the title noted below eligible for a $100 per-finished-hour production stipend, paid for by Audible. You, along with narrators and producers searching for titles, will now see a green banner indicating this on the title’s profile page*. Please be sure to review the basics of the stipend offer when considering the production timeline. Titles must be fully completed and approved (by you) within 60 days of the producer’s acceptance of the offer, so please keep this in mind when making offers to producers.

The book is over 9 hours of audio, so Amazon is coughing up $900 just for me to put out my audio book. So they see the value in getting royalties from it. Which isn't to say I'm awesome, it's to say there's money in audiobooks.

I'm not rich. I'm not close to rich. No one wants to date me on Tinder. But I'm enjoying what I'm doing. My books lose popularity with time so I need to keep writing. For those of you thinking of writing romance or this or that because "they sell," you're missing the point of writing. I was a senior computer programmer and made more money doing that. But I was a senior computer programmer. However, I'd far rather do that than write a genre I disliked. It will also show in your writing that you're torturing yourself. Get a hair shirt if you want to atone for your sins, but write what you love writing. It's hard writing, so at least make it fun.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


First of all, congratulations on your success, Steven Campbell (Self-Employed)!

I'd like to mention that many of us have tried audiobooks and found their sales to be really dismal. Nobody who makes serious money seems to make any more than 1% of their money from audiobooks. Not only that, but ACX (the company that you're going through) takes 60% of each audiobook sale for themselves just for posting it to Amazon and iTunes, or twice the fee that Amazon takes for eBooks. They don't even seem to promote them at all, but they'll sure as hell discount them as much as they want. I really don't like the current audiobook structure and am waiting for a new retailer that will allow us to control pricing before I jump in with more.

DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


ACX is Amazon. Same company (Amazon bought them some while ago). The benefit of having it go through them is if you go to your Amazon book, you can have print, ebook, audio all right there as choices.

I'm not entirely happy with audio split. But storing and presenting an ebook, which is maybe 1/100th the size of the audio can't be compared readily. Think of all those free ebooks that have 0 sales and then think of them as 9 hours of audio with 0 sales and no ad revenue on the site. That's like a gajillion gajillabytes of audio doing nothing. As for promotion, it's not their job, nor was it ever, to promote your work. It is another revenue stream that costs you:

$0.00

(If you get a producer.) I did the hard part and wrote a book. That becomes a script they use. Your mileage may vary, as with everything in life, but if you're getting sales on your book, it's likely you will also get audio sales. If you're not getting sales, I would suspect you won't get many audio.

As for discounting, the prices are pretty high IMHO. If they ever offer a sale or somesuch, you'll still get your share from the full price. But Amazon proper also price controls for ebooks. If you price outside the $2.99-$9.99 price range, you have your royalties cut in HALF. That's a big deal. I wanted to put my smaller works for less than $2.99, but at 35% royalties, it's simply not worth it. And I wanted to combine some of my bigger books into a collection, but then it caps out as well. Because we get per-use fees for borrows, it makes it more viable to have lots of works at whatever price.

So far, I've had good experiences with Amazon. I had a technical issue a few days ago and they took care of it immediately and you could really tell they had experienced people who understood what I was saying. Competition is good, however.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


DukeRustfield posted:

ACX is Amazon. Same company (Amazon bought them some while ago). The benefit of having it go through them is if you go to your Amazon book, you can have print, ebook, audio all right there as choices.

I'm aware of their business relationship which is why the fact that they do business so differently is so baffling. I'll refer to "Amazon" as "KDP" now though for ease of conversation.

quote:

As for promotion, it's not their job, nor was it ever, to promote your work.

Debatable, as KDP makes a hell of a lot by promoting our work (whether by emails, or otherwise) and ACX takes twice as much as KDP does.

quote:

It is another revenue stream that costs you:

$0.00

(If you get a producer.)

Outside of romance and all but the best selling self pubbed of other genres, it is very difficult to get a royalty share for a quality voice actor or a producer. Many people have to pay out of pocket. You can imagine why, when I have to pay $225/finished hour that I might be a little concerned about how valuable that revenue stream is. Still, you are giving up something (your audiobook rights in case another venue ever opens up in the next seven years).

quote:

If they ever offer a sale or somesuch, you'll still get your share from the full price.

