Publishing books is addictive.
I was reminded again by a post over on the Self-Publishing Yahoogroup (sponsored by SPAN).
Should you be thinking about using one of those companies - Xlibris, iUniverse, and AuthorHouse - I urge you to think again. On the one parameter that all publishing companies must use, how many books are sold, they fail miserably.
Xlibris recently announced it paid $1,000,000 in royalties. This works out to $111 for each author. The important statistic is that number totals to only 33 books sold for each author. iUniverse does slightly better at 75 copies sold. Finally, AuthorHouse comes up with a whopping 108 books sold for each author.
In the book business, this is known as abject failure. Another factor to throw in: they have had a few books do well. A very, very, very few. This brings that average number of books sold down even further.
I was interviewed today for Dan Poynter's Publishing Poynters Radio. The topic was on making a living independently publishing books. I readily admitted that I am not yet able to do so, but that I would be happy to discuss my three-year plan to make that happen.
Some of the ways that I discussed were:
This is the very short version of the Degree Press business plan. If you want to hear all about me, I will let you know when it is up on the ParaPublishing.com website.
If you are a writer of fiction, you would do well to attend the Book Marketing for Novelists Seminar sponsored by John Kremer. If you haven't already figured out that it is incredibly more difficult to market fiction than nonfiction, now you know. It is.
So how you you make your fiction publishing successful? My advice is always to follow that which has worked. John Kremer has helped sell many, many books. That works for me.
From John Kremer:
I used to think that my general book marketing advice was enough to help most novelists sell their books. While I still believe that is true, I have found that many novelists are not at all prepared to do what is necessary to make their books into bestsellers. They can't figure out how to apply my general advice to their specific needs. Well, that's something I can do — and have done. Now I'm ready to share it with novelists, whether first-time or published many times.
For more information, see Book Marketing for Novelists Seminar.
I accepted a bid today from eDeveloperNetwork to produce our new website. Their work is nothing short of phenomenal, particularly the back end, so I have high hopes for how this will turn out.
Interestingly, I was able to eliminate half the companies because they had no experience with Paypal Website Payments Pro. I've already been down that road of believing that a developer can do it without having the actual experience. Even Paypal is upfront that it is best to use someone with experience and one of the preferred shopping carts. They go so far as to say that if you don't use one of their recommended carts that development time is between two and 20 days. Yikes?
I had the opportunity to look at the back end on a website and that was what sold me. I did exactly the same thing with the final four. The other sites were not even close to being able to do what this one does. It even allows for an affiliate system where other sites can earn money for referrals to my site. Since there are many, many college sites out there, this is no small thing.
Total cost for the website is $460. This includes implementing Paypal Pro. Clearly this is being produced off-shore. I worry a little about not "buying American," but four out of the six Elance jobs I have had done were U.S. companies.
Why spend chunks of money on a website when I should be keeping costs down? I am containing costs in other areas Also, one of the reasons for the new site is to implement credit cards more cheaply. However, I want a very professional-looking site. Many small publishers websites are not great, primarily because they are homemade. Nothing wrong with that, if that is all you can afford, but I am looking for something more.
For those of you who followed the building of the Degree Press website last year, you will remember that I was not a happy camper. The company, who shall remain nameless, made promises that they could not keep because they did not have the technical expertise.
Fast forward to April and here I am again. I want to make significant changes to both the home page and to the admin area. I am being very specific that I want to use PayPal Website Payments Pro and that if you can't develop it, please don't bid on the project.
Paypal is much less expensive and it fits in well with my business plans. Presently I am using Authorize.net. It is adequate, but more expensive than I would like.
I have been looking at bids on Elance.com and I am down to choosing between 4-5 companies. Probably I will be making the choice in the next couple of days and you will have the opportunity to go through all of this with me again.
Slightly different from my typical Resource of the Week, but worth a look, is DearReader.com. The basic premise behind the site is that readers sign up and then are sent a snippet from your book each day for a week. By the end of that week, you will have read 2-3 chapters and can decide whether you would want to purchase the book.
Now, extrapolate that to your own books. Do you offer site visitors ways to sample your books? Buying a book is a commitment. Readers want to get a real sense of what the book is about before the purchase. I think that this is particularly true for fiction.
If you have been wondering where I have been as of late, I have been doing two things:
1. Finishing up Cheap College Degrees. It goes off to the editor in two weeks and I have been working feverishly to finish.
2. I have been expanding the empire. As of this summer, Degree Press will have 4-6 new e-books on a variety of topics. I will leave much of this information to a later post, but suffice to say it will expand our offerings.
Look for new interviews up soon!