Look, let’s be honest. Earning $0.35 per unit sold through Amazon’s restrictive royalty rate sucks. You should be earning closer to the full $0.99. Your book is worth it, and you need to make some money to offset advertising costs.
You could sign up as an Amazon affiliate and earn 4% more on each sale…but you have to refer those sales yourself, which means you can’t net that additional amount on advertisers’ promos. And 4% is pennies, still, so why bother?
Gumroad.com has the answer. They’re a sales site that allows authors, artist and others to sell their digital prices easily and for very little costs per unit. You’re looking at about $0.35 plus a percentage (under 3%) cost per unit sold. That means you net $0.61 per sale. That’s nearly twice as much!
Sell 100 copies on Amazon, net $35.
Sell 100 copies on Gumroad, net $61.
Sell 1,000 copies on Amazon, net $3,500.
Sell 1,000 copies on Gumroad, net $6,100.
Now you’re talking!
Kindle Unlimited isn’t doing anything new. Subscription services originated outside of Amazon, leading the way for readers and authors to find a new way to interact. But KU did tap into the largest market of ebook readers.
That has caused some difficulty for indie authors…and likely for traditionally published authors, as well. Generally payments are down, even if reading rates are the same or stronger.
What this means is that it is time once again to shift the way you produce and market your books. Consider having only some of them available through Kindle and sell the rest of your ebooks on a different site. This could work especially well if you allow print versions of all your books to remain on Amazon.
Also try moving the price points for ebooks you leave on Amazon to a higher point. This could change the borrow rate by broadcasting to readers that your work is worth more. Higher valuation results in greater respect, and more consumer demand.
Finally, always have a direct pathway for sales. Use Gumroad to sell ebooks directly to readers at a discounted price. You’ll receive more money per sale even at $0.99 than Amazon’s standard 35% royalty at that price and you’ll potentially reach more readers.
The back cover should be more than a simple description of the book, and should include validation both from endorsements and through information about the author.
The description of the book’s content can be the most difficult part. It needs to do several things: outline the basic premise of the story, create an emotional response, and generate immediate recognition by touching on some universal issue.
While authors can try to write their own copy, usually they have trouble working all that into a single paragraph. They should either hand it to someone familiar with their specific category and market or at least get feedback from fellow writers.
When the description fails in any one of these areas, the back copy will fail to capture readers.
Once you have the description, work on blurbs. Testimonials are very effective. If you look at nearly any book, you’ll find that those with a slew of endorsements actually don’t run anything about the plot or the author on the back cover: it’s 100% testimonials. Authors who have only a few strong endorsements should mix those together with the bio and synopsis for best results.
Finally, validate your experience as an author by including a paragraph about you. Even if this is your first book, tell readers why you wrote this book and a little about your journey while writing it.
If you hit all three of these points, you’ll create copy that sells!
Self-publishing is a huge undertaking. Understanding how book sales platforms work is critical, and because Amazon sells more books than any other platform, understanding how Amazon works is critical. Here are five things every author needs to know about the company.
1. Free does not count the same as a sale. When you give your book away for free on Amazon, the algorithms count it differently than an actual sale. This means your book will need many more free downloads to rise in the rankings and most of Amazon’s lists.
2. If you have set up your book on any platform other than Amazon’s, you will not be able to directly control the price of the book. You set the retail price only. Amazon decides when to discount it and how much of a discount to offer.
3. After a sale or giveaway that includes many distributors, track your book’s price on Amazon. They often do not restore the original price right away, leaving your book at a sale price for longer periods than you’d planned. Note, too, that they have the ability to leave it at that sale price, including free, forever.
4. If you have a short-term sale that shoots your book up Amazon’s rankings, you will see a very sharp drop-off after the sale. Be prepared for this to happen and continue your marketing efforts over time.
5. Multiple sales spikes, even small ones, are given more weight than single-day or week-long spikes. For best results, spread your efforts out over time. Each smaller sales spike will benefit your book more in the long term than one short, exponential spike.
Bowker’s 2013 annual review noted that 25% of spending in the romance category is for ebooks. Compare that to 6% dedicated to ebooks in cooking and 5% for one publisher’s illustrated books, and you’ll see that self-published authors who write romance are taking advantage of the latest technologies.
Check the Smashwords bestseller list any week and you’ll see that romance dominates their listings. Frequently 8 out of the top 10 books are romance: paranormal romance, historical romance, and a slew of other subcategories…but all under the same genre umbrella.
Romance has long been a high-sales category. Readers are voracious, often zipping through 3 or more titles every week. They want what authors can provide: a faster publication schedule than big publishers have traditionally provided, more unique plotlines and character developments than publishers have been willing to experiment with, and a more direct connection with authors through social media.
These three reader benefits have allowed self-published authors in other categories to achieve success. Take a tip from your romance-author friends. Write the books you want to write then get them out there. Connect with fans and listen to what they’re saying. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat!
The numbers for 2014 aren’t all in yet but things are looking good for the publishing industry’s ongoing recovery. For the first time since 2008, when the economic meltdown impacted book publishing and book sales, the number of print books sold is set to rise.
Last year, print sales rose 9.1% during the holiday compared to the previous year’s increase during that time. The expectation is that 2014’s holiday season will boost the numbers even further.
As we’ve seen so often in other statistics, juvenile and young adult fiction rose significantly during 2013’s holiday season, a whopping 27.3% for that year. Adult fiction rose 6.1% that season, while adult nonfiction continued around the same numbers as posted in 2012.
To give you an idea of what these percentages mean, adult nonfiction unit sales totals were 36,983,000 during the holiday season in 2013. That year, adult fiction sales totaled 18,522,000, juvenile nonfiction came in at 8,641,000, and juvenile fiction sold 31,935,000.
Even if you’re self-published, these numbers matter. They indicate that people are once again spending on books of all types. Jump into a new marketing campaign now to reap the best results.
As we’ve seen over the past several years, YA/children’s books continue to fuel growth in print and ebook markets. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released figures for January to July 2014 showing that ebook revenue grew 7.5% compared to the same period in 2013. Ebook revenue in the children’s/YA category rose 59.5% over the same period in 2013.
Religious ebooks climbed 25.7% compared to the same timeframe last year.
Educational revenues are also rising. School-age titles are up 21.5% and higher education materials rose 10.9 percent.