29 March 2011

Smashwords vs. Kindle Direct Publishing

Here's the scoop: I've decided to self-publish my first manuscript in ebook format. I've been sitting on it a while, and I don't know that it's the type of story that will get me an agent or a traditional publishing deal. It's not poorly written, or uninteresting. Quite the opposite - I'm still as in love with it as I ever was. But if I'm honest about the difficulties of the traditional market right now, I can see that it may never see success in that arena, while my current projects have a much better chance. So, after thinking about it long and hard, and watching our friend Andrew Bowen take the brave plunge with his novella Triune (review coming soon!) in both Kindle and print versions, I figured what the heck, why not. Might as well put it out there myself, make a bit of money (heck, even if I only sell a few, that's still more than nothing!) and start making a name for myself.

Over on Agent Query, the AQCrew has two fantastic guides on how to convert your MS Word manuscript into a Kindle ebook, and how to publish your ebook on Amazon's Kindle store. Reading through these, I thought "Hey, easy peasy, I can do that!" and that's where my initial inspiration came from. Of course, I still wanted to do plenty of research. In doing so, our other good friend Terry Gould (author of How Can You Mend This Purple Heart) reminded me that he'd e-published with Smashwords (how could I forget?!) So I started looking at the Smashwords site and the Amazon site and comparing features. Then it dawned on me: I bet my readers would appreciate a nice handy comparison between the two!

There are a whole lot of things to take into consideration - more than I expected. So I made this handy little chart for you to compare e-publishing through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. I'm not sure yet whether I want to pursue a print version of my book, but if I do, I'll probably do a similar chart for the print options.

Available publishing formats
Kindle, Sony eReaders, Nook, Kobo, iPad, PDF, RTF, Palm Doc, Plain Text
Costs for author?
Royalty %
85% of net, 70.5% of affiliate sales, 60% of list price from major ebook retailers
35% of list price OR the 70% option, available only on sales to customers from the US, Canada, and the UK
Transaction or other fees
Transaction fee of approx. $.33 per shopping cart (so if customer buys your book and another author's book, the fee is split between the two books) plus a % fee (not specified) based on total sale price; VAT for sales in the UK
$.15 per megabyte of your ebook file; for sales to the UK, there is a 15% statutory Luxemborg VAT
Distribution Venues
Smashwords site; Barnes&Noble, Borders, Apple iPad iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel eBook store all available upon acceptance into premium catalog; Atom/OPDS catalog which reaches major mobile platforms; Amazon coming soon
Kindle store (on device, PC, and mobile), Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
DRM? (Digital Rights Management)
You can choose to include/exclude
Required for certain distribution venues, but not for standard catlog. Free ISBN can be assigned (lists Smashwords as publisher, you as author) upon acceptance into premium catalog. $9.95 premium ISBN lists you as publisher
Not required. Your work will be given an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) automatically upon publishing (ASIN is 10 digits, standard ISBNs are 13 digits)
Print option available?
Yes, through affiliate Wordclay
Yes, through Createspace

What I will probably end up doing is using Amazon's KDP to publish the Kindle version, and Smashwords for other formats. This should ensure maximum royalties on the Kindle version, but maximum exposure with the multiple formats and distribution possibilities of Smashwords.

Have any of you already traveled this path of digital self-publishing, or do you have any opinions/input on either Amazon or Smashwords?

15 March 2011

Wanna Win a New Kindle WiFi?

Wilder’s Mate Kindle Contest
Want to win a brand new Wi-Fi Kindle 3? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, and you can have your chance! For more chances to win, visit the main contest page. Every participating blog you visit gives you another chance to win!

This post is part of Moira Rogers’ Wild Web Adventure Promo. For full rules and disclaimers, or to hold your own kindle contest, visit the contest post. Winners will be chosen during the first week of April.http://www.moirarogers.com/blog/archives/3473

About the book: Wilder's Mate: Bloodhounds, Book 1 was released March 8, 2011. I have not read it, but it sounds like something I'd love and have put it on my to-read list! Here's the blurb from the Amazon listing for the book:
Think a vampire-hunting bloodhound is dangerous? Try threatening his woman.

Bloodhounds, Book 1

Wilder Harding is a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on America’s frontier. His enhanced abilities come with a high price: on the full moon, he becomes capable of savagery beyond telling, while the new moon brings a sexual hunger that borders on madness.

Rescuing a weapons inventor from undead kidnappers is just another assignment, though one with an added complication—keeping his hands off the man’s pretty young apprentice, who insists on tagging along.

At odds with polite society, Satira’s only constant has been the aging weapons inventor who treats her like a daughter. She isn’t going to trust Wilder with Nathaniel’s life, not when the Guild might decide the old man isn’t worth saving. Besides, if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that brains are more important than brawn.

As the search stretches far longer than Wilder planned, he finds himself fighting against time. If Satira is still at his side when the new moon comes, nothing will stop him from claiming her. Worse, she seems all too willing. If their passion unlocks the beast inside, no one will be safe. Not even the man they’re fighting to save.

Warning: This book contains a crude, gun-slinging, vampire-hunting hero who howls at the full moon and a smart, stubborn heroine who invents mad-scientist weapons. Also included: wild frontier adventures, brothels, danger, betrayal and a good dose of wicked loving in an alternate Wild West.

03 March 2011

Review: Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

gottahaveitThis is my first time reading anything written or compiled by Rachel Kramer Bussel, so I wasn't sure what to expect – I only knew that there is a lot of mediocre erotica out there. I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of short-short stories. Definitely better than just mediocre.
For the most part, the stories are very well-written. There were a handful that simply didn't do it for me in terms of the author's writing style, but the positives far outweighed the negatives. One of the best things about this collection is that all 69 stories are under 1200 words, so it's easy to pick up and put down when you can't make the time commitment for longer chapters. Not to mention the fact that the heat level rises quickly and gets to the point without any contrived set-up. That's not to say there's no plot or story arc, because there is – another aspect that sets these stories a notch above the rest. I was surprised by the emotional depth encapsulated in so few words in many of the stories.

Regarding the erotic content, there's something for everyone in this collection: light bondage and BDSM play, stranger sex, public sex, the deep bond of long-term partners, and much, much more. Bussel has done an excellent job of structuring the anthology as well. The first story, Seven-Letter Word by Heather Lin, is fun and sexy, and it sets the tone so that you won't want to put the book down after just one story. The last story, Robert Peregrine's Vacation Pictures, has a unique voice that combines the erotic with a touch of humor and leaves you with the desire to flip back through the book the way you'd look back at snapshots from your own favorite vacation to relive all the best parts. The first and last stories are among my favorites, and here are a few others:

Too Wondrous To Measure
, by Salome Wild – fun, humorous, and inventive. You'd never expect Godzilla to show up in an erotica anthology, and yet this was one of my favorites by far.
Eat Me, by Marina Saint – It doesn't mean what you think it means. This is for anyone who's ever craved a burger with the same carnal urge as you'd crave your lover's body.

, by Elle – A sweet story that shows we only get more beautiful, confident, and sexy with age.

Intercept, by Burton Lawrence – Space sex! Need I say more?

Last-Time Lesbian, by Geneva King – This one will make you think, and not just about the sex. It addresses the difficult emotional dynamics in a transgender relationship.

Going Bald, by Craig J. Sorenson – Women can be their own toughest critics when it comes to their bodies, so I loved this story giving a male perspective on the beauty of the female form.

I liked this book so much, I will definitely be checking out other titles from Rachel Kramer Bussel. Highly recommended

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the editor in exchange for a review on Amazon. But I assure you that didn’t affect my review in any way.)