This article was written by guest contributor Joanna Penn of www.TheCreativePenn.com.
It’s easy to publish your ebook now but many authors haven’t made the jump because they don’t read ebooks themselves or perhaps just don’t understand the opportunity. I’m an evangelist for ebooks as they have changed my life as a writer and as a reader and I’m passionate about helping others join in. Here are 7 ways digital publishing can change your life as an independent author if you’re ready to ride the wave.
(1) Reach readers directly with your books
Ebook publishing enables you to sell your books directly to readers with the click of a button so you can see immediate results from a marketing campaign. Most marketing-savvy authors are building themselves an online platform now and in order to see results you need to be able to link to a sales page there and then that makes it easy to buy. I personally buy 99% ebooks these days. If I hear about a book online, or find a print one by browsing, I will download a sample straight away. If it’s not available, that’s a lost sale. With the uptake of ebook readers, lower prices and more ebooks available, you need to be in this market to take advantage of the changes in technology and reading style.
(2) Global reach
Avid readers can now buy ebooks from wherever they are in the world and read on multiple devices. In Australia and New Zealand, people shop on the Amazon.com store. Other countries may have a dedicated store but you can still reach them all with your book. Remember to assign your ebook to all markets so you don’t miss out on any sales. This is truly life-changing in a world of digital marketing as you want people to be able to find and buy your book immediately if they hear about you on Twitter, Facebook or a blog. If you only have a print book available in a local bookstore, you won’t sell to the global market, but you can with an ebook.
(3) Control over pricing and cover design
With digital publishing you have complete control over your pricing which means you can experiment with 99c to boost your ranking and then change it up again when you’ve moved up the charts. You can even experiment with free if you have a series that may benefit from a loss leader. Price changes are speedy to take effect so you can time them with a marketing campaign. Cover design is also your choice and you can easily rebrand later. This is not an insignificant issue for authors. One traditionally published author recently left Harper Collins after they used condescending covers that didn’t match the tone of her book.
(4) Speed of publishing
It takes 24-48 hours for a new ebook to become widely available through the network of online ebookstores. For many traditional publishers, this journey takes 6-18 months and many print books are still not available as ebooks. Some lament this speed as they claim there is too much poor quality writing out there. But speed of publishing should not shortcut your editing, rewriting and beta reading process. That should all occur before you click Publish, but when you are ready, it only takes a few days to start selling. Fantastic!
(5) Transparency of sales and income
In the last few weeks some publishers have announced they will let authors see realtime data through a portal, but for many years authors have never known how much they have sold or how much income they have made until the complicated royalty statement arrived. With Amazon KDP and other sites you can see daily sales and also income, plus months in the past so you can measure success and know how much your payment will be in 90 days time. This transparency makes it easier to see how effective marketing campaigns are and also enables you to monitor cash-flow. These are essential tools for a small business-person which is basically what authors are these days.
(6) Reach niche markets
Many authors have great books but have been rejected by traditional publishing because there is too small a market or it’s a niche/crossover genre book that isn’t easily categorized in a bookstore. But the internet is practically defined by the ‘long tail’ which is the antithesis to the blockbuster. Your book can find an audience with like-minded interests in the global marketplace with ebooks far more easily than it could do with print or in a traditional bookstore. Tie your book to some smart niche marketing and you will sell your book.
(7) Experiment and test the market
You can also publish ebooks to experiment or test a new market to see if perhaps you should write more in the genre. The cost of entry to publish an ebook is just the editing, formatting and cover design, and of course your time. Perhaps you have an idea for a zombie ninja romance but you don’t want to risk going down the print route or even submit to a publisher for fear of rejection. You can digitally publish and test the market before you write the sequel to see if there’s an appetite for it.
So if you haven’t jumped into the digital publishing game yet, I hope these benefits might help change your mind. Digital publishing has certainly changed my life and I wish you the same adventure.
Joanna Penn is the author of thriller novel, Pentecost, described as ‘Dan Brown meets Lara Croft’. Her blog www.TheCreativePenn.com helps people write, publish and market their books. Connect with Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn