Selling ebooks.

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  1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
    TessSchlesingerposted 10 months ago

    Some years ago, I tried self publishing books and I started with Smashwords. At the time, I didn't realize I was doing well. I reached the charts in both the UK and Aussie for one of my ebooks on itunes, and another book did very well as well.

    Anyway, I was unhappy, so I decided to go to Amazon. Amazon had this thing that if you removed all your books from other sites and used KDP, they would guarantee you lots of sales. Um. Yes. No. I got no sales, despite one of my books getting selected for the book competition.

    So after about 9 months of delusionment, I removed all my books from the web and haven't published since.

    Now I have finally picked up the courage to have another go. Here's what I find.

    1. Smashwords - all sorts of technicalities that I am trying to sort out with support.
    2. Kindle - my account has been terminated despite them never having terminated it for me. I just asked them to close my account.
    3. Can't sell on Barnes and Noble because they only do American authors. What's more, there's still money outstanding there for me and they keep sending me emails, but I can't collect it because I don't  have an American bank account.

    HELP! What do I do to sort this out.

  2. Marisa Wright profile image96
    Marisa Wrightposted 10 months ago

    If you publish on smashwords, they will list your book with Barnes & Noble, so why would you want to do it separately?

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
      TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      True. Smashwords takes a cut, though.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image98
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 10 months agoin reply to this

        So does Kindle.

        1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
          TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          Yes, but let's say that Barnes and Noble take a 1/3. Then they pay Smashwords that 1/3. Smashwords then takes a percentage out of that 1/3.

          I will use smashword because every little bit counts. Was just saying.

          Just started selling on Payhip.com which does a few pennies. Of course, this means I have to promote, and it's not my favourite past time.

    2. TessSchlesinger profile image95
      TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Marisa, at the time I was selling on Smashwords, I sold very few books on Barnes and Noble. I read somewhere that if you sell by yourself on Barnes and Noble, that you sell more books. That proved true.

      However, now I will simply post to smashwords. They have come back to me, but they clearly answered without looking at my account because the problem is not solved.

  3. L. Spikes profile image87
    L. Spikesposted 10 months ago

    As an alternative to Smashwords, you can also look into Draft2Digital. I have no personal experience with them as of yet, but I hear good things from the indie author community.

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
      TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Aha. Thank you. I will try that. smile

  4. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 10 months ago

    You need to sort these things out one at a time.  Did you sell non-free copies on Smashwords?  if so, start there.  if not, start with kindle it is the best overall market.  Email and ask them to reinstate your account.

    Barnes and Noble sell any kind of authors, but save that problem for another day.

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
      TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Yes, I sold (did not give away) some books. That's how I got onto the charts on itunes. I am, however, going to give two books away on Smashwords, but I'm going to put links to related Amazon products in them.

      The rest I'm going to sell.

      I have had nothing but disaster from Kindle.

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        Kindle is the biggest single market for most authors, so it is generally worth trying to figure out.  But in the mean time why not restart with Smashwords?  They do not distribute to Kindle so there is no danger of crossing streams.

        Ebook platforms can be a pain in the ass and are always changing.  But if you break it down, most problems have solutions Google or a good forum conversation can produce.  Right now I am focusing on kindle as the biggest bite of the apple as I gradually get my backlist formatted and packaged for sale.

        1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
          TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          Yes Kindle is the biggest market, but as Jeff Bezos said, only 8 Indie authors are successful. The rest hardly sell a book a month.  It is pretty pointless putting one's books on Kindle if they don't sell.

          Have you sold on Kindle before? If so, fiction or non fiction? What topic? Did you promote?Cost of promotion?

          1. psycheskinner profile image81
            psycheskinnerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            I said it was the biggest market for most authors and it is.  It is also true that most authors do not sell there.  But with a few exception kindle is still the best chance for an author starting out, it just happens that most of them won't do well regardless.  Pretty much like writing on a content site like this one in that regard.

            I have been selling on kindle since 1999, and am lower mid-list.  So my books make a few thousand each during their first few years and less after that.

            No I don't promote much because it is a hobby for me at this point, (I needed the money back in the early oughts and now I don't).  But I also think most author waste or lose money overall by promoting the hell out of books that are never going to sell well.

            I don't use my pen names here to avoid diluting the brand, but I am happy to share it if you message me.

            To get a realistic idea of what things are like for the typical competent but not superstar self-publisher read the forums as kdp or kboards, for all models of publishing the absolute write water cooler is a good forum.  For most of us there is no pot of gold, regardless.  You just do a good job and hope for the best.  And many authors, myself included, both self-pub and use publishers of various sorts.  No need to stick to just one or the other.

      2. Jean Bakula profile image97
        Jean Bakulaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        There is a site called Goodreads.com which allows you to give away a few free books as a promotional thing, although it sounds like you did well selling.

        1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
          TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          Yes. I am on goodreads. I don't like the site. If I good, I would remove my ratings from them, but they won't. I need to go back there and see if the site has changed. Maybe I can remove them now.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image96
            Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            I think you need to get over disliking Goodreads.  It is enormously important

            https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by- … thors.html

  5. Urbane Chaos profile image97
    Urbane Chaosposted 10 months ago

    This is a little different, but may help. 

    I've gone to self-publishing.  A number of years ago, I was published a couple times through the University of Oklahoma Press.  But, they took such high royalties and had so many stipulations that I eventually had to ask them to remove my books.  The sad thing is, I can never republish those.

    Since then, I've been using CreateSpace.  It's a POD site that's owned by Amazon, but they've been outstanding.  With my books, I've sold over 20,000 copies, which says a lot for a POD site.  They're all physical books though; I haven't used them for anything else.

