Heady Times

Boy, these are heady times for Indie Authors.  The smoke is still settling so we’ll have to wait before all the implications are clear, but there are three developments that caught my eye, so far this week.

First, and to my old eyes, a healing sight indeed, is the recent announcement by Amazon CreateSpace (which also is my presonal POD Publisher) that their "Pro Plan" titles will have the option to add INGRAM DISTRIBUTION to their marketing plan. 

This is huge, as it will give self-published authors a much wider market exposure than they would have been able to secure alone.  It effectively can add you7r boo to the largest bookseller distributor and institutional sales catalogs. Book stores.  Libraries. Schools.  The markets I only dreamed of.

It meant that my cover price had to go up.  I had kept the price relatively low at $11.95, but that did not allow enough margin to allow the booksellers and distributor a rpoyalty/share, so I upped the cover price to $15.95, which will make me 52 cents per book sold, instead of my owing the publisher $2.70 eaqch time a book was sold.

The second thing to happen, was the reported reaction of various writer’s organizations when Harlequin rolled it’s POD operation into one of it’s imprint names.  It was reported in detail in Publishers Weekly. Sounded like a relatively smart way for a business to reduce operating costs and move forward into a leaner operations model, but I guess I was wrong.  Several writer’s groups, angered that they would now be in some way associated with self-publishing (Shudder! Horrors!), removed Harlequin from their approved publishers ranks.  Inclu8ded are such organizations as the Mystery Writers Assn. and the Romance Writers Assn.  Hmmmm.  I suppose none of the members of those organizations ever self-published any books at all. No…not that! 

Harlequin, responding in a puzzled mode, of course, indicated they would placate these organizations in some, to-be-determined manner.  We’ll have to see where this settles out, but it seems that "last one in" writers, too are resisting the changes in the wind leading to a more cost-effective publishing industry.  To me, under-educated, self-published writer that I am, to deny any fellow writer a recommended publisher in these hard times for fiction is ridiculous.

Last, a first edition EA Poe’s self-published 1827 first book — a book of poems, published in a run of 50 coipies when he was 18,  brought more than US$662,000 at auction.  Publishing Industry take note — some self-published authors work not only is quality writing, but some of them may actually be worth adding to one’s stable for a long-term investment.

All of this happened on the heels of a short four-day family vacation we take each December with our children and grand-kids.  We pile into a condo in the Berkshires and pray for snow.  This past week, while I was staring at the stark, bare trees and grey sky, a figure appeared from nowhere, hobbling along on a wooden staff.  She approached slowly and asked me "Have you ever seen a four-leaf clover?" I answered, "of course, but I’ve never found one."

She replied "I find them wherever I go" and extending her hand, with a fist full of bright green clover (It’s December, remember?) asked "Want one?"  I chose one, and thanked her.  I turned back to my unit’s porch, and by the time I looked back to give her a wave, she was gone!  But I have the clover — all four leaves, too!  Maybe my luck will change after all!  Maybe it will begin a much-awaited turnaround for the whole publishing industry — Indies included!