Completely incorrect, you'll get your share from however much that they say they collected from it, which in the case of a Top 100 book of mine, $1.95 (if they buy the ebook, which many got for free). For a six hour audiobook. Or if they pay for credits, they divide up their cost per credit, and give you your percentage of the lower of the cost that was paid per credit or the price that's on Amazon.

quote:

But Amazon proper also price controls for ebooks.

I don't disagree with this statement or any that follow it really, but there's a big difference between KDP's "We're offering incentives for you to price in this area and we reserve the right to price match if you go lower on another retailer" and ACX's "We'll price however we please and gently caress you if you think otherwise."

EngineerSean fucked around with this message at 21:05 on Sep 11, 2014

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




I'm tentatively offering editing services. I have a few years experience but it's been mostly for acquaintances. If you could throw that up in the OP, that'd be cool. I got plat if you need to contact me. Also do eBook formatting and print layouts, but you knew that.

Time to steal some of Max's clients. :getin:

DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


quote:

I don't disagree with this statement or any that follow it really, but there's a big difference between KDP's "We're offering incentives for you to price in this area and we reserve the right to price match if you go lower on another retailer" and ACX's "We'll price however we please and gently caress you if you think otherwise."
"Incentive" is a pretty cutesy term for price-fixing, which it de facto is. Cutting royalties in half is gigantic if you're trying to make a living at this.

I never would have priced my book as high as ACX did. I was rather shocked to see it's cost.

A lot of the terms seem daunting. The 7 years. The % split. If you're paying for a producer, I can see being worried about all that. However, if you were going through a traditional publisher, this stuff would be far more draconian.

There are people out there looking for % deals and it's not >amazingly< hard to get auditions. As soon as I got flagged for stipend, I had to let everyone know I had my producer already set, because I was getting flooded with auditions and I felt bad about people spending the time to read my stupid book fragment and upload it.

Again, it may not work for everyone, but it was an easy and free revenue stream that is surprisingly popular.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


ravenkult posted:

I'm tentatively offering editing services. I have a few years experience but it's been mostly for acquaintances. If you could throw that up in the OP, that'd be cool. I got plat if you need to contact me. Also do eBook formatting and print layouts, but you knew that.

Time to steal some of Max's clients. :getin:

Updated. :)

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm getting closer to publishing my first novel. Two blurb candidates and DIY covers for your critiques.

v1
When neurotic horror-movie buff Martin Bowers sins, he sins big. An abandoned set of car keys in a theater tempts him to take an attractive coworker on a joyride in the middle of the night. Paranoia builds and hallucinated voices threaten to ruin his impromptu date as he worries about getting caught by the police or by his long-term girlfriend. Those may be the least of his concerns after he finds chloroform, handcuffs, and knives in the trunk. Martin turns to a stoner bodhisattva for advice on navigating the streets of South Florida's underbelly and soon learns that getting rid of the stolen car won't be easy, especially now that its rightful owner has his number.

v2
After a long day of working the projector booth, neurotic horror-buff Martin Bowers just wanted to go home to his girlfriend. At the end of the night, he found a set of abandoned car keys that would complicate everything. When a flirty new coworker asked him to drive her home, he gave into temptation and found himself on a late-night joyride in the strange vehicle, a black sports car with no markings. Getting caught by the police or his girlfriend wasn't his biggest fear once he looked inside the trunk.

1. 2.

SmockJoc
Oct 4, 2004


I prefer the image on the right. The spilled popcorn is a good detail.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme


If you want strangers to buy/read your book, hire someone to make your cover. They can be had for as little as $5 and will look significantly better than this.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


TheForgotton posted:

I'm getting closer to publishing my first novel. Two blurb candidates and DIY covers for your critiques.

The cover is terrible. Go review your genre, then change it entirely. Never use either of those fonts ever again.


Regarding blurbs, you have a few good things in each of them that I think (not knowing anything about your book) you should combine. Overall, the second blurb is significantly worse than the first.


I took a stab at a third version, but I am not big on the horror genre at all. Someone with more experience with horror, please rip v3 apart as well. :)

v3:

quote:

When horror movie buff Martin Bowers takes an attractive coworker on a midnight joyride in a stolen car, he finds that the police and his girlfriend's wrath are the least of his worries. Getting rid of a stolen car in the seedy underbelly of (city, Florida) isn't as easy as he thought it'd be, and all the horror films in the world can't prepare him for what he finds in the trunk.

