Sunday, May 31, 2009

More on the Amazon Kindle

It's the last day of May.

My little Kindle experiment has netted me $1250 for this month. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is for books that I've been giving away for free on my website for years.

I've settled on a price point of $1.59 per Kindle download (they were $1.19 for the first three weeks of May) and I'm currently making about fifty bucks a day, with no signs of slowing down.

Huge money? No. But it isn't chump change either.

The average advance for a first time novel is still $5000. If Kindle keeps growing in popularity, and the Sony Reader opens up to author submissions like it intends to, I think a motivated writer will be able to make $5000 a year on a well-written e-novel. Or more. All without ever being in print.

Isn't that fascinating?

In the previous Kindle thread, Amber Argyle-Smith mentioned that her agent warned against authors uploading to Kindle, as the book would be considered published and therefore unsalable.

On the surface, that makes sense. Ebook publishing is publishing, and once the public is able to purchase it, the first rights are gone.

If you look a little deeper, it makes even more sense why her agent said that. If authors begin uploading books to Kindle and Sony themselves, are agents and publishers still needed?

At this date, May 31 2009, agents and publishers are necessary. Any author who wants to make writing their fulltime job can only support themselves by selling print books, and the agents and publishers are a crucial part of this industry.

But how about in 2012? 2015? 2025?

If you look even deeper at what Amber's agent said, it makes less sense. Publishers aren't stupid. If an author uploads a Kindle book and sells 80,000 copies, I can't imagine publishers not being interested. Why are Kindle books any different than self-published POD books? And publishers have been known, on occasion, to buy those without qualms or nits about first rights.

Right now, the big money is in print publishing. Even with the crummy economy, with bookstores in financial trouble, and with publishers laying off people and downsizing, the big money is still there.

But there is small money to be made by authors with the Kindle. And the small money can add up.

My friend, Robert W. Walker, has written over forty novels. Most of them are out of print, and the rights have reverted back to him.

If he digitized and uploaded his books, and priced them at $1.59 (which earns him 70 cents a download), and sold 500 copies of each per month (I sold 500 of Origin and 780 of The List in May), he'd be making $14,000 a month, or $168,000 a year, on books that Big NY Publishing doesn't want anymore.

Even if he made half, or a third, or a fifth of that, that's decent money on books that he's not doing anything else with.

Now, all of us aren't Rob, and we don't have 40 novels on our hard drives, especially 40 novels that were good enough to have once been published in print.

But how long do you think it will be before some unknown author has a Kindle bestseller?

Publisher's Weekly lists the Kindle Bestsellers, but it omits the freebies. I suppose that makes sense--the freebies aren't actually being sold.

But the freebies are being downloaded and read. There isn't money changing hands, but branding and name-recognition--two essentials for every successful author--are happening.

The ebook horror novella I wrote with Blake Crouch, SERIAL, is currently the #1 Kindle Bestseller, and has been for the last nine days.

I don't know how many people have downloaded it on Kindle, but I have heard that over 7000 have downloaded it on the Sony Reader, and even more than that have downloaded it on Blake's website and various other places on the net.

I wouldn't be surprised, by the end of the year, if more than 50,000 people have downloaded SERIAL.

Is that potentially interesting to publishers? Will a savvy editor approach us with a two book deal to collaborate on some full-length horror novels?

I don't know. But I do know that even if we aren't approached by editors, I'm very interested in writing a full-length horror book with Blake and trading in on some of that branding and name-recognition we earned with SERIAL.

Let's see, 50,000 downloads, priced at $1.59 and earning 70 cents per download, divided by two, is $17,500 each. Per year, of course, since ebooks are becoming more and more popular.

And of course there is a momentum that builds. Old books sell newer books, backlists support the frontlist, each new title brings in new readers who buy an author's entire oeuvre. Profit is only limited by how many quality books an author can produce.

I know I can write four books per year. If each one makes only $5000 a year (which Origin and The List are on track to do), by year five I'll have 20 books done and be earning 100k annually just on ebooks.

If I manage to last as long as Rob Walker, I may become a millionaire yet.

