Let’s have some assorted observations of the business of self-publishing ebooks as of September 2015!
One thing I realized thanks to the article I wrote on the “golden age of publishing” is that a lot of writers don’t enjoy the marketing/business side of things. I get that, but if you handle the marketing/business side of things yourself, you get a lot of freedom you wouldn’t have otherwise. And, truth be told, the best person to look out for your interests is you. Even if you get a publisher, the publisher will not care about your book as much as you care about your book. That’s just the math – even at a competent publisher, your book is just one more book in the catalog. Whereas if you completely control your own book, you can do whatever you want to (or need to) do with it.
Like, if your book has a problem (typo, formatting, cover art, whatever) you can fix it yourself if you’re self-published, but if you’re traditionally published, you’ll have to get someone at the publisher to fix it (if at all), and that person might 1.) have 30 other books to deal with that day, 2.) be kicking any problems down the road until retirement, 3.) might actively dislike your book, or you personally, or both, and 4.) might not actually care about your problem.
So I think self-publishing is better. But, as ever, YMMV.
Now, onto some observations about the state of the business.
First, sometime in September 2015, I sold my 300,000th ebook. Thanks everyone! That really is a boggling number. Truly, the Lord works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.
September was almost the last full month that the DEMONSOULED series was in Kindle Unlimited (its term in KU expired on October 23rd). In September, the DEMONSOULED series racked up 106,623 page reads. The page read rate for September turned about to be $0.00507, which means DEMONSOULED earned about $540.57 in KU for the month. That said, I do think you run into a point of diminishing returns on Kindle Unlimited, so DEMONSOULED is getting rotated out of KU. (You see something similar on Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime as media companies rotate their TV shows in and out of the service.) I also want DEMONSOULED to take advantage of promotional opportunities outside of Amazon (more on that below).
THE THIRD SOUL series will be going on Kindle Unlimited, probably before the end of October. I haven’t done much with it since 2013, so it’s a good candidate for KU. I would like to do more in the series, maybe in the second half of 2016. I would very much like to see Rachaelis & Corthain meet Raelum the Black Paladin at some point, if I can manage to pull it off.
However, Kindle Unlimited isn’t always a good choice. Case in point: my new Windows 10 book. I initially considered putting it only in KU, but discarded that idea and published it everywhere in September. This turned out to be a very good idea, as in September I sold more copies of WINDOWS 10: 101 TIPS & TRICKS on all the non-Amazon platforms that on Amazon. In fact, it sold the most copies on Apple. That leads to the amusing mental image of people reading a book about Microsoft’s Windows 10 on their Apple iPhones and iPads, but apparently that is what happened.
Apple does seem to be competing hard in the ebook space. Kobo is as well – it recently introduced an integrated “Promotions” feature. Basically, Kobo is running its own Bookbub-style promotions in exchange for a small fee or a temporary percentage of the ebook’s sale price. It seems like a really good idea, and I’ve had good luck with Kobo’s old promotions, so I’m curious to see how the new ones will do. This is one of the reasons I swapped DEMONSOULED out of Kindle Unlimited – FROSTBORN has done very well on Kobo because of promotions on FROSTBORN: THE GRAY KNIGHT and FROSTBORN OMNIBUS ONE, and I’m curious to see if the same thing can happen with DEMONSOULED.
Kobo and Apple are competing with Amazon, but Barnes & Noble and the Nook seem to have given up. I’ve sold more on Kobo in the last couple of months than on Barnes & Noble, and I can see the same thing happening with Apple if current trends continue. I think either Kobo or Apple will overtake B&N as the #2 ebook retailer in the US very soon, if it hasn’t happened already.
CLOAK GAMES: THIEF TRAP passed its 1,000th copy in September. Not bad for the first book of a new series! Naturally, anyone who read the book has been reported to the High Queen’s Inquisition for suspected elfophobic leanings.