Critique Circle – Is She Writes Press Worth It?

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I cannot take a step further on this journey without backing up a little and speaking of the wonderful people who helped so much with editing the numerous chapters of my novel almost from its inception. Many thanks to my critique friends at Critique Circle, without whom my manuscript would never have gotten where it is today. Special thanks to my critique buddies who slogged through hours of editing with me.

I began a blog on Critique Circle as well as here, and received some interesting comments about She Writes Press, one of which I am including in this post.

I am poor with anything regarding numbers, always have been. My sister received all mathematical skills from my dad. This may be partly psychological on my part, and appears to have become worse as I have aged. Simple math is no problem, but when it comes to thought problems, it is like attempting to connect the dots—half do not connect.

This particular response concerns Amazon U.S., and is from Trevose. It goes on a bit, but I don’t want to leave anything important out:

“I searched on “she writes press” on Amazon US, in both the Kindle store and in the Book store. It returned a number of titles sorted by “featured” (whatever that means). I spot-checked about 10 of them and they were all published by “she writes press”, so it seems to have been pulling just books published by them.

“Here is the data that came back…

“Kindle Store:

“Results: 103 ebooks (this is not the total, just the top titles I could survey)

“Avg Sales Rank: 388,797

“Avg Monthly Rev: $8

“Avg Price: $1.75

“Avg Number of Reviews: 72 (this seemed like a lot, but I’ve seen where these types of operations expect their authors to review n number of books they’ve previously published — so it is a ‘ladder’ not reciprocal, which keeps it from hitting Amazon’s ‘reciprocal reviews’ tripwire)

“Total Monthly Rev (for all titles combined): $863 (The 4 best selling titles accounted for about half)

“Book Store:

“Results: 108 books (this is not the total, just the top titles I could survey)

Avg Sales Rank: 1,094,969

“Avg Monthly Rev: $139

“Avg Price: $15.02

“Avg Number of Reviews: 37

“Total Monthly Rev (for all titles combined): $13,975 (The 5 best selling titles accounted for about half)

“Keep in mind this data is just the Amazon US store. And this data makes assumptions about monthly revenue based on a snapshot of the current sales rank and price. It’s a swag. And keep in mind that this is revenue – not what the author gets. For the sake of discussion, assume the authors get half of these totals. SWP says they get 40% of author earnings for books and 20% for ebooks. 

“Additionally, book sales generally have about a year life. That is, after about a year sales trail off to a fraction of their highest point (even if the highest point was really low), so even the better selling books in these lists can’t sustain for long. 

“A weird aspect I saw was that almost half of the titles that came back when I pulled the data have not been published yet (some won’t publish until late this year), so a lot of the data is based on pre-publication sales. I’m not sure what to think of this. 

“What we can conclude from all this? Yes, they are a vanity press that makes most of their money off of what authors pay them to publish their books (this is not a pejorative statement). These titles are clearly not generating enough cashflow to pay even one full-time staff member. They make a modest amount of money from book sales, but it is pretty small. 

“We can also conclude that whatever services SWP provides and some writers have worked together to achieve some market success. On the other hand, based on this data, we can estimate that 99% of authors will never recover the $7,900 SWP charges, and probably half won’t recover even $200 of it.”

 

I am not familiar with Amazon publishing or anything he is commenting about. Maybe someone out there is? I will be speaking with Brooke Warner of She Writes Press this coming Wednesday and might be able to get her to respond about this then.

In the meantime, here is a video from 2015 that contains a good deal of what She Writes Press does for their authors:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb971_X5PAQ&feature=youtu.be  

I welcome any comments. 

Being Published for the First Time

My main idea was to blog about this process of being published for the first time, but how do I go about doing that? What do you want to know? What would I want to know? 

Why I went with this “hybrid” independent publisher:

  1. I retain creative control, yet receive She Writes Press’s knowledge of the industry’s standards;
  2. I keep a higher percentage of royalties;
  3. She Writes Press is a community-based group—all authors are supported equally;
  4. The editorial staff is accessible;
  5. They vet their authors with a three track system—I will be on Track 3, which means I will have one of their edit my manuscript;
  6. They have traditional distribution through Ingram Publisher Services of print and ebooks;
  7. Book covers are beautiful and professional, and covers matter a great deal;
  8. She Writes Press has a top notch reputation—they were 2019 Independent Publisher of the Year.

There’s more, but that’s enough this time around. Check out the video if you want to see the rest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb971_X5PAQ&feature=youtu.be 

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I should add that She Writes Press and any affiliate is in no way paying me for writing this. These are reasons why I chose them to publish my very first novel, and am thrilled that they accepted my manuscript. 

I received an email from Brooke which stated that, because of Covid-19, it may be spring of 2022 before publication could take place. That gives me about two years to get an author platform and everything else in place. Two years of an amazing journey. Will some of you come along with me?

A Loss for Words?

 

Photo by Alie Krohn, Photostream Creative Commons

Photo by Alie Krohn, Photostream Creative Commons

“What the hell kind of people read books about words?”

I love this. I took it from a interview with one of my favorite people who is also an author and a word wizard, Arthur Plotnik. I don’t know of anyone who makes reading about words, or how to “write words better” so much fun.

I don’t know what I would do without his book, Spunk & Bite. Mine looks a bit like a squished porcupine with all the tabs I have added for quick access to all the info.

Take a look at the interview on The Grammarist, if you’ve a mind, and you will not only learn something, but I bet you will smile doing it: http://grammarist.com/nofront/interview-with-arthur-plotnik/

 

The Author – An Anachronism?

A web friend of mine recently published her first book – an eBook.  She is thrilled.  I would be, too.  She also has a very fun blog that interviews her characters.  This is not only clever, but shows she is aware of one of the most current methods of marketing her book.

One of the recent articles on Digital Book World is by Don Linn, former owner/CEO of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, entitled, “Caught in the Middle, Publishing’s Other Customers.”

The cost of hardcover books is going down.  Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it.  It is for the reader, which I suspect applies to most of us.  He notes that authors like Stephen King will not suffer.  They and those like them can self-publish and will still sell the same number of books they always have.  Even us newbies may do all right, as long as we do not seek to make a living from our writing.  I add, as long as we are willing and able to do all of our own marketing, delivery, follow-up etc., etc.

What about “those who fall between these two groups. They are the people who write for a living and who bring us the workhorse books in their categories (from literary fiction to genre fiction to all manner of non-fiction). Their advances have historically been relatively low and their sales relatively modest. They write for major publishers and independents. They write books that backlist and, in a small but very important number, they write really important books that either break out commercially, or say something significant that might not otherwise get said.”

Yet another consideration in this age of transitions.  Will the future look back on us and declare we produced nothing new, nothing of worth?  For the lack of funds, art suffered?  No more authors, only people who “write on the side.”

You may want to check out his article.  More food for thought.