The bittersweet taste of traditional publishing

book-436507_640One of the many reasons I have been more than usually absent from this blog in recent months is a rather large side project – a non fiction book. Now that we are in the final stages of reviewing the contract with the publisher, I think it may be worth adding my two-bobs worth to the discussion about self publishing vs. traditional publishing.

The new book, which will be about playspaces, came about in the most unlikely of ways. A chance in a million. On a whim, back in the dim dark days at the start of the year, I entered a competition on Goodreads. Remarkably, I won it, and some time later received a lovely hardback edition of a landscape design history book. Finding it hard to maintain the CPD points I need to maintain my qualification with a bub, I inquired of our professional magazine if they would like a review of the book, to which they agreed.

Now comes the remarkable part. I wrote to the publisher, asking for some of the images from the book to accompany the review. They forwarded these, and then came back asking if I would be interested in writing a book on playspaces. It’s a little eerie to know that you’ve been googled.

Joining forces with a friend of mine, we spent the next three or four months nutting out the exact contents of each section – chasing contributors from around the globe, and writing the first chapter. My other books have been much more ‘pantzer’ enterprises – they have been organic, growing during the process of writing. This one is firmly a ‘planner’, which is a real novelty for me. It remains to be seen if it will remain so, or if the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ shoot us into uncharted territory.

After that, it was all bundled off to the publisher, and went into limbo while it was reviewed by them and independent experts. All very rigorous, and very serious. Then suddenly, after a little back and forth, we have been offered a contract. Hardback and paperback, worldwide distribution. Hooray!

But wait…

The contract, as far as we can tell, if quite standard for the industry. It is, as a friend said, “no crapper than anyone else’s”. However, after getting used to the idea of 70% royalties in the self-publishing world, 6% on received royalties seems, frankly, more than a little exploitative. We worked out that on the first run, assuming all copies are sold, we won’t make enough to cover our communication, let alone any of the hard labour in writing the thing.

The other major difference of course is that we will have little or no control over the appearance of the book, where it is sold, or the marketing of the text (which may be a bit of a relief!). My other books – ‘The Artemis Effect’ and ‘The Milk of Female Kindness’, I have complete control over, and it may not be easy to let that go. I chose to self publish them for exactly that reason.

So – nearly a year down the track we are faced with a hard decision. Should we go ahead, on what is basically a pro-bono basis? There is the intellectual challenge, the kudos, and maybe the hope of improving playspaces around the world. One the other is a serious time and mental commitment when I have a small child, work, and have other things I would like to be writing. My co-author is trying to run her own business.

It looks like I may end up writing in every genre after all: Science Fiction and Parenting – done. Speculative Short stories and Poetry – underway. Non-fiction – pending.

I suspect we will go ahead, but I’d be interested to hear about your experiences and thoughts…

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Book Launch!

On Sunday the 23rd of March, we had a joyful celebration of the Launch of ‘The Milk of Female Kindness – an Anthology of Honest Motherhood.’

Somewhat ironically, the launch was held at Abbottsford Convent, which still seems to have the aura of nun’s ghosts floating down the corridors. Despite this, it really was a fantastic way to finish a project, if you can ever call a project like this finished. The energy of having all those supportive people in one place – estimates say that we had about a hundred attendees – really can’t be beaten. I was on a high all day. 🙂

I confess that I did umm and ahh about whether or not to have a launch, as it’s a lot of extra time, effort and cash to organise. I don’t think I would have done it if the fabulous Dr. Carla Pascoe (who has a bub even smaller than mine – and mine is only 17 months) hadn’t stepped in to give me a hand, especially as I am a book launch virgin.

Our Book launch was perhaps a little unusual. Bearing in mind that many of those attending would have small children, we thought it best not to have a boozy affair at a sleek bookshop, although that would have been fun. Instead, our venue opened out on to a green courtyard, and we were blessed to have Judy McKinty facilitating play, and the talented Richard Morden helping with Colouring-in. There was even fairy bread, although how much was consumed by adults on the quiet I cannot say.

The Milk of Female Kindness: An Anthology of Honest MotherhoodHeather Harris, one of the contributors to the book, and also a midwife with Medecins Sans Frontiers, spoke eloquently about how the cover of the book represented women form around the world spitting the dummy, and refusing to be silenced about our experiences, despite the societal pressure to fit us into neat little molds. I also wittered on about something or other – its’ all a bit of a blur…

 

Anyway, thank you to everyone who came along, and to all the wonderful people who helped out along the way!

