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Thread: [Audio epub] BooksToListenTo.com

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    [Audio epub] BooksToListenTo.com

    Has anyone heard of these guys?

    http://bookstolistento.com/submitting.html

    Are they any good? They seem to be resellers or eTailers rather than publishers.

  2. #2
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    From their website:

    Publishers would rather publish a mediocre 10th novel from a tired, burnt-out hack than a good one from a fresh, new, exciting author. They would rather pay a large advance to a celebrity who can barely string a sentence together than publish an unknown writer with talent. Even if you seem promising as a new talent, they are more interested in whether you are young and photogenic than how well you write.
    This is complete crap. I'd be wary of any company that tries to promote its services with statements like this.

    Basically, what they're saying is that print vanity publishing is bad, print self-publishing is bad, POD publishing is bad...but boy, do they have a solution for you: audio and e-vanity publishing!! Whoopee.

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW StephenJSweeney's Avatar
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    What a funny website. Business model boils down to,

    1. Write book
    2. Host book as a digital download.
    3. ?????
    4. Profit!!!!!1

    Can anyone else see a flaw in this amazing business plan?

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I really dont know. But, I learned a tip on this site a few weeks back. Go to Google. Search "bookstolistento.com+warnings". Hasnt failed me once.

  5. #5
    Decker Cybernaught's Avatar
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    It seems to me that you'd be better off recording your own audio book, and then using a server like GoDaddy to host it for $5 a month. You get the same deal, but much cheaper and you control everything.

    The extent of their marketing is informing 12 customers (probably employees) that your book is ready, and then they hatch a half-ass review.
    "How can we separate the dancer from the dance?" - W.B. Yeats.

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  6. #6
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    Not employees

    The 12 customers are randomly selected: they are not employees. They have no incentive to be anything less than fully honest in their reviews and ratings.

    As for marketing, does iTunes "market" each and every item that it sells? Does Amazon? Does eBay? The site is based on the "wisdom of crowds" principle - it aggregates customer opinion. It also enables customers to find what they want by advanced searching and customer comparisons to other works.

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookstolistento View Post
    As for marketing, does iTunes "market" each and every item that it sells? Does Amazon? Does eBay?
    But you criticised vantiy presses because "they make no effort to sell the book". When they do pretty much what you do.

    I would really suggest not using a rant about everyone else as your main submission page text and just saying what you actually do.

    ITunes makes large sales, perhaps you could tell us what your sales figures are like?
    Emily Veinglory

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    bookstolistento:
    As for marketing, does iTunes "market" each and every item that it sells? Does Amazon? Does eBay?
    Amazon and iTunes will certainly push certain books/DVDs/CDs in conjunction with publishing houses/producers and have poster campaigns on the same. You don't seem to do that. As your website says, the authors are effectively self-publishing in the site, which means that any and all customers who buy the audio book are going to do so because of their efforts.

    bookstolistento:
    The site is based on the "wisdom of crowds" principle - it aggregates customer opinion. It also enables customers to find what they want by advanced searching and customer comparisons to other works.
    And how do customers know about you? Are you out there telling the world about the books your hosting, or are your authors having to do it for you?

    If no one knows about those authors in the first place, then they are unlikely to make sales in high enough figures to make it commercially worthwhile.

    MM

  9. #9
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Amazon and iTunes will certainly push certain books/DVDs/CDs in conjunction with publishing houses/producers and have poster campaigns on the same. You don't seem to do that. As your website says, the authors are effectively self-publishing in the site, which means that any and all customers who buy the audio book are going to do so because of their efforts.

    And how do customers know about you? Are you out there telling the world about the books your hosting, or are your authors having to do it for you?

    If no one knows about those authors in the first place, then they are unlikely to make sales in high enough figures to make it commercially worthwhile.
    Case in point: I'd never heard of bookstolisten to until I'd seen this thread had been bumped up. I've heard of iTunes because of their aggressive marketing campaign.
    I still poop rainbows.




    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.


