No – that date’s not a mistake. I am well aware that the year is 2011. But I don’t think the publishing industry is. And I do wonder when one industry doesn’t learn from another. Do you know what I’m talking about?
It’s June 2000. *NSync has just broken all sales records by selling 2.4 million CDs in one week. The music industry feels invincible.
Then along comes Napster. Internet file sharing. All basic computers burn CDs. Sales plummet for obvious reasons: who wants to pay $26.99 for 12 pre-set songs when they can download the ones they LIKE for free? Sure it’s illegal. But the music industry is crushing the consumer with their high-prices and their greed! With prices like that they are ASKING to be pirated!
Now let’s look at publishing.
With each new release, publishers print thousands of paper books. These books are boxed up and sent around the country in trucks burning fossil fuels. The books are stocked on shelves by paid employees, pulled off the shelves by paid employees, and shipped back to the publisher within 90 days on those same trucks. Then one of two things happens: the books are re-ordered (no payment has been made) or they are destroyed. And books that don’t sell “well” are taken out of availability.
This is a very expensive (and wasteful) process. And to keep it going, print book prices are rising and paperback book quality is sinking. Manuscript lengths are dictated by cover templates and case sizes, not the integrity of the story.
But what about e-books?
Hm. No word-count restrictions. No paper, ink, or glue. No boxes. No trucks. No fuel. No bookstore employees to be paid to handle the books – twice. Returns are insignificant.
And what about Print On Demand (POD)? The only books printed and shipped are the ones already paid for. No books are ever taken “out of print” because they don’t require storage anywhere but on a network server. Electrons don’t take much up space.
So why do big publishing houses like Macmillan insist on charging up to $14.99 for e-books? Because they had their head in the sand (or up some lower body part) in 2000. With prices like that they are asking to be pirated! And their authors are the ones losing income.
The music industry lost out to pirating sites and YouTube – until they figured out that selling individual songs online for 99-cents would make everyone tons of money.
Now the publishing industry needs to come to grips with the same reality. Because I can upload my manuscripts to Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords for zero dollars. I can sell my books for $2.99 and make 70% in royalties by myself – versus the 10% publishers pay, minus my agent’s 15%. And monthly royalties from my online sales are deposited directly into my bank account.
I can cut the big publishers out completely. And I am.
Sure – I’m working hard. But the only thing that a traditional publishing house offers that I cannot manage on my own is 8 weeks of shelf space in the big box book stores. But 78% of book shoppers buy online; so I don’t see the problem.
Is it worth it? You tell me. This was the only way you could fall in love with Nicolas Hansen. Otherwise, you never would have heard of him.
For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice – the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I’ll give away three.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
In February at the end of my blog tour, I’ll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here’s how you can get in on that deal:
1. Go to http://www.kristualla.com/ and find the “Secret Word” on my home page.
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Signed Trilogy Giveaway” in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.
3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day’s blog location is listed at http://kristualla.wordpress.com/blog-tour-dates-locations/
A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at http://www.goodnightpublishing.com/
A Woman of Choice – Missouri Territory, 1819
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.
A Prince of Norway – Christiania, Norway, 1820
American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather’s throne. His new wife Sydney isn’t about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?
A Matter of Principle – St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821
Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren’t about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it’s a matter of principle.