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nelidougal
11-18-2008, 03:11 PM
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.

victoriastrauss
11-18-2008, 08:44 PM
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

StephenJSweeney
11-19-2008, 02:53 PM
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?

DDDeloris
11-21-2008, 09:45 AM
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.

Cybernaught
11-23-2008, 12:28 AM
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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 07:18 PM
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.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 07:37 PM
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?

Momento Mori
05-12-2010, 07:47 PM
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

BenPanced
05-12-2010, 08:12 PM
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.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 08:15 PM
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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 08:16 PM
"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...

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 08:20 PM
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.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 08:27 PM
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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 08:36 PM
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.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 08:48 PM
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.

Momento Mori
05-12-2010, 08:54 PM
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

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 08:58 PM
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.

Momento Mori
05-12-2010, 08:59 PM
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 (http://bookstolistento.com/writersservices.html)? For example, you're charging 150 for an editorial critique on a novel up to 100k words (http://bookstolistento.com/editorialcritique.html). You're charging a "typical guideline fee" of 750 for rewriting (http://bookstolistento.com/rewriting.html).

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

veinglory
05-12-2010, 09:03 PM
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).

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 09:14 PM
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.


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.


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.



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.



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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 09:21 PM
Okay, well if you want to talk about financial interest and charges, what about the "services" you're offering to writers here (http://bookstolistento.com/writersservices.html)? For example, you're charging 150 for an editorial critique on a novel up to 100k words (http://bookstolistento.com/editorialcritique.html). You're charging a "typical guideline fee" of 750 for rewriting (http://bookstolistento.com/rewriting.html).

I'm actually no longer offering these services for reasons of time-pressure and am planning on updating this part of the website ASAP.


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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 09:23 PM
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)

veinglory
05-12-2010, 09:59 PM
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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 10:14 PM
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.

jennontheisland
05-12-2010, 10:21 PM
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.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 10:30 PM
So, publishing and promoting e and audio books on your site isn't your career?

Good to know.

No writing is. It pays better :)

jennontheisland
05-12-2010, 10:33 PM
No writing is. It pays better
Oh wow.

Not a profitable business. Even better to know.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 10:41 PM
Oh wow.

Guess that 90% commission the author gets isn't that much, eh?

I don't quite follow your logic. As the operator of the the website I got only 10% (minus PayPal's share). Obviously with my own books I get the 90%, but audiobooks haven't yet taken off in the way that print books have - even though I believe they have a great future.

Also most writers preferred to use the site for eBooks rather than audiobooks - when it was intended to be the other way round or at least 50-50. So the site is not working out the way I planned. Hence my rearrangement of my priorities.

In contrast, as a writer of my own books I get 12.5% - and I got a good contract from HarperCollins, as well as a good German rights deal. So I decided to concentrate on that.

What's your angle?

veinglory
05-12-2010, 10:43 PM
Some feedback FWIW

I went to Romance: Sapphic Love
The first book listed--Symbiosis: "An epic love story spanning over 40 years and many countries. A fiesty sixteen year old is pregent and in love with her Arab lover and is determined to marry him"

Sapphic=lesbian, relating to the poet Sappho, or in specific poetic meter distinctive of Sappho, so....

The second book listed in that category isn't even a romance....?

Needs some work IMHO.

p.s. the point being that your site does a hard sell on being the best way to make money off a book, better than both mainstream commerical and other self-publishing methods. Your own behavior suggests that you think otherwise. Again, goes to credibility. You don't need to diss every other option to interest people in your service, just be honest about what it will and will not offer.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:00 PM
your site does a hard sell on being the best way to make money off a book, better than both mainstream commerical and other self-publishing methods. Your own behavior suggests that you think otherwise. Again, goes to credibility. You don't need to diss every other option to interest people in your service, just be honest about what it will and will not offer.

I never said it was "the best way to make money off a book," I said it was a way to enable those who haven't been able to get publishing contracts to proceed without being duped into handing over money to vanity presses that charge a few thousand for doing virtually nothing. In my model, the author does not have to pay us a penny (how much or little they spend on preparing the book for sale is their business) and we make money ONLY if and when people buy the book from our site.

The problem for many writers is that they cannot get a publishing contract. In many cases this is because their books are not as good as they think they are. But not always. (My first published book was rejected by eight publishers before the ninth accepted it.) After reading the Wisdom of Crowds and the Long Tail, I decided that the final gatekeepers should not be a small number of people but an aggregate of the public.

Obviously if a writer can get a publishing contract with a publisher that pays advances, they should. And if they have to sign over the audio rights and pull the book from our site to facilitate this, then they should do that too.

jennontheisland
05-12-2010, 11:04 PM
What's your angle?
Angle?

Rubbernecker.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:06 PM
Some feedback FWIW

I went to Romance: Sapphic Love
The first book listed--Symbiosis: "An epic love story spanning over 40 years and many countries. A fiesty sixteen year old is pregent and in love with her Arab lover and is determined to marry him"

Sapphic=lesbian, relating to the poet Sappho, or in specific poetic meter distinctive of Sappho, so....

