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Gifts for a Co-Worker

This week for our 12 Weeks of Christmas Gifts....
The gift is for Co-Workers!
Visit HERE to see past and upcoming Gift ideas.

And please visit HERE to view the gifts we have already posted!

Don't forget to grab the Christmas Gifts Button in the sidebar!!!

I wanted to share with you a few gift Ideas from last year that I thought would be perfect for co-workers. I made these last year and they turned out great! Everyone loved getting them.

Homemade Christmas Ornaments
These first ones are homemade ornaments. Just take muslin and let the kids (or you) color them. Add a plain back, fill with stuffing. Sew edges and add a ribbon for hanging. They are so quick and easy!
To see the whole tutorial, please click HERE or click on photo.
DIY Granola Mix
These cute jars are very easy. Just add in some delicious granola mix, cute christmas fabric and its ready to give!
To see the whole tutorial, please click HERE or click on photo.
Just a few more things I've made...
Hope these help you get some more Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas Ornaments | Some of the ornaments we have made in the past. A few years ago we made and sent out Jesus Stocking Ornaments to everyone on our Christmas list. We also added a 8x10 version as a coloring page so they could color their own. Last year we made silhouette ornaments and photo ornaments with scrapbook paper, glue, wooden remnants and ribbons. We love how they turned out!

Blessings Jar | Count your blessing by adding them one at a time in this jar! Then read them with your family each Christmas. We got this from our kids this year. Every year they make something for us!

Guest Post by Selena Kitt

Selena sez: I’ve always been a proponent of higher ebook prices.

Not the crazy $12.99 more-than-the-paperback prices that legacy publishing is so fond of so they can continue to pay Manhattan rents—but higher than $0.99, certainly. Even for a short story.

That’s right, once upon a time, my short stories were selling for $2.99. And yes, they were selling.

But things changed. The indie market got more crowded. Authors started selling their full-length novels for $0.99 and some even gave them away for free. Blogs popped up everywhere telling Kindle owners where to find free and cheap ebooks.

So I decided to experiment with my prices. I lowered the prices on all my stories to $0.99—that was everything from 3K-15K. Everything else (some of which was priced as high as $5.99) I lowered to $3.99. And I left them that way for three months. A full quarter of ebook sales.

What did I discover?

At first, I found that lowering my price to $0.99 shot me up on a few bestseller lists. That increased my e

xposure, which was great. And I also found that my sales of those $0.99 titles doubled. Stories that had previously been selling 50 a month were now selling 100.

Sounds good, right?

But, of course, at $0.99 I was getting a 35% instead of the 70% royalty I’d been making when I was selling them at $2.99. I was now making roughly $35 a month on a story that had previously been taking in about $100 a month—a loss of $65 a month in income. Multiply that by twenty-five short stories (which is about what I have out there) and that’s a $1650 a month loss.

Worth it?

At first, I thought it might be, given the exposure. The higher you are in the rankings, the more people see your name, the more sales you make, right? But over time, more and more (and more!) indie authors started selling their stuff at $0.99 too, and those lists became overrun with cheap books.

I’d pretty much decided to quit the experiment when I read a comment from Konrath on his blog confirming my suspicion—that authors don’t make money at anything less than $2.99. Which meant, and I’ll quote Joe here:

“My data also shows that novels outsell short stories, even though I've priced my shorts at 99 cents. It stands to reason that if I switch shorts to $2.99, I'll sell fewer, but I bet I make more money. So the next step is to raise novels to $3.99-$4.99 and short stories to $2.99 and see what happens. Assuming I have the guts to do so...”

I’ve now changed all my short story prices back to $2.99, and raised my novel prices to $4.99. I imagine I’ll run this experiment for another three months and see what happens. If logic prevails, I’ll sell fewer books, but make more money.

But as Joe pointed out, doing this takes guts. Moving beyond the magical $2.99 price-point for novels, pushing those higher, to make room for short stories at that price, is a risky proposition. Will the market bear it?

Honestly, I think it will. And here’s why—Kindle readers are tired of $0.99 cheapies. The shine is off the new toy, people have stopped loading their Kindles up with freebies and cheapies, and have started getting more discerning about what they download. Many Kindle readers are starting to shy away from the $0.99 price point because they’ve read some stinkers and don’t want to travel down that road again. What was once a huge draw for Kindle readers—oooh, look, cheap books for my new toy!—has now become the opposite.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Which is why it’s a scary experiment!

