Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG: August Version


The Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly bloghop started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. On the first Wednesday of every month, members of the group share their current insecurity. If you don't have any worries this month, you can share what you've done to overcome them and to advance your writing career. Also visit the other members of IWSG and join our Facebook page.

There are two things on my writing mind this month. As I dive into a rewrite of the first book in my new series, I'm worried that it forms a cohesive story. I'm worried about the world-building. Have I made the futuristic society interesting enough? The usual questions I have about a first draft but I had hoped by this time that I would be able to create first drafts that didn't need soooo much work.

The second thing that is more a general concern about the industry is more difficult to put into exact words. Many or you know that two of my three publishers closed their doors about six months ago. I don't know the intimate details of why their businesses failed but one thing I have learned is that Amazon, that giant spreading oil slick, is squeezing those small presses the same as it is independently published authors. I've heard from a source that the big traditional publishers are suffering just as much from Amazon's control over the book market. Amazon sells more books than any other retailer. Writers and publishers have to work with them and Amazon knows that. KDP Select seems to be one of those, 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' kind of decisions writers and publishers have to make.

There are three truths: my truth, your truth, and the truth. Chinese Proverb

A blog post on SheWrites by Brooke Warner exposes a practice of some traditional publishers to not allow their authors to write those little endorsement blurbs for self-published authors. Ouch!

On lighter notes, I promised a picture of the wedding. I present Mr. and Mrs. David Gourley.

Other things I'm excited about in the upcoming week: My sister is visiting from Mississippi. I'm taping a promotional video for the October book event I'm participating in. The weather is supposed to be lovely.

Do you have an opinion or experience to share about KDP Select? Have your first drafts improved from book to book? Have you heard anything like that post on SheWrites? Any good things on tap for the rest of the week?


64 comments:

  1. I hoope your concerns sort themselves out, I hope also that blurbs won't be stopped from self published books as I self publish.
    Loved the wedding photo.Congratulations to Mr and Mrs David Gourley.
    Yvonne.

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    1. The blurb thing is disturbing. Dog eat dog world.

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  2. I worry about some of Amazon's review policies. I know a lot of self published authors. I've purchased some books, won others on contests, and been given books for review. I don't like the threat that perhaps my reviews would be removed because I posted a cover reveal or had some online conversations with the blogger/author. Its hard not to know an indie published author in this community. Not that is sways a review. Still, where is an author to get reviews so their book is high enough on some list to offer to the general public?

    You'll get there with your stories. World building can be difficult, but lots of fun to create. Good luck with your writing adventures, and congrats to the newlyweds.

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    1. I've heard of reviews being removed though it hasn't happened to me yet. It is worrisome. Writers are voracious readers and like to leave reviews.

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  3. I didn't find KDP Select beneficial at all when I published my book, so I chose not to re-enroll. But maybe it works better for authors with a backlist rather than first-time authors like myself? I'm currently working up the nerve to start writing again after a huge chunk of time off, so we'll see how this first draft goes! I'm looking forward to going home for a few days and having my sister come to visit next week :). Congrats to the newly-weds!

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    1. My publisher is looking into listing our backlist books as bundles on KDP. I've heard the same stories as you.

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  4. Great picture and it sounds like you've got lots to be thankful and happy about. I wish you wouldn't worry, as you're a rock star and I know it will all work out, writing-wise.

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  5. I love beach weddings.

    I've said for years people needed to be leery of Amazon and no one believed me. It was such a sweet deal for authors back then. But what happens when it's the only game in town? As we see now, the deal is no longer so sweet.

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    1. The wind on the beach made it difficult to take pictures. Some people made a lot of money at first on Amazon and everyone thought they could.

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  6. Lovely photo!

    It feels like my first drafts are messier now than they used to be. It seems like the more I learn about the craft, the more "stuff" gets in the way of getting the story down early on. Working on that!

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  7. When any one entity has too much control, it's never a good thing.

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  8. Amazon is scary.
    I wish fewer authors chose the Select. I prefer to get my books from the iBookstore, not Amazon.
    Looks like a happy couple!

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    1. I think many authors are rethinking Select.

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  9. It is really a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario. Amazon has everyone in their clutches.

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    1. Yeah, we need them more than they need us as individual writers.

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  10. Yes. My first drafts have improved, dramatically.
    (I've written four books, but only published two.)

    I hear you about Amazon. 99% of my sales are Kindle sales. It's kind of scary having all your eggs in one basket.

    IWSG #119 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. Same here. The huge percentage of sales is from Amazon.

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  11. Your son and daughter in law are a gorgeously handsome beautiful couple! How fantastic too to get married in shorts :)

    That was interesting about Amazon and publishers, etc. I can see that happening, the big "gobble" up the small. It happens in the particular business I'm in (medical transcription). There are 2 big national companies out there (both terrible to work for, I work for one of them, LOL) but they can out bid small companies for jobs because of their work force, etc. The small companies can't make it, they are bought by one or the other of the 2 big companies. Eventually one or the other of the big companies will buy the other. I fear that day and hope it is when I am really close to retirement.

