Poetry books are notoriously difficult to sell and promote. I know, I’ve tried.
Quite a few years back I was a member of a really top notch poetry writing group in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. They met in the library in the centre of the town and after two hours of writing and a stimulating ‘readaround’ they would adjourn to the local pub right next to the library called ‘The Albert‘.
Now The Albert was a fantastic pub, it probably still is, although to be honest I haven’t had a swift half there for years, but the one major plus point about it was that it had a tiny back room in which the poets would gather and have a jar or two and share their poetry, each poet in turn getting up and ‘performing’ something they’d written recently. A sort of ”unofficial’ performance.
The group called itself ‘The Albert Poets‘ and also had a regular Thursday night slot, once a month I think, when the stand up reading became a formal event with poets from far and wide coming to share their work, the performers on the night being restricted to just four, I believe…..so it was a difficult gig to get, you either had to be very good or very entertaining. I can’t think why or how, but I was invited to read out some of my ‘stuff’ at one evening. It was an experience I will never forget. It was fantastic. I absolutely loved it.
So, to cut a long story quite short, performing and sharing work like this was amazing, stimulating and above all else gave you instant feedback as to how good or bad your ‘stuff’ actually was. I hesitate to call it ‘poetry’, mine certainly wasn’t, it was just mildly entertaining, and slightly humorous ‘stuff’.
This was in the very early days of ‘self-publishing‘ when only a handful of authors actually dared to have books of their poetry printed. They were usually the ‘big boys and girls’…the ‘proper poets’ who knew they would eventually sell all their books as they were genuinely big time poets. Simon Armitage is a name that springs to mind.
Right….let’s get to the point. These days having self-published books of your own is far easier and cheaper than ever, so there are thousands of writers out there with poetry books, which of course makes it harder to stand out from the crowd, or to find yourself a market for your books.
However, I’ve been having a long hard think about how we can adapt our ‘stuff’ for the present day…and it’s a topic I shall be touching on in the next few days….”Alternative Ways To Present and Promote Your Poetry‘. I hope you’ll stop by to read about it.
Anyone fancy having their book turned into an ‘audio book’?
No? Well, I reckon you’re missing a trick. The Audio Book market is thriving, and in 2013 I’m definitely going to move into the Audio Book Production and Publishing market.
I can hear you thinking already – “But surely it’s a costly business to have your manuscript turned into an audio book? The narrator’s fee? The recording session? The manufacturing of the audio disks and packaging?”
Well, I’ve looked into the financial side of Audio Book production and through Write Good Books I think I may be able to offer writers a fantastic deal. It does cost money, certainly, but it’s not as expensive as you might think.
How can I keep the price down? Well, by using terrific narrators who may not have too much work on at the moment and be glad of some audio work…..then there is the recording process which used to cost an arm and two legs, but these days can be done digitally on equipment that Write Good Books already has.
I used to work in radio, both local and national, and I can tell you now that modern digital recording techniques and ‘kit’ produce results that are as good as anything we used to broadcast in the past. And, as I say, I have access to this equipment right now, so recording costs needn’t be high.
To push the boat out, so to speak I intend to publish one of my own children’s books as an Audio Book, hopefully in the early part of the New Year….and obviously I will keep you updated as to the progress.
So have a think….do you have anything that might work as an audio book? If so, why not get in touch?
And then it was gone…Christmas that is. Well almost, apart from the one slice of cold turkey sulking at the back of the fridge and the two chocolates that no one ever wants left to go mouldy in the chocolate box next to the TV.
And so we look forward to the New Year….and one of the first things I need to do before the end of January is to finish off the children’s book I’ve been working on since the early part of December. It has somehow managed to expand to just over 7,000 words which is a tad more than I really wanted but it should be ideal for what I have in mind.
As well as self-publishing this book through Write Good Books (as a personal project) I’m keen to turn it into an Audio Book, which I’ve been wanting to move into for some time. Now that should be interesting.
One of the main considerations of course will be ‘who shall I try and sign up to do the actual narration’? Someone well known? They could be expensive. Someone with a good local reputation, but probably not well known nationally? Financially that would make sense in the short term.
Then there is the big question of ‘should I use a male or female voice’? Now that is a tricky one.
Without giving too much away, I can safely say that I considered a male actor who I’ve seen on stage several times ‘locally’. He has a fantastic voice and could do the various voices extremely well. But then, in the same production recently I loved the voice of one of his female co-stars. She had a wonderful voice….and that set me thinking again. Male? Female? At the moment it’s 50/50 but I know either of them would make a terrific job of it.
But, as I say, the first priority is to get the book written and done…..as well as all the other ‘stuff’ I’m working on at present.
I just thought I would mention that I have a new website up and running….. www.kindlepublishmybook.co.uk
I’ve been designing this new site for a few weeks now and I’m pleased to say I’ve just uploaded it and it is now running free and wild like a boisterous child all over the internet….
Kindle Publish My Book has been set up in response to calls for me to offer a real value for money Kindle Conversion and Uploading service for writers wanting to see their books online, on the Kindle, and for sale on the Amazon store.
Previously I’ve only really offered this service to my own published authors through my Write Good Books website www.writegoodbooks.co.uk but it was felt that Kindle Publish My Book could help writers who may not have worked with me before get their manuscripts turned into money-earning eBooks for the Kindle.
There has never been a better time to upload your work onto the Kindle…sales of eBooks have absolutely gone through the roof and the royalties are staggering…70% of the book’s selling price. That is an incredible return for the investment.
