We have known for some time that bookstores are struggling, but the latest two developments at Exclusive Books (South Africa’s biggest and most prestigious book chain) smack of a new level of either desperation or at least a change of tack from selling books. Let me explain.
Firstly, an edict has gone out from the owner that all book purchases (even of one book) now have to be approved by head office. It seems like they no longer trust the managers to buy even on sale or return. This is likely to work out in practice that an approved list will be developed which will include only books from the most popular authors and the two or three biggest publishing houses. This will exclude orders to all the smaller and independent publishers like ourselves.
This sounds like the death knell to smaller publishers, but in fact we have been working on what are known as special sales (non book store sales) for some time now and have become less dependent on book shops. Our main motivation was the wafer thin or non-existent profit margin in bookstore sales what with the high discounts (47.5% + 2.5% payment discount) demanded, the costs of courier delivery and the returns. It is sad to see them go, but in the end no loss to us.
Secondly, the owner of Exclusive Books has (or will shortly) establish a Tapas Bar as part of his flagship store (Hyde Park in Johannesburg). A Tapas Bar to add food to the mix . Personally I can’t see how this will bring in readers. Still it may be a profit center which will compensate for the losses in the bookstore. Good luck to him!
If you are someone on a mission you should have been writing on your subject in your WordPress Blog, or even on Hubpages or Bubblews. These writings will have a theme of course (this could be anything from abseiling to zen gardens) and these themed writings could easily be assembled into a relevant eBook.
The writing will also have active links which will make it interesting for the reader who is also a fan of your subject. The writing / editing process will be much easier since most of the work has been done. Sometimes you will need to writing extra paragraphs linking chapters together so that there is a nice flow.
One of the plusses in making an ebook is that sites like Bubblews and Hubpages do not check ebooks for copyright infringement so you may refer to your book without the risk of it being blocked for this reason.
We at Kima Global can help you to make and distribute your ebook. We will design an eye catching cover for you as well so that your book can get noticed.
Why not have a look through your old blog posts to see if you have enough for an eBook. Bear in mind that eBooks need a smaller word count than a conventional paper book.
What do you get? We will edit, supply the ISBN and make your ebook. We will design a cover and a Facebook banner. Once you have approved we will supply an .epub, a .mobi and a .pdf file.
The cost will be $500.00. This will suit a writer who is internet savvy, has a USA bank account, and the time and inclination to manage and promote their own book. That way they get to keep all the rewards.
We are still offering the 50% royalty option. On this plan we will do all of the above plus we will upload to all the major (and quite a number of lesser) platforms and manage the sites and the income. This can be quite a complex process, something not easy to master if you are doing this for the first time. The cost of this will be $400.00.
To sum up, we take away a lot of the technical complications, it costs you less, but you also only receive a 50% royalty.
There is a huge need for good marketing, but if you go to the professional marketing agencies you get a bewildering array of marketing packages, all of them expensive and none of them will (understandably) give you any guarantee of results.
It was in response to this need (and having only a small budget of our own) that Nadine and I developed our own techniques with which we have had proven success. We have been working on and have just published a new eBook titled Breakthrough Marketing at No Cost.
The book is simply packed with tips and useful advice and will work for your book or even for any other product that you or your wife or husband wish to get out into the world. Most of these techniques will not cost you a red cent, but we did make an exception by including two web site options where you can get a fully functional web site including a shopping cart for $3.99 or $5.99 / month – huge value and really essential to have.
The rest will not cost you money, but will take some hours out of your day, but we reckon you will gladly make the effort because you love your book, right? In fact, once set up, the amount of time spent need not be too daunting because the grunt work can be semi-automated.
You will be able to buy this book at a very reasonable cost from a whole range of web sites, including Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and our own site. Click here.
These days many writers seem to think that they can easily self publish their manuscript. Many self publishing websites give a lot of promise. I would like to share informative articles from other writers, authors and publishers on this blog so visitors can learn from them.
No matter what your friends say, every manuscript needs editing. This is a job that you cannot do yourself, although if you engage a professional editor you will no doubt have some say on what they do for you.
Some of the tasks you should consider
- Book Design
- How are eBooks different?
- Printing pitfalls
- Getting an ISBN
- e.Book edition
- Finance and Banking
For your further reading we recommend:
Robert Pirsig’s famous book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was all about quality, right? The question is where is the quality these days? It is no doubt there, but how to find it amongst the torrent of words?
Yes, there are many who will offer (for a fee) to give your book the exposure it deserves, but those that do that only care about the exposure and have no interest in quality writing. It is all about the marketing, because even winning a literary award doesn’t guarantee you sales. It is all rather tragic, unless writers eschew their wish to recover costs and even make a few pennies from their anguished hours at the keyboard.
What if good writers just gave their work away for free? It is getting closer and closer to that scenario with the millions of free books being offered on sites like Kobo Books and Amazon.
Writing as a publisher with over twenty years of publishing experience I have to tell you that I do not see independent publishers surviving much longer unless all our suppliers (typesetters, printers, web masters etc.) are willing to give their services for free. Would that mean that we abandon our standards; our ordered lives? Possibly, but that would also mean abandoning our quest for quality. Our motorcycle will not be maintained and that might be a dangerous and even fatal path.
More articles on this topic:
Getting published in today’s world
Kima Global book reviews:
Two super books not to be missed