Friday, November 14, 2014

This Brave New Publishing World

with guest Dan Walsh.

I’ve been looking forward to getting back with you all for over a month, ever since Tina invited me (thanks again, Tina). When I looked into it, I was shocked to find the last time I had been a guest blogger here was about this time, 2 years ago. I reread my last post and was shocked again at how much has changed for me in such a short span of time.
And I know, big things have been happening here with the writers in Seekerville. I can’t believe how many books you ladies have published these past 2 years. Much has also changed in the publishing world these past 2 years (which I’ll get to in a few moments). 

But first…. 

A Few Quick Updates


Back in November, 2012, I was here talking about my “new” novel, The Reunion. It had just come out then, and I was hoping it would do well. Thankfully, it did. It has become my 2nd-highest rated book on Amazon (265 5-Star reviews so far). A month ago, I signed a movie contract for the book with a production company. They are adapting the screenplay right now and plan to turn it into a full-length feature film.

For most of the last 2 years, I’ve been co-authoring the Restoration series with Gary Smalley. All 4 books have now been written, 3 are already released (The Dance, The Promise and The Desire). The 4th, called The Legacy, will come out in April 2015. SEE THEM ALL HERE.

In the middle of that series, I wrote a stand-alone novel called, What Follows After, which came out last April. This book up until now, has been my most suspenseful novel. Library Journal even called it an “excellent psychological thriller.” Reviews like that surprised us, since my other novels are often compared to books by Nicholas Sparks.

But it gave me an idea. I enjoy reading suspense books. Two years ago, I had pitched a story to my publisher that they liked but rejected because…it was “too suspenseful.”

Seeing all the dramatic changes taking place in the publishing world, I talked with my agent
about this idea. She said since the publisher had passed on the story, I was free to write the book and publish it myself.

So, I did.

When Night Comes, my first indie novel and first true suspense novel, released on November 1st just a few weeks ago. As you can see, the cover looks very different from my other books. Which brings me to my main topic about this brave new world of publishing.

Breaking Publishing Taboos

I’d like to talk about some of the big changes I’ve observed in the past 2 years. One of the things I love most about Seekerville is how many of you participate at the end of each blog post. To encourage this, I’m offering a free signed copy of either a) my new novel, When Night Comes b) one of my books with Gary Smalley or c) my Christmas novel, Remembering Christmas. All you have to do is jump in on the discussion at the end of this post.

Consider the 3 issues I raise next as discussion starters. I’ll tell you what I think and how these things have affected me as an author, but I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on them, too. 

I’ll start by saying…it feels like the publishing world is going through a seismic shift right

now. I think we’re in a corridor of time similar to when the horse and buggy finally gave way to the automobile. 

So many things are changing in publishing. Things that have always been a certain way are that way no more. What do you think about these things? Where do you think all this might end up in a year or two from now?

Authors Must Only Write in One Genre

That’s always been the rule of thumb. You have to establish your brand and, once you do, you better keep writing the same kind of books. That’s what your readership expects. 
That’s certainly the advice I was given, and I heard this same view taught at many writer’s conferences. To a certain extent, I get why. Most readers tend to prefer reading a certain kind of book. If they find an author they like, they want that author to keep writing those kinds of books. If an author ever wanted to write in another genre, they must write under a pseudonym (another name).

In the last few years, I’ve seen this longstanding rule fall by the wayside. I’ve watched numerous traditionally published authors publish indie books in a different genre, keep their same name, and succeed. 

Still, I was pretty nervous as I prepared to release When Night Comes. What would readers say? Would they hate it? Would they think it's too different? I love reading suspense novels and want to be able to write both kinds of books. Would they tell me, "Forget that, you better stick to the Sparks-type books."

So far, that's not what they're saying. 18 reviews came in the first 5 days. 14 of them were 5-Star (the others were 4-Stars). Here's a sample:


“In a change from his romance novels, award-winning author Dan Walsh turns his strong character-driven narrative writing to a page-turning nail-biting suspense thriller combined with accurate historical fiction. As well written as any novelist currently writing…Walsh shows himself to be a master storyteller regardless of genre.” – Writing Truth Blog -Jorja Davis 

“Dan Walsh’s unique plot twists keep the surprises coming at breath-taking speed. When Night Comes had me in suspense with every turn of the page.  There’s much I’d like to add to this review, but I don’t want to post any spoilers. When Night Comes is a must-read for suspense lovers.” — Author, Ann Shorey

Only Writers Who Can’t Make it Self-Publish

Not long ago, indie and self-publishing was frowned upon in the publishing world. The only people who’d even think of going that direction were people who had no other choice. Writers whose work was “not up to par,” who keep getting rejected by mainstream publishers.

This thinking has also fallen by the wayside. So many authors who have previously been published traditionally, even some huge bestsellers, have gone hybrid or totally indie. Some have even turned down lucrative contracts with major publishing houses.
How about you? Have you purchased and read any books by indie authors in the past few years? How do they stack up compared to traditionally published books?

Indie Books Will Always Remain on the Fringe

When my first novel, The Unfinished Gift, came out in 2009 (not that long ago), indie books were most definitely on the fringe. Ebooks, for example, represented only 3% of my sales on my first royalty statement. Self-publishing and indie books were rarely talked about at writer’s conferences. If they were, it was in a negative connotation. 

Now some studies show, indies are inching toward the halfway mark on the publishing sales
chart. They’re even being accepted in prestigious writing contests. So many brick-n-mortar bookstores have disappeared. Many traditional publishing houses have folded or cut their staffs in half.

Some are saying traditional publishing will soon be on the fringe. Others think it will go the way of the Titanic. What do you think? Using this word picture, is traditional publishing a) getting close to the iceberg, b) already hit the iceberg, or c) going to safely avoid the iceberg and make it safely to the shore?





Dan Walsh is the award-winning and bestselling author of 12 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards and 2 Selah Awards. Three of his novels were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year. Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take long walks with their dogs. Click Here to connect with Dan or check out his books.






135 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Welcome, Dan.
Yes, change is all around us in the publishing world. Just this week Heartsong Presents was cancelled, leaving me with manuscripts that had been with my editor. I'm weighing the possibilities, and self publishing is definitely one of them.

Coffee's brewing.

Mary Connealy said...

Well, I love my publisher so I'm kinda hoping they can avoid the Titanic scenario. LOL

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Dan.

Congratulations on stepping out into Indie waters.

The water is just fine out here.

And LOL, like Mary Connealy, I too am hoping that the Titanic is merely the vision on the horizon a few years ago. I think moderation is the key now.

Independent and Traditional publishing have discovered a lovely symbiotic relationship.And isn't that grand??

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oh, Helen, I didn't even think about that!! Goodness! Will be praying.

Mary Preston said...

