Archive for December, 2011

Predictions for 2012 for writers and readers – Part 2

Yesterday I put in writing my predictions for writers in 2012. As promised, today I’m going to consult my crystal ball to get some insight into what readers will see. (Mist swirling in ball. Vickie straightening turban, murmuring magic words and drinking wine. Much wine)

Magic Eight Ball Crystal ball says nothing. Or at least not much.

And that’s the way it should be. Sometimes writers forget that readers don’t see the man behind the curtain the way we do.  Sit in a bookstore and watch and listen to the customers (try not to get arrested for stalking). Hang in some reader forums if you can find any that haven’t been taken over by hungry writers.

Most readers have no idea what’s happening in the publishing industry, nor do they care. Most readers can’t tell a traditionally published book from a self-published book, nor do they care. Most readers don’t know what midlist is or what a fair digital royalty rate is. Nor do they care.

Therefore, the changes that seem world-altering to authors will be subtle or non-existent to readers. A few of the more observant may notice the differences below, but most probably will not.

  1. Bookstore closures will slow. Now that the Borders are gone, the few remaining (Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Books-a-million, and a few hardy independents) will batten the hatches and try to ride out the storm. Sure, we may lose a few more, but the mass closures of 2011 should not recur. So people will still be able to drive to a bricks-and-mortar store and buy books, though they may have to drive a bit further.
  2. A-list authors and breakouts like Roberts, Patterson, Rowling, King, S. Collins will gain percentage of shelf space in discount stores like WalMart as fewer midlist and new authors appear (see yesterdays predictions for writers to understand why). But the change will be gradual, and therefore go unnoticed by many readers.
  3. A few names readers are accustomed to seeing and buying won’t be found on the shelves. Last week alone, I spoke to three midlist authors who are abandoning traditional publishing to go the indie route. Hopefully their readers will find them online.
  4. Readers will continue to be inundated with e-reader ads. Sales will slow a bit after the Christmas rush, but there will still be an uptrend in electronic reading adoption. Other readers will continue to hold out. Unfortunately, their reading choices will gradually shrink as midlist authors jump ship and publishing houses begin offering e-book only lines for their newer talent. But again, the change will be so slow that I doubt many readers will notice.
  5. Books will be cheaper than ever for those who do adopt electronic reading. They’ll find so many books ranging from free to $2.99 that they will never have to buy a more expensive book again if they don’t want to.
  6. Among those cheap books, there will be bad books. Readers will have to become adept at sorting the wheat from the chaff in order to get the most out of their reading time. There will also be so-so books and many great books.
  7. Retailer tools will continue to improve to help readers find the great books.
  8. Readers will band together through social media just as authors have. They will share reviews and recommendations and price deals to help with that chaff sorting.
  9. Readers who embrace electronic reading will find a wider range of stories and voices than ever before available to them.
  10. Readers will continue to love great stories, and support the authors who write them.

Those are my predictions. Guess I’ll check back at the end of 2012 and see how I did.

Meanwhile…hang in there…coming soon to Amazon.com, my new romantic fantasy novella:

Predictions for 2012 for writers and readers

Did you know I come from a long line of fortune tellers? It’s true. My dad’s people were Irish gypsies–or travellers, as they prefer. Here’s a picture of my grandparents’ travellers camp circa I-wish-I-knew-when.

MeMa foretold the future using cards, and two of my great aunts read palms professionally for many, many years. So I know of what I’m talking about when I say I’ve got predictions for 2012.

Well, actually, I probably don’t. But it’s still fun to believe.

We all know the publishing industry is undergoing a great upheaval. I don’t think anyone really knows what the business will look like when things quiet down, but I’ve read several interesting posts postulating the possibilities over the last few days, so I can’t resist doing one of my own.

Here are two of the posts I’m talking about: D.D. Scott and Bob Mayer.

This post isn’t about who is right (or “write”) and who is wrong. It’s about being informed and planning careers and calming the fluttery butterflies of uncertainty in all of our stomachs. Today’s post will approach the predictions from the writer’s view. Tomorrow I’ll look at what’s in store for readers.

Here are my predictions for 2012:

  1. Big mainstream publishers are not going away anytime soon. They will evolve…even if they have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.  The three evolutionary changes I think we’ll see first are:

    a) Hardcover and large print run paperback releases will be limited mostly to the A-list authors like James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Sue Grafton, etc. And celebrity books (yuck).

    b) More mainstream publishers will begin to offer “e-book only” lines for their midlist and newer, unproven authors. Some authors will sign these deals (even though the royalties can’t compete with indie earnings) in hopes of selling enough to eventually become elevated to one of those A-list spots and getting a print deal. Others will sign because they don’t want the headache of all the other roles the indie author must play in marketing, cover design, formatting, etc.

    c) Mainstream publishers will continue to sign indie authors who are selling very well, though they will have to significantly improve their conract terms to get them.