A once in a lifetime experience.

 

Avid Reader’s Cafe

PrintJust a quick note to let you know that my novel ‘The Artemis Effect’ is being featured over at Avid Reader’s Cafe at the moment.

The cafe is part of an initiative by the Independent Author’s Network, which I’ve finally joined after all this time. I’m not sure how many people find their books here, but fingers crossed someone will find and enjoy mine!

It’s really rather daunting the huge number of books out there, and many of them are genuinely worth reading. I wonder sometimes, whether the huge explosion in published books will be looked back on as a time of Renaissance – a flourishing of ideas? Will the best ones really rise to the surface, or will only the ones with the best marketing make it? Did Leonardo just have a great agent?

Exhibitionists

This year, I’m entering two paintings in the Linden Gallery’s postcard exhibition.  I entered last year, and was blown away when someone actually bought one of my paintings! Astonished that someone would hand over their hard-earned for my daubs.

The exhibition is open to everyone, the only restriction being that the pieces have to be 30 x 30cm or less. I did wonder what the quality of work would be like, but in fact it was very high. The variety of pieces was fascinating, and the different ways that people had embraced the small format.

Here are my entries for this year. Please don’t laugh too hard.

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The abstract is a representation of different colours I’ve seen in particular landscapes, and overlaid with interventions – they might be people passing through, fire events or even fenceposts.

The other is a portrait of the tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle. It’s done all in colour (no black within his face), and in pointillist style to reflect the movement of a tattoo needle. The borders show flash on skin.

I suppose it would be quite appropriate to draw a parallel between this exhibition and Indie publishing. In both cases, the artists and writers do it for the love, rather than the money (usually!), and yet we choose to bare our souls and share that work with a wider audience. Does that make us overly self important exhibitionists? The old phrase “vanity publishing” would suggest so.

However, I would suggest that perhaps there is something more democratic at work. The Linden exhibition allows people who are not full time artists to show their works, in the same way that indie publishing allows people who are not full time authors to share their writing with the world. The good stuff will hopefully be well received. Either way, the public are allowed to choose which work they like, free of the conventions and prejudices of professional critics and publishing houses.

Image courtesy of lookupatthesky.wordpress.com

Image courtesy of lookupatthesky.wordpress.com

For me, I think it is also perhaps something of an act of bravado – a challenge to somewhat introverted self to lay myself open to a wider audience. It’s not an easy thing to do, unless you have a thick skin. I recall strongly the first time I did a dance solo, in front of about 350 people. I was absolutely terrified beforehand, but regardless of how it was received, afterwards I was proud that I had been able to do it. It’s a great feeling to challenge yourself and rise to that challenge.

How about you? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts about these subjects. Are Indie authors and artists just blowing their own trumpet?

The elusive hard copy – Lulu vs. Createspace

Well, the ebook version of my novel ‘The Artemis Effect’ has been out for a while, and I have been working behind the scenes to try and get the book out in hard copy versions.

Finally, after much gnashing of teeth, both hardcover and paperback proof versions are on their way across the waters to me! Hoorah! I’ll try and post some  images of the quality when they arrive.

I’ve read other people’s posts on the pros and cons of Lulu versus Createspace, but all these posts seem to miss some of the big differences I’ve found between them, so here is my two bobs-worth. For those who don’t know, both firms are POD (Print on Demand) publishers. There may be other players out there, but these are the two I’m trying out. The information below is based on my personal experience with each of them, so let me know if I have misunderstood something, or if you found things very different. 🙂

Createspace

*  Will only make paperbacks. If you want a hardback version, you need to go elsewhere.

*  Their templates for formatting the interior come in two different styles: one leaves you more or less to your own devices (this is the one I went with), and the other is much more prescriptive, in that it suggests where the copyright page, dedications etc should go.

*  Their process seems pretty easy to understand, and I didn’t find conflicting information in different places.

*  They don’t have a calculator to work out the cost of manufacturing until you have uploaded everything. (See later note on Lulu’s calculator.)

*  Covers can be produced in two ways. Either you can ask the program to produce the template for your specific book, with all the necessary margins and bleed areas once you have uploaded the interior (for example, it takes into account how thick the spine will be based on the number of pages), and then you can provide a wrap-around cover to those specifications in pdf format. This is the way I went, with the assistance of my wonderful cover artist, Richard Morden. Createspace can provide an ISBN and barcode and will position this for you on the cover.

