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  Issue #9

Free Writers' Newsletter

   Dec 23, 2003  

    

News:

Publisher seeks new writing
Dorchester Publishing is launching a new line in mystery, romantic suspense, and "woman-in-jeopardy" fiction, and is seeking suitable submissions from writers. See http://www.dorchester
pub.com
for details, or send queries to acondon@
dorchesterpub.com
(no submissions by email).
  

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eBook explosion continues
OeBF (the Open eBook Forum) has released figures for Q3 2004 showing strong growth in the eBook market. Sales of eBooks are up 64%, and for the first time more than a million units have been sold in one year.

Whispers from Heaven closes to submissions
Whispers from Heaven magazine has been bought by Guideposts, and is no longer accepting submissions of short fiction. Writers may instead submit their material to Guideposts magazine, which features "stories of inspiration and hope".

For more information visit www.guideposts.com 

 

New online store for authors

 

In the last issue of firstwriter.com's Free Writers' Newsletter Christopher Willitts' article on self-publishing discussed the increasing trend for new authors to bypass traditional publishing processes and bring their books to the masses themselves; a trend which has been facilitated by the growth of the Internet (http://www.go-publish-yourself.com). Whether authors choose to publish themselves in hard-copy print, or opt for the more cost-effective choice of e-publishing, the Internet provides a vital means of distribution.

The only problem with trying to sell your book through your own website is getting the necessary traffic. Even if you're on a popular search engine like Google, the only searches you're guaranteed to be returned for in one of the top positions are searches for your book specifically – and that only reaches people who already know about your book – it doesn't help you reach a new audience. With tens or even hundreds of thousands of sites being returned for more general searches (Google returns a staggering 3,340,000 results for "small press books"), what are the chances of anyone finding your little site in your isolated corner of the Internet? Getting visitors is hard – and when you consider that the industry-standard conversion rate for visitors to customers is only 0.05% (that's one sale for every 200 visitors who visit your site), getting enough traffic to make a decent amount of sales can be a difficult task, to say the least.

Fortunately, this is where online stores can help. While your book may not find a home in the large online stores like amazon, there are plenty of online stores who specialise in small press works, and who can offer your publication a much higher profile than it could gain on a website of your own. For instance, firstwriter.com's online store allows people who already sell their work mail-order to sell their goods for free online, and (of the 3,340,000 results for "small press books") ranks 22nd in the world – within the critical first three pages of results.

For those of you who don't mail out direct, or who don't want the hassle of dealing with payments, a new online store has just been launched which will take care of all this for you. The Robin's Nest Books (http://www.therobinsnestbooks.com) is a new website to be launched on January 1, 2004, and is seeking books from small-scale or self-published authors to sell on the site. As a new site, it doesn't have the same level of exposure as firstwriter.com, but unlike firstwriter.store The Robin's Nest Books actually handles your books for you; taking a quantity of books from you and then delivering them to customers, writing you a cheque for all sales the following month. Authors are paid 45% of the publisher's list price, meaning you get significantly less than you would selling through the firstwriter.store (where you receive more than 95% of the sale value), but the time and expense you save may well make it worth it – especially since as a writer you'll want to spend your time writing, not posting and packaging!

Of course, for maximum exposure, you should try and get your publication listed on as many online stores as possible. You can apply to join the firstwriter.store at https://www.firstwriter.com/store/apply.shtml. For details on The Robin's Nest Books visit http://www.therobinsnestbooks.com. Another long-established outlet for small press books and magazines can be found at http://projectpulp.com

Opportunity for comedy screenwriters

British TV channel ITV has launched a new TV show called Shoot the Writers. Despite the apparently writer-unfriendly title the company is seeking submissions of scripts for short comedy sketches, and has a refreshing approach. Rather than bemoaning the flood of unsolicited material as most agents and publishers do, An Acquired Taste (the production company behind Shoot the Writers) recognises how tough it can be for writers to break into TV, and is actively seeking "as many scripts as possible".

A pilot episode has already been broadcast, but the first series will not be shown until May, and a second series is already in the pipeline. There is therefore no fixed "deadline" for submissions, but the sooner scripts are received the better chance they have of making it into the first series. For an entry form send an SAE to An Acquired Taste TV Productions, 51 Croham Road, Croydon, CR2 7HD.

Resources for writers at firstwriter.com

Visit firstwriter.com for the following invaluable resources for writers:

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firstwriter.com 2003