It’s been an interesting week with JK Rowling being discovered as the real writer behind the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Here are a couple of pieces of news that affect indie writers, a commentary by Chuck Wendig about indie bookstores, and then a little Jane Austen sprinkled at the end.

1943 year Antique Old Grunge Notepad in the Rope Frameon wooden background

Smashwords Offers Pre-Order Distribution: If there’s one thing that indie authors have been clamoring for, it’s been for a pre-order function so that readers can purchase a book before it comes out at Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Not only does it treat indie writing as the same as traditionally published authors, it also aids in pushing books and writers to higher numbers. On the Smashwords blog, they list several benefits such as advanced marketing and increased on-store merchandising. Numbers to support the proposed advantages will have to wait until it’s widely available, but it’s a move sure to make indie writers happy perhaps encouraging more to use the service. It’s definitely a positive step that may make Amazon take notice.

Noticed Changes in Self-Publishing’s Favor at RWA: A few attendees posted their informal observations on a writers’ message board, but Barbara O’Neal includes a detailed observation of the winds of change in the Romance Writers of America‘s world blowing towards self-publishing. O’Neal points out why the change is more prevalent as well as why there’s still an existing stigma against self-publishing even in the Romance genre that leads the digital changes in publishing. The informal observations on the message board noted that several pitch sessions with agents went unfilled with the self-publishing panels being packed. O’Neal’s post confirms that more writers in the Romance genre may be leading the charge for indie publishing.

Amazon’s Odd Hardback Pricing War: Shelf Awareness posted the news that Amazon was undercutting their hardback book prices between 50% to 65% of bestseller titles (JK Rowling’s Gailbraith-published book isn’t as deeply discounted). According to Shelf Awareness, “The changes appear largely to be in response to an Overstock.com campaign launched this week to be 10% lower than Amazon’s…”. Another proposed reason is as a direct result of the Department of Justice’s decision in favor of Amazon’s pricing practices. Whatever the reason, it’s possible that you may find a hardback copy of a book you’ve wanted to be deeply discounted right now. An author I follow on Facebook posted that her book was discounted lower than the Kindle price. She wasn’t thrilled, but still let her followers know. It makes me question how this pricing war may entice readers but hurt authors?

Chuck Wendig Proposes How Indie Bookstores Can Partner With Indie Writers: Wendig’s Terrible Mind blog is definitely opinionated. Warning to those who get offended by excrement and words associated with it as he tends to add color to his words. But this post actually makes a lot of sense of how a symbiotic relationship between the bookstores and writers could benefit both. His strongest point is that the bookstores can be a bridge between authors and audience. With a partnership, both entities could benefit with an author getting physical space and exposure while the bookstore gets enthusiastic PR from those who are already perfecting their marketing skills. Wendig’s ideas can be controversial at times (if you choose to continue reading his blog), but this one has too many good points to pass up.

Jane Austen is Chosen to be the Face of the Ten-Pound NoteAs much as I was amused and yet appalled at finding out there’s a statue of Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy in London’s Serpentine Lake as a publicity stunt to promote a British drama television channel, I’m a little less disturbed to see that Austen will be on the ten-pound note approximately in 2017. The choice fights the lack of women on England’s currency. It shows the power Austen has continued to have as a writer. Of course, for those Austen lovers, the movie Austenland will be coming out soon as well.

As a final note, it came to my attention that August Wainwright included me in his post back in June that you should bookmark for its resources “The Indie 50 – The 50 Best Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors“. I didn’t make the Top 50, but I did get a nice mention that I truly appreciate, and thank him for the inclusion. I’m in extremely good and valuable company.

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