Laura Howard: January 2013


The Best of Both Publishing Worlds

Today's post is written by a friend I met on Facebook, Becca Ann, whose self-publishing debut, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend is a hilarious break from some of the angsty reading I typically go for.

Becca is here to share her publishing stories from both sides of the proverbial fence- Traditional Publishing AND Self-Publishing.


Six Questions with Nikki Jefford

One thing before I announce this week's Six Question Guest. Due to the fact that I am getting down to the wire with publishing The Forgotten Ones, I'm going to be cutting down the number of posts I publish per week from four to two. 

I'll keep Six Question Saturdays because they're my most popular posts. But, I am getting where I am really needing to focus on the editing stage of the book, so please forgive me and know that I'm still here, just a little less.

And, with that -- today I'm honored to present the talented and beautiful Nikki Jefford to Six Questions! Have a great weekend!


The Shocking Truth About Multi-Tasking

Happy Monday everyone! Today we have a guest that I've been hoping to score for MONTHS. 

Shannon O’Neil is the author half of Duolit: The Self-Publishing Team. Along with Toni (the geek half of the duo) she helps frazzled writers get focused with book marketing tips, motivational advice, and promotional ideas for introverts.


The Matter of Covers

Today we have a guest post on Book Covers by Sedona Venez, who just released her novel, Infinity.

 I certainly am a firm believer in having a beautiful package for all your hardwork


Six Questions with M.M. Shelley

Today I have an interview to present by author M.M. Shelley

I don't typically do interviews on weekdays, but since I love to support authors whenever I can, I broke the rules!

Tight Knit #Giveaway by Allie Brennan

Thanks so much Laura for letting me steal your blog for a day! 

When I decided to commit to this writing game, everyone thought I was crazy. And I mean everyone... Including me.   But here I am a few years later with a shiny copy of my debut novel, TIGHT KNIT

Most people still think I'm crazy, but what I think is crazy is the amazing response I'm getting to a story that is so close to my heart.   

To show my appreciation I am traveling the blogs of a few of my biggest supporters, cheerleaders, reality-check-givers and midnight email responders to give away my book!



Six Questions with Amy Bartol

Happy Sunday, writers! I have a special edition of Six Questions for you because I had a chance to interview rock-star author Amy Bartol, and didn't want ANYTHING to come in the way of getting her on. 

Welcome to Six Questions Amy!


Six Questions with K.A. Linde

Please help me welcome K.A. Linde to Six Question Saturday! She is the author of the Breakout novels Avoiding Commitment and Avoiding Responsibility. 

Her approach to writing and publishing are different from many of the authors that I follow. But, whatever she's doing, she's doing something right. She has a legion of fans who love/hate her characters passionately.


New Adult Addiction


Author J.A. Huss is the author of New Adult Science Fiction novels and a blogger at New Adult Addiction. Like me, she's passionate about the rise in the NA genre. But, not just that, we both hope to see the sci-fi/ fantasy side of New Adult rise in 2013, since 2012 was the year of NA Contemporary.


Publishing with Createspace

 Print On Demand (POD) saves us from having to spend a fortune up front, but make sure you pay attention to these tips from YA/NA author Bethany Lopez so that your proofs come back great the first time!


The Forgotten Ones Cover Reveal Blitz

Title: The Forgotten Ones

Author: Laura Howard

Genre: NA Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Expected release date: May 15, 2013

Age Group: New Adult

Cover Designer: Stephanie Mooney 

Book Description:

Allison O'Malley just graduated from college. Her life's plan is to get a job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She doesn't have room for friends or even Ethan, who clearly wants more.

When Allison's long-lost father shows up, he claims he can bring her mother back from the dark place her mind has sent her. He reveals legends of a race of people long forgotten, the Tuatha de Danaan, along with the truth about why he abandoned her mother.

Share on Facebook and/or Twitter and you could win a $50 Amazon (or B&N) Gift card!


Self-Publishing - the "easy way" to get published?

Lana Penrose detailed her culture shock experiences following her boyfriend to Greece in her memoir To Hellas and Back. She continues her story in Kickstart My Heart. Originally published by Penguin/Viking, but are now self-published.

