Are Ebook Sales Really Declining?

If you are an author, especially an indie author, the question of on-going viability in the ebook market is of great concern. Well, it is of great concern to me because 99% of my sales are ebooks through the 'Zon.

I think the big 5 publishing houses would like me to believe the days of my indie success are over, that perhaps, I should go back to groveling for their attention through the industry gatekeepers, the agents.

I'm not ready to give up my indie status. Not yet.

Recently, I've come across two very interesting articles with opposing points of view on the subject.

It would seem that the Association of American Publishers would like the public to believe that the shift away from paperbacks to ebooks has reversed and the ebook market is in decline. Not great news for indie authors or small presses. Or for the many trees who will have to give their lives for the resurgent success of the paperback market.

Here is an excerpt from an article posted to The New York Times website.

“E-books were this rocket ship going straight up,” said Len Vlahos, a former executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, a nonprofit research group that tracks the publishing industry. “Just about everybody you talked to thought we were going the way of digital music.”

But the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.

But here's the problem with their data:

It is also possible that a growing number of people are still buying and reading e-books, just not from traditional publishers. The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.
Read the full article here.

While another site that monitors ebook sales on Amazon, Author Earnings, posted an article with a very different outlook for sellers of ebooks.

Here is an excerpt from the article.

The widely-heralded “plateauing” of the US ebook market has gotten plenty of press over the last 18 months, fueled primarily by these reports of declining ebook sales from the AAP, from Nielsen, and in the released quarterly financials of the Big Five.
Traditional publishers and publishing industry pundits are claiming that the broader US ebook market has now flattened, or is even shrinking.
But at the same time, the largest ebook store in world is telling the Wall Street Journal that the exact opposite is happening:
“Amazon says e-book sales in its Kindle store—which encompasses a host of titles that aren’t published by the five major houses—are up in 2015 in both units and revenue.”
You can read the full article here.

So are ebook sales declining or not? No, I don't think so. Author Earnings further reports:

But right now, as of September 2015:
  • “Nontraditionally-published” ebooks from indie self-publishers and Amazon publishing imprints make up 58% of all Kindle ebooks purchased in the US.
  • Traditionally-published ebooks make up 42% of Kindle ebooks purchased in the US.
  • When the AAP reports “declining ebook sales”, they are describing the shrinking portion of the US ebook market held by their 1200 participating traditional publishers, whose share of the broader US ebook market has fallen in the last 18 months from 46% of all Kindle ebook purchases to less than 32%.
This dramatic market share shift has not gone entirely unnoticed in traditional-publishing circles. In July, influential industry veteran Mike Shatzkin observed that:
Ebook sales for big publishers may be declining but they’re being replaced by indie sales at lower prices (their USP) at Amazon.”

When the big 5 won their war with Amazon and began setting their own prices for ebooks, my sales soared. Is this just my experience or is this indicative of a larger trend in the market away from the higher prices set by the big 5? Did the big 5 basically shoot themselves in the proverbial foot?

No one is going to want to pay more for an ebook when you can get the paperback cheaper at Walmart. The big 5 were intentionally using this strategy to tank the ebook market and bolster the dying paperback market. So, yes, the big 5 ebook market was going to decline.

Readers who follow authors published by the big 5 are going to remain loyal and purchase the paperback if the ebook is more expensive. But what about those readers who have gotten used to the lower price of ebooks? A lot of them have migrated to independently published books.

I think the big 5 should break out of the denial their living in and quit believing that their segment of the publishing industry is the only segment that matters.


Mommy Tears

Yesterday, my daughter and I traveled to a stately old plantation house just south of town. There we met her wedding photographer to take bridal portraits on the grounds of the estate. I watched as my beautiful, poised daughter worked well with the photographer. The two of them seemed to read each other’s mind.

It occurred to me how independent my baby had become over the last twenty-one years. She knew exactly what she wanted. Not once did the two of them ask my advice or opinion. My job? To lift her train and carry it behind her while they relocated from one spot to another. Sure, the two of them could not have done it without me, but truthfully, she could have brought anyone along to carry her dress while she walked across the landscape from location to location.