Alternatively, you can use Createspace’s cover wizard, which is pretty prescriptive in terms of cover design – where to put the title, your name, etc. If you think of the templates loaded into Powerpoint or Keynote then you’ll have some idea of the look of these covers. Most of them looked pretty ordinary to me, but perhaps with dedication you can do it well.

*  Createspace require an EIN or ITIN before you can put your book out there. This means tackling the frightening world of the American tax system, which for me meant a slightly terrifying phone call to a zombie lady in the middle of the night. I can only hope that I’ve done it right!

*  The price of paperbacks on Createspace is much more reasonable. Mine will be retailing for about $14.95 US, which I hope is within sensible limits.

*  Createspace only print in the US, as far as I can tell, so it can take a while for proofs and orders to arrive (up to 33 days to Australia!), although you can pay more for shipping and get them sooner.

*  Createspace are associated with Amazon, but you can also opt for wider distribution (including to bookshops and libraries) for another $25.

Lulu

*  Lulu will produce a much wider range of formats, shapes and sizes than Createspace, which is why I have approached them to produce my hardback. There are even a couple of options on how you want the hardback cover (with a dust jacket or casewrap). It’s worth noting that the sizes of paperback they make are not necessarily the same as for Createspace, so you may, as I did, end up formatting the interior of the book multiple times.

*  The information provided by Lulu, when you get into it, is sometimes conflicting or confusing. It seems like they started out with it being clean, and then over time it has become muddled. Someone on my team described their help as “a mindf**k”.

*  The creation of the cover is a bit trickier in some ways. If you want to use their standard cover wizard, then it is much better than the one at Createspace. However, it all gets more interesting if you want a wrap-around cover. They will provide templates, but apparently they are a bit confusing.
If you produce the artwork for a wrap-around,  then you also have to produce your own barcode, whereas if you simply add cover art for front and back covers, then Lulu will generate and position a barcode for you. However, you are then limited to having a single cover spine (any colour you like), and their very limited range of fonts for the title. Some of their fonts would make a graphic designer weep, but there are some simple ones too which are OK.

*  There is a price calculator on the Home Page, but I found it very misleading, possibly inaccurate. Initially, before I uploaded everything, it seemed to say that the cost of manufacturing my paperback was $13. When I’d jumped through all the hoops, and finally got to the pricing page, with would not allow me to sell the book for less than $27! Frankly, I would be astonished if anyone would take a chance on a relatively unknown author’s paperback at that price. The extra partly came from retail markup, but the manufacturing cost had also mysteriously risen to nearly $20. The cost of their hardback version was much more in keeping with what I’d expect.

*  Lulu also provide a template for formatting the interior. It was the ‘basic’ version, in that they didn’t try to tell me which bit to put where, but had standard styles, and the correct page size and margins, which I found fine.

*  Lulu print in other places than the US, so if you are worried about carbon-miles, then it’s worth checking to see if they print in your country. This also cuts down the delivery times and postage costs if you are not in the US.

*  Like Amazon for Kindle, Lulu will let you release a book without having given them a EIN or ITIN from the tax department. Both will withhold 30% of your royalties until you do so, but you can get it out there without facing the tax zombies.

*  Lulu seem to provide your book to the market as soon as it is uploaded, whereas Createspace want you to approve a proof version before it hits the shelves.

*  Lulu have an Expanded distribution network also, but it costs a bit more at $75 US.

So, that’s my experience with the two publishers. I’d love to hear what you found if you have published with them (especially anything I should be looking out for!) 🙂

Fingers crossed they will be good quality – I’m really looking forward to holding my novel in my hands!

The Fear of the New

Recently, I was fortunate enough to receive a book voucher for a big bookshop in the city. I love spending these things – book purchasing without guilt! Of course, I do tend to go over my allotted amount, but spread over a few books, that still makes them great value. When I got my haul home, I stacked them up on the table to gloat for a bit, and realised that none of them are by authors that I haven’t read before. They are all books by authors I already adore.  As someone who has just released a book (‘The Artemis Effect’), that lead me to some serious soul-searching.

Why would someone try my book, or take a chance on me as a new author?

When I do try a new author, what leads me to do so?

Is the cost of the book important?

Are people with different personalities more likely to take the chance on something new?

