Posted in General on May 16th, 2011 by Casey Crow
Let’s say you’re a writer and you’ve been working on a new book. Is it close to being finished? Have you worked with a professional editor to smooth out the rough spots, clean up your grammar and fix the punctuation?
What’s holding you back from self-publishing it? Just asking because the sales statistics for self-published authors have skyrocketed.
According to Amazon, its peak shopping day for online sales was Dec. 14, and customers ordered more than 9.5 million items worldwide, “a record-breaking 110 items per second.” Amazon did report that Kindle was the best-selling item and it sold more eBooks than printed books. Industry pundits estimate that 5.4 million Kindle units sold in 2010, but Amazon isn’t saying.
Apple sold about 10 million iPads in 2010 and DigiTimes reports that some of the companies that manufacture parts for Apple’s iPad are anticipating the company may ship 65 million of the tablet devices in 2011.
OK, so those are pretty impressive stats, but what does it really mean for writers?
I’ve been lucky to have published books. After the initial hoopla, nearly all marketing of my books by the publisher stopped. Why? My favorite (and most honest) editor told me a printed book has a shorter shelf life than a tomato and that too many books are out there that should never have been published.
Digital books have the shelf life of the Internet, which has been going strong for 20 years. Hold that thought — Gutenberg Project has been digitizing since the 1980s.
Plus, instead of relying upon a publisher to market your book to booksellers, you have iTunes and Amazon’s storefronts, not to mention Smashwords/Barnes & Noble/Borders as an outlet. Remember that statistic earlier about Amazon having more than 9.5 million sales worldwide on one day? That’s a lot of people looking at a site that could also feature your eBook.
Add to that an author’s royalty of 70 percent. Sure, you may decide to sell your book for only $2.99 but that means a royalty of $2, which is more than I get from most of my printed books.
I want to encourage you to consider the option. Self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma it had 10 years ago. There is quality work to be had at reasonable prices and the eBook can be read on desktop computers, eReaders, tablets, laptops, netbooks and even mobile phones.
And, with print-on-demand from many of the companies (Amazon is a great example) you can have printed copies of your book to have and hold and autograph and give away or sell.
What you need to do is edit your book, upload it to the various booksellers in the required format, and create an effective book marketing plan. Do you have a website? Do you have a blog? Are you using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to your advantage? Do you have customer accounts at all the big retailers (iTunes, Amazon, B&N, Borders)?
Seriously, I’ve been there and the burden always falls upon the author to make sure the book is promoted. You can do this yourself and for free, or you can tap into a variety of professional sources who will help you. I used and recommend The Omnibus for assistance with copy editing, eBook formatting, website development and general advice. Find them online at http://www.TheOmnibus.net.
Madeline Sloane is a writer with more than 20 years experience in journalism. In addition to fiction, she writes regional history books. Her educational background is in Anthropology and she is an adjunct instructor at a private, liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.
She’s working on several new books, each with a connection to Eaton, a small, fictitious Pennsylvania town she created as a backdrop for her novels.
Many of her stories include an element of her passions – archaeology, history, travel and sailing. Many of her characters have some experience on the water, sailing, kayaking or canoeing. She spends a lot of time researching, which includes reading about boats, doodling boat designs, going to boat shows and chandleries, or just standing at the water’s edge dreaming.
Of course, most of her books also feature exciting and exotic cities which her heroines (and their lovers) tour during the course of their romantic journey. Travel with the women and men of Eaton as they explore the world, and themselves, in the Eaton Romance Series.