She’s at that point in her life where she needs me, but doesn’t really need me. Both. And neither. Am I complaining? Sort of. But not really. Kind of. I have mixed emotions about my little girl growing up and becoming a woman. I’m proud of the woman she’s become. Sometimes I wish I were more like her. Sometimes she’s my role model.

She’s intelligent, thoughtful, classy, elegant, considerate, conscientious, passionate, compassionate, and opinionated. When she was a baby, I struggled with how to raise her. I knew nothing about children. Finally, after reading a lot of how-to books on raising daughters, I decided what I needed to do was be the kind of woman I wanted her to grow up to be. In some respects, I’ve failed to be the person I’ve wanted her to become, but for the most part, if I’ve truly been her role model, then I must have done something right. Or maybe she's become who she is in spite of me.

But as proud as I am of her for being such an awesome woman, sometimes I wish she could have stayed a little girl a little while longer. The instinct to protect her from heartache, nurture her with lullabies and cuddles and motherly words of wisdom, and shield her from the meanness of other people is still very strong, even though I know she has to move on into her adult life and make her own decisions. Even though I have to step back and give her the room to be her own woman.

Several times yesterday, while I watched her as she moved gracefully in her stunning bridal gown, tears welled in my eyes. Yeah, I cried. Mommy tears.

When the photographer would tell her to smile, a gorgeous smile would spread across my daughter’s face. She doesn’t realize how beautiful she is. Inside and out. She’s glowing and in love. She’s happy. Isn’t that what most mothers want for their baby girls? I just want her to be happy. With her life. With her husband. With the choices she makes. Whatever choices she makes.

I'm looking forward to watching her live her life and be happy. Even if that means I have to watch from a distance. But I want her to know when heartache comes, and it will because it comes to all of us at some point, I’ll be there for her. Because even though she’s a grown woman, she’s still my little girl.


An Author Should Be Able To Write a Blog Post, Right?

Authors are word people. That’s what we do, string a bunch of words together and hope they make sense to somebody out there in the big, wide world. Nothing stresses me more in my author life than facing a blog post deadline and having no idea what to write. I stare at my blank Word document, and the empty page mocks me. I embrace ideas as if they are the answer to my dilemma, write the posts hurriedly at insanely late hours of the night, and then delete them the next morning, tossing my not-so-good late-night ideas aside like a rejected lover.

Maybe as a blogger, whether you are a writer or not, you’ve faced the same writer’s block. I Googled the topic and found some sites to get the blogging creative juices flowing.

Author Molly Greene’s blog post: 101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas

The Blog Stylist’s post: 32 Of the Most-Popular Blog-Post Ideas

Chris Brogan’s post: 100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write

All you need is a basic skill at Googling to find something to write about. Right? No, it’s not that easy. When has anything about writing or blogging ever been that easy? The difficult part isn’t finding a topic on which to write. No, it’s finding a topic that your blog readers will be interested in reading. Stopping long enough to read a blog post takes time, and time is one thing most blog readers do not have in unlimited supply. If the topic bores them or doesn’t have relevance in their life, the reader is going to “x” out and watch a Youtube video about the ten rudest contestants on American Idol or read an Eonline article about the Kardashians.

It seems simple. Identify the intended readership. Write to the readers’ interests. Post your masterpiece on your blogging platform. Ta-da! Done! Watch your view stats rise to magnificent heights. Um…no.

The blogs I find most interesting relate to the craft of writing and navigating the publishing world, but my readers may not find those same topics entertaining or informative. Only another author wants to read a discussion of character development or point of view breaks or the dreaded, nasty telling versus showing concept. Even though I love other authors, those wonderful people are not my intended readership.

Okay, so I'm going to peruse the lists and blog about something, but I want to ask…Dear Reader, what blog topics get your attention and keep it?


#CoverReveal - The Memory Catcher

When someone touches Naomi Fuller, she catches visions of dark memories that fill the other person’s soul with regret, fear, or shame. Living with other people’s guilt leaves little room in her psyche for her own history. She recalls seemingly unconnected events, but did those horrible incidents happen yesterday, last week, or six years ago?

