selling

Writing Wednesday: Is Indie Publishing Worth It?

I’ve been at this Indie Publishing thing for four years now.

I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about “the old days” (what – maybe a decade ago?) before eBooks and indie publishing, when the only way you could publish your work was to find a traditional publisher to agree to buy it. As a writer, you had no real control over whether your stories would be made available for others to buy and read – you were at the mercy of the publishing houses and their editors.

And once you were lucky enough to have them buy your work, you may never be able to get your rights back.

Although I still submit everything I write to traditional publishers, I haven’t yet had the honor of dealing with those kinds of contracts. Which means that so far I own all the rights to my own works. And I have total control over getting my “product” out there in front of the customers.

The total responsibility is mine, too (with freedom comes responsibility.)

For me, this means I have to take care of almost all aspects of publishing myself:

  • Writing (of course)
  • Editing (I occasionally get a little help here, but still mostly my job)
  • Formatting (I have this down)
  • Cover design (I think I manage to do a quick but good job of it)
  • Pricing (there is a method to my madness)
  • Copy (I still need to know how to write both stories AND copy that COMPEL the reader to buy my stuff)
  • Marketing (I am definitely a work in progress on this one; it’s what this blog is a thinly veiled attempt at.)

Distribution is handled for me by Amazon (which pretty much just puts my work on Amazon in the U.S. and other countries), and Smashwords (which is a true distributor and puts my work out to a whole variety of retailers and libraries around the world – Apple, Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc.)

Now, I write because I enjoy it, but I publish for two reasons:

  1. I want people to read what I write.
  2. I would like to be paid for the work I put in.

Being paid is a symbol for success, even if all it amounts to is being able to have a cup of coffee now and again. That is pretty much all it is right now, although I do dream of eventually raking in THE BIG BUCKS (I better plan what to do when that happens, or it might all go to caffeine just out of habit.)

When I started, my distributors had a policy that they would not pay me my royalties until my account has accumulated $10. Amazon used to require you to accumulate that in each individual Amazon site (by country), but stopped doing it a couple of years ago; now all royalties are paid in 60 days. Smashwords still requires that I meet the minimum, but that’s across ALL their markets, so it’s not too hard to do.

Like I said, I’m not making THE BIG BUCKS yet, so this having to wait for my royalties to grow to the piddling $10 minimum is still an issue (I need that coffee.)

Until very recently, I also placed my work directly on Barnes & Noble through their Nook Press platform, but that came to an end a couple of months ago for a confluence of odd reasons:

First, I was having difficulties using the platform – it was good at first, but then parts of it started malfunctioning depending on which browser I used, so that I had to use three different browsers to publish a single story. This was too much work, especially with as little as I was selling, and since Smashwords distributed to Barnes & Noble, I stopped using Nook Press.

Secondly, I was selling so little through Nook Press that I hadn’t received a check since 2013, and probably would not see any more money until 2017. So I wrote Customer Support and asked if there was some provision for authors to request their royalties after a certain amount of time. It seemed rather unfair that they might be holding my money (and that of other writers) for years. Once I got them to understand what I was asking, they solved the problem by closing my account.

They did not tell me they were going to do this. They did not ask me if I was okay with it. They didn’t suggest it as a way to handle the situation – THEY JUST DID IT.

Everything I had on my shelf in Nook Press went off sale. I received an automated email telling me that my account had been closed for “business concerns”, and another that told me accounting would be sending me my royalties.

There was also mention of a way that I could reopen my account, but why would I want to do that? I am highly analytical, so I had already figured out that closing the account might be the only way to gain my royalties ahead of schedule, even though Customer Support never mentioned it. If this wasn’t the case, I would have been worried about why my account was closed. Instead I was just annoyed.

Publishing is a lot of work. Having to specially format my work for Nook Press took time away from me without any apparent value, and even though I wouldn’t have put anything new on Nook Press, all my old stuff would still be there if not for what Customer Support did, and it would have taken effort to reactivate everything, so I didn’t bother.

Sometimes you have to decide to stop doing something that just isn’t worth  your time.

Just saying…

<<<>>>

PassedLifeCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Passed Life”:

Talk about an identity crisis! Ed thought he had a good handle on who he was – but a family death, adoption, phone calls from the past, and time travel can really mess with your sense of self. Sometimes it’s better to leave the past alone…

Use coupon code NV53M to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s 99-cents – such a deal!). Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/119685?ref=NoTimeToThink

The coupon will be good until February 6th.

<<<>>>

UltimateAwarenessCoverThe “Ultimate Awareness” preorder promo continues until its February 12th release:

Omnius has relied on his Ultimate Awareness to dominate the city as well as any supervillain could, but an interview with a prospective sidekick casts doubt on both his own limits and his career path. How much does he really know?

The preorder is available at multiple sellers all over the internet, including:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/608558?ref=NoTimeToThink

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AQSOCRW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

<<<>>>

William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Behind the 8-Ball”, can be found in many places, including:

To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to

His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com

“William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink

His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri

Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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