RWA Literacy Signing Features Top Names in Romance

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Romance Writers of America (RWA) is holding its annual convention in New York this week. Check out this fun video of the literacy signing event, featuring some of your favorite romance authors.  

How Much Do Writers Earn?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here's the one thing we all want to know and very few of us actually talk about. How much money can you make as a writer?

Cozy mystery writer Ellery Adams is going on the record with the financial details. On her agent Jessica Faust's blog, Adams tells all. Here are a couple of the highlights:

Average advance received from publisher — $6,000 per book

Average amount paid for large print or foreign rights — $500 or $1000

Average amount of advance spent on promotion — 25% of advance

Average money my publishers give me for promotion — 0

My writing income based on my 2010 tax return — $18,000

For details, head over to Jessica's blog.   

By the way, I think Jessica's got one of the best blogs out there for writers. It is updated regularly and consistently offers insight into the publishing and agenting worlds.

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.

Harlequin Boosts Ebook Royalties for Authors

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Harlequin is changing its ebook royalty rates for authors. The news came late Friday so the analysis of how this impacts authors in practical terms has yet to be done.

Author Courtney Milan recently walked away from a deal with the publisher because she thought she could come out ahead by self publishing. According to Milan, Harlequin was offering 8 percent of the digital cover price of her books.

Under these new terms, authors will receive 25 percent of NET receipts for each ebook sold. Here's the letter Harlequin sent to its single title authors:

Dear Author,

The landscape of digital publishing continues to evolve at a fast pace and Harlequin is at the forefront of this evolution. In 2007 Harlequin was the first publisher to simultaneously publish print and digital editions of our entire frontlist. Since then we have also digitized and brought to market our backlist and now have a current catalogue of over 11,000 ebooks! Harlequin invests heavily in digital marketing efforts to promote our authors and their books, with activities ranging from newsletter programs, advertising, search engine marketing, social media properties, website development and distribution through leading ebook retailers.

Harlequin has been closely monitoring developments in digital publishing, including author compensation. As you know, until now Harlequin’s position has been that digital royalty rates as a percentage of cover price is a more transparent way to pay authors than as a percentage of net receipts: authors know exactly how many copies they sold at what price and their compensation is not affected by unspecified costs. Over the past several months we have worked to ensure a smooth transition from the current percentage of cover price calculation to a net receipts calculation while maintaining the same transparency. As such, Harlequin will be amending digital royalty rates.

Effective January 1, 2012, single title authors who are actively writing for Harlequin will receive a digital royalty rate of 25% of net digital receipts for each digital unit sold in the English language, United States and Canada, frontlist and single title backlist.

Given that these are more favorable terms than those in your existing contract(s), this notification will be considered the amendment to those contract(s). If you wish to maintain the existing terms of the contract(s), please let us know by Friday, July 15th 2011.

Random House Revives 'Loveswept' Imprint with Digital-Only Twist

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Random House announced today that the "Loveswept" imprint is coming back this summer with a modern twist: the line will be digital-only.

The imprint, which was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, originated at Bantam Books and has been dormant for a dozen years. It relaunches in August with eight new works. According to Random House, one new ebook will be released each month in the fall.

Loveswept helped launch the careers of authors such as Janet Evanovich and Tami Hoag. Some popular past  titles will be revived, including This Fierce Splendor by best-selling author Iris Johansen - although I'm guessing it will get an updated cover.

The Loveswept tagline - Love stories you'll never forget by authors you'll always  remember - is also coming back. 

According to Publishers Weekly, Sue Grimshaw, category specialist and editor-at-large, will host a new website,, to discuss all things romance while also promoting Loveswept and Ballantine Bantam Dell titles.

Self-Published Phenom John Locke Sells a Million Ebooks

Monday, June 20, 2011

Amazon announced today that thriller writer John Locke is the first self-published author to sell more than a million ebooks via the online retailer. 

Locke has reportedly sold 1,010,370 Kindle books using Kindle Direct Publishing.

Locke joins an elite group. Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins and Michael Connelly are the other members of the so-called Kindle Million Club.

"Kindle Direct Publishing has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the book selling industry," said John Locke, in the Amazon press release. "Not only did KDP give me a chance, they helped at every turn. Quite simply, KDP is the greatest friend an author can have."

The Louisville, Kentucky man is the author of nine novels including "Vegas Moon," "Wish List," "A Girl Like You," "Follow the Stone," "Don't Poke the Bear!" and the New York Times bestselling ebook, "Saving Rachel."

Locke's latest book, "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months," is a how-to guide for self-published authors.

Romance Fuels Ebook Sales

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 credits female romance readers with being the real force behind skyrocketing ebook sales.

According to the article by John Quain, women account for 55 percent of ereader owners. And they're helping drive titles like "Maid for the Billionaire," "Outcast," "My Horizontal Life" and "Cotillion" - to the top of Amazon Kindle's bestseller list.