The authors categorize their own work. I don't know what this book contains, but it may contain a sapphic sub-plot for all you and I know

If books are miscategorized by their authors, then reviewers may point this out and the author will be punished for the error by the adverse reviews and comments. That is the inherent strength of the customer/author-driven model.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:09 PM
Angle?

Rubbernecker.

Rubberneckers confine themselves to looking. You're a kibitzer.

jennontheisland
05-12-2010, 11:14 PM
Peanut gallery?

veinglory
05-12-2010, 11:18 PM
I never said it was "the best way to make money off a book,"... Obviously if a writer can get a publishing contract with a publisher that pays advances, they should.

So obvious that it goes without saying on your page where all other publishing methods are "the problem" and your site is "the solution"?

veinglory
05-12-2010, 11:21 PM
The authors categorize their own work. I don't know what this book contains, but it may contain a sapphic sub-plot for all you and I know

If books are miscategorized by their authors, then reviewers may point this out and the author will be punished for the error by the adverse reviews and comments. That is the inherent strength of the customer/author-driven model.

So, the strength of your store is that most of the books are on the wrong shelves? Uh-huh. I was naively thinking you might want to fix that problem rather than try to tell me that my expectation that the romance shelves would hold romance is somehow misguided. Not, IMHO, a sign of an excellent etailer.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:21 PM
So obvious that it goes without saying on your page where all other publishing methods are "the problem" and your site is "the solution"?

Anyone who has ever tried to get anything published (including writers who have eventually broken through such as myself) know that getting published is a problem.

And yes it IS obvious that if they CAN make the breakthrough with a print publisher then they should.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 11:22 PM
Peanut gallery?

Ex-potential customer.

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:27 PM
So, the strength of your store is that most of the books are on the wrong shelves? Uh-huh. I was naively thinking you might want to fix that problem rather than try to tell me that my expectation that the romance shelves would hold romance is somehow misguided. Not, IMHO, a sign of an excellent etailer.

The strength is that it is self-remedying. The site is not run from the top-down but rather from the bottom-up.

Also your reference to "wrong shelf" suggests that you have completely misunderstood the site. There are no "shelves" - books may be in more than one category. It's like tags in Googlemail. If a book is classified in Sapphic Love, then it implies that it contains that theme inter alia, not that same is the specific subject of the book. Thus a book might be listed in Legal thrillers, sapphic love, historical fiction, etc.

You can use the advanced search feature to narrow down your searches and make it more restrictive.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 11:31 PM
Anyone who has ever tried to get anything published (including writers who have eventually broken through such as myself) know that getting published is a problem.

I disagree--and yes, I do have mainstream works published by large presses such as Wiley-Blackwell, but even my micropress ebooks are going to do better than book on your site. Unless your ebook authors make four figures per title?

You also have duplicate books listed at conflicting prices and auto-playing audio. Seriously, how about accepting that your site needs a little work? How about accepting that other publishing models are not the straw men you set up on your submission page?

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:32 PM
I disagree--and yes, I do have mainstream works published by large presses such as Wiley-Blackwell, but even my micropress ebooks are going to do better than book on your site. Unless your ebook authors make four figures per title?

You also have duplicate books listed at conflicting prices and auto-playing audio. Seriously, how about accepting that your site needs a little work? How about accepting that other publishing models are not the straw men you set up on your submission page?

Which books are listed at conflicting prices?

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:33 PM
I disagree

You disagree that it is a problem to get published in the first place??????

You must be incredibly lucky or immensely talented!

veinglory
05-12-2010, 11:35 PM
The strength is that it is self-remedying. The site is not run from the top-down but rather from the bottom-up.

The weakness is that you lost my sale. When i saw you had lesbian romance section you could have sold me something.


Also your reference to "wrong shelf" suggests that you have completely misunderstood the site. There are no "shelves" - books may be in more than one category..

If you have a romance section, and the books that are in it are not romance, they are 'on the wrong shelf'. If Neal's books contain any lesbian romance whatsover I will buy them at full retail and apologise--get back to me on that.


You can use the advanced search feature to narrow down your searches and make it more restrictive.

Or I can go back to Amazon and iTunes where ebooks are accurately categorised.

veinglory
05-12-2010, 11:36 PM
You disagree that it is a problem to get published in the first place??????

It's far easier than self-publishing on an hour to dollar ratio.

jennontheisland
05-12-2010, 11:41 PM
You disagree that it is a problem to get published in the first place??????

You must be incredibly lucky or immensely talented!

As opposed to just anyone with room on their credit card?

bookstolistento
05-12-2010, 11:56 PM
The weakness is that you lost my sale. When i saw you had lesbian romance section you could have sold me something.



If you have a romance section, and the books that are in it are not romance, they are 'on the wrong shelf'. If Neal's books contain any lesbian romance whatsover I will buy them at full retail and apologise--get back to me on that.



Or I can go back to Amazon and iTunes where ebooks are accurately categorised.