And Rob, by the way, just uploaded two of his books to Kindle at $1.59 each. If you have a Kindle, check them out...

I'm also curious what will happen if I raise my prices from $1.59 to $1.89. Will sales stay steady? Will I lose some volume but gain some royalties?

June will be interesting...

46 comments:

graywave said...

Way to go Joe!

I'm dying to have a go. If only the Kindle would allow people with bank accounts outside the US to publish their work there. I've written to them and whinged about it but they just say they're working on it. If Sony beats Amazon to it, guess were my work will be going.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Joe, that agent gave his client good advice. Yeah, if she published first on Kindle and the book sold 80,000 copies she'd probably get a good or better deal, but if it sold 200 copies the book would probably become unsellable to NY. For Rob (and other authors), on the otoh, it makes perfect sense for him to put his 40 book backlist on Kindle.

Dharma Kelleher said...

I'm happy for your success, though I have a strong dislike with the way Amazon treats authors and publishers (removing "Buy Now" buttons on small publishers, de-ranking LGBT books, etc.) Amazon is also responsible for the vanishing of indy bookstores.

spyscribbler said...

That's awesome, Joe! Zoe Winters just released one novella on Kindle, first thing she's ever published. She also priced it low, and she's making decent money. And she's doing practically no marketing and has it available free all over the place. People pay for the Kindle version because of the convenience of the store.

I'm going to have to experiment with that this summer. Why not?

JA Konrath said...

Amazon is also responsible for the vanishing of indy bookstores.That's an interesting way of thinking.

I tend to think that consumers are responsible for the vanishing of indie bookstores.

Serena said...

this is great news for you...I hope that it continues to work out for you.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how this e-publishing would play in a query for a second book? ... My credits include the e-book, Blah Blah Blah which sold 1000 copies... Would and agent or publisher take this as a positive? How would they verify it?

Anonymous said...

My question has to do with copyright. If I take an uncopyrighted manuscript from my Mac and upload it to Kindle, what's to keep someone from ripping it off and unloading it themselves. Also, how long does it take before Kindle pays you for a copy sold?

Stacey Cochran said...

Another very convincing post, Joe.

Just to add to the discussion... in less than one week, I've sold almost 600 copies of CLAWS and The Colorado Sequence. At this current pace, I would be selling about 2500 copies per month.

Reviews are beginning to come in, and it seems that I've finally hit a tipping point.

That said, both of these books combined received more than 1,000 rejection letters from agents and editors. Very few people (like less than a dozen) even requested sample chapters.

I've got to think if I have 20,000 sales within a year, have dozens of reviews, and am steadily beating out authors like Dan Brown, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz somebody's got to realize they could be making a lot of money with me.

Isn't that the bottom line?

JA Konrath said...

gray - I'm also interested in Sony. We'll see what they come up with.

Dave - I don't think I'd upload anything to Kindle before trying traditional publishing, but I'm not 100% sure that will always be the case. I'm leaning toward writing a Jack Daniels novel exclusively for Kindle, just to see what it does.

Anon 10:53 - Publishers tend to buy books based on the writing, not on publishing credits. Though numbers do factor in at the acquisitions meetings, I would tend to think those are based on past print sales, not Kindle sales. For Kindle numbers to influence a publisher, my guess is they'd have to be huge.

Anon 10:55 - Everything you write automatically has a copyright. Worrying about theft is silly. And Kindle pays eight weeks after their monthly pay period ends.

Stacey - I can't say what Kindle numbers will sway print publishers, if any, but a lot of Kindle sales can't hurt your chances.

20,000 copies sold in mass market paperbacks isn't a lot, but in ebooks I think it's a pretty good number. Because publishing is a risk that involves a high cost and potentially a lot of returns, I would think you'd have to sell at least 50k to 100k ebooks before a large NY house would consider taking a chance on it in print.

It also begs the question: if you sell 100,000 Kindle copies, is there any audience left for this book?

NY publishing has a lot of variables to consider. Within the next year, though, I predict at least one author uploaded Kindle ebook will be picked up by a major house.

