Monthly Archives: April 2013

Support Your Indie Bookstore

Recently France announced that it would be providing loans to independent booksellers in its nation that are having cash flow problems. The country is determined to help preserve one of the most important components of any culture, its literature.

Well, we can’t expect the U.S. government to step in anytime soon. So it’s up to you and me to help.

You don’t have to have deep pockets, either. Just commit to buying one book every month from a local store.

If you buy books frequently, commit to buying more than one every month from a local.

Save a bookstore! It could be your own book you’re helping to save!

How Much Should a Bookstore Get for Carrying Your Books?

Traditionally bookstores get 40% of the list price of a book. They have overhead to pay from that money in addition to earning a profit. Remember that they rent or own the storefront, they have employees to pay, and they have utility bills that arrive every month.

Don’t be surprised if a store asks for 45% so they can run special promotions.

Be flexible. Consider whether sales can help your brand by getting your name out there even if the store discount means you make very little profit yourself.

How Much Should You Charge for an E-book?

Recently e-books have been getting a lot of attention. Big publishers who were slow to enter the game now have as much as 27% of their profits coming from e-books. The market increased 129% over the last 18 months, and it shows no signs of shrinking. So, how do you take advantage of this as an author?
Consider the top and bottom parts of the range first. Some sites allow you to charge up to $199 for a single e-book. That’s great if you have specialized information but for most books, that’s really out of bounds.

Ten bucks is considered the magical touchstone…as in, don’t price an e-book more than that.

Free…well, that’s not really the bottom. It’s zero, so we’re going to bypass that as an option.

$0.99 is the true bottom. Reserve this lowest price point for special promotions that you advertise heavily and that run only for a short timeline, say, a single day.

$1.99 is a nice price point for longer term sales or sales that you don’t market as heavily.

That leaves you with a nice everyday price range between $2.99 and $9.99.

Self-publishing

Is self-publishing the new revolution? It sure feels like it. Publisher’s Weekly covered discussions of self-publishing and how authors are breaking into publishing houses through their own efforts in this article. Some of the key points are:
–Do not give you work away for free. Despite what you’ve heard, content does not want to be free. Authors who cannot make a living do not have time to write…and therefore they can’t continue writing. Charge something. It doesn’t have to be much but it does have to be fair.

–It doesn’t take all that much to catch the attention of traditional publishers. Sell 10,000 copies…or even a few thousand less if the timeframe is short…and start sending your book proposal out to agents and publishers.

–Quality still is king. Be sure to edit, proof, and develop your story just as if you were going after the big six publishers.

Fraud Alert!

Authors, be aware that many of the largest printers are now being investigated for fraudulent activities. The charges include making misleading claims on how their marketing and promotional packages can enhance sales, placement opportunities, and other complaints.

Remember: If you have to pay ANY money up front, the company is NOT a traditional publishing house. It is a PRINTER.

Even if the printer can offer marketing services, you are still self-publishing.

Print shops might also offer book placement services…but they are still printers and you are still self-publishing.

An educated author is a happy author!

New Book Website

Those of you who are interested in the novels and other works I’ve written can check out the new website. It’s a fresher look and much easier to navigate. Share with anyone you think might like the books…and thank you for your support!

Writing Tip

Writer’s Digest recently had this up as a recommendation for rewriting that first draft:

Pare down or eliminate scenes that don’t further the story. Examine plot points, characters, description, dialogue and exposition, until you have precisely what you need to tell your story, and not a character or subplot more. Then apply this same philosophy to your work at the sentence level, killing your darlings and eliminating excessive adjectives and adverbs, along with verbose descriptions. Bring out the flavor of both your story and your style, but stop short of overseasoning.

Many projects I work on have to be trimmed in some way. A close line edit can, word by carefully selected word, trim away as much as 15% of a manuscript’s word count. Books that need higher level work with plot points, dialog and the like, can be reduced further.

The result: Faster pacing, higher suspense, greater emotional impact, condensed tone…and a much better read.