As a reader I really don't mind how a book is published. I do want it polished though & that seems to be the norm now.

Kara Isaac said...

I think there's always going to be a place for traditional publishing but, like you say, going indie has definitely lost a lot of stigma in the last few years. Best of both worlds I'm going for :)

Piper Huguley said...

I was so sorry to hear the news Helen, and you were the first one I thought of. I pray that you find an outlet for your wonderful 20th century historicals.

I'll say that self-publishing has helped me as well to show that people do care about my supposedly "niche" market. So there is opportunity from what I see. Thank you for visiting Seekerville today Dan!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, any help you need, I'm volunteering me for.... And I bet we can get a bandwagon of fun indie authors to jump on board, dear friend!

Options abound!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Dan, Dan, Dan... where do I start???

First, I'm a hybrid author. I see huge advantages to that for myself personally and for all my Love Inspired and now Zondervan, Random House and Barbour readers... so I'm not on the dump the publisher bandwagon,, and I'm wretchedly careful about whose advice I take on anything. I see that as problematic in Christian and ABA publishing because so many folks are just aching to be led.

I've never been accused of being a follower, and working with the amazing editorial teams at those publishing houses has taught me so much beyond what I thought I knew. God bless them for taking the time to help hone my craft, to steer and guide me and so many others. Love Inspired alone touches around 700,000 readers/year. Now that's some kind of sweet ministry right there.

BUT... like you I've had some strong novels that I knew were good and they didn't fit classical genres, so I hired the covers done and self-pubbed them. They're doing great, I'm so beyond blessed that I can't even begin to tell you, and I'm in charge of my indie destiny.

And that's a huge difference in indie publishing. My thought is that if you're going to do it: Do it. I had no thoughts of small presses or hiring someone to push a button I can push myself.

My agent has been totally in my corner and used my strong indie numbers to sell concepts to other publishers, and here's why I'm doing this:

To touch hearts and souls. If we're in this biz to make a big splash, I can just hear God laugh! BUT... touching hearts and souls, knowing women will read these books as a step toward healing from the wrongs of the world around us, that's all God. Oh, go HIM!!!! So yes, I love getting paid just like I did for eleven years of waitressing, but my needs are simple, I don't like or need awards or glory and I think God gifted me with the strength to carve my own path.

So welcome aboard, but I hope as you tread these indie waters (and I hope successfully!) you look back and remember the amazing professionals who've guided you along the way. Because we owe them a great deal. I'm lifting my mug of coffee to change... and tradition, bound together.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kara Isaac, I'm with you! Hand-in-hand...

Dan Walsh said...

I read that about Heartsong, too, Helen. So sorry you've been affected. Just read also yesterday that Jerry Jenkins suddenly decided to close the Christian Writer's Guild.

And...sipping a nice cup of coffee as we speak.

Dan Walsh said...

Mary and Tina,

Definitely seems like the bigger houses are avoiding that iceberg so far. But it's been rough seeing so many other houses fold, or downsizing their staffs.

Dan Walsh said...

Mary, that is one of the interesting things I learned as I researched this. Readers don't even pay attention to who publishes a book. They care about things like: does the cover look professionally done? Is the writing up to par?

For that reason, I think indie authors really need to consider investing in those things before they "go live" with their book, and not do it on the cheap.

Kara, the hybrid option has definitely become more mainstream lately.

Piper, thanks. That is another aspect of indie publishing that has made it the right direction for some authors. Most publishers for business reasons have to stick with well-worn paths, in terms of the projects they say yes to. They may even pass on books that are ready for prime time, just because they're "a little too different" for their parameters.

Dan Walsh said...

Ruth, hearing what you said to encourage Helen reminded me of one helpful option I've discovered about a month ago.

There's a Facebook group devoted to Indie and hybrid authors called Christian Indie Authors (CIA). Some very helpful people frequent that site. Pretty much, I'd ask a question and get 5-10 answers within an hour or so.

Helen, that might be a good place to investigate. Will help clear away some of the fog.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Dan, Its great to see you again in Seekerville. And I'm tickled about your success. I remember when I met you and your wife, you had just published your first book. Oh my. That was a while ago.

I go along with the general discussion. If the publishers stay on top of things and learn the paradigm shift, they will be fine. And authors who learn it will also do fine.

So the bad thing about all of this change is the high learning curve and the need to learn something new.

The good thing is there is a high learning curve and we are all learning something new. I think authors have a wonderful opportunity in this new world.

Readers are going to be blessed too because the indie pubbing opens up whole new genres.

Thanks for joining us and enjoy your day.

Dan Walsh said...

Ruth,

Great answer. Loved everything you said. I have great respect for the folks I've worked with in trad publishing. Besides that, they're nice people, too.

I do think, though, some of the changes that have been created through the indie option have opened my eyes a bit to some things that kind of bothered me for a while.

Example, most of my earlier books are effectively "no longer in print." People can't find them on the shelves in retail stores. The publisher isn't doing anything to promote them anymore. I get why. It's just business. But because of the ebook issue, I can't get the rights back, because they're still making "some" money for them. It ends up I'm only getting about 1.00 for each one sold. For the same price on my indie book, I get $3.50/book. Plus, I can try all kinds of creative things to promote it.

That kinda bothers me. Authors who were published before ebooks appeared could easily get the rights back and they have complete control of those books now.

I wish they'd come up with some way to resolve this more fairly.

Dan Walsh said...

Sandra, good morning. It's funny in a way. When I think of how things were when my first book came out, seems like so long ago. A world away, but it was only 2009.

Highlights how much has changed. Thanks for stopping by.

Rose said...

Hi Dan,

I've never gotten on the bandwagon that an author can only write in one genre to succeed.

I started writing short works for the Christian children's market and moved on to inspirational romance - yep Heartsongs - but I never gave up writing and submitting short stories either.

I admire Dandi Daley Mackcall and Melodie Carlson who write across the board.

Donna Collins Tinsley said...

There's a lot of great content in this blog and the comments were very informative, too. I believe that many of us would read anything you write, even if it were written on scrap paper. I'm so happy that Bill was able to pass along your book, "The Reunion," to his brother, a Vietnam vet with PTSD. Knowing a movie is coming out is even better for those who are not normally readers. I can't wait to read the new novel!

Dan Walsh said...

Rose,

Those are some great examples of authors who've crossed the genre line. Davis Bunn also comes to mind.

Donna, thanks so much. Can't wait till they start making the movie. Hoping to be able to visit the set when the time comes.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Dan,
This is such an interesting topic. From a readers perspective, I can argue this point from both sides of the coin.

I have always loved the feel of a book in my hands, even being able to look back and forth at the cover, from page to page at times. I own hundreds of books, even after donating hundreds I knew were a one time read.

