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Author Corner > The Indie figures

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message 1: by P.D.R. (last edited Jan 22, 2017 12:51AM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments I have been quietly steaming about the attitude to e-books shown by our conservative establishment book council and the nzsa. There have been comments about print book sales are up and ebook sales down, hurray!

My response was 'Yes but whose figures?'

Have a look here at
http://authorearnings.com/report/dbw2...
and read the talk these guys have just given, Note that their usual eye aching graphs have been converted into lovely, easy to read chart thingies.

If trad publishers had gone with e-books right at the start Amazon would never have gained its strangle hold, but it has.

You would think that after the Penguin paperback revolution publishers would have learned that there is always room for new readers and in a tech age tech ways of reading were bound to arise and bound to attract new readers.

This paranoia over ebooks is stupid. After all print books are never going to disappear for a variety of good solid reasons and ebooks have given writers a new market of different readers.

It really is about time that the NZ book world came out of the 19thC and welcomed e-books and even - dare I say it? - welcomed Indie authors!

There, rant over and I feel a little better. Now watch the apologists come hurtling in to say they love ebooks and Indies!!!!


message 2: by Louise (new)

Louise De | 5 comments Great post PDR. Hit the nail on the head.


message 3: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments Thank you!
When I see Indies allowed to apply for the grants and scholarships, residencies etc and even win some then I know that Indies and ebooks are accepted.

Not in my life time I suspect.


message 4: by Mellie (last edited Jan 22, 2017 09:15PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 26 comments Even when I was with a publisher, the NZ book community didn't want anything to do with me (that publisher distributed to physical stores for B&N and Walmart in the US but not to stores in NZ). Now as a full time indie, I simply ignore the NZ market. Most of my sales are to the US, then in descending order - UK, AUD and CAN. If the local community doesn't want anything to do with me, I don't want anything to do with them *shrug*


message 5: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments Well, AW I always did tilt at windmills and I reckon these windmills need a good bump. It's the dripping water thing isn't it? One day they will have to lift their heads out of the sand or as Terry Pratchett used to say from where the sun doesn't shine!


message 6: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1575 comments If trad publishers had gone with e-books right at the start Amazon would never have gained its strangle hold, but it has.


Totally agree. And if that had happened the booksellers and their cronies wouldn't be snivelling about ebooks and ebook readers killing the publishing world because they'd be part of that market!

And, remind me of who makes up the NZSA and Book Council.


message 7: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments Them as what considers themselves the literarti of NZ! Auckland based and very much believing that they KNOW what makes and should make NZ literature.

There has been a slight movement to opening the narrow definitions but the hard core are still sitting in there.


message 8: by Anna (last edited Jan 23, 2017 01:00AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 173 comments There was a thread in another group (sorry, forgotten which) that hit back at a trad published author whining about illiterate Indies in a newspaper.

The writer had a point. A very small point. Some Indies are not good! But the answers coming back, including one from me, were saying that some trad authors are also terrible. For example, so-called celebrities 'writing' (ha ha) novels or coffee table books which will never stand the test of time.

The majority opinion on that thread was that the trad published writer of the piece was whining out of the pain of Indies doing better than perhaps many a trad published author, including perhaps her.

Hold on and keep writing good stuff and shouting and maybe the prevailing winds will change.

Wellington's winds have been overdoing it - I'm hoping for fine weather tomorrow for crossing the Cook Straits.


message 9: by P.D.R. (last edited Jan 23, 2017 01:34AM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments May the calm winds arrive for you, Anna!

I think we've all heard the Amazon e-books store called the Amazon Slush pile.

I think we all know that they are right about some of those e-books.

I think we've all heard how some of our readers can afford our e-books but not the trad published ones.

I think we've all heard from readers who love Indie e-books because they are 'more original' and 'a little different' and 'not slotted into genre boxes'.

There is room for us all and those of us who make every effort to put out well edited, well designed and carefully written e-books deserve a break.

Ignoring us or belittling us does not help trad publishing. In fact it harms it in readers' eyes when they have sampled and enjoyed many Indie books and cannot see a difference between our Indies and their Trad books.


message 10: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Dennis I'd like to take the chance to correct some of the statements from P.D.R. NZSA reports to our members in our fortnightly e-news what's in the news - both the positive and the negative no matter the issue. I see you are not a member P.D.R. and your knowledge of us is based in the past. We have a broad membership that includes many successful ebook writers and ebook publishers who are happy with their membership.


message 11: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 26 comments I think ultimately it comes down to you and what your goals are. Do you need recognition from the NZ book community? Is there some award or other goal you strive for? In which case you need to keep tilting at those windmills.

For me, I earn a full time living by looking globally rather than locally. There is no benefit to me, to invest time/energy in local recognition when I simply don't write the sort of NZ-centric or literary novels that seem to be lauded here. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and flying under the radar, since that is what pays the bills for me.


message 12: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments Wondered when you'd pop in, Jackie!

I'm told you have never reported the news from authorearnings.com in any of your newsletters although it is important for all writers to see those findings and sort out who uses which figures and therefore what slant they have.

The NZSA was famous for its infighting and that is still going on - Stephen Stratford's blog last year is a good example. Comments at the nzsa conference in September that the NZSA should be for real writers and not newbies. Your comment that the middle authors felt neglected. If Auckland is head office then it should be giving strong leadership and direction to all members.

I am also earnestly told by members I have met or taught that if I don't join I don't have a chance of any of the residencies or grants because the NZSA have a large say in who gets what.

I can't afford your fees and don't feel they are value for money as there is very little going on in my area and the only contact I had with Dunedin's NZSA people when I brought Smashwords' Jim Azevedo to visit South Island was appalling rudeness and the distinct impression that nothing had changed in NZSA arrogance and cliquishness. They made my organising Jim's trip very difficult.

