Okay, so I just got the rights back to a trilogy. I LOVE these stories. I wrote them originally in the hopes that they would be printed in one anthology. And though they went out into the world, they never made it to print. They ran their course at the publisher and I got my rights back.

Now I’m doing allllll kinds of research. I’m looking at other publishers, even an agent or two and now I’m wondering about publishing them on my own.

Easy. Don’t faint on me. There’s an interesting blog post by Jon Konrath where he’s talking about the explosion of ebooks purchased through Amazon for their Kindle. He has uploaded his own books and has been tracking the sales and lists them in terms of dollars earned. The facts for his direct sales numbers are staggering.

And with Amazon lowering the price of the Kindle there is no doubt in my mind that this market is going to explode exponentially. Add the over 3 million in iPad sales with it’s e-reader applications as well as Sony e-reader and Barnes and Noble’s Nook and you’ve got millions of readers out there looking for another book to download.

Which brings me to my quandry. What to do with my books so they reach the largest number of readers and in turn bring in the most income. I’m actually toying with the idea of uploading them myself rather than going through a publisher. It can be done easily enough through Amazon, either on your own or with the help of sites like Smashwords. Authors are doing it all over the place.

But I don’t want my books to get lost in the cracks. I don’t want them to sit idle while other ebooks fly off the virtual shelf. I market myself. I get out there and tell the world I’m an author and where they can find my books. But this “going out on my own” isn’t a type of marketing. It’s me OWNING the rights to my books and becoming my own publisher. Definitely a leap of faith.

Part of me thinks … What have you got to lose? And another part thinks … I’ve totally lost my mind. But then again if Jon Konrath’s numbers are any indication of the type of money an author can make on their own it’s hard to pass up taking the chance. (NOTE: I’m not talking about self-publishing books. Lord knows there’s no way my stuff could go out into the world without a good editor smoothing the rough edges.)

So I’m wondering where you get your ebooks from: straight from a publisher’s site, amazon, barnes & noble, third party vendors? And would you try a new-to-you author if their book was priced right? And what about you authors, are you thinking of dipping your toes into this new world of publishing?

25 Responses to A New Path to Publication?

  • Nina, after reading Konrath’s blog, I looked into the Kindle possibility for some of my unsold manuscripts. Turns out to be a whole lot more involved than I thought. You have to pay to obtain an ISBN. Then you have to convert your story to the proper format and create a cover. That might be kinda fun. However, Konrath has made a bundle doing this because he’s already well known and has a big reader following. But who knows, it might work for others too. Like you!

    • Susan – This is what I was thinking. Konrath’s readers were already there and they just followed him which explains his numbers. Which may be hard to repeat for others (like me). I did know about the book cover and have already taken that into consideration. What I hadn’t thought about was obtaining the ISBN. (Which was like DUR *head smack*) From the sounds of it, and I’ll have to research to be sure, Smashwords does help with all of that. Of course they also keep a percentage of the sale. Thanks for your insight.

  • Those that I don’t get from the Sony E-reader store I get mainly from ARe. I have a Sony instead of a Kindle. But on my royalty checks – most of my sales are coming from Kindle more than any other distributor. I have two friends that are downloading their work on their own to Amazon for Kindle. I’m going to see what their experiences are. To be honest I’m scared to go it alone without a publisher behind me. I’m a bit of a chicken.

    • Cornelia – I haven’t seen the surge in Kindle sales that many authors are experiencing (but there’s still hope). And now our books are listed at ARe and I’m hoping that will also open the door to more sales.

      Many authors ARE going the route of uploading their books to Kindle, but like you, I like the idea of having a publisher behind my books. I worry that it’ll be a lot of work for not much return AND it seems to me the books would definitely be dead in the water as far as having the ability to sell them to another publisher. *sigh* Lots of mud in these waters to be sure!

  • I’m considering self-publishing, but not for fiction. Most of the fiction titles doing really well in Kindle are all New York published titles. Anything doing really well that isn’t NY published, and fiction, is free. Or non-fiction.

    So I’m going to dip my toe in the self-publishing market, but with a non-fiction title. Although, yes, there are up-front expenses associated with self-publishing, of course. You have to pay for the ISBN number, editing, a cover, and I don’t think I’ll just e-publish, either. I’ll pay for a POD paperback edition, too. Which means more ISBN numbers. (There’s one for each format).

    Smashwords is like iUniverse, and Harlequin’s self-publishing venture. You get what you pay for. It’s a joint-venture.

    I will be genuinely self-publishing: Running my own publishing company and doing it all myself…and keeping all the profits, or paying for all the losses.