Why is it that so few talk about the blood, sweat and tears that goes into the initial set-up of self-publishing with Amazon and Smashwords? To me the process seems glossed over, particularly by the gazillions of self-appointed 'experts' and the online publishing behemoths poised to tell you how 'simple' it is.

Being an Australian author, my agreement with Penguin/Viking meant that my works were forever bound to Australia. Like an asthmatic child locked indoors by an overly protective mother, I watched through a window as all the other kids played outside on a global playground. I was being told that my two memoirs were solid, modern day riots (especially by my real-life mother) and I was on the receiving end of critical acclaim in my home country. Readers loved my work, as did the media. But who would ever know outside of my own hood? I then had a bright idea. Why, I’d reclaim my rights from Penguin and self-publish to the world. Simple!

Every man and his dog were proclaiming how easy it is to self-publish in the twenty-first century. Yet this exercise literally swallowed up the better part of my 2012 and today I find myself bitter towards the Mayans for claiming what is left of my time on planet Earth.

First I had to get my rights back from Penguin; one of those things you write on a To Do list and spend the rest of your life attempting to cross off. They were lovely about it, but I became the proverbial pest, badgering people until they prised my claws from their backs and shook me free. After several months, my rights were reverted. Phase 1 complete! Brilliant! What’s next?
The all-important re-packaging, which involved freshening up my narrative. I re-edited my two books which of course took many months. In the meantime I searched for a great cover designer. I started with graphic artists affiliated with Penguin but professionals of that ilk still seem to charge authors at publishing house rates. 

And so I instead appointed the perfect candidate: a dear friend who happens to be a terrific artist. But neither of us had the foggiest about the various specs required by different platforms, including size, spine widths, or the average circumference of the human head. 

I of course researched said information and passed it on, but it was a steep learning curve for us both. Two covers took over six months. Yes, ‘tis true. It was tough! And in the end, the job was passed onto a third party to ensure everything was ‘print-ready’. 

Done. Now what?

It surely had to be time to upload to Createspace and I did five star jumps in anticipation! Amazon’s Createspace is like nothing we writers have known before and is nothing short of incredible. It is this platform that has revolutionized our industry. But is it as user-friendly as everyone proclaims? Personally, I wouldn't describe it as ‘easy’, but ‘doable’. It takes concentration, patience, falling over, getting up, interpreting vagaries, emailing Amazon, drinking, troubleshooting, reading volumes of online instruction and a great deal of time – or it did me, anyway. And I’d like to add that I’m not a complete Luddite. Well, I am a bit, but I’m not a total moron, although many would argue otherwise. (Especially after reading the next sentence.)

It took me ten attempts to get each book right on Createspace. That’s because I used Amazon’s amazing Interior Reviewer facility and went through both books page by page, because God knows I wasn’t going to be one of those authors with an embarrassing hash tag or question mark inexplicably floating in the middle of a word sea. Bad formatting and weird punctuation that materialise like ghosts is becoming more and more prevalent and if you want to stand out as a credible author (which I consider myself to be), you simply can’t afford to come across as hokey. That’s not what people pay for. So that’s why I was pedantic. And let me say it’s hard enough getting the spelling, grammar and punctuation of a 90,000 word document right, let alone two 90,000 word documents, let alone having to get every aspect of the formatting spot on as well. It. Takes. Time.
Finally, finally … mission accomplished! And being that I can be accused of being my Christian-name spelt backwards (my name’s Lana) (think about it), I wanted to get my Amazon and Smashwords electronic uploads just right as well. This time I wasn’t taking any chances. I hired a professional formatter after insisting on testimonials, comparing prices and deciding on somebody who seemed just right. 

Little did I know that Amazon offers a free service to prepare Createspace files for Kindle. My bad.
Instead I turned over my manuscripts – that are close to my only children – to a stranger who successfully prepared my files for Kindle, but submitted my Smashwords files in html format. When I went to upload them, I received an error message declaring that Smashwords only accepts .doc files. ‘Strange that a professional would not be aware of such a thing,’ I mused as I scratched my chin. 

