Month: January 2011
Kindle Nation Daily Free Book Alert, Saturday, January 29: Ruth Downie’s Medicus Explores the Salacious Side of the Roman Empire, plus … Kindle Your Creativity for Just $2.99 with D.D. Scott’s Muse Therapy (Today’s Sponsor)
Publisher’s Weekly said that “the salacious underside of Roman-occupied Britain comes to life” in this morning’s latest addition to our 200+ Free Book Alert listings….
(Ed. Note: About a year ago, acting on a recommendation by Seth Godin, I read a remarkable book entitled The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield. It was a pretty remarkable book — all about removing or avoiding the sources of friction that were keeping me from getting done as much as I would like to get done — and it has had an effect on my life nearly every day since I read it.
“D. D. Scott is a creative dynamo!”
–Misa Ramirez, author of Living the Vida Lola, a Lola Cruz Mystery
by D.D. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Reviews
Ignite your Creative Fire!
Here’s the set-up:
Why is she helping writers the world over? Here’s the scoop…
Once upon a time her muses weren’t ticking. They were ticked off. Why? Because they were too damn tired and stressed out trying to find their way on the Yellow Brick Road to Publishing Oz. Screw the Happily Ever After. Her creative divas couldn’t produce past page one.
Saying that writing-for-publication is tough is the bolder-than-bold-faced understatement of the new millennium. And with today’s huge economic and technological changes, it ain’t gettin’ any easier.
But once D. D. shows you how to recognize, acknowledge and accept your muses’ afflictions and teaches you her tricks, tips and “trips” to treat the word witches of your writing world, you and your muses will be cranking out pages with gusto.
Plus, you won’t be alone in your journey. Her MUSE THERAPY tips and tricks continue to be apropos no matter where a writer is in his/her career. By sharing fantastic and at times roll on the floor, laugh out loud anecdotes she gathered – either interviewing or attending workshops given by the romance genre’s hottest stars – she proves this assertion.
–Misa Ramirez, author Living the Vida Lola, a Lola Cruz Mystery
I don’t know how D.D. Scott does it! Going from fiction to non-fiction writing and making both so much fun to read!!! As a writer, I was beginning to get ‘stuck’ a few times. When I found Muse Therapy, I did the exercises D.D. Scott suggested and my “lazy Lucy” went from the couch to the keyboard in seconds!! Now she’s “lucky Lucy,” and doesn’t fail me AT ALL!! When she does get lazy, I break out my Muse Therapy and read a couple passages to get Lucy back at the keyboard.
I’m not a writer, BUT, as an avid reader, this is awesome, too, as it gives you a great insight as to what it takes to creatively write a book. D.D. Scott has a great voice, & she is funny too, so the combination makes for a great read. You can learn so much & have fun doing it! Buy this one!
She’s a member of RWA as well as RWA’s Chick Lit Writers of the World, Kiss of Death, ScriptScene, ESPAN, and IRWA Chapters plus serves on RWA’s History Committee for the National RWA Board. She’s been a guest blogger on Romance Writers on the Journey, Inside the Writer’s Mind, Daily Dose Fantasy Romance, Romance University, and Romance Lives Forever. She blogs with group blog Savvy Authors the second Friday of every month, is linked to on Romancing the Blog and also has an active blog of her own on her website at www.DDScott.com. In addition, her first RWR article was published by RWA in the July 2010 issue.
Also a Writer’s Go-to-Gal for Muse Therapy, D. D. debuted her Muse Therapy Live Workshops this past March and April for GCCRWA’s Silken Sands Conference in Florida and RT BookLovers’ Convention in Ohio. In addition to MUSE THERAPY: UNLEASHING YOUR INNER SYBIL (the book version of her Muse Therapy Online Classes & Live Workshops), STOMPIN’ ON STETSONS is also available. For updates on her books, her sexy, sassy, smart neurotic writer’s life blog, and for a schedule of appearances and Muse Therapy Sessions, visit her website www.DDScott.com. While there, sign-up for her mailing list for chances to win fabulous tchotchkes.
Just use the slider at right of your screen below to scroll through a complete, updated list of free contemporary Kindle titles, and click on an icon like this one (at right) to read a free sample right here in your browser! Titles are sorted in reverse chronological order so you can easily see new freebies.
