Posts Tagged With: Publishing

iUniverse Royalty Report (Jan-Mar 2013)

Ladies and gentleman, I’m pleased to announce that I have officially received my royalty report from iUniverse for the months of January-March. The report came in on June 7th … a full week after it was supposed to … but still, it’s here! Huzzah!

After cross-checking my meticulous book sales records (a Word doc bullet list), I have determined that the royalties they’ve reported are correct. So props to iUniverse for their accurate accounting department!

I shall now divulge the sales stats for my first three months of sales under iUniverse:

  • Softcovers sold = 68
  • Hardcovers sold = 56
  • Ebooks:
    • Amazon = 33
    • B&N = 3
    • Kobo = 6

Tada! My sub-par yet inspiring stats for January-March. I’m pretty sure I have you guys to thank for those ebook sales, so thank you!!!

As for the softcovers/hardcovers, I know what you’re thinking — Gosh, Michelle, over 100 sold! That’s pretty darn good! Maybe print books aren’t dead after all! Now, that would be true, except that 100 of those were bought by me, for the purposes of re-sale/giving away. On the plus side, that leaves 24 print books unaccounted for — which I think is pretty darn cool!

Are these sales amazing? Goodness, no. Compared to some of my fellow bloggers, who complain when their sales drop under 50 a day, these stats are just pathetic. But hey, that’s cool! First book, crazy fluctuating ebook prices, wrong genre classification, questionably genre-appropriate cover, overpriced print copies, no up-to-date sales records for marketing analysis … I’m quite satisfied with the results thus far. Huzzah!

It does make me wonder how my sales would be if I’d not gone with iUniverse, and instead done something like KDP through Amazon. I suppose I’ll find out soon enough, though — now that Chasing Nonconformity, the sequel to Imminent Danger, is well into the editing stages, I’m starting to make plans to self-publish the sequel, as well as re-release Imminent Danger through KDP. This will likely necessitate splitting from iUniverse, something which I’m trying to feel sad about, but … somehow the emotion just isn’t there. Hehehe …

Anyway, for anyone wondering how I was doing, sales-wise, above is all the information I have. This info can also serve as a benchmark to my fellow self-published writers — if you’re selling better than me, clearly you’re doing something right! And if you feel like letting me in on what that something is, please, by all means, feel free. Live long and prosper, blogosphere!

Semi-related image of the day:

Semi-related video of the day:

I present to you now, “Dirty Cash” by BigBang, who are arguably the most popular boy band in South Korea. (To KPOP fans — I said arguably! Put away your weapons!) As you will gather when they sing the chorus, they don’t want your dirty cash. They’re quite firm on this point.

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Guest Post: The Point of No Return (Maria Diaz)

Onwards with the guest posts! Today we have Maria Diaz with us from The Owl, Book & Candle, chatting with us about the difference between an author, and an author-entrepreneur.


The Point of No Return

As writers, many times we think of ourselves as authors when we become published, whether self-published or via traditional publishing.  I have read of indie authors expressing the desire of being recognized by traditional publishers by obtaining a contract. Traditional publishing is still a goal or dream for some indie authors.  I guess it is a personal issue, and how an author feels “fulfilled in the craft.”  To each their own – everyone must follow their own journey.  However, there is another area that seems to be of less concern to some writers/authors, and this is what I want to write about in this post: At what point does an author/writer cross the point of no return to become an entrepreneur/business owner?

I thought about it many times (as I am in the journey), and I think that the answer is different for everyone.  It is more of a process, one that requires growth, acceptance (from yourself), and a mind shift.  It takes the writer from a position of “I write because I love to write” or “I want to be published”, to a mind frame that sounds more like this – “I am in the business of writing; it is what I love to do, and how I make a living (or plan to)” or “I am an author; I write stories and this is my business …”

We all start as writers. Many cross to become authors (defined traditionally), but many of us neglect or do not cross into the entrepreneurial/business side of the deal.  We do not see ourselves as business owners, and we prefer to stick to “the writing side,” forgetting to nourish the other side of our craft.  I have heard many times that no matter if you self-publish or publish traditionally, you are still responsible for promoting and marketing your novels/books.  No matter how you enter the publishing world, it stops where you are – the responsibility is ultimately yours.  Granted, you have tons of help via the traditional way; however, you are the “entity” behind and in front of your work, and it is up to you to take it to the next level.