Then for Christmas 2010 I recieved my first Kindle. Then another Christmas, a Kindle Fire. It has changed my reading life. I can download my favorite authors and find all their works in one place. Amazon always has books for free, which helps me discover new authors like yourself who I can then add to my to-be-read list. That's a win/win for the reader. My husband has said dozens of times its the best gift he's ever given me, because I use it every day.

Our world and culture are definitely changing before our eyes. I'm finding it hard to keep up with new technology but my kids and even grandkids help me out(they're 15,9 and 7, lol, this gives new meaning to "are you smarter than a 5th grader?").
we have watched our local newspaper dwindle in size and often debate the future of the printed word in light of online news, phones and tv.

All in all, I think there is still room for both traditional publishing and ebook formats, but our future generations will be living and experiencing life totally differently than we have. Our mission then becomes finding a way to transition from the old ways to the new as painlessly and productively as possible. No small task!

Thanks for sharing your perspective today.

Jackie said...

Hi Dan,

At my agent appointments at ACFW and in meetings I attended I continued to hear, choose one genre.

I have noticed quite a few authors become established traditionally and then branch out with great success independently. It makes me wonder which should come first to spread the word of Jesus more effectively through our stories.

Tracey Hagwood said...

@TINA,
I finished I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS last night.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT and a clueless fella, they're always the last to know, I was laughing out loud over and over all night! Thank you :)

Cindy Regnier said...

Thank you Dan. I want you to know, I don't care if it's traditional or indie, and whatever genre, all it takes for me to want to pick up a book is seeing your name on the cover. I am a true Dan Walsh fan! Thank you for visiting us at Seekerville.

Julie Lessman said...

DAN!!! OH. MY. GOODNESS!!

I am SOOOOO excited about the movie deal, my friend, AND about your new indie book -- you go, boy!! ;)

I totally agree with everything you said and am a little blown away how quickly the publishing landscape has changed, although NOT as blown away as publishers, I'll wager! And the thing that surprises me more than anything is the speed of it. Change seems to happen every day in this new industry, not every year like it used to be.

Yes, I think "traditional publishing" has hit an iceberg in the water, but I do not believe it will sink as a whole--only the "traditional" part will, in my opinion, with the industry evolving into a safer, smarter vessel in which to carry books to the reader. Not sure what it will look like, but instead of one big boat, I think we'll see an armada of different vessels better suited to supply the needs of the reading public.

I'm excited to see where this "brave new world" takes you, Dan, and all of us!

Hugs,
Julie

Marianne Barkman said...

I guess I'm a traditionalist. I still have not paid for an Ebook...I have free ones, but if I'm going to spend hard earned money, I want to be able to turn the pages, share them with my mom. As for Indie publishing? I still see too many out there who don't get published traditionally because it's not gone through the whole process. I will make an acception for favorite authors. Seekerville contests should be mandatory for all other authors and authors to be! Have a great day!

Marianne Barkman said...

Ruthy, what happened this morning? Only five words in bold?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Dan, I'm confused. I love crunching numbers, I raised a lawyer and two CPAs and a Public Policy professor so the magic of numbers isn't lost on us.

First, $1/book isn't a bad take, is it? If you sell 10K, that's 10K in your pocket, right? For most of the world, that's significant funding.

But it's the $3.50/book that I'm puzzled over. The book (great cover, by the way, solid and eye-catching!) is selling for $4.99, right?

So where does the $3.50 come from?

Sign me,

Puzzled in Upstate

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Marianne, I didn't want to sound like I was YELLING AT DAN!!!!! :)

I've put myself purposely in the middle of this fun, new hybrid author thing and I'm having the time of my life, soaking up knowledge like a sea-floor sponge, but the poor guy is probably sitting at home, scratching his head, saying "What'd I ever do to her????"

Which is of course, sweet Dan has done nothing, but when you're part of a big teaching blog like Seekerville, it's uber-important to me that we get the facts straight to our aspiring and new authors...

And right now, the facts change daily, so I'm hesitant to ever use absolutes... and I'm a go-with-the-flow type, as long as I have my oar!

Julie Lessman said...

HELEN, I am SO sorry, my friend, but you know what? I think this could very well be a blessing in disguise. Just ask any indie author who has done really well -- Ruthy and Virginia Munoz come to mind -- and you will see that the opportunities for you now are not only more exciting, but more profitable too!

And, Dan, I hear you on buying rights back. Ebooks have really changed that landscape quickly. I have friend at our publisher who got in right under the wire (before ebook sales took off) and was able to buy many of her books back. Needless to say, she is making a killing in the indie market by repackaging them and is consistently in the bestseller boat. :) I'm happy for her, but sure wish you and I could have done the same, but it was just a matter of a year's difference in perspective by the publishers.

Reminds me of the time when Keith and I were newlyweds and all of our friends had bought nice starter homes for almost nothing (i.e. $18,000 on up). But then the Jimmy Carter era hit when interest rates were in the 20s, and suddenly everything changed. We bought a house for 3X what our friends did, and it wasn't even as nice. The real hurt, though, was when our friends sold that house a few years later for 5X what they paid. Sigh. Good for them, but bad for anybody that came into the market just a few year later. :(

Hugs,
Julie

kaybee said...

HEARTSONG PRESENTS? NOOOOOOOOO...

kaybee said...

Ruthy is right. It's about taking the message to readers and we'd best not lose sight of that.
KB

Wilani Wahl said...

Helen, I am so sorry to hear about Heartsong.

Mary, I just saw that Swept Away, is on sale for 99 cents. Got it!

Debby Giusti said...

Dan, always a good day when you visit Seekerville.

Although I should add that everyday is good in Seekerville. LOL!

But it is a joy you have you with us. Congrats on your new suspense. That's my genre of choice so I'm anxious to read your latest. Congrats on going hybrid too!

I'm enjoying the "symbiotic relationship" that Tina mentioned between traditional and independent publishing. That's a win-win for authors and readers alike. I want success for both and neither to sink, like the Titanic. Hate that Heartsong Presents is ending. Praying all the authors find new homes for their writing.

Dan Walsh said...

Tracey, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Your transition to the Ereading experience mirrors my own. I don't want to see print books go away. Still prefer them, but can't deny how nice it is to read a book without glasses at night, and get books for about half the price (so I get to read more). And several other benefits.

But it does concern me about where it's all going.

kaybee said...

