Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thoughts and Explanations of the Lawsuit against Apple and Publishers

So. This is happening: U.S. Sues Apple, Publishers Over E-Book Pricing (goes to the Wall Street Journal, so the link may expire).

For those of you who don't engage in regular discussions about the business side of publishing books, this is probably a case out of left field for you, but it's probably going to affect the consumer just as much as it does the companies involved.

By way of brief summary, here's what's going on:

Amazon sells books cheap.
Apple doesn't want to compete.
Publishers fear monopoly.
Apple and publishers accused of price-fixing.

If you want the slightly larger story, I elaborate:

(BIG FAT WARNING NOTE: I am not a lawyer. I am merely well-read. All of the information I'm giving to you has been condensed from other articles and essays and blogs elsewhere on the internet. Do not take what I have to say, word for word, as irrefutable truth. This is simply the situation as I understand it.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sales Report for March 2012

Well, we're a couple months into this whole indie publishing project now, so I suppose it's time for another checkup.

As I said last time, I'm not posting these to brag, but to give a picture of how a career begins to take form and grow into a profitable and sustainable lifestyle. No idea when that'll happen, but I will get there in time. So, if you're reading this today, I'm hoping you'll hang in there with me. If you're reading this from the future (following a major publication or award, I'm sure), I hope this gives you a picture of how long it took me to get there.

Right, now with the numbers. I have yet to figure out an easy way to report all this information, so I'll stick with the overly long listing method.

"Reserved for War: Paradise Remnants Episode 1"
Kindle: 2 ($0.70)
Nook: 0 ($0.00)
Smashwords: 0 ($0.00)

"Divided by Victory: Paradise Remnants Episode 2"
Kindle: 0 ($0.00)
Nook: 0 ($0.00)
Smashwords: 0 ($0.00)

"Armed for Battle: Paradise Remnants Episode 3"
Kindle: 0 ($0.00)
Nook: 0 ($0.00)
Smashwords: 1 ($0.56)

Kindle: 0 ($0.00)
Nook: 0 ($0.00)
Smashwords: 0 ($0.00)

So, for March, we have a total of 3 sales earning me $1.26. Lets set that up against the numbers from previous months:

January: 6 ($2.36)
February: 4 ($1.61)
March: 3 ($1.26)

Yeah, not all that encouraging as a general trend. Diminishing sales is usually a bad thing, right?

But I'm trying not to be discouraged. Three months does not a career make, after all. And I'm sitting here with no outside advertising (like, from magazine or novel publications) leading readers to my indie material. That's something I aim to remedy in the coming months, but it's a process that takes time.

The other, more encouraging trend that I've noticed, however, has to do with which items are selling. While I may have only sold 13 copies in the past three months (hey, I broke double digits, awesome!), it's important to note that 9 of those copies are of the first installment -- "Reserved for War." What I take this to mean is that people are starting to see a series developing through my consistent releases and  feel an urge to take a look. Whether or not they enjoy that first installment enough to continue reading (or to spread the word!) remains to be seen. And while this is hardly enough data to really prove anything (yet), I still find it an encouraging sign that the plan behind my whole gamble of "episodic releases" might actually be working.

That's all I have to say for this month. Now I'm off to prepare another release (slightly late due to Easter. Sorry.)

Until next time...
-joshua kehe

Monday, March 19, 2012

What did you do before the war? -- Antebellum

So...I've been gone a while. Yep. Sorry. Back to work now.

For those who missed it, I release episode 3 of "Paradise Remnants" last week. You can find it at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble, as usual.

Today marks the release of a new story...which is actually an old story. "Antebellum" is a story I wrote a couple years ago, and was easily the best thing I wrote that year. I was a much different writer then than I am now. I certainly had no conception of length, and how much I could accomplish in a couple thousand words.

(Sometimes I think I still haven't learned that lesson. *shrug* Oh well.)
Gotta say, best cover I've designed so far.

"Antebellum" is presented to you as-is, but it's also the start of a much bigger project.

Earlier this semester, in Mythology class, we talked about the fallacy of the ur-text -- the idea that all myths (or at least the more commonly seen mythological arcs) can be traced back to a single myth in the far distant past. We've also been discussing ideas about the solidity of a myth. Basically, even though you encounter a mythological story in one context, with certain events and themes, it doesn't make a different presentation of that myth less valid. Think "Cupid and Psyche" vs "Till We Have Faces." Same myth; different tellings; both valid.

That's what I'm going to be doing with "Antebellum"

Last semester, I mentioned my English Honors Project. My goal has expanded somewhat. In addition to the novella I am writing for the honors project that expands "Antebellum" and firmly grounds it in a post-apocalyptic plague-era England. It features more or less the same characters, but expands the story and considers what effect the specific setting of plague-era England has on their behavior.

Similarly, I'll be expanding "Antebellum" in a completely different direction by writing a novel that sets the characters in post-World War I Europe, and exploring that historical setting as if it were a post-apocalyptic one.

In this way, "Antebellum" is like the precursor or the ur-text for these upcoming projects. So, in preparation for those releases, check out "Antebellum" and start considering where the story might go if it were set in England, 1351, or in mainland Europe, 1919.

What did you do before the war?

Until next time...
-josh k.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recap and Follow-up to Meeting #2

Another week goes by...and that's another week of blog posts that I planned and never wrote. I'll get around to them eventually, but the actual writing (aka the fiction, aka the fun stuff, aka the stuff that will make me money) comes first and I'm finding myself with less and less time each week.

As a quick preview on some upcoming topics (because, hey, it might motivate me to actually write them), we've got:

Career Observations from "Rain"
Teaching Creative Writing: Instinctive vs Analytic
The Devil's Advocate Speaks! -- Tell, Don't Show
The Devil's Advocate Speaks! -- EXTREMEism

That should take me through the end of the month at my pace, right? :P

Anyways, the meat of the matter here is that we had another meeting of the Pre-Professional Fiction Writers Business Workshop Extravaganza al. And this one was a highly productive one -- from my perspective. There was some engaging discussion and identification of areas that we will need to explore more thoroughly, as well as a brief (and then long, and then lengthy) presentation from myself on publication process (and then agents, and then indie pub, and was over).

Below, you'll find a quick recap of the discussion's highlights (including the list of topics that we've identified to talk more about in the coming weeks), as well as some supplementary reading material that I sent out after the meeting for folks to look into if they're interested. Peruse at your own pace and discretion.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sales Report for January 2012

This is going to be brief, since I don't really have much to say.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the next step of the journey -- earning money. As many of you know (or should, by this point), I published the first installment of an ongoing, serialized story on January 9th. It's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, the iBookstore, and Kobo (still waiting for it to show up on Sony's bookstore) for $0.99 in eBook format.

I want to get two questions out of the way from the start:
1. No. I haven't sold very many yet. Just because it's out there doesn't mean people have found it yet.
2. Just because it hasn't sold very many yet doesn't mean it won't further down the line.

This is a long road, a journey that takes years -- even after making a successful (or even profitable) first publication.

So, with that in mind, I bring you my sales figures for January. I'm planning on doing this each month, not because I want to brag, but because I want to provide a window into the life of a writer taking the first steps on his career. (I'm getting better at this openness thing, right? Right?)

Hopefully, we'll be able to watch an upward trend toward viability over the next few months/years/decades. But I'm not in a position to make any promises.

All I can do is report the information.