I'll check out Neal's books, but in the meantime if you want lesbian romance, does that include a thriller with a lesbian romance sub-plot? If so, check out my new book No Way Out (http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Way-Out-David-Kessler/dp/1847561837).

You can get it from Amazon UK (which I assume you trust). There should be a kindle edition out from Amazon.com but it is not listed yet.

bookstolistento
05-13-2010, 12:04 AM
It's far easier than self-publishing on an hour to dollar ratio.

You still haven't told me which books are duplicated or dual running on then audio player.

Stacia Kane
05-13-2010, 04:56 AM
You disagree that it is a problem to get published in the first place??????

You must be incredibly lucky or immensely talented!


*raises hand* I also disagree, but consider my particular luck:talent ratio is something for others to judge.

Momento Mori
05-13-2010, 01:52 PM
bookstolistento:
Our working model is that we don't choose favourites: we let the customers do that.

And what are you doing to actively bring customers into your site, because by your own admission you don't seem to be having much joy in creating a "critical mass", which means in practice customers are coming to you because authors are bringing them there.

Say what you like about your business model, but neither iTunes nor Amazon work like that.


bookstolistento:
We got a google PR3 through our own activity.

Is that it? Is that the only thing you've done to get customers? Because if so, it's really not very good, is it?


bookstolistento:
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.

Where did I say that I expect you to be a charity?

Of course you're a business. The problem is that you're a business that seems to be very reliant on authors (who you term "publishers") to bring traffic to your website so that you can make money from the sale of their books.

That's not a good deal for authors.


bookstolistento:
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.

Actually, the implications for this for authors is not clearly stated up front. On your FAQs, your answer to the question "How much do I get paid?" makes no reference at all to the fact that authors will not earn anything from copies that you (at your choice) give away for free:


How much do I get paid?
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. Thus, for example, if you set the cover price of the book at 2.99, we take a commission of 0.40 plus 0.30 (ten percent). This means that we deduct 0.70 and pay you the balance of 2.29 on this sale. This is the kind of a royalty that you would get on the sale of a hardback copy of the book. But because the purchase price is only 2.99 instead of 16.99, you will get a lot more sales!

In fact, the only time your 3 for 1 offer gets mentioned in your FAQs are here:


What do I need in order to upload an audiobook or eBook?
Firstly, the audiobook or eBook must be in one or more files of a suitable format (MP3, WMA or AAC for audiobooks, PDF, HTML or MS-Word for eBooks). Secondly you will ideally have a “cover” illustration and some text describing what the book is about. You should enter the name of the copyright and the year the work was first published. If this is the first publication, then it should be the current year. Finally you need to decide on the price. Bear in mind that all books submitted become part of our three-for-one offer. Also bear in mind, when setting your price, that we take a commission per sale.

This does not set out what the financial consequences are of being in the three-for-one offer.


Why do you ask me about my favourite genres, books and authors?
We have a really generousthree-for-one offer that gives you a free book whenever you buy and review three others - you don’t even have to buy them at the same time! In order to make sure that you get a free book that will be of interest to you, we ask about your favourite genre(s). We also use this information to show you the newest books that are likely to be of interest to you as soon as you log on. We use the information you give us about your favourite authors and favourite books for the same purpose. We do NOT use cookies.

Which makes no mention of authors not making money from the offer.

And here:


What is the three-for-one offer?
For every three audiobooks or eBooks you buy and review you get a fourth one free. As long as you review this free one two you continue to be eligible for the offer. You can even review the books out of order. As long as you have reviewed three purchased books and have reviewed all free books you have received from us, you get another one free. This offer applies separately to audiobooks and eBooks. The free book is assigned to you at random, but from your favourite genres as stated in your profile

Which also makes no mention of authors not making money from the offer.

Oh, and while we're talking about it your offer is phrased in a misleading way. You are not offering 3 books for the price of one. You are running a buy 3 get 1 free offer.

So perhaps you can share with us where on your website it informs authors that they get nothing from the free books that you decide to give away?


bookstolistento:
It isn't authors who review the books, but CUSTOMERS! (Please try reading.)

Your customers are primarily coming to your website because your authors are bringing them there. In practice, authors who go down a model such as yours (and we can quibble over the term vanity publishing or self-publishing but the principle is the same) are selling those books to friends and family. Therefore, vanity publishers (or self-publishers) are very happy for their authors or the author's friends and family to review books of other authors because they make money from it every time without having to expend any effort, time or money on their own part.

And please don't suggest to me that I try reading when you can't tell the difference between a three-for-one offer and a buy-three-get-one-free offer.


bookstolistento:
I'm actually no longer offering these services for reasons of time-pressure and am planning on updating this part of the website ASAP.

Yet you were offering them and you were offering them for profit.


bookstolistento:
I actually only offered these services as an afterthought. They weren't part of the original mode.

Really. So it was just a nice little side line then?

Whatever. I see that the services are no longer being linked to, which is at least an improvement.


bookstolistento:
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.

Okay. So what are your retailer qualifications?


bookstolistento:
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.