Apropos for Halloween, don’t you think?

So let’s kick off this frightening new price point with a $2.99 story very fitting for the season, shall we?

HUNTING SEASON – A Love Blood Story by Blake Crouch and Selena Kitt

For those of you scratching your heads, wondering how in the heck the pair of us ending up writing together, given that our genres are so vastly different, I’ll explain. Back at the beginning of the year, I’d posted some of my sales numbers on Joe’s blog, which at the time were astronomical (I was making $30,000 a month at Barnes and Noble alone!) and Joe jokingly said, “If you ever want to collaborate, let me know!”

I’d just finished reading and reviewing DRACULAS – and being the huge horror fan that I am, how could I resist? I emailed him to say, “I know you were kidding, but I’d love to collaborate with you guys.” And to my surprise, Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch actually took me up on the offer! They were planning a sequel to DRACULAS called WOLFMEN, and wanted me on board, along with a fourth writer (who has yet to be disclosed).

It made perfect marketing sense to cross-pollinate their audience and mine, which were both large, but vastly different.

Of course, no one knew if this great idea would work in practice…

So Blake Crouch agreed to take me out for a test run, and that’s how this story was born. The collaboration process was, I must say, an amazing success, and I couldn’t be prouder of the result. I really think this story is something special—but I’m probably a little biased!

If you want to know more about how HUNTING SEASON: A Love Blood Story was written, what the process was and how things developed, there’s an interview between myself and Blake included as bonus material at the end.

It’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for… you guessed it.

$2.99.

Is it worth it?

You be the judge!

HUNTING SEASON – A Love Blood Story by Blake Crouch and Selena Kitt

This 8,000 (approx) word collaboration by thriller/suspense/horror writer Blake Crouch and erotic romance author Selena Kitt includes bonus interview material with the authors about the upcoming sequel to the Konrath, Crouch, Strand and Wilson bestseller DRACULAS.

-------------

He’s a butcher.

She’s the trophy wife of a trophy hunter.

They used to be high school sweethearts, but that was two decades ago, and times have changed.

Meet Ariana Plano...40 years old, miserable, stuck in a loveless marriage to the worst mistake of her life.

Meet Ray Koski...40 years old, miserable, a lonely butcher who can do nothing but immerse himself in the drudgery of his work.

Once a week during hunting season, she brings her old teenage flame game meat for processing. They do not speak. They rarely make eye contact. Some histories are just too painful.

But this week will be different.

This week—a shocking encounter twenty-two years in the making—will change everything.

Joe sez: In November, I'm going to raise some of my prices on shorts, just to see how it goes. In December, I'll do the same with novels.

No gain without risk. I'm on a lot of bestseller lists, and raising prices may make those ebooks fall off, resulting in fewer sales. But will they be so many fewer I earn less money? Only way to find out is to try it.

As for HUNTING SEASON, it was a really fun, very twisted horror story, perfect for Halloween.

And yes, it was worth the $2.99.

Pour Halloween, je me déguise en fille.










body American Apparel / short H&M / blouson H&M / chaussures Topshop / sac Freepstar / ceinture American Apparel / collier H&M / bracelet asiatique trouvé en vide-grenier / bracelet branche Corpus Christi

Nursery and Guest Room Tour

I had a great time working on decorating Hannah's room. It's really the first time that I've seen a project start as an idea and come to life pretty much how I anticipated it happening. Now, if money was not an issue there are some things I would change about this room...but I'm not unhappy with how everything came together. In fact I'm very pleased with how it all turned out. Remember we're renting, so there are some things in the room that probably wouldn't be there if we weren't (like the curtains, and I hid the rugs for the photos because they don't match at all but I keep them in there most of the time). Most of the bedding items are from when Greg and I first got married and picked things out for our master bedroom. Once we got a king size bed this comfy queen became our guest bed but all the items that we received as gifts stayed with the bed (thus the burgundy bed skirt and pillow shams), someday I'll save up and buy a new bedskirt and pillow shams but it's not a big priority to me right now.

