Some Thoughts on Amazon, Kindle Unlimited and Exclusivity.

Amazon recently announced the release of their new subscription service, Kindle Unlimited. At first review, it appears to be very similar to Scribd and Oyster (which I enjoy!) (Side note: if you’re an indie author who distributes through Smashwords, make sure your titles are opted in to distribution to both Scribd and Oyster–they’re great services. Mark Coker did a great job of explaining why they’re excellent in his blog post announcing the partnership with Scribd.)

As an indie-author, I am only allowed to participate in Kindle Unlimited if I make my titles exclusive to Amazon—meaning I would no longer be allowed to sell books on any platform other than Amazon.com. This means that readers who prefer to get their e-books from BN.com, Smashwords, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd, or anywhere else would not have access to my books. This rule isn’t surprising: all* new features offered as part of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform since 2012 have required exclusivity.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select was launched in 2011. Most of you likely know what this is, but in case you don’t, here’s the quick and dirty run down: KDP Select is a promotion tool within Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing umbrella. In order to participate in KDP Select, an author must make the participating title exclusive to Amazon.com for at least a three month period. In exchange, the author can take advantage of a number of tools to aid in discoverability of their book for as long as their book remains Amazon-exclusive, including the Kindle Lending Library, Kindle Countdown Deals, Free Book promotions, and now Kindle Unlimited. Rarely talked about, but also true: every* new market that Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program has entered since the creation of KDP Select has required exclusivity in order to earn full royalties in that market. A non-exclusive author can only earn 35% royalties on the cover price of their book purchased through Amazon.id (Amazon in India,) for example, while a book committed solely to Amazon KDP Select will earn a 70% royalty.

I have, all along, maintained my books across platforms. In the spirit of transparency, I don’t mind telling you that the majority of my book sales come from Amazon. However, I don’t feel it’s fair to tell readers who prefer Nook over Kindle (for example) that they can’t get my books. And had I not had my books widely distributed, I never would have hit the top 10 list in my genre in the Kobo store (thanks all you Kobo readers out there!) or been part of the amazing strides being taken at Smashwords.com.

So I guess this is really a big thank you to all of you who have bought my books, be it on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or the Apple ibookstore, or Kobo, or anywhere. And this is my promise to you that I will continue to distribute my books across as many platforms as I can. If you want to support indie-authors in their effort to remain non-exclusive, the best thing you can do is to buy their books and spread the word about their work. Tell your friends about the indie books you love, follow your favorite authors on social media and share their posts, write fanfiction and make fanart. A friend’s recommendation, or seeing others excited about a story can be one hundred times more powerful than any marketing ploy can be in helping great books get discovered by equally great readers.

If you’re interested in learning more, watch this clip of the Colbert Report, where Stephen Colbert and guest Sherman Alexie (both Hachette-published authors) shine a light on how Amazon policies are impacting traditionally published authors. Colbert’s style of infotainment is always a delight to watch, regardless of your take on the issue. I’ve added the book CALIFORNIA (recommended during the clip by Sherman Alexie) to my to-read list.

And visit the Smashwords blog where Mark Coker recently wrote a post about Kindle Unlimited and the impact of author exclusivity.

* while these statements have been researched to the best of my ability, I can never be 100% certain of every instance of anything.

SHIFT is $1.99 on Smashwords through August

I’ve been working on the paperback for STAND lately, and, well, being that it’s the final edition of the final book in the Shift Series, working on it got me reflecting on this wild journey. So, until the end of August, I have made SHIFT $1.99 on Smashwords when you use this coupon code: AB67D

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/53300

Likely, if you’re reading this, you’ve already read SHIFT, but maybe there’s a friend you’ve been bugging to read it, so feel free to pass this along! I mean, SHIFT takes place over the course of one incredible summer, so now is really the perfect time to read it. ;)

Thank you!

Hello everyone!  I hope you’ve all been doing great since I wrote last.

First, I wanted to give you all a great big thank you!  STAND’s release has gone better than I could have ever hoped, and you’re all to thank for that!  So thank you to all of you who read STAND (or any of my books, for that matter,) and/or told a friend about them, and/or wrote a review.  I <3 you all.

Second, I’ve added two image galleries to the site, one for SHIFT, and another for DRIFT.  The RECAST gallery is coming soon, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the SHIFT and DRIFT galleries, and that they help you all see the world Leah experiences at each step of her journey.

STAND is live!

Happy STAND Release Day!

It has been one heck of a great release day.  I couldn’t ask for a better group of readers/fans–you all rock!

