What To Do When the Mainstream Yawns: Pt 3
I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime: Unpublished authors so smart and so quick on the Internet that they’re selling their work through iPhones apps, iTunes and eBook readers without going through that cranky old sluggish machine called mainstream publishing.
Here’s author Seth Harwood (see last two columns below), who recently attended Bouchercon, the mystery writers’ conference, and sent this dispatch:
The New Thing
“The new thing seems to be authors putting their unpublished works out on Kindle themselves and selling each title for .99 or $1.99, of which they keep 35 or 70 cents respectively.
“The idea is that you can get new Kindle owners to stock up on cheap titles to fill their device when they get it. A few authors have sold upwards of 4,000 copies of unknown books and are using that launching pad to get bigger deals from publishers. Who knows how many of those buyers actually read the book.
“Of course, there are still roughly 40 times more iPhones and iPod Touches out there sold than Kindles, so the biggest action among individual authors lies in getting their books sold through Apps at equally low prices.”
The Old Thing Reacts
I must say I wouldn’t have believed that people who love books would buy titles based on price rather than quality if I hadn’t found myself in the freebie sections of Audible.com and iPhones for months now or warmed to the notion of trying short stories for 45 cents and why-not-take-a-flyer thrillers by unknowns for .99 to $1.99.
(And just to show you those free first-chapter offers can stimulate sales, my apologies to psychologist/author Wayne Dyer for smirking when I saw the title of his new book, “Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits” from Hay House (288 pages, $24.95). I used to think Dyer has been writing the same self-help book for the last dozen titles, but solid research and reference to a fresh plan of action in Audible’s free Chapter One convinced me to buy the damn thing.)
It’s not that any of these electronic versions replaces traditional books (and let’s stop talking as though they do; we won’t know for a long time). What we see now is new access to the printed word and new ways to build the reading audiences for books in every form possible. (For example, I’m hardly alone when word of a new book arrives via the Internet and I call my local independent bookstore to get a copy.) Continue reading