Most of the items in the room were made by me or bought on clearance or with a coupon. Some of the items are hand-me-downs and I love the added dimension they give the room. There are still a few items that I need to finish as well but I wanted to get the photos taken since it was all cleaned an ready to go for our guests. And since this room doubles as a guest room there are a few things that wouldn't normally be in a nursery but they sure make it easier on me when we have guests, like the towels in the baskets. So without further adieu here is Hannah's Personalized Pink, Green and Orange, Nursery/Guest Room (say that ten times fast).

This was taken before everything was finished for the wall,
but it gives you a good idea of what that wall behind the crib looks like.Hannahs room

The small brown minky lovie was made for Hannah by my good friend Amy. It has her baptismal date on it. The green blanket was a gift from my good friend Angela and it matches the colors in her room perfectly! IMG_9565


IMG_9545

Hannahs room.
The quilt came from someone on my dad's side of the family.
I am not exactly sure who made it...but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
I was so excited to be able to put it out after we moved and
had the bed back in a girls room and not a boys room! 
IMG_9531
Here's a photo I took in May, but you can get a better idea of what the center of the quilt looks like.IMG_8532
Big windows called for double curtains because I wasn't going to spend money on curtains
when we won't be living here very long. Hannahs room5
I'll have a quick tutorial for this chalkboard coming up soon! And that long painting isn't done yet... Hannahs room2

Can you see the "H"? IMG_9616
And here's Hannah's view of the paper lanterns!
IMG_9585

Hannahs room3
This little quilt was made by my cousin who is in highschool.
Hannah LOVES to look at all the different colors when I rock her!
 IMG_9603
The little green and purple mini quilt was made by my niece Emily and she's only 13. Didn't she do fantastic? And it matches the green/butterfly theme and
I didn't even tell her that's what I was doing for Hannah's room! Hannahs room4
Sorry that one is blurry, I was holding a crabby, teething, croupy baby and she wouldn't hold still. Imagine that. I hope you liked the room tour. I still have a few things to finish up but I am so excited with how everything came together.

If you have any questions about where I got certain things or
how I made anything let me know and I'd be more than happy to answer your questions.

Chipmunk.

photo par Tony Stone.
prise avec un Mamiya C330.

New Friend Fridays

Trendy Treehouse
Come by every Friday to "Find New Blog Friends"

| Linky Party Rules |
  • Grab the Follow Me Fridays Button for your sidebar
  • Follow Trendy Treehouse via Google Friend Connect
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  • Link up to your blog home page
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  • Visit at least 3 other link ups. Leave a meaningful comments and share with them that you found them from Follow Me Fridays
  • Do Not write - I follow back when linking up - It will be removed!
  • Family Friendly Blogs only - All others will be removed!
...Top 3 Sites Visited Last Week...
The top 3 will be added to the top of the list each week!
We had the same top three as last week. Congrats to the blogs below again!!!
I'd love it too if you would share this on your blog. It will be a blog hop in hopes to get many new blogging friends!
Have fun meeting new friends!!! Enter your blog link below!

Guest Post by Barry Eisler

The Bogeyman and The Axe Murderer

Barry sez: A lot of conversation in and about the publishing world is fixated on fear of Amazon’s purported potential monopoly power—on the possibility that Amazon will eventually enjoy such market dominance as a publisher that it will abuse its position and begin to punish authors, perhaps with extremely low royalties. Which leads to aquestion I’m not sure I can adequately answer, though I find it fascinating:

Why all the fear about what Amazon might do in the future, when legacy publishers are doing those fearful things right now?

Today, Amazon pays self-published authors 70% of the retail price of titles sold on the Kindle Store through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Legacy publishers, by contrast, pay their authors 17.5%. Now, certainly 17.5% is appallingly low. But if appallingly low royalties are your concern, why would you expend so much energy speculating about a lower royalty that might eventually come to pass, while caring so little about the extremely low royalties in effect today? It’s like panicking about possibly getting sick in the future while failing to treat the pneumonia killing you right now.

I know from experience that some people will respond to the paragraph above by claiming New York publishers are not a monopoly. After all, don’t the big houses fight with each other over new manuscripts? Aren’t there sometimes bidding wars over a hot new property? And they even poach each other’s employees and authors, too. So of course there’s competition, right?