So far, STAND is live on  the following sites, linked below.  I’ll post an update (and update the bookstore tab, above) when the other sites are live as well.  For now, you can find STAND (Shift Series #4) on…

 Amazon.com

Apple iBookstore (not linkable–search Elle Beauregard)

Smashwords.com

If you happen to find STAND in another ebookstore before I do, leave a comment, tweet at me, or shoot me a message on Facebook to let me know.  I’m trying to keep everyone updated as the book becomes live across the interwebs, and more eyes can only help!  The internet is a big place, after all.  :)

Thanks again to all of you who have read the book already, and to all of you who will.  Don’t think for a second I’m not grateful to each and every one of you.

STAND Playlist

Hello faithful readers!

As we countdown to the release of STAND (Shift Series #4) on 3.31.14, I’ve been posting little tidbits and fun STAND content along the way. This morning, I posted the STAND Chapter Titles on my Tumblr and next week I’ll be posting snippets from the book as we countdown the final days. Those snippets will also run on my Tumblr, so be sure to check them out!

In the meantime, I’ve update the STAND page here on ellebeauregard(.com) with the STAND playlist, plus some thoughts and notes about the playlist itself (and the way I view playlists for every book I write.) Just hover over the STAND heading at the top of the page and select “STAND Playlist” from the menu that appears. Or follow the link below. :)

Hope you like it!

STAND (Shift Series #4) Playlist

STAND (Shift Series #4) Cover Revealed

STAND (Shift Series #4) 3.31.2014

STAND (Shift Series #4) 3.31.2014

Leah and Drake have been running for weeks. Now the chase had slowed, but life certainly hasn’t; with Drake’s seven-year-old cousin in tow, new shifters on the scene, money running low, and loved ones in the news, they’re struggling just to stay on their feet. But when the chase really does end, neither of them are prepared for the outcome–or the realities they’ll be forced to face.

I’m so pleased with how the cover turned out!  This being the last book in the series, I wanted the cover to have the proper amount of impact, and I think this accomplishes just that!

STAND comes out on 3.31.14–as of today, only 22 days to go!  Are you excited?  I AM!

I’m posting all kinds of fun little things on Facebook and Twitter over the next weeks as we countdown to the release, so don’t miss out!

And, if you haven’t already, you can add STAND to your to-read list on Goodreads–clicking the cover image will take you to STAND on Goodreads.com 

Why STAND (Shift Series #4) has been the hardest thing I’ve ever written

I got to looking back at some of my past posts/dates/messaging regarding the release of STAND the other day, and realized that over the course of the last year, I’ve given you all many, many prospective dates on when I expected STAND to be born.

STAND Placeholder Cover

STAND Placeholder Cover

Normally, I try not to put dates/set expectations on anything unless I feel reasonably confident in the estimate–and the thing was, I did feel confident each time I threw a date/season/year out into the universe. So what in the heck was my problem? Why couldn’t I pick a date and stick to it? I figured if I was asking myself these questions, that you were probably wondering the very same thing. And, really, there are two facets to the reasoning. So here they are: why STAND has been the single hardest, most contentious, painstaking, blood-sweat-and-tears book I’ve ever written.

1) Outside influences

I don’t post about my family life much online (beyond the random mention of the “hubby”) because I figure you all have plenty of family in your own lives–including the drama, excitement, accomplishments, and everything else that comes with that. You probably don’t need to hear about mine, but in this case, family played a big role in knocking my writing train off the tracks. In November 2012, I became a first time Mom to a healthy, beautiful boy (all 9lbs, 11 ounces of him.) Mommy-hood is awesome–and also, easily the hardest, most time- and brain-consuming thing I’ve ever done. I released Augury not long after returning to work from maternity leave, but Augury was a completely different writing journey than STAND. Augury was a rewrite of a book I’d already written once in its entirety, consisting of characters that had already lived in my head for years (tens of years, truth be told.) That kind of writing is like going to the spa; it’s relaxing and creative–all the hard stuff had already been ironed out: all I had to do was make it beautiful. And that was the perfect thing for a brain-addled first-time mom. It was easy and smooth, and finishing Augury fed my soul–it gave me back some of the me that had been set aside in the months immediately following my son’s arrival. So, as soon as Augury hit the interwebs, I started in on STAND, eager to get it out to you all. I had written iterations of STAND before (more on that later) so I figured its birth would be similarly easy to Augury’s. But while Augury was smooth and supple as it slid from my mind through my fingers, STAND was not. Which leads me to the second part of the reasoning behind my tardiness.