How do you know when, or if, you have crossed the point of no return?  It is a matter of how you see yourself and your craft.  For the purpose of this post, let’s call the writer who has not crossed to the entrepreneurial side Author, and the other, Author Entrepreneur (Author-E).  Both, Author and Author-E  have passion, purpose, and love what they do.  Both love to write and they have fun doing it.  They love to socialize and interact with readers, whether in person or via social media.  Both may have built a platform, and may have published one or more novels/books.  The number of books is not important here.  You can have an Author with many novels published and an Author-E with one or two novels published so far; however, Author-E probably has more books in the making, as Author-E sees and focuses on the business part.

For Author-E, consistency is important.  Author might not have developed that part yet.  Author-E tries to achieve consistency by building a brand (across the websites/blogs/book covers …).  Author might be struggling with building a platform or blog, and does not quite have figured out the branding part yet, or is just in the process of doing it.  Author-E has created a persona and transferred it into a business structure by taking the steps of legalizing this brand, and growing/developing a physical image of it (logos, business cards, business ID registration, business entity …).  For Author-E, mostly every step he/she takes is oriented to business growth, promotion, and marketing.  For Author, this area is still new, in the development stage, or simply not one of his/her goals.  Author-E continues to work on it every single day knowing that this will take time and tons of effort, and recognizes it as a lifestyle, since the business persona that he/she has created is real.  Steady growth is more important to Author-E than quantity or buzz, since success is tied to not only profits, but also lifestyle.  Author may want to see profits fast and becomes discouraged if the sales don’t happen, while Author-E knows that many times it will take working “for free” before he/she sees any profits, and is less likely to become discouraged because he/she is aware of the journey.  Author may want to achieve the same balance, but he/she still needs to find a balance between these components, as well as decide how to put the pieces together, implement, and even consider  if he/she wants to step up to the process.

Author and Author-E may start the same in the writing/publishing journey, but eventually the road will split and each must decide on following their own path (what is right for you).  This is why it is so important to gauge your own process, and discover “the persona” throughout the journey, because at one point, you may reach the point of no return.


Maria Antonia Diaz is the author of Moonlit Valley and The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit, Book 1 in the trilogy.  She is a freelance writer, blogger, and artist. She is the founder of The Owl, Book & Candle. She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Eddie, and six felines. She describes herself as a student of this Universe, and a Master of none.


Unrelated media of the day:

The following delightful examples of Engrish came from here:

Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Guest Post: On Music and Writing (with Alex Nader)

Next up in my “Guest Posters Because I’m Too Lazy To Write Posts Myself” series, we have Alex Nader cogitating on the relationship between music and writing. Take it away, Alex!


Alex Nader Promo

On Music and Writing

Music is a big part of my day to day life. In the car, at work, pretty much no matter what I’m doing, music is playing. I listen to everything from vintage blues to modern punk rock. Music also inspires a lot of my writing. I even have a playlist of songs to use as inspiration for my novel Beasts of Burdin. (Shameless self promoting? I’m for it.)

The only problem is when I’m writing I can’t listen to music. Something about words in music distracts me. I focus too much on the words and end up not writing a thing. It’s terribly frustrating since I enjoy music so much. Luckily for me, I’ve found solutions.

One of my solutions is a band called 2 Cellos. They cover a variety of pop songs with only, you guessed it, two cellos playing the music. My other solution? A series called the Pickin’ On Series. It’s a compilation of bluegrass bands covering everything from Aerosmith to John Mayer, mostly instrumental. It’s perfect. I made a playlist of the songs I like and now I have music to write to without having to worrying about getting lost in the lyrics.