Being the first publisher to do that would also be great publicity for that book and house. Lots of buzz, lots of interest.

But if you can sell 100,000 copies on Kindle, do you even need NY publishing?

Anonymous said...

Until recently, Kindle books mostly came from Publishers representing established authors. What's begging to happen now is that every wannabe with junk sitting in a desk drawer is beginning to think that he/she can become famous and rich if they just keep the price under $2.00.

As this trend continues and the Kindle store gets flooded with crap, Kindle owners will discover that, by and large, they get what they pay for.

The trend will go back to paying more money but getting a decent book.

My books currently sell for $5.95 on Kindle and are selling very well.

JA Konrath said...

As this trend continues and the Kindle store gets flooded with crap, Kindle owners will discover that, by and large, they get what they pay for..

Here's what a find interesting; never before has there been a level playing field for authors.

Marketing budgets, print runs, and distribution largely determine which books are successful. Because of that many--too many--good books go out of print.

But now, marketing and distribution don't come into play, and there is no danger of going out of print.

Unknown authors can lower their prices and outsell big names.

Whether they are able to build themselves into big names remains to be seen. I'd love to think that the quality of the writing is a factor, but I've read enough bestsellers to say that talent isn't necessarily a factor in success.

I do think it's funny as hell that I'm getting good reviews and fan mail on books that were rejected by NY publishing. I also think it is tremendously satisfying that these same books are selling well enough to pay my monthly mortgage.

Perhaps consumers have the final say after all...

Stacey Cochran said...

20,000 copies sold in mass market paperbacks isn't a lot, but in ebooks I think it's a pretty good number. Very true, Joe. I think more than anything it shows that there's actually merit in these author's books.

The thing about me personally is (like you) I've got a whole basket of back-logged novels that could be making money in mass-market paperback. They're thrillers meant for a wide commercial audience and would very likely find a mainstream readership.

What I've seen in the past week is that not just anyone can have these kinds of numbers (at first I thought, well anybody could do this). I've had a couple other friends upload books, do the same things as me, and their sales are about 1/20th of my current pace.

What this tells me is that Kindle owners like fast, lean thriller novels with hooks and concepts that are clear and fun to read.

I guess my argument would be that that's fairly similar to the mass-market paperback audience.

And, too, most Kindle owners aren't going to dilute the mass-market sales of a book.

That is, the majority of Kindle owner aren't going to rush out and buy mass market paperbacks anyways. Particularly now that they have a Kindle.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of readers who don't own Kindles, but have similar tastes to Kindle readers. Those are the folks who would buy a mass market paperback of mine (and others like Boyd Morrison's or John Rector's) books.

At the very least, I am now very optimistic about the coming year.

And I owe a great deal of this to you and Boyd. Thanks so much, guys.

Boyd Morrison said...

This has been a very interesting experience for me from the start. When I first posted my books to the Kindle in mid-March, I had no expectations about how they would be received because I hadn't seen any other indie authors try it. I just didn't know if people would read an unknown author, even if the books were priced inexpensively. In two and half months, I've sold almost 6,000 copies of my three books, and in the month of May alone it was 3,450 copies. I've been very happy with the results so far, and it'll be interesting to see if it continues in the future. If nothing else, I've connected with a lot of new readers who have been very enthusiastic about my novels.

Stacey, from your comment about other authors' Kindle sales, it sounds like it's the genre that's important. That thrillers sell better than other types of books on the Kindle, which I'm not surprised about. What's keeping you from putting your other books up on the Kindle?

Joe, 100,000 Kindle books seems like way more than you would need to find a publisher. Given that there are about a million Kindles out there, you'd need 10% of Kindle owners to buy your book, which seems like an exorbitant number. Amazon has said that for books available on both print and Kindle versions, 35% of sales are the Kindle version. So you would expect that author to sell 200,000 print copies of a book if they sold 100,000 copies on the Kindle. And that's just on Amazon. That would be a true phenomenon, and I would think NY publishing would jump on that bandwagon way before it got to that point.