With “Kindle Singles,” Amazon Shows Off Its “Harvard Degree” in eBook Pricing
Other bloggers and journalists have joined Amazon’s own press office this week in making a big deal of Amazon’s “brand new” initiative called “Kindle Singles,” and I think it’s a big deal, too.
But brand new? Not so much.
First, let’s take a straight-on look at Amazon’s press release announcement of Kindle Singles, on Wednesday, January 26: Priced between $0.99 and $4.99, at a length “typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words, each Kindle Single is intended to allow a single killer idea — well researched, well argued and well illustrated — to be expressed at its natural length.” Nothing cheesy about that, right?
And despite grousing from some quarters that Kindle Singles are just a way to increase the cost-per-word for Kindle customers (I disagree), the initial launch of 22 Kindle Singles titles has done very well. The day after launch various Kindle Singles offerings dominated the Kindle Store’s Movers and Shakers list, and as of Saturday afternoon January 29 all 22 titles were in the Kindle Store’s overall top 4,000, 16 were in the top 1,000, and two are in the top 100. That’s actually a brilliant launch for such a diverse array of 22 titles by authors who, with a few notable exceptions like Jodi Picoult and Pete Hamill, are not bestsellers.
But here’s what I found a little amusing:
Amazon has been down a path very similar to this one before, almost exactly a year ago. On January 25, 2010, Amazon issued a press release for a new venture called “Harvard Business Review Short Cuts.” There are differences, of course. Few of the Short Cuts authors had any name recognition at all, their Short Cuts were nothing more than repurposed chapters, and they were all priced at $3.99 each. Even though Amazon says that Kindle Singles will be “priced between $0.99 and $4.99,” all 22 of the initial offerings are priced between $0.99 and $2.99, and the average price is just $2.22. They are a diverse group of offerings, topics, and genres, and many of the authors are well-known in one field or another.
At the earlier $3.99 price point, the “Harvard Business Review Short Cuts” program was a pretty dismal failure. Indeed, back on July 12, 2010 the program was Exhibit A for my post entitled “Pricing to Fail: Case Studies in Dumb Pricing – Harvard Business Review Short Cuts, the Irrelevance of Cost Issues,” in which I described the program’s January 2010 launch and then wrote:
Six months later, the initiative looks like a failure, despite heavy promotion by Amazon and the valuable imprimatur of the Harvard Business Review Press. Most of the titles are languishing far out the “long tail” in Kindle Store sales rankings, i.e., over 70,000 in most cases. Part of the problem, it seems likely, is that the “Short Cuts” series is overpriced, with a list price currently set at $3.99, discounted 20 percent by Amazon to $3.16. Even at $2.99, a reader wanting to work through all eight to 12 chapters of the full books from which these short-form ebooks are drawn would have to shell out roughly $25 to $35. One would think that anyone with the wherewithal to be able to digest Harvard Business School materials with his morning coffee would also be capable of the number-crunching necessary to determine that the convenience of bite-size ebook chapters is more than offset by the high price. At $1.49 to $1.99 each, “Short Cuts” might well be a winning proposition.
So, kudos to Amazon, for it is clear that they went to school on the pricing issues that made the Harvard collaboration a loser and came back with the combination of content and pricing required to make Kindle Singles a brilliant success. Here are the first 22 offerings, with introductory text from Amazon:
Each Kindle Single presents a compelling idea–well researched, well argued, and well illustrated–expressed at its natural length. From an elaborate bank heist in Lifted, to Congolese rebel camps in The Invisible Enemy, to Jodi Picoult’s moving portrayal of family in Leaving Home, they offer nuanced journeys of both fact and fiction. This first set of Singles was selected by our team of editors, and includes works by Rich Cohen, Pete Hamill, and Darin Strauss. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have.
The Real Lebowski by Rich Cohen. He wrote the first draft of Apocalypse Now. He discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wrote Clint Eastwood’s “Go ahead, make my day.” The Vanity Fair writer and author of Sweet and Low trails tough-guy screenwriter/director John Milius as he fights to find his place in a transformed and unwelcoming movie business.
The Invisible Enemy by Jonathan Littell. On assignment from Le Monde, the acclaimed novelist (The Kindly Ones) chronicles a forgotten war–the Lord’s Resistance Army’s terrorist campaign in Congo–and its devastating effect on innocent families.