    Enjoy your events for the rest of the week :)

    betty

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    1. It's scary when you work in a field where that stuff is going on. It happens all the time and is seldom good for the worker bees.

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  12. Sorry I can't help with the KDP and I'm sorry about the publishers. I've heard some stories too and can't help but shiver.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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    1. My friends with KDP are making no money right now.

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  13. Beautiful photo! As for KDP, I have no experience with it. Yet I know some indie authors put their books out first on KDP for the first term (3 months?) and then don't renew it, publishing their books everywhere else.

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    1. Yeah, I've heard that not many renew after they try it but there are still a lot of authors using it.

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  14. Great picture of the bride and groom! Publishers closing up is hard. I know from personal experience. Let's hope all of this settles out and a few good, solid ones stay put.

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    1. My small publisher says even the big boys are feeling the squeeze.

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  15. Great picture of the bride and groom! Publishers closing up is hard. I know from personal experience. Let's hope all of this settles out and a few good, solid ones stay put.

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  17. Ah, what a cute couple.

    Publishing right now is going through some interesting changes. I'm watching closely. Who knows what the next year will bring.

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    1. The changes are impossible to predict. I hope my publishers stays afloat.

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  18. First of all! You and your hubby are stunning. You look so happy, Susan. As for publishing and all that entails: I've tried banging my head against the wall. Not only does that not work--it hurts like hell. Becoming authors, what were we thinking!

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    1. Joylene, you are so sweet. That's my son and his new wife. I'm an old lady. And yes, what were we thinking?

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  19. Love the picture! I'm right there with you on first drafts. I've completely rearranged my first 30K, and the book is really starting to find its pace. Editing. What would we do without it?

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    1. Same things going on here. How do you have time to write, Crystal.

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  20. Hi,
    First, a very nice wedding picture. Your happiness is very evident.
    Sorry to hear about the two publishers closing. Since I don't live in the U.S. I have very little information on small publishers in the United States.
    As for rewriting or editing first drafts, I am becoming a pro on that. I am still working on my first book. Each time I do an edit, it is improved. I believe that it is because, when I step away from it and let myself look at it from a reader's point of view, I see it differently and I see things that need to be changed to give the reader more clarity.
    So, I wish you much success in your revision if you decide to do it.
    Shalom,
    Pat

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    1. Pat, you are wise and sweet. That's my son and his new wife. I'm an old lady but also very happy.

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  21. My small press doesn't do KDP anymore because while a ton of readers get the books for free during the five free days that's part of KDP, it doesn't bring in many reviews or sales afterward.

    I had thought my first drafts would improve, and to an extent they do, but there there's always things that need fixing or new things I need to focus on. Like I thought I added enough emotion and physical responses while writing but was told by a beta reader that I didn't include enough. So now that's something I am working on when I write and revise.

    That's a cute picture! Enjoy your sister's visit!

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    1. I hear you, Chrys. We sound similar with those drafts.

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  22. My small press doesn't do KDP anymore because while a ton of readers get the books for free during the five free days that's part of KDP, it doesn't bring in many reviews or sales afterward.

    I had thought my first drafts would improve, and to an extent they do, but there there's always things that need fixing or new things I need to focus on. Like I thought I added enough emotion and physical responses while writing but was told by a beta reader that I didn't include enough. So now that's something I am working on when I write and revise.

    That's a cute picture! Enjoy your sister's visit!

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  23. Nice picture.

    I'm not a novelist, so most of what Amazon does only affects me as a consumer. Poetry has been a plodding, struggling business for generations and no one is rushing to monopolize it because it doesn't pay.

    I believe if someone loves a book, provided any personal connection with the author is disclosed somehow, they should be able to blurb or review any book. We are urged to get involved in the writing community and then have people criticise us for having connections to other writers... ugh. What does involvement mean?

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    1. The blurb thing is carrying competition too far. Writers should be allowed to support other writers.

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  24. Amazon is just...I don't know, a tyrant maybe. Or at least it's getting there. It's gotten big enough that it can pretty much squeeze whoever it wants to and there's not much they can do about it. KDP Select really seems iffy...

    And isn't that a cute couple :)

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    1. KDP really sucked in a lot of people but many are sorry now.

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  25. Awesome wedding photo Susan. You look really happy together!

    I hold true to the belief - keep practising your craft and get your name out there. It all pays off in the end.

    Heres another example of the big "corporation wins." Maurice over at Geektwins got the dream job writing for about.com. It turns out hes delighted to be writing about Superman and may the lucky stars of Krypton shine down on him.

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    1. You're so sweet, Spacerguy, but that's my son and his new wife. And you're right about getting your name out there. Now how to do that?