I think what levels the playing field is that indie authors have a way to distribute their books cheaply. And instead of a promotional budget, the Amazon rankings list gives us a free publicity tool, and we can lower our price to get attention so that readers will take a chance on something new.

Darren said...

As an unpublished, aspiring writer, I'm very interested to see some real world feedback from authors on how their books sell on the Kindle, AND what they really think of it (i.e., would they continue it, do they hate it, etc.). Joe, your experiences and raw dialogue about Amazon (and hopefully soon Sony) are inspiring. However, what any author needs to remember is that content is king. Without good writing, few people will recommend an e-book to friends. Sure, price is a factor, but writing needs to be approached like a business. If you sell good quality merchandise (i.e., good quality writing), you can charge a reasonable price ($5, $6, etc.) and make a decent living, maybe even become wealthy. If you sell shoddy merchandise (i.e., bad writing, plot holes, etc.), you NEED to have a low price just to get people interested, and you won't make much money in the long run.
Please keep blogging about your experiences.

Aaron Trance said...

Readers (whether they prefer HC, MM, OTP, Library, Kindle,or other) will always seek out a book that they enjoy. No one is going to devote 8 hours to a boring book and say at the end, "Sure, it stunk, but I saved $4!"

In the grand scheme of things, when everything is shaken out, authors who deliver a good book will sell and those who don't won't, no matter what the delivery mechanism is. Sure, there will always be market blips. A reader may try a new author because the book's only $1, but if the book doesn't perform, the "reader" (who probably stopped reading on p 20) won't be back.

The nice thing about Kindle is that it lets newbies and others who have talent get their work out cheaply, efficiently and broadly.

Like garage bands on YouTube, those few with actual talent MAY (not necessarily WILL) get recognized and build a fan base.

Karen from Mentor said...

Joe,
I posted 10 reasons why I love Joe Konrath today.

(oh, and check your inbox)

Karen:)

judy said...

I am fascinated by this topic, by the seemingly inevitable overhaul of the publishing industry. I hadn't even thought about Kindle for authors who have books out of print. That's a great idea. (Sadly, I'm not one of those authors, but I'm going to pass the information on.)

Personal goal after reading this post: Get to a point where I can say, "I know I can write four novels a year." (I mean say it with conviction, and without laughing. You rock!)

Nadine said...

This is really inspiring - please keep blogging about this topic, it's good to get the insider views of someone who's actually using this.

Stacey Cochran said...

Any word yet on the DTP "Month to Date" issue?

John Rector said...

Stacey, Are you not seeing your sales either? Starting June 1st, all I'm getting is a blank. I know it's selling because people keep telling me they're buying it, and it has jumped 250 spots in the overall ranking, but no data is coming up under my reports.

I emailed the DTP admin, but he said they aren't aware of any issues.

Stacey Cochran said...

Okay, WTF? So "My Report" is finally working in DTP but it says I sold "4" copies of CLAWS between June 1 and June 3. I was selling at a pace of about 60-90 books each day before June 1.... and my ranking actually went up about 150 spots on June 1 and 2.

It looks like whatever sales we earned on June 1 & 2 were not registered in DTP.

John Rector said...

Same here. 4 copies.

The Grove

I sold 420 (dude) copies in the first week. Over the 1st and 2nd of June my book climbed from 500-something up to the low 200's in the rankings, and I'm supposed to believe that 300 point jump was because I sold 4 copies?

WTF is right.

In better news, I just agreed to a deal with Tor to publish my new novel The Cold Kiss. It's coming out summer 2010 in hardcover with trade paper to follow.

I don't know how much of this can be attributed to the kindle book (probably not much) but I like to think it helped Tor make a decision.

JA Konrath said...

Congrats, John!

Robert Burton Robinson said...

If you have ever offered your book for free on the web, but have not uploaded it to Kindle: go look for your book in the Kindle Store---it might be there anyway.

I finally uploaded my four suspense novels. Then I went to the Kindle Store to see if they were there yet. To my horror, all of my books had already be uploaded to the Kindle Store BY SOMEBODY ELSE.

