Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

Category: e-Book Publishing (Page 1 of 5)

If you’re looking to publish your book for the e-Reader markets, this may be helpful.

The Future of Publishing – One Man’s Perspective


The discussion of the publishing industry and its place in the future continues to rage on the interwebs. The Amazon/Hachette debate has really fired it up a notch, and folks are screaming from both sides of the debate.

The latest piece to get me going was Why We Need Independent Bookstores More Than Ever on the Publishing Perspectives website. I felt the need to weigh in on the conversation, and did so as follows:

~~Hi, I’m a buggy maker. You know, as in horse and buggy? I believe we must stop immediately this move toward automobiles. Oh sure, Ford claims they’re doing it just to help people move about from Point A to Point B more quickly, and to provide convenience and productivity to their lives, but I know the real reason: they’re trying to put me out of business and become a monopoly! Please help! We must stop Henry Ford before he takes over the world! We buggy makers must stick together to beat back this demon.

~~I’m truly fascinated that publishers are choosing to fight technological advances, rather than adapt to them to make their businesses safe and profitable well into the future. It’s so damned shortsighted. Their stubbornness will be their undoing, in the end. Only those willing to adjust in a way that’s fair to both authors and readers will survive.

~~Barnes and Noble is dead. They may still be kicking, but that’s just residual nerves and muscle twitches. The mega bookstore, know also as bookstaurus megalasaur, is extinct. And independents? They’re most likely going to survive as Joe’s Garage, Coffee Shop & Bookstore, or something like that. Stores dedicated solely to the sales of books are on the way out, lest they be high-end collectors’ shops.

~~So time for the publishers to wake up and smell Joe’s coffee. Stop kicking and screaming and clawing at the big bad Amazon, and offer consumers a fair alternative. Compete. Or die.

Anyone who thinks print books will remain the dominant format for readers for more than a few years down the road, should immediately visit their neurologist for an MRI… or their psychiatrist. The Star Trek-ification of America (and soon the world) is well under way. Kindergarteners are now getting tablets to read on in some districts, and today’s youth are accustomed to doing virtually everything online; reading eBooks will be second nature to them.

The traditional publishing model is simply no longer viable, but I suppose it’s no mystery that they are unwilling to go gently into that good night. The sad part is that they needn’t die; they need only evolve to accommodate the new market paradigm. I say this as someone who co-founded and now runs a hybrid small press publisher, Evolved Publishing.


When we first formed EP, we did so with a couple of driving forces in mind: 1) Where is this market going in the next 10-15 years? 2) What sort of publisher would we want to affiliate with as authors?

The first question was critical for obvious reasons. We naturally wanted to form a business model that would make sense given the new market paradigm; we didn’t want to be obsolete in 5 years. The second question was critical because we viewed our primary competition not as traditional publishers–whom we fully expected, quite frankly, to self-destruct at some point–but rather the burgeoning self-publishing option.

And so we moved forward with a few key points in mind:

  • eBooks are the future of reading.
  • As happened in the music industry, everything would move to the internet.
  • Consumers would find new, cheap options, meaning pricing pressures would be a big part of our business.
  • Content would be king, meaning we had to attract quality independent authors who produce quality books.

First Bullet Point Above: Yes, we offer print books, but not via traditional typesetting. Rather, we offer high quality POD (Print-on-Demand) books to keep our overhead costs to a minimum, and to thereby offer both authors and readers the best possible deal.

Second Bullet Point Above: In addition to eBooks and POD paper books, we also offer audiobooks and foreign translations where it makes sense, and again, we keep overhead to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, we all work from home offices – no buildings, no high overhead related to those costs. We live in an electronic world – the internet age. The office building is simply not needed.

