That’s right! I’ll be conducting two, FREE, all-day seminars where, if you’re ready, you can walk in a wannabe and walk out a published author!
Kansas City (Merriam) May 18, 2013
Wichita June 22, 2013
Click for details:
That said, do you need a pro to help you design a professional-looking cover? After all, when readers begin searching for their next purchase, after they click on or supply their search terms, what do they see first? The cover.
Do yourself a favor: search Amazon for ten minutes. Take a close look at the book covers in your genre—the covers of the bestselling books in your category. How do they compare to yours? Now do a search for books that other indies have produced, maybe some friends’/acquaintances’ books, especially the .99 ones listed on your book page under “customers who bought this item also bought….” Search until you find something really awful. It didn’t take that long, did it?
What about important issues for these thumb-size versions of book covers like font size and simplicity vs. busy/overloaded? Do you see some bad examples. Look back at your cover art and carefully consider how it compares to the covers produced by traditionally published books. Would you really chose your book over some of the other top-selling authors’? Just because your own friends haven’t told you your book cover “bites,” doesn’t mean it doesn’t!
Will it be worth it to purchase new cover art for your old book? Should you let a pro design your new novel’s cover? That’s up to you, of course. I’d ask this: are you in this book ‘ritin’ business for the long haul? Can you afford $25 to $100 for a really professional looking cover? Will a facelift on your old book pay for itself in sales profits in the long run?
For further research, below you’ll find a link to Mark Coker’s list of book cover designers and eBook formatters. I’ve given this important info its own tab on our IWA site.
Most of these folks are very reasonable. But here’s a word of caution: be sure to check out these people’s websites and their previous work before you make a deal. I’ve posted Mark’s List at:
In this and ensuing issues, you’ll discover links to very informative and important websites and blogs concerning current issues in the indie publishing industry. We’ll look at the latest news, analyses, and thoughts on what’s going on in the eWorld around us, and explore ways to help illuminate this dark path into uncharted territory that we’ve chosen.
Not getting it? Fill out the form on the IWA home page at: http://www.indiewritersalliance.com
The Indie Writers Alliance is:
An Alliance of Independent Writers, Self-Publishers, and Small and Independent Publishers to Inform, Support, Promote and Encourage Independent Writers
Why Be an Independent Writer and Sell Your Work in eBook and POD Formats?
Incredible things are happening. Actually, much of it started years back, but only a few visionaries saw the full potential of what was taking place. It started with “eBooks”. They have literally revolutionized the book publishing and selling industry.
For the IWA Intro Page, click here: http://www.indiewritersalliance.com/
For the IWA Member Page, click here: http://www.indiewritersalliance.com/For-Indies-ONLY!.html
So what’s the best price point for eBooks? It’s certainly dependent on type of book and size. But beyond that, let’s look at novel-length fiction: what price is going to sell your novel the best? With what price point are you going to get the most downloads? What price point is going to make you the most money? Drilling down deeper, as an indie author, what price point is going to get you the best ranking and visibility? So much to consider, it makes my head hurt!
Look at the image I’ve used for this post. It helps illustrate my premise that there’s three basic buying groups of “indie” published books (throw in those who buy traditionally published eBooks 99% of the time, and you have four).
This illustration is not size proportionate. Until we have more solid numbers, that is impossible (feedback anyone?). Notice that I’ve not only shown the main three groups, but that they overlap at times, as well.
Initially following ground-breaking indie authors’ leads, like John Locke and Amanda Hocking, I priced my eBooks at $.99 each. By doing this, I believe I did sell more books and enjoyed some pretty good rankings for a while for my books (until Amazon “supposedly” started playing around with their algorithms).
I did a little research and noted the prices of the Amazon suggested books on each of my novels’ Amazon book pages. I was amazed to see that most eBook purchasers who bought my books (at least according to Amazon) were buying books at $2.99 and up, and only a few were $.99 books. So, I checked out the top 100 list for my genres. Guess what? I discovered very similar data!