One of them actually had the nerve to take co-writing credit: The Flying Tigers Publishing Group. Whoever that is.

I contacted Amazon and told them about the problem. Hopefully they will have it corrected soon.

John Rector said...

Thanks, Joe. It's been a crazy couple days.

I doubt you remember me. I won one of your 69 word contests a couple years ago.

Carpet tacks between the teeth?

Stacey Cochran said...

In better news, I just agreed to a deal with Tor to publish my new novel The Cold Kiss.

Holy shit, that's awesome news!

Do you know who your editor is going to be at Tor yet?

I'd think Eric Raab would be perfect for your style.

Seriously dude, congratulations!

Stacey Cochran said...

Jeez, I've sold like 120 books since 11 AM (about 5 hours ago)!

Don't know what the cause of the current frenzy is, but I'm liking it!

The Colorado Sequence

Makes me wonder... this book was originally passed over very quickly by David Hartwell at Tor (way back in 2004). Now that I'm beating like Dune and Star Wars and literally every other title currently being labeled as Science Fiction, I wonder if they might be interested in it.

JA Konrath said...

Hi John.

Since you won one of my contests, and I was the first person to recognize your talent, I'm legally entitled to 23% of your career.

Or you can buy me a beer next time we're both at a convention. Second beer will be on me. :)

Stacey Cochran said...

Okay, this is blowing my mind. The Colorado Sequence is creeping toward the top 100 on Amazon.

Like overall.

This was a throw-away novel. I literally put it up on Kindle at the lowest possible price because I didn't think anyone would read it.

I mean 450 literary agents can't all be wrong. Right?

I am just astonished at this novel's momentum. I have never experienced anything like this in my life.

John Rector said...

Joe, you're on.

Stacey, Eric is my editor and the one who fought to buy the book. Glad to hear you think we'd be a good fit.

And congratulations on the Colorado Sequence. I just bought a copy to help push you into the top 100. Good luck.

JA Konrath said...

Results of the current June experiment, making the price of my ebook novels $1.91.

I'm now earning $90.00 a day.

Of course, the month is only 3 days old, so it could very well slow down...

Stacey Cochran said...

This has been an incredible single day for me, too. I've sold 330 copies today alone, netting me $115.

As I'm going to bed at 11 PM EST, The Colorado Sequence is just inches away from cracking into the top 100 (currently at #111 overall).

Again, thanks so much Joe, Boyd, and John for lighting a fire under our butts on this whole Kindle deal. I couldn't have done any of this if it weren't for you guys.

Boyd Morrison said...

It looks to me like Amazon has added the June 1-2 sales in with today's sales. What I sold today is about equal to my average for three days in May, so I'm guessing we'll all have a dropoff tomorrow.

The lack of communication from Amazon about this problem has been surprising. They're lucky a mainstream news feed didn't pick up on this and give them a black eye.

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

I stand by what I said. If I put my novel on Kindle, I would lose my agent and my chances for publication with the houses currently reviewing my novel.

THIS ISN'T FOR EVERYONE!

Let me repeat that. This isn't for everyone. If you've exhausted every other possibility, than this isn't bad. If you're looking for new avenues, and your publisher is behind you-go for it.

"If you look a little deeper, it makes even more sense why her agent said that. If authors begin uploading books to Kindle and Sony themselves, are agents and publishers still needed?"

Kindle will not replace paper books. It's simply another avenue--like audiobooks. If I loved a book on Kindle, I would probably buy it in hardcopy (first, I'd have to buy a Kindle).

Robert Burton Robinson said...

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly Amazon reacted when I informed them that there were several illegal copies of my books in the Kindle Store.

The legal department emailed me within a couple of hours and as of this afternoon all the illegal versions are gone.

Very impressive service.

Bicycle Shop Murder
Hideaway Hospital Murders
Illusion of Luck
Fly the Rain

Brian Crawford said...

You should get royalties from Amazon. I've been toying with the idea of getting a Kindle for years, but your posts on e-books put me over the hump. I agree that if we want to be successful authors, the e-book is a technology we need to embrace and understand. Plus, the Kindle is pretty damn cool. Serial was the first book I read on the device.

