Friday, April 20, 2012

A publisher's dilemma

So I’ve had an internal debate for some time now about publishing my own work with AKP or going with another small press. Honestly, the thought of trying to get an agent and subbing to bigger presses hasn’t crossed my mind in some time. At least, not since a year ago when I began working with Angelic Knight Press and getting to know more small press owners and staff. I love the feel of small presses. Sure we don’t always have the biggest marketing budgets, we can’t offer advance royalties, and we don’t meet the criteria for some of the awards. But I love the feel of small presses. I love that the owners know each of the writers personally. I love that, as an editor, I get to know more about my author than whether they have a good grasp of grammar. I know where they want their book to go. I know their hopes and dreams. I love working with the art director to ensure that we make the book come to life the way the author imagined it. I love the hometown feel of a small press and I love the fact that we’ve started banding together to help each other out. Basically- I love my job and my company and nearly everyone I work with.

What I don’t love is finger pointers or name callers or drama. And sure, you’re going to have that with every job, but more so with creative jobs where it’s your baby those folks are talking about. And I don’t understand all the in-fighting. Why do we need to point fingers and call each other out and get into pissing contests? Can’t we all succeed? But I digress. Recently, I saw a conversation where a newly minted small press owner disparaged other small presses who publish the work of their owner or staff. He called them Vanity Presses and said that he would never do that, his authors deserved better.

 My first instinct was not a nice one and thankfully cooler heads prevailed and talked me into putting that shank down. (JK. Kind of.) Well, I took it to my small press society and of course I knew what their opinions would be. Nearly all of them publish works by the owner/s and/or staff. (Do villagers and pitchforks give you enough of a picture?) This person had just alienated a large portion of the people who could have been most beneficial to him. Then I thought about his words and decided to take it to the people who mattered the most- our authors. Today I emailed them all and let them know the question. They came back with overwhelming support for the press and here is just a sampling of their answers-

‘I have seen many presses set up this way, and I don't think less of them. As a matter of fact, Helen Rossman, the CEO of my first publisher, Medallion Media Group, publishes quite a bit of her work through her press. They are doing quite well in the industry and continue to grow and expand. I think people who try to "make specific rules" about this are simply looking for ways to build themselves up.’ ~ Cindy Keen Reynders

‘In a word, no! What difference could it possibly make if it is an anthology, carefully edited and scrutinized in the most careful manner and happens to include other work, say by the publisher? That is just silly and argumentative to me.’~ Carole Gill

‘So no, I don't care about the publishing of your own stuff in the least. If it was getting shown preference in acceptance, or if releases from you or Blaze were getting moved ahead of the schedule or getting more marketing attention than other books, I would. But just throwing in a great story that fits an anthology or publishing your own novel wouldn't bother me in the least. Your quality will help you stand out, and I don't think that putting out your own stuff would change it in the least. Besides, you're working your ass off on your company. Why send a great story to a competitor over something like this?’~ Bryan Hall

‘Y'know, the way I look at it is that it's the owners' press, and they can do what they want to with it, and if authors feel somehow "belittled," then they ought to be able to pinpoint the reason--as in is the owners' writing so substandard that no other press would touch it--and be able to justify that position. If this is not the case and the writing is up to par, then I don't see a problem.’~ Carson Buckingham

There are so many more, but I won’t include them all. Just suffice it to say that not one author came back to me and said that they felt belittled or treated unfairly. I don’t think the readers really care much either, so who exactly does this issue matter to? One of our writers put it succinctly when he said that the only people who care about such things are the elitists out there. The other writers and publishers who think they’re doing a better job or holding on to old standards. Well, it’s a new day peeps and it’s time to get with the program.

In the end, I decided I will go ahead with the plans to publish my short story collection with AKP. And later on my novella. Why? Because I trust us. I know our commitment to quality. I know that the same people, who read all the other subs, will read my sub as well. If it’s crap, I’ll get called on it. And if it’s not, and it gets the green light? It will be edited by the same editors that I work with and trust. The cover art will be done by our brilliant cover artist. And the royalty split will be the same I offer all of our authors. With the Press’ cut going right back into the business as it should. Why would I go with another press when I trust mine? Why would I give up creative control? Why would I give up money?

I suppose the argument could be made that I need the validation of being accepted elsewhere. But I already have that validation. I’ve had stories published with other presses and publications. I’ve had another press interested in the novella. That’s enough validation for me. The ending validation will come from the same place it would have- even if I published through someone else- the readers and reviewers.

And let me ask you this- how would publishing through your own press be any different than self-publishing? Except the readers are guaranteed the work published through the press has been edited well and formatted correctly. That’s a win for the readers.

And since the gentleman in question has self- pubbed a work or two, I might remind him that while you’re out gathering stones, you might bear in mind your own glass abode.

