Most of you know my struggles to get some books on Kindle. It's been a very troubled year, but this summer, I finally managed to get the 4 Akitada novels on a Kindle Exclusive. Today, I got my first check for the first full month, and . . . Joe Konrath was right!
The books are selling very well and I get 70 % (minus the agent's 15 %). Sales are falling off a little after the first month, but they continue with very respectable numbers (say 2 sales for each title per day). By the end of a year, I'll have an idea how much each book earned without a publisher's involvement. The experience raises the question why I would want a publisher in the first place. Kindle sales will surpass advances for all sorts of rights. And, as Joe says, e-books are forever. I can sit back and wait for the checks to come in.
Of course, this sort of thing may be a tad easier when you already have some name recognition. And betting on that, I am also self-publishing a historical trilogy that the big 6 turned their nose up at. In this case, I decided to go for e-book only. One book is up already and doing very well. Two more will follow August 15 and Sept. 1.
I'm now toying with the idea of putting up some short stories.
And do you know what? I suddenly have this great burst of energy for writing again.
Thanks all! Especially Dana. I had, in fact, lost hope to the extent that for the past year or more I had to force myself to creak out a few pages a day on the work in progress. There was always the thought that no one would want it. Because of that attitude, it took much longer to complete than my other books, and then it required massive changes. It is out on offer again, and already I eye electronic rights as potential moneymakers for me. It's likely that I'll reject any offer that doesn't leave me e-rights or at least gives me a high percentage and other benefits.
It's beginning to look more and more as if midlist authors have to pay for the middleman overhead without getting anything in return. I have four novels where the e-rights are with Penguin. They are horribly overpriced (no sales to speak of) and I get only 15 % from those few sales. That situation hurts the author by driving readers away (one was outraged and gave the book only one star because of the price) and keeping the book from earning out. There is a rumor that some publishers intentionally keep e-book prices high to weaken the inevitable e-book revolution.
So sorry to hear about your recent trouble with the traditional publishers, unfortunately you are not alone. As trad. publishers try to figure this all out they do seem to be doing some horrible things when it comes to rights grabs and things of that nature.
My hope is it will all shake itself out a few years.
In the meantime, I agree with you e-publishing is a golden opportunity for a new and mid-list author to get their name and product out there. In my case, I am retaining all rights to certain properties (like my Grace deHaviland series & my just started Books of the Irish Cycle) so I can e-pub and POD pub them directly through my own publishing company and retain and manage all royalties, rights, etc. myself.
But, I am also sending stuff out to traditional publishers, knowing at best and for a while they will be tantamount to lost leaders if they do get published through them. My reason for doing this...traditional publishing still has the penetration and can reach many more readers than I can (or want to spend the time trying) through my own self-publishing efforts. Any traditionally published work then becomes an advertisement for my brand; David DeLee for crime fiction and David Miller for urban fantasy. And maybe someday dow the road might actually make some money too.
Fatal Destiny - a Grace deHaviland novel
Well, I just got a royalty statement this last week that was a bit of an eye-opener--almost completely devoured by returns, probably because of Borders. This doesn't happen with e-books, obviously.
What price point seems to be working for you in the Kindle store, I.J.?
Oh, don't get me started on book stores and returns. I detest royalty statements and keep them in a black folder.
I've listed my e-mysteries at $ 4.99. That seems to be okay, especially since the Penguin ones are 12.99. The historical novels will be priced $ 2.99 for the first one (at least for a while), and 3.99 for the others. Short stories (when they are up) will go for 99 cents. The secret behind e-income is multiplication. :)