    However, I have a good buddy that does a lot of eBooks and he swears by them.  They get the copy put on Amazon and other places, and have the option to go through Barnes and Noble.  Besides having the eBooks, he also has the physical books to sell as well.

    It might be worth checking out.

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
      TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      I have had one book on createspace for about 10 years and I have sold about 2000 copies. I leave it there. Sells a few hundred a year. But that is not from the general public. It is the author who buys them. I did the ghostwriting for which I earned about $30,000.

      I also put up my own book. It never sold a single issue. This, despite the fact that it made it into the first round of the Amazon book contest. I could not understand why it didn't sell and why it didn't go further. In retrospect, probably the fact that it didn't sell was why it never progressed further in the contest. I was devastated at the time.

      Please understand I absolutely and utterly loathe promotion, and will not promote my books under any circumstances.

      1. Urbane Chaos profile image97
        Urbane Chaosposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        I can understand that.  With what I do, it's very niche with not a lot of competition so that helps tremendously.  I have a set number of places where I promote and it tends to be perpetual. 

        I've contemplated going purely online, but it's never worked that well for me.  I had one that was solely an ebook on Amazon and only made around $100.  Then again, that was years ago when most of the price points were still very low.

        I hope you get it all sorted out though!  Sounds like you have a great product!

        1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
          TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          I think what is devastating for me is that for more than half a century I have been told by so many people that I am an enormously talented writer (google my reviews) but I am so lacking in other areas that I just haven't been able to get it right. If you look at my portfolio on slideshare, you will see that.

          Truly, if I don't succeed now, I will go to the grave wondering wtf.

          Anyone, the one thing I have learnef is there is always help at hubpages!

          I am hoping to have all my books up within the next two weeks and then will take it from there.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image96
            Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            Have you tried submitting that book to a proper publisher?   I know it is hard getting the attention of a reputable publisher - but if you have documentary evidence of those sales figures, most publishers would be willing to consider the book.

            That is the only way to get your book into bookshops, which is where the real sales are.

            1. theraggededge profile image97
              theraggededgeposted 10 months agoin reply to this
              1. Marisa Wright profile image96
                Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                There's always the exception that proves the rule.

                1. theraggededge profile image97
                  theraggededgeposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                  big_smile Don't buy it. Just search for 'best selling self-published author', or 'successful indie author'. There are many who have taken a non-traditional route and are doing really well. There are also lots who self-published and have been picked up by a publisher at a later stage.

                  http://adamcroft.net/about/
                  http://worldofamandahocking.com/bio/
                  http://ljsellers.com/about-l-j/

                  http://manybooks.net/articles/10-famous … ld-make-it

                  1. Marisa Wright profile image96
                    Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                    That's exactly what I'm suggesting to Tess.  She's saying she was making big sales of her book before she unpublished it. If she has evidence of that, then she stands a chance of it being picked up by a publisher - and once one book has been accepted, they will be more willing to look at further books.

                    Tess says she refuses to do promotion and doesn't want to join sites like Goodreads.  I think in that case, she would be better off with the help of a publisher.

                  2. psycheskinner profile image81
                    psycheskinnerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                    There are many, ans they are 0.01% of those making a sincere effort to succeed. I wouldn't say that there is any obvious difference between your odds of that kind of success via publishers or going indie--it comes down to what suits the book and the author's skill set and temperament.

            2. Urbane Chaos profile image97
              Urbane Chaosposted 10 months agoin reply to this

              There's a lot of promotion involved in that as well.  I sent out several hundred inquiries, proposals, even found an agent to help.  The agent was about worthless.. finally got picked up by one publisher, and then the nightmare started. 

              Since it was my first time, there was a lot I didn't know.  To publish the book, the publisher asked for copyright of the book.  I told them that I didn't want to give that over, so we worked out a deal.  I thought I went through the contract in depth but it would take someone smarter than I to understand a lot of that.  They gave me an up-front check and then royalties, but when that first royalty check came, it was next to nothing.  It happened that way for a year before I asked them to pull the books.  Since they kept partial copyright, I can't ever publish that again.

              After that, I went to self-publishing.  I have my books up on Amazon and a few other sites, but that's about all I do.  And, I make a lot more that way than through the traditional route. That, and more people are seeing my content.

              I'll never have a best seller, but I don't care much about that.  The goal with my books is to teach people more about Oklahoma and help foster a sense of pride in where we live.  I make enough to earn a living, and I couldn't ask for more.

              My advice for anyone going the traditional route is to be patient and hire a good attorney to review everything in detail and then explain it clearly.

  6. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 10 months ago

    There is no reason not to offer both ebook and print on Amazon.  I start with ebooks simply because they are easier, only a front cover and plain reflowable text is needed.  Then I do the wrap cover and typesetting for a paperback version.

  7. TessSchlesinger profile image95
    TessSchlesingerposted 10 months ago

    Just sold my first ebook - 5 minutes after uploading to payhip.com.

    Smashwords. Wow. Still trying to sort it out. It won't upload a file bigger than 15 mgs. Finally sorted that out, only to find it won't convert to the different file types.

    So I've written to them.

    Kindle, it appears, terminated me (wrongfully) so now I've emailed them.

    Okay, enough work for a Saturday. I'm looking into Lulu.

  8. shanmarie profile image78
    shanmarieposted 10 months ago

    I don't like promoting either! If you find an answer to what works, please let us know.

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image95
      TessSchlesingerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      I'm working on it. I studied someone who was quite successful, but she had built up quite a following over a few years on a lot of sites. I suspect part of the answer is to be on many sites, not just one. Also, so far, apparently, Amazon Marketing Services are the best option if one wants to pay for it.

 
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