You may have noticed the missing images on the right-side column. Blame Shaw.

You may have noticed images missing on the right-side column, images which used to link to pictures of my ebook covers.

Well, thanks to Shaw those images are now missing. What did I do wrong? I had Shaw move me from point X to point Y. Now I’ve moved a few times in my life, always having Shaw as my cable provider – a little over 40 years I’ve been with Shaw.

This move has been an absolute disaster. First they lost my email accounts. All of them. In all my other moves I never had a problem with my email accounts not following along.

The second day my phone started buzzing when speaking to someone. A buzz like an electrical interference. Shaw came and it was decided my phone was the problem. Problem was the phone worked fine before the move. Shaw repairman thought phone may have gotten damaged in move. Hmmm. About 4 days later the buzzing stopped and the line has been clean ever since. Maybe my phone fixed itself?

Then all the images to my ebook covers disappeared. I had several Shaw email accounts which had web space set to link images to this blog. All the web spaces disappeared.

What kind of company policy doesn’t include moving web space accounts along with email accounts when the company is responsible for moving a client from one locale to another?

What kind of training does Shaw provide for its customer service representatives? I would think Shaw would instruct service representatives to move everything associated with an existing account when a client enlists Shaw to provide the move. You know, things like existing email accounts. Or existing web space accounts. It’s not like I was moving from Shaw to some other service provider. I was moving within Shaw’s territory.

I know poor old Jim Shaw is struggling financially on his $18,000/day income, but jeez, couldn’t Shaw hire someone to train staff properly?

Needless to say I’m not a happy camper.

Ebook Orchard sign-in update

Visitors to Ebook Orchard now have three options to sign-in or create an account;

1) create their own personal sign-in;

2) use their Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Linkedin account ID; or

3) use their Amazon ID.

To ‘Create an Account’ click on the ‘Create an Account’ portion of the ‘Sign-in or Create an Account’ line at the top right corner of Ebook Orchard. This will open the Create Account window.

Visitors may create their own personal account by entering their First Name, Last Name, Email address, and creating a Password.

Or, visitors may Create an Account clicking on one of the social media buttons for whichever of the four social media sites they are a member of; Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Linkedin.

Or, visitors may Create an Account using their Amazon account by clicking on the ‘Sign-in with Amazon’ button.


When an already registered member wants to login to Ebook Orchard he/she clicks on the ‘Sign-in’ link portion of ‘Sign-in or Create an Account’ line at the top right corner of the Ebook Orchard web site and this page will appear:


Visitors do NOT have to register on Ebook Orchard to purchase an ebook. Registration is optional, but registering does allow members easy access to a list of all their purchases in case they lost or damaged their original ebook or the ebook has been updated by the author. There is a limit of three (3) download recoveries for purchased ebooks.

New survey says most authors continue to earn less than $500 per year

The Guardian newspaper reports most authors earn less than $500 a year according to the latest research.

Almost a third of published authors make less than $500 a year from their writing, according to a new survey, with around a half of writers dissatisfied with their writing income.

In the wake of a year that has seen a bitter war of words rage between traditionally published and self-published authors, the survey shows that the old way of doing things continues to reap the most financial rewards for writers, with traditionally published authors making a median annual income of $3,000–$4,999, and independent writers a median of $500–$999. So-called hybrid authors, however – those who publish in both ways – did best, earning $7,500–$9,999 a year.

The survey also found that while roughly half of traditionally-published authors would prefer to follow the same route for their next book, two thirds of independently-published writers wanted to indie publish again.

“In opening and running their own publishing companies, these authors are finding that they can do things on their own terms and do better for themselves on average than many traditional publishers who might not have the same kind of commitment or investment in their work. That has to be very satisfying,” said Weinberg. “Having taken little monetary risk in their publishing endeavors, these authors may be pleased to earn even a little money.”

Traditionally published authors, meanwhile, are paid royalties and give up rights in exchange for the risk the publisher takes. They therefore “are likely to expect the publisher to deliver much more than they could do for themselves”, said Weinberg.

“There is frustration and disappointment when authors have given up control or future rewards and don’t receive the investment or see the results they expected. This finding speaks to the optimism in indie publishing that comes with the control and investment choices of indie authors, and I see it in my own experiences publishing fiction as DB Shuster,” said Weinberg.

