40-Something Women are Power Ebook buyers

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A new report finds that 40-something women are a big force in ebook buying.

According to the Book Industry Study Group,  today’s ebook power buyer is a 44-year-old lover of romance who buys at least one ebook a week and who is spending more on books today than she has in the past. She's also using an e-reader like a Kindle instead of reading on her computer.

The report identifies "power buyers" as representing about 18 percent of the total people buying ebooks today, but they buy 61 percent of all ebooks purchased.

The Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey also finds that women make up 66 percent of all power ebook  buyers. In 2009, they were only 49 percent of the ebook market.

Also, the majority of ebooks sold are fiction: 20 percent of them are romance. Literary fiction and science fiction each have a 20 percent share of the market as well.

The most  influential factors leading to an ebook purchase come as no surprise to me - free samples and low prices go a long way toward driving sales.

UPDATE: I''ve taken the plunge and developed an author website that I actually have to pay for! I hope you'll start visiting me there; that's where I'll be blogging from now on! Come along and have a look! Click here.

Amazon Sells More Kindle Books than Hardcover, Paperback

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazon says it is now selling more ebooks than paperbacks and hardbacks combined.

"Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly - we've been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years," Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says in a press release.
According to Amazon, they've sold 105 ebooks for every 100 print books. Free Kindle ebooks are not included in that calculation, which would make the number even higher. The online retailer has already sold three times as many ebooks in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.

Read the full press release here.

'Gold Rush' in Self-Publishing

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last year, romance novelist Nyree Belleville was dropped by her publisher. Today, she might tell you it was one of the best things to happen to her writing career.

The author of 12 titles under the pen name Bella Andre, the most Belleville made from her books through her publisher was $21,000.

Depressed, she decided to try self publishing her work. At first, the profits trickled in. Before long, they were gushing in. According to The Washington Post, after the first few weeks, Belleville made $281. The next month it was $474. When she self-published a new ebook in July, she made $3,539.

So she started publishing manuscripts she'd written years earlier. By the end of her first quarter, Belleville had sold 56,008 books, raking in $116,264.

If that doesn't make every unpublished writer want to run out and self-publish, I don't know what will.

But wait.

The article by Neely Tucker also includes some more sobering statistics. Mark Coker, founder of says in the article, “We have less than 50 people who are making more than $50,000 per year. We have a lot who don’t sell a single book.”

The article also quotes Jeff Belle, Amazon’s vice president of books. “There are a lot of books, even low-priced, on Kindle that are not selling at all.”


Well, that's a downer. Still, given the changing publishing landscape, and the success of self-published authors like Belleville  and Amanda Hocking, all writers - published and unpublished - should probably be exploring all of their options.

Read the full article here.

Navy SEALS go from Superheroes to Sex Symbols

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reality is impacting the romance world yet again. On the heels of the royal wedding, which spawned several related romances, the focus has now shifted to Navy SEALS.

The Washington Post has picked up on the buzz surrounding the elite troops, which began after their daring raid on the Pakistan compound where Osama bin Laden had been hiding out.

Reporter Annys Shinn writes: "...people can’t get enough of the SEALs. There are some who want to know what it’s like to be one, and others who want to know what it takes to become one. Then, there are those who want to know what it might be like to, well, “be” with one."

The talk first started on Twitter with comments from editors, agents and writers.

Deborah Nemeth, editor for Carina Press, Harlequin's digital-first imprint, tweeted, "I wouldn't mind some SEAL hero submissions. I predict a massive upsurge in Navy SEAL romance heroes."

Avon's May Chen seconded that, tweeting, "Navy SEALS make the best heroes--in real life and in romance novels."

As Shinn reports, it can take 18 months for a manuscript to get onto store shelves while ebooks take a few months.

So the question is: will this surge of interest in SEALS last until the books can make it to market?

St. Martin's Acquires Hocking's Previously Self-Published Ebooks

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Self-publishing sensation Amanda Hocking continues to blaze her own trail.

She's just sold her previously self-epublished Trylle trilogy to a traditional publisher. St. Martin's Press will publish the best-selling trilogy as both ebooks and treebooks.

On her blog, Hocking says the story will not change but that the books will be more polished. In the past, Hocking's books have sold for 99 cents. The prices are likely to rise but Hocking expects them to remain lower than most ebooks. She'll contines to self-publish the trilogy for the next few months at their current prices. 