2) Inside influences

If you all have read some of my past posts, you know that I wrote all of the Shift Series before ever publishing SHIFT. Which is true. I thought I had written STAND. But, as I revised and edited each book in the series, I grew less and less satisfied with STAND’s original story. For each book in the series (SHIFT, RECAST, and DRIFT), there is a rough draft of STAND. There are two additional rough drafts that were written before SHIFT was published, and two rough drafts written since the release of DRIFT. In total, I have seven (or more) drafts of STAND, each ranging from 50-100% complete. And each one contains multiple, pivotal differences from the others. I knew how I wanted the story to end–the final two chapters have stayed mostly the same for the duration of my efforts. But I could not, for the life of me, create a storyline that got us to those chapters that had any staying power. I would write a draft, and think ‘yes–I like this–I think I have it right this time.’ Then I’d put it away for a month, or two, or three, while I finished and released another book. And, invariably, when I would pull it back out, I would hate it. Ask Kate–I can’t tell you how many times I told her that I’d finally figured it out, only to tell her later that what I’d written was awful. And I couldn’t figure out why. I’ve never had this problem before. Normally, I write a draft, and while I re-read what I’ve written, I add layers of details, flesh-out descriptions, maybe even add a side story-line–but I rarely hate the skeleton outright, in its entirety. But that just kept happening. So I had to have a serious conversation to myself: why was I doing this? What I figured out was this:

a) I am sad to see the series come to an end. Releasing STAND marks the end of an era–the end of a personal journey that has been the coolest, most awesomely rewarding thing I’ve ever done professionally. (It even trumps some personal accomplishments.) But also, releasing STAND marks the end of a story–the end of a relationship between me and two characters that I love to an unreasonable degree. When STAND is complete, Drake and Leah’s story is complete–at least as far as I am going to write it directly. It feels like cutting off a limb.

b) I found it very difficult to tie up all the loose ends–to eat all the cookies I had dropped over the course of the books leading up to this finale. Some I left there, uneaten, on purpose–but those were few and strategic. I’ve never written a series that follows one set of characters, one story arch, across multiple books, so this has been a new experience for me. I’d do it again, for sure, but next time I’ll know how to organize myself from the start to make the process of glutting out on story-cookies more manageable as I near the end of the series.

c) I am in love with Drake King. And I desperately want all of you to understand why. Drake is easily the most complicated character I’ve ever written. I said in his character study that he’s like the guy you sit next to all year in English class–he asks you about your family and your plans for the weekend, and you chat it up before class every day. But come the end of the school year, you realize he knows everything about you–but you don’t know anything about him. That is really freaking hard to write. It means there are all kinds of things in Drake’s head that he doesn’t say. That sometimes, he doesn’t even consciously think about. But that is Drake and so help me, I couldn’t change him no matter what I did–and I didn’t want to. He’s private, and pensive, and sarcastic, and, to be honest, a little dark. God, and I love him so much! So, when I was writing, I was constantly holding that candle to my words: will others see in Drake what I am trying to portray? Or, put another way, am I doing Drake justice with what I am writing? I think, finally, I have, but I’m not certain. I hope I have. Drake was never meant to be the Jace Waylon or the Edward Cullen of the story–he wasn’t ever intended to make you swoon; that’s not his style. Instead, I hope Drake has quietly worked his way into your psyche–or if he hasn’t yet, that he will–until suddenly, you realize that you never had a crush on Drake, but instead you’re in love with him. I probably just set myself up for failure with that statement, but there it is.

Hopefully this helps you be less mad at me for all the reneging I’ve done on the STAND release over the months/years. Rest assured that STAND is now in the final phases of editing (and I still like it!) so at this point, there’s no going back. I’m sticking to my 3.31.2014 date come hell or high water. And I sincerely hope you like it.

Image

STAND Placeholder Cover

STAND Placeholder Cover

STAND (Shift Series #4) is now up on Goodreads.com!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20432377-stand

And I’ve updated the “Upcoming Releases” Tab + the STAND tab with the new release date (which can also be found on Goodreads, while you add STAND to your to-read list ;) )

I’m planning some really fun stuff for the weeks leading up to the release, so stay tuned for more on that!

Happy New Year!

STAND (Shift Series #4) Sneak-Peek!

Check out the brand new STAND tab, up top for a sneak-peek of the final book in the Shift Series.  I’d love to know what you think, so comment if you can!  :) 

Video

Bookish Misc. with Elle and Kate

Hello faithful readers!  So excited to finally be able to share this!

Beta Reader #1 and I have launched a video blog called Bookish Misc., where we will be discussing the wide world of books and everything involved within it! We’ve posted our first episode on YouTube where we introduce ourselves and basically tell the story of how we became BBFFs (that’s Best Book Friends Forever) Yes, that’s right, you get to “meet” the red pen behind my creativity–Beta Reader #1, Kate! PLUS! We’ve submitted this intro episode to Geek & Sundry, who has put out a call for vloggers to join their new channel! Hopefully they like us, but even if they don’t, we’ll keep at it because we can’t help ourselves. :) So watch and comment–tell us what you think, and give us your ideas for future episodes. Happy Friday!