Where did summer go?

Tempus Fugit is what they say, meaning “time flees,” though often rendered as “time flies.” It’s been quite the summer since my last post, with a lot going on.

We’ve done two great summer giveaways for our Exclusive Insiders Group, with a third big giveaway starting next week. By the end of September we’ll have given away over $1000 worth of books, audiobooks and Amazon gift cards to the fans, just for being on our mailing list. If you’d like to be a member of David VanDyke’s Exclusive Insiders, hurry and sign up so you don’t miss our next giveaway. We send something out emails couple of times a month with special offers, giveaways and book news. Go to this link to sign up: David’s Exclusive Insiders

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Book #12 of BV Larson’s Star Force, DEMON STAR, formerly working-titled Gauntlet, has been released. Co-written by yours truly, it brings Cody Riggs and the crew of the Valiant home, completing the trilogy. There might be more Star Force books, depending on fan demand.

 

Apocalyps-Austin-3D-L-face

 

Apocalypse Austin is also a new release in the Plague Wars series, continuing the story of the first few years after Infection Day. Curl up with your old friends Reaper, Skull and Spooky for another tense, action-packed apocalyptic adventure from me and Ryan King.

 

 

 

Desolator and Tactics of Conquest have also been released in Audiobook format, narrated by the incomparable Artie Sievers.Desolator-Tactics-3D-RF-covers

MoonFall is a new release as well, the second book in my brother Drew’s and my paranormal werewolf new adult romance series, and he’s well on the way to completing book 3, which should be out by Halloween. We’ve plotted out books 4 and 5 as well, so you werewolf fans have more treats coming. Sit! Stay! Read!

For the future, I’m working on book 3 of the Cal Corwin series, which will tie up a lot of loose ends. After that, I’ll be writing a brand-new action-packed space-sci-fi adventure series that will be set in a far different universe from that of Plague Wars/Stellar Conquest, filled with new concepts, cool tech and aliens.

If you’re attending ComiCon in Salt Lake City, I’ll be there at a book booth in the vendor area for most of the convention, so stop by and say hi, and pick up a signed book or bookmark!

Cheers and happy reading,

Dave

The Great Amazon Hysteria… Part 31

As usual, a concise summary of the current situation. Believe me, folks, the sky is not falling. In fact, it may be rising.

David Gaughran

ChickenLittleAre you scared yet? Because you should be scared. Something really bad is about to happen. It affects all of us.

Our livelihoods are at risk. The ability to support our families. It’s just over the horizon. It could happen any minute. It’s coming for all of us!

WE ARE DOOOOOOOOOMED.

Ahem.

I’ve been around for long enough to know that authors can be a skittish bunch. Probably something to do with our over-active imaginations, with an assist from that old writers’ favorite: the whiskey brunch.

More seriously, we are going through a period of unprecedented change so it’s perfectly normal for people to be a little fearful. I think the disruption we are all experiencing is greater than that which has been faced by similar industries. In fact, I think the transition from print book to e-book is akin to going straight from vinyl to MP3, with all that…

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Summer Giveaways and News

Greetings to our readers!

This summer we’ll be running monthly giveaways of Amazon gift cards, ebooks and audiobooks, exclusively for the insiders who have signed up for our mailing list. Anyone can sign up for our email list so, if you know anyone who might like our books feel free to pass this on to them, but only those on the list will be able to enter the prize giveaways (no purchase necessary). Sign up for the mailing list HERE.

Amazon-gift-card-image-blank WIN an Amazon Gift Card

These prizes are in appreciation of all of our loyal readers who have made it possible for David VanDyke and Reaper Press to write and publish quality fiction since 2012.

The giveaways will take place in June, July and August. We’ll be sending an email with details on our first big giveaway very soon.

Upcoming Books and News

For the Star Force fans among you, BV Larson and I are finishing up book #12, working title Gauntlet. This will finally get Cody Riggs and the crew of the Valiant home, with some startling twists along the way. I expect it should be published by the end of July at the latest.

                            Outcast newest cover        Exile cover

Star Force #10                         Star Force #11

Ryan King and I are also working on Apocalypse Austin, another of the “mid-quels” of the Plague Wars series set in the first decade of the series, before the events of Demon Plagues. This is also likely to come out by the end of July.

For our Cal Corwin fans, I am working on the third book that will complete the trilogy, tie up all the “Loose Ends,” get Cal out of her “Bind,” and answer a lot of the questions raised in the first two books, such as who is behind all the trouble. As this book is still in development, all I can promise is that it will be out before Christmas, though we hope to publish it sooner.