Wrong. The key feature of a vanity publisher is that it's only looking to sell books back to the author (their friends and their family) not to the general public.

By your own admission, you're not doing much active marketing to bring customers to your website. How else are customers getting there then unless their authors bring them?


bookstolistento:
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!

Not so. Again, the only way for authors to sell books through your website is for them to do the marketing to friends and family and direct them to your site. The fact that authors can give away their own free copies is neither here nor there - if they wanted to give it away for free then they wouldn't be posting it on your website in the first place.


bookstolistento:
In my model, the author does not have to pay us a penny (how much or little they spend on preparing the book for sale is their business) and we make money ONLY if and when people buy the book from our site.

Yes, and people only buy books from your site because your authors are telling them to.

Your model is not so different in practice to PA - you're both relying on authors to do the promotion so that you can make a percentage from the sale. Except that PA does pay its authors a shiny dollar up front.


bookstolistento:
The problem for many writers is that they cannot get a publishing contract. In many cases this is because their books are not as good as they think they are. But not always. (My first published book was rejected by eight publishers before the ninth accepted it.) After reading the Wisdom of Crowds and the Long Tail, I decided that the final gatekeepers should not be a small number of people but an aggregate of the public.


So what are the average sales for authors posting on your website?

How do they compare with the sales of your own commercially published books?

Do you think the difference in those numbers represents a good deal for your authors?

How can "an aggregate of the public" decide on the quality of books displayed on your website when you're not doing a huge amount to bring "an aggregate of the public" to your website?


bookstolistento:
And yes it IS obvious that if they CAN make the breakthrough with a print publisher then they should.

So why doesn't your website say that?

MM

bookstolistento
05-14-2010, 12:21 AM
you don't seem to be having much joy in creating a "critical mass", which means in practice customers are coming to you because authors are bringing them there.

We did a lot to bring in customers at the start. But at the time there was very little content. It is a chicken-and-egg question between customers and content. Lately I admit I have let it lapse. The problem is that authors have latched onto the eBook option rather than the audiobook option, so the site is not turning out the way intended.



Say what you like about your business model, but neither iTunes. nor Amazon work like that

I didn't have their start-up capital.


you're a business that seems to be very reliant on authors (who you term "publishers") to bring traffic to your website so that you can make money from the sale of their books.

Not true. Where is your evidence that authors are doing anything to drive business to the site?


Actually, the implications for this for authors is not clearly stated up front. On your FAQs, your answer to the question "How much do I get paid?" makes no reference at all to the fact that authors will not earn anything from copies that you (at your choice) give away for free...
So perhaps you can share with us where on your website it informs authors that they get nothing from the free books that you decide to give away?

You evidently didn't read out submissions page (http://bookstolistento.com/submitting.html). It clearly states that:



"One other thing: all books uploaded for sale through our site are included in our three-for-one offer. That is, if a customer buys three audiobooks or eBooks and reviews them, they get another one free – also to review. Similarly every time one of your books sells three copies, a fourth is given away free. This means that in some cases customers will get free copies of your books. But in other cases it means that buying your books will help them to get free copies of other books.


"You might think that this will eat into your profits. But in the above example it is the equivalent of keeping 61.5% for yourself and offering the retailer a trade discount of less than 39.5% - which is the industry norm or better! Also remember that when a customer gets one of your books free, it introduces a new customer to your works who might not otherwise have bought it and gets you extra reviews which will further encourage others to buy it!"


Your customers are primarily coming to your website because your authors are bringing them there.

Again a falsehood which I challenge you to prove. You seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact that authors can sell (or give) their books to family, friends and anyone else, directly. We merely offer an additional channel.


And please don't suggest to me that I try reading when you can't tell the difference between a three-for-one offer and a buy-three-get-one-free offer.

How do you "know" that I explained it wrong? Your only source of information is the site itself. Ergo the site explains it clearly. Three-for-one: three purchases and reviews for one free book.


Really. So it was just a nice little side line then?

So now you think it unethical for a published author to offer writing and editorial services?



Okay. So what are your retailer qualifications?

What are "retailer qualifications"?


The fact that authors can give away their own free copies is neither here nor there - if they wanted to give it away for free then they wouldn't be posting it on your website in the first place.

They can also sell them directly to the same people whom they are allegedly "bringing" to the site. If they were bringing traffic to the site, as you claim, then they could bring it to their own site.


Yes, and people only buy books from your site because your authors are telling them to.

False - and again I challenge you to offer a shred of evidence in support of that assertion.

HistorySleuth
05-14-2010, 04:02 AM
So now you think it unethical for a published author to offer writing and editorial services?




Yes, if you are charging the author for it and allegedly the publisher at the same time. Sure an author will tweak it to the best of their ability but it doesn't mean because you are a writer, you are a qualified editor.I'm sure your book was further edited by an editor at HarperCollins before it was published. You said you had one released last November by HarperCollins? What is the name of it?