Mike MacLean said...

I made this same post over at www.murderati.com

Does anyone else see this as a possible downfall to the entire publishing industry? Okay, I’m being dramatic here, but think about it. The newspaper industry has all but slit its own throat by offering free content online. No one wants to pay for newspapers anymore.

As more and more of us buy Kindles and are able to download thousands of books for free, what will happen to our perceived “value” of books?

That being said, if I failed to land a contract and (as Alex mentioned) had confidence in my work, I would certainly think about going the e-book route. As many of you know, authors like Dave Wellington and Seth Harwood built up fan bases with free books online before landing contracts. Maybe this is how new authors will have to gain the attention of publishers.

JA Konrath said...

Kindle will not replace paper books. It's simply another avenue--like audiobooks


IPods haven't replaced CDs either. But, boy, have they taken a big bite. :)

Does anyone else see this as a possible downfall to the entire publishing industry?

Ultimately, consumers decide what succeeds and what fails.

The future is going to be interesting. :)

Karin said...

I don't have a Kindle - yet! I keep hinting for a Mother's Day, birthday, Christmas, or any other holiday gift, but... I download and read the pdf files. We travel a lot and many stories on one laptop is easier to pack that many books. Also, when we stay at places without Internet I can still read my pdfed books!

Chris said...

I guess i'm curious how the numbers change from fiction to non-fiction. My assumption would be that the numbers decrease drastically, but that's just a guess...

Anonymous said...

1.As usual your logic faulty and outright wrong. Ipods haven't taken a chunk out of anything. 84% of all music "purchased" is done so on CD. It's the illegal downloads, file sharing, and record company greed that has taken a chunk out of the business. Not the Ipod.
2. Next time you report numbers don't cleverly word them as fact. "On pace to do $5,000" is NOT the same as having done 5k in business. For all you know you've reached max saturation on that title already. And just becasue you sold X number one month doesn't mean you will sell that many every month for the rest of you life!
3. Also I agree with Anonymous! a glut of crappy 1000-time rejected novels priced under $2.00 will only create more ticked off Kindle owners: having them choose between high priced name authors and $1.89 crap.
4. Know your history!! When King hit it big and every publisher and their mother put out a horror novel what happened? There was a short lived boom followed by a prolonged period of bust. Same principle here will apply here when there is nothing but unedited wannabe junk fiction.
5. To all those who aspire to write four novels a year, I have one word for you: Crazy! Go ask a romance writer what it's like to write 6-10 books a year, year in, year out, and see if that's the plan to success you want to follow. Their 2% royalty rates just make me salivate with envy.

JA Konrath said...

1.As usual your logic faulty and outright wrong. Ipods haven't taken a chunk out of anything. 84% of all music "purchased" is done so on CD. It's the illegal downloads, file sharing, and record company greed that has taken a chunk out of the business. Not the Ipod.

Joe: iTunes sells more music than Walmart, the biggest music retailer.

And the iPod is the reason for illegal downloads, braniac. Duh.

2. Next time you report numbers don't cleverly word them as fact. "On pace to do $5,000" is NOT the same as having done 5k in business. For all you know you've reached max saturation on that title already. And just becasue you sold X number one month doesn't mean you will sell that many every month for the rest of you life!

Joe: For the past ten days, I've made $90 a day, and since April 8, my sales have gone up. The Kindle/Kindle for iPhone market is growing, not shrinking.

I can sell 200 books a day for 720 days and not even reach 10% of the Kindle owners, let alone the iPhone/iPod owners, which number in the millions.

Signs point to growth, not shrinkage, and saturation may not ever happen at the pace the market is growing.

3. Also I agree with Anonymous! a glut of crappy 1000-time rejected novels priced under $2.00 will only create more ticked off Kindle owners: having them choose between high priced name authors and $1.89 crap.

Joe: Sounds like you're comparing it to the videogame crash of the 1980s, where cheap inferior games killed the industry.

