Archive for October, 2010

Why You Want Your Book to be on Amazon.com

One of our authors asked a good question this week after we discussed the high percentage that’s given up by selling in bookstores, including Amazon.com. She asked, “Why would I want to be in Amazon.com?”

I told her that Amazon.com reaches readers she wouldn’t otherwise reach. It’s become such a fixture in the book world that even our local librarian goes to Amazon.com to look up book titles. Why? Shrinking library budgets mean paying subscription fees to look up book titles isn’t the best use of library money anymore. Looking up books on Amazon.com is free, so librarians use it.

Of course, authors who sell directly to readers (rather than through a bookstore) make the most profit per book. But they still want their books to be on Amazon.com so readers everywhere can find them.

Does the same hold true for other online stores like bn.com? Do readers look there as readily as they look on Amazon.com? The jury’s still out on that. Some authors think working with bn.com makes it too difficult to set up their accounts because bn.com appears to want to work with the publisher more than with the author. Amazon.com is more user-friendly in setting up accounts with authors.

Yes, you want to be on Amazon.com and even bn.com, but most of all you want to make sure that if you invest in publishing your book, you keep the unit cost low enough so you can afford to sell your book in online bookstores (or brick and mortar stores, for that matter).

Always look at your book publishing as business, not dream fulfillment. Figure out how you’ll recover your investment. Then enjoy the journey of sharing your expertise and having people appreciate your work while your credibility increases. Sometimes you make more money on the new business you generate from your book than you do from the book itself. Great! It all counts and adds to your bottom line.

Be careful you don’t get short-sighted by thinking you have to recover all your publishing investment through book sales. You may recover it by getting a new client, a new project, or more work. And your book tipped the scale in your favor.

Yes, Amazon.com takes a chunk of change, but you definitely want your book to be there.

Happy writing!

What’s the difference between music and books?

I attended an event last week, and the program included a singer/songwriter who used to record in Nashville but has decided to pay to record his own stuff rather than go through an old-fashioned record label. Why? He wasn’t getting any marketing help from the record company in Nashville, and his small royalties were paid annually. He discovered he could pay to record himself, market himself, make direct sales himself, and make more money faster.

People come to his website and use his shopping cart to download his songs and cha-ching! He sold a lot of CDs that night and didn’t have to share any of the receipts with anyone else.

Many musicians are going this route and no one seems to be bashing them for it.

Yet, when authors decide to pay to be published, the old-fashioned purists come out in droves bashing both the author and publisher. So, what’s the difference? Why the double standard?

I think it’s because there have been so many publishers who chase the author’s dollar without providing the author with a quality book. They provide publishing packages that seldom include editing, original designs (they use templates), or much else except the requisite ISBN, LOC registration, etc.

They charge the author to publish, but use print-on-demand technology so there aren’t any printed books available unless someone pays to have one or two printed. That means these publishers don’t provide the author any inventory to enable the author to sell the books and keep the profits from the direct sales (as the singer/songwriter did last week). NOTE: The cost of the package is over and above the cost of the printing, so the first book doesn’t cost just the printing fee of $5.00–it cost the price of the package PLUS $5.00!

Many publishers require all book orders come through them so they can keep charging the author, thenĀ  “pay royalties” back to the author on money the author continues to spend with them to have their books printed.

Small wonder paying to be published gets such a bad rap.

We at Expert Publishing, Inc. believe if an author pays to have a book published, the author should have the inventory of the books so he/she can sell them and make all the profit from direct sales. We also believe that since our name is on the book too, it needs to be a quality book that we’re just as proud of as the author is. It’s a simple concept, and it’s been working since 2001.

Happy writing!

 

What Gets You Started Writing?

Last night I attended a writers guild and the speaker challenged audience members to take a look at what gets them started writing.

Some write sporadically, which means they only write when the muse moves them.

Some write religiously, which means they either write at a specific time of day or they write a specific amount of time a day (such as 30 minutes).

Some have writing rituals like setting up their writing area in a specific configuration, turning on a specific type of music, etc.

Writers often want to write, but don’t.

Why not? They enjoy writing too much! Some even get lost in their writing as time escapes them. They look up from their writing and discover they’ve lost hours they could have been doing something else like cutting grass, cleaning house, etc. Then they feel guilty for doing what they want to do instead of what they ought to do.

Put away the guilt. Figure out what gets you started writing and create those starting triggers so you get your pen to paper or finger to keyboard. No one can write what you write. Stop denying yourself and your readers and share your writing. If you don’t, it won’t happen.

Happy writing!