  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I have also bought audiobooks from both itunes and amazon because I trust their product quality and their handling of my financial information. I expect my upcoming audiobook (where the publisher paid for the voice talent) will be sold through vendors like these.
    Emily Veinglory

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    "Amazon and iTunes will certainly push certain books/DVDs/CDs in conjunction with publishing houses/producers and have poster campaigns on the same. You don't seem to do that. As your website says, the authors are effectively self-publishing in the site, which means that any and all customers who buy the audio book are going to do so because of their efforts."

    Certain books? Are these paid for promotions? We customize the customer's post-login page according to their stated preferences in relation to customer reviews.


    "And how do customers know about you? Are you out there telling the world about the books your hosting, or are your authors having to do it for you?"

    We started to, but it is taking time to gain critical mass. Does that mean we shouldn't try. We do not charge the authors any money and we do not require exclusivity. We simply offer another channel. They can sell their books on their own sites or elsewhere at the same time as they sell through us.


    "If no one knows about those authors in the first place, then they are unlikely to make sales in high enough figures to make it commercially worthwhile."

    It takes time to reach the tipping point. Watch this space...
    Last edited by bookstolistento; 05-12-2010 at 08:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    But you criticised vantiy presses because "they make no effort to sell the book". When they do pretty much what you do.
    Vanity publishers charge the author money. We do not. We also incentivize customers to write reviews with our one-for-three offer. But there is no incentive as to the content of the reviews only to write one, so the reviews will reflect their honest opinion. Vanity publishers do not do this.

  13. #13
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookstolistento View Post
    Vanity publishers charge the author money.
    Many vanity publishers (Lulu, Createspace) are free. By linking your submitters to fee-charging voice talent you are not different from these vanity services that have a base service that is free but charge for add-ons.

    Your service wouldn't get such flack if you weren't saying (inaccurately) that you are so much better than the alternatives when it just isn't (objectively speaking) true.

    p.s. as an avid ebook listener I would encourage the use of voice talent. Very few creator-read ebooks are pleasant to listen to. The advantage of taking a non-vanity option (of which your service is one) is that the author need not pay for the reader.
    Emily Veinglory

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Many vanity publishers (Lulu, Createspace) are free. By linking your submitters to fee-charging voice talent you are not different from these vanity services that have a base service that is free but charge for add-ons.

    Your service wouldn't get such flack if you weren't saying (inaccurately) that you are so much better than the alternatives when it just isn't (objectively speaking) true.

    p.s. as an avid ebook listener I would encourage the use of voice talent. Very few creator-read ebooks are pleasant to listen to. The advantage of taking a non-vanity option (of which your service is one) is that the author need not pay for the reader.
    I hope you are not implying that I have any financial interest in whether or not authors use the option to hire any of the actors and voice artists listed on the site. They are listed free and I have no financial connection with them (other than the fact that I have hired a few of them to record my own works).

    Authors are free to record their own audiobooks (as I did with my book about the Rachel Nickell case), hire their own actors/voice-artists (as I did for some of my other works) or hire others listed on the site as they choose. Again this does not compare with vanity publishing where the publisher insists on payment and receives said payment. As they have a completely free choice and I get nothing from the voice-artists, your analogy does not apply.

    The "non-vanity option" as you call it (although "non-self-publishing" would be more accurate in this case) is fine if you can find a publisher to bring the book out in audio. But in practice that is very difficult. Even published authors can find their books not brought out in audio despite the publishing including acquisition of the audio rights in the package of rights acquired.

    BTW I have never heard of a vanity publisher that is free.
    Last edited by bookstolistento; 05-12-2010 at 09:17 PM. Reason: grammar correction

  15. #15
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Perhaps before making blanket statements about other publishing models you should look into them a bit more? Lulu, Creatspeace and Smashwords are probably the top three vanity presses interms of output and they are all free.

    And no, I wasn't assuming you profit fromt he referal, but from the authors point of view a cost is a cost. I was trying to show you are in fact roughly equivalent with the competitiors you are disparaging at such length. I goes to credibility.
    Emily Veinglory

  16. #16
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    bookstolistento:
    Certain books? Are these paid for promotions? We customize the customer's post-login page according to their stated preferences in relation to customer reviews.
    Partly paid for, sometimes because a release is obviously going to be so big that they want to ride the tails.

