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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Rise of Digital Publishing

I was handed a section out of the Wall Street Journal this morning which was dated December 9, 2011 which had an article about Self-Publishing.
The first part of the article told the story of Darcie Chan, who after five years of trying to get traditionally published finally decided to self-publish her book.  She also let me add spent some money to advertise the book on line at several E-book sites, and paid for a review.  She ended up within months selling 400,000 copies of her book and ending up on a Best Sellers List with the Big Name Authors which dominate the lists on a regular basis.
What I found particularly interesting was the numbers that were provided to the reporter from the Association of American Publishers.
In 2006, the number of new E-book titles to hit the market was 53,237.
In 2010, that number had risen to 133,036 new titles entering the market!
That’s more than doubled in four years!  I actually believe these numbers to be much lower than the true E-book market, because with E-books and on-line you are immediately playing in an International Book Market, Worldwide!
The article also reported that E-book sales were responsible for 287 Million in sales in 2009, and that grew to 878 Million in one year for 2010.  It has grown by over 300% in one year!
This relates to about five or six E-book authors that have sold over a million copies of their books.
12 have sold more than 200,000 copies of their books and 30 authors have sold more than 100,000 copies of their books.
So of all the authors in this blind rat race known as E-publishing or Self-Publishing the royalty of the group is made up of 47 to 48 authors.  The rest of us filling are in the bottom section of this group.
Two things stand out from the mass of information immediately.
1.  With higher commission or royalties from books sold with Self-publishing you can sell your book for less and still make more money by selling more copies than if you sell at higher prices with fewer sales.
2.  The more books you have for sale the more opportunities you have for somebody to purchase one of your books.
So write more books, and lower the prices, but don't give away your hard work.
My Personal strategy is as follows.
My First Novel is for sale at .99 Cents.  My Second Novel is on sale for $4.99 still half the price of a major named brand bestselling author, for just as good of a book!
When I publish number three, I will price it at $4.99.  Drop the previous newest offering to $3.99.
When I publish number four it will go on sale for $4.99 and number three will drop to $3.99 and number two will go to $2.99.
Number two will later go to $1.99 and later again to .99 Cents.  I will not price any below .99 Cents.  By the time my second book hits .99 Cents I will have six books out for sale ranging from .99 Cents to $4.99.  Options and levels for my readers.
Those of us who buy E-books know that the Big Names are selling from $9.99 to $15.00 dollars and are selling large numbers of books.  As beginning Self-published authors we should do our part to not totally whore the industry up with FREE or all Books at .99 Cents.  We should do our part to keep the prices of good selling books at $9.99 or higher for new releases.
I have even thought that if fortune shines on my retarded dumb ass and my sales hit figures like 20,000 or higher for a new release as my base of readers who follow my work increases that I might be bold and have a later book come out at $5.99 and then cycle it through the pricing rotation as later books come out.
My major point here is that there are some really talented writers that never got a fair try or showing with the major publishers and those like me who never wasted time or money trying to go after them.  I don't want to waste the time and effort.  Yes, Darcie Chan is a hero in Self-publishing, but she wasted five years trying to get published, and spent God only knows how much money promoting her book coming out of the gates!
I assume most Self-published authors are like me.  Living paycheck to paycheck and praying nothing like a Drying breaking down three weeks before Christmas hampers your life style.  We haven't got the money to pay for editing, professional cover art, and no way in hell can afford advertising on a gamble our book is good enough and will sell and pay back our investment.
But there are diamonds in the rough strewn throughout the Self-publishing industry.  Diamonds the Big Publishing houses will never make a cent off of.  Unless they go after them!  The days of the query letter and waiting and praying to be noticed are disappearing!  Why would anybody do that?  When you can Self-publish for free, start making sales, get some feedback to whether you have any talent for writing what so ever.
If you are Self-published, making sales, building a following, and becoming successful slowly but surely, Don't give your work away!
When I published "Whisper" in January I gave away hundreds of copies through the first few months.  Since August and the release of my second book and the reviews and feedback I have been getting I know I have talent.  My books are selling themselves, no advertising!  Now I occasionally give away an E-copy to somebody who I connect with who makes on impression on me.  I give copies away to those who have web-sites and will review my book for free with integrity.  I have never paid for or bought a review of my book that just seems unethical!
Lastly, I feel all these numbers are low.  I feel the impact of E-books and Self Publishing hasn't even hit its full stride yet.  A note to Agents and Publishers, if you read my any of my books and are interested in signing an independent author, I may be interested in teaming up with Traditional Publishing, but you will not get any Query letters or me sitting at your door panting like a puppy wanting to be adopted!  Those days are gone, the power has returned to where it rightfully belongs, in the hands of the author at the will of the readers who purchase our books!
Amen, and Have a Great Day!

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