No. Everything I just described is, relatively speaking, a distraction—Kabuki competition, not the real thing. If the legacy houses actually competed with each other—if they actually strove to attract authors and serve readers and lower costs and improve performance—the publishing world would not be universally characterized by the following:

• An identical, lock-step, onerously low 17.5% digital royalty rate
• The practice of forcing readers who prefer digital to wait, sometimes for over a year, until a title is also ready to ship in paper
• Digital retail prices equivalent to paper ones despite the obvious lower costs of digital distribution
• Byzantine and opaque royalty statements, delivered twice-yearly as much as six months after the end of the applicable reporting period
• Non-compete clauses that attempt to preclude authors from meaningful control over their own professional and artistic destinies
• Morbidly obese contracts delivered months after agreement on high-level deal points, written in unendurable legalese and drawn up in nine-point font on 14-inch legal paper, the only purpose of which is to intimidate authors into not reading the document, and to obscure the meaning of what’s written just in case they do
• Payments tendered months after they’ve come due
• A refusal to share sales data with authors, even though authors have long clamored for such information and the web technology to provide such access was already old a decade ago.

We can argue about whether the system I just described is properly known as a monopoly, or as a quasi-monopoly, or as a cartel. What can’t be argued is that such a system is only possible—indeed, is only conceivable—in the absence of meaningful competition.

So don’t go for the head-fake—the bidding wars, the poaching contests. These are as meaningful between publishing houses as are election contests between Democrats and Republicans; wars between Hapsburgs and Bourbons; arguments between supposedly liberal and supposedly conservative media. The skirmishing on the surface is meaningless by comparison with the cooperation, collusion, and confluence of interests beneath.

Which brings us back to my original question: why are so many authors afraid of a possible monopoly while sanguine about a real one?

I can think of several possibilities.

First, fear is a powerful emotion, and, as Gavin de Becker observes in his superb The Gift of Fear, is by definition related to something that hasn’t happened yet. Once the feared thing has happened, we’re no longer afraid of it. New York’s quasi-monopoly is a longstanding and accomplished fact; therefore, it can’t be feared (though it can be loathed). By contrast, Amazon is relatively new in publishing. Whether it will attain and abuse monopoly power is currently unknown, and therefore is something people can fear. It may be that because of the nature and survival value of fear, the mind ascribes greater weight to potential threats than it does to actual problems, and this difference might explain the skew between fear toward Amazon and acquiescence to New York.

Second, and perhaps related, is the concept of the devil you know. Sure, New York functions as a cartel, but it always has, and people are accustomed to it. It seems normal. Amazon, by contrast, is unknown.So hey, your husband beats you, but it’s been going on for a long time and you’ve survived. Do you really want to divorce and remarry? Maybe the new guy will beat you, too. Maybe the beatings will be even worse. Better to stick with what’s familiar.

Third, and again perhaps related, is Stockholm Syndrome, or what might also be known as a serf’s attitude toward his feudal lords (Mike Stackpole calls it a “house slave” mentality). New York has been abusing authors for so long that a lot of them have come to identify with their oppressors—to think their oppression is desirable and even just. And rather than welcoming a powerful new player as a potential rescuer or reformer, these authors fear the new entrant and fling their bodies over their captors in an attempt to protect them from harm.

For me, that last metaphor really gets to the heart of the matter. Amazon is like an inkblot test of submissiveness to New York, with some authors welcoming a newcomer with the clout to crack the cartel wide open; and others fearing anything that might change their current circumstances.

Well, you know what the inkblot looks like to me. I think you’d have to be in profound denial to believe that Simon and Schuster’s recently announced Author Portal, which will finally give authors the kind of access to sales data they’ve been pleading for, is the result of anything other than a belated attempt to counter Amazon, which provides authors such information as a matter of course. If legacy publishers next clean up their royalty statements, which are currently designed to be as transparent as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the timing and circumstances of that improvement will be no more coincidental than their sudden conversion to the benefits of sharing sales data. I just got my first royalty statement from Amazon, by the way, and it’s the first royalty statement I’ve ever seen that I immediately and easily was able to understand. Amazon also provides its statements monthly, not twice-yearly, so expect legacy publishers to coincidentally change that practice in due course, too.

