For an author, there will never be anything quite like holding a newly published book in your hands as you smell the fresh ink, feel the slick cover, and thumb through a creation that began in your head. A distant second might be adding your signature as people line up for signed copies.
However, there still remains a huge disadvantage for Indie authors when it comes to hard copies and competing with traditionally published titles. Bookstores are obviously influenced by distribution and price, among other factors, making the challenges that much harder. Plus, the stigma of non-traditionally published books refuses to fully go away.
Although more and more bookstores are slowly evolving as they recognize the income they’re literally throwing away, some allowing Indie authors to become vendors and some going the consignment route, the world of printed books still weighs heavily in the favor of the traditional publishing industry.
However, there is one place where the playing field is level, and even favors the Indie author, and that is with Amazon Kindle. Any author can publish an e-book with Kindle and any Kindle user has the same access to the Indie titles as they do works from big name authors.
Where the advantage leans toward Indie authors is that you can do it all on your own and make up to 70% royalties. Or you can sell your Kindle books for 99 cents and make 36% royalties. Or you can opt for a five-day promotion and give your book away for free. That’s why we do not publish e-books for our authors because it’s simple and they can do it easily and make all the profit.
Giving your Kindle book away for free might sound counter-productive, but I did it for one of my titles, and not only did it rank under 200 and number one in its category for five days, sales continued long after the promotion was over.
We all know the story of how the big six got together to set prices on e-book, and although they were caught, they still continue to sell their Kindle books for $9.99, usually quite a bit higher than the printed version. I don’t understand this considering there are no printing costs, no storage costs, and no shipping fees on the Kindle books, but I think it has to do with greed.
Considering the very small percentage they pay their authors for Kindle sales, I guess it’s all about greed. That’s also why some big authors are saying “no thanks” to their publishers and handling the e-books themselves.
I have read articles lately with some people suggesting that an author should not sell their e-books so cheaply, that to do so they must not value their work, and even that they are destroying the industry. I can’t really tell you what my response would be to this, but the first two words would be “Go to…”
My advice to you is to take advantage of whatever tools are available. You don’t have to follow anyone’s rules but the rules you set for yourself. That’s the Indie way.
Neal Wooten, Publisher/Indie Author/Illustrator/Cartoonist