Mary Norris: The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker’s Comma

“Copy editing for The New Yorker is like playing shortstop for a Major League Baseball team — every little movement gets picked over by the critics,” says Mary Norris, who has played the position for more than thirty years. In that time, she’s gotten a reputation for sternness and for being a “comma maniac,” but this is unfounded, she says. Above all, her work is aimed at one thing: making authors look good. Explore The New Yorker’s distinctive style with the person who knows it best in this charming talk.

View Ted Talk video here.

 

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Authors now paid weekly by Gumroad

Starting this Friday authors offering their works on Gumroad will be paid weekly and continuing next Friday. And next Friday. And the Friday after that too!

What are the royalty rates?

Just 5% + 25¢ per transaction.

No hosting fees, no monthly fees, no bandwidth fees, no refund fees.

I’ve been using Gumroad for a couple of years now, offering my ebooks in PDF format through them. PDF format is perfect for my puzzle ebooks and picture ebooks for children, plus each PDF can be personalized for free.

If you want to print out any of my ebooks then I suggest you visit my Gumroad link below and take advantage of the PDF format.

My ebooks available in PDF format on Gumroad.

Information on Gumroad.

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.

Low Prices From Corporate Publishers Like Penguin and Harper Collins Dominate First Ebook Best-Seller List of 2015.

Major publishing houses like Penguin and Harper Collins are lowering their ebook prices. Finally.

On the first Ebook Best-Seller List of the new year, low prices appear to carry the day.

The average price of a best-seller is just $4.36, down from $5.96 the week before the holidays. Discounting meant to appeal to last-minute holiday shoppers is the likeliest reason for the sharp drop.

Only a single title among this week’s top 25 has a price-tag greater than $10.

Read the article and see the top 25 list here.

An ebook store by authors for authors

Ebook Orchard is an ebook store started by an author for the benefit of authors, and it is different than other retail outlets in that it doesn’t earn one cent from the sale of ebooks.

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I decided to create Ebook Orchard after trying to get an author co-operative started. Like many people, authors have little time left over from their jobs, family, and writing to volunteer additional time managing a co-operative of the size and type discussed.

There were many authors who loved the concept of a store by authors for authors and felt comfortable financing the site by a small monthly subscription rather than 30% to 40% or more per sale of an ebook. These authors viewed the co-op as an additional marketing tool for their ebooks, not just a store.

The additional benefits of numerous marketing and promotion opportunities being performed by the proposed store were important to authors.

Some authors shared their experiences with co-op book stores, both good and bad. These stories were most beneficial in understanding what worked and what didn’t work with the co-operative.

Ebook Orchard is in alpha stage of web site development right now as I add code and test ‘stuff’. With the holidays upon us the site will remain in alpha stage until perhaps mid-January, 2015. Beta stage hopefully by February so visitors can poke around Ebook Orchard as the final touches to the site and final testing take place.

There is an Ebook Orchard Facebook page, where I’ll post information about ebooks, reading and related topics. The posts will be sporadic during alpha and beta testing, but will become more frequent after Ebook Orchard goes live.

There is also an Ebook Orchard Shop on Facebook. The store will be functional after beta testing is complete sometime in February, 2015, and accessed by clicking on the Shop tab on the Ebook Orchard Facebook page.

Will Ebook Orchard be perfect when it starts? No. There will be growing pains as unexpected events popup here and there with a new product, as Apple and Microsoft well know.

If you want to visit the site next year and see if Ebook Orchard is in alpha stage – password protected site – or beta testing stage and open for checking us out then just type ebookorchard.com in your URL address bar.

Authors. Interested in forming a co-op for your own online retail store?

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If you are tired of giving 30-40% of the retail price of your book or ebook to somebody else then you may be interested in joining our author co-op and forming our own online retail store.

We want to keep most of the retail price to ourselves, because it’s tough out there and coughing up 30-40% on each sale adds up quickly.

We want a professionally looking and working site, one which satisfies both the visitor and ourselves. We want a professional site we are proud of owning. We want to still be able to offer our works anywhere we want.

If you are an author who is fed-up giving a sizable chunk of your money to somebody else and would rather keep most of it yourself, send me an email at the address at the end of this post.

I will build a list of authors interested in keeping more of their money in their own pocket and will contact each sometime in the new year.

Is there a cost involved? Yes, there are the ever-present credit card fees. There should be a small fee to cover expenses. What are those expenses? There are monthly fees for hosting, monthly fees for all the bells and whistles needed to make the site professional and meeting the needs of authors. There will be accounting fees, legal fees, federal and local taxes, and other expenses involved in running a business.

Gee, that sounds expensive. I don’t think I want to join.

What if I told you it would be about the cost of a Starbucks coffee a month if enough authors agree to get together and start their own online retail store. Would you be willing to exchange one coffee for the 30-40% on each book you now give somebody else? And still be able to sell you ebook/books anywhere else?

Okay, that is reasonable.

But what’s the catch? There is always a catch.

In the beginning the site will be for authors who have published works and have the skills to upload a mobi or epub file to the site, although there is a suggestion of a way around this which is being considered. There won’t be any conversion service nor any adult material permitted until the site is capable of hiring sufficient staff to review adult works.

That being said, if enough authors agree to join the group then things could change.

It doesn’t cost you anything to send me an email saying you’re interested. Let’s make 2015 the year authors give back to themselves.

UPDATE: There was lots of interest in forming a co-operative but no volunteers for forming a board of directors, or assist in forming bylaws, and only one person offering to assist in site creation and design.

I believe the concept of authors having their own retail store operated on a small subscription fee with authors keeping 100% of the retail price, minus transaction fees, currency exchange fees and other costs/taxes involved in sale of an ebook, is still something worth pursuing.

In that regard, I’ve taken it upon myself to create such a site for authors. I’ve named the site Ebook Orchard and during the next several weeks will be alpha/beta testing the site before Ebook Orchard is officially launched.

In the beginning of the New Year the site will be in beta testing stage but should be ready enough for authors to view it and read more about it.

Here is the link to Ebook Orchard. It may be open for previewing if you’re reading this sometime in January, 2015.