Which is more important for a self published author, physical or ebook copies?
Both have advantages: ebooks aren't limited by stock or location and are generally cheaper. Physical books can sit on the shelves of local bookstores and can be handed to interested parties who aren't tech-savvy. But, which would you say is more important to have for an author looking to self publish?
As an independent self-published author, I do both. Both have advantages and disadvantages. The trick is to follow through with marketing and selling both. Getting out of your comfort zone and making contacts with groups both online and in the real world is what sells books. I recommend reading JA Konrath's blog on newbie self-publishing to get a picture of what you need to do.
Once you get that book published, the next step along with learning how to market and sell yourself, is to start writing that next book.
I sell more ebooks, mainly I think because of the price. But folks who know me seem to want a hard copy that I can sign. There is something about holding your work in your hand, but that is probably because I'm still fairly new at being a published author. I used to feel that way about seeing my byline in the newspaper, but I got used to it - after about the 100th time.
Self publish? Ebooks hands down, although you probably cant go wrong with either or.
I just downloaded 3 ebooks from kindle for free from what I assume are independent authors. Havent read them yet, but the books I downloaded are all a part of their own series. Give the first one for free and if its good, it guarantees people will pay for the rest. I think its somewhat more difficult to do that with physical copies outside of giving it to people you know.
E-books provide access to a wider market but having physical copies opens avenues to sell at places other than bookshops, such as book fairs, fetes, fairs and other related events. Then there is the opportunity to sell through shops that are not bookshops, such as large garden centres where you can arrange to do a book signing. I've a display and sell some of my books in a cafe, in a vacation area, that also sells paintings by local artists. As Gene says, get out of your comfort zone. You'll be surprised where you can sell.
Amazon have both on my Author Pages (a slightly different one for the UK and .com sites, with variations in the blog). The books are print on demand, so nobody carries stock unless small bookshops opt to stock them. I even take some - signed and dated, with bookmarks - to a local charity shop (I have a British Heart Foundation charity donor's card). They're usually gone within days.
I usually buy ten copies for myself, sell them personally with bookmarks and postcards a bit cheaper than the advertised cover price, signed and dated. Last year I spoke along with several other authors - historical fiction and fact by Helen Hollick, Marc Morris, Stewart Binns, James Aitcheson and Glynn Holloway - and signed copies at English Heritage's Battle Abbey site.
Some readers asked me to add 'Battle Abbey' to the signature and date. You can't do that with e-books. I offer a signed bookmark to those who buy copies through the links on my main - historical - website, Northworld Saga site to both Amazon and the book publisher.
You've got to give readers the option, but remind them of the advantages of buying the book. In this case each book has a map, historical background and notes with a pronunciation guide for mediaeval terminology and names. What more can an author offer for little return on the research and writing time? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the writing etc. I shall be back at Battle Abbey this year with the other authors, I hope even to get to the Jorvik Viking Weekend at York next February through the Jorvik Viking Centre.
I would like to expand this question by asking: does it have to be either/or?
Wouldn't the ideal be to have both? Or do the companies doing A not want you to do B?
Ebooks have a longer "shelf life" than paper books. You can post an eBook on Amazon and still sell it as long as people are interested. A yellowed paper book is hard to sell. In fact, book stores tend to remove books after a few months, which is why Half Price Books and 80% off book stores exist. Back list sales are hard to achieve.
I have books in print and Amazon Kindle. Some of my print books rarely sell on Amazon and most of those are second hand sales. The ebook copies still sell via Amazon and send the royalties to me. In that regard, the print book sales are irrelevant after the first few months because the digital is what still generates money over the years.
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