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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Indie Publishing - Self Publishing - How to make a Million


The road to self publishing is paved with gold - yeah, sure!

There's an interesting article HERE on this very subject. It's a refreshing read since all we seem to hear about are the mega sales of folk like Amanda Hocking and J A Konrath, but for every big seller there are thousands of others struggling with low, often non existent, sales. So why is this? Well there's a lot of dross out there, of course.But even well established authors, with a proven track record are finding it difficult to shift units in bulk.

Raymond Benson, a well known  writer, the third official author of the James Bond series, recently wrote about his own difficulties in selling his back list as eBooks and Archive friend, Chap O'Keefe, a very well respected western author, has reported that sales are slow with his own eBook titles.

Is it all about promotion?  Take Joe Konrath for instance - he constantly preaches promotion while making claims of massive sales, often selling a truck load of books before dinner time. And yet I've tried to corner him for an interview with the Archive for some time and had no response. John Locke, on the other hand, has talked to the Archive -  he holds the distinction of being the first self published author to sell a million titles. Congratulations John - we're thrilled for you. I could make the outlandish claim that the Archive is responsible for Locke's success, but of course it isn't as the author is a bloody good writer and his work is addictive. He has also worked long and hard at promoting his books but the most important fact is that they are engaging books.  However  in the spirit of outlandish claims I'm gonna' make it anyway - APPEAR ON THE ARCHIVE AND SELL A MILLION!!!!!!!!
It took some time for my hugely popular Granny Smith series to find a readership, but now that it has sales are strong from week to week, and a fourth title in the series will be published at the end of March 2016. I've promoted the hell out of these books - indeed the first three titles are currently at a low low price on Amazon until the new book comes out- and I shall continue to promote the series. 

Maybe readers are reluctant to buy eBooks by new authors after being stung by some of the badly written, badly edited crap out there, but that doesn't explain why true craftsmen like Chap O'Keefe and Raymond Benson  are struggling to make the eBook model work. At the moment we live in a world where anyone can easily publish a novel to eBook using Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes and Noble, and believe me many do - some it seems bang out something in a matter of days, bung up a cover with Photoshop and then press publish and  their creation is soon available to the world.

I do strongly believe though that true talent will shine through - at the moment the self publishing craze seems to have levelled out, but as time goes on readers will soon discover what is good and what is not. Self publishing platforms like Amazon really do need to introduce some quality control if they are to ensure their eShop contains nothing but quality writing, still I fear this will never happen since money is made from the good as well as the bad, and the bad outnumbers the good by seemingly sixteen squillionwilliontwillion to one.

Though have no fear - writers will continue to write, since that is what they have to do, what they must do.


Staff said...

Hi Guys,

As the owner of a small, very small, publishing house, I agree with what you've said. The authors we work with who've done "well" (and that's a relative term) have really put out a lot of effort. Our western author, Jere D. James, has a very faithful following, but it's likely no more than a few hundred people. Marketing is key...but so expensive. I also think Amazon has really put the hurt on ebooks because of their policies about lending books for free, their reading program for 9.95 a month or some ridiculous price, and publishing some pretty godawful stuff. We still sell lots of paperbacks, but if we depended on ebook sales we'd be long out of business.

Nice article.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I too think the lending thing can harm authors, particularly when Amazon pays by pages read rather than classing the borrow as a sale. Amazon now have the monopoly on eBooks and hopefully one day they will pay authors by the borrow rather than simply by pages read.