Does it make a difference whether the author is Indie or Traditionally published?

When I try a new author, there are certainly a few things which influence my choice.

Often I’ll take a chance on something new because it’s discounted. Most of the books I bought with my voucher were in the $20 plus category, and for me that’s a lot to fork out for something I might not enjoy. However, at the library, second-hand bookshop, or in the $5 pile, and I’m much more likely to give it a go. Once I’ve discovered something I do enjoy, I’m likely to stick with that author, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Curiously, a book being free (as in  Kindle Select Program release) does not make me more likely to try it – I suppose there is something in my head still which still whispers “You get what you pay for…”

I admit that I am shallow enough that a good cover can suck me in. Well, at least to picking it up in the first place, but if the blurb or section I scan don’t entice me, then the cover alone is not enough to make me branch out. A good example is David Michael Lukas’ ‘The Oracle of Stamboul’, which first attracted me because of its gorgeous cover art. Gave it a try, and what a find!

Being in the literary field, I do read a lot of reviews, and some of them have at least prompted me to add those books to be ‘To Read’ list, although to date I don’t think I’ve ever actually read any of them. Maybe that’s just laziness on my part. I sincerely hope that other people are more influenced by reviews than I am, or I feel it will be very hard to get the word out there about the new book. If there is an e-book I’m interested in anyway, then I’ll read the reviews before I buy it. Curiously, those reviews don’t have to be universally positive: one I read recently which stated that it was ‘gritty’ fantasy actually inclined me ion the book’s favour, as I’d probably prefer that to fluffy fantasy.

I have certainly picked up and read books by people I’ve met through blogging – most recently ‘Lupa’ by Marie Marshall, and also the novella ‘Prince of Graves’ by W.E. Linde. I’m only a couple of pages into Lupa, but I can highly recommend ‘Prince of Graves’, even though it is not normally the type of fantasy I read. Give it a go!

As to the question of different personalities – surely this must come into play. There are some people who adore routine, and feel lost without it. Others thrill at being avant-garde and cutting edge. I suppose that it may come down to your risk-taking profile. I’m perhaps best described as a calculated risk-taker. I’m done lots of physically risky things, (like parachuting, white and black water rafting, hang-gliding), and every time I tell my mother that I’m going on holiday, she asks, “Which dangerous place are you going this time?”. On the other hand, large scale public speaking scares the pants off me. However, trying a new author is a much smaller scale risk. It’s really a risk that you’ll be wasting your time, that most precious resource. Picking up (and persisting) with a bad book may take up time which you could have spent doing something much more fulfilling or enjoyable.

This point leads me to one close to my heart. I’ve often read comments from people (and indeed book reviewers) who say that they won’t read an Indie published book, as they’ve been burnt too many times in the past. Bad editing, poor spelling and formatting all detract from a story, and in some cases make it next to unreadable. They say that this dross will sink to the bottom of the ‘Amazon’ flood, but is this true? I’m sure that there must be great Indie books out there, wallowing in the silt at the bottom, who never had a chance because they were new and the authors never managed to break the ice of their anonymity. The trouble is finding them.

I would genuinely love to hear what factors make you more likely to try a new author, and also what makes you cautious! 🙂

Related posts:

Trying Something New – Psychology Today

Every New Author’s Greatest Enemy (and How to Beat It) – Jeff Goins

The Artemis Effect

Finally, I’m proud to announce that my new novel, ‘The Artemis Effect’ is available from Amazon! Hooray! Time to celebrate. 🙂

It’s currently available as an ebook for Kindle (and Kindle apps on iPhone and iPad), but will also be available in hard copy format soon.

To give you an idea of what it is about, here is the blurb:

Three comfortable lives are shattered when a wave of inexplicable events exposes the fragility of human society. With an unprecedented celestial phenomenon, devastating high tides, a breakdown in global communication networks, and the sudden appearance of violent ring-gangs swarming through cities and towns, Kimberley, Scott and Bryn struggle to understand the vast events unfolding around them. Will they survive the Artemis Effect? Will they discover the truth behind the collapse of society before it’s too late?

The book has something of an unusual structure, being told from three completely different sets of people in different areas of the world. It also, I am interested to note, has something of a feminist nature to it. This was not really an intentional thrust of the book: I just like strong female characters.

