The Journal, Wednesday, 4/12

Hey Folks,

Well, something’s ‘off’ in my world today. Not sure what, and therefore not sure how to fix it. I’m annoyed. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m also not sure what will happen around here today. So I’m calling this a nonwriting day. (Turned out to be a writing day after all.)

I won’t write, at least not fiction, unless a lot of stuff in my mind settles out.

Maybe I’ll start a new website where I can vent. I’m not writing under any of my personas anymore, so maybe I’ll use one of them for that.

Probably I’ll spend the balance of the day uploading selected short stories to BundleRabbit. I’ve been meaning to do that for awhile anyway.

Topic: Streams of Income

If you’re a writer, and if you’re intelligent enough to have embraced indie publishing, you want as many streams of income as possible off everything you write.

If you aren’t a writer, you can stop reading now.

If you are a writer, but you’re still pursuing an agent and/or a traditional publisher so THEY can make all the money off various streams of income, please stop reading now.

Anyone else, keep reading. For the rest of you, for at least a limited time, I’m offering to answer any questions any of you have regarding getting revenue from your stories, short or long.

The only prerequisites are that you’ve read this topic in its entirety, and that you have downloaded and read the free resources I offer over at http://HarveyStanbrough.com/downloads.

Those include The Essentials of Digital Publishing, Quick Guide to Self-Publishing & FAQs, and Heinlein’s Business Habits For Writers (Heinlein’s Rules), Annotated

I also recommend you read and study the posts under the MS Word for Writers tab on the website. Especially if you’re still using the Tab bar or the spacebar to indent paragraphs.

A write not being thoroughly familiar with MS Word (or whatever program you use) is like a carpenter not being really sure what a hammer is for.

But to the topic.

Basically, getting multiple streams of income first relies on making your work available in as many different venues as possible.

If you “publish” (distribute) exclusively with Amazon or anyone else, you can’t do that. In fact, if you publish exclusively with Amazon, you aren’t even allowed, legally, to post your short story or novel on your own website.

So that’s the first lesson, a’right? Go wide.

I recommend distributing everything you write to Amazon and to Draft2Digital.

Smashwords also is a good distributor that will get you into a lot more minor venues, but I’ve never made a sale (since 2011) in any of those venues. So personally I don’t allot any of my time to uploading my work to Smashwords.

Once you’ve settled on distributors, you can shift into the second level of building multiple streams of income.

Collect your short stories. Collect your novels. Period.

When I have written ten short stories, I automatically have 10 new streams of income.

If I make those stories available (through D2D and Amazon) in nine venues, that means I’ve just created 90 individual new streams of income.

If I also collect those stories in two 5-story collections and one 10-story collection, I’ve just created three more streams of income. Times the same nine venues.

So now, having written 10 short stories, I begin receiving income from 117 different streams of revenue.

Later, there’s no law that says you can’t combine two, three or four 10-story collections into one omnibus collection either. More streams of income.

Of course, you can also group your novels. You can sell the first five books in a series in one book. You can sell the last five books in a series in another book. And you can sell all ten books in a single book.

Again, from having written 10 novels, you’re now bringing in revenue from 117 different streams.

Every time you find a new way to present your work, you create a new stream of income that is multiplied by the number of venues in which you offer that work for sale.

That’s also why I use and recommend BundleRabbit. When your work catches the attention of a curator there and he or she bundles it, you’ve just created yet one more stream of income.

Try it. The math isn’t as difficult as it seems.

And those trickling little streams of income all flow into the same river that feeds your bank account. It really is that easy.

Any questions or comments, please add them below or email me directly at harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at around 3:30. Not sure what the day will hold.

I messed around, wrote the stuff above, then cross-posted it to the big blog (for January, 2018).

Then I went to the store and the PO, then back to the house.

I was thinking about BundleRabbit again when an idea hit. So I wrote the opening, about 350 words.

Once I had that, I saved it to my flash drive and headed for the Hovel. That was around 1:30.

I wrote on the thing for about an hour total, then went to put my spare for my 4Runner back underneath the truck.

