OCT/NOV 2012 ISSUE 1
i Own an iPad, Should You? DUSTY CRAINE
eBooks for Every Budget Interview with Author TONY RUSSO So It Begins CINDY BRANDNER Behind the Ink ELIZABETH ANN WEST Book Review Forget the Housework, I’m Reading
WELCOME... to the first issue of `o’INK, the digital magazine all about ereading, sponsored by The-Cheap.net. Inside you’ll find stunning presentations of ebooks, friendly content from authors, guides, and behind-the-scenes information about the world of digital publishing. `o’INK is designed to be read on your favorite ereading device or your personal computer. See a book that sounds interesting? Click the cover and you’re on your way to adding it to your digital collection! We are inclusive to your friends, exclusive in focus on great reads, and elusive from the stresses of every day life. We’re glad you’ve joined us, and hope you love what we have to share!
Table of Contents
And So It Begins... CINDY BRANDNER It’s that magical time of year again- autumn, children back to school, apples hanging heavy on the trees, mists in the morning that don’t clear off until ten. For me it’s also the most inspiring time of year, something in autumn’s landscape always speaks to my writer’s soul more clearly than the other seasons. It’s the change in the light, the depth of the sky, and all the changing colours in the woods- the ambers, scarlets, browns, golds, the silver beading on an abandoned spiderweb, the soft decay of reeds in a pond. This time last year, I was finishing a book, now I’m starting in earnest on a new one. Which means I will strive to make my quota of two pages every single day. It’s
always intimidating, this beginning of a book. I don’t know a writer that doesn’t question if they can do it again, pull off what seems impossible when all you have is notes and random snippets and other than a historical framework, no exact notion of how this story turns out. I’m only fifty pages along and this new book has already thrown me a few curveballs- ones I’m not certain I’m happy about. Beginning a book though is exciting, all roads are open, and I don’t know where the various pathways will take me or what mad adventure the characters might decide to embark upon. I love all the little details that come into play, so that I get to know each character a little better with each chapter in each book. I love the strange little factoids that always come my way during the research process,
things that become small vignettes in the is going to be fire, it will be interesting to books, or even just a thread of crimson in see what that actually means in terms of the writing itself. the overall tapestry of the story. What I do know about this book is that most of it will take place in Ireland, unlike the last one which was divided between Ireland and Russia. There will be storylines set in the US too, those are already in development. I know one section takes place in Venice as well.
Hmm, I wonder if I might have to make another research trip? I’m excited to be back in Ireland, in my mind leastwise. There are times that the imagining part of writing is so immersive that I forget where I am, which is a wee bit dicey when I’m out and about walking. I see every book in terms of an element- not sure why, that’s just how I see them in my head. Exit Unicorns was earth, Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears was clearly, water. Flights of Angels was the air book and In the Country of Shadows
Strangely, I have finished the writing of every book in November. I don’t plan it, but it just seems to work out that way. So here I sit wondering what I will have on my hands three years from this November- yes, that’s the goal, to be done in the fall of 2015. My battered copy of J. Bowyer Bell’s The Irish Troubles sits at my right hand still filled with stickies from the last book’s research. And so the adventure begins.
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And Sees Too Much.
Enter the woods at your own risk!
Jack has always been one for getting into trouble.
A time travel adventure about a girl, a pocket watch, Frankenstein’s monster, the Battle of Waterloo, and giant clockwork robots taking over London.
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Behind The Ink
Why is the eBook Priced like That? Elizabeth Ann West Free. $.99. $2.99. $9.99!!! Here’s a run down on eBook prices in a way you never knew before!
production (not including an hourly wage for the writing of the book). Readers enjoy great discounts For my book, that amount was on stories they love thanks to about $500, and the book earned the explosion in indie author publishing, usually through a small out in 9 months from its publication date. This is one reason my ebook press or as self-publishing. I’m is available for $1.99 until I write self-published, meaning I handled and publish a new book. It’s pure the writing freelancers I hired for profit at this point, and I’m okay editing and my original cover art. All monies after the distributor’s cut making $0.70 on each sale. go to me.
Earning Out Authors are most concerned with a status called “earning out.” This means the book earning enough in royalties to cover the costs of
$0.70? That’s less than half! Distributors have costs, too. They use their cut of the price to encourage indie authors to price in a way that helps their bottom line. Any book price less than $2.99, most ebook distributors increase
Behind The Ink their cut by more than 200%. If my book is $2.99, Amazon takes 30%. Anything lower than $2.99, Amazon takes 70%. So when you see any ebook priced at $2.98 or below, the indie author is taking a much lower paycheck in hopes that the volume sold will help their overall bottom line. (B&N takes 60% of a book priced lower than $2.99 and 40% a book priced between $2.99 and $9.99).
