by Christine Kling
I am writing tonight’s blog from my hotel room at the Westin in Seattle. To some people, that may not be a big deal, but for me, the bed in this room has a broader beam than my boat. Or so it seems. I certainly never stayed in a room like this when I was traveling in Thailand and the Philippines. I’ve never thought of myself as lucky, but tonight I feel like I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. I am here as a guest of my publisher, Thomas & Mercer, and the one emotion that I am filled with is gratitude.
I guess you could say that in the 21st century with the advent (invent) of the Kindle, traditional publishing has come under siege. There is a war going on for eyeballs on screens. Authors are the ones who produce much that content that goes on the screens. It sometimes seems like the legacy publishers have forgotten that, but this is something that Amazon knows at the core of their corporate structure. I’ve been here 24 hours now and all I hear (and see) is how Amazon puts the author at the center of all business equations.
See, I am here in Seattle as an invitee to Thomas & Mercer’s “On the Lam” conference. They invited all T&M authors who will have a book released in 2013 to come out here to Seattle for 3 days totally on their dime. They bought the plane tickets, paid for the hotel rooms, planned many extraordinary cocktail parties, galas, and a photo shoot for new author photos with the amazing art photographer John Keatley. Tomorrow we are all headed to Amazon headquarters for a tour, talk and continental breakfast. Afterwards, lunch will be aboard a big tour boat followed by a cruise to Lake Union. In the evening, there’s an elegant reception at the Chihuly Museum at the base of the Space Needle. There are about 65 of us here who accepted this invite for the all-expense paid trip to Seattle (including half a dozen UK authors).
At tonight’s opening night cocktail party at the hosted bar in the lobby, all the talk among the authors was about how we, as authors, have never been treated so well by a publisher. They really want our opinions on covers, and when we say we think there should be changes, they go back to the drawing board and try again. They pay better royalties and they do so monthly. We have an online dashboard where we can see actual sales by the next day, so we always know how many books we’ve sold, and our final royalty statements are available online about fifteen days after the close of the month’s period. But you know what really wowed me? At every conference you get a goody bag and there usually are a few books in it. This time in our bags there was an actual Kindle (paperwhite) as well as a specially embossed leather cover!
All this stuff, though, wouldn’t be that big a deal if they weren’t any good at selling books. You see that is where Amazon really shines! On Monday, August 12th, Amazon made Circle of Bones one of four books that were offered as the Kindle Daily Deal. They reduced the price to $1.99. All day I watched the ranking of my book as it climbed the charts. Just before midnight when I hit the key to refresh my screen for the hundredth time, I saw my book sitting at #1. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer, the woman who announced in seventh grade that she was one day going to be an author can now say that she is a #1 bestselling author. And in case you are wondering what it takes to make it to the top of the list, that day Amazon sold 9,642 copies of Bones!
There are authors, publishers, and bookstore owners out there who like to paint Amazon and its CEO as the devil incarnate. Some bookstore owners even refuse to carry books published by any of the Amazon Publishing imprints. I think the publishing world needs to consider that in the competition to sign the best authors, with this conference, Amazon Publishing has announced Game on! All sixty-plus authors here are going to go back and talk, blog and let the world of authors know how great this publisher is. And as many of us keep saying again and again, there has never been a better time to be a writer.
On Saturday, there will be sessions all day long and they are open to the public. I won’t be speaking, but I’ll certainly be attending. If you are in the neighborhood, come on down. You will see a bunch of the happiest authors on the planet.
ChristineShare on Facebook