Suw Charman-Anderson is an author and contributor to Forbes whose articles there are about self-publishing and crowdfunding.
She’s written three excellent and informative pieces this month: Valuable Lessons From Self-Publishing Survey, Book Promotion For Self-Publishers: A Waste of Time? and Self-Publishing and Ebook Sharing: The Industry’s New Bellwethers.
In Valuable Lessons From Self-Publishing Survey, she lists five inportant findings from the recent Taleist survey of self-publishers. Among them:
1. Get help
The first lesson for self-publishers is that if you get help with things like cover design, story editing and proofreading, you will likely earn more. The report found that getting help, paid or unpaid, with editing, copy editing and proofreading provided a 13 per cent bump in earnings. Those who added cover design to that list saw a 34 per cent increase over the average. Interestingly, ebook formatting help added only an extra 1 per cent.
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3. It is possible to earn a living
It’s not without reason that much of the coverage of Taleist’s survey has focused on respondents’ income. The average income from self-published books was just over US$10,000, plus a bit less than half of that from traditionally published books. But, as is so common in creative fields, a minority of authors were responsible for the majority of income.
The median income, a more useful figure denoting the point at which half the respondents earn more and half earn less, was $500. This is typical of a power curve distribution and is exactly what we’d expect.
Read the full Valuable Lessons From Self-Publishing Survey article.
In Book Promotion For Self-Publishers: A Waste of Time?, Charman-Anderson writes:
Rusch has a very strong point that one of the best things that an author can do is carry on writing and get more books finished and put up for sale. Authors cannot put all their eggs in one book-shaped basket. Having a selection of books available gives the reader choice, and readers who like one book may well go on to buy a second and third, naturally bumping sales.
She is also right, as she says in a comment, that it can be impossible to predict how a book will sell, when it will take off, and in which territories. There is undoubtedly an element of chance involved. Maybe your book starts to get passed around a community of readers all interested in similar things, or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the subject matter hits the zeitgeist, or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe another author writing similar stuff to you has a massive hit and that exposes your book, via the ‘Customers who bought X also bought Y’ recommendation, to a much larger volume of people, or maybe they don’t. There is simply no telling.
Read the full Book Promotion For Self-Publishers: A Waste of Time? article.
In Self-Publishing And Ebook Sharing: The Industry’s New Bellwethers, Charman-Anderson notes:
Most of those sharing ebooks are women, says Marwick. This may reflect the fact that women have less disposable income than men. They may find current prices prohibitive, particularly if they are having to choose between buying a book and buying their children new shoes.
Does this then point to a large, under-served corner of the romance market? And is there an opportunity to craft an offering that meets those needs with more affordable books? Clearly it would have to be a volume sales proposition, but equally clearly the demand is already there.
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The tempting reaction for publishers is to gnash their teeth, search for stronger DRM and bewail the evil grasping nature of those who would dare crack it. But that would be to quite spectacularly miss the point. There’s clearly a market for erotical written by women for women, but this market is, as per romance, not wealthy and potentially under-served.
Read the full Self-Publishing And Ebook Sharing: The Industry’s New Bellwethers article.