Third Bullet Point Above: Whoever it was in traditional publishing (and yes, they all colluded) that thought it was fair to consumers to price eBooks, for which the production costs are so low, higher than paperbacks, for which the production costs are so high, simply missed the boat. This is grossly unfair to consumers, and the backlash was inevitable. Now, there’s something to be said for the value of “content”–the author’s hard-fought battle to create the book, and all their blood, sweat, tears, and talent–and pricing an ebook with fair author consideration in mind. Still, the actual “production” costs are limited, and so the ultimate price should be almost entirely about content. At EP, almost all of our eBooks are priced at $2.99 to $4.99–only a few exceptions. You’ll never see an eBook from EP priced at $12.99 or $14.99. Ridiculous!

Fourth Bullet Point Above: We must have great content to offer readers. That means that our guiding philosophy at EP is absolutely critical: Quality is Priority #1! Every book must be written well, edited well, and presented (formatted) well. Period. Especially in the new wild wild wild wild wild wild west known as self-publishing, quality matters. The gatekeepers can still serve a valuable function for consumers, and we at Evolved Publishing seek to provide readers this simple assurance: if you purchase one of our books, you’ll get a professional product.


Make no mistake about it, folks, traditional publishers set up their business model with only one thing in mind: themselves. Unless you end up being one of their mega-superstars, you can expect as an author to be treated with a certain amount of contempt and unfair financial consideration. Don’t get me wrong; as a business owner I understand the value of profit! We can’t stay in business without it. But fair is fair, and traditional publishers have abused most authors for far too long. Well, now that the market has evolved and authors have new options, and consumers have new options, traditional publishers are going to pay a dear price.

At Evolved Publishing, we recognized first and foremost that the authors are the stars of the show, not us. Without the extraordinary authors we’ve attracted to EP (too many to name here without leaving someone out), we would not be what we are. How do we attract them? For one, we pay them a fair, even attractive royalty rate. After all, they don’t have to publish with us; they can publish themselves. Second, we provide them with first-rate editing, excellent cover art & illustrations, and professional formatting. Third, we work to coordinate group marketing activities that are more about sweat and muscle than they are money invested. Finally, we give them an enjoyable team environment where we all interact and work with one another in a respectful and mutually beneficial way.

Why don’t traditional publishers do this? What is stopping them? Seriously, I’m not trying to give away any secrets here; I believe we have a lot to offer authors and I’m willing to stand by our reputation in the face of new competition. I just don’t get why traditional publishers still fail to understand what is required to treat their authors–ALL of their authors–well.

Look, it’s a tough marketplace out there; we can all be honest about that. For every writer that makes a living as an author, a thousand more must toil away at their day jobs while they pursue that dream. It’s tough! As a result, treating authors well, affording them the respect, dignity, and financial consideration they deserve, is more important than ever. Furthermore, giving them a place where they can inspire one another, cry on each other’s shoulders, commiserate and celebrate and motivate, is especially important. The days of leaving authors to drift alone in the wilderness is behind us, as publishers, because there’s now a name for that: self-publishing. Want to be relevant as a publisher? Here’s a crazy idea: service your clients!

Geez, I’m so sick and tired of the establishment clinging to their spoils as if they were the Gods of publishing, and the rest of us mere mortals created to do their bidding. But you know what? I’m also just about over it. Seriously, they don’t matter anymore. A new day has dawned.

If you’re an author looking for a home where you’ll be treated fairly, even if you’ve previously self-published to less than satisfying results, you should give Evolved Publishing a look. Just go to the website and surf around, and discover for yourself what we’re all about. Of course, you’ll eventually need to go to the Submissions Page.

If you’re a reader looking for quality books at a fair price, you need to stop by and check out our Catalog, because we have some seriously excellent books from some seriously talented authors. As an avid reader, you do yourself a disservice by not checking out some of the amazing works we have available.

I shall now step down from my soapbox. 🙂


Can Writers Make a Living as Authors?


A recent article by Jeremy Greenfield in Forbes online asks, “How Much Money Do Self-Published Authors Make?” Well, it’s a fairly simple article that touches on the macro end of the issue, but really, there’s so much more to it.