Came back to the Hovel and wrote another half-hour, then called it a day. I didn’t write anything on the novel, but I got a good start on what will probably be a short story in the same series. We’ll see.

That or maybe it’s a start on what will be the fourth novel in the series. A lot better than I expected when the day started.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, not really a lot, actually. He and Kris will offer a new online workshop titled “How to Edit Your Own Work”. Might interest some of you.

If you haven’t signed up for the email subscription over at The Passive Voice yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. I read almost every article, but I don’t really have time to read them and then pass them on. Visit http://www.thepassivevoice.com/, then scroll to the right to subscribe via RSS. If you want email updates (my own preference) scroll down in the right sidebar.

Fiction Words: 1743
Nonfiction Words: 770 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2513

Writing of “Beats All” (probably a short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 14313
Total fiction words for the year………… 222869
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6650
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 63990

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 286859

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 505 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Tuesday, 1/17

Hey Folks,

First, my deep gratitude to Michaele for letting me know the Journal wasn’t in her inbox this morning. My apologies. I forgot to check the category box. (grin)

It was a good post. If you’re interested, you can find it at http://harveystanbrough.com/daily-journal/6042/.

The baby needed to be close this morning for some reason. Who knows what’s in a little cat’s mind? But that’s fine. The time we get to spend with loved ones is limited and it can end in a blink. I try not to take a minute of it for granted.

With the novel I’m in a Catch 22. And I always do this. When I know the end of a novel is approaching I hesitate to write. Why? I don’t want the story to end because I enjoy writing it. You see my conundrum.

This is why I like to start another one right away. Though (for me) they aren’t nearly as much fun in the early going before the characters and situations mature.

Topic: Exciting News About Pronoun

You will remember I tried Pronoun once before. I was enticed by the fact that they distribute to Amazon, thereby alleviating that particular headache.

Also, Pronoun doesn’t take a cut of your royalties. Their service is free.

However, I was less than satisfied with their interface. And what put a nail in the coffin for me possibly using them was that authors weren’t allowed to pick and choose to whom Pronoun distributed their books. It was all or nothing. So I chose nothing.

Now things have changed. Here are the highlights from the email I received from them this morning:

We are increasing author royalties to 70% for all books priced $9.99 or less and sold in the US and Canada. Yes, even books priced $2.99 and below will earn 70%. For many authors this will translate to double what they were previously earning.

We’re giving authors more choice over distribution. You can choose where you want your book distributed when you publish your book.

We’ve added the option to price your book for free [sic] on all retailers. Based on our data and your feedback, we know that is an important marketing tool for authors.

We’re offering Author Pages. You can now send your readers to one place to find information about all of your books — whether or not they’re published by Pronoun. Plus it’s free.

You can now set up pre-orders for your books across all retailers including Amazon. That means you can effectively plan your book’s marketing campaign with complete confidence.

So the bottom line is, I will try Pronoun again, probably with my current WIP.

Just FYI, books distributed by some distributors seem to sell better for some reason than books distributed by others. For that reason, recently I’ve been tracking sales (loosely) from venues supported by Draft2Digital vs. those supported by Smashwords.

Of course, you can’t distribute the same title from two different distributors. But I have enough titles out there — around 250 now — that I can compare sales numbers from one distributor to the other. I will report any findings here later.

You can find the full official press release for Pronoun at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pronoun-announces-a-better-royalty-rate-significantly-increasing-self-published-author-earnings-300391506.html.

Of Interest

Nothing at Dean’s today.

If you enjoy casual research, by which I mean mining small gems that might add to your knowledge base, I recommend getting a free subscription to Smithsonian’s newsletter. Here are a couple of examples that piqued my interest from the recent edition.

If you enjoy space stuff, in this video you can watch as a Space X rocket delivers a payload to orbit and then successfully lands back on the launch pad. This is a first, something that was science fiction and is now science fact. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/after-mishaps-spacex-gets-back-orbit-180961812/

I also recommend the incredibly interesting http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/necklace-similar-one-owned-anne-frank-found-nazi-death-camp-180961810/ too. Nothing proves guilt like the rush to cover up a crime.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out right at 2. Per usual I didn’t get started writing early for various reasons. The biggest reason is that I simply didn’t open the file and start on it.