What spare cash I have for a membership fee if I can afford it goes to the Romance writers of New Zealand because they organise a superb conference, a great newsletter, and are open to all that is new and newsworthy in publishing. They've been mentoring and supporting members actively all over the country for years. They are active and practical and don't mind if you are - like me - not a romance writer.


message 13: by P.D.R. (last edited Jan 23, 2017 09:48PM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments AW I agree wholeheartedly about global markets. But I have had and will have students who want NZ recognition and I will go in to bat for them every time.

And yes, I would like equal opportunities for all NZ writers to be able to apply for residencies or grants and know that they are being judged on their written work and not on 'who you know/where you live and who your publisher is.'

Those of us who write and have no other income have to pay bills. We can't afford to give our fiction First Rights away to a NZ magazine/zine/journal which does not pay. Last time I looked only 'Landfall' and Radio NZ paid a decent fee and one other journal paid $20. To give hours of work away for free is not on, not just to have your name seen by the other NZ writers in this very tiny and close knit writing community which is NZ writing..


message 14: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Dennis P.D.R. wrote: "Wondered when you'd pop in, Jackie!

I'm told you have never reported the news from authorearnings.com in any of your newsletters although it is important for all writers to see those findings and..."


Hearsay is not a very good basis to trash us in a forum such as this but then again you trash us any opportunity you can find. Hopefully, members of these discussion groups will see the pattern and work it out.

We do not report with a slant except perhaps being pro writers, we have a fair and transparent selection process with our awards and grants. We get on with all other writer organisations and do not buy into an 'us and them' culture. No matter what I say you still place inaccurate comments. I'm not sure why I engaged this time but hopefully discussion group members will check the facts and make up their own mind. With over 1400 happy members we must be doing something right.


message 15: by P.D.R. (last edited Jan 24, 2017 11:58PM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments When I see the NZSA actually making fair representation for all writers, including Indies, then I will stop poking at the NZSA.

When I see the NZSA actually using some of all that money it gets to actually do practical things for all writers then I will stop poking at the NZSA.

And I am attacking the NZSA as it stands not its people. I do not make personal digs like 'we...perhaps being pro writers.' Inference being of course that I am not a pro writer!

Get active. There are branches around NZ all of which could do with funds, support in the form of programmes, lists of writers for talks, promoting useful resources and hard and fast rules and facts on the publishing world.

And protect all writers with serious news of scams. I brought, to the NZSA, real and useful facts and had several witnesses to a nasty scam some years ago and the NZSA wouldn't even post a warning. I was told it might provoke a lawsuit. So more writers were ripped off until, as I understand it, one of them threatened a law suit and the perpetrator scarpered overseas.


message 16: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Dennis You're not a member, and your comments make it clear that you don't know what we have been doing.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 988 comments Jackie wrote: "We do not report with a slant except perhaps being pro writers, we have a fair and transparent selection process with our awards and grants.

FWIW I took Jackie's pro writer to mean in favour of writers rather than professional writer.

I want to have a proper look at PDR's graphs before I comment on anything else.


message 18: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments Ah! That's a kind interpretation, Carol!

I sent the NZSA the url for authorearnings which I mention in a post in this thread. According to members I know it has not been passed on to members.

I hope that threads like this will stir the NZSA to decide whether it is, with only 1400 members, a jolly get together writers' club for chat or that it will take up the challenge the very large number of non-members offer, and provide for all writers, including indies and new writers, solid practical help. There is a beginning with the mentors and some information on the website but basic stuff is missing and membership won't increase when writers cannot see any value in the NZSA worth spending money for membership.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 988 comments OK I had a look at the graphs - most interesting & not a surprise to anyone who is a GR librarian.

One thing that puzzles me is why are books not having an ISBN a good thing? Or am I missing something?


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 988 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "The writer had a point. A very small point. Some Indies are not good! But the answers coming back, including one from me, were saying that some trad authors are also terrible. For example, so-called celebrities 'writing' (ha ha) novels or coffee table books which will never stand the test of time.

Oh boy, if you want terrible trad published writing some of the sports biographies really take the biscuit!


message 21: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Dennis Jackie wrote: "You're not a member, and your comments make it clear that you don't know what we have been doing."

Yes, that's what I meant, it was not a shortening for professional. We advocate for all writers, members and non members, self published, trade publishers, successful, mid career, emerging, you name it!


message 22: by P.D.R. (last edited Jan 26, 2017 05:05PM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1646 comments ISBNs Carol have to be paid for in most countries. We are lucky. So a lot of Indies authors refuse to buy them. They are often publishing family memoirs or a limited run of books, or some history thing or children's thing with a limited market.

For the author earnings people it means that there was a a group of books it could not get figures for. I gather that's just changed with their new tech spider used to gather info.


message 23: by Mellie (last edited Jan 26, 2017 08:33PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 26 comments Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕ wrote: "One thing that puzzles me is why are books not having an ISBN a good thing? Or am I missing some..."

Indie books don't have to have an ISBN. Amazon and other retailers assign their own identification number to e-books and you can use a free one when you create a paperback. Personally I've never bothered gettings ISBNs. They aren't necessary. Publisher name on a paperback only matters to other authors, not readers. I don't sell a huge number of paperbacks just a couple of hundred dollars a month via expanded distribution. It's a nice supplement to my main e-book income. Interestingly I sell more paperbacks now as an indie than I ever did with a publisher and my books were in B&N in the States.

Because indie books don't have to have ISBNs it means they are harder to track and indie sales don't appear in official publishing data.


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