    Tracy.

    • Wow Tracy! That’s quite an undertaking. But you wouldn’t be the first author to step out of the writing realm to open her own publishing company. I can honestly say I’m not that brave. Even going with a POD makes me hesitate. Best of luck with your endeavor. But I know you … it will be a success. No question.

  • Nina,
    I am a writer and I went with Amazon, SMashwords, and Create Space, all you have to upload yourself. If you go through Smashwords first, you can get an ISBN #, either free or by paying through your royalties. As for editors, most of my books have beenw with e-publishers and been edited already. I have had one or two edited by editors I have run into.

    How are sales for a author who has been e-published for a long while. Well, to tell the truth, they are better than with an e-publisher. They aren’t fantastic yet, but they are going up every quarter, so I can’t be doing too bad.

    I did load all of it myself, I did format my cover, I have had some edited by editors that I paid for. But the only fee I paid was for editors. Smashwords puts out ebook, and they don’t charge to do it. The royalties are better with them than any e-publisher I’ve had.

    Distribution is good too. Smashwords has Sony, Barnes and Noble, Ipad, and Kobo so far and they are working daily to improve circulation.

    Create Space puts out a beautiful cover. All you need do is get your manuscript in PDF and load it in the size you want your book to be. Then design your cover, which they have templates you can use that make it semple for you.

    I can testify that sales are better than with my e-publishers. So I think you should try it.

    Just my opinion.
    Here’s my site
    http://ritahestand.com

    • Rita – I appreciate all that information. It’s so nice to hear from someone who isn’t already with NY. Part of me truly thinks I have nothing to lose in this venture and the other worries the money could be with another e-pub. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

  • @Rita and Nina

    Rita, I too have gone the self-publishing route because I was getting anywhere trying to query the traditional houses (part of my problem is the query letter. I just can’t seem to get it right)

    Anyway, I started with Createspace, then Kindle, and then Smashwords. I noticed that I sell more when the price range for the ebooks is around 99cents to 2.99 (that’s the sale price).

    After reading the Konarth article, I’m changing my prices to that range (instead of the 4.99/5.99 for my two books) and I’m going to see where that lands me.

    I was fortunate that I have two English teachers for editors and that my cover artist is a college friend of mine.

    I’m getting good responses from readers and reviewers. I have to say this experience has been pretty interesting.

    Also about the ISBN numbers. Createspace gets you one for free. The only downside is if you decide not to keep your book with them, you do lose the ISBN number. Kindle automatically assigns their version of an ISBN and Smashwords just introduced their ISBN program earlier this year (which I’m a part of.)

    @Nina

    Don’t be afraid to dive in. Trust me, the water’s just fine.

  • Even if you don’t want to venture all your work with Smashwords, Create Space or Amazon, if you have short stories, or novellas that you want to try to sell, it is a good market for it.

    Like Lakisha said pricing is the thing here, but what you hav to understand is that they pay better royalties than any e-pub. So even if you put the price of your book or short story lower, you will still end up making more money. Plus more sales.

    I do believe that Smashwords, Create Space and Amazon is the wave of the future.

    Someone said that there is a lot of junk going up too. Well, that may or may not be true, as I don’t regard others work as junk myself. But readers have always waded trhough the bad to get to the good, and they will continue to do so. Besides, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So I say the more the merrier.

    In a place where there are a lot of authors, I think the reader would be excited to see so many and able to browse for long periods to find what they want. Also there is a search on every page so all they have to do is put int he title of the book or the authors name and they will get the information.

    We are having a sale over at Smashwords right now and it is exciting. 50% off

    When they do have a sale it is up to the author whether they want to participate.

    With the e-reader prices coming down, more and more are going to be purchasing them. This means ebooks are going to sell. So I think ebooks will come into their own very soon, if not as we speak.

    Having them at Smashwords you will reap more royalties than if you sell through a e-publisher. Not that I am knocking any of them. It is up to the author how they want to go, but for the money I’ll take Smashwords and Create Space.

    The thing is you can offer your work cheaper to your readers and still make good money. That’s the trick. And it comes n many formats for all the readers. So you can’t lose.

    Love and blessings
    Rita

    • Rita – I got your email. Thank you very much for taking the time to send me all that information. It definitely feels like a “no lose” situation. Truly, I’m delving deeper into this. But all the information you and Lakisha are posting is invaluable. You have a lot of authors taking a look at what you are saying. Thanks so much.

  • Wow, so many new ideas. Something I never considered, and will be interested to see what you decide, Nina, and how it goes. Jean

    • It really is a whole new world opening up to authors Jean. Sometimes it’s hard to know which way to go. But as so many have pointed out, it can’t hurt to try.