The immediate point of his article seems to be that self-published (I’ll include the whole “Indie” category here, including emerging small press) authors do not make a living at their craft. However, if you read further, you discover that most authors – period – do not make a living at their craft, regardless of which route they’ve taken to publish.

The figure he presents for self-publishing is an annual median income (I’m assuming this is a “net” figure) of “under $5,000.” That would seem to be his Ah-hah! point – self-publishing is bad (After all, why else would he use the title he did?). However, he then goes on to say that traditionally published authors earn an annual median income of $5,000 to $9,999. Anyone “making a living” on that?

So the real point of his article is that few writers actually make a living as authors.

To which I say, “No surprise there.”

It’s actually always been that way in the publishing industry. A few superstars make gazillions of dollars, and the rest make a little on the side while continuing with their day job. Nothing new here.

What’s new is that more authors can actually take a shot at being in that elite group of authors who do make a nice living. In the past, writers were stuck playing the literary agent/traditional publisher lottery. Now, they have options. Furthermore, I would argue that if they really do it “the right way,” they improve their odds significantly.


I sometimes get the feeling that writers get sick of me making this point: the reason most self-published authors fail (in the long run) is that they simply do not go about their business as proper professionals. Why do I think some are sick of that point? Emails like this one are a hint: “I’m so sick and tired of you saying that all self-published work is crap!” Okay, I’ve only received one such email, and just to be clear: I have NEVER said that. I’ve said that “most” self-published work is crap. 🙂

One of the nice things about the new market opportunities for authors is that a lot more good work is making it into the marketplace, and into readers’ hands. A lot of talented folks are discovering that they don’t have to wait to win the traditional publishing lottery to become authors. One of the bad things about the new market opportunities for authors is that anyone can now publish last week’s grocery list – it’s cheap and relatively easy.

The result is a flooding of the market – more good stuff (Great!), but an absolute boatload of utter crap to go along with it.

This, of course, tends to drag down those “median” numbers that Mr. Greenfield cited in his Forbes article.

Yet consumers are not dummies. You might fool them for a short time, but in the end, if you publish crap, consumers will bail on you as if you were Typhoid Mary herself.

It’s actually pretty simple: those who write good stories, make a sincere effort to have it professionally edited, and who put up a professional cover as the face of that book – in short, those who invest in their business – can expect to improve their odds of ultimate success many fold. You’ll note I used the word “ultimate” in that last phrase. Why? Because it’s even rarer for an author to take off after just one book. Usually, an author must have three, four, even five books available before consumers really take note of them in a big way.

Shakespeare - Julius Caesar 1

Success in this business is hard as hell; let’s just be honest about that. However, it’s not impossible – not by a long shot. If you’re dreaming the dream, then go about your business, do it the right way, and work toward that day when you can say that you defied the odds.


eBooks vs. Print Books – The Continuing Debate


The debate over whether eBooks will eventually dominate the market, relegating print books to a niche market serving primarily hardcore bibliophiles, and perhaps parents to read with their kids, is settled in my mind. I no longer believe it’s a question of if it will happen, merely when.

The “Star-Trekification” of America, and the world, is well underway. There’s no turning back from technology; it pushes or pulls us, depending on our stance.

However, the full industry transition is by no means complete, as the infographic below shows. This was produced by Greg Vang of Coupon Audit, and it contains some interesting snippets of data. Enjoy.

Are E-Books Better Than Hardcover Books: Comparison

This Infographic is produced by Coupon Audit and Lane Diamond.

Copy/Paste the coding below if you’d like to share this infographic.


Are there too many books out there, or never enough?

Dear Reader, we striving, emerging authors need you.

Prompted by a recent Facebook post, I just checked one author’s listings (she happens to be self-published) at Amazon, and she has 3 books out, the highest ranked of which is #972,xxx. That means she sells about 1 copy every 2-3 months. Her other two books are even worse. So no one is reading her books.

Yet she mentioned in a recent post that her 4th book is coming soon, and she’s all excited.