Monday, April 16, 2012

7 Year Witch Contest

It's contest time!! And that means free books. Who doesn't love free books? Crazy people, that's who. So since we're all relatively sane here and most of us love free books, let's have a contest. The book up for grabs this time around is AKP's latest release 7 Year Witch.

7 Year Witch is part paranormal romance, part sexy romp, part romantic comedy, and all parts awesome. What happens when a novice witch pops back in time to 1877 to confront an evil wizard and ends up landing in a field outside of London where she's found by a Duke? Add a magic disease, some meddling relatives, and the whole time difference thing, and you've stirred up a pot of calamity that tries to keep these lovers apart. It's a fun book that you won't want to miss!

So how do you enter? Each contestant will be awarded two entries for signing up for the AKP newsletter over on our official blog. One entry will be given for following the AKP blog. One entry will be given for following Cindy Keen Reynder's author blog. One entry will be given for liking the AKP Facebook page. And one for liking the 7 Year Witch Facebook page.

The contest will run through Wednesday, April 18th at midnight CST. Winners will be drawn on Friday and announced here and at the AKP page. Prizes are:

3 copies of the Kindle version of 7 Year Witch.
1 print copy of the book.
1 $10 gift card.

Please leave a comment after you enter and let me know if you can't do a Kindle version (because you have a Nook or other reader) and we'll see what we can do!

Thanks and Good Luck!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guest Post by Armand Rosimilia

Today I'm serving up a guest post by Armand Rosamilia. I interviewed Armand once before. He's a talented man: publisher of Rymfire, author and all around interesting guy. See for yourself~

What eBook Price Is Freedom?

Armand Rosamilia

That title sounds pretty epic, eh? Now, to disappoint you…

Today I want to point out eBook pricing. I'm not going to get into the pricing models the Big Six Publishers employ, because we can read almost daily what that is doing to their business. I'm focusing on the little guy… me and you.

There have been so many different ideas thrown around, especially since the KDP Select program from Amazon went live.

Who's right? Who screwed up their sales? Who are the Masters of all this? That's the fun part, because it all seems to change monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily.

I've had days where 18 different titles will have new sales (I have over 40) and I'll get in 39 sales. The next day I get 6 sales, and I can't for the life of me figure out what I did differently or if I did.
But does pricing make that big a difference? I see many well-established writers (and, let's face it, the ones who think they are) pricing their eBooks at $6.99 and telling everyone they're getting nice, healthy sales at that price.

For several mid-list authors (their term, not mine) I read their blog and see them pricing anywhere from $4.99 to $9.99, mostly books that had been traditionally published in the past, reverted back to them, and now they're charging just slightly less than their traditional publisher did.

I have my own opinion on eBook pricing. Guess what? I'm going to share it with you. Always remember there are exceptions to the rule of pricing, whether it's for genre, length, author recognition, or a hundred other factors.

I generally use two prices: 99 cents for shorter works (under 10,000 words) and $2.99 for longer works (usually my novellas). Simple as that.

Again, I've dabbled with other prices: $1.99 for a couple of short story collections before dropping them to 99 cents and watching my sales rise, and $3.99 for the Undead Tales zombie anthology, which is one of my stronger sellers. I've even gone up to $4.99 for my Extreme Undead Collection, but that is 100k and has four zombie novels in one release.

But $2.99 is a nice price to sit at, in my opinion. It's a few cents more than an impulse buy (like a 99 cent eBook is) but, if it interests the potential reader, the price is right. When you're writing niche stories like I generally do, with zombies, your potential readers are in a smaller but rabid circle, and you need to lock them in and keep them coming back for more, especially in a series.

I'll keep experimenting, and I hope other authors do as well. $2.99 seems to be the average price right now for indie authors, and I think it's fair as an author and a reader. I've never purchased an eBook over $2.99 to read, but my Kindle is crammed with $2.99 stories waiting to be read.

What will the future hold? Free eBooks with advertising? Rising costs for eBooks? A brand new system? The crash of technology and the return of stone tablets?

It's a great time we live in.

Armand Rosamilia

* * * * *

Believe it or not, I'm doing this guest blog tour in support of my latest releases.

Want to know more about the "Dying Days" series? Want to win free eBooks and maybe print books of them? My contest is simple: e-mail me at armandrosamilia (at) gmail (dot) com with DYING DAYS in the subject line and I'll enter you into the daily giveaway… also, post a comment here and you get another chance… follow my blog at for yet another chance, and friend me on Twitter (@ArmandAuthor) and simply post DYING DAYS to me, and you'll get another shot… nice and easy, right? If I get enough people joining in the giveaway there will be a print book given away that day!

"Dying Days" series information can be found here:

Thanks, Armand!