"One other thing: all books uploaded for sale through our site are included in our three-for-one offer. That is, if a customer buys three audiobooks or eBooks and reviews them, they get another one free also to review. Similarly every time one of your books sells three copies, a fourth is given away free.3 for 1 would mean you get three books for the price of one.


I didn't have their start-up capital.
Did you have any? Any new business needs start up capital. It would have help with affording to promote your business.

christwriter
05-14-2010, 07:10 AM
Anyone who has ever tried to get anything published (including writers who have eventually broken through such as myself) know that getting published is a problem.



Dude. Getting published is difficult. Difficult does not equal "a problem" and never will. It is difficult to get a place on an Olympic-level skating team, but getting on an Olympic-level skating team is not a problem. It's a worthy goal. One most people won't succeed at.

Climbing Mt. Everest is difficult. But it's not a problem that most people can't make it. It's freaking Mt. Everest. And it wouldn't be half as cool to climb Mt. Everest and see the view if it were not difficult to get there.

I, for one, would much rather face a long hard slog that forces me to be the best that I could be, then have somebody make it easy for me to get there. Even if that means I never make it. Because if it were easy, it wouldn't mean anything.

And it certainly wouldn't make me any money.

Stacia Kane
05-14-2010, 07:14 AM
Dude. Getting published is difficult. Difficult does not equal "a problem" and never will. It is difficult to get a place on an Olympic-level skating team, but getting on an Olympic-level skating team is not a problem. It's a worthy goal. One most people won't succeed at.

Climbing Mt. Everest is difficult. But it's not a problem that most people can't make it. It's freaking Mt. Everest. And it wouldn't be half as cool to climb Mt. Everest and see the view if it were not difficult to get there.

I, for one, would much rather face a long hard slog that forces me to be the best that I could be, then have somebody make it easy for me to get there. Even if that means I never make it. Because if it were easy, it wouldn't mean anything.

And it certainly wouldn't make me any money.


QFT.

And beautifully expressed to boot. These are my thoughts exactly. Thank you for posting this.

nkkingston
05-14-2010, 01:13 PM
What are "retailer qualifications"?

Qualifications, or at least significant experience, working in retail. Because that's what you're now doing.

Have you worked at a managerial level for an online store? Have you worked as an editor at a successful publisher? Have you worked at a professional level creating audio books before? Have you any experience working in marketing?

Have you even run your own business before? Do you have, or have you employed someone with, a thorough understanding of business law, including contracts, IP law, finance and taxes? Did you have any start-up capital whatsoever?

Right now, from what you've said, this isn't a business. As long as it isn't your main source of income, and writing is, you're an author with a hobby. And that should be made very clear on the website, so other author's can make an informed decision about submitting to you.

Momento Mori
05-14-2010, 02:43 PM
bookstolistento:
I didn't have their start-up capital.

Did you have any start-up capital?


bookstolistento:
Where is your evidence that authors are doing anything to drive business to the site?


Where is your evidence that they're not? The only comment that you've made about what you've done to bring customers to your site is:


bookstolistento:
We got a google PR3 through our own activity.

You don't say what that activity is and you've so far been unwilling to share what publicity and marketing you have done on your own behalf. If you've done active marketing so that you're bringing in customers independently of those that authors may be bringing, then please share what you've done. I'd be very happy to retract the comment.


bookstolistento:
"One other thing: all books uploaded for sale through our site are included in our three-for-one offer. That is, if a customer buys three audiobooks or eBooks and reviews them, they get another one free – also to review. Similarly every time one of your books sells three copies, a fourth is given away free. This means that in some cases customers will get free copies of your books. But in other cases it means that buying your books will help them to get free copies of other books.

I saw that. The problem is that it doesn't actually set out in black and white for the author that they will not be making any money from that book. It should do.


bookstolistento:
Again a falsehood which I challenge you to prove.

If you could point me to the concrete activity that you've been doing to bring customers to your site then I will happily retract the comment.


bookstolistento:
Three-for-one: three purchases and reviews for one free book.

No. In business marketing jargon, a three-for-one is when you buy one, get two free, just as three-for-two is buy two, get one free.


bookstolistento:
So now you think it unethical for a published author to offer writing and editorial services?

It's not a question of ethics although I note that nowhere on the (now deleted) page, did you offer any qualifications for the services that you provided. In fact, there's nothing on your website to suggest who is behind the business.

It's the fact that you claim to be offering merely a conduit for sales on the one hand, but you were also offering writing services at the same time.

When publishers do that, they carry the vanity flag.


bookstolistento:
What are "retailer qualifications"?

How about a background in retail (particularly internet retail) or in marketing or publishing or some kind of experience gained in a business environment that suggests that you have the expertise to offer the service you want to provide. Something beyond having your own commercial book deal.


bookstolistento:
False - and again I challenge you to offer a shred of evidence in support of that assertion.

And again, I would be happy to retract the comment if you can tell me what you've been doing to bring customers to your website independetly of whatever customers your authors may be notifying.

Incidentally - you might want to reflect on the fact that this thread had not been active since 2008 until you decided to revive it. That's not a great marketing move.

