Nadia Lee | NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary Romance » Writing and Publishing

Archive for the 'Writing and Publishing' Category

Getting Your Dot Com: 1&1 Domain Registrant

1&1Most writers (that is to say, 99% of writers) are expected to have a website with a good domain name, such as (or .net if .com is unavailable).

There are tons of companies that offer domain registration, and out of those, I found 1&1 to be the most economical and easy to use. Their fees are pretty low — about $10/year per domain name for the most sought-after domains such as .com and .net. But the best thing about using 1&1 is that they offer free private registration.

What is free private registration?

When you register a domain, your contact information becomes public. Anybody who looks up your domain name can see your name, physical address, email address, etc. It’s actually scary how easy it is. (You just need to google “whois”!) On the other hand, private registration ensures that your information is protected. So instead of your personal information, the following is displayed instead:

Private Registration
1&1 Internet, Inc. -
701 Lee Rd. Suite 300
Chesterbrook, PA 19087
(877) 461-2631

A lot of companies (GoDaddy, for one) charge for the service. The last time I checked, it was $10/year in addition to the domain registration and renewal fees, which effectively doubles your cost if you want an extra layer of protection between you and all the kooks out there.

So my recommendation is to try 1&1. I’ve been using them for more than seven years now without any problems. And you can’t beat $10.99/year for the domain plus private registration for peace of mind and privacy.

Note: The 1&1 tech support isn’t bad for things like domain registration and transfers because you rarely, if ever, need to talk to somebody on the phone about it. However, if you need some hand-holding because you’re using them for web hosting, you may find them a bit lacking. I’ve heard people grumbling about it on Twitter, and Hero Material found them somewhat frustrating to deal with.

Back Up! Why Dropbox Is Awesome

dropboxNow that it’s almost NaNo time, I want to talk about something that’s probably one of the most important things a writer can have: backup. If your computer has ever crashed and burned and lost all your projects — or at least a big chunk of them — you probably know how important it is to back up often. (It’s happened to me too….ugh.)

But just knowing doesn’t mean you actually do it. So let’s talk about a tool that helps you back up automatically: Dropbox.

It’s probably one of the best tools out there for backup and syncing your projects on multiple computers and mobile devices. Furthermore, it’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux. So no matter what kind of OS you’re running, you can use it. And the best thing about it? It costs nothing, and the free version comes with a full suite of features.

To start with, you need to create an account. The account ID is tied to your email address. A lot of services and companies are prone to spam, but not Dropbox. I’ve yet to receive a single spam message in my inbox, and I’ve been using Dropbox for over a year now.

Once you download Dropbox and install it, it will run seamlessly in the background and automatically back up all your files to a designated directory (or a folder). It’s very intelligently designed, so it updates only the files that have been changed since the last backup. This ensures that it doesn’t suck up all your computer’s processing power, so the programs you’re really interested in — such as Word or Tweetdeck (for those of you interested in social media…or maybe just procrastination) — can run as fast as possible.

In addition, Dropbox lets you automatically access the latest version of your work on other devices.

For example: Let’s say, you wrote 2,000 words on Computer #1. Then you decided that you want to continue working on the manuscript from Computer #2. Without Dropbox, you’d have to get a memory stick and transfer the manuscript file over, send it to yourself via email, etc. But with Dropbox, you can just go to Computer #2 and open up the file, so long as you have the Dropbox program on both computers.

Later, if you want to review the manuscript on your iPad, you can do so by accessing the file using the Dropbox app. See how convenient and easy this is?

If you want to share your manuscript with another person and allow them to edit, you can share only that file by putting it in the Public folder and giving them a special link for it. This can be done easily via the Dropbox web interface or by right-clicking on the file.

Finally — if you ever decide that the latest version of your file is garbage and you must get a previous version back, it can be done. Access the web interface for file history or right-click on the file on your computer for version history. Using this feature, you can even undelete files you’ve gotten rid of accidentally.

A note on pricing: The Dropbox basic plan is free and gives you up to 2GB of storage. That’s usually enough for most writers to back up their manuscripts and notes. If you need more storage space, you can always upgrade to their paid plans. The paid plans can be pricey (almost $100 per year for the cheapest plan), but you get at least 50GB.

A note on tech support: The Dropbox website is full of helpful articles to help you out, should you feel lost. (Though I doubt you will since the program is very intuitive.) Almost all of their help articles contain screenshots, which I found useful. I’ve never had to email their tech support because their web articles are just that great.

Final verdict — Give Dropbox a try to back up your data and sync your files across multiple devices. At $0.00, you can’t beat its pricing or features.