Hocking, 26, first made headlines for selling more than a million copies as a self-epublished author. Three of her self-epublished young adult paranormals appeared on the USA Today top 50 bestseller list.

In March,  she signed a four-book deal with St. Martin’s Press for a new series called “Watersong.” Bidding is said to have reached over $2 million for world English rights.

Amazon Launches Romance Line

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We should have seen this coming. Amazon plans to publish its own line of romance books.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the imprint will be called Montlake Romance and will publish both ebooks, tree-books and audio books.

Reporter Jeffrey Trachtenberg reports the online giant will eventually publish other genres as well, including thrillers, mystery and science fiction.

Montlake Romance is expected to launch in the fall with "The Other Guy's Bride," an original new work from New York Times bestselling author Connie Brockway.

"Romance is one of our biggest and fastest growing categories, particularly among Kindle customers, so we can't wait to make 'The Other Guy's Bride' and other compelling titles available to romance fans around the world," Amazon Publishing Vice President Jeff Belle said in an Amazon press release

Montlake is named for a Seattle neighborhood. It will publish a broad range of titles in romance sub-genres, including romantic suspense, contemporary and historic romance novels, as well as fantasy and paranormal.

Montlake is the fourth imprint from Amazon Publishing. The others are AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing and Powered by Amazon.

Publishers Weekly reports agents are keeping an eye on this latest development, no doubt to determine whether the online retailer will be a viable a place for their books.

Given Amazon's amazing reach and its already incredible record selling ebooks - especially self-published ebooks not associated with traditional publishers - Montlake Romance looks like a winner to me. 

Bin Laden Death Renews Interest in Navy Seal Romance Heros

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden's demise at the hands of an elite group of U.S. Navy Seals is drawing interest in the romance world.

Deborah Nemeth, editor for Carina Press, Harlequin's digital-first imprint, tweeted, "I wouldn't mind some SEAL hero submissions. I predict a massive upsurge in Navy SEAL romance heroes."

Avon's May Chen seconded that, tweeting, "Navy SEALS make the best heroes--in real life and in romance novels."

"I love my country, my Navy Seals and my romance novels," was the tweet from Erika Tsang, also at Avon.

Author Heather Snow tweeted, "Navy Seals were involved... I see a flurry of Navy Seal romance novels coming out in the coming months :)"

Of course, a number of romance authors are ahead of the trend. Many military romances, like Lora Leigh's Wild Card, already feature Navy Seals.

But look for more in the coming months!

Battle of the Bonnets

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Prompted by the release of the new Jane Eyre movie last month, the Washington Post ran an entertaining article about the so-called Battle of the Bonnets - the war of words between those who prefer the more upbeat and lighthearted Jane Austen to the darker, more brooding world of Charlotte and Emily Bronte.

In the article, reporter Monica Hesse makes the following comparisons:

"Jane Austen is easy to love. Her heroines are smart; her heroes are righteous. People say funny things and wear lovely clothes and spend a lot of time going to balls or sitting in drawing rooms, meaning that the scenery is just gorgeous. Everything ends happily for everyone who deserves it.

The Brontes are more difficult. Things don’t end well. The writing is beautiful, but Mr. Rochester and Heathcliff — Charlotte and Emily’s two most famous heroes — are basically thugs in morning coats. They say savage things. They emotionally torture the women they claim to love. They keep other women locked in attics and blame drunken housekeepers for bumps in the night. Things burn. People die."

Personally, while I love movie adaptations of Jane Austen's work, I find myself struggling to finish the actual books. However, when it comes to the Bronte sisters, I get sucked into their dark world right away.

I recently reread Jane Eyre and loved the fact that Jane was very much her own woman: smart, forthright and principled. Edward, the ultimate tortured hero (with the possible exception of Wuthering Heights' Heathcliff) is dark and unprincipled. He lies to the heroine, attempts to commit bigamy with her and then tries to tempt Jane into becoming his mistress. Yet, somehow, we understand his motivations and are drawn to him.

There's no question the Bronte sisters create a much more emotionally complicated world than Austen. But in the so-called Battle of the Bonnets, who would I choose? I would have to say both - in their own way.  I know, I'm not exactly going out on a limb but Austen and the Bronte sisters are a perfect balance of light and dark.