Leaving Home: Short Pieces by Jodi Picoult. The deep pains and powerful pleasures of parenting: those are the extremes explored here by the extraordinary novelist Jodi Picoult. In three short pieces that display her wide emotional range, Picoult weaves together stories of love and loss with heartbreaking simplicity.
They Are Us by Pete Hamill. From the eminent journalist and novelist comes a common-sense plea for a new immigration policy, one that asks America to embrace its illegal-alien population, not condemn it. Hamill advocates a fresh look at amnesty and pardon policies, offering illegal immigrants a “hand of welcome.”
Octomom and the Politics of Babies by Mark Greif. Eight babies. A financial crash. The porn offers. The infant formula. How one woman became a scapegoat for America’s troubles–but taught us how both the mighty and the powerless are gaming our system. This comic, provocative, wittily argued essay from n+1 suggests that the real meaning of Octomom reflects the way we all live now.
Lifted by Evan Ratliff . The thieves had a handpicked crew, a stolen helicopter, a cache of explosives, and a plan to rob a $150-million cash repository. The Stockholm police had a tip-off. Ratliff, a writer for Wired and The New Yorker, recounts the inside story of an audacious 2009 bank heist, and the race to solve it.
Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story by Sebastian Rotella/ProPublica. The latest reporting from ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, reports on the U.S. investigation of the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai and provides a detailed picture of the ties between Pakistan’s intelligence service and a leading militant group.
Darkstar by Christopher R. Howard. In this pre-apocalyptic love story, Sailor, a homeless Irish teenager who’s haunted by a diabolical voice, seeks to reunite with a soul mate he hasn’t seen since boyhood, as a cosmic event threatens to extinguish life on Earth. Howard’s fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, and his first novel, Tea of Ulaanbaatar, comes out this May.
How To Not Succeed In Show Business By Really Trying by Claudia Lonow. The road from Knots Landing actress to success as a Hollywood TV writer proved a bit bumpy for Claudia Lonow. It involved a high school crush accused of murder, includes unfortunate professional encounters with Michael Keaton and Mary Tyler Moore, and culminates in a boyfriend-bonding experience at a Van Nuys sex club.
Long Island Shaolin by Darin Strauss. Karate belts are for losers. So novelist (and 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for his memoir, Half a Life) Darin Strauss discovered as a teenager growing up on Long Island, during a brief brush with Kung-fu mastery, suburban-style. One handy lesson learned: if two lions meet, they don’t have to fight.
Rescuing Evil: What We Lose by Ron Rosenbaum. The author of Explaining Hitler and the forthcoming How the End Begins explores the controversial use of the term “evil,” in a provocative analysis that leads from Hitler to a psycho serial-killer cabbie in London. Rosenbaum makes a powerful case for the connection between evil and free will.
Chinese Dreams by Anand Giridharadas. After six years exploring his parents’ native India, Anand Giridharadas–a young technology columnist for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune and author of India Calling–returns to China to measure a vast, troubled nation’s accomplishments and dreams.
The $500 Diet by Ian Ayres. What if every pound you lost also saved you some hard-earned cash? When Ian Ayres, a law professor at Yale, wanted to drop from 205 pounds to 180, he put his money where his mouth was. And it worked. The author of Carrots and Sticks shares his unique, incentive-based plan for losing weight.
Piano Demon: The globetrotting, gin-soaked, too-short life of Teddy Weatherford, the Chicago jazzman who conquered Asia by Brendan I. Koerner. At age six, Teddy Weatherford was working in a Virginia coal mine. Two decades later, he was the jazz king of Asia. Koerner, a Wired contributing editor and author of Now the Hell Will Start, tells how a piano legend in a sharkskin suit lived the American Dream by leaving it behind.
Journey to the Edge of the Light: A Story of Love, Leukemia and Transformation by Cristina Nehring. At what should have been one of the happiest moments of her life–on the eve of a rave review of her 2009 book, A Vindication of Love, on the cover of the New York Times Book Review–Cristina Nehring learned that her young daughter had leukemia. There began a journey through the medical world, and into her little girl’s heart.
Beware Dangerism! by Gever Tulley. Don’t let your kids climb on a jungle gym, eat bugs, or lick batteries. These are just a few of the standard-issue warnings that Gever Tulley, co-founder of the Tinkering School, tells us to ignore in this counter-intuitive essay. His basic message is both empowering and fun: Do try this at home.