Will Amazon become functionally the same kind of publishing monopoly the New York houses currently comprise? I don’t know. But it’s silly to argue that you’re afraid solely because you believe Amazon wants to be a monopoly, as though a monopoly motive is itself dispositive. All companies want to be monopolies—a company wants competitors like an army wants a fair fight, like a politician wants a serious opponent, likea lover wants rivals. Without means and opportunity, motive alone is meaningless, and I’m confident that with competitors like Apple, B&N, Google, Kobo, and Smashwords, Amazon will be driven to continue pursuing business practices based on enlightened self-interest. Another thing that will be useful in this regard is more and more authors creating their own website stores, and cross-selling each other’s books on them. The more choices authors identify, create, and exploit, the more motivated Amazon and other publishers and distributors will be to continue to offer favorable royalty splits and to otherwise treat authors well.

Because, remember. If Amazon ever becomes a real monopoly, they could lower those 70% royalties a lot. After all, oppressively low royalties are simply what monopolies do, and Amazon could lower theirs all the way down to, I don’t know, 17.5% or something. And a royalty rate that low would really suck. Damn, just imagining it scares the hell out of me.

Will the New York houses be able to shake off their torpor and rebuild their businesses based on more enlightened practices? It’s hard to say. The same monopoly that protects a company’s profits also withers its strength and adaptability. A company coddled by monopoly is like a fighter who never trains—who never even fights. Will a company like that be able to answer the bell when a real challenger enters the ring? I don’t know.

What I do know is that a vigorous new player just kicked open the locked door of a dark and moribund fortress and is finally letting in some sunlight. If you see a better way than Amazon to reform New York’s previously unassailable quasi-monopoly and all the suboptimal business practices that monopoly has enabled, I’d like to know what it is. In the meantime, I welcome Amazon and any other new entrant that can continue to loosen the legacy houses’ monopolistic grip,and force them to rely on practices beneficial to authors and readers rather than on monopoly rents beneficial only to themselves.

Because, remember. A 17.5% digital split for authors would be a terrible thing. Little better than serfdom, really. We simply can’t afford to let that happen.

Joe sez: I've mentioned many of the things Barry brought up in this essay on previous blogs, but I'd like to add a few things.

Let's pretend that Amazon will lower author royalty rates on April 1, 2013. How does that prevent any author from taking advantage of the 70% royalty rate until that date? You can make quite a bit of money between now and then. Why worry about then, now?

But there is no set date. Amazon may never lower author royalties. So why would the possibility of something that may never happen prevent you from trying something right now? This isn't bungee jumping, where you can die, or gambling, where you can lose a lot of money. Right now, a system is in place where authors can earn 70%. Anyone who doesn't take advantage of that is, IMHO, irrational.

I see irrationality creeping up in other areas too, concerning Amazon and self-publishing. Authors have flat-out asked me how much they can expect to earn by self-pubbing, as if it is a guarantee of money. When I reply (as always) that luck plays a part, they respond they'd rather wait for a legacy deal and the chance to make it big.

There is so much wrong with that logic I don't know where to begin.

No matter which publishing path you choose, luck plays a part. Having played for both teams, I can tell you that legacy publishing requires a lot more luck than going solo. The more people involved in something, the more chances it has to fail. When you throw in poor royalty rates, dwindling paper distribution, returns, and non-existent marketing budgets, it is almost astronomical that any new author ever makes money.

Which is why most don't.

Holding out for a legacy deal isn't a guarantee of anything, other than an advance.

I'm not going to name names or point fingers, but I've been watching Amazon rankings of some self-pubbed authors who signed legacy deals. I've watched these rankings go from awesome, to mediocre (or worse.)

A notable exception is John Locke, because he kept his ebook rights. The rest have got to feel disheartened, unless they got a huge advance and sales don't matter.

But sales do matter, don't they? That's why we became writers. To be read by as many people as possible.

Right now, this very minute, writers have the ability to directly reach readers, quickly and easily with a great royalty rate.

Luck still plays a part. And this moment might not last forever.

But if you want to make a go at this, there has never been a better time. Missing this opportunity isn't smart. And if you're sitting on intellectual properties, waiting for some legacy publisher to sweep you up and make you a bestseller, you might as well be running for Mayor of Deludedville.