I pointed out said error to said formatter. Said formatter - who is an extremely nice person - apologised profusely and asked for my username and password to upload on my behalf. Great customer service, but probably not the best idea. Said formatter then re-submitted the files, only there were new errors, so we amicably agreed that I would take my business elsewhere, bearing in mind that we were now screaming towards Christmas, writing is my alleged livelihood and eight months had passed.
A lady on ‘Mark’s List’ successfully formatted my books for Smashwords. She did a great job and immediately corrected the small errors I picked up after I uploaded and re-uploaded (times eight). How did I know there were errors? Because I checked through 300 odd pages of two books (meaning 600 odd pages) in their various formats. By ‘various formats’, I mean ePub, Mobi, PDF, RTF and whatever else Smashwords converts to. There are about ten in all (meaning 6,000 odd pages to peruse) and different ‘quirks’ popped up in different versions. Again, I doubt many people would be so my-name-spelt-backwards about unearthing such things. In fact I’m fairly certain they’re not.

I say this because I’m still hearing from writers a resounding, ‘
Self-Publishing Is Easy!’ They practically scream it through loudhailers. I've heard that it ‘only takes an hour!’ and that it’s as easy to self-publish as it is to write a book – and we all know how easy that is! (Oops! I just sneezed out another one!) Not for the first time, I wonder if I hail from another planet. What with the legalities, re-packaging, re-formatting and charlatan-leapfrogging, self-publishing for me wasn’t ‘easy’ and I’d love to hear of any super hot cover designers and formatters who truly walk the walk, because I sit today mildly traumatised and I’m only incrementally closer to knowing what to do the next time around. I found that trying to secure the right people to help me on this journey was like shooting fish in a barrel because you don’t know what you’re gonna get ‘til you get it and there are too many people claiming that they know what they’re doing when most of us don’t. This is brand new territory for us all!

There were other hurdles along the way too boring to mention and I have to say I’ve never appreciated my former publishing house so much. There’s nothing like working with experts, particularly if they’re gunning for your books’ success.

In closing, thankfully everything's now up and running and I couldn't be happier with the arrangement. I’m friends with my edits. 

My covers look fab. And my books are at last available worldwide, each up for grabs for the price of a sandwich. 

Yes, I get that self-publishing is a million times easier than it used to be, but easy? 

No, not really, kids.


When Lana approached me about writing for my blog, I knew it was meant to be. I have heard traditionally published authors scoff at indies and say it's the easy way, or cheating. 

While I'm twirling five or six plates in the air at any given moment getting ready for my debut, I know this simply isn't true.

Tell me, has self-publishing been easy for YOU?


COVER REVEAL: Haven From the Storm by Sarah Dosher

Title: Haven From the Storm
Author: Sarah Dosher
Genre: Mature Young Adult
Expected release date: March 2013
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Cover Designer: okay creations

Book Description: 

Most were asleep in their beds the night Lily Grace’s entire world was ripped apart, leaving only darkness and torment in its place. The only remaining person she depended on abandoned her without a second thought…or so that’s what Lily has believed for the past four years.
Dean Haven has returned for one reason—to win Lily’s love again. He’s already broken her heart because of the demons that haunt him. Can his desire for Lily keep him from succumbing to those demons again?

Dean has no idea what awaits him when he tries to fight his way back into Lily’s life. Everything he remembers has changed, including Lily.

Is love enough when you’re forced to weather the storms life has blown your way?

Author Bio:

Sarah Dosher is the mother of twins, cowboy’s wife, loving daughter, aggravating sister, lifelong friend, newbie writer, soon to be self-published author, fighter for healthcare quality, cleaner of the house, washer of the dishes, folder of the laundry (sometimes), kisser of the ouchies, lover of all books…avid napper.


Six Questions with Grace Elliot

Today's guest is Grace Elliot, author of Hope's Betrayal and Eulogy's Secret - engrossing historical fiction.

No matter what genre you write in, a good cover is key... and if you scroll down to see Grace's covers you'll see that she has breathtaking cover art that hooks you immediately.

1. How many drafts do you typically go through before you upload a book?

My average is around four or five although this is decreasing as I get more experienced. My first full length novel (never published!) got to the eight draft before I began to lose the will to live! That manuscript went through a draft for each of the main characters, then one for the weather, one for scenery, et.c,  by which time any freshness had long since gone. It was perhaps a wise thing, to put it aside - where, six books later, it remains.