Naomi believes someone is messing with her mind, so she turns to Sidney Ashe for help untangling her distorted timeline, but the more she leans on him, the more she questions his motives. Can she distance herself from Ashe when her heart is hopelessly falling for him?

As Naomi struggles to understand how her emerging memories mesh with the guilty memories of everyone around her and things become clearer, she fears there is a killer in Clallam County who would do anything to stop her from remembering.



Subscribe to my monthly newsletter at 

before September 10, 2015, to get a sneak peek of chapter one of The Memory Catcher.


I Wanna Go Back There - Canada

Several years ago, my family traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Our trip was one of the best experiences of my life.

Recently we went to Disney's Epcot Center in Florida where we saw the O Canada! movie in the Canadian Pavilion. The movie and the song made me want to go back to Canada so much. Here's a video with the song...

Returning to Canada is on my bucket list.


A Few of My Favorite Things

Here it is halfway through another year, and I wonder where the months went and what have I accomplished so far this year. It’s been a busy year already. I knew it would be. The first four and a half months were spent doing tax returns for other people. I barely got mine filed on time. As an accountant, I find the thing I like doing least is my own accounting. I hate reconciling my bank account, and I detest doing my own taxes. I can do that for other people, but mine seems to languish. Truthfully, I haven’t reconciled my bank account in months. That’s really bad since I’ll roll my eyes when one of my clients does the same thing.

When I started thinking about all the stuff I’d have to take care of this year, I panicked. Will I have any time to do something fun?

After reflecting on everything I have to get done this year, my head starts to hurt. I need some down time, I tell myself. With a heavy sigh, my mind turns toward a few of my favorite things. (Thank you very much Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music.)

SO here it is. A list of a few of my favorite things (not necessarily in any kind of order):

1.     Tex-Mex food – I could seriously eat Tex-Mex three times a day. Here is a picture of my favorite cheese enchilada recipe. 

You can find the recipe in  my original post about it here.


Sunday Snippet - 06.07.15 Shaw's Landing

This week's snippet comes from my upcoming paranormal romantic suspense release, Shaw's Landing, the fourth book in the Haunted Hearts Series.

Here's the book's description:

Tired of keeping secrets that could get her killed…

As long as Courtney lived with Jared Crenshaw, she was able to keep his secrets and stay alive, but now that he’s dead, what she knows could get her killed. Hiding from the good guys can be just as dangerous as running from the bad guys.

Protected by a man who seems too good to be true…

Just when she thinks she has nowhere left to run, an investigator with the Arkansas State Police helps her find a new place to hide. Shaw Bennett seems to be everything Jared wasn’t, but can she trust him? He is, after all, just another cop.

Her life threatened by the father she never knew…

Shaw’s Landing seems a great place to disappear for a while until the night terrors begin. Are the visions she sees her imagination, the product of her increasing fear, or something more sinister? Has the curse of Haskins blood followed her?

Can the promise of love overcome the ghosts of the past at Shaw’s Landing?

Here's the Snippet:

Courtney Crenshaw’s eyes popped open when the squeak of rusty hinges woke her from a restless sleep. She rolled off her makeshift bed, scrambled to find a place to hide, and managed to wedge into a tight recess in the wall. Across the dimly lit room, Lucy Kimbrough backed through the door to the tunnel.

To Courtney’s horror, Lucy was dragging a body. A limp body.

A thin red line sliced across Caroline Grayson’s throat and splotches of crimson decorated Lucy’s shirt. Caroline’s long blonde hair dragged the ground, picking up debris from the dirty floor. When Lucy shifted her weight, Caroline’s head flopped to the other side, and it seemed her glassy eyes stared straight at Courtney.

A scream lodged in her throat and stuck there. Witnessing Lucy doing something insanely criminal was the worst place in the whole world to be. If Lucy caught her watching, Courtney was a dead woman. Actually, she might be a dead woman anyway. Courtney was probably the only person in Hill County that could link Lucy to Jared Crenshaw’s murder and now it appeared Lucy had murdered Caroline Grayson as well.