    Sometimes Amazon/iTunes just get behind something because the guys like it.

    Either way, the point is that they will spend their own money to promote books. You clearly don't.

    bookstolistento:
    We started to, but it is taking time to gain critical mass. Does that mean we shouldn't try.
    It means that you shouldn't be using/relying on authors to bring customers to your site.

    bookstolistento:
    We do not charge the authors any money and we do not require exclusivity.
    That's disingenuous. Your own website FAQs state:

    bookstolistento:
    We take a small commission on each sale and the rest is yours. Currently, the commission is 0.40 (forty pence, GB) plus 10% (ten percent) of the cover price.
    So that's commission, plus 10% and it's the author who probably brought the sale in in the first place.

    And to pre-empt the inevitable whinge about start-up costs, technology blah-blah-blah, you should be getting out there getting customers in to help increase profit. Instead you are sitting back and letting your authors do it. And then charging them.

    bookstolistento:
    We simply offer another channel. They can sell their books on their own sites or elsewhere at the same time as they sell through us.
    And they'd probably be better off doing it through their own channel.

    bookstolistento:
    It takes time to reach the tipping point. Watch this space...
    You've been in business for at least 18 months and not yet reached the tipping point. How much longer do you think it's going to take?

    bookstolistento:
    We also incentivize customers to write reviews with our one-for-three offer.
    Yes, I saw this and wasn't clear how the royalties worked on it. If you're assigning someone a free ebook/audio book based on their preferences, what monetary compensation does the author of that ebook/audio book get?

    bookstolistento:
    But there is no incentive as to the content of the reviews only to write one, so the reviews will reflect their honest opinion. Vanity publishers do not do this.
    Not true, vanity publishers are perfectly happy for authors to review each others books because they'll be the ones earning money from the sales.

    In any event, what practical worth do you think reviews are to an author? If customers don't know about your website in the first place, what are they going to care about what the reviews say?

    MM

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Perhaps before making blanket statements about other publishing models you should look into them a bit more? Lulu, Creatspeace and Smashwords are probably the top three vanity presses interms of output and they are all free.

    And no, I wasn't assuming you profit from he referal, but from the authors point of view a cost is a cost. I was trying to show you are in fact roughly equivalent with the competitiors you are disparaging at such length. I goes to credibility.
    That would be fine if you acknowledged that bookstolistento offers a sales platform for self-publishing authors. For you to falsely equate that to vanity publishing is misleading on your part. Taking money only on sales is not vanity publishing, it is not even self-publishing (although it can work in conjunction with that) - it is eTailing.

  18. #18
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    bookstolistento:
    I hope you are not implying that I have any financial interest in whether or not authors use the option to hire any of the actors and voice artists listed on the site. They are listed free and I have no financial connection with them (other than the fact that I have hired a few of them to record my own works).
    Okay, well if you want to talk about financial interest and charges, what about the "services" you're offering to writers here? For example, you're charging 150 for an editorial critique on a novel up to 100k words. You're charging a "typical guideline fee" of 750 for rewriting.

    What qualifications do you and your staff members have to offer any of the services that you're charging for? How does this tie in with the fact that you're promoting yourself as a platform rather than a publisher?

    bookstolistento:
    Taking money only on sales is not vanity publishing, it is not even self-publishing (although it can work in conjunction with that) - it is eTailing.
    What about taking money on writing services?

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 05-12-2010 at 09:35 PM.

  19. #19
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookstolistento View Post
    That would be fine if you acknowledged that bookstolistento offers a sales platform for self-publishing authors.
    These terms do not have universally accepted meanings. But you are doing what Lulu, Createspace and Smashwords do--and that is commonly called vanity publishing. I am also happy to call it self-publishing or an independent publishing platform. If you want to call it etailing or scrambled eggs that is up to you. I am willing to bet I have bought more creator-published fiction than you have over the years, so I assure you I know how these things are described, marketed and sold (preferably in an accurate, transperant and positive manner).
    Last edited by veinglory; 05-12-2010 at 09:36 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Either way, the point is that they will spend their own money to promote books. You clearly don't.
    Our working model is that we don't choose favourites: we let the customers do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    It means that you shouldn't be using/relying on authors to bring customers to your site.
    We don't. We got a google PR3 through our own activity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    So that's commission, plus 10% and it's the author who probably brought the sale in in the first place.