Comes-The-Destroyer-3D-CoverFor the audiobook fans, the Cal Corwin short story “Off the Leash” is being produced by LA Voiceover with the same incomparable narrator, Franchesca Townes, and Plague Wars narrator Artie Sievers finished Comes the Destroyer recently and is now working on Desolator.  (First Conquest is already available due to its separate deal with the Planetary Assault anthology, narrated by Mark Boyette).

Free Review Copies

We are happy to provide a free review copy of any VanDyke ebook simply for agreeing to review it on at least one of the ebook sites, such as Amazon, iBooks, Nook or Kobo. Just drop us an email.

If you sign up for the newsletter, we’ll be sending you more news every couple of weeks, as well as updating you on the status of the giveaways, so keep your eyes open for our emails. As always, please don’t hesitate to write us at david (at) davidvandykeauthor.com.

Cheers and happy reading,

David and Beth VanDyke

Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story

More great stuff by Gaughran about the sickening Author Solutions scam.

David Gaughran

ASandfriendsweboptAuthor Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest.

Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing.

Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so…

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Fighting With Both Hands

For the writers that follow me, an interesting new direction for Gaughran, and overdue.

David Gaughran

The LibertiesThis blog has been quieter than usual lately and I thought I should let you know what I’ve been doing.

I’m going to prattle on for quite a while; you might want to get comfortable (or head off to Tumblr).

So…

It’s good to do a bit of soul searching now and then, to look at what you have achieved, where your career is headed, and to decide if you are on the right track.

My goals and dreams have changed a lot since I started self-publishing in 2011. I haven’t been a big success, but I’ve been able to tick off little career milestones along the way. Some months my sales are wonderful, some months they are terrible – generally a function of how long it is since I released or promoted something. Overall, the good months more than outweigh the bad and I’ve been scratching out a…

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Bay Area Book Festival Defends Author Solutions Sponsorship

Especially for other authors: please read and share this on social media to keep the pressure on against Author Solutions, the biggest scammer of writers anywhere.

David Gaughran

BABFASI discovered yesterday that Author Solutions was sponsoring the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival – something at odds with the breathless verbiage on the event’s site:

A new kind of book fair… the largest, most innovative, and most inclusive… [we will] create the nation’s leading book festival.

The event doesn’t take place until June, so I thought it was a good time to try and stage an intervention.

After I sent that tweet I felt a little bad.

Maybe the organizers didn’t know the full history of Author Solutions. Maybe they weren’t aware of the specific scam that Author Solutions runs at events like this. Deciding to give them the benefit of the doubt, I emailed the Executive Director of the festival, Cherilyn Parsons.

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Thoughts on Author Earnings

The Author Earnings report is out for this quarter,  and as always it’s quite interesting. Especially fascinating is the the part near the end about the “shadow books” and the enormous gap in sales reporting that makes most of the usual mechanisms, such as Nielsen and AAP, wildly inaccurate – by their own admission. Apparently they’re missing at least 20% of the market, and that 20% is almost all indies, so we’re being under-reported.

While I’m talking about author earnings, let me address Digital Book World’s recent claims in articles they’ve shopped to the mainstream media, such as this one  wherein they claim traditional authors still earn more than indies, which directly contradicts what Author Earnings has, IMO, proven with data. They claim that the median traditionally published author earns $3K-$5K per year, while the median indie earns $500-$1000 per year. This is all based on a self-reported survey of fewer than 2000 authors, by the way.

The biggest problem with this claim is that they are comparing apples to oranges. Traditionally published authors by definition have made it past the huge hurdle of the gatekeepers to be selected for publication. Indies, however, can call themselves indies if they’ve thrown a book up on Amazon or elsewhere. It’s rather like comparing Olympic athletes, who have made it through all the trials and challenges and been selected to go to the Games, with anyone who calls themselves an athlete. Of course there will be a large portion of the latter who don’t measure up, along with some that do, but are otherwise ineligible or did not want to go.

To put it another way, if selling one book to a traditional publisher nets a minimum of (for example) a $5000 advance (often the only money an author will see from a book, at least, for several years until the book earns out and royalties kick in), it’s only fair to include indies who make more than $5000 during the first year for publishing one of their books. (not a perfect comparison, but it’s fairly close). Other indies who earn less should be discarded from the data set, or at least their data should be given less weight.