Why does this price keep changing? Authors recently like a pricing manner I’m going to christen, The Bounce. It goes a little like this: You run a promotion, like a free day with Amazon’s KDP Select program or lower your book’s price and run an ad with a site with hundreds of thousands of followers. You get massive, immediate downloads or purchases. Your book rockets up a best seller list (the Top 100 anything on Amazon), therefore getting greater visibility to readers on your distributor’s site. When you think your book has climbed as high as it’s going to go, you raise your price so that readers seeing the book from the distributor help
compensate for the cost to move up the list. Your book slowly falls back to its original spot in the sales ranking depending on who you are and the rest of your books. Pricing is a tough dilemma for authors. What they want more than anything in the world isn’t necessarily riches, but reads.
If you pick up a book for cheap, the biggest compliment you can pay the author is to give the book an honest shot as quickly as you can. Many lower priced books languish in our digital libraries and eventually, the prices will go up as authors realize their cheaper priced books aren’t getting read by those hundreds or thousands of readers who downloaded or bought it. An author has to sell six times the books at $.99 as she does at $2.99 to make even money. I can tell you right now, that is a once in a blue moon event. continued on page 13
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Behind The Ink
What about sales ranking? Authors must sell a ton of eBooks at the lower prices. In February of 2012, I used The Bounce with a KDP Select free day. As a free book, my novel made it to #12 in the Free Kindle store for fiction! That is a ridiculously high ranking for a small time author with only one book. It happened because a few readers in Thecheap.net’s community who knew me took it as their personal mission to tell everyone–and I mean everyone–about my book being free. It was amazing to watch my number of downloads go up a few hundred every single hour! In the three days following I sold 250 copies at $2.99, netting me about $500. My sales ranking reached I believe just shy of top 1,000. So to STAY at that sales ranking, you have to be selling a few hundred copies per day. Anything in the 20,000 to 100,000 sales rank on Amazon is a few sales per day to a few score. So at $.99, let’s pretend a book is ranked #20,000 in the Paid Kindle store. That author is probably selling a
few hundred copies that entire month, let’s be generous and say 1,000 ebooks sold. At $0.99, the author only made $300, about enough to cover the utilities for the month or a small car payment. Certainly not anything to live off. Same author with those sales on $2.99 per ebook makes $2,000 in the month, an amount that could sustain a person depending on the city they live in. I hope you enjoyed more insight to the spread of ebook prices. I don’t share this for readers to feel sorry for authors, after all, lower prices are a business decision an author can make, not has to make. I share it in hopes you will look at ebook prices with a greater understanding than before. There’s more to ebook pricing and what’s “behind the curtain” where it comes to publishing. I hope to share topics interesting to readers about the industry each issue in our Behind the Ink column. Thanks for reading!
Elizabeth Ann West is the Director of `o’INK and the author of CANCELLED. The-Cheap.Net
i have an iPad, Should You?
Greetings all! I was asked by The Cheap to give you a rundown on the Apple iPad. What qualifies me to give you this introduction? Aside from owning two of them, following technology religiously, and being an otherwise gadget addicted individual, nothing at all. But let’s not let that stop us. Let’s jump right in.
or a black iPad person?
Display Let’s talk about the display for a moment. The iPad has a 9.7” display. This is considerably larger than the 7” screen that the Kindle Fire or NOOK Tablet sport. But you’ll have to decide if that is a pro or a con. For me, I enjoy a larger screen. I feel that it is better suited for magazines, PDF’s and comics than the 7” display. But I have a friend who wants to be able to carry his tablet around in his cargo shorts pocket and anything larger than a 7” device just won’t do.
There are two major variations on the Apple iPad, a Wi-Fi version and a 4G LTE version. One operates on Wi-Fi, like you most likely have in your home. And the other operates on Wi-Fi AND a cellular provider’s 4G LTE network. Beyond that you have three different storage options comprised of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Once you decide which I can’t let the display conversation configuration meets your needs you pass by without mentioning the get one last cosmetic decision to fact that the latest iPad has what make. Are you a white iPad person Apple has coined a Retina display.