Courtney froze, barely inhaling shallow gulps of oxygen. The heavy air in the underground room made it difficult to breathe even when she wasn’t freaking out and afraid for her life. She glanced toward the door and calculated her chances of making a break for it without Lucy catching her. No, Courtney had to wait her out and hide in the shadows. Thankfully, Lucy seemed oblivious to anything except dragging Caroline. If Courtney waited long enough, maybe Lucy would leave and never know she had been there.

She pressed her hand to her chest and tried hard not to move even one twitch. Across the semi-dark room, Lucy popped a latch and a door swung open. Courtney had only been on the other side of the door once. Behind it was a set of stairs that by-passed the first floor and climbed two flights to the second floor of Victoria House. A system of hidden passageways began at the top of the stairs. Someone who knew how to navigate them could watch undetected whatever was going on in any bedroom of the house.

Alfred Hamilton had obviously built the house in such a way that he could spy on his guests. Courtney had heard stories all her life about the Baron of Hill County. He had been the crime boss of his day and had controlled liquor distribution and gambling in northern Arkansas during the days of prohibition, and someone had hated him enough to kill him in his sleep. The story went that he and his wife were murdered in the 1920’s. Some said his ghost haunted the halls of Victoria House. Some said his wife haunted her bedroom. Others claimed that Victoria Hamilton strolls along the edge of Lake Jefferson looking for a lover that never appears.

Courtney shivered when she considered all the ghost stories she’d heard about the house over the years, then wrapped her arms around her middle, and rubbed her skin where chill bumps had formed.

Across the room, Lucy tugged Caroline toward the open doorway to the enclosed stairwell. Dragging Caroline’s body upstairs seemed like a lot of hard work. Wouldn’t it have been easier to dig a hole and drop her into the ground somewhere in the unfinished portion of the basement or to dig a shallow grave out in the brushy woods that covered most of the grounds around the house?

Lucy stopped, jerked once, and turned to scan the basement room as if she’d sensed another presence. Courtney wedged further into the recess in the wall. Her hiding spot was too small for her to fit comfortably. Actually, it was a thin crawlspace between two walls that hadn’t been sealed off properly rather than an intentional recess in the wall. If she tilted her head at just the right angle, she could observe what Lucy was doing and possibly go unnoticed.

She swatted at the back of her head as if something was messing with her hair, but no one was in the room with her except Courtney and the dead woman. Lucy’s actions weren’t making much sense, but then, she often acted psycho.

Lucy dropped Caroline’s feet and knelt beside her. “We’re almost there, Caroline. You wanna sleep in Victoria Hamilton’s bed, don’t you?” Lucy leaned closer to the dead woman, her lips near Caroline’s ear, which seemed kind of ridiculous since Lucy wasn’t whispering. “How much you wanna bet that Tori Downing has done it with your husband in that big ole bed?” Lucy let loose vicious cackles that could have brought a corpse back from the dead.

But Caroline was good and dead. The woman wasn’t going to resurrect.

“I didn’t do this for them, you know. I did this for Josh. It’s my gift to him.” The woman shook her head at Caroline as if outdone with a misbehaving child. “You should have never come back to town. Everyone tries to take him away, but he belongs to me.”

It was sick enough the woman was having a one-sided conversation with a corpse, but she was also saying stuff about Josh that wasn’t true. Josh would never belong to Lucy. Josh didn’t belong to anyone.

Lucy hooked her arms around Caroline’s ankles, rose to her feet, and began dragging the dead weight behind her again. “When I’m done here, I have one more thing I need to do.” Lucy huffed as she and Caroline disappeared through the door.

The clunk clunk of Caroline’s head hitting each tread of the stairs as Lucy made her way higher and higher caused every one of Courtney’s taut nerves to jump. She moved to the open door and listened.

Lucy’s deranged voice filtered down to her from the landing above. “I’m gonna find Josh, and I’m gonna make him tell Courtney the truth.”

What truth? Josh had never lied to her. Not about anything that mattered.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of Shaw's Landing. The book will be released mid-July and available for pre-sale soon. Sign up for my newsletter to find out when the book goes on pre-sale. The subscription form is at the top left corner of this blog.

While you're waiting, please check out my other books available on :

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