Finally outside around 4 with a cigar and the novel. The day was as socked-in with fog as I am. I opened the novel, but mostly cycled back, adding very little. (That’s a good thing.)

Back outside for a bit, but too damp-cold out there to write (stiff fingers) so back inside to write all of this. Now (8 a.m.) back to the novel.

Very very weird day. I wrote almost nothing — DID almost nothing — all morning. From the time I got up until around noon, I wrote maybe 500 words, all in cycling.

Mostly I was staring at the manuscript, willing something to happen.

Then around noon, I glanced back over my reverse outline and picked out a main character who hadn’t appeared in the story for awhile. I put my fingers on the keyboard and started writing with that character in mind.

By 1:40, I had another 2000 words. It’s a good feeling knowing I’ll at least make my word count today. Easily. And the end of the novel still isn’t in sight, though I still sense it’s close.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 3410
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4280

Writing of The Claim (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4391 words. Total words to date…… 4391
Day 2…… 3632 words. Total words to date…… 8023
Day 3…… 1416 words. Total words to date…… 9439
Day 4…… 2673 words. Total words to date…… 12112
Day 5…… 4284 words. Total words to date…… 16396
Day 6…… 3159 words. Total words to date…… 19555
Day 7…… 3834 words. Total words to date…… 23389
Day 8…… 4953 words. Total words to date…… 28342
Day 9…… 4982 words. Total words to date…… 33324
Day 10… 3618 words. Total words to date…… 36942
Day 11… 3133 words. Total words to date…… 40075
Day 12… 2964 words. Total words to date…… 43039
Day 13… 3410 words. Total words to date…… 46449

Total fiction words for the month……… 48077
Total fiction words for the year………… 48077
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11810
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 11810

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 59887

Farewell, Smashwords, and Why

Hi Folks,

First a couple of announcements—

1. On September 23, Author Earnings released a new report that ALL writers should see. Especially if you’re locked into traditional publishing or if you’re on the fence.

The previous report I mentioned talks about market share in ebooks from traditional publishing vs. indie publishing. So it was kind of abstract.

But this report shows the actual distribution of income to individual authors who choose to publish traditionally vs. independently. This probably will surprise you. And if you’re an indie publisher, it will surprise you in a very good way. http://authorearnings.com/report/individual-author-earnings-tracked-across-7-quarters-feb-2014-sept-2015/. I encourage you go follow this link and sign up to get your own reports as they come out.

2. Yesterday, September 30 2015, was the final day for my Daily Journal blog. I created a spreadsheet that enables me to track what I write, how long it takes, and my daily, monthly and annual numbers. So no more need for the journal.

However, past editions of the journal will be available on this site for a limited time in case anyone wants to go back over some of them for the topics. Just click the tab.

3. And a note — If you self-publish, you are an indie publisher. If you publish through ANY subsidy publishing house — in other words, if you pay money to a publishing company to publish your work PLUS they keep a share of your royalties — you’re not an independent publisher. You’re just lost. Please don’t fall into that trap, and if you’re already in it, please do yourself a favor and break free. Every subsidy publisher, every place that charges you an up front fee PLUS keeps a share of your royalties, is a scam.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming. (grin)

If you are an independent (self) publisher, this is an important post for you.

In the previous post, I busted a few of the myths of digital publishing. In that, I talked about the distributor, Smashwords. Recently I decided to leave Smashwords behind and switch all my distribution to Draft2Digital. Below is why.

Now this was strictly a business decision, as you’ll see below. If Smashwords cleans up their act quite a bit, I probably would go back to them, at least for partial distribution. This post appeared in slightly different form in my other blog, the Daily Journal.

Back in 2011, during the first year of the “gold rush” of electronic publishing, I signed up for a Smashwords account. Today, I have 143 books (nonfiction, novels, short stories and collections) published with them.