I’m not sure what to make of that. Part of me wants to say, “For God’s sake, go back to your day job and stop muddying-up the market for everyone.” Yet another part of me wants to say, “Way to stick to it.”

Sadly, one has merely to sample her work to understand the first part of the problem: no editing. It is simply rife with bad structure and grammar. And the covers are… err… not good. She’s trying to make her way completely on her own, without professional help, and not making it at all.

Yet, as a fellow author, should this bother me? Does it really muddy-up the market? Will you, Dear Reader, still find what you’re looking for in the vast sea of reading options? Will my book stand out because of its polished, professional presentation? Will you, Dear Reader, find it difficult to find the gem-like drops (he says not-so-modestly) amidst the ocean of poor work?

Honestly, I’m back and forth on this, and haven’t quite decided on the right answer. Some instinct deep inside me, however, believes that if the process becomes too confusing and disappointing for readers, they’re simply going to revert to their old stand-bys and give up on discovering new authors. This, of course, would be bad news for those of us newbies who are seeking to step into that light.

Yet one surefire method remains for us to find our way out of the abyss: word of mouth. Yes, if someone reads my book, and enjoys it, she’s likely to mention it to someone else, who might then give it a try. This is a time-tested and effective method of of bringing a new author out of the darkness. The problem with that, of course, is that if the author doesn’t have a great level of visibility out there in the world, and people are slow to find him in the first place, this process can take years.

Is there a viable alternative (without spending thousands and thousands of dollars on advertising)? Probably not.

So, Dear Reader, you now understand why it is so important to all of us authors that you post a review at Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or iTunes, or Kobo, or Goodreads, etc. You also know why we love you when you say to a friend, “Hey, have you read this book? It’s awesome!”

And, of course, we authors must continue to write. The author I mentioned above has that part of the equation right, if not the others. I’ve been struggling with that due to time constraints, but am determined to get my sequel out soon. For now, I’ll just have to hope that more people discover Forgive Me, Alex and feel compelled to shout from the mountaintop, “You must read this book!”.

Then, I must get The Devil’s Bane out soon.


My Take on the Indie Publishing Industry

Today, I put on my hat as Publisher and Executive Editor at Evolved Publishing, and posted a rather lengthy piece on the state of our industry, and how aspiring authors, or emerging authors, or floundering authors, can still make a go of this business. Come on over and take a look.

It’s not all kittens and roses, but it’s an honest assessment.

The Future of Publishing: How to Survive and Prosper as an Indie


The Power of Teamwork

When I think back to my childhood, some of my fondest memories are of my summer baseball teams, my school baseball and basketball teams, even my golf team (damn knees kept me out of football). When I was with my teammates, competing against another team, I enjoyed a sense of camaraderie and support. We worked together, providing each individual on the team a chance at success that he couldn’t achieve on his own. When we failed, we commiserated together, and supported one another, vowing to work harder and do better next time.

It’s true that when you go it alone, you get to keep all the fruits of your success to yourself. Yep, you can sit at your desk in the corner, put on your party hat, pop the cork on the champagne, and celebrate… all by your lonesome. Fun. Of course, when you fail, you shoulder that burden alone, too.

And why did you fail? Might you have needed some help, a supportive group to lift you over the top? Might a team have been the potential key to your success?

Look, I’ve always enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy. I like to control my own life to the greatest extent possible. I love freedom—in life, in work, in play. Yet a properly constructed team allows a significant amount of that. Indeed, for a team to achieve maximum success, each member of that team must perform at his best.

Now, whether your team is in sports, or at work, or in a charity group, or any other environment, no two individuals will perform exactly alike. We recognize top performers for their unique set of skills, and, yes, we cut loose those who simply can’t do it. Give any ten individuals the exact same opportunity, and you’ll see ten varying levels of success… or failure.

Welcome to life.

Yet those who struggle can become fair, those who are fair can become good, and those who are already good can achieve greatness, when a team is in their corner, fighting on their behalf.