I'm a fan of Stephen King's method which is to write the first draft quickly and without self-criticism (or, 'writing for myself' as he puts it), to go on and refine it in the second draft ('for the reader' according to King.) I'm not sufficiently accomplished to trust myself with only two drafts, but I'm getting there and anything after three is usually fine tuning or in response to beta reader suggestions.

2.What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book (mentioned above) is titled The Woman Who Paints Horses. This historical fiction was inspired by a cottage that I walk past every day on the way to work. This white-washed, wisteria clad dwelling is where a famous female Victorian artist once lived. Intrigued, I looked into her life story (I'm deliberately not mentioning her name, because, one day I may yet dust off that manuscript!) I discovered she led an astounding life that read like a saga: from parental abuse to sex discrimination, poverty and then the revelation of her amazing talent as an artist.

Actually, my latest release, Hope's Betrayal was also inspired by a woman I discovered via the cottage she lived in. This time the woman was born on the dawn of the French revolution, her father was a fisherman and her family survived by smuggling.

3. Before you self-published, did you query agents/publishers?

Yes. I sent The Woman Who Paints Horses to Georgette Heyer's publisher, who was kind enough to reply, saying he loved the story but it wasn't commercial enough in a challenging economic climate. However, this gave me the confidence to keep writing and send A Dead Man's Debt out into the world, where it was signed by Solstice Publishing. I'm forever grateful to Solstice, for their faith in my work and what they taught me about marketing. However the experience also made me think about the percentage cut publishers take and the advantages of indie publishing.

I went independent with "Eulogy's Secret" haven't looked back since; being in control of everything from editing to cover design, allows me to react to constructive criticism and suggestions in a way that is difficult via the conventional route. Despite the cost of employing a good editor and first rate cover artist, I'm still ahead financially- so I'm happy.

4. What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?

When I first decided to go Indie, I mistakenly assumed I could do the editing myself and with this aim bought a book on grammar. All this taught me was how much I'd forgotten and that my eye is very unreliable when it comes to spotting mistakes in my own work. That aside, even if I could trust myself, it takes too much precious time that could be spent writing, to tooth comb a manuscript for typos, grammar and punctuation errors - for me it's hire a professional, no question.

5. What would you do differently if you could start all over again?

I've learnt important lessons on every step of this journey, so there's not a lot I would change. Perhaps my only proviso would be to have discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) before 2011. I took part in 2011 and 2012, and it drastically improved my productivity. During NaNoWriMo word count is king, and so that nit-picking self-critical editor in my head is switched off and my fingers let rip across the key board, which is a healthy discipline for me as I tend to agonize over individual words…slow, slow, slow.

6.What marketing tools have been the most effective for you?

I'm active on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and a number of forums, so it's difficult to know what works and what doesn't. My ethos is to build a following rather than go for the hard sell. I rarely pay for advertising and in fact, I don't know what other writers have found, but the paid ads produced disappointing results. I'm a great believer in good quality writing selling more books and so endeavor to prioritize writing my next book, so there are plenty out their for fans to pick up.

However the one thing I wish I'd done years ago, is build an emailing list for a newsletter. I've belatedly realized the importance of this and have come to it late…but better late than never.


Writers, have you started a mailing list to announce your latest releases and promotions?


Publishing Predictions for 2013

Happy New Year! Today is a special feature that includes ten authors I have a ton of respect for and follow faithfully. I've asked them to give me their best guess on what trends we'll see in the publishing industry at large.

Joanna Penn

  • Saturation of self-publishing, due to big 6 publishers buying Author Solutions encouraging vanity publishing and the Kindle 'get-rich-quick' market which has encouraged a huge batch of bad quality books to be published, including algorithmically generated content. There will be some kind of massive overhaul of what the online bookstores want to offer and a return to basics for those writers who want a long-term career. Author focus: Stick with Plan A. Write good books, build a fan-base slowly and deliver a quality product and experience. Repeat.
  •  Ebooks go global. Amazon dominates the US and UK but the rest of the world is opening up to ebooks and companies like Kobo have a chance to take over those new markets. Author focus: Make sure you're not tied to one platform. The world is not just USD and US sales.