The New York Public Library, which has the highest circulating ebook library in the U.S., is seeing the impact of this. The article says its ebook loans are up 36 percent over this time last year. Romance novels are the library's most popular genre by far, their checkout rate is more than double that of mysteries, the second most popular genre.

The library says most ebook checkouts take place on weekend nights.

The article's findings are in keeping with a recent survey by the Book Industry Study Group, which identifies today’s ebook power buyer as a 44-year-old woman who reads romance, buys at least one ebook a week and spends more on books today than she has in the past.

Print Book Readers Holding Strong

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A recent survey shows print readers are still pretty attached to paper books and advises publishers to retain as much retail space as they can to avoid losing print readers altogether.

Codex Group's "Book Publishing Digital Transition Report: 1st Quarter 2011" surveyed more than 9,000 book buyers in February.

It found that many more people now have some sort of e-reader.
However, the percentage of people who say they read only ebooks was below 1 percent. By contrast, 40 percent of readers say they read only print books.

Peter Hildick-Smith, president of Codex, expects the number of people who read ebooks to rise while the number of people who say they only read treebooks declines.

More than one-third of those surveyed say they read both print and digital books. A quarter of the people who only read print book are thinking about trying an e-reader.

The report concludes that the high number of readers who want to read only print books - combined with those who read both ebooks and treebooks - demonstrates how critical it is for booksellers to preserve as much retail space as possible in order to avoid losing print readers altogether.

Codex predicts that 43 percent of book buyers will own an e-reading device by the end of the year. However, it also found little indication that consumers plan to stop buying and reading print books.

Makes sense to me. I'm one of those folks who has a Kindle and enjoys reading on it. However, I'm still loving my treebooks as well. I get that familiar thrill when I buy a real book from a favorite author. I have no plans to stop.

Just like I plan to keep reading on my Kindle. I'm even toying with asking for a Nook on my next birthday. I'm a lover of books and I love them in all forms.

Sunshine Deals Shake Up Amazon Bestseller List, Avon Cuts Prices

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Amazon's experiment with lower priced ebooks is impacting the online retailer's bestseller list and might be influencing Avon's decision to discount about 60 of its titles as well.

Almost one-third of the books in Amazon's top 100 are part of the company's Kindle Sunshine Deals.

According to, about 80 percent - 24 books - were not Kindle bestsellers before prices were slashed.

The two-week promotion includes lower pricing on about 650 ebooks. The prices range from $0.99 to $2.99. The Sunshine Deals all come from small- to mid-sized publishers like Candlewick, Bloomsbury and Sourcebooks.

The apparent enthusiasm for discounted titles is in keeping with a recent survey which found that the heaviest buyers of ebooks are significantly influenced by low prices.

My critique partner is one of those people. She's purchased so many of the lower-priced ebooks in the last couple of days, that her credit card company's fraud department called to make sure her card hadn't been stolen. I guess they thought they had a bargain book thief on their hands?     

Right now the major publishers set their own prices and pay Amazon a commission. The success of Sunshine Deals could influence them to lower prices. Avon might already be convinced. The publisher tweets that it will slash prices on about 60 of its titles.

On Twitter and Facebook, Avon announced its "Summer Sale," with titles available for $1.99 and $2.99. Sophie Jordan's "Wicked Nights with a Lover," (above right) is one of the reduced titles. It is now $2.99.

I love Jordan so, of course, I bought it. In fact, I purchased so many books at Avon's summer sale that Amazon had to remind me that I had already purchased one that I tried to buy.

If this trend of reducing ebook prices continues, I foresee big trouble ahead for me!   

Publishers Experiment with Lower Ebook Prices

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It looks like publishers want in on all of that ebook action that's allowed little-known and self-published authors to make their mark in digital books.

Amazon has launched Kindle Sunshine Deals - a two-week promotion which includes lower pricing on about 650 ebooks. The prices range from $0.99 to $2.99. The Sunshine deals all come from small- to mid-sized publishers like Candlewick, Bloomsbury and Sourcebooks.

Most titles were published at least a year ago. However, sale-priced pre-orders are available for "The Soldier" by Grace Burrowes and "Wish You Were Here" by Philippa Ashley.

None of the ebooks currently offered at the lower prices appears to be from the six major U.S. publishers. Those publishers use the agency model, which allows them to set their own ebook prices and then pay Amazon a commission. However, although they are not involved, the "Big Six" are paying attention.

Sunshine Deals is “an opportunity for publishers to test compelling pricing coupled with on-site merchandising,” Sarah Gelman, PR Manager at Amazon, told “We’re excited about the number of publishers who are participating.”

Does this mean the big publishers might one day adjust their pricing? The recent Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey shows the most active ebook buyers are heavily influenced by free samples and low prices.

If Sunshine deals drive sales, it's likely major publishers could soon be looking to offer more discounts on their ebooks...and that's great news for readers!