I like to think of myself as a good teammate precisely because I don’t expect everyone to be great; that’s just not realistic. I expect my teammates to be pretty good, of course, but mostly I expect them to give it their best. Period. If you give me your willingness to work at it, your positive attitude, your desire to work with the team in a cohesive manner, I’ll give you a loyal teammate who will do all he can to help you succeed.

So what does all of this have to do with writing, one of the most solitary pursuits on the planet? Simple: writing is only step one. Eventually, if you’re a professional, you need to take your product to market. You need to get your books into the hands of lots and lots of readers.

Of course, before you can do that, you may need one or all of the following: beta readers to help you plug up some gaps in your story; a qualified editor to help you polish your manuscript to a fine sheen; a talented artist to create a professional cover for your book; and a marketing plan and sales strategy to sell your brand.

What is your brand?

If you self-publish, your brand is your name, and perhaps the name of a series (by title or primary character) you’re writing. Period.

If you publish with a team, you enjoy the benefits of an additional brand, a reputable name that provides quality products across a broad spectrum of genres, from a group of authors with varying styles and voices, supported by talented editors and artists.

And that is why my partner, D.T. Conklin, and I formed Evolved Publishing. We didn’t want to self-publish because we didn’t want to go it alone. We thought the power of a dedicated and well-coordinated team would improve our chances of success. Our early teammates—7 more authors and counting, 4 more editors and counting, 4 artists and counting—joined us for those reasons, as well.

Do you like the idea of having a team in your corner? If so, stop by the Evolved Publishing website and browse around. At worst, you’ll lose a few minutes of your life. At best, your life and career will take on a whole new prospect.


A New YA Paranormal Fantasy Featuring Valkyries and Norse Gods

I’m so excited to announce a new book , DEAD RADIANCE – Book 1 in the Valkyrie Novels, from author T.G. Ayer. This YA Paranormal Fantasy from Evolved Publishing is steeped in Norse mythology, full of Valkyries and Norse gods. Gonna be a fun read!

It’s available now at Amazon.

…My fingers uncurled their desperate grip on the rose and it fell, tilting, to drop head first onto the casket, twirling as it descended into the eerie depths. It hit the lid and shattered. Petals flew in all directions and everywhere yellow scraps of the dismembered flower reflected Joshua’s iridescent light….

Short Description for DEAD RADIANCE – Book 1 in the Valkyrie Novels:

For as long as she can recall Bryn Halbrook has seen a golden aura around certain people, and it is only when her new best friend Joshua dies that she understands the glow means death. Bryn struggles to adapt to a new town and a new foster home while trying to deal with the guilt of being unable to save her friend. Until mysterious biker-boy, Aidan Lee arrives.

When Aidan unexpectedly takes off he leaves behind a shattered heart, a ton of unanswered questions and a mysterious book that suggests Bryn is a Valkyrie. Bryn is faced with questions about Aidan’s real identity, the real reason he came to Craven, and that Odin, Freya and Valhalla just might be real.

As if accepting her new wings, new life and new home in Asgard isn’t difficult enough, Bryn is forced to find and return the precious necklace of the Goddess Freya. The only problem is – if she fails, Aidan will die.

The mystery of a Mythology is easy to enjoy. The reality is much harder to accept.


You can sample the first 3 chapters HERE.


Catching Up on Catching Up, and New Opportunities

I must apologize for not keeping up with the blog these past couple weeks. No excuses. I need to do better.

Most of my efforts have been tied up over at our Evolved Publishing website, working on that part of the business, and letting my business as Lane Diamond, Author, shuffle to the back burner for a bit. Yes, that can be rather frustrating. It can also be quite exciting.

Monday was a case in point. Yesterday, we added to the Evolved Publishing (EP) team author Emlyn Chand. Emlyn will be an exciting addition to our organization, and you readers are gonna love her. I promise. Find out more about her, including all her social media links, at her author’s page HERE.