Shannon Mayer

  • I believe we will see an author will turn down a 7 figure traditional publishing contract in order to continue to self publish. (I don't think this has happened yet, I'm sure I would have heard of it!)
  • Amazon will continue to dominate despite Barnes and Noble and Microsoft coming together. I don't see this being changed in the next year, or even two. They (Amazon) has too much of a lead on the other players, in my opinion.
  • I also think that Amazon will put together another perk for authors to continue with the exclusivity contracts. My gut feeling is that it may be in line with getting promoted more on Amazon if you sign up for KDP select, and of course, more visibility creates more sales. This could be another, relatively easy incentive for them (Amazon) to implement, and one that many authors would jump on.
  • The next "big thing" will be the fantasy market. With "The Hobbit" in theatres, I feel like there will be a resurgence in the epic fantasy genre.

CJ Lyons
  •  NYC publishers acting more like small presses by learning who their readers are and embracing the fact that their authors are their most valuable asset when it comes to connecting with readers (not multi-million dollar web platforms or app builders or whatever the social media bright and shiny expensive toy of the day is)
  • Additional global distribution channels leading to more indy publishing going worldwide with translations both into and out of English (which I am personally looking forward to as a few of my favorite authors are based in foreign countries and it's hard to find their books). Kobo is on the cutting edge with this along with Apple and Amazon, but it would be awesome to start to see more multimedia translations (audiobooks, ebooks, and print) available to more readers.
  • A huge shakeup in how contracts are negotiated, so they become true licensing agreements for limited, pre-defined time (as opposed to signing away your book for life) and limited territories/formats. We're starting to see publishers edge towards this, but so far it's been teeny, tiny baby steps. I understand they are loath to give up control and potential hypothetical windfalls, but creating this kind of partnership between authors and publishers becomes a win/win for all involved—including the readers!
  • A recent BISG study said that around 40% of all trade titles were self-published last year. I predict that the number of self-published titles will seriously encroach on traditional published titles and will be more than 50%, probably at least 60-65% by the end of 2013. At the same time we'll reach a saturation in the market because of more traditionally published authors with name recognition re-releasing their backlists.
  • I predict that readers will start to pass over new authors (both self published and traditionally published) unless they have a strong platform and can build word of mouth. Thus it will be more important than ever that writers know what their brand is (their promise to their readers), keep that promise with every book, write more great books and get them out there, and connect with their readers and help them find their books and spread the word.
  • I'm looking forward to seeing what our new Epublishing landscape becomes in 2013! I'm a huge fan of The Zon (Amazon), but I do believe in making sure my books are EVERYWHERE, meaning no KDP Select for me! The name of the game is going to be international sales on multiple Ereading platforms...and I mean international Ebook Sales, not TradiPub paper sales.
  • The TradiPubs will continue to make it "look" like they're seriously entering the Ebook realm and seriously courting and taking care of authors. But don't be fooled...they're still in the game for their stockholders, and as long as it's their stock price they're worried about, authors will never benefit under that priority system, unless they're in the very top one to five percent level.
  • I'm focusing on getting my Ebooks on every platform I can (for example, my Kobo Writing Life Sales are really picking up), and continuing to write a bunch of new books in genres that are new to me. It's about finding readers across genres and building your base just as wide as it is deep. The best of wishes to each of you for 2013!!!

Christine Nolfi
  • The term "Indie" will become verboten. The phrase "New Fiction" will gain traction. The quickly merging traditional publishers will continue to lure some of New Fiction's brightest stars with deals that give a higher percentage of royalties to the authors. Amazon's publishing arm will do the same. Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and other sites will increase their share of the eReading market even though Amazon will continue to hold the top slot.
  • Book blogs will become increasingly choosy about the New Fiction releases they're willing to review, making exposure for debut novelists all the more difficult to obtain. Serious New Fiction authors will merge into groups and operate like small, independent publishing houses by pooling resources and talent to increase the scope of promotional efforts.
  • The sheer number of e-Reading devices sold worldwide will reach a tipping point late in 2013, causing the closure of yet more bookstores and allowing a larger pool of authors to become wealthy virtually overnight.