I note that in quoting from my previous post, you decided not to respond to the following:


So what are the average sales for authors posting on your website?

How do they compare with the sales of your own commercially published books?

Do you think the difference in those numbers represents a good deal for your authors?

Is this because you can't or you won't?

Finally, are audio/ebook versions of your books up on the site?

MM

veinglory
05-14-2010, 06:22 PM
Finally, are audio/ebook versions of your books up on the site?

I know that one. They are, under 3-4 different pen names.

bookstolistento
05-14-2010, 11:35 PM
Yes, if you are charging the author for it and allegedly the publisher at the same time.

Firstly, we are not publishing the books but hosting them. Secondly, the two are completely separate. They can sell their books through the site without using the editorial services and they can use the editorial services without using the site.



Sure an author will tweak it to the best of their ability but it doesn't mean because you are a writer, you are a qualified editor.I'm sure your book was further edited by an editor at HarperCollins before it was published.

An experienced writer can be an editor, as long as it is not of his own book. The skill set is not distinct but rather overlapping.


You said you had one released last November by HarperCollins? What is the name of it?

MERCY. Next one is NO WAY OUT released on June 10th. (Both on their Avon imprint.)

bookstolistento
05-14-2010, 11:41 PM
Dude. Getting published is difficult. Difficult does not equal "a problem" and never will. It is difficult to get a place on an Olympic-level skating team, but getting on an Olympic-level skating team is not a problem. It's a worthy goal. One most people won't succeed at.

Semantic quibbling. To a person seeking to get published, not getting published is a problem.


Climbing Mt. Everest is difficult. But it's not a problem that most people can't make it.

I think anyone planning to climb Mount Everest would classify it as a problem - a soluble problem, but still a problem.


I, for one, would much rather face a long hard slog that forces me to be the best that I could be, then have somebody make it easy for me to get there. Even if that means I never make it. Because if it were easy, it wouldn't mean anything.

I never said that it would be easy even if they do self-publish. But it changes the gatekeepers from agents, editors and store managers to the public themselves.

bookstolistento
05-14-2010, 11:45 PM
Qualifications, or at least significant experience, working in retail. Because that's what you're now doing.

Have you worked at a managerial level for an online store?

Did the first person who worked at a managerial level at an online store have any prior experience working at a managerial level at an online store? The whole basis of my business is you do not need anyone else's permission to make the attempt. Your entire "member's only" philosophy is anathema to me.

bookstolistento
05-14-2010, 11:53 PM
Did you have any start-up capital?

5,000


I saw that. The problem is that it doesn't actually set out in black and white for the author that they will not be making any money from that book. It should do.

It makes it absolutely clear - just as it was clear to you.


It's not a question of ethics although I note that nowhere on the (now deleted) page, did you offer any qualifications for the services that you provided.

As I said, I am a published author. I also taught a course in writing thrillers through the London School of Journalism.



Finally, are audio/ebook versions of your books up on the site?

Yes, as veinglory noted under my several pen-names. I will be adding more. However, for the books under my current contract, I had to sign over the audio rights to HarperCollins.

bookstolistento
05-15-2010, 12:04 AM
I saw that. The problem is that it doesn't actually set out in black and white for the author that they will not be making any money from that book. It should do.

I note that you somewhat disingenuously omitted to include the next paragraph in the quote:

"You might think that this will eat into your profits. But in the above example it is the equivalent of keeping 61.5% for yourself and offering the retailer a trade discount of less than 39.5% - which is the industry norm or better! Also remember that when a customer gets one of your books free, it introduces a new customer to your works who might not otherwise have bought it and gets you extra reviews which will further encourage others to buy it!"

This makes the implications perfectly clear.

And just so you don't willfully misinterpret yet again, "industry norm" refers to the author-publisher in his publisher capacity. In his author capacity it is substantially better than the norm.

HistorySleuth
05-15-2010, 04:57 AM
An experienced writer can be an editor, as long as it is not of his own book. The skill set is not distinct but rather overlapping.

Well, I think to a point. I think of a profession editor (that you pay for, or at a publishing house) as someone with years of experience otherwise I would consider them a good beta reader, which AW has a lot of at no cost. IMHO




MERCY. Next one is NO WAY OUT released on June 10th. (Both on their Avon imprint.)

Well congratulations on that! (Which I really mean by the way.)

Stacia Kane
05-15-2010, 06:18 AM
I never said that it would be easy even if they do self-publish. But it changes the gatekeepers from agents, editors and store managers to the public themselves.

I don't have a dog in this fight, I really don't. And I don't see your service as something authors should necessarily run from (although I don't see it providing much benefit either, to be frank).

But I do have a bit of a problem with this line. The problem is, as has been proven time and time again, the public do not want to be gatekeepers. They want to buy books from a store or site they trust, written by an author they trust, or at least published by a house they can trust.

They don't want to spend hours slogging through mostly-unreadable-slush in order to find the one or two or five books worth reading. It's a waste of their time. They're not interested in doing it, and they've demonstrated that many times by ignoring many other sites just like this one.