Martin knows too much now, and the stolen car's (terrifying? murderous?) owner has his number.

Sundae fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Sep 13, 2014

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I can't even tell by the blurb if it's a horror book. And those covers are terrible. Follow Sundae's advice and get someone to make you one that fits in with the other covers in your genre.

syscall girl
Nov 6, 2009

by FactsAreUseless


Fun Shoe

Sundae posted:

Never use either of those fonts ever again.

Sundae posted:

Never use either of those fonts ever again.

Sundae posted:

Never use either of those fonts ever again.

Sundae posted:

Never use either of those fonts ever again.

Sundae posted:

Never use either of those fonts ever again.

Listen to this guy.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Tell us your cover budget :unsmigghh:

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll ditch those covers and see about getting a professional.

It looks like I didn't get across my story's tone very well in the blurb, as it's more of a comedic thriller, ala Tim Dorsey or Hiaasen.



Sundae posted:

I took a stab at a third version, but I am not big on the horror genre at all. Someone with more experience with horror, please rip v3 apart as well.
v3:

Much punchier without all the setup details. I'll try something more like this. Thanks!

Tenacious J
Nov 20, 2002



Could anyone explain how royalties work as a self-publishing Canadian on the US Kindle store? I just can't make sense of it.

This being the KDP page that explains things.

What I think happens is that Amazon takes their 30% cut as well as ANOTHER 30% of the gross sale as "tax withholding"? That means I ultimately receive 40% of the sale, correct? Discouraging....



EDIT: Then I pay the Canadian Revenue Agency a percentage as well, I think.

Tenacious J fucked around with this message at 06:50 on Sep 14, 2014

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Tenacious J posted:

Could anyone explain how royalties work as a self-publishing Canadian on the US Kindle store? I just can't make sense of it.

This being the KDP page that explains things.

What I think happens is that Amazon takes their 30% cut as well as ANOTHER 30% of the gross sale as "tax withholding"? That means I ultimately receive 40% of the sale, correct? Discouraging....



EDIT: Then I pay the Canadian Revenue Agency a percentage as well, I think.

Canada has a tax treaty with the US, so as long as you can get a US EIN, you get whatever Amazon pays Americans for sales, then pay Canada taxes on that income.

Zratha
Nov 28, 2004

It's nice to see you

Tenacious J posted:

Could anyone explain how royalties work as a self-publishing Canadian on the US Kindle store? I just can't make sense of it.

This being the KDP page that explains things.

What I think happens is that Amazon takes their 30% cut as well as ANOTHER 30% of the gross sale as "tax withholding"? That means I ultimately receive 40% of the sale, correct? Discouraging....



EDIT: Then I pay the Canadian Revenue Agency a percentage as well, I think.

I followed these instructions and got it sorted out easily http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/02/24/non-us-self-publisher-tax-issues-dont-need-to-be-taxing/

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


TheForgotton posted:


It looks like I didn't get across my story's tone very well in the blurb, as it's more of a comedic thriller, ala Tim Dorsey or Hiaasen.


Much punchier without all the setup details. I'll try something more like this. Thanks!

Okay - yep, with that blurb and cover, it didn't scream comedic thriller either. My modified blurb totally doesn't work in that light, either, so don't use it. :)

laxbro
Apr 20, 2013
Relax.

I'm working on a blog geared towards horror/thriller short stories. Let me know if anyone working in similar genres wants some free back links to their author websites.

DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


Use Amazon to search! You see the general detail level and style. Of course you don't have to do that, but you got a handy reference of all the top books in your categories.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

August KU/KOLL rate is $1.54/borrow. The total payouts were $4.7 million. There's also a new KDP All Stars program. Top 100 authors and titles get payout bonuses.