When I finished a work, whatever it was, first I published it to Smashwords. I allowed them to distribute it for me to 12 of 13 sales venues (all but Amazon). Then I published it to Amazon.

Enter Draft2Digital http://draft2digital.com, a sleek new company that does what Smashwords does but MUCH more quickly and efficiently. They distribute to the same “big six” that Smashwords distributes to (Apple, B&N, Kobo, Inktera, Oyster, and Scribd) plus Tolino, a growing ebook store in Germany that was created specifically to rival Amazon.

Yesterday, I published a short story to D2D and Amazon, but for the first time, did NOT publish it to Smashwords. Why? Because then I’d have to clunk my way through the “opt out” radio buttons thirteen times so Smashwords would not distribute it (because D2D is distributing it).

Now admittedly, if I HAD done all that, the story would still be available in the Smashwords store, and I’m always advising writers to sell in as many markets as possible. But the thing is, having to spend a half-hour clunking around on Smashwords’ site just so a short story will be in their store… well, it simply isn’t worth the time.

Another thing, through the Smashwords online store I’ve sold mostly nonfiction. And most of that I’ve sold when I’ve created coupons for it, and then advertised the coupons. Again, it’s a lot of effort for very few sales.
I’m not lazy when it comes to expending necessary effort, but any time I spend uploading etc. is part of my investment in my writing. Since it’s part of the investment, I have to consider what return the effort will yield.

Here are a few stark numbers:

  • At Amazon.com it takes me about 15 minutes from clicking Create New Title to clicking Publish IF the process is uninterrupted by Amazon’s ridiculous page-loading times and jumping around. Probably the average time is 20 to 25 minutes. However, Amazon is currently my best venue, so the frustration, while annoying, is worthwhile.
  • At Smashwords.com it takes me about 10 minutes to go from entering the title of my book to clicking Publish at the bottom of the form.
    • But then I have to go to their ISBN Manager to assign an ISBN for distribution to some of the big six as well as several tiny library venues (where I’ve never sold a book).
    • Then I have to go to their Channel Manager. There I have to find my book (there are three pages) and then click thirteen “opt out” radio buttons one at a time so Smashwords will not distribute to anyone except the Smashwords.com online store.
    • Even after I’ve done all that, even though I’ve opted out of distribution to every place that requires an ISBN, I continue to see a message saying I need to assign an ISBN to my books. Very, very clunky system. I skip over the ISBN Manager since I no longer use them for distribution, but using the Channel Manager easily adds another 10 minutes and roughly half a ton of frustration to the process. Not worth it.
  • And D2D. Ahh, D2D. At Draft2Digital.com it takes me about 3 minutes from Add New Book to Publish. On the final page I check the stores to which I want them to distribute my work (so seven checkmarks), verify that the work is either mine or that I have the rights to publish it, and I’m done. They assign an ISBN for the venues that require it, but I don’t have to do anything with that.

D2D does for me what Smashwords does but in a lot less time and with absolutely zero frustration. Score!

So for me, it’s bye-bye to Smashwords. I might put my major publications (novels, collections) up in their store, but frankly I doubt it. I really REALLY don’t like having to “opt out” 13 times per publication.

Now I’m a fair guy, so I will be addressing this issue with Mark Coker soon. Well, relatively soon. I probably won’t do so until I’ve moved my major nonfiction books over to D2D. Anyway, I’ll keep you updated, but I think he’s pretty entrenched in the way he does things.

So it’s like this. Five years ago, Mark and his company were on the cutting edge of ebook publishing and distribution. Today they’re eating dust from every other major player.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to try to answer them for you. Please ask in the comments section below.

‘Til next time, happy writing.

Harvey

PS: UPDATE: I’ve also found another sales venue. To look it over for yourself, visit OmniLit.

Note: If you find something of value in these posts or on this website, consider dropping a tip into Harvey’s Tip Jar on your way out or just click paypal.me/harveystanbrough. If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much. If you can’t make a monetary donation, please consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. (grin) Again, thank you.