Well, small fanfare of trumpets please, I am no longer in debt! It’s about 15 months since I launched my first book, Hidden Faces, and I have finally recouped enough money to pay (my very supportive husband) everything I owe. This is such a nice feeling! I am about to plummet into debt again, as Clara Oakes, my latest book, is now ready to go to my editor. I’ll enjoy it while I can.
So, where have I made money? Bookshops, I think, are bit of a financial black hole. It’s nice to have a book displayed in Waterstones, but other than the prestige, it’s not worth it. To supply through wholesalers, and pay postage, makes it just not worth doing unless you sell hundreds. Amazon is better, though the postage is a pain, and so are all the secondhand books, which are now listed before your own listing (because they sell for less). Unwary shoppers are more likely to buy from someone else if they simply look for your book on Amazon. I have found the best way to sell books is at fairs and markets. I look for local craft fairs, and ask if self-published books are allowed. Mostly they say yes, you pay a fee for a space, and sell lots of books to new readers. I have found 10 books per session to be about average – so not loads, but worth doing. Book-signings in bookshops are another good way to increase readership, though the bookshop takes a share of profit, so you don’t make much money.
I am sometimes asked to give a short talk, and this is another good way to tell people about books. Sometimes a book club will invite me to speak, or a WI meeting, or a church group, or a social club in a local cafe. It can be a bit scary, but it’s worth doing because it lets people know about your books, sometimes you sell a few books there, and mostly people are nice, so it can be fun.
I have recently discovered the Kindle paperback books. I rather like them. If you have a book on Kindle, you can make a paperback version of it. Amazon tell you the minimum price you can charge, then you get a percentage of all profit over that amount. The quality is NOT as good as the paperbacks I print through CPI, but it’s okay, and certainly good enough. The advantages are there is no initial cost, and you can sell books in various other countries without having to pay postage. The downside is you have to buy any books you personally want, and you can’t sell through bookshops – so you’re very reliant on social media to advertise your books (which I don’t personally enjoy).
I will let you know how things progress. Thanks for reading.