So you may be asking yourself, who is this guy that’s written these words I’m currently reading? Let me tell you. I’m Alexander Nader. I’ve written a couple books, the best of which is going to be published next April by J. Taylor Publishing.

Beasts of Burdin is a tour de force of ridiculousness. Okay, tour de force is probably a bit of an overstatement, but I really wanted to use the phrase. It’s about Ty Burdin, a retired demon hunter who gets dragged back into his old life of hunting and is drowned in a world of complications because of it. I think it came out pretty good, and if you feel the urge, you should probably follow me at my blog,, for updates. If not there you can find me on Twitter, tweeting about something or other. @AlexNaderWrites.


Unrelated media of the day:

In honour of May the Fourth, (yes, I’m a day late, I’m aware), I present to you:

Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Guest Post: Learning to Live the Dream (Danielle E. Shipley)

Today’s guest post comes from Danielle E. Shipley, the talented author of assorted short stories, novellas, and novels (several of them already published, with many more to come!). Check it out!

* * *

Learning to Live the Dream

These have been the most unbelievable last several weeks of my life.

It all started in February (my gosh, was it really only February??) when J. Taylor Publishing accepted my submission for their YA short story anthology, “One More Day” (coming this December). This was the first “yes” I’ve gotten from the publishing industry that came with contracted royalties, so I was … what’s the term? A wreck. (The crazy happy kind.)

Not much earlier, I’d made the commitment to myself to stop talking about “someday” and finally self-publish my darling fairytale novella series, “The Wilderhark Tales”. Upon signing my short story with JTP, I wavered for a moment about whether or not to pursue the self-publishing project right now, as planned, or put it off ‘til later. That moment lasted all of a few seconds. The promises I make, I keep. The first Wilderhark Tale was going forward. (“The Swan Prince”, coming May 31st .)

So, I had a short story to prepare for a publishing company, and a novella to edit, acquire a cover for, figure out how to format for paperback and e-book, and, also, in addition, plus … (There’s a lot involved in self-pubbing a quality book, y’all.)

And then JTP asked for my novel, “Inspired”. (Coming in March of 2014.)

This is it, people. This is the start of the writing career I’ve worked for since my latter teens. At what’s-seemed-like-an-eternity last, I can say I am living the dream!

… But wait. Where did all my writing time go?

I had it soft, ‘til now. With no other real demands on my time, I could pretty much spend all day, every day, writing up a storm. Now? Not so much. A long list of pressing deadlines comes first.

It would be easy – arguably justifiable, even – to move writing new material off my priorities list until later. Problem is, that looks an awful lot like the same “someday” region to which I almost relegated my fairytale series. I don’t want to exile writing to “someday”! A fine howdy-do that would be: “Oh, yeah, thanks for getting my foot in the door of fame and fortune, Writing. It’s been real. But, uh, I’m kinda busy, these days, so … Y’know what? I’ll call you.” *calls “someday”*

Not even. That’s no way to treat something you love. I wouldn’t be typing this blog post right now if I didn’t love writing. I’m a writer. Writers write. Beginning, middle, and end of story.

So yeah, I’m up to my ears in line editing and social networking, I’ve got a mad amount of forms to fill out and accounts to keep tabs on … but I’m also making time to write. Maybe not every day; certainly not all day, anymore. It might only add up to a few thousand new words a week, for a while. That’s all right. I’ll work my way back up to my old deranged levels of productivity, or I’ll settle into something more like the routine that real authors keep.

‘Cause I’m as real an author now as the best of them, guys. And I’m gonna write like it. That’s a promise.

* * *

danielle_author photoDanielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself … or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at

Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Vlog #8 — In which 100 copies of my book arrive!

Remember how I was very amused a few days ago by the fact that it cost less money to buy my own book from a third party source, rather than direct from the publisher (iUniverse)? Well, the 100 copies I ordered through arrived yesterday, and they’re glorious. Share in my joy with me via my latest vlogging attempt:

So they’re all here, they’re awesome, and now I have to figure out what to do with them all. Definitely giveaways of some sort … I’ll have to look into a book signing … a couple copies donated to the library … and then whatever else I can come up with.