helpful so let me give you what I feel is a good comparison. Do you remember the first time you saw HDTV side by side with a standard definition television? It’s like that. There is a very noticeable difference between the display of the iPad 2 and the new iPad. For a nice comparison Apple. com has made a faithful comparison on their iPad features page. Link here: http://www.apple.com/ ipad/features/
Retina display is geekspeak for a stunning screen. The iPad 2 has a screen resolution of 1024x768 with 132 pixels per inch (ppi). The new iPad has a screen resolution of 2048x1536 with 264 pixels per inch. Now I know that the technical specs aren’t terrifically
The battery life of the iPad is said to be 10 hours and I think that’s a great estimate. My kids love our iPads. Minecraft is a game that is huge in our house right now and between that and YouTube and Netflix, they can easily spend the entire morning and afternoon occupied until we force them out of doors for sunlight and exercise. So I think that battery life estimate is good. The iPad has proven to be an invaluable traveling companion on long trips as well. “Are we there yet?” has turned into “Look out! It’s almost dark and the zombies will come out.” (Another Minecraft reference.) I told you it was big in
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Usage Now this is the part of the review where I’m going to tell you how the iPad is used in our home. It may not address all of your concerns or questions, but I would love to have you comment on this post and I’ll do my best to provide you with answers to whatever questions you come up with. In my house the iPad serves many roles but most all of them are media consumption. We use the iPad to watch Netflix as well as for gaming purposes. But we also use them as teaching tools. The Apple iPad is married to the Apple App Store. It is the only place you can buy apps for the device but it has absolutely everything you could possibly want and then some. Our girls are four years old and learning to write their alphabet. There is an app for that. They get a kick out of tracing the letters by trailing their fingers behind a moving train or a trail of ants. There are also apps for helping our son with math. He’s starting fourth grade this year and we’ve used apps in the App Store to keep him sharp to help prevent the “summer slide” over his break.
There are also a number of apps for everything from learning languages, geography, science, astronomy, etc. You name it; it’s probably in the App Store. So while the kids use it for education, I’m less prone to use it to that end. I tend to use it for following my social networks, reading RSS newsfeeds and just reading in general. I use the Facebook app for the obvious and TweetBot for Twitter. For RSS feeds, I use Reeder. For e-Books, which you are obviously familiar with due to the proximity of my guest spot here to the bounty of free or discounted e-Book titles at The Cheap, you can use the eReader apps provided by the various retailers like Barnes & Noble’s NOOK app or Amazon’s Kindle app, but you also have options like iBooks, which works well for ePub’s and PDF’s alike. One of the features in iBooks that I love is the fact that it gives you an accurate page count and updates that page count depending on if you’re in portrait mode or landscape. It also keeps your progress synced with any other iOS devices you may happen to have. So we’ve touched on some of the positives of the iPad but I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you
most of the arguments you’ll hear from the little green robot loving Android fanatics out there.
It only has a dual core 1GHz processor! Get used to hearing about tech specs. It is the argument that Apple haters use to deride Apple products. Apple products are famous for making more of less. But the technology space is in LOVE with “bigger, faster and smaller.” There are plenty of folks who will get rid of a machine that works perfectly for them because they want the latest model with its slightly faster processor and larger hard drive. Never mind the fact that they use it for the Internet and not much more. And that’s the point. If a dual core 1GHz processor gets the job done in snappy fashion, then what do you need a battery sucking quad core processor for? Heck, NASA itself just landed a shiny new Curiosity Rover on Mars with a 200 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. Your PC circa 1997 was more powerful than that. Specs aren’t everything.
I don’t like living in Apple’s walled garden! There are folks who list their
number one reason for disliking the iPad as the fact that you can only buy apps through the Apple App Store. Why those people take more issue with that than with the Android Play Market is beyond me, but I guess it is only fair to mention that there are Android developers who sell their apps through their own storefront too. That said there are a couple of advantages to buying from the App Store and this is true of the Android Play Market too. You get very easy installation of apps and more importantly automatic updates of those apps. When the app developers make a change to their app, you’ll get notified that there are updates available as soon as you open the App Store. If you were to buy an app from another storefront you would have to manually install those updates. It’s not a huge deal but I like the convenience of an App Store and Apple’s App Store is arguably the best.
I can buy twice the tablet for that price! No. You can’t actually. If all you cared about were the tech specs then you’d be looking at another tablet. But then you wouldn’t be
getting the iOS experience (iPad’s Operating System). iOS is powerful and ridiculously intuitive. There is one button, home. It takes you back to the home screen. The fact that my then three-year-old daughters were able to pick it up and use it should tell you that it was built with the user experience in mind. It was designed to be a device that is accessible by anyone.
I refuse to pay Apple tax! This argument is a combination of the specs argument and the price argument. The Apple iPad is an incredible tablet computing experience even if it doesn’t have a quad core processor or whatever else the Android darling of the moment is offering. If you can afford it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I mention price because honestly that is the single most prohibitive aspect. The iPad starts at $499 and can be upgraded all the way up to an $829 price point. No my friends, this is probably not an impulse buy. As I mentioned though, if you can get over price, you are going to be in for a treat.
particularly if you’re in the market for a tablet. It’s got a large beautiful screen. It has a lot of oomph. And it has great battery life. If you already have an iOS or Mac device in your family then it’s going to be an even better experience due to the tight integration with other Apple products. But even if it is your standalone Apple product, you’re going to wonder how you did without it. Whether you are surfing the web, reading, watching movies or TV, or in love with the vast educational resources available, there is something there for everyone.
In conclusion The Apple iPad is an incredibly compelling piece of technology,
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