OKAY, this is why we write for God. My secular work, both full-time and part-time freelance, is in nonfiction newspaper work, which has its own set of headaches and blessings. I did five or six freelance stories for a local paper, and went online this morning to see if any of them had been published, which is crucial as I "need" the money. Apparently I don't need it as much as I thought, or God has another way to deal with it, because the editor had Not Printed One. I was depressed and freaked out, all that work for what, etc. Then the phone rang and it was this retired gentlemen I had interviewed for my third-string nonfiction writing, occasional work for dollhouse and miniature magazines. He does miniature Shaker furniture and I profiled him for a December issue of one of the magazines, and he had just gotten his copy. He was thrilled and ecstatic, almost invited me for Thanksgiving dinner, heck, almost Adopted Me. And it made my day, or at any rate brought my day back from where it had sunk to. This is what Ruthy's talking about, only with fiction and spiritual content. This is why we write.
Getting off for a while, many things hitting many fans, back later, KB

Tina Radcliffe said...

Remember You've Got Mail? The movie? It is hard seeing so many small publishers close or close lines. Not unlike the little bookstore around the corner in the movie.

But I think there is a bottom line, the buck stops here that needs to be dealt with.

A few things I think about when this discussion opens:

Big advances paid with poor return.

Advances are a lovely thing but they may be a thing of the past. Funny how we think negotiating that advance is hugely important-but really what's important is marketing and selling through that advance. In the past it's been all about picking up that check, and running with the money.

But wow, what a different perspective you have when there is no advance and you are the publisher.

If all of publishing functioned like starving indie writers then they wouldn't be closing their doors.

Sherri Shackelford said...

I'm playing the numbers game. Sales of paperbacks have stabilized and the meteoric growth of ebooks has stalled as well.

I was at a bookclub meeting the other day and someone said, "Sure, I'd like a .99 cent book, but they're all crap."

Now - I personally don't believe this statement. However, it shows me that people are associating cost with quality - which doesn't hurt for an author.

For me, I love the hybrid option. I like experimenting with other genres and being creative in a different way.

Tina Radcliffe said...

And I didn't congratulate you for taking the leap, Dan. Congratulations.

There are no right or wrong answers.

There is only what works for you. And if that isn't working you try something else.

The victory STILL goes to the one left standing. That hasn't changed.

Dan Walsh said...

Jackie,

I know that's still the advice being given, and I think it does make sense especially when you're starting out. Hard to build a readership if they don't know what to expect from you.

What I think has changed is...seeing that as an ironclad rule without exception. I think there are lots of readers, like me, who don't just read in one genre. I have seasons and moods where I want to read one kind of book, then that shifts, and I'm in the mood for something else for a while.

Dan Walsh said...

Cindy, wow. What can I say to that? Thanks so much!

Julie,

Great to hear from you again. And thanks. Also, I agree with your POV. I don't think self-publishing will eclipse trad publishing completely. There are far too many authors who don't want to wear all those hats themselves.

What has already begun to emerge are smaller houses that are willing to do all those traditional things but give the authors a bigger share of the income (to me, a fairer share).

I've had some offers from a few of those and may wind up doing that. Right now, since I'm still fulltime, and I'm kind of an entrepreneurial type, I kind of like wearing these other hats.

Jackie Smith said...

Dan, I am a reader who has read all your books so far, but The Desire! So please put me in the drawing for that! I devoured all your books and wish you the best in writing, publishing, etc. I am excited about the movie, too!
Blessings~~~

Gail Griner Golden at Gail-Friends said...

I remember sitting in the audience at Mt. Hermon's Writers Conference in 2010 and hearing an editor say traditional publishing was on the way out. I was stunned. Now I am seeing it happen.

This "whole new world" is a blessing to authors. Those of us who have a message on our hearts can now get it out there without waiting for a traditional publisher to approve it. We also no longer have to spend thousands of dollars to self-publish it, thanks to Amazon.

I am very thankful for this new day / world. It is a great boon for the message as well as the money.

Thank you, Dan, for your candor and for sharing this with us.

Mary Connealy said...

Ruthy...you're not a FOLLOWER?

But you've been so obedient to me all these years.

I'm so confused.

Dan Walsh said...

Ruth, Here's the math I'm working with: the $3.50 is 4.99 x a 70% royalty rate. As for the $1 vs 10,000. Yes, that's 10,000 bucks. But most books don't sell anywhere near 10,000 copies. Thankfully, mine have, but even at 10,000, who can live on that? At 3.50/book, that's $35,000 for 10,000 books.

The other part of this is...my publisher is doing almost nothing with these older books. If I had control of them, I could do all kinds of things to increase sales. But now, they just sit there, selling just enough to keep the rights from reverting back to me.

I know of one author friend who got back a number of her older books, which were published before the ebook craze, who's making more than $1,200/month from them. Before that, they were dead in the water.

See what I mean?

Debby Giusti said...

Kaybee, God's timing is perfect. Love that the man called you when you needed a boost!

Dan Walsh said...

Julie, that's right. You and I are in the same boat on the ebook thing. Crazy, isn't it? Never saw it coming.

But you're right about how much more we could make on those books IF we were given the option. I've learned readers don't really care about who the publisher is, or when the book first came out.

What they care about is reading a great story they can't put down.

I'd even be willing to share it with them (the pub), if they'd give me creative control on the marketing side. But they won't. Seems odd, because they'd get a way bigger slice than me if the books had better sales.

Oh well. Doesn't do any good to stare at things we can't control. God is certainly not stuck in a box. I am confident He will look after us, as He always has.

Dan Walsh said...

Debby, great to hear from you and great to be back here with you all.

If there's one thing I know, any of the writers who hang with you ladies will be getting great advice as we navigate these tricky waters.

It's great to see how you are still on the cutting edge.

Dan Walsh said...

Kaybee, great story. Thanks for sharing it. I love it when God resets our gaze on the things that matter most.

Dan Walsh said...

Tina, I think you're right about Advances. What I was told they were supposed to do was offer an advance that was in line with what they believed could be earned out in 1 year. That makes decent business sense, and seems to be what was followed for most of books.

But it's also true that many pubs went out on a limb offering way bigger advances to lasso in certain bigger name authors, then those books flopped. You can only do a few of those deals before you run aground.

Another thing, the bread and butter revenue for trad pubs has been the pre-orders from retail bookstores which, sadly, have been drying up (so many people are buying online, even print books).

Without that "guaranteed" advance revenue, there's no money to pay the advances to authors.

Dan Walsh said...

Sherri,

Re the .99 cents "they're all crap" thing. Sadly, this is one of the new dynamics of this brave new world.

Whereas, the old way kept "crap" from making it to readers, in the new world anybody can upload a book in any condition and at least fool someone to buy it at that .99 price.

I think in the end, though, the rating system should help readers avoid those unworthy books. That is, if people take the time to investigate a book's reviews.

I know my mother-in-law was buying all kinds of cheap ebooks, that were mostly bad. She's now willing to pay more like $3-5 and reads up on the books first, before she buys.

Jeanne T said...

Wow, Dan. Things have really opened up for you in your career. Congratulations! And a movie deal? Wow.