The public wants books they know are good. They want books several impartial professionals have looked at and judged worthy. They want books they've seen reviewed positively in professional magazines and and/or trusted websites and blogs. There's simply no incentive at all for them to visit a site like this one and read sample after sample in an attempt to find something to read.

I do wish you luck (and as a fellow Harper UK author, hello! My series is being published in the UK/Aus/Eire by HarperVoyager), but I think your business plan itself is flawed, and even with thousands of dollars (or pounds) of advertising, people still wouldn't visit.

.

bookstolistento
05-15-2010, 12:38 PM
The problem is, as has been proven time and time again, the public do not want to be gatekeepers. They want to buy books from a store or site they trust, written by an author they trust, or at least published by a house they can trust.

They don't want to spend hours slogging through mostly-unreadable-slush in order to find the one or two or five books worth reading. It's a waste of their time. They're not interested in doing it, and they've demonstrated that many times by ignoring many other sites just like this one.

The public wants books they know are good. They want books several impartial professionals have looked at and judged worthy. They want books they've seen reviewed positively in professional magazines and and/or trusted websites and blogs. There's simply no incentive at all for them to visit a site like this one and read sample after sample in an attempt to find something to read.

I accept that most people don't want to wade through a lot of dirt to find the gems. That might be why my novel Mercy was largely ignored on HarperCollins own Authonomy site (although it was praised by those who read it), yet went on to get a HarperCollins contract through the more conventional route.

However, even if only a small fragment of the public make use of the site, there is (or perhaps in the light of my current priorities, I should say was) a possibility of it attaining critical mass.

I myself seldom buy books on a basis of reviews. I buy them on either the recommendations of friends or through browsing - although I tend to give priority to the front of the store. I am sometimes drawn by billboard advertisements. Or when I am seeking out a book on a particular subject, on Amazon, I look at customer reviews. It is this latter that lead me to believe that my business model had a chance.

Good luck with your book too.

nkkingston
05-17-2010, 12:46 PM
Did the first person who worked at a managerial level at an online store have any prior experience working at a managerial level at an online store?

No, but I'd be surprised if the first successful manager of an online store didn't have (a) retail experience and probably (b) mail order retail experience.

As a hobby, it's not a bad thing. You're feeling your way, getting your head around it, probably not making enough to worry too hard about taxes. As a business? No. Would you have put your novels in the hands of someone who'd never sold a book before and hope they sold? Would you give money as a customer to someone with no track record handling money? As a customer, I'd be a bit lairy of buying things from a new site anyway, especially one where I know the owner has no retail experience. When you consider I could buy very similar items from an established site like Amazon or iTunes, where I know and understand their business practice (and often don't approve, but the fact they're not getting much of my business unfortunately doesn't mean you are), you need a little more transparency or a lot more acumen to make this work.

christwriter
05-17-2010, 02:29 PM
Semantic quibbling. To a person seeking to get published, not getting published is a problem.

Nobody is entitled to a publishing contract. Nobody. Not you, not me, not Anne McCaffrey, Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King.

Stating that it is "a problem" implies that you are entitled, that it is something you ought to be given, and that because Little/Brown isn't banging down their door, contract and check in hand, authors are being denied their God Given Rights and it is up to the Heroic Majority to provide those God Given Rights to the poor orphaned authors of the world.





I think anyone planning to climb Mount Everest would classify it as a problem - a soluble problem, but still a problem.


Nobody is offering to install a ski lift at Advanced Base Camp during climbing season.

And a problem is having no money, being depressed, having an abusive parent ... you know, something that has an adverse impact on the life of the person with the problem.

Being published would improve my life. Not being published would not have a negative impact, because I am not published now. Lateral move. So no. My not being published is not a problem.

I never said that it would be easy even if they do self-publish. But it changes the gatekeepers from agents, editors and store managers to the public themselves.

Dude. You have obviously never worked retail. The general public have books like Sunshine and instead want Twilight, and include the demographic that actually thinks they are the reincarnation of Na'vi. You know, the big blue cat-aliens from Avatar? Yeah. I don't want these people as gatekeepers for my apartment complex, let alone my book.

Momento Mori
05-17-2010, 05:44 PM
bookstolistento:
5,000

Okay. That's really not a lot of money to be starting up a new venture.


bookstolistento:
It makes it absolutely clear - just as it was clear to you.

No, it wasn't clear to me. It only became clear to me when I checked against other pages of your website. If you set it down under the relevant FAQ for how much authors could expect to earn, then it would be clear and we wouldn't need to be having the "yes it is"/"no it isn't" debate.


bookstolistento:
As I said, I am a published author. I also taught a course in writing thrillers through the London School of Journalism.

It never said that on the relevant services page. It should have done.

However that's all by the by as I think you've taken that page down from the site.


bookstolistento:
And just so you don't willfully misinterpret yet again, "industry norm" refers to the author-publisher in his publisher capacity. In his author capacity it is substantially better than the norm.

