Welcome back for Part II of Rob’s guest post on eBooks and Becoming an Indie Author/Publisher; Part I was on the blog yesterday.
Today, to prove Rob’s point about the ease of acquisition of e books, I’m trying a special giveaway. For every 20 new followers, I will select one to win a Kindle gift cert–any book $5 and under–and there are an awful lot to choose from! Happy reading, everyone, and thanks for stopping by!
The really disheartening thing that drops an author’s hopes and heart like a stone is a thing called “Returns” – and a writer does not earn out his advance and start receiving royalties until “returns” are “returned” from the booksellers. This is an old and out of date business element in book publishing and bookselling. It is the only business wherein the product can be returned for full or close to full price if the buyer cannot sell the product. Until all “returns” are in, the author is kept in the dark about sales numbers, and even if he or she can get the sales numbers, there is always the warning that this is “before” returns. After returns then you can “believe” your royalty statement. That and AFTER everyone else—like the distributor of said units—gets their cut. Then the agent takes his or her cut. Pretty soon what trickles down as leftover change makes its way to the author.
In e-books, a disappointed reader returns a book, not the bookseller; Amazon.com will never “return” a book to you, the author/publisher. Essentially, there are no returns to speak of, a handful as opposed to boxes full. Perhaps eleven in a year, maybe twelve, but it is all done electronically as in credit to the account. No physical book, no such thing as pulping the books.
Now then, once the traditional publisher is DONE with a book or a series and declares they will buy no more titles in a series or they will discontinue selling a title, what happens to the book or series? They go out of print; they become Ops which can only be found in used book stores or via Amazon cooperative used book stores. Out of print pretty much means the book is dead and it was believed, up till now, dead forever—except in used book stores or on “remainder” tables.
In the world of e-books, guess what. There is no out of prints until which time the author decides to deep six or kill a book (once again the author decides). No author I know wants a beloved title to be out of print. No one wants his or her book to be “Remaindered” either. This is when a book is overstocked in a warehouse when THEY decide to sell it off at ten or five cents on the dollar to rid it from the warehouse, so it winds up at Costco or Wal-Mart with a big discount slapped on it while Costco pays ten cents a book and charges the reader five or seven bucks, and the author gets zero on such sales. In the e-book world, there is no such animal as a “remainderd” e-book. Next to no returns, no “stripped” covers, and no remainders, and no warehousing, and no need of a lot of the flotsam of traditional “dead tree” publishing.
We need a Beatles song for e-book publishing; something along the lines of a…Imagine a world without rancor between author and publisher as he is the same person! The sense of control and freedom comes with “If the book fails, I have only myself to blame.” Whereas in traditional publishing, “If the book fails, we have no one to blame but the author (as we put up the advance funds, the costs of printing, costs of salaries to committees, cost of distribution, cost of mailings, costs of returns, and eating the remainders—so it must be that the reading public just does not like this author, so in the end it must be his fault we did not sell enough units, and 50,000 units is not enough!).
So how can you get started in becoming an Indie Author/Publisher? Take a close look at www.smashwords.com and give it a shot; put up an article like my RN wife, Miranda Phillips Walker did on Kicking the Migraine Monkey off Your Back. She placed it up on Smashwords and then onto Kindle. The process for each is similar, and working with a short document is a good way to get a feel for the protocol of becoming your own publisher. It may at first be frustrating, but go at it a second time, and try to do it when you are not tired. Go to www.dtp.amazon.com as this is where the real action is and most readers! Finally, if you are having too many problems and the confusions and frustrations are too many, go to your son, daughter, nephew, niece or neighborhood computer geek for a spot of help. There are also folks online popping up daily who will help you for a price.
As for cover art, this too can become a problem if you are not proficient with images and placing lettering over images. I am not, so I get my son onto this project, and he is a genius with creating cover art (see any one of my titles for example: Killer Instinct, Disembodied, Children of Salem). Stephen’s found at www.srwalkerdesigns.com but there are many others online who do this for a price as well. In the event you want a POD paper book option as well as an e-book, you might want to work with www.wordclay.com for a print on demand paperback version, and there I found creating a cover using their template relatively easy once I got the hang of it. If you approach all of it as “practice run” with the expectation that it may take you at least two runs at this, you will not become so overly upset with yourself as to quit on it before you are successful.
Oh my…I just earned $100 more in the last twenty-four hours from my ebooks! Wow…imagine, an author making money on his efforts! Shhhh…tell no one! OMG and enough of that, Mister!
This about covers it. If you have any questions, please leave a comment!
Robert W. Walker has taught writing in all its permutations (“All writing is creative writing but not all writing sings,”) from composition and development to a study of the literary masters to advanced creative writing. His first novel was one only an arrogant youth could have conceived — a sequel to Huckleberry Finn (now published as Daniel & The Wrongway Railway, Royal Fireworks Press, NY), but his first suspense-techno-thriller-sf-mystery came in 1979, after college, a novel that won no awards entitled SUB-ZERO.