As a pre-pubbed writer, I'm watching the waters of indie and trad publishing. For me personally, I am more comfortable going the trad route to begin with, so I can learn how things work on that end. I may opt for indie publishing down the road, but I don't know yet.

As for if traditional publishing will completely go away, I don't believe it will. There are many readers who like a book where they turn actual pages. Trad publishing houses have definitely had to learn ho to flex with the changes, but I don't see them going away any time soon. :)

Thanks for giving me great food for thought!

Jeanne T said...

HELEN, I thought about you when I read that Heartsong was closing. I'm so sorry. :( I've been praying for open doors for you as you figure out your next steps.

Dan Walsh said...

Gail,

I agree with you. I think most of these changes are turning out to make life better for authors, not so good for the publishers.

On the upside, people are buying more books than ever before.

Of course, it doesn't feel like a good thing to authors who've been dropped when a publisher goes out of business.

Hopefully, the existing ones will make the kinds of business fixes they need to make so they can survive and not "hit the iceberg."

Sally said...

Interesting, Dan. I didn't realize the advance sales to bookstores affected authors' advances.

I've jumped into the indie pool this year. I'd heard from some that it was too late because there were so many books out with more coming every day.

But what I've found is that waiting this long means I've dealt with less stigma against indie publishing. So many readers are fine with indie books now, and when you look at the genre bestseller lists on Amazon, indie novels dominate.

Am I making a living? Well, no. I have one book out. :) But I'm making very nice money which I know wouldn't have been possible with a traditional publisher since I'd be a debut novelist with a teeny-tiny following. So far, I'm loving the indie option and plan to continue that route. I'd still be open to traditional publishing, but it would have to be the right deal. And I confess that, right now, I have no idea what that would look like!

Helen Gray said...

Dan,

I joined CIA when it first started. I have also taken some online classes on indie publishing.

But I'm a timid soul when it comes to stepping into the waters.

I also have written some books in another genre. The first book of the series is with a traditional publisher, so I have to wait and see how that plays out before deciding what to do with those.

Dan Walsh said...

Jeanne T,

I'm not sure I believe traditional publishing has hit the iceberg. Some individual pubs have, for sure. Some have already disappeared beneath the waves.

I know several of the traditional houses are doing radical things to stay afloat.

Just to clear up one thing you said...indie publishing doesn't mean ebook-only. People can buy print books for my new release for $11.82 on Amazon. I've held the copies. They're as nice as anything I've gotten from my publisher.

What is also true, though, is that people can't get them in conventional bookstores.

kaybee said...

A Lot of Words to say Ruthy was right, but this one called for it.
KB

Tina Radcliffe said...

" I didn't realize the advance sales to bookstores affected authors' advances."

Why does Harlequin do so well and their authors regularly sell through? Book club. Those are preorders right there. Advance orders.

Now as indie authors doing presales (see Ruthy's post yesterday) you can see what your market looks like ahead of time.

Dan Walsh said...

Sally,

I don't mean that bookstores actually paid money in advance to publishers. The practice has been that the pubs have a sales team that goes out and gets with the stores to drum up pre-orders.

Because things had been so stable for so long, they could count on that money coming in when the books released.

The rug got pulled out from under their feet when readers/buyers stopped buying books from the stores, but went online. That resulted in massive book returns, which the publishers had to eat. And of course, the stores now order WAY less copies.

So, there goes the revenue.

Dan Walsh said...

Tina,

Great point! They've found away around the iceberg. I noticed also that Guideposts, though doing away with their traditional fiction line kept their series fiction books alive, because they are being sold to the people using the book-of-the-month club.

Dan Walsh said...

Helen,

You aren't the only one who is timid. I think most authors are. I studied this whole thing for so many months before even considering jumping in.

I'm not one of those who runs down the beach and jumps into the waves.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Dan, I wondered if that was the math you were seeing. So you're looking at the 70% you get on foreign sales through Amazon! Now it makes sense.

But the American sales are at 35%, right? Like the rest of us get? If you're not sure how to find this (because you're new, and I know it's crazy at the beginning!) go to your Kindle Publishing page and click on "Reports" and then on "Sales Dashboard". Adjust the cute little calendar icons (like when you're booking a flight) to November 1 and November 14 and then click "adjust data"... the figure below can be divided by the number of American books sold (foreign sales are all listed separately) and you can see your true American/US rate and what you've done for the first two weeks of November.

I love Amazon's transparency, I can see at a glance exactly what's selling, what's not, project my income and balance that against my traditional books.

What a fun thing, Dan!!! To run your own business. That truly feeds the entrepreneurial spirit inside you!

Did you start your own publishing company? Is that what Bainbridge Press is? Good for you!


Mary Connealy, you're funny.

I followed someone once. We both got lost and had a good laugh.

:)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kaybee, I love that story. You blessed that person. And you know I like to make money, I have a family and mortgage and I like food! But I try to be mindful of that word "deserve" because it's so overused these days.

I'd like to see more "simple" and less "deserve" in our culture, for sure.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina, great point. And I think that Harper Collins acquisition of Harlequin shows the respect they have for a publisher who has weathered ups and downs in the markets for decades.

Pre-orders for hard-copy sales are a huge part of that success, yes! And we know the authors take a pay cut on the royalty for those guaranteed sales, but I'm so pleased with that growing readership and the inexpensive price point where folks can get my work and not sacrifice milk money.

I think that's part of my love for these sweet, short books. Folks on a budget can get them... love them... and share them. That's huge to me.

Dan Walsh said...

Ruth,

No, I'm not getting 35%. I'm getting 70% at Amazon. You have a choice to receive either 35 or 70. I chose 70. From what I gather, the 35 may get you more exposure from Amazon but you lose the ability to have your books anywhere else.

I've looked at my Dashboard sales, and I'm definitely getting the 70 figure, not 35%.

Dan Walsh said...

Ruth,

Sorry, forgot to answer the other question. Yes, Bainbridge Press is a fictitious DBA name. At this point, I'm not thinking of publishing anyone else's books but my own.

It's funny though. I've had some friends email me and ask me to explain the deal I got with Bainbridge Press.

Connie Queen said...

Wow. There's so much to consider in publishing. I hadn't thought of all those authors w/books out in the transition where your not making a lot of sale w/the publishers and can't take it to e-books.

Of course, you can't do anything until you write a good book. I better get busy!

Thanks for the post Dan. I'll be needing this a lot in the future.

Connie Queen said...

Helen, I didn't know about the closing of HeartSong Presents. I'm sorry...

Dan Walsh said...

Connie,

"Of course, you can't do anything until you write a good book."

That is as true now as ever. None of these business things matters more than that.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I do recommend that our readers check in with the WEEKEND ED. this week. As it happens we are addressing much of this conversation from other perspectives. Always learning. Aren't we?

