I want to ask a question.
You’ve written a book. What direction should you take? Should you concentrate all your energy into querying literary agents and wait for months with bated breath in the hope one asks for a nibble? Or should you take the plunge and go it alone down the e-book road?
I am a book lover. I love holding a book in my hands, to feel the paper rough between my fingers. I love my book case. I love dust jackets….oh God, I love books full stop. Doesn’t everyone?
Up until now, I’d never considered owning a Kindle or Nook and, as an author, I couldn’t imagine my books being in any other format other than paper. I never thought the Kindle would ever take off. After all, how do you ask an author to sign a computer screen?
But, am I behind the times?
A couple of days ago I read a story in the Evening Standard newspaper which kind of got me thinking. I reiterate ‘kind of’. I’m not totally convinced, yet.
Most of you have probably already heard of Louise Voss. She was a struggling UK writer who couldn’t find an agent, took matters into her own hands, and published her novel on Amazon’s Kindle. She is now selling 50,000 books per month and has been offered a six-figure, four-book deal by publishers HarperFiction.
This also seems the case with writing duo Sarah Griffiths and Mark Williams, who write under the pen name Saffina Desforges. Their success on Kindle has led to discussions with a top New York agent.
We, as writers, already enter our stories into competitions and dedicate hours a week to social media so we can proudly boast our conquests to agents. Being able to brag at e-book sales is just another plus point, isn’t it? As author Linda Regan told me last year, “Agents have to sell you as well as the book. You have to be interesting.”
This all sounds super cool and easy, but is it? Going it alone sounds a mighty bit scary if you ask me. But, as I am the curious sort – and probably the only writer on planet earth that hasn’t looked at e-book (or indie) publishing – I had a nose around the Amazon web site.
So, let’s look at what I found.
If I was considering the e-book route, and let’s just use Amazon for this example as it’s the only site I looked at, I’d have to market the book myself. Okay, this I don’t find scary. It’s 2011 and I have Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and my good friend Kristen Lamb’s social media book ‘We Are Not Alone’ to guide me through – it should be a doddle. Plus, I have Kristen’s phone number and I know where she lives. She also taught me how to shoot a gun. There is nowhere she can hide :)
A big fat tick can go next to marketing.
Huh? I saw something about an rtf file and as I save all my work that way, I think I can tick that one too. Moving on swiftly.
Books sell for as little as 96p on Amazon. How can anyone make any money from that?
Well, from what I can see, Amazon’s cut is 30%. I’ll round my book off at a £1 to make things easy, and because it’s late and I can’t be bothered to go fetch my calculator. I’ll earn 70p from each sale. Hmmm, that’s about the price of a chocolate Snicker bar these days, isn’t it?
Right, so unless I sell a hundred thousand copies, I’ll never be rich. Then again, writers don’t write for money. They write for the love of it, so that doesn’t matter.
(N.B. There is another plus point to this 96p Kindle e-book downloading, which is – I’d have saved a fortune on the rubbish Vampire Diary books).
Other bits worthy of a mention.
I retain the rights to my novel and, as the author, I’ll have full control of the book cover, pricing, and well, absolutely everything.
Tick, tick, tick.
I’ve tried to find some horror stories on the web regarding e-publishing on Kindle, but there really aren’t any out there.
So, that is why I am turning to my trusty followers. Have I missed something?
What do you think of e-publishing? Do you know anyone who has published on Kindle? Would you consider publishing your novel on Kindle? Have you already published on Kindle? What are your experiences? Do you know of any successes or, more importantly, have you heard any horror stories? Let me know.