It's a bird in the hand, guys. Make money and find readers now, or hope to win the lottery later. This is especially deluded because those authors who have won the lottery (like me and Barry) are giddy to be able to get away from legacy publishers.

We've seen and heard from dozens of authors who had legacy deals, and are now thrilled to be self-publishing.

But where are those authors who have given up self-pubbing and are now singing the praises of legacy publishers?

Are there any?

Don't you think there is a reason there aren't any?


Gifts for Neighbors

I have truly enjoyed my technology time-out and plan to turn my computer off more often. It was so nice to not have the pressure of keeping up with everyone who wasn't part of my immediate family. I didn't have to know what my old high school friends three states away were doing or worrying about and thus had less to worry about myself. I plan on posting more reflections from my time-out sometime this week on my blog so feel free to check it out....

But on to the main reason you're here today...the 12 weeks of Christmas Gifts!

I am excited to share this little gift with you today because I think it's truly one of those very versatile gifts but very personal as well (and also inexpensive and quick to make). This gift could be made for just about anyone on your list! I like to give gifts that people will use. I like to make paintings but it's hard to make a painting for someone without their knowledge. What if it's the wrong colors, wrong saying, etc...and then they feel obligated to hang it up since you spent time on it. Well, this painting is for Christmas. People usually love to receive Christmas decorations as gifts and this way, it's personalized and holiday specific so they can put it away after Christmas and when they bring it out the next year they'll have fun memories of you giving them their cool personalized painting!

This idea is not original. The original idea was from here. Obviously mine is different, but that's what I love about pinterest...you see a good idea, bookmark it, then make it your own!!
What you need:
Canvas (board or stretched)
Paints
Pencil
Sharpies

My board is 8x10...use whatever size will fit the amount of ornaments you need to paint.
Paint a base coat, let it dry and then draw your ornaments and a little outside decorative edge with pencil. I used a small sippy cup cover to make sure my ornaments were actually circles!


 I then painted the outside a contrasting color to give it some life and dimension.

 I then painted my ornaments and added some extra little "flair" with a few sharpies. I added the red border and outlined the ornaments to really finish them up and make them pop.

Can you see the tremendous difference it makes to outline them? Look at the second ornament and notice the difference. And when you outline it you can cover up some of the little mistakes that you may have made :).


So here it is all finished! You could present it like this or hot glue some ribbon to the back so they have the option to hang it as well.
And you could make this cute little card to go along with it. I love it when gifts match their cards!!
And here's my quick little painting tip. Use a Frisbee for your pallet...if you don't already own a pallet, it's washable, sturdy and makes a great cheap pallet. Also, buy some of those "magic towels" from the dollar store and keep a few with your paints. You never know when you may want to use a little towel to wipe off your brush or to use on your painting. It is also very handy to have these around if you're painting with small children...need I say more.
Just another idea.
I will include this painting with a few other family gifts and some home baked goodies.
You can never go wrong with home baked goodies!

What if you don't know your neighbor too well?
I love this idea and think I'll do this as well!!!

And for those of you who like to work with wood
what about this idea.
Love these as well!! I may have to make some just for me!!

Can't wait to see what you make for your neighbors!

Anywhere I Lay My Head

model : Xavier Rapon.
photo prise avec un Mamiya C330.

Guest Post by Blake Crouch

THE MOST INTRIGUING EBOOK MARKET IN THE WORLD

Blake sez: I've just returned from a five day trip to China, where I was invited by a Chinese digital publishing company called Cloudary Corporation to speak at the Beijing International Book Fair.

The trip was an extraordinary experience, and not only culturally where I benefited from a surplus of generosity from my hosts, but from the standpoint of catching a snapshot of the current state of Chinese publishing.

The comparison to American publishing could not be more apt.

Without oversimplifying a complex situation, the Chinese are experiencing almost identical tension between traditional publishing and the advent of the ebook as we are here in America.
They even call their old-school publishers "traditional publishers."

At the forum where I presented, I was involved in a discussion with an American publishing consultant, and three Chinese writers who publish digitally.

I could've just as well been sitting on a publishing panel in America. Different language, same bullet points.