Anthea Lawson
  •  The e-book gold rush mentality will taper off. I predict that plenty of new indie authors will enter the market, but more will come in aware that there's just as much work nurturing a career as an independent author as there is trying to break into traditional publishing. Writing books is still a get-rich-slow scheme for most authors.
  • Kobo will finally hit its stride. Might be wishful thinking on my part, but by the middle of the year, I see Kobo starting to pick up some serious market share.
  • Amazon will continue to dominate. They are too innovative to do otherwise at this point. I also think they'll keep trying new things to entice indie authors, and they'll keep tweaking their algorithms and search engines. One thing about Amazon is that they are never stagnant.
  • Apple also expands - although I see a lot of people reading on their iThings using a Kindle app. Until Apple makes their store easier to use, they will lag.
  •  Speaking of lagging, B&N will continue to scramble to keep up, and continue to eat Amazon's dust.
  •  E-book reading will continue to rise, but not at the incredible pace we've seen over the last 2 years. Brick and mortar stores will struggle, give over even more of their inventory to non-book items, and carry only what they know will sell - hardback bestsellers, coffeetable books, etc. More and more genre fiction will be read on e-readers and tablets.
  •  At least one more consolidation between the big publishers - taking them down to the 'Big 4.'
  • Increasing numbers of midlist authors leaving traditional publishing. And in general, most dedicated, hardworking indie authors will be able to grow their careers.
  •  Foreign markets and audiobooks will be the new areas of growth. At some point (though maybe not this year) we'll see some translation houses springing up, quite possibly with similar 50/50 royalty split terms as Audible offers for narration services.

  • Amazon is no longer threatened by traditional publishing; we are seeing the prices steadily climb, whereas a year ago the first page of Amazon was deluged with cheap books at .99 or 1.99. Amazon was going for the throat. Yet now the prices are getting higher. Last I looked, the prices were at 5.99 and 6.99. This means they no longer are going for the kill, because they don't have to.
  • Traditional publishing will likely hemorrhage their midlist authors to up and coming indie and small press. They've always had a massive overhead that they've tried to protect and justify...all with the author being the last to get paid. This worked so long as there was no viable competition. But now, the ace in the hole they once had (getting an author in the bookstore)is going away because as more well-known authors defect (Barry Eisler, Joe Konrath, Bob Mayer, etc) indie is getting a better name, so bookstores will start opening up to more and more indies. Bookstore is status but on-line is money.
  • Small and indie press pays way better and gives authors power, autonomy and creative control they've never had yet always wanted. We live in a world that wants everything instantly, yet NYC takes a YEAR to get a book to market (and that's on the fast side). now authors who write good books QUICKLY are making a serious living. The indie paradigm offers writers what they really want--do what they love and get paid fairly for it.
  • I think B&N is too late, they needed to make their move 3 years ago. They'll still be around, but they really had an opportunity to remain a powerhouse and they gambled on bookstores and printed books.
  • In 2013, we will see that e-readers take over the market. Nooks, Kindles and iPads will continue to surge in sales as everything is bundled into one device--computer, e-reader, music, etc. As the technology drops in price, we will see a massive surge in digital book sales as millions of people who normally would not consider themselves readers start buying books for their Nooks, Kindles and iPads.

Toby Neal

  • Ebooks will finally outdistance hard copy in total sales
  • Big publishers, beginning with Simon and Schuster, will increasingly offer distribution/printing to indie authors with huge numbers of ebook sales (already happening for a few; will become more accessible and reasonable for indie writers)
  • Amazon will discount big name author ebooks now that DOJ case is over, and discontinue some of the promotion that has favored indie authors.
  •  “Freebie” promotion on Amazon and other sites will lose effectiveness in promotion tools as the market becomes saturated.
  • The Big Six will continue to consolidate with each other and streamline their systems to fight back Amazon, Smashwords, Torrent and other online presences; this will favor established names/authors further and make it harder for newbies to break in as agents have only a few places to submit books to.
  • Agents will continue to struggle to make a living and leave the field.
  • Ebooks will be increasingly “bundle-packed” and become available as group downloads or as continuous streaming through subscription services (like Spotify and Pandora for music)