What did I do the very next day? I raised my prices to $2.99. For nearly two months now, I’ve found my sales to dip only slightly, but noted that my actual royalty $ have gone way up. I think it all goes back to the old proverb about the smart shopper: “you get what you pay for” and it seems that’s the thinking most eBook buyers are following.
Drawing this illustration helps me look at pricing as a malleable thing and not just an intangible, abstract and unclear concept. I hope it helps you.
Here are a few links for some very interesting blog posts concerning pricing:
Give us your learned thoughts and suggestions, you experience ePubbers out there!
Can indie authors even hope to understand the complex and secret ways Amazon ranks our books? How can we use what little information available to maximize our exposure to the reading world? Did you know they use things like price points and being independently published to consider where to rank you book?
Check out Edward W. Robertson’s blog posts, especially May’s as well as other more recent ones at: http://www.edwardwrobertson.com/
That’s what it seems to be boiling down to. Are there fewer advantages with the Kindle Select program now than before? Are the Amazon free days as effective as they used to be? Does it even make sense to use them?
These are the questions I’m asking, now. Take a look at what other indies are saying. It might help you make up your mind.
Joe Konrath—check out his comments at the bottom of the interview. The guy knows his stuff: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2012/05/guest-post-by-robert-gregory-browne.html
Katie.M.John (It looks wrong, but that’s the way she spells it)—Some interesting thoughts here: http://katiemjohn.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/why-amazon-kdp-select-and-i-are-on.html
D.D. Scott—this lady is an experienced ePubber and very sharp: http://goo.gl/yNi9T
This is an older post on Karen Barney’s blog, that made a lot of sense back in January, and still has some great tips for trying to maximize Kindle Select’s “free days”: http://goo.gl/zMrxl
This just in: Apple and five major “price-fixing” publishing houses are fixin’ to settle with the US Justice Department after conspiring to control prices with their “agency model” vs. the standard and traditional way of retail pricing? Maybe. It looks like three of the big five publishers will.
What does this mean for the consumer–the eBook reading public? Maybe a check in the mail for all the over-priced eBooks they bought in the past, and much more reasonable pricing on big name, traditionally published authors’ eBooks in the future.
What does it mean to the “indie” authors who’ve found this time in publishing history to be a welcome boon to their publishing dreams? Perhaps stiffer competition with the brand name authors’ books? Maybe?
What do you think? Give us your dime’s worth–please comment!
But check out in this online Wall Street Journal article, first: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577337573054615152.html
In a Galaxy not so far away!
Did you miss it–all the news about the battles being waged behind the scenes. On the surface, the eBook and ePublishing industry seems smooth and calm—as it should be? But there’s been a war being fought since before even the first Kindle found it’s way onto the retail shelf. In the past week, the battles have been about price-fixing, collusion and censorship.
So what’s this big war really boil down to? Fear. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
The good news? I think the “good guys” are winning. And who are these “good guys”? It’s you and me; Jill and Joe Reader. We should be the ones influencing this incredible new industry. After all, we are the consumers. Next in line are the writers. Being a part of this group as well, I have some pretty deep-rooted and passionate beliefs about how we writers should be able to influence today’s market, too.
The bottom line is this: readers want quality fiction of their own choosing at a reasonable price–and writers want to give it to them! It’s just that simple!
But, when you get big conglomerate corporations involved with high payrolls and stockholders who are focused on their own bottom line, this simple little process gets so-o-o complex. Of course it’s been that way for years.
So what’s new? What’s the big hub-bub about? Control is shifting and the big girls and boys of yesteryear publishing no longer have a chokehold on the readers and writers, telling writers: “You’ll write what we want you to write for the price we want to pay.” Telling readers: “We’ll decide what you can and can’t read, and you’ll pay what we say for it–and that’s going to be enough to finance our big NYC offices, all of our extravagance and hoopla.” They tell us, the reading public, that they’ll dig as deeply into our pockets as “the market will bare” and we’ll put up with it because we don’t have a choice.