Whatever, dude.


bookstolistento:
However, even if only a small fragment of the public make use of the site, there is (or perhaps in the light of my current priorities, I should say was) a possibility of it attaining critical mass.

Except that by your own admission "it is taking time to gain critical mass."

We seem to be going around in circles here and I'm still not seeing anything that leads me to think that bookstolistento is a particularly worthwhile site for authors to use. While I don't think it's a scam, I don't see how it's operating as an efficient marketing place given that I'm not clear on how people are supposed to find out about it in the first place so that they can check out the books on sale.

I'd be more comfortable if there was information to suggest that it was being run by experienced retail professionals, rather than a commercially published author with good intentions but low start-up capital and for whom it seems to be second to his day job of writing thrillers.

All in all, like Stacia, while there's nothing that would make me run screaming from it, there's nothing there that would attract me to it either.

MM

bookstolistento
05-18-2010, 08:38 PM
No, but I'd be surprised if the first successful manager of an online store didn't have (a) retail experience and probably (b) mail order retail experience.

For the record I ran the book department at the Civil Service Store (I should explain that, notwithstanding the name, this was actually a high street department store open to the public in Central London).


Would you have put your novels in the hands of someone who'd never sold a book before and hope they sold?

If it meant giving them exclusivity then no. But my site never sought exclusivity, it simply offered an additional channel. I was advised by a friend who has been a retail manager for many years (high street shops, supermarkets and an eBay seller) that I should require exclusivity. However I rejected the idea out of hand. My aim was simply to offer an extra channel.

bookstolistento
05-18-2010, 09:07 PM
Nobody is entitled to a publishing contract. Nobody. Not you, not me, not Anne McCaffrey, Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King.

Stating that it is "a problem" implies that you are entitled, that it is something you ought to be given,

It doesn't imply any such thing. It does however recognize the inherent fragility of opportunity in publishing. Many books (e.g. The Fountainhead, Lust for Life, Confederacy of Dunces) were rejected by a whole slew of publishers and some came down to the wire before being accepted - the last one posthumously.


and that because Little/Brown isn't banging down their door, contract and check in hand, authors are being denied their God Given Rights and it is up to the Heroic Majority to provide those God Given Rights to the poor orphaned authors of the world.

The Heroic Majority isn't what guarantees success. Rather it is the combination of the long tail, diversity of public taste (yes we don't all love Harry Potter or Dan Brown) and the low cost of electronic distribution. If a publisher sells 500 copies of a printed book, they have made a loss. If a writer sells 500 copies of an eBook or audiobook, he has made a profit.


And a problem is having no money, being depressed, having an abusive parent ... you know, something that has an adverse impact on the life of the person with the problem.

Being published would improve my life. Not being published would not have a negative impact, because I am not published now. Lateral move. So no. My not being published is not a problem.

I'm sorry if you feel that I have belittled your problems by classifying the trials and tribulations of thwarted literary ambition under a heading that you prefer to reserve for more deep-rooted misery. However, having struggled for 25 years before I got my first contract with Hodder, I think I am entitled to use the word "problem" in this context.


Dude. You have obviously never worked retail.

I have actually, as I mentioned in another of my replies.


The general public have books like Sunshine and instead want Twilight, and include the demographic that actually thinks they are the reincarnation of Na'vi. You know, the big blue cat-aliens from Avatar? Yeah. I don't want these people as gatekeepers for my apartment complex, let alone my book.

The point about the public acting as gatekeepers is that it's not majority support that you require in order to succeed. If a few people who like a particular genre also a like your book in that genre, then their reviews (coupled with its availability) will enable others to find it and get their hands on it. They cannot stop you. They can only help you.

bookstolistento
05-18-2010, 09:25 PM
Okay. That's really not a lot of money to be starting up a new venture.

It was to me - at the time.


We seem to be going around in circles here and I'm still not seeing anything that leads me to think that bookstolistento is a particularly worthwhile site for authors to use. While I don't think it's a scam, I don't see how it's operating as an efficient marketing place given that I'm not clear on how people are supposed to find out about it in the first place so that they can check out the books on sale.

If you're ready to re-classify it from "scam" to "failure to launch" I'll accept a truce.

brianm
05-18-2010, 10:36 PM
If you're ready to re-classify it from "scam" to "failure to launch" I'll accept a truce.

No one is calling it a scam. What we're not seeing is the benefit to writers.

~brianm~

veinglory
05-18-2010, 10:39 PM
Who ever said it was a scam? There is a lot of territory between scam and great idea, and a lot of companies occupying that territory that authors can choose between. If you consider it a failure to launch, why are you still soliciting authors (unless you mean an optimistic 'failure to launch... yet'?)

bookstolistento
05-20-2010, 08:21 PM
If you consider it a failure to launch, why are you still soliciting authors (unless you mean an optimistic 'failure to launch... yet'?)

I don't give up easily. If I did, I wouldn't have stuck it out with my writing either.

I just wish there were more hours in a day...

CaoPaux
12-27-2011, 12:28 AM
Looks like this venture lasted only a few months after we talked about it. Quelle surprise.