Michele Scott

  • We will continue to see more indie authors. This will come from people who have decided they want to write that book and so they do it (for some this is not a good idea). The other group will be what I once was considered until I went indie (a mid-list author). The mid-listers are tired of being screwed over by the Big 6 (er um 5 and possibly soon to be Big 4…more on that down the list). Mid-list authors have a readership that they built on their own and by indie publishing via Kindle, etc… they can control their careers and make way more money considering the royalty rates. 
  • Gatekeepers: I think it is possible that there will be some kind of gatekeeping going on at Amazon, etc with indie books. Let’s face it, not everyone and their sister should be publishing, yet they are. It’s hard to wade through the slush. I think it’s possible that the key promotions (like daily deals and top 100, etc) will go to Amazon authors and Trad authors. I think it’s going to be harder to get those promotions for an Indie. They are prime real estate and my experience in becoming an Amazon author (Thomas & Mercer and ACP) is that these folks are very smart, and they will put their authors out there first, and then a Big House author. The Indie might get the last spot.
  • S&S will merge with Harper Collins and we will have a Big 4. Eventually, I think we will see a Big 3, which won’t be all that good for authors. You’re going to have to be that Big Fish in the pond to receive large advances and marketing dollars.
  • I think that those huge advances we saw over the past few years to Indies from the Trad houses will drop. Bestselling indie authors are smart. They are great writers with large readerships, and smart business skills. They don’t need the Big House advance. They can earn that kind of money quickly on their own and control their careers. The Big Houses will need to recoup their large advances and with the mid-listers jumping ship, the bottom may fall out on the Big House. You have to have a foundation to remain solid. With a decent amount of once traditionally published authors now doing their own thing, the Big House might regret putting their eggs in a few baskets. It used to work where you could pay a handful of authors seven figure advances and promote the hell out of them because you had a slew of other authors underneath them, not as many any longer. We’ll see. 
  • This is not a prediction because I honestly don’t think the Big Houses will do this (some have on a small scale), but if I was an advisor, I would tell them to take their back list that they own (and won’t give back to writers—but yet won’t do anything to sell them—yes, I am bitter about the 6 Wine Lover’s Mysteries they refuse to give back but have taken two out of print) and lower the e-book prices with a leader at .99 for a series and on up to $3.99. Guess what I think will happen? Book sales and win/win for the mid-lister,and even the publisher who gets a much larger pay-out than the author. (Rant over)
  • This isn’t a prediction but a truth. The cream typically rises to the top (except in a few cases), so even though we will see more and more people putting on their writing caps, good books will win out and find readers. I have a feeling we will see some great books in 2013. 
Denise Grover Swank

  • More authors will self-publish in 2013 and most will sell few books.
Why? There’s a glut. Authors who published in 2009-2011 had less competition. I liken it to a cocktail party. Before 2012 it was easier to mingle (get attention for your book) and talk to other people (sell books). But the party host invited a bunch more people and now the room is really crowded. It’s harder to meet people (get readers and attention) so a lot of guests will stand around and wait for someone to notice them. Many will give up and go home. The guests who’ve been there awhile (published pre-2012) will still get attention as long as they are still mingling (publishing frequently) but newer guests will either have to stand out or be really attention getting.

Another factor is that traditionally published eBooks are now selling at lower prices. Before, the high cost of eBooks was one of the best promotions for self-published books. Most readers didn’t know the difference in how a book was published and as long as a book had a good cover and good reviews, it had a chance. But owners of eReaders are savvier and have been burnt too many times by poorly produced and written self-published books. Reviews will become even more important to a readers decision to buy.

  • The free book sales promotion is all but dead.
Amazon offered this promotion in December 2011 to authors who signed up for their Select program. Amazon’s goal was to use the free book offer to help sell their new Kindle Fire. And it worked for everyone involved. But Amazon isn’t in the business to offer anything for free forever, especially since they’ve grabbed a huge market of readers. The algorithms have steadily changed to favor free books less and less. I expect Amazon to do away with this promotion all together at some point in 2013.

  • Self-published books will be even more of a slush pile for the Big 6.
This is a no brainer for traditional publishers. They’ll still acquire books the old fashioned way, but they’ll continue to buy the books that rise to the top of the self-publishing world for big money. I think we’ll see even more of a shift in this direction.

  • We’ll see a few more print only deals, but not many. Why? For a traditional publisher to take this deal, they have to be assured that the author will sell a LOT of print books. This will all depend on number eBooks already sold and what price they sold at.

Thanks for visiting, and I'd love to hear what YOU think will happen in 2013!