Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Self publishing | Kindle | Can you make money out of ebooks?

How to make a million out of ebooks

I have to credit Ben Goldacre for alerting me to this one. It's a story about a young woman who has built up such a following for her books on Kindle that she is well on the way to becoming a millionaire - and yet she has never been published by a traditional publisher.

Check it out here.

I've been pretty well anti-Kindle from the start. The idea of giving up my beautifully made hardbacks and paperbacks for a strange, corporate looking eReader (that will no doubt be obsolete in a couple of years) has been anathema to me. What the hell am I going to put on my bookshelves if I have an eReader? And do I really want to take a device worth £150 to the beach?

But the example of Amanda Hocking has got me thinking. Her books are there to download now. She apparently sold over 100,000 copies last month. So she's making money, she has a following - built up in no small part by her twittering, blogging and facebooking - she is a one girl industry. Publishers really ought to wake up to this.

Not just publishers, writers too. Over the last few years we've seen writers get smaller advances. And yet sales haven't really declined. Some costs have gone up. But the writers are getting squeezed. Kindle offers authors 70% of the take. Lower prices, but there is the potential of higher volume.

(Beatrice Colin has discussed this on her blog too. You'll also want to check out this blog here, written by a Chicago based thriller ebook author called Joe Konrath)

It's a big dilemma though. What would life without publishers be? It might be harder to separate the wheat from the chaff. Publishers are great filters and a good editor is worth their weight in gold. But in many cases, you have to say, you wonder what the publisher does bring to the party. Do they really contribute so much for the author to be stuck with a mere 10 per cent royalty?

So I've just downloaded my first ebook, a Hocking called Switched (Trylle trilogy, book 1). Apparently it's about trolls but the Amazon reviewers are in love with it. Oh yes, and it cost me a mere £0.49 (including VAT, apparently ebooks, unlike paper ones, are not exempt). I got charged more than that the other day for a Mars Bar.

I'll let you know if it is any good when I finish reading...

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