As for the randomly faded dropcaps in the softcover version, I’ve contacted iUniverse about it, and they’re looking into a solution. Mother is righteously outraged on my behalf (“Your book consultant assured you that the printer copy was just a fluke, and now you’ve got 50 copies with that same fluke! You should be furious with them for lying to you! They need to fix this immediately and apologize!”), whereas I am taking a more zen approach. Expect the worst, and nothing can disappoint you. It’s working out well so far. I’m not going to let up until iUniverse figures out why this is happening and fixes it, obviously, and I’ll explain that I’m displeased, but I don’t think anger is the way to go.

Other than that … life is good. Got ma books, got ma magnets, got ma … slippers? There’s no stopping me now!!!

Unrelated media of the day:


Categories: iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

Purchasing My Own Book — The Smart Way, and the iUniverse Way

As I promised yesterday, today I bring you the latest silliness from iUniverse. You’re actually very lucky, because I have not one, but two bits of silliness to share with you today. Ready?

Silliness #1: Incorrect Genre Classification

This one is probably a clerical error, but it’s a very silly, uniquely iUniverse error. Imminent Danger is a YA sci-fi book. That’s not a particularly difficult genre to remember, right? And yet, the vast majority of online retailers do not have it listed as YA sci-fi. It’s either children’s lit, or fantasy, or … God, I don’t even know.

This is a direct result of iUniverse mis-reporting the genre when they initially sent out my book back in January. As I find these incorrect genres, I send iUniverse a note asking them to fix it. And they’re happy to do it … with a 6-8 week processing time for the changes to take effect. Really? 6-8 weeks? I’m fairly confident that if I had direct control over my book, I could just pop onto the Amazon site, change the genre setting, and have it resolved within ten minutes.

So silliness #1 is iUniverse failing to submit my book under the correct genre, and then taking forever and a day to fix it. Sigh.

Update March 4, 2013: I just got a call from iUniverse, asking if my genre classification issue had been resolved. I explained the situation, and the lady was very helpful. She said that she would look into the problem and make sure that all the retailers have the correct genre information. So yay to iUniverse for following through!

Silliness #2: Overpriced Author-Discounted Books

When you publish a book, you want physical copies in hand to be able to hawk to passersby. iUniverse offers authors special discounts on buying books, which is basically the list price minus your author royalties, with a higher percentage off the list price based on how many copies you buy at a time. That last sentence probably made no sense. Here’s the table I whipped up to figure out how much my hardcover books will cost, per unit, purchased from iUniverse:

hardcover pricingI wanted about 50 hardcover to start off with. 50 hardcover, as you can see, works out to $20.77 per unit. Bear with me. recently put out a 10% discount coupon for their site. The hardcover of Imminent Danger is listed at $23.72 — $22.53 with my member discount card. ((Note that the book cover is still not shown on this site — this will also take 6-8 weeks for iUniverse to “fix”)).

Now, I get approximately $3 per hardcover sold in royalties. So. 50 books from iUniverse at $20.77 + shipping = $1181.19. 50 books from at $22.53 (plus 10% discount), minus ~150 for royalties I’ll get back, plus free shipping, plus tax = ~$995 (give or take).

That’s about $200 in savings by ordering books from instead of the company that’s producing the darn things. 

Plus there’s the weird side effect that those sales will actually count towards Imminent Danger’s sales ranking on Not what I intended, but … I guess a higher ranking isn’t something to complain about, right?

Now, to be fair, I did contact iUniverse to see if my calculations were correct, because I couldn’t believe that such a thing would be possible. The very nice gentleman I spoke with ran through the calculations with me, and concluded that, yes, it would be cheaper to buy them from a third-party source. He offered to give me a slightly higher discount, but with the cost of shipping, still worked out as being cheaper.

Silly, iUniverse. Very silly.