My Chinese counterparts are passionate about all the things American ebook writers are excited about: fair royalty rates, the ability to release books faster, getting paid in a timely manner, and most importantly: creative control.

The audience I spoke to was filled with traditional Chinese publishing stalwarts, who expressed....wait for it...concerns about "gatekeepers" disappearing. In other words, who would bring work of quality to the Chinese readers if there wasn't an elite coterie to separate the good from the bad.

The most classic moment was when Robert Baensch, an exceptionally impressive publishing expert of fifty years who has worked and consulted at all levels of Big 6 publishing told these Chinese legacy publishers that if they don't adapt to the new model afforded them by digital publishing, then "someone will come in, take your job, and do it for you."

Sound familiar? Denial is not just domestic.

On a quick side note, Baensch sees the refusal of publishers across the world to properly embrace and exploit ebooks as an epic "managing" fail.

Here was my second, bigger surprise....the Chinese don't just share our enthusiasm of ebooks. They are beating us in not only volume but creativity.

In China, there are numerous ereaders available, but most of the digital reading public reads on their 780,000,000 mobile phones.

As a writer, what I found most fascinating was the publishing model of Cloudary Corporation, the company that invited me to China.

Cloudary is the largest online community-driven literary platform in China. But they operate in a vastly different manner than Amazon, BN, or Smashwords. Instead of one platform populated by complete books, they aggregate content from a variety of websites, each tailored to a specific genre. And the most popular, most famous, richest Chinese digital writers release content as they write it. They author long, ongoing works, thousands of pages in length, and most popular is a genre of time-travel/fantasy in which young adults go back in time to visit historical moments in Chinese history where they play an integral role in fixing or changing something.

Getting back to the Cloudary model, the Cloudary writers publish portions of their "active" books on a daily basis to ravenous fans, who, if the writer is too slow in releasing the next installment, harangue them on public forums for the next chapter. If the writers don't release new content quickly enough, the fans desert them.

Cloudary has six writers earning more than $1,000,000 RMB/year, (about $200,000 US).

Of course, not everyone is successful. But anyone can begin the process of uploading their work. It's essentially a competition and the readers decide who wins, voting with their pocketbook, with page-views. Readers establish an account, which is docked based upon how many pages they read. When a certain book becomes popular, and heavily-viewed, Cloudary steps in on a partnership basis, where the royalty split is in the ball-park of 50/50. At this level, Cloudary plugs these popular books into various print and film channels to exploit additional sub rights.

But the thing is...digital is the big money earner in the most populous, most literate country in the world.

In addition, the mobile phone companies distribute a percentage of the content. Imagine if AT&T or Verizon hosted content and paid us as writers. That's the comparison.

I'm still processing the head-spinning information overload, but I was thrilled and humbled to witness firsthand to what level the largest market in the world has taken ebooks.

What this implies for us non-Chinese speaking writers, I'm still not sure, and I am not encouraging anyone to go pay to have their works translated, so we can skip all the hysterical tweets.

The complexities and challenges of bringing ebooks to such a diverse marketplace will be great.

To say things are different in China is the understatement of the year.

When the Kindle debuts in China, it will be interesting to see how and if it can compete with Cloudary.

Different culture. Different digital reading model.

But the point is they're having the same conversations we are, they're more innovative, they've got a lot more readers, and we would be fools not to begin actively looking for ways to export our work.

Joe sez: I've been blogging about the potential inherent in a world market for a while now. Not just a world ebook sales market, but also a world library market.

There are almost 7 billion people on earth. One billion of them speak English. The other 6 billion can be reached via translation. The worldwide standard of living is constantly going up, giving more and more access to cheap electronics such as ereaders and cell phones.

Authors don't have access to all of those people...yet. But we will. And if we can sell to the smallest fraction of the global market, we'll be making a very nice living.

Soon, Amazon will release a Kindle in India, which has the second largest English-speaking population in the world. And they won't stop there.

It is true that we can't know what new technologies are on the horizon, or what new formats ebooks will take. But the cat is out of the bag. Ebooks are here to stay, in one form or another, and they are going to go global the same way wrist watches, cars, radio, TV, microwaves, and mp3 players did.

There has never been a better time to be a writer.

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