  • I don’t claim to understand how all the epublishing works. It’s way to complicated for me. I just know I purchase my books normally at Borders Books, on Amazon and occasionally through the larger publishing houses site. It runs about 50/50 now on paper books and e books.I worry about smaller houses, if I will get my books and also if the authors will get their monies. At least with the larger established places, I am pretty confident that an author will be paid their royalties due them. I have bought a coiuple of books directly from an author who also autographs them. It was for a few dollars more than list but it went directly to her. Hope this helps you.

    • Gayle – I guess the larger question is whether or not you’re willing to try a new author at Kindle if the price is right. Basically this process we’re talking about pulls the middle man (the publisher) out of the equation and it hooks the reader directly to the author. Some of my friends have been encouraged by their epub to do it with their print books. Which means they are up on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.

      Do you look to see who the publishing house is before buying a book at the bigger retailers or does it matter to you?

      Thanks so much for sharing. Buyer information is invaluable to an author.

      • That is the one thing I’ve never done, checked to see which publishing house put out a book.

        I’ve always read because the 1) cover interested me 2) the blurb interested 3) the book was recommended to me.

        Publishing houses have never factored into my reading choices.

        • Lakisha – I never looked at publishing houses until I was published myself. Now I always check out of curiousity. I’m not sure if it will change my buying habits if the publisher is now the author.

  • You were talking about the query letter and it was the snyopsis that I never mastered. I spent years trying to get New York to take me seriously, and they didn’t. Then e-publishing came along and it opened up for me. But not without a lot of knocks. I had two go totally under, one other one swindled half the authors and then I found one that I stuck with for seven years, when sales wilted to nothing, (according to her) then I left.

    E-publishers do one amazing thing, they give authors a chance to show their work. However, a lot of them do little to no advertising, and your basically on your own there. A lot of epublishers went into business with either the idea to make lots of money fast, or to help their fellow authors. However I have seen the greed in some that claim they want to give the author a chance and steal all the rights, so no matter how high they go, the author won’t make the money, the publisher will. When publishers take all your rights and have a contract for way too many years and little sales, they aren’t helping you.

    Of course we can’t all be bestseller although a lot of authors advertise they are, and they aren’t. But with these three companies I’ve gotten back on my feet and I’m producting with no hassles.

    I had lost my husband back in 2006 and couldn’t write romance for two years. That hurt my writing career. But in the past two years I have been working like a trojan to change that. And it is finally beginning to pay off. I am producing more now and back on keel.

    If an author isn’t happy with their situation, then a lot of time and effort are wasted.

    Yes,you are right, the middle man has been cut out here and that’s why we can finally make some money on our writing.

    I hope you will all consider it because there is a chance here to make money for once. Let’s face it, authors don’t make much unless they are New York bestsellers. But believe me, those aren’t always the best books either. They are names and a lot of times you are buying a name not a quality book. Here we can make a name and work hard to actually get our money.

    Thanks for letting me talk so much and hope I have helped some of you to decide whether it is worth the venture. I think it is.

    Love and blessings
    Rita

  • Hi, Nina!
    This is an interesting idea you have. What if you tried it with just one book to see what happens? For instance, don’t try it with the trilogy, since that’s three books and once you did the first one, the other two wouldn’t be attractive to another publisher. But if you tried a stand-alone book to see how it does and how onerous the process is, then you’d get an idea of whether the prospect is worth pursuing for your trilogy.
    Good luck with whatever you decide!
    Joyce

    • Joyce – Yeah I would, but the only books I have that have already been professionally edited are in this trilogy. I wish I had a stand alone to give it a try. But I’ve gotten some really interesting feedback from all kinds of people who have gone this route. *sigh* It’s still a tough decision.

  • Thanks Nina, I enjoyed stopping by. I hope you venture out and try something there. Once you do, you may find yourself doing more and more with them. It’s one of the places that you can self publish without paying an enormous fee for it. You have most of the controls all the time and the sky is the limit.

    Even if you are skeptical, you could try a short story or novelette to get started.

    Love and blessings to you all
    Rita

  • This topic is fascinating. I like having options when the rights to my books revert back to me.

    I conquered Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, learned to make my own book videos, blog, and update my website. I guess I’ll figure out this new technology eventually, too.

    Good luck, Nina! Keep us posted.

    Best–Adele

    • Adele – ROFLMBO…so true about conquering all those new territories. I feel the same way. This is just another way for us to get our books out there and it’s going to be new no matter how we slice it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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