  2. More midlist authors (like myself!) will make the jump to indie publishing.
  3. More talented unpublished authors will quit beating their head against the submission-rejection wall of traditional publishing and go the indie route.
  4. Number two and number three combined will not only continue improving the overall quality and respectedness (?) of indie publihed books in the general population, but will cause a fundamental shift in the supporting industries including literary agencies, writers’ organizations, bestseller lists and book review processes that previously scorned self-published work. For example, today in the Romance Writers of America, an author is not considered published (which comes with considerable perks through the organization) if her work is self-published no matter how many copies she sells. Methinks this is going to have to change.
  5. Current midlist authors who don’t make the jump to indie will see increasing pressure on their earnings throughout the year and 2013. Their print runs and print sales will drop, but their increasing e-book sales will not make up the difference in revenue due to the low royalty rates most publishers are paying these authors. This is especially sad for authors late in their careers who stick with traditional publishing because they see themselves as old dogs who can’t learn new tricks. They may not be able to ride out the tidal wave of change until retirement.
  6. Indie authors will increasingly band together. In order to reach the maximum audience, authors will cross-promote each others’ books and collaborate on anthologies. They will maintain multi-author websites, blogs and other social media outlets. More and more we’ll see groups of authors functioning almost as cooperatively owned publishing houses using their group leverage not only for marketing purposes, but in the acquisition of resources such as cover art designers and copyeditors. Cool, huh?
  7. Way out on a limb with this one. By the end of 2012 or early 2013, I believe we’ll see someone or something emerge that could be a potential competitor for Amazon in the long run. I have no idea who that will be.
  8. Number eight is more of a wish than a prediction. Authors today have some great professional organizations backing them up: Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of American, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Internation Thriller Writers, and more. These organizations provide for the care and feeding of authors. They nurture new talent (well, some of them do), provide ongoing eduction opportunities, serve as industry watchdogs and keep their members updated on industry trends. I’d like to see a multi-genre professional writers organization for indie writers emerge. I mean a reallyprofessional one.Indies have such an entrepenurial, free-spirited mindset that I don’t think this will be an easy task. But there is a void. Today the void is being partially filled through social media pages of indie authors. In the future I think we’re going to need the klout of a professional group to deal with the big business retailers (and others) who support us and the scam artists who’d like to con us. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of having such an organization, and I miss it on the indie side.

That’s it for my 2012 predictions. What do you think? Who’s got their crystal ball all warmed up?

Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at things from the all-important reader’s point of view.

In the meantime…remember my new fantasy romance novella will be available on Amazon.com later this week!

5 Christmas Gifts for Writers (that won’t cost you a dime)

The publishing business has changed for authors. Used to be, you signed on with a publisher, your book got printed and placed in bookstores or grocery markets, and authors anxiously sat back and waited for readers to pluck their paperback babies up and head to the checkout.

Not so, now. Authors are expected to promote their books and have a “platform”–an online presence. Life or death for an author’s career can depend on how visible she is in the cyber world.

The business has changed for readers as well. Where once they wandered the aisles of a brick-and-mortar store for their next read, now they click through websites. Where once they judged their potential purchase on the cover, back cover blurb, and maybe a scan of the first few pages, now they have customer reviews and ratings to guide them.

If you’d like to give an author a Christmas gift that won’t cost you a dime, but will mean the world to him or her, here are a few suggestions:

1) If you read and enjoy a book, go to Amazon.com or bn.com (Barnes & Noble) and enter a review–even if you bought it in a physical store. Reviews= life to an author’s career.

2) Tweet a link to the book or post it on your Facebook status to your online friends letting them know you enjoyed the book.

3) Find the author’s blog and leave a comment there letting her know how much you enjoyed the book

4) Mention the book in your own blog if you have one, and link back to the author’s blog and the book.

5) Email the author and let her know you enjoyed the book. A personal message is sure to brighten an author’s day.

Now–go forth and make Christmas, everyone! Happy Holidays to all!

Coming Christmas day to Amazon.com, a fantasy romance novella:

Healthy Eating – little things matter

It’s too long since I posted. I’ve wanted to make some announcements, but I’ve been waiting for the details to be finalized. I’m almost there! So watch for news in the next few days…

In the meantime, I humbly offer this healthy eating tip. I have found that eating well is essential to keeping my attitude good and my energy (and thus my writing productivity) up. Today, I talk about one of the little changes anyone can make to eat healthier and feel better: eliminating (or at least reducing) the evil fat-monger called mayonnaise.

“Nooooooooooooooo!” I can hear your cries already. “Not my mayonnaise!” Please don’t click over to another blog. Give me a chance. Here is the nutrition information for one ounce of mayo:

 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 oz
 
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 85

Calories 111

 
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 9.47g 15%
  Saturated Fat 1.389g 7%
  Polyunsaturated Fat 5.103g  
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.552g  
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 202mg 8%
Potassium 3mg  
Total Carbohydrate 6.78g 2%
  Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
  Sugars 1.81g  
Protein 0.26g  
 
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR18

 

Um…not so good. 111 calories for just one ounce. That’ll hardly make a sandwich. Notice the fat levels, the sodium, and the carbs (with no dietary fiber to offset).

But who can stomach a dry sandwich? Not me.

A great substitue? It’s so simple, and creamy, and delicious you won’t believe it…try avocado. Just much up a little of the green stuff and spread it like mayo. Take a look at this nutrition information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quite a difference! For that same one ounce, less than half the calories and fat. And notice that in the avocado, it’s all “good fat.” No sodium. And an excellent carb:fiber ratio. Plus, since it’s not a processed food, you’re not eating any yucky preservatives.

So get rid of that heavy mayo, and dress your sandwiches with creamy, delicious avocado. It’s especially tasty on sammies that include chicken, turkey, tomato or bacon, but really works well with just about anything.

I hope you’ll try it.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for my new fantasy romance novella, to be released on Amazon in time for Christmas. More news about this book and others coming soon…


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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