Reboot-enanny by Rebecca Huval. A young woman with dreams of a songwriting career finds friendship–and an audience–among a group of 1960s folk musicians who still live and thrive right where it all began, in Greenwich Village.
The Business of Media by Larry Dignan. For journalism students, writers, and aspiring media moguls everywhere–a guide to navigating the brave new world of the media, circa 2011. Larry Dignan, editor in chief of ZDNet, parses the past and forecasts the future for a media universe that seems to re-invent itself almost daily.
The Dead Women of Juárez by Robert Andrew Powell. It sounded like one of the great murder mysteries of our time: who was killing the women of Juárez? Journalist Robert Andrew Powell went to the Mexican border town to investigate, and separates fact from myth in a saga that eerily echoes the plot of Roberto Bolaño’s epic novel 2666.
Days of Thunder by Thorsten Schier. Ever hear of the New York Thunder? Didn’t think so. They’re New York’s number-two pro basketball team. Maybe you should try rooting for them. They could use the help. Thorsten Schier spends a season inside the (rented) Thunder locker room.
The Happiness Manifesto by Nic Marks. Modern research proves the ancient wisdom that “money can’t buy you happiness.” But then why do our governments see their main task as simply growing GDP? Nic Marks, the founder of the London-based Centre for Well-Being, sets out an ingenious new way of defining national goals, and in the process reveals five ways people can nurture their own happiness.
Homo Evolutis by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans. Enriquez and Gullans–two eminent authors, researchers, and entrepreneurs–explore a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, their own selves, and other species. They envision a future in which humankind becomes a new species, one which directly and deliberately controls its own evolution and that of many other species. One of the inaugural TEDBooks.
Kindle Nation’s Free Weekly Digest, January 27, 2011: Kindle Tips, Kindle Lending, Kindle Freebies, and the Kindle Revolution
A Novel by Deborah Wallis
And here’s another author’s take:
Each week’s newsletter is sponsored by just one book. We hope you will consider our sponsors’ titles.
Free Kindle Nation Shorts – January 28, 2011: Free Your Inner Novelist With D.D. Scott’s MUSE THERAPY: Unleashing Your Inner Sybil, A Free Excerpt
Free Kindle Nation Shorts – January 27, 2011
Free Your Inner Novelist
With D.D. Scott’s
A Free Excerpt
By Stephen Windwalker
Editor, Kindle Nation Daily
©Kindle Nation Daily 2011
An Excerpt from
Unleashing Your Inner Sybil
- A Journal or Notebook – one that really makes your muses wake-up and take notice. Something so in line with their tastes that they’re dying to crack open the cover and get to work. For example, I love anything hot pink and chocolate brown in color, and the more sparkles on it the better. So I snatch up those puppies wherever and whenever I find ’em. And don’t forget the equally fabulous pen or pencil your muses also can’t resist. Oh, and if you’re a techno person, using your PC, laptop or notebook, or smart phone is perfectly fine too. MUSE THERAPY is all about whatever works for you and your muses. Who cares what anyone else thinks of your methods and tools?
- A Reward Box to fill with slips of paper containing treats for yourself as rewards for reining in your creative divas and upping your page counts. For example, I might jot down that I’d like a mani or pedi or mani/pedi combo – depending on my budget. Or how about an evening at the movie theatre instead of at home with my DVR? And I’d love to have another massage. So I write down all these treats and toss them into my Reward Box. Every so often, after I’ve met another production goal, I pick a slip from the box and treat myself and my muses to something I know ahead of time I’ll beyond love. And as in the above MUSE THERAPY tool, of course it’s okay to put all your rewards on some techno-terrific spreadsheet too!
“Sounds like fun, and I’m sure will help people.” – Eloisa James
“Love your subtitles :)” – Allison Brennan
“All the best! I have to find a time…I’ll be home long enough to take the whole course!” – Nancy Haddock
INCOMING! IDENTIFY! IDENTIFY! Yes, It’s the Kindle Revolution
We have dispatches from all over this week, and they all bear the same identifying marks.
Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice-president for Kindle Content, addressed a Digital Book World panel yesterday and summed up the changes that are taking place in the world of publishing and reading like this:
“However fast you think this change is happening, it’s probably happening faster than you think.”
Grandinetti also said that, already, Kindle books are outselling their hardcover counterparts in Amazon’s store by a 3-to-1 ratio.