DOJ Antitrust Treble Damage Math Examples

I thought it was cool that Courtney Milan talked about what kind of damages (treble damage) could be imposed on the Settling Three if they fought and lost.

I thought maybe the concept was still a bit vague for some to grasp without a concrete example or two, since antitrust isn’t something you see on TV all the time, so here is some basic hypothetical math (simplified for easier understanding; the actual calculation may have other variables involved):

Hypothetical Scenario One:

Big Pub prices all its ebook editions of HC cover releases at $12.99.

If Amazon had been able to discount, many of those ebooks would’ve been sold at $9.99, since Amazon sold all major bestsellers at $9.99 before the Agency stuff.

So the difference between the agency price and the pre-agency price is $3. That is the harm that’s been done to ebook buyers.

Since this is a price-fixing case, which makes it antitrust, the treble damage rule applies.

So the publisher pays $9 for every copy of an ebook sold that Amazon would’ve discounted (as in, all of its major bestsellers that were released as hardback or trade during this time).

Let’s see if these damages are affordable for this publisher.

Under the agency model, the publisher gave 30% of its cover price to ebook retailers.

30% of $12.99 is $4.20.

So the publisher received $8.79.

Out of that, the publisher paid 25% to its authors ($2.20). So the publisher netted a total of $6.59 per ebook.

Forget the attorney’s fees or the rent, utility, employee salaries, etc. Let’s even assume that all those are $0. Even then the publisher loses $2.41 on every e-book copy sold at $12.99 that would’ve been discounted to $9.99 under the wholesale model.

Hypothetical Scenario Two:

Big Pub prices all its ebook edition of MMPBs (mass-market paperbacks) at $7.99.

Amazon routinely discounted those to $6.39 (about a 20% discount), regardless of their bestseller status.

The difference between $7.99 and $6.39 is $1.60.

If you triple this amount, it’s $4.80 (the treble damage for antitrust).

The publisher received only $5.59 from ebook vendors. Out of that, it paid $1.40 to the authors, which leaves the publisher with $4.19.

So no matter what price you use, the publisher is set to pay more than it ever made on ebook sales under agency if it loses the price-fixing case. And no, they can’t say, “We’re too poor to pay, so give us a break.” It doesn’t work that way.

That’s why some aren’t willing to fight the lawsuit — because a settlement does not require them to pay damages that can destroy them (ie, will probably bankrupt them).

You may wonder why the other three are fighting. Maybe Penguin and Macmillan think they have a real chance at winning and so are willing to risk it. As for Apple, it has more money than it knows what to do with, so it’s probably not a big deal to lose. (And e-book sales was never its main business.)

Never-ending Revision & Tweaking

Recently, I happened to look at two blog posts on related themes — the ability to endlessly revise, tweak and change your published story on KDP, PubIt, etc. if you self-publish.

One posted on Dear Author was written from a reader’s point of view, who basically does not like this practice at all.

Another is posted on The Passive Voice, written from the point of view of mostly writers who have self-published, whether or not they have traditional publishing experience.

I can’t imagine trolling the web for reviews and endlessly tweaking and revising my books, reformatting them and re-uploading them over and over and over again. Firstly, it’s unfair to ask my readers to re-read the book they’ve read once just because I revised it. (That’s what betas and critique partners are for.) Secondly, I have other books I need to work on.

I guess in a way it’s really tempting to revise when you get a lot of less-than-flattering comments on some particular aspect of your story. But that’s supposed to be done before you publish and charge people money, not after.

I have, however, re-uploaded my books before, and it was due to some improvements I made in formatting, to update my bio, etc. So no, my readers don’t have to re-read my books to get the latest version of the story.

And now, excuse me while I go try to progress in my work on my works in progress.

Romance & SFF Readers Don’t Care About Cover Design or Good Writing?

From “The Amazon Effect” written by Steve Wasserman:

But as Amazon’s six other publishing imprints (Montlake Romance, AmazonCrossing, Thomas & Mercer, 47North, Amazon Encore, The Domino Project) have discovered, in certain genres (romance, science fiction and fantasy) formerly relegated to the moribund mass-market paperback, readers care not a whit about cover design or even good writing, and have no attachment at all to the book as object. Like addicts, they just want their fix at the lowest possible price, and Amazon is happy to be their online dealer.

As a romance writer, I find the comment offensive.

As a reader of romance, fantasy and SF, I find the assertion that I don’t care about cover or writing at all doubly offensive. What am I? A drug addict desperate for the cheapest dope I can find regardless of the quality?

I really hope it reflects the personal belief of Steve Wasserman, not other publishing professionals he’s interviewed for the article. Otherwise, publishing’s in trouble, not because of Amazon, but because they don’t respect their readers.

Neil Gaiman’s Commencement Speech