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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Publishings part two

Before I get to Create Space a few words about e-publishing. When I published Optimus it was by far the best way to get published. The traditional way of publishing was to find an agent (not very easy), who would send it to an editor who would then send the manuscript back for revisions taking your hard work and squeeze all the life out of it to satisfy the cookie cutter marketing dept's demands. If they accepted it there might be a three to five year delay before it reached print and bookstores. They wouldn't accept a work that didn't merit 50,000 copies. It was that or self-publish with a 2 or 3 thousand dollar up front cost and then buy your books from them. Then came Print On Demand, like Publish America and many others. No up front costs, no large print runs. The bea
uty of this is they can print one or a thousand in next to no time. a revolution in publishing. In 2006 after two years of beating my head against the traditional wall this was a godsend. But as explained in the last post their grip on the price of the book and shipping costs kept me from being able to market it successfully.
Then I discovered e-publishing. Wow what a liberation. I wrote my first novel in 1991 for Ted Turner's Tomorrow Awards. It was gathering dust. While writing Optimus I wrote a short story with a female protagonist as an exercise in strengthening my female characters. For years I would in the evenings find a picture and describe everything about it in detail, this quickly turned into weaving the details into one to three page stories, what later I found are called "flash stories."
E-publishing let's the author set the price from free on up. Anything under 2 dollars gets a 35% royalty over 2 bucks is 70 to 75%. I sold a few stories, but at the same time I started downloading and reading other e-books. I quickly realized that free stories had lots of downloads and anything over a buck was bypassed. I am just as guilty at going for the cheap. I mean I can download on my kindle eight really good novels for a buck, why pay more?
The three anthologies I priced for free. The two novels I priced at .99. Amazon makes you price at least .99, but if you publish KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) those who are members of Kindle Prime borrow the stories for free and you get a percentage of the set amount per year they put into the kitty for every time your book is borrowed. The catch your story has to be exclusive. Smashwords sends your story to Nook, Pubit, I-books, Sony, Diesel, and through them on eight different formats. In the two and a half years since I started e-publishing I've been getting bi-yearly royalties from both publishers. I make about three times as much from Amazon, but I still submit to both. The good thing is that I have my stories being purchased in the UK, Canada, Denmark, France, and Germany. In those two years only one month was nothing sold. Usually I have three to five sales per month and around the holidays I usually have over ten. January seems to be a good month as everyone with a new e-reader starts buying.
I started taking a number of my flash stories and turning them into short stories, then publishing them. My anthologies are: Flash Stories Married Love, Erotic Flash Stories, More Erotic Flash Stories.
Short Stories are: Wife Quest, Woman on the Beach, Car Hop, Super Erotic Bowl, (Sapphire, Misty and Velda), Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair, Convert or Corrupt, Companion, Happy Triple, First Friday: Aug-Oct, Brenda's Story, Companion: Sasha's Story, Esmerelda, and Shari Sadeyes.
Amazon for some reason lowered the price on Convert or Corrupt to free and in three months I had over two thousand downloads. I didn't mind as it got my name in reader's minds.
I republished the anthologies and short stories under the pen name of Javan Tenebrae. With my novels having religious themes it was better to separate the titles. Not that these stories are all that erotic, I'd rate the stories at PG-13 or R, but because it is adult themed I felt it best to label them as erotic. Most erotic stories on amazon and smashwords are pornographic and I hate having mine in that category. The one review I received on amazon for Convert and Corrupt complained that it wasn't erotic enough.
In 2012 I republished Optiumus as an e-book. Of the approx. 140 books I bought in five years I sold maybe sixty. So far in a year and a half I've sold fifty copies in e-book. At only .35/download compared to two or three dollars per book sold, maybe not that much money, but I don't have to keep an inventory that's given away, no book signings taking up my time. Yes at this rate I'll never recover the $70 paid to PA to convert it to e-book and the $200 spent getting my rights back, but I have around ten readers in Europe that I'd never be able to reach otherwise.
The beauty of e-publishing is you can revise and resubmit the stories as you grow as a writer. The more stories or novels you put out there the more your name gets known building a fan base and royalties start adding up.
It's easier to market. Every time I meet someone socially I can give them my card and tell them go to my website (Yahoo website lets you forward to another link which is my Smashword's dashboard, so going to my website of pmprescottenterprises.com and there's my novels.) I can also tell them to look up my name on Amazon to find my books there for kindle. Not always, but after I've given my card to someone I'll get an e-mail telling me someone bought one of my novels.

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