So, between Grandinetti’s statements and items we have reported here previously, we’ve had plenty of basis lately for concluding that:
- Kindle content sales are dominating content sales for other ebook platforms; and
- Kindle content sales are dominating Amazon’s print book sales.
But Grandinetti also provided some tantalizingly Amazonesque numbers that, if they spread across a range of titles, would demonstrate rather convincingly that the Kindle content delivery system is enabling Amazon to gain an unprecedently dominant position across the board in bookselling.
According to Publishers’ Marketplace (a paid subscription site serving, mainly, the traditional publishing industry), Grandinetti said, for Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel Room, “total Kindle sales are equal to 85 percent of Nielsen BookScan’s print sales number.” Extrapolating from that equation, Publisher’s Marketplace concluded that Kindle sales amounted to 40 per cent of all sales in all formats by all retailers for Room.
Room is published by agency model publisher Hachette, and the Kindle edition is currently priced by the publisher at $11.99, so it is likely that the Kindle sales of Room would have amounted to only 75 to 85 percent of Amazon’s total sales for the title. Thus, if we add Kindle editions and hardcover sales by Amazon, Amazon must be at or above 50 percent of all sales in all formats by all retailers for Room.
How stunning a development is that? Well, prior to the launch of the Kindle in 2007, Amazon was widely considered to account for somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of all sales of all books in all formats by all retailers. It now appears that the Kindle’s incredibly friction-free content delivery system has given Amazon a real chance to double, and perhaps triple, that share of the total bookselling market.
Not so fast, one might say. Amazon has nowhere near that 40 to 50 per cent market share when it comes to textbooks. Or children’s books. Or cookbooks. True enough, and it probably won’t get to those levels in those categories for a long time, if ever.
But Amazon doubtless has even higher market shares when it comes to indie authors’ books, a huge percentage of which are published direct-to-Kindle. And we are seeing greater evidence every week that indie authors are the fastest growing segment of content producers in the ebook revolution, with the most recent stories of brilliant success surrounding bestselling Kindle Store author Amanda Hocking, whose $2.99 ebooks are currently #2, #9, and #12 among all books in the Kindle Store.
Likewise, Amazon certainly has higher market shares than 40 to 50 percent when it comes to books for which the company itself is the publisher, through AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing. But that can’t be much, right? Because Amazon is a retailer, not a publisher, right?
Well, whatever you want to call it, that’s fine. But it’s worth noting here that The Hangman’s Daughter, the #1 book in the Kindle Store with well over 100,000 copies sold in less than two months, is published by AmazonEncore. And there will be more of these, many more.
Finally, the last bit of incoming information comes from our own Kindle Nation Survey. We’ll wait until the survey is closed at midnight Hawaii time January 31 before we begin to break it down. For now we’ll just say that more than any previous survey, this one makes it clear that readers are in charge, and that the meaning of the Kindle revolution in terms of our reading behavior lies predominantly in three dramatic developments:
- Readers are deciding what they want to read, and factors like a traditional publisher’s imprimatur and new release status and the stigma of “self-published” are losing force.
- The influence and recommendation systems that lead readers to specific books are changing dramatically so that influences like massive front-of-store placements and even bestseller rankings are giving way to informal recommendations and new sources of influence.
- Readers have taken over much of the role of setting prices in the new book business by delaying purchases of books they want to read if the prices are, in their judgment, too high. The publishers who drew lines in the sand behind their right to set prices under the agency model won a Pyrrhic victory, because as Wall Street market makers know, an item’s price does not really become a price when a seller offers it; it becomes the real price when a buyer pays it. Publishers continue to set new release prices reflexively in the $12-$15 range, but only two of the top 20 bestselling ebooks in the Kindle Store are priced above $9.99.
For the agency model, and for brick and mortar bookstores, we are over halfway to “game over.” Whether the publishers who have stood behind the agency model can survive past mid-decade remains to be seen, but nothing about the way they are playing their hands should inspire confidence.
Imagine the action and ideas of The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol in good, clean prose, and you’ve got our Kindle Nation eBook of the Day, Terrence O’Brien’s The Templar Concordat – And here’s a free sample!
When the truth is your greatest danger, and the enemy knows the truth, things can only go downhill when the enemy finally gets the proof. And that’s the proof the Hashashin get when they steal what the Vatican doesn’t even know it has.