Jalumibnkrayal fucked around with this message at 20:40 on Sep 15, 2014

A1989 Honda Accord
Sep 9, 2014


Cover






Blurb

In the town of Cyprus Grove everyone has a secret. Even the dead. Three children explore a myriad of dark happenings in this first collection of stories. Many towns tried to get back to normal in the years following the civil war. For Cyprus Grove, there is no normal. In "Gifts and Nightmares" a sinister snake oil salesman gives a young girl, Rebekah, a music box. When opened the music mingles with terror as she finds herself in a nightmare hounded by living shadows. "Trials of the Dead" follows a grave digger and his assistant, Mathias, as they lay to rest a group of thieves. The problem is the dead men would prefer not to be buried. He will have to use his wits to convince the corpses to leave this world for the next . In "Watchers of the Field" Jacob and his neighbor notice the scarecrows of the corn field have hands tipped with razors. Their investigation is cut short when the scarecrows are more alive than they appear. Jacob has to escape the seemingly never ending stalks of corn before the knife handed monsters make him their prey.

Almost ready to go. Any advice?

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Does it make sense to change keyword strategy after the initial launch blitz? When I put out a new work, I'll target the keywords towards a bunch of different subcategories that the work would fit into. Then when it goes free and I market it, it often tops those genre charts for a few days, then slowly falls into obscurity. Once it's out of the top 100 or whatever, I don't think anyone is going to find it by browsing the categories. I think what I should be doing at that point is more SEO style keywords to land on lists of books when people put in specific search terms.

Any opinions on this?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Does it make sense to change keyword strategy after the initial launch blitz? When I put out a new work, I'll target the keywords towards a bunch of different subcategories that the work would fit into. Then when it goes free and I market it, it often tops those genre charts for a few days, then slowly falls into obscurity. Once it's out of the top 100 or whatever, I don't think anyone is going to find it by browsing the categories. I think what I should be doing at that point is more SEO style keywords to land on lists of books when people put in specific search terms.

Any opinions on this?

I'm going to tell you the truth. At this point your best marketing strategy is to wrote more.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

EngineerSean posted:

I'm going to tell you the truth. At this point your best marketing strategy is to wrote more.

I concur, doing that as well. :)

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011





I can't decide. One one hand it's kinda retro-looking, on the other hand the title font and background is kinda janky looking. I like the dude though.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


ravenkult posted:

I can't decide. One one hand it's kinda retro-looking, on the other hand the title font and background is kinda janky looking. I like the dude though.

Yeah the cover image is good creepy but something feels a little off with the cover as a whole and I think it's the font or text layout or something.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




I'm gonna say add a warm filter to the background to give it a tint and change the color (if not also the font) of the title. Keep the author name as is.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


A1989 Honda Accord posted:

Cover



Almost ready to go. Any advice?

Your author name and title are floating in a sea of cover. Author name bigger, at least. You're branding yourself.

Bolverkur
Aug 9, 2012




The A in the last name makes it hard to see what's being written when viewed as a small picture. It looks like an very italicized S or F or something. I highly recommend changing it to be the same style as the other A's. Right now it's just an eyesore.

I'm also not quite sure if you need the "Introductions" in the title. That makes me feel, as a potential buyer, like I'm not really getting anything more than just a teaser. It's only the introduction? So when do I get the actual meat of the real story? What does this subtitle add, exactly? It doesn't sound that great and seems a bit unnecessary. Why not just have the title as simply Cyprus Grove? If you're intent on having a subtitle then I recommend finding something else that's more descriptive and catching.

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magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


A1989 Honda Accord posted:

Cover



Almost ready to go. Any advice?

I think it looks badass as hell.
It harkens back to the glory days of paperback books.

I googled paperback book covers, and found this. Similar, no?


You could push it even farther, adding faded creases and a cheesy imprint going down the top left or right corner. But that's me.

I agree that you're branding yourself, but you're also branding your story. I should note, however that my own personal experience is only limited to dreaming of finishing a book. One day.

edit - on a completely unrelated note - I follow this person on twitter: https://twitter.com/AgentVader. I get the feeling He/She is an anonymous literary agent taking the piss out of the agent/publisher system.

quote:

Literary agencies can and should start signing #selfpublishing authors with a track record of sales. They should start marketing services

It's encouraging to see their posts, calling out agents to take on self-pubs with a proven track record, or even publishers to recognize them. I'm STILL struggling with whether to waste my time finding an agent or waste my time micro-managing the self-pub structure and annoying the poo poo out of everybody I know to buy my book. Surely there's something in between? Self-pub, and then pay a PR agent?

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 18:53 on Sep 19, 2014

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