By contrast, the Author Earnings reports scrape hundreds of thousands of pages of Amazon book data and compares many data points such as rankings, prices, author status, etc., to get a pretty good approximation of what’s really going on. With all that data, it becomes clear that working, full-time indie AUTHORS’ earnings (not publishers‘ earnings, mind you) are comparable to and often greater than those of traditionally published authors.

While there’s no perfect methodology for comparing these apples and oranges, at least Author earnings tries to compare the fruits and their trees by productivity, weight, marketplace value, and yield for the farmer, to stretch a metaphor to its breaking point. While I bring my own experiential bias to the table in favor of indies, I believe both the data and the anecdotal evidence (so many stories of miserable and unrewarding experiences with publishers) support the claim that going the indie route is a perfectly viable alternative to traditional publishing, and is in many ways better.

Would be traditionally published if someone offered me a contract? I sure wouldn’t turn it down outright. I’d examine the terms closely and if I thought the benefits outweighed the burdens, I’d do it. One finding by the DBW survey that seems particularly telling is that hybrid authors – those being published both ways – out-earn traditional-only authors, which shows that each model has advantages and the smart author takes advantage of both, if s/he can. The key is often in the contract terms.

Hugh Howey is a case in point. He successfully negotiated a contract for WOOL that let him keep all the ebook rights, a fantastic deal for him, as for the author, ebook royalties are far higher than print royalties. That’s truly the best of both worlds, but as ebooks continue to grow and print to decline, that kind of deal will get harder and harder to get.

I have a couple of bestselling author friends who tried the traditional route (after making their bones as indies) and they weren’t able to get terms like that. I suspect they would have to get better deals to be enticed to do a traditional book contracts again, as their traditionally published books don’t make them nearly as much money as their self-published books, and are also far less under their direct control for things such as pricing, making changes, etc.

Looking ahead, the next new thing with my name on it will be book 12 of BV Larson’s Star Force series, tentatively titled Trinity. That will wrap up the trilogy storyline, bringing Cody Riggs and the crew of Valiant back to Earth, with some surprising twists along the way.

Once that project’s done, I’ll be launching an all-new space sci-fi series this summer in a completely different universe from Plague Wars/Stellar Conquest. I’m very much in the concept phase, so if you have suggestions about what you’d like to see in a new series, feel free to email me or comment on the blog or the Amazon forum.

Also, In a Bind, Cal Corwin Book 2, is out in Audiobook format, and Comes the Destroyer, the last book in the Plague Wars series, is finished and sent to the ACX reviewers. It should go live on Audible in about two weeks.

Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press

For anyone that knows the sordid history of Author Solutions, this is all vomit-worthy stuff. That B&N would voluntarily associate itself with such an ethically bankrupt company is terribly disappointing, though seemingly par for the course, as B&N has a current reputation as one of the most badly managed companies of its size in the U.S.

David Gaughran

NookPressAuthorSolutionsNook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand.

Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof.

Until now.

A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service.

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You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.”

Author Solutions, Bloomington, Indiana. Image courtesy of Wikimedia, uploaded by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0 Author Solutions, Bloomington, IN. Image from Wikimedia, by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s something else located at that address: Author Solutions US headquarters in Bloomington…

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Eden’s Exodus and a couple of events

exodus-final(1)Eden’s Exodus is available in pre-order at Amazon, and will go live in less than a week, the 3rd of March. Click the cover to view the Amazon page. We’ll be getting it up on the other vendors soon after it goes live.

If anyone would like an advance review copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review, please email me: david -at- davidvandykeauthor.com. Early reviews are always welcome, but you won’t be able to post the review until the day it goes live.

For those interested in audiobooks, the talented Mr. Artie Sievers is working on Comes the Destroyer and that should be done in April. Everything in Plague Wars up to that point is already available on Audible and iTunes. He’ll be doing Eden’s Exodus next, and then moving on to the Stellar Conquest series at a rate of one every month or two. Also, the In A Bind audiobook should be going live in about two weeks.

For those who would like to listen to me ramble, I did an audio interview recently for the blog Reaching Bestseller Status, and you can listen to it here – David’s RBS interview.

If anyone’s in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, February 28th from 1:00-3:00 p.m., I’ll be the featured guest of a workshop on indie and self-publishing. The details are here: http://www.utahchristianwriters.com/

I’m going to be attending the Tucson Festival of Books, 14-15 March in Tucson, AZ with the wonderful folks at BookGoodies, who have opened their booth to a few indie authors. I’ll have copies of books to sell and sign, or you can simply drop by to chat. I’d love to talk to you.

Cheers, and happy reading!

Dave