But there's a difference. Consumers on Amazon have the ability to rate and review and preview books.

Currently, print books sell as a result of distribution and print runs, not quality. Kindle is an even playing field because there is only one distributor (Amazon.)

In the print world, the more places your book is for sale, the more it will sell. Add in huge marketing and advertising campaigns, and that's why we have bestsellers.

On Kindle, the price point allows authors like me to outsell major bestsellers.

Between the review system, and the ability to preview books before purchase, crappy books will remain poor sellers, regardless of price.

4. Know your history!! When King hit it big and every publisher and their mother put out a horror novel what happened? There was a short lived boom followed by a prolonged period of bust. Same principle here will apply here when there is nothing but unedited wannabe junk fiction.

Joe: The horror market died because the paperback market imploded due to regional distributors being absorbed by mega-warehousers. And you're telling me to know my history?

As for "Nothing but unedited junk fiction", my examples pointed to authors with out of print backlists that have already proven themselves good enough to be in print.

Self-pubbers will face the same uphill battle they've always faced, only now they'll have virtual shelf-space alongside major bestsellers. Who sells more will be determined by the public.

Also, keep in mind that Kindle books are 100% returnable, no questions asked.

5. To all those who aspire to write four novels a year, I have one word for you: Crazy! Go ask a romance writer what it's like to write 6-10 books a year, year in, year out, and see if that's the plan to success you want to follow. Their 2% royalty rates just make me salivate with envy.

Joe: I can name a dozen authors who have published more than 50 books. If I did less self-promotion, I could easily hit 4 a year.

As for romance authors, royalties are set by their publisher. Kindle would allow them to set their own royalties. Seems like they'd be making a lot more money on Kindle.

Thanks for playing, though.

Zoe Winters said...

Hey Spy, (Who referenced me early on in this thread): wouldn't say I'm making decent money yet, but that wasn't the point. This novella is really more test marketing. (Which probably would have made sense to market it better if I wanted to "test market" but it's so easy to get wrapped up in other things,lol.)

Considering that the goal wasn't really money for this release, then a several hundred dollars in my pocket that I didn't have before, is A-okay with me. And I'm still going. I can always improve on my marketing methods and continue to gain readers.

Joe, I totally agree with what you're saying about small money adding up and is one of the reasons I decided to "go indie" with my work instead of pursuing trad publishing.

In 10 years if I have 10 novels out in trade paperback(POD), and several ebook formats, and my writing is actually resonating with some people, then that's equity. That's going to add up.

Whether or not a NY publisher ever notices, doesn't matter.

Because I'm doing what I love, I'm connecting with readers, and I'll be making some money.

To the person at the very beginning of the thread, Dave, who mentioned the agent's advice and what if the book only sold 200 copies. I think 200 Kindle copy sales on a good book is hard to imagine personally even for a total unknown.

But even if that's true, why would a trad publisher publish such a book in the first place? Even if they took the risk, if it didn't earn out, that author is a one book author.

And I know of very few writers whose dream it is to be a one-book-author.

Unless you only intend to write ONE novel for your entire life, there is nothing lost by putting your earlier work out yourself. (provided it's up to a quality level that you can be proud to put out there.)

If later a larger publisher comes along and wants a piece of the pie and that's what the writer wants too, great. If not... writing and publishing your work carries on. No real loss.

It's an exciting new world out there. And I'm just happy to be a part of it.

Algot Runeman said...

Please pass the word to your friend Robert Walker.

Though I liked the moody intro (which usually leave me cold because they take so long to happen before the real data appears), but then his HTML code did a popup which I typically block.

I don't want to wait around. Thought you might be interested, too, as it fits into your thoughts about using the Internet for marketing books/authors.
--Algot

Michael said...

I like the way you changed your marketing of the title with "For a limited time only $1.99." Ha!

Actually, that works - i did the same with one of my titles, and sales actually increased vs. the other way around. Of course, a lot of it had to do with about a million or so new Kindles being unwrapped for Christmas, but I will echo what you said about satisfied folks looking for older works, helping to see new work, etc.

Great discussion thread!