Obviously, some online books will do much better than others, and books appealing to a very limited readership, ‘niche market’ books for example will always be slow sellers, but that’s not to say they can’t in time generate sales.
So, the website is up and running…please take a look and let me know what you think.
Well, the new website is up and running www.kindlepublishmybook.co.uk and hopefully will help a lot of writers, particularly self-publishers, get their work onto the Kindle and begin selling.
I’ve been offering Kindle conversion and uploading for some time now on www.writegoodbooks.co.uk but this has been solely for the authors who I have produced and published books for, but I felt I needed to reach out more and contact authors who may not have come across the Write Good Books website….hence…..Kindle Publish My Book.
There has been a lot of discussion about the cost to authors….and to be honest most people I’ve spoken to have commented on the fact that my standard fee of £125 is perhaps a little on the low side. I realise there are other large companies online offering this kind of service at much higher fees but I needed to make the price affordable to those authors who might not not have a massive readership for their Kindle books. I’m hoping that the £125 seems a fair fee for what’s included – Kindle conversion of their manuscript and formatting, image optimisation, book cover design and full management service. I personally think it’s a real value for money offer. But I suppose I would say that wouldn’t I?
I have one author in particular who I’ve done six books for, and his subject area is very ‘niche market’. As I had already published one of his books as a paperback I offered to Kindle publish his remaining books at a reduced fee, just to get the ball rolling for him, and it seems to have worked out well, although sales will never be in the high figures. In this particular case, I will be quite pleased if he covers his outlay and then goes on to make a modest profit.
I’m always glad to receive feedback of any kind, as long as it’s constructive, and I will be looking forward to seeing how the new website fairs, and if indeed it does connect with writers who may not have seen my websites in the past.
So, fingers crossed, Kindle Publish My Book will take off. I will keep you informed.
One of the most common questions I am asked when authors come to me and ask me to produce and publish their books for them is “When I have my books, what’s the best way of promoting them?”
My reply is always the same. “There are literally hundreds of ways you can promote your books yourself, but one thing you really do need is a simple ‘author website’ from which you can publicise your book and also co-ordinate and link to all your other promotional activities.”
And the reaction? Well, to be honest the one I get from many of my published authors is “But I don’t know anything about building websites, and I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I did have one. And it’s bound to be far too expensive. And I wouldn’t know who to ask to design one for me.” Or some similar variation on that reply.
It’s understandable. A great majority of my writers are let’s say, over a certain age, and many just want to write books and leave it at that. Having a website of their own probably never entered their head.
But having a website needn’t cost a lot of money, and once it’s up and running it’s relatively straightforward to manage if you know where to go to have the site created in the first place.
Now, obviously, because I offer a web design service as part of my self-publishing package through Write Good Books, I’m bound to say that I always offer to set up a simple website for them and show them what’s involved in updating it, either by themselves or by yours truly. And the cost? A lot less than you think. Very affordable. Contact me to find out…. firstname.lastname@example.org
If an author really doesn’t fancy having a website then I can also offer single ‘Author Pages‘ on my sites. These are pages that I update for them. They can usually send me an email containing their text and maybe an image or two and I will upload that information onto their dedicated webpage and they can promote their books from there .
Finally, if neither of these options are what they want, I usually suggest a simple blog, which I can set up for them, then once it’s up and running show them how to upload images and insert text and update the blog when they have something to share with their potential readers.
The whole ‘website of your own‘ idea can be very daunting for many writers, but it’s much simpler than many imagine, and very good value for money. As an author, having a website of your own from which you can attract potential buyers and market your books, really is essential these days.
I’ve been busy this past month updating my old websites and planning ahead for 2013, and a new website is nearing completion which I hope will prove to be successful.
Kindle Publish My Book http://www.kindlepublishmybook.co.uk should be up and active within the next couple of days and I’m looking forward to seeing what the reaction is from authors and writers. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time and I really do believe it will prove to be a real opportunity for writers to reach a massive readership worldwide.
The amazing revolution in online digital publishing has been led by the Kindle reader, and I’ve been saying for some time that having a book published in print and for the Kindle should be something all writers should seriously consider.
Obviously there is a cost involved in having a manuscript converted for the Kindle and then uploaded onto the Amazon store but with proper promotion and marketing there is no reason why the book shouldn’t cover the outlay and then go on to make a decent profit.
With royalties of 70% of the online book’s selling price available, it’s a very tempting proposition.
Let’s look at some figures. To convert a manuscript for the Kindle, design a cover, include up to 10 images or graphics, upload to Kindle, and manage the account and send out royalty cheques at the end of every two months I am setting the standard cost at £125. I believe this to be very good value for money, and coupled with the one to one support and advice I give, it’s a great opportunity for any author to be published online.
So what are the potential earnings? As I say, the royalty on any book sold in the U.K. or U.S.A. is 70%. Other territories vary slightly, but would still not be any lower than 35%.
So let’s assume a selling price online on the Kindle to be £6.
Amazon take 30% royalty for providing the service and of course continuous display on the Amazon store, which is £1.80 leaving the author with a staggering royalty on that one sale of £4.20.
Now you do the figures….I’m not great at maths but even I can see that with the sale of 30 books the total royalty is £126. The author has broken even!
The question now that arises is “How easy will it be to sell 30 books for the Kindle on Amazon?“
The answer is the same as if the book had been published digitally (as a paperback)…..“The book needs promoting and marketing and publicising”.
No book will sell itself.
I hope you will agree with me that the potential for making a decent profit is there.
As I said earlier, the site should be active before Christmas and in the New Year I’m hoping to promote the service further……