Mary Hicks said...

Congratulations, Dan!:-)

This is a very interesting discussion. I've just finished my first MS—it's still going through the editing process. Both sides of the publishing story makes sense to me.

And if a writer decides to write in several genres, just do as you say and use a pseudonym. The readers that like your style and voice will appreciate knowing which of your books they're buying.

I don't read Nora Roberts, but she spreads the word that she's the author, J. D. Robb also. That just makes sense, too.

Leslie McKee said...

Welcome, and congratulations on the movie deal Dan!

As a reader, reviewer, and editor, I personally enjoy when authors step out of the one genre and explore others. According to many of the authors that I interviewed at the ACFW conference,that fact alone seems to be the reason why many traditionally published authors are choosing to explore indie publishing. They cited the fact that it gives them the freedom to explore other genres that their traditional publisher might balk at for fear of losing readers. So far,I have found that I am glad they choose to venture out. While I enjoy your other books, your latest is a refreshing change of pace.

As I am an editor as well as a reviewer, I think it is important to know that when someone decides to go the self pub route, they remember the importance of hiring a good editor. I don't believe this is a problem for authors who have worked with traditional publishing houses. However, this path can seem an easy way for new authors to get their books into the hands of readers. There have been many books that I have downloaded onto my Kindle and stopped reading after the first couple of chapters due to glaring errors. I find it difficult to read a book like this for pleasure.

While I enjoy reading a physical book, I admit that I do love my Kindle. As a former teacher, I believe the availability of electronic books is a positive way to get younger readers engaged.

I do not feel that traditional publishing is like the Titanic, at least not yet.

kaybee said...

If I ever GET an advance, which would assume selling, I will use it for marketing and promotion. One of the things I've learned here.
KB

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Well, that makes perfect sense, then.

I've found that keeping my indie books at lower prices spurs readership and then those readers (if they like the book!!!) are then going back and buying my traditionally published backlist. So that's driving my backlist sales (the ones we can't control) by inspiring readers to look for more Ruthy-books. So many alternatives! I'm glad what you're doing is working for you.

Tina, I agree, multiple perspectives on indie publishing are clutch now... and maybe always?

Because I find it changes almost monthly, something new or different comes along.

Knowledge is key.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome to Leslie! Leslie is an RT Reviewer, btw. Great to see insights from your side of the book binding. :)

Sherida Stewart said...

Good morning, Dan! Good to see you here! Congratulations on your upcoming film and your newest release!

Two years ago, I thought hold-in-my-hand traditionally published books would never be replaced. I now find indie and traditional books of excellent quality, and I lean towards ebooks of both. I believe traditional publishers are (a) close to the iceberg. Author compensation will need revision on the author side and less expensive ebook prices on the reader side will be needed for traditional publishers to avoid the iceberg.

As a former kindergarten/preschool teacher and a collector of Caldecott books, I wonder what will happen to children's picture books. I've read charming indie published children's ebooks, but regret that future generations may not experience browsing little bookstores or wandering the library stacks....and finding a treasure.

Thank you for your thoughts today!

Donna said...

Dan, 12 novels since 2009? That is fantastic! The only downside is that I've fallen behind in my reading. Congratulations on the movie contract and your indie success!

As for writing in one genre, I have always thought the publishing world underestimated their readers. I think very few people only read one genre. Those that do are smart enough to tell the difference and stick with what they like. As long as publishers are upfront about what kind of book it is and not trying to dupe the public.

I wonder how books vs indie breaks down when you look at the age of the reader. My kids are in their 20's and can not fathom why I continue to go to the library or buy real books when "you can get it online."

Please put me in the drawing for When Night Comes & What Follows After.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Actually it's a drawing to choice your own prize. One of three choices!!

Leslie McKee said...

Thanks, Tina! I will be dropping by off and on today.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Dan,
Congratulations on your many-faceted career! A movie - how great!

I'm just entering the traditionally published arena so I'm learning as I go. I may someday do indie publishing, but right now I'm lucky in that I have broken the genre rule. I'm doing contemporary and historial romances, which is a lot of fun! Juggling 3 publishers is a challenge but so far so good!

I was so sorry to hear about Heartsong as well and am praying for all the authors (and staff) involved. I know Helen will do great as she already has a following of readers!

I'd love to be in the drawing for one of your co-authored books!

Cheers,
Sue

Chill N said...

Excellent discussion!

I see no reason why traditional and indie publishing can't both exist and do well -- if they realize they're in this together.

Despite some predictions, movies didn't kill radio; TV didn't kill movies; indie movies didn't kill studio movies. But each adapted and realized what the others had to offer. For example, movie trailer ads on TV, TV program plugs on radio. At times that cooperation is due to some of them being owned by a parent company ... but all three media are still around.

Performers, screenplay writers, producers, directors ... they have to make choices, too, based on income needs and what they see as the purpose of their work. I don't see much difference between that and what writers and publishers are facing.

I free you now from my opinions :-)

Congrats on all the successes, Dan!

Nancy C

Courtney Phillips said...

As much as I love to support authors, I'm always hesitant to pay for independently published books. Is that bad to admit? I do pay attention to who published a book before I buy it if I've never read that particular author before.

I hope and pray traditional publishing avoids the iceberg. I can depend on my favorite publishers to put out quality fiction.

As a writer, I'm seeking traditional publication. Indie pub isn't something I would consider at this point. I want the validation that comes with traditional pub.
But that's just me.

Myra Johnson said...

DAN, it's always a pleasure having you as our guest in Seekerville! Congratulations on the movie contract!!!

I'm also a hybrid author, though the balance is tipped toward traditionally published books at this point. I can thank RUTHY for nudging me into the indie waters with a book my agent loved but couldn't find the right home for. And now, of course, the Seeker novella collection. What fun!

BTW, I started reading The Deepest Waters a few days ago. Really need to find out how (if???) John and Laura get back together--oh my!



Myra Johnson said...

HELEN, right there with you, honey. I have a 3-book series contracted with Heartsong and am waiting to hear from my agent about what happens next. While I'm not totally surprised by the announcement, its suddenness did catch me off guard.

Courtney Phillips said...

Oh, and I'm NOT an ebook person. I don't feel like I get my money's worth if I can't hold it. I'll try free ebooks, but I wait for the paperback to spend my book budget.
Staring at electronic devices for long periods gives me a headache anyway.



Helen Gray said...

MYRA, there were some signs that had me feeling great concern about the line, but have the axe fall was still tough.

Lots of open contracts and proposals out there.

Dan Walsh said...

Leslie, thanks for stopping by and offering your insights. I TOTALLY agree with you about indies and editors.

One of the benefits of being traditionally published, indeed, one of the reasons why the royalty rate is less, is they spend money on editors who edit the books they accept. They do this because they know how important it is.