It’s been quite a drawn out process, so I can hardly believe that it is finally out there. It went something like this:

  • 2003    Sat down on the sofa and jotted down some notes for a new science fiction novel. I was inspired to write in this genre partly because I’d read some terrible examples, and thought that I could have a go at doing something better!
  • 2003-2007    Wrote, researched and finally finished the first draft. There were, I admit, long breaks in this process, when the book would go away for a month or more, and then I’d be re-inspired to push on. I recall finishing the draft just before a bellydancing class, and announcing the fact to the other women there. They were supportive, but to be honest a little baffled that I’d chosen to write sci-fi.
  • 2008-2009   Again, it went away in the drawer for a while, so that I could get some perspective on the work. When it came out, I went through and brutally edited it. It was only after this process that I allowed anyone (even my partner) to read it.
  • 2010   I did submit the novel to one or two publishers, and while I got quite a positive response from one, I began to see that it would be really extremely difficult to break into traditional publishing as an unknown writer. I confess I lost heart a bit at this point, and wondered if it was all worthwhile. To be honest, when I wrote it, I didn’t really imagine that it would be published, so I didn’t push too hard in this direction.
  • 2011-2012    Towards the end of 2011, I started to hear about the ebook revolution, and thought that it would be nice to put all that hard work to some good. Little did I know what an intensive ten months I was in for! Re-editing, taking on comments from beta-readers, re-editing again, proofreading (not once, but at least three times!), cover design, and then learning the intricacies of correct formatting.
    I’ve no doubt that it is a much more polished and readable book than when I first submitted it to publishers, and I’m proud that it is be best I can make it at this stage.

If anyone would like to read it, then I thank you for your time, and hope you enjoy it. If you do, then please consider posting a review of it – I’d be most grateful. 🙂

I’d also love to hear about the process of getting your books together (if you write). Were you as accomplished a procastinator? Or were you driven and dedicated?

Teetering on the brink

Yes, that really is me with the ripcord in my hand!

Some serious work has been going on behind the scenes on formatting my book ‘The Artemis Effect’, and it looks like there is only a tiny bit of work left before we can launch it on an unsuspecting world! I’m not sure how everyone else who has launched e-book has gone about translating it for Kindle, but my loyal team have been working hard to make sure that the html is nice and clean, and that things like images always read correctly. Ensuring that indents and line spacing read as well as they can, and tables of contents actually work.

So how does it feel to be this close after so long?

Well, the best parallel I can draw is to skydiving. I did my first (and only) parachute jump just after I turned 18, and took the option of an Accelerated Freefall Course, in Bairnsdale, Victoria. Accelerated Freefall means basically that you do a whole day of training, and then the next day, you launch yourself out of a perfectly good light aircraft at 10,000 feet. It’s not a tandem jump, so although you have a couple of jump-masters hanging on to your legs at first to make sure that you haven’t completed flipped out, you are responsible for choosing to leave the ‘plane, pulling your ripcord, and piloting yourself down to the ground.

Obviously this bears some comparison to indie publishing. There is a team to help you with major bloopers when it comes to grammar and spelling, but writing the novel, and choosing to thrust it into the ether are decisions you take on your own. If it goes well, then great! If the critics trash it, well, that’s also no-ones fault but my own (unless they are particularly grumpy people anyway I suppose ;)).

The funny thing in both cases is that I wasn’t really frightened. Please don’t get the impression that I’ve blowing my own bravery trumpet here! I can be a complete coward when it come to non-fatal heights. However, by the time we had done all the training and drills, and were up in that plane, there was a certain sense of inevitability about it. I knew that I was going to do it, and so didn’t freak out. So it is with the book: so much work has gone in over such a long period of time, that’s it’s going out no matter what.

As it was, on the day of my jump, I leapt out into the blue, and went into complete sensory overload for a while, which if you’ve never experienced it, is really very curious. You don’t think “Oh my god!”, or “Aaarghh! What am I doing?” or indeed anything at all. Your brain goes totally blank, and you have no recollection at all of what just happened. Having come to my senses, I did all the drills, and pulled my ripcord. For the record, you don’t jerk violently upwards as it may appear in videos. It’s rather gentle, and I thoroughly enjoyed wafting around up there on my own, taking in the scenery. Truly a delightful experience – very free. I landed competently enough if unspectacularly on my butt, and lived to tell the tale.

The guy who jumped after me got it wrong, failed to notice that his ‘chute had tangled, and broke both his legs and his pelvis. No-one else jumped that day.

