Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More on Kindle—a .99 Experiment

I recently read a Blog post on pricing your book for Kindle sales and I’ve decided to try an experiment. My books sell “pretty good” on Kindle and I’m “satisfied” with the results I’ve seen. But after consulting with another author who also has her books listed, I’ve decided to drop my Kindle books to 99 cents each for one month. See a list of my books with their links to Kindle in the left column of this Blog page.

For 15 years I ran a small business in California. My theory was, if I marketed quality service along with a great product at the lowest price possible, I would excel above other businesses in my field—it worked. At age 42, I was able to sell the business and retire. Not a bad deal!

Now I’m not insinuating that by lowering my book prices to 99 cents I will become a millionaire, but if I presently sell only 20 books a month at $4.99, wouldn’t I be better off selling 200 books at 99 cents? The nice thing about e-books is that there are no additional expenses related to the sale (printing, shipping, etc.) and no real risk on my my part.

So this will be my experiment with Kindle and I will be sure to let you all know how successful it is. And if you’ve ever wanted to read any of my books, and you have a Kindle Reader, get them now, because I have a funny feeling I’ll be re-setting the price tag next month—but we’ll wait and see!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Okay Kindle, I’m sorry!

Happy Valentine's Day!

A while back, I wrote how upset and disappointed I was with Amazon Kindle for posting a poor review based on the page layout of one of my books. As many of you know, it’s hard to prepare your file for Kindle upload, and the first time I tried, I loaded the file without locking in the fonts. Like a dingbat, I didn’t check it after uploading. Well sure enough, before I could correct this, someone downloaded a “sample” of the book and saw the mess this creates in viewing. The uppercase are changed to lower, comas become little square blocks, and so on. Rather than assuming, in a book on writing, this was an obvious mistake, the man posted a very negative review of the book, i.e., “This writer can’t even use capitol letters, she shouldn’t be writing a book on writing.” Of course, after repairing the file, I wrote to Kindle and requested they remove the poor review—they declined—that’s why I was angry with them.

Since that time, my audience has grown and the reviews are good. Kindle sales are back up where they should be. The bad review is still there, but I think most now realize it was an error (and an idiot who wrote it). So I’m here to say, “I’m sorry Kindle.”

Kindle is hot, and authors need to make sure they have their books listed. But beware, if you do not lock in your fonts, they will appear tangled and unreadable. Here’s how to do it in a Word Doc:

*Open your book file.
*Go to “Print” or any of your file buttons in your option bar.
*At the bottom of the box, click on “Word Options.”
*Click on “Save” in the menu bar.
*Check the box “Embed Fonts in The File.”
*Check both boxes’ below that one as well.

So I am proud to say, I have now uploaded all my books into Kindle. I have also converted all my e-books into paperbacks. So I’m covered. On the left column of this Blog page, you will see a list of all my books and the links for each of them in all formats—celebrate!—I think I’ve made the big time! Now I’ve been told I need to go over to B & N and upload again in some reader called the “Nook???” What the hey? When will this end?

In addition, when I converted my e-books to Kindle as well as paperbacks, I changed my e-book cover images. I would love you opinions on them—be kind, I’m fragile!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What is a Fair Royalty Percentage?

When a new author sees the seemingly low royalty they might receive from their publisher, it is often shocking to them to say the least. Why are these numbers so low? In this post, I’ll attempt to break it down for you and make sense of it all.

Five percent, seven percent, ten percent; not much money when you add it up. But consider the following expenses that go into simple production of the book alone.

Editing; even if the book submitted has been previously edited, it must still be reviewed.

Layout; another very time-consuming process which also requires significant hours of labor.

Cover design; again, a special talent and time invested.

ISBN’s and other costly insertions and necessities to publish for distribution.

Printing; a publisher rarely prints their books; they are sent to an outside source. Cost? 30 or more percent of the cover price (which is based on page count, size, cover, etc.).

Promoting your book can be costly as well. So when you add it all up, the publisher has a significant investment in your book. Considering the average author sells only 120 copies, the publisher is taking a huge gamble on you.

Publishers are becoming more and more like brick and mortar book stores; they’re closing down faster than ever before. There is just too much competition out there and they are overwhelmed.

When a writer makes a decision to self-publish, they are taking on the same risk a traditional publisher does. They will make the timely and financial investment in their book and gamble that it will sell. Yes, they will make more profit on the book, but will first need to recoup their investment; something more than 90 percent never succeed in doing.

When I self-published my first book, Are You Ready to be Your Own Boss? in 2006, I did it all myself from start to finish. I thought, “Who wouldn’t want to read this book?” So I printed 2,000 copies. Well truth is, many people did want the book, and still do. But what is “many?” Unfortunately, it wasn’t 2,000. So now I still have about 700 books sitting in my closet. The good news is, I’ve finally broke even. My initial investment was well over $5,000.00. I’ve learned a lot since then and that mistake has never re-occurred.

Remember that five, seven, or ten percent royalty? Maybe it doesn’t sound too bad after all. If it’s pure profit, whether you sell 120 copies or ten thousand copies, you won’t show a loss, and there is a lot to be gained by that.

For “author assisted” free book publishing, visit Plain & Simple Books at http://www.plainandsimplebooks.com.