“I know that if my book doesn’t sell today, there’s more I can do to promote it tomorrow, or maybe it will see a boost when my next book comes out. The time horizon is longer for indie authors: I don’t have to worry that the book doesn’t do well in the first few weeks because my publisher (me) is totally committed to my work and will continue to promote it even years from now. Finally, I’m in control of my own definition of success, and I’m not limited to particular sales numbers and dollar figures.”

The Guardian newspaper report was published January 23, 2015.

European Union VAT and Ebook Orchard update.

European Union VAT and Ebook Orchard update.

Following discussions regarding VAT and its implications to Ebook Orchard authors it has been decided to disallow residents of the European Union (EU) to purchase ebooks on Ebook Orchard until further notice.

The reasoning is that Ebook Orchard isn’t conducting B2C activities but is instead, due to no revenue earned by Ebook Orchard on any sale, acting as a financial service for authors. As a financial service provider Ebook Orchard would be required to provide authors with the details of each EU sale as well as the VAT tax collected – relationship between Ebook Orchard and author being B2B – and the author would then be responsible for complying with the rules & regulations concerning VAT within the EU. This would place an extra burden on an author by requiring said author to register with VAT even if author had only 1 EU sale every month or 1 EU sale a year.

Disallowing residents of the EU access to ebooks won’t be a burden on ebook purchasers from the EU or Ebook Orchard authors as the majority of ebook sales will occur on the traditional retailers like B&N, Apple, Kobo, Amazon, and subscription services.

Book Discovery Survey

A recently published survey titled Book Discovery looked at how readers discover books and ebooks.

There were 1,289 respondents to the survey questionnaire. There were few surprises in the results.

The top findings:

  1. There was no clear format preference between ebooks and print, although younger readers leaned towards digital reading more than older readers (not surprising).
  2. Regardless of whether reader preference was ebooks, print, or both, Amazon was the clear leader in book procurement in 2013 (also no great surprise).
  3. The four most common book/author discovery methods were Author Loyalty (meaning authors whom the readers actively follow), recommendations from friends, Amazon Recommendations, and free or discounted books. (Interesting only for Amazon’s placement.)
  4. Those who downloaded free ebooks in 2013 downloaded more than 15 and completed more than 50% of them (the survey creator did not expect this result. )
  5. Books were recommended in 8 primary ways (many times in more than one way by the same reader) – with face to face the number one recommendation method by far (actual word of mouth is still very important)
  6. How an author published (self-publishing, indie, small press, big 5) is the least influential factor in future book purchasing.

The survey found that those who have switched to preferring ebooks have lost their preference for print much more so than those readers who have a preference for print. This signifies that convincing readers to try out electronic reading could be a real boon for moving volume – and puts a feather in the cap of subscription reading services.

I would recommend authors use subscription services as a way to introduce readers to their works, then maximize future earnings by placing only a few works on subscription services while publishing remaining works through various retail outlets – if doing so makes economic sense to an author. Some authors may have a significant volume of sales using subscription services and decide to distribute all their works using subscription services and retail outlets. Each author will have to decide how best to maximize sales.

The survey also found a lack of trust associated with social media recommendations – in other words, don’t wrap your entire marketing strategy around Twitter and Facebook! This is one of those ‘Duh’ recommendations, as were results 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 above. Such information is useful to new authors but of little use to authors who distribute through Smashwords and/or are an established author. Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, has been say the same things for years as have several other commentators, authors, and members of book or ebook forums.

Even the Amazon Recommendations ranking so high for book discovery is not really surprising as Amazon has about 50% of the US ebook reader market.

The survey results, while interesting to read, only supports what most authors know to be the best methods for book discovery; word of mouth and craft a great book/ebook in the first place.

Agency ebook pricing returns

Two of the large publishers that announced new multiyear sales agreements with Amazon late last year have resumed their latest version of agency ebook pricing. Simon & Schuster and Macmillan are both selling ebooks under their newest model of the agency model. Hachette has yet to do so. Each of those publishers reportedly reached deals with Amazon that included terms incentivizing them to offer discounts.