I can only hope that the book launch goes as smoothly as my jump! I’ve no doubt that it will be buffeted by the fickle winds of critique, but hopefully will have a relatively peaceful float through the great world of publishing.

At what cost e-books?

Two things have recently come together for me to remind me of the potential cost of e-books recently.

I’m not talking about the dollars and cents cost – that is obviously much lower than buying a physical book. Nor am I talking about the environmental cost. Admittedly, it takes power to read an e-book, but there must be a lot of physical books which absorb not only power in their production, but also resources such as paper.

What I’m talking about is the loss of skills.

The first instance which really brought this home to me was recently receiving a Kindle. When you turn it off, it somewhat ironically has varied screensavers of the bygone age of printing: blocks for printing, type, rolled up newspapers, sharpened pencils. All very beautifully photographed in black and white, but also a bit sad.

The second was speaking to an illustrator who works primarily on children’s books and text books. As we all know, traditional publishers have been really shaken up by the popularity of e-books. From the outside at least, it seems as if they are running scared. As I understand it, this has lead them to be more and more conservative in their choices for books, and also on the outlay they are willing to make on a book. My friend the illustrator is at the end of the food chain, and so when publishers don’t publish as much, or decide they can recycle illustrations from previous editions, he’s one of the little people who lose out.

This is a great post I read recently on this subject: Birth of a book from Katy at Storytelling Nomad. It certainly brought on a dose of nostalgia for me.

I recognise that the market for books is not infinitely expandable, but arguably, publishers (and ultimately readers) are shooting themselves in the foot by taking this approach. By producing less titles, they make it harder to get published, especially if you are a new author. Therefore, more people are bound to either be disheartened by rejections, or turn to Indie publishing, compounding the problem.

By providing less work for all the people who rely on the publishing industry, (graphic designers, illustrators, printers and so on), they decrease the skills base available to them, as people are forced to move into different industries.

I was taught graphics by a fabulous old gentleman who had worked in advertising in the days before computers. This was a man who really understood colour, layout and the impact of different fonts. He made us draw letters by hand, and there are a great many fine nuances in their shape which influences the feel of the finished piece. Now that we can all produce our own covers, and the formatting of the book is largely a dictate of whichever device we are producing it for, all of that sophistication is lost.

As someone about to become an Indie author myself, I realise that this may seem like a slightly hypocritical rant. 🙂 However, I do think there is a place for both e-books, and truly beautiful hard copy books. Maybe this is how physical books can truly differentiate themselves? If we want a quick read, an airport book, or to sample a new author, then e-books seem a good way to go without using precious resources.

But for a really treasured tome, or to own books by authors we adore, perhaps we should be willing to spend a bit more for a beautiful thing. Maybe this is just my buried luddite coming out, but the loss of the special for the ease of the mass produced seems to make us all poorer. Love to hear your thoughts.

You’re an Author? Me Too! – News from the New York Times

I’d like to share this interesting and to be honest, slightly worrying, article for Indie authors from the New York Times.

You’re an Author? Me Too! – Essay – Book Review – New York Times.

They point out that the number of Americans who read for pleasure is decreasing all the time – for example, 53% of adult Americans did not read a book for pleasure in the past year. I’m not sure how that figure is reflected across the rest of the world but of course America is a large market.

Shocking as this is, I have been able to find some data for Australia which gives me some hope. A recent AC Neilsen survey in Australia suggests that 78% of the adult population reads for pleasure every day or most days of the week, and of that 72% of the reading is of books (rather than newspapers and magazines).

Whatever the figure is, there is no denying that the number of published authors (including Indie authors) is rising all the time. Great! You might say. Lots more choice, and lots of variety. No doubt this is true, but surely the sheer volume of work being produced must make finding the good stuff harder? Are we floundering in too many stories?

Maybe not – maybe we can rely on reviews and ratings to help us sort through the morass of writing out there. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on this issue. As someone about to float something into the sea of new writing out there, it frankly seems just a bit daunting.

The article also has a interesting take on who is reading all the stuff out there, and it sounds like the community of readers is populated to an increasing extent by those who write. Is this a reflection of people involving themselves to a much greater extent in the literary life? I am certainly aware that in the blogisphere and on Twitter, there is a lot of good discussion going on between authors, which no doubt makes us better writers, but also perhaps to create more of a word-based community.

Please let me know your thoughts. Are people reading less? Are there too many new books out there? And is it hard to find good stories?