E-book authors might be happy with their sales on Amazon, Apple, Kobo or B&N. You might have even turned it into an audio book. But the questions for a “real” book, paper back or hard-cover copy from conservative friends or elderly family members are nagging… And wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a Chapters or Baker & Taylor or one of the rare independent book shops and see your book in the shelf?
You will not earn a fortune, not even a living, but for a couple of months it is a nice pocket change. Only months… yes, because longer than this, barely any book will stay in the book store, unless it really is a bestseller and gets re-printed.
If you go the indie route and choose for sample the POD services and worldwide distribution through Lightning Source, (provided you have at least 3 books to be considered a small publisher) your book is printed on demand and will never get discarded (good: no-return-policy in POD worldwide distribution). See my blog from last month How to Distribute Your Book Worldwide.
All you need is the spine / back of your cover designed and professionally formatted (graphic designer, book designer, lay-outer). To work with Lightning Source you need to have at least three books to be considered a publisher and you will not receive technical help. Using CreateSpace as a POD service is the better choice if you are not a computer geek and you have less than three books.
Due to the high print-on-demand printing costs, you need to sell a 180-page fiction book for more than $10 to make any profit at all. Still you don’t make real money with your paper book, unless you are a marketing pro, very entrepreneurial and able to organize a small publisher business and invest in your written work and in letterpress print.
Role models are enough out there and they will tell you exactly how to do start as a reall publisher with their books and blogs – from Dan Poynter, Aaron Shephard to John Kremer, Joanna Penn and Joel Friedman. Author David Gaughran wrote in one of his blogs, Making Money from Paperbacks: “I was really slow to see the potential in print, and it was probably the biggest mistake I made over the last year.”
But then again: Why on earth should you go with a paper edition of your e-book?
- The majority of book buyers still chooses printed books at the moment (that will change)
- You can give out review copies to newspaper/magazine or book blog reviewers
- To be hosted at local media / TV interviewers who want to show a copy of your book
- To sell your book easier to libraries
- To participate in a Goodreads giveaway
- To sell your book to those who really don’t want an e-Reader or just love paper books
- If you write non-fiction it is almost a must to offer it in paper as well
- You have an ISBN number and can get listed with Bowker at worldwide bookstores
- Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas – unless you put an e-book on a new e-Reader and wrap it
- To sell more e-books! Yes – because they seem to cost so much less in comparison…
And last but not least: Think hurricanes or other reasons for power outage. I know e-Readers have batteries. But guess what: just yesterday my Kindle went dead and needed to be re-charged! With heavy thunderstorms around the house due to hurricane “Sandy”, I did not want to plug it in – and instead I read a paper book surrounded by lots of solar lamps and candles.
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