You don’t agree? Well, two major developments have come up in the past few days. The first one you probably already heard about: the US Department of Justice is investigating price-fixing and collusion with the good ol’ girl and boy traditional publishing houses, as well as other somewhat shady practices that many of the eBook publishers have been involved in. This is fascinating stuff. You want to learn more? Check out JA Konrath’s March 10 blog post at: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ . VERY ENLIGHTENING!
How about censorship? Legal is one thing: if what you want to read is within the law, you should be able to read it, right? And writers should be able to write and distribute any of their legal works, correct?
But what if a few folks don’t like some of the things that writers are putting out, and they don’t think, as readers, you should either? Hmm. Big Brother government, “Father Knows Best” publishing houses, and now “Mommy Dearest” wants to get involved, too? It seems that way. I’ve got to admit that there’s a whole bunch of new eBooks out there that I wouldn’t even touch—I find myself feeling guilty just having laid eyes on the stuff in a glance. But, if it’s legal, who am I to say you shouldn’t be able to read what I don’t care for?
Thanks to some really well-versed and vigilant warriors to champion the side of free speech, including Smashwords.com’s founder Mark Coker, PayPal and the credit card companies are relenting their earlier stand against processing funds for material they decide is inappropriate. This could have had a major negative affect in eBook sales and set free-speech back decades. This kind of censorship infringes on every American citizen’s right to free-speech.
Another victory for the “good guys”!
Your really need to read the details on this censorship battle. It’s important to us all. Find more at: http://blog.smashwords.com/
All this is about fear. Fear of change. Fear of the inevitable. Fear of losing a way of life that the big publishing conglomerates have learned to enjoy. They’ve been on the ropes for decades. Without the control over both writers and readers they’ve enjoyed for more than a hundred years, they can see the end is near. They’re afraid this new ePublishing industry is going to be their knock-out punch–and it could well be.
As writers, let’s provide the product readers want at a reasonable price. Don’t let those wonderful consumers down. Entertain them, enlighten them, inform them and enhance their lives.
EBook Wars, Episode 2
Okay, so being a new sailor on a very shifty sea, I shouldn’t trust everything I read (forgive me for butchering Hannah Parker Kimball’s wonderful poem “One Way of Trusting”). And there is so much to read.
Should I believe “The Big Six Publishing Houses” (a.k.a. “the Cartel”–sorry, I couldn’t help my cynicism) and their allies, including Authors Guild president and bestselling author Scott Turow? I wanted to trust them. I trusted them for years because I had no choice and knew no better. They were doing what they wanted—and surely what they wanted was to benefit their suppliers, their members, their writers. They were selling books–but not mine.
When I signed that publishing contract back in ’92, I dreamed of what it would be like as an Authors Guild member, one of thousands of professional writers, many making a living from their writing and enjoying the benefits of the Authors Guild’s protective arms.
Man, has that changed.
So here we are in the electronic age. It is our future—the one we must embrace (until the day that giant EMP from the Sun knocks out all our eGadgets) if we wish to become successful authors. Some folks aren’t willing to embrace the future and don’t understand that they can’t hold back time and live in the past. This eFuture is inevitable. Everyone must adapt, even bestselling authors. They must understand that the old and familiar isn’t always the best, and who we dealt with in the past didn’t necessarily have our best interests in mind.
If what readers want to do is read, let them read. If what writers want to do is write, let them write. If what Amazon and a few of the other big Internet booksellers want to do is to satisfy their customers by getting them lots of product for very reasonable prices, let them channel the writers’ works to the readers’ eyes as cheaply and as efficiently as possible.
Check out JA Konrath’s most recent post on his blog at: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/. Barry Eisler, joins in, as he did in the last post. And, once again, they’re discussing what Scott Turow has said, this time in a recent interview about “why we should fear Amazon”. It will absolutely floor you!
In these shifting seas, who are you to believe? For now, I’m plotting my course with those who seem to have the authors’ and readers’ interests in mind—Internet booksellers like Amazon and Smashwords—the ones accepting and selling our books to the consumer at reasonable prices and for very generous royalties. As for The Big Six Publishers and Authors Guild’s president Scott Turow: Wake up! Grasp the future, remember your customer, and give them what THEY want!