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  26. It's sad to see the small presses closing down but I'm not surprised. The ebook boom has levelled out and sales have leveled out as well. I'm not sure this is Amazon's fault as it was bound to happen. Publishers who spent money or possibly went into debt, thinking the boom would continue on and even increase from year to year are now in trouble. Publishing is a risky business any way you look at it.

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    1. I think some folded because they took on too much too soon. The small presses that are surviving are working their asses off.

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  27. I agree with Karen, it is sad that the small presses are disappearing. Just like the independent bookstores, the landscapes are changing. But we must be ready to roll along with them or get sucked into the void as well...

    Lovely pic, Susan...

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    1. The void is always there waiting for us, isn't it, Michael?

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    2. I guess we're all a bit concerned when the biggest fish in the industry isn't being challenged.

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  28. Beautiful wedding photo! Thanks for sharing.

    I'm sorry to hear about your publishers. I don't understand why Amazon must have a choke hold on everything. You know they make a fortune off us no matter what.

    Fingers crossed for you and your writing!
    Heather

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  29. I did KDP Select with the first book I released, but opted against it for the other two. I liked the idea of free days, but I changed my mind after hearing too many bad things about giving away books without having significantly built up your readership first. I haven't sold any non-Amazon copies of the book I also have out on Nook and Kobo.

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  30. I've only written two novels, so far, but it seemed like there was mild improvement, not only in the first draft, but in how I go about editing. Not enough improvement, mind you, but something. I just told my husband the other day that I didn't want to contribute as much to Amazon, so I've been making an attempt to get things locally first. It's a little thing, but their monopoly freaks me out.

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  31. Congrats to the newest Mrs. Gourley and I wish them both decades of happiness:)

    I read the article you mentioned and found Brooke's post to be disheartening - at the beginning - and uplifting at the end because she advises authors to follow their heart - and their cojones - when it comes to the blurb.

    Thanks for sharing, Susan, and "break a leg" with the redrafting of the redrafted redraft :)

    Writers have to be a little crazy, don't we - and I love it ;)

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  32. I have no experience with KDP, but I've seen how it is affecting the industry. And, as usual, writers are getting screwed.

    On a brighter note...congrats to the sun. Beautiful beach-side wedding photo. :)

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  33. I never know how to feel about Amazon. Hate that they're putting publishers out of business, but they did open up a whole new avenue to writers. It's a tough one.

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  34. what a fantastic picture! (and i have a sister in mississippi too =)
    darn the publishing industry's need for that amazon bee-autch! =(
    and there's not much we can do about it. I don't know much about KDP, and i just pray my publisher is doing well enough to stay alive!

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  35. Sounds like Amazon and other publishers are trying to exert too much control over all of us. It's kind of scary, but how do we fight such things? Not allowing authors to write blurbs for self-published authors doesn't even sound legal to me. Certainly not right.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote


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  36. There shouldn't be divisions put in place between different types of authors. Many traditionally published authors know indies in this community and I see nothing wrong with putting in a good word for anybody, in fact many authors are actually published in multiple avenues.

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  37. I think that's pretty sad if the blurb thing is true. Makes me think of peer pressure in highschool with the don't hang with "geeks" or don't hang with "athletes". I have writer friends who trad publish, indie publish and hybrid. I'm indie published by choice. (turned down 2 offers that I didn't seek) Amazon select works if you are savvy on the marketing business end. I had 3 bks in select at different times and only 1 did well but I also learned a bit about marketing and social media by the time I put the 3rd in so maybe that's the difference? If you're shy and not comfortable pushing your books-like many authors then the select (KDP) program can work for you in terms of extra visibility and some of the promo opt they offer that don't require a lot of leg work and the reality is 90 days exclusive isn't the worst contract to be had. Currently none of my books are in select with the 90 days but its because I've grown a small reader base on BN, Kobo and Apple. By small I mean really small but one email from a saddened reader from nook about a book in select made me think twice about doing amazon only. Some might think its only 1 reader missing out but I think since I'm early in my writing career that 1 reader could be my biggest cheerleader. You never know. Publishing has changed so much and will continue to change. In the end I think we have to do what works for us and hopefully not step on the toes of friends who decided to do it different.
    My drafts have gotten better and better as I listen more and more to my editor's comments so I can apply them in the future knowing some of the red flags. Loved the pic on FB :)

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  38. I saw a survey floating around that showed that Amazon has taken an additional 10% of the market share of buyers in the last year, and shows no sign of stopping. They're in the best position to get people to buy books, because it's also a Walmart, grocery store, and Netflix in one place.

    I worked with an indie publisher who decided to make the paperbacks by his company on Amazon a full 20% higher in cost than directly from his website... in the end, a costly mistake. The press is under and the owner is basically in hiding, leaving authors contacting me wondering what happened to the rights of their novels.

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