    And to pre-empt the inevitable whinge about start-up costs, technology blah-blah-blah, you should be getting out there getting customers in to help increase profit. Instead you are sitting back and letting your authors do it. And then charging them.
    Half of the forty pence and a third of the 10% goes to PayPal. As for the rest, remember that we are a business, so we do set out to make a profit. I never said we were a charity. We do not sit back, we offer customized pages for customers (targeting them according to their preferences), powerful customer feedback features (reviews, comparisons to other books, etc), advanced search engine features.


    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Yes, I saw this and wasn't clear how the royalties worked on it. If you're assigning someone a free ebook/audio book based on their preferences, what monetary compensation does the author of that ebook/audio book get?
    Authors are informed that all books quality under the one-for-three offer. That is, apart from the initial 12 review copies, for every three sales, one copy may be given away free. That is clearly stated up front.


    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Not true, vanity publishers are perfectly happy for authors to review each others books because they'll be the ones earning money from the sales.
    It isn't authors who review the books, but CUSTOMERS! (Please try reading.) And there's a difference between being "happy" and actually incentivizing the review process.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Okay, well if you want to talk about financial interest and charges, what about the "services" you're offering to writers here? For example, you're charging 150 for an editorial critique on a novel up to 100k words. You're charging a "typical guideline fee" of 750 for rewriting.
    I'm actually no longer offering these services for reasons of time-pressure and am planning on updating this part of the website ASAP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    What qualifications do you and your staff members have to offer any of the services that you're charging for? How does this tie in with the fact that you're promoting yourself as a platform rather than a publisher?
    To take the second point first, I actually only offered these services as an afterthought. They weren't part of the original mode.

    My qualifications? Well let's see now, four thrillers published by Hodder Headline, a three book deal for thrillers with HarperCollins UK of which the first was published last November and the second one due out this June.

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    These terms do not have universally accepted meanings. But you are doing what Lulu, Createspace and Smashwords do--and that is commonly called vanity publishing. I am also happy to call it self-publishing or an independent publishing platform. If you want to call it etailing or scrambled eggs that is up to you. I am willing to bet I have bought more creator-published fiction than you have over the years, so I assure you I know how these things are described, marketed and sold (preferably in an accurate, transperant and positive manner).
    I'll say again: the key feature of vanity publishers is that they make a profit regardless of whether or not the book sells; that is not true in our model.

    (Regarding the ancillary writing services, see my reply to MM)

  23. #23
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Then you don't think Publish America is a vanity press... good luck with that.

    p.s. touting PR3 as an acheivement is not a great idea. Good pagerank starts at 4, and only sales actually matter. You will get good pagerank because authors will link to you, but will customers like me buy from you?

    Feel free to share sales numbers in any way shape or form that show that customers are flocking to your site, now or at any time in the future.
    Emily Veinglory

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Then you don't think Publish America is a vanity press... good luck with that.
    PublishAmerica encourages authors and their friends to buy copies of their own work (at exorbitant prices). As the works hosted on our site are digital (and we do not require exclusivity), the authors can send free copies to whomever they please. Clearly your analogy is false!

    We had a PR4 but it fell back to 3 due to a period of prolonged inactivity when I was concentrating on my own writing. Not a great admission, perhaps, but I had to concentrate on my own career. I'm sure that as a writer yourself, you understand that.

    Good luck with the audiobook on iTunes.

  25. #25
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookstolistento View Post
    I had to concentrate on my own career. I'm sure that as a writer yourself, you understand that.
    So, publishing and promoting e and audio books on your site isn't your career?

    Good to know.
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

    Eat This.

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