If you're reading this discussion and thinking you might want to "go indie," don't skip this step. Hire a pro to edit your work. Make that part of your budget.

Dan Walsh said...

Sherida,

Come whatever may, I can't imagine a world without bookstores or libraries, or wonderful illustrated children's books.

Even if they are smaller and more specialized than the big box stores like B&N, I can't imagine them going away altogether.

Wouldn't it be something (and ironic), if the demise of the big chains brought about a resurgence of "The Little Shop Around the Corner?"

Could happen.

Dan Walsh said...

Donna,

Actually it's 14 books since 2009 (well, really 2008, since I wrote the first one the year before it came out). I have 2 more totally finished with the publisher, just waiting for the calendar pages to turn.

The 4th book with Gary Smalley in April, and another Christmas novel coming in Sept/Oct 2015.

Dan Walsh said...

Susan Ann, juggling between 3 publishers? Yeah, sounds like you have your hands full. That's wonderful.

Nancy (Chill N) - that's an excellent point. When each of those new mediums emerged, the others didn't die. They went through a major change, yes, and people had to adapt, but they are still here.

Dan Walsh said...

Courtney, that's okay. You can keep holding on to these traditions. Nothing wrong with that. I should add, though, I was right there 2 years ago and couldn't have imagined anything that would have changed my mind.

Myra, thanks so much. It's great that you're dipping your toes in the indie world. Hopefully, you can continue to do both for a good while.

Hope you enjoy The Deepest Waters. Still one of my favorites.

CatMom said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Dan!
And a hearty CONGRATS on your publishing success (traditional and indie). :)
Being the eternal optimist I am, LOL - - I have to say traditional publishing will avoid the "iceberg" and continue on and on. At least that's what I certainly hope. I think it's great that indie publishing is an option for so many writers now, but I do want traditional publishing to remain strong too.
Thanks for sharing with us today. Please enjoy the warm peach cobbler I just took from the oven (baked with Georgia peaches, of course!).
Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Becke said...

Welcome Dan,
To me the changes offer freedom:
-freedom to succeed
-freedom to fail
-freedom to select a genre
-freedom to change

For the reader, the changes offer more choices, but also more work.

As a reader I can find anything of interest. However, I have to do my homework to ensure I get what I want. That said, I like that I can read a chapter at my leisure and then make the decision to purchase or pass.
b

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Leslie, welcome to Seekerville!

I agree wholeheartedly. Books should shine like the top of the Chrysler building before they're published. Writing a great book and then shining the edges is clutch. Readers are quite savvy and I like that about them!

Jackie Smith said...

Uh, hmmm...on the post mentioning the books with Dan/Gary....#3 is not listed as The Desire....it shows The Reunion instead....just sayin......?!?!

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Wouldn't it be something (and ironic), if the demise of the big chains brought about a resurgence of "The Little Shop Around the Corner?"

Yes. I think it could too. I think that's what people long for in a social media world, a point of contact. Sure they can make Starbucks in their Keurig at home, but they'd RATHER go to Starbucks.

I think people want to go to the bookstore around the corner..the difference will be you can bring your laptop and download books there in the future.

haha..Tina dreams on...

Tina Radcliffe said...

I think I was supposed to fix that eagle eye, Jackie. I messed it up instead. Let me go see what I messed up and fix it.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Fixed, Jackie. And I added a link so you can SEE them all. GREAT COVERS, DAN!

Dan Walsh said...

Jackie, good catch. And Tina? I'm with you. Dream on. I really hope that happens. I'd take Cindi there once a week.

Dan Walsh said...

ANYONE GET RT REVIEWS??

Someone just sent me a congrats email that When Night Comes (the book featured in this post) just rec'd a 4.5 Star review in RT's new issue.

I'd love to read it, if anyone could post it here. Guess it's the Jan issue (just a tad early :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

I receive it. Let me go find it in my mess.

Wilani Wahl said...

One concern I have with the change in the industry, is a lot of grammatical and punctuation errors appearing in final copies. Not only in self published, but also in traditionally published especially those from small publishing companies. I am learning to ignore the mistakes as I read, but it doesn't mean it is right. However a plus is that the books I have read from Seekers are properly edited.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I found it in my digital copy. It's posted on the blog.

Leslie did an awesome review.


Sage advice of the day: Support the publications that support you. Subscribe to RT. I've been a subscriber for many, many years.

Leslie McKee said...

Thanks, Tina! Dan asked me about the review/issue release. I receive the hard copy of RT, and my issue hasn't arrived yet. I'm glad to know that it's out there, though.

Courtney Phillips said...

I do read the self-pubbed books of authors who I know produce quality stories though--like the Seekers! :)

Especially if they come out in paperback format.

:)

Dan Walsh said...

Agree, Leslie. Great review. And Tina, thanks for posting it.

Re the typos that turn up in this brave new world. In this book, both Cindi and I have a good eye for errors. It also went through 5 other proofreaders, all writers and members of critique groups. One was an English teacher.

I thought, maybe the first 2 would still catch things we missed. Then there would be all kinds of overlap. Nope. It was shocking how many things each of them had missed but others had caught. Several had found errors no one else had even seen.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina and Dan, I'm dreaming with you.

We've watched things go 'round and come around.

Why not this????

I'm totally on board with this dream.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Becke, what a perfect way to look at this.

Thank you.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Leslie, you've given me lovely reviews, too. It's nice to meet you to say thank you.

I always wondered: Is it bad form to write thank-you notes for nice reviews? Is it pandering or geeky????

Because it seems like good form, but in publishing, this is not always the case.

What do you think, Leslie?

Angela D. Meyer said...

It seems that traditional publishers will have to make some adjustments in their thinking to keep up with authors today. And therefore to stay afloat. For now I'm glad to have a traditional publisher, but it doesn't stop me from considering changes in the future.

Dan Walsh said...

Becke, that's a great outlook. And you're right, for the reader it is a bit more work to find the gems.

But if they are willing to do a little more, I think they can find a lot of authors they'd really love and get the books at bargain prices (ebooks, I mean).

Cara Lynn James said...

I've read a lot of indie books although some are poorly edited. Some of wonderful and the price is right. For a small amount of money I'm ready to take a chance on any new author whose book sounds interesting. I wouldn't be able to if the price was a lot higher.

Leslie McKee said...

Ruthy, you are welcome. It's nice to "meet" you, too. No, I don't think it's geeky at all :)

DebH said...

I like the indie market. I tend to be one to double check reviews on the .99 books. There are some goodies in the mix, even with editing issues. I pay attention when editing mistakes are mentioned and I pass that book by.
Every once in awhile, there's one that people say the story is worth dealing with some of the edit issues. Those I tend to try out.
Of course, lately I've been saving my pennies for all the cool books and authors the ladies of Seekerville keep introducing me to.
And, that said - I'd love to be in the draw for your newest suspense indie book Dan.
The discussion in the comments is almost as good as the post. Thanks for sharing!!!!