Also in EP news, we expect to release author D.T. Conklin’s epic fantasy novel, Eulogy, on March 14th. The cover is just plain fantastic! Check it out.

Beware! That center eye will never leave you. Ever.

We’ll have a big 2-day promo event at Amazon coming up on February 21-22, which will include most of my pieces, as well most of what EP has released to date. Be sure to stop by and check it out.

We’re opening for submissions our 2nd Semi-Annual Short Story Contest on Wednesday, February 15, so don’t miss that. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a Kindle Fire and a place in our next anthology. Additionally, 5 other winners will be placed in the anthology, along with 4 authors from the EP team, myself included. And here’s the great news: all the authors share in the royalties. Yep, you heard right. Really, how could it be any other way?

In the meantime, I’m going to be releasing another short story of my own VERY soon: The Hobby. It’s a little horror blast I conjured, with some cool cover art by EP artist, Sam Keiser.

Finally, I’m working with 3 authors, providing some online classes to elevate their craft, each of whom I hope will join our EP team when ready. I should probably not take anything for granted, and won’t mention their names here, but maybe they’d like to stop in and comment. We’ll see. This is in addition to finishing edits on Eulogy (mentioned above), and preparing to edit Kimberly Kinrade’s next installment in her Forbidden series, Forbidden Fire, with cover art by EP artist Sarah E. Melville.

My editing duties keep me busy, as do my responsibilities as an owner of Evolved Publishing, and they can be quite rewarding too. I complain about the time requirements on occasion, but don’t let that fool you…. I love it!

Lastly, we have 3 new editor applications and 3 new author applications to consider, as the EP family just grows and grows. It really is an exciting moment in our young history. Still, I think I need to spend a little time wearing my other hat: Lane Diamond, Author. Soon. Really. I promise.


Another of Lane Diamond’s editing projects is about to be available as an eBook – “Bella World” by Kimberly Kinrade.

The only thing better than releasing one of my own books, is releasing a book I’ve edited. Well, the next one is coming up fast: Bella World, book #2 in the Three Lost Kids trilogy by Kimberly Kinrade.

This is a children’s chapter book series, which includes some terrific and fun color illustrations by artist Josh Evans (Josh also did my cover for Forgive Me, Alex). If you’re a parent of a 4- to 9-year old, you might want to check out book #1 in the trilogy, Lexie World, currently available at Amazon.

Watch for the release of Bella World on Tuesday. Book #3 in the series, Maddie World, will be coming within a few weeks.


Dear Readers, Have you posted your reviews online?

One of the tools that authors have always relied on, indeed that many have lived or died on (metaphorically speaking), is the priceless Reader Review.

In this new eBook environment we live in, this is easier than ever, and arguably more important than ever. Let’s face it, when you go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords, what’s one of the key indicators to help you decide if a book is worth your hard-earned entertainment dollar?

Yes, you can sample the book online, reading the first several pages, or even chapters, of the book. I always do this now. Indeed, I wouldn’t think of buying a book from an unknown author without doing so. The next thing I look at are the reviews. If there are only a couple of them, I assume—fairly or not—that those are from the author’s brother, or girlfriend, or husband, or favored pet. If there are several of them, I read them and get a better sense of whether I want to try the book.

And so, if you purchase (or pick up free) an indie author’s eBook, and you don’t leave a review, you’re making it harder for that author to succeed. Why should you care? Well, Dear Reader, if you like the author’s work, but that author fails and decides to just stick with the day job, you’ll lose a source of pleasant entertainment.

Thus, if you’d like to help out this poor starving author, or any other, please take a moment to post ratings and/or reviews. In my case, you can do so at:

For Forgive Me, Alex: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

For Paradox: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

For Devane’s Reality: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

For Wind Tunnel: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

For Well-Suited Sentry: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

For Evolution: Vol. 1: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

For Evolution: Vol. 2: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble ; Smashwords ; Goodreads.

So rate and review to your heart’s desire, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you.


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