Monday, 6 April 2009

The Right Market

Hello everyone!

Well, I think it’s about time I introduce myself. I’m Kaye Manro and I do write romance. I have a background in journalism, and in fact work in that field. As for romantic fiction, I like to write in several genres, Sci-Fi with hints of paranormal being one area. I also have a great love for anything Medieval. I like to combine all my favorite elements into stories. Of course, the sensual stuff just creeps in and makes the writing even more fun!

I usually target the big print markets with my work, and in fact have a Silhouette Nocturne in edits right now. Suffice it to say that was and still is a hard long road! But today I’d like to speak on a subject I talk about sometimes on my Kaye Manro blog. That is, the advantages of e-publishing.

I know there are writers on Lindsay’s Romantics who have opted to have their work e-published. I also have several friends who do the same. With good reasons so it seems, not to mention good results. I might add here that I also have a few stories in the works targeted at an e-publisher myself.

Let us face it; publishing is a hard business for any writer. At one time, there were about 75 to 100 print publishing companies, owned by people whose tastes and criteria varied. Now five major media corporations own most imprints. Committee chooses titles who consider content less important than demographics of the customer base. The major publishers want books that will sell. They are not interested in producing mid-list authors, or in keeping books in print, or publishing a good book that will not find a wide audience just because it is good.

Luckily, there are more opportunities for first-time/unknown authors, or authors of unusual books in e-publishing. For writers whose stories don't fit the mold, e-publishing can be a way to find an audience and good reviews. Deb Staples says that e-books are a great way to put your foot in the door. Now you can say you are a published author, and begin the process of marketing and learning how the industry works. “E-books get talented authors into a market that might otherwise never see them.”

Here are a few more good reasons for those writers involved or interested in e-publishing:

Less emphasis on standard novel lengths. E publishing offers a market for books that are longer, or shorter, than traditional print novels. It is an excellent market for novelettes, which sell for a lower price than a paperback novel, and often more acceptable to the consumer.

More control over the process. Writers have greater freedom with characters and plot, more say in revisions, and possibly more input in cover art and sales blurbs. While e-publishing editors make suggestions for revisions in a manuscript, authors note that there is considerably more room for discussion and negotiation.

Higher royalties. Because the costs of e-published books are significantly lower than print books, authors receive a far higher percentage of revenues. Forty percent is fast becoming the industry standard. Most e-publishers pay royalties every quarter rather than once or twice a year like print publishers.

However keep this in mind -- don’t expect to get rich. Karen Wiesner, who has sold hundreds of copies of her romance titles and several thousand copies of her nonfiction e-book, notes, "I don't think the combined total from all my book royalties would equal what a standard mid-list author with a traditional publisher makes off a single advance."

Author-friendly contracts. I think most e-publishers ask only for electronic rights, leaving the author free to market print rights and subsidiary rights elsewhere. In addition, most e-publishing contracts are renewable rather than indefinite.

Shorter response times. Most e-publishers attempt to respond to submissions within two to four months. Response times are lengthening, however, as the number of submissions increases.

Faster publication. Some e-publishers will bring out a title within months of acceptance. However, this is becoming less and less common, particularly among the larger e-publishers, who have backlogs of manuscripts.

International availability. "Readers in Australia can buy the book the same day it's released to buyers in the U.S. It is immediately accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Longer shelf life. Since it costs very little to keep an e-book in stock, a book does not have to sell thousands of copies. As long as sales remain good by e-book standards, most e-publishers are willing to keep a title in their inventory, rather than dropping it for a more profitable title.

How do you feel about e-publishing? Does anyone with e-pub experience have anything to add? I'd love to hear from you on this subject!


Kaye Manro


Linda Banche said...

Hi Kaye,

Congrats on your sale to Silhouette Nocturne. What's the title and when does it come out? I read the blurb on your blog, but why not put it here, too?

Kaye Manro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay Townsend said...

Many congratulations, Kaye, on your e-publishing success and your Nocturne! (Feel free to blog here about it whenever you want.)

Thanks for this informative, fascinating post. I agree with you - I've found epublishers happy to take different periods of history, for instance. I've found my experience to be positive - I like the input on covers and the editing. It's very exciting to be part of such a new, vibrant venture.

Kaye Manro said...

Thanks Lindsay! And I completely agree with you.

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Kaye, thanks for the very illuminating info about the publishing industry. For the reasons you mentioned, I'm not certain I would ever want a BIG publisher... it just doesn't suit my personality. And, I doubt my novels would suit them.

CONGRATS on the Nocturne Bites. That is so exciting!!!

Right now, I've had only about a year and a half worth of experience with e-publishing. Overall, it's been good for all the reasons you outline. There are always the glitches and frustrations, but that goes with the territory.

As to earnings, no, mine aren't that much. But we'll see as I continue building my career.
I will say, however, on the Passionate Ink forum there have been several discussions about how much is made -- Big Print vs small print/e-publishing. Well, according to those authors, they made just as much or more from e-publishing. Especially, the Ellora's Cave authors.

Linda Banche said...

Well, Savanna, that's the thing. Erotic romance authors make good money with e-pubs. For the rest of us, the money isn't very good in e-pubs.

says Linda, who has yet to get a royalty check from one novella

Cari Quinn said...

Hi Kaye! That's so amazing you sold to Nocturne! Congratulations! You've mentioned that you're editing one, but I wasn't sure if they were personal edits - something I know wayyy too much about, LOL - or from an editor. Of course, you might have told me, but my brain is more mush than usual lately. ;)

I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to hear more about your upcoming story!

Okay, I'll calm myself down now. LOL

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, I so wish what you just said was true. If it were, me and other erotic romance authors would be HAPPY.
However, the reason I specified Ellora's Cave is because those are the only e-authors I'm personally aware of who do earn well, because I was part of the discussion, and because I had one author personally tell me that.
Now, what is also true is that the those authors who are writing Menage for Siren-BookStrand are also making some money. How long that trend will last, I don't know.

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Savanna, Linda and Cari! It is a good question about money in e-pub-- we should ask someone with experience, Like Shelley Munro. She has a bunch of books pubbed with EC. I don't really know about how much you can make-- but I would suppose that if you get really popular you can do well. It's the same in print too. You have to keep ticking out the books and building a fan base just the same. I too have heard that erotica writers can do well once they are established.

Good comments!

LK Hunsaker said...

Informative entry, Kaye! It's nice that readers have a wider variety of fiction to choose from than the few "we know they'll sell" genres the big traditionals will accept. Most of the epubs also make them available in print, I've seen, so they can have it either way!

Sarah Simas said...

Hi Kaye! Congrats on the sale and kudos for the patience.

E-Pubs on like H-O-T-T right now. An author would be remiss to count them out. One has to look at the software that is growing in popularity- Kindle, Sony Reader. People are flocking to those devices. I'm not even close to being published but I see the writing on the wall! lol

Great post, Kaye! Very insightful.

Kaye Manro said...

Lk-- you are so right-- we can have both!

Sarah-- right again-- I believe e-pub is the future. And thanks.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Brilliant post, Kaye! Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

I think e-pub is clearly here to stay. I think as it grows it will give authors more chances and result in fairer payments.

It also removes the dreaded 'returns' from publishing.

Helen Hardt said...

Kaye -- I can't believe I'm just finding this, LOL. Sorry to be so late to the party.

And mega congratulations! I'll email you.

As for e-pubs, you know my feelings. I'm e-pubbing shorter works, but am holding my longer works in hopes of snagging one of the big ones. We'll see how that goes!


Kaye Manro said...

Thanks to all for commenting. The dabate was great! E-pubs are here to stay, I do so believe that.