Leslie McKee said...

I edit for a number of small publishers and proofread for a large one. It is amazing how many errors can be found at the final stages. Unless you have a real eye for detail, it's easy to overlook things because our wonderful brains usually read what it is supposed to say whether or not that is what it truly says. It's a humbling reminder that no one on earth is perfect.

Dan Walsh said...

Deb,

Another easy way to tell if a marked down book is worth your time is just to read the first few chapters. Sometimes, even in the first few pages, I can tell a book wasn't ready to be published.

The only indie books I'd really want to spend time on are those written well enough that they could have been accepted through a traditional publisher, but for some reason, the author went indie (could be lots of good reasons).

Even in this "brave new world" there has to be a way for sub-par works to be seen as such, and those who really paid their dues to shine.

Lyndee H said...

Dan,
Congrats on the movie contract. That's breathtaking!

Sandy Smith said...

I'm still confused about indie publishing. Doesn't that still mean you have to pay to publish your own book? I hope that doesn't soon become the only way to publish.

I would love to win any of your books, especially the Christmas one.

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Thanks, Dan, for your candor in relaying your experiences and to others who've commented on the topic. It's been an eye-opener for me. So sorry, Helen and Myra, to hear about Heartsong. I'm saddened that CWG has folded. Never saw that coming. Love your books, Dan, and major congrats on the film. May you have a long and successful career. Looking forward to Tina's WE with a continuation of this discussion. I'm with you on the around the corner bookstore. Those were the days.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Oh, Helen. I'm so sorry to hear that. :( Praying your stories find a new home.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

"Yes, I think "traditional publishing" has hit an iceberg in the water, but I do not believe it will sink as a whole--only the "traditional" part will, in my opinion, with the industry evolving into a safer, smarter vessel in which to carry books to the reader. Not sure what it will look like, but instead of one big boat, I think we'll see an armada of different vessels better suited to supply the needs of the reading public."

I think Julie Lessman said it better than I could. But that's usually the case so I'm not mad at all.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Hi to Angela! Long time no see!

And Virginny! I concur!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

LOL, Ruthy.

A book at 4.99 gets you 70% in the US. Not foreign sales.

It's .35 on .99 and up to 1.99. Anything higher gets you 70%.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Ruthy, I'm concerned that you've been selling all your books at a 35% rate.

You can adjust that, as Dan says. Follow your above instructions and then reset the button from 35% to 70%. My heart is hurting a little bit at the idea you've been missing out on a lot of $ from your sales.

It IS confusing. And sometimes people are giving advice that don't quite know what they're doing. Did you have someone walk you through this process?? I sure hope when you sold a book at 2.99 you were getting 70%, not 35%.

Dan Walsh said...

Thanks Lyndee.

Sandy, yes, in a way, that's what it means. But the expenses that you pay are one time, up front. After that, you can make potentially WAY more per book than you will make under contract to a publisher.

For example, with the books my publisher owns (the older ones marked down to $4.99 as Ebooks). I only get $1 for each one sold. For the indie book, I get $3.50.

If you extend that factor out over several books, in time, I could easily be making considerably more than I did the traditional way.

There's no way to know, looking back, whether I would have done better all along as an indie (I doubt that I would have). But with everything that has changed these past 2 years, it seems to be a much better option for me going forward.

Dan Walsh said...

Thanks Pat, and thanks for stopping by.

Virginia, thanks for clearing that up. I forgot that detail. Books have to be set at 2.99 or higher to get the 70% rate.

For example, if I did a 5-day .99 special, I'd only get .35/book for all that I sold. After the sale, it would go back up to 70%.

Missy Tippens said...

Dan, welcome! We're so glad to have you back. Now...off to read all these comments! :)

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Great piece! Congrats on the movie contract, Dan, and your first Indie.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Virginia and Dan, thanks for clearing that up for me.

I've kept my prices low (and sold a lot of books, so that's awesome!!!) for the past year, so I must have confused what I thought I saw when we were putting the novella collections together.

So they're listed correctly, with the correct percentage (which is great considering we're sharing, right???) and still at a price that's good for readers, and that's hugely important to me. My readers are accustomed to paying $5 for a great read with my Love Inspired books, so I want to respect those readers with my independent work.

I've pledged to keep "Running on Empty" at .99 forever because it's such a beautiful book of healing... and again, that comes first on my Ruthy-scale. Making a little on it is fine if it helps women heal, right? First things first because heaven knows I'm not starving here in upstate.

I'm glad to have this cleared up! Thank you, fellow authors!

Dan Walsh said...

Your welcome, Ruth.

And thank you, Tina, all the rest of you ladies here in Seekerville. Once again, a lively and enjoyable day spent with you.

Whatever else, the days ahead will certainly not be "same ole, same ole." And I know, you ladies will keep your finger on the pulse and continue to serve the rest of the writing community through your excellent blog.

Great being with you!

Dan

Deanna Stevens said...

nail-biting suspense thriller combined with accurate historical fiction... that's my kind of book ! !
dkstevensne AT outlook DOTCOM

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

DAN,
Congratulations on all fronts. I'm so pleased to see that you're going have a book adapted for the screen.

And your conversation starters are all something I could comment on, but shall restrain myself:)

And yes, extra congrats on stepping into Indie waters. While the water isn't calm, it's pretty friendly. At least for many of us.

Seismic shift you bet! And long time coming. I'm heartened by the fact that we Indies are coming into our own and gaining traction.

Anyway, you all know I could go on and on about this topic...

Dan, I'd love to have you come talk on my blog. You're articulate and thought provoking as are the Seekers, one of my favorite blogs.

~L.A. Sartor

Carole Jarvis said...

Dan, I appreciated your thoughts very much. I plan to use December to catch up on review commitments and am eager to begin the copy of When Night Comes that you sent me.

You may already know this, but Amish fiction writer Vannetta Chapman did almost the same thing as you - independently published a romantic suspense novel called Hidden. I believe she had publishing offers, but wanted to go the indie route so she could control pricing and I'm glad she did. It's an excellent book and I hope the sales are good.

Like others have said, I don't care who publishes a book as long as the quality is there. Name recognition certainly helps, but when in doubt, I can always download a sample chapter on my Kindle.

Thanks for taking the time to share today, Dan.

Dan Walsh said...

Leslie,

Thanks for the kind words. It's been an interesting journey into indie life so far.

Carole,

Thanks. I did see that about Vannetta. Looks like we did it just about the same time, too. Love her cover. Hope it works out well for her.

Dan