The only reason I can think they wouldn’t bend over backward to convince authors to buy directly from them is if they make the same amount of money off each book regardless of where the book is bought from. That seems like a strange business plan to me — buying direct from the source should always be cheaper, shouldn’t it? And it is cheaper if, as you’ll see in the above chart, you buy 250+ books. But who has that kind of money? I certainly don’t.

In conclusion …

iUniverse continues to be delightfully silly. I’m not too miffed with them, because I don’t think the incorrectly filed genre is going to hurt me too much over the next few weeks (hopefully), and I did find a way around their bizarre pricing scheme. I’ve actually started to really enjoy seeing what silliness they come up with next.

The next step in fulfilling my contract is getting my book into a local Chapters store for 8 weeks. I’m sure there’ll be lots of silliness involved with that. Stay tuned!

Unrelated video of the day:

Get ready for the crazy.

In Japan, there is a pop star named Hatsune Miku who is entirely computer generated — voice, appearance, everything. And she’s insanely popular. Here’s the wikipedia page on her. Here’s a video of her live, in concert … despite her not actually being alive. I believe holograms are involved.

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

My books are here!!! There are problems, but that’s okay!!!

Good news first — MY BOOKS HAVE ARRIVED!!!

2013-01-24 18.05.56

There they are!!! Right in front of the gorgeous rose bouquet my best friend Rhiannon bought me to celebrate my published-author-dom.

It felt indescribably good to hold my own book in my own hands, although the joy of the moment was somewhat dampened by my nagging uncertainty that there would be something wrong with them.

When working with iUniverse, this seems to be an ongoing theme.

Mother was happy to oblige my concerns. She quickly noted that the titles on the spine and back cover — which looked perfectly readable when we printed off a copy of the covers ourselves — are virtually unreadable on the actual books. The spine/back cover titles are basically cut out of the front cover image (so they’re starry red and black), except the right edge fades to black so much that when you try to read the title, it appears to read “Immin Dang”.

Immin Dang. Not the most attractive title I’ve ever encountered. No one will pick up a book called Immin Dang. Although oddly, the more I write it, the more I kind of want to read it …

Now, the iUniverse graphic designers obviously should have realized this would happen when they designed the cover. They’re cover designers, after all — this is sort of what they do. They know that the cover will appear darker when it’s printed out, and they should have compensated accordingly. Mother and I already have a phone call planned for tomorrow to see about fixing this little (major) issue. I suspect iUniverse will attempt to charge me for making these changes, although you can be assured I will fight that with all my might.

More news as it happens.

Other issues included the softcover pages being white instead of cream. Now, I chose the page colouring a long time ago, so I’m only 98% certain I asked for cream. We’ll have to see what the records indicate.

UPDATE: I asked for white. Dang. Well, we’ll just have to see how much the change will cost me.

Oh, and in an odd publishing strategy, iUniverse elected to have the paperback/hardback title for sale before I had actually approved the printer review copy. So that means there are a handful of people out there who own the incorrectly-coloured-page, Immin Dang version of the book. Original, flawed print run, baby!

BUT OTHER THAN THAT, the books look amazing! Fantastic! Indescribably awesome! WOOOOOO!

Can you tell I’m trying to cover up my irritation by overcompensating in my joy? I really am excited, but it’s hard to keep the momentum going when tiny little things keep going wrong. I will not rest until this book has reached an acceptable quality level to be purchased by the general public, dammit!

On a slightly different note, I decided to give the first hardcover to my mother. Considering how many hundreds of hours she’s put into it, I figured she deserved some sort of reward for her efforts. Here’s the dedication:

2013-01-24 18.05.34She was a fan of the dedication. Tears may have been involved.

Well, that wraps up the exciting news for today. Oh no, wait!


Hop over to this post before Saturday morning and get the chance to win an Imminent Danger magnet. Wow! Talk about a bank-breaking prize! You know you want one! Do it!

Unrelated image of the day:

I’m feeling patriotic. Here’s my country in an amusing and scarily accurate infographic:

Categories: iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 82 Comments

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