I derailed my intended work schedule today by reading a blog post, by Chris McMullen, on why it’s worth having a print-on-demand edition of your self-published book as well as an e-book.
My main reason for not producing print versions for Dragon Wraiths and Baby Blues is largely to do with effort. It’s harder to create a professional-looking paperback, and print-on-demand books are expensive for the consumer. I might find people willing to spend £2 on an ebook from an unknown author, but £8 or £10 for a paperback? That’s a much bigger leap of faith. I would actually be embarrassed to ask someone to pay that much, and would worry much more about my lack of professional editing.
Chris McMullen discusses some interesting reasons why it’s worth bothering with the pain of creating a print-on-demand version (e-books are a doddle by comparison.)
1. Some customers only buy print copies. (This is true: my friend Hugh keeps asking when he can buy a print copy of my books).
2. If you link your CreateSpace book with your kindle version, it shows the kindle price as a discounted price against the paperback list price. This may aid ebook sales as the ebook looks like a bargain.
3. Having a printed version allows you to do a Goodreads giveaway. (This is something that has been bugging me for a while: that you can’t do a giveaway on Goodreads with an e-book voucher.)
4. You can sell the paperback version in person (for example through independent bookstores or maybe a book-signing event at your local library).
Chris lists other reasons, such as it is easier to edit a print book; a paperback is a must for press releases; paperbacks are great marketing tools: (you can’t see what people on the bus are reading on a kindle); and people are more likely to remember to review a paperback, if it’s visible in their house.
I liked this quote:
If you give away copies of your book to friends and family, give them paperback editions, especially if they are likely to read in public places (“Guess what: I’m going on a trip this weekend,” “Really? How would you like a free book?”).
I love the idea of handing books out to people to read and then leave lying around somewhere, like your own personal Bookcrossing. (Have a look at the link if you haven’t heard of it: it’s brilliant! It’s all about leaving books in public places, like coffee shops and on buses. “If you love your books, let them go.”)
So, as I’m easily distracted and easily influenced, plus shattered from a hot and emotional weekend (I’ve just re-watched the Andy Murray documentary, that has been updated already with footage from yesterday’s match. Hence it’s nearly midnight and I’m only just getting to my post), I have spent all day formatting Baby Blues for Create Space.
Even though the book is with the proofreader, it isn’t wasted effort, as it takes several (loads of) attempts to get the book uploaded with the right pagination, guttering etc. Also, with the cover design, you have to know how many pages your book is to get the spine the correct width.
I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy with my final design, but it came out better than I could have hoped at lunch time! I may even order a copy so I have an original to compare against my proof-read version. Did I mention, I just love doing covers?!
Anyway, before I turn into a pumpkin I must think of something to happen to Claire. I can’t write it in the morning, we have to swing by nursery as soon as it opens and retrieve my daughter’s comfort toy which got left behind. Oops.
Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:
Ruth smiled, as Claire trudged into the lounge behind a skipping Sky and winced when the girl shrieked her greeting to her mother.
“You survived, then. What did you think of the Farm?” The look on Ruth’s face hovered somewhere between eager inquiry and amusement. “It’s one of my favourite places to go. I call it ‘Farm Calm’ because I relax as soon as we go through reception.”
Claire considered the amount of times she had lost Sky, who kept disappearing up ladders and down narrow paths between buildings, and thought calm was a long way from her main emotion. Sensing her sister’s need for approval, Claire dredged up some enthusiasm.
“It is beautiful. I loved the Mill House, and the goats are funny. Nice coffee, too.”
Claire remembered Sky’s tantrum in the coffee shop, after she’d insisted her niece have a piece of fruit with her cake. “The staff were friendly.” They didn’t chuck us out, that’s a bonus.
Slumping down into the armchair, Claire began to feel the effect of missing a night’s sleep.
“You look shattered, Claire. Was Sky a handful?”
In her mother’s arms, Sky began to protest that she had been on her best behaviour. Ignoring the blatant lie, Claire shook her head.
“No, Sky was fine. I’m just tired, that’s all.” She sensed Ruth’s response, and held her hands up to stall it. “I know, you feel worse. I didn’t sleep last night, and it’s catching up with me.”
“Oh, why?” Ruth leaned forwards, eager for gossip. Claire was tempted to fabricate something, but if her story entertained Ruth for a few minutes, then the weekend experience wasn’t a complete loss.
“Kim and Jeff got married yesterday and I made the mistake of letting Michael come as my date. We had a big showdown and he blurted out in front of everyone that Kim’s pregnant.” Oh, damn. There’s another person I’ve told. At least Ruth doesn’t know any of Kim’s friends.
Claire glanced up from mentally mapping the stains on the carpet, surprised that Ruth hadn’t responded. She let out a giggle at the expression of shocked amazement on her sister’s face. Eventually Ruth managed to find some words.
“Woah. Wait a minute. That’s like five episodes of Eastenders all at once. I don’t know where to start. I thought Kim and Jeff weren’t going to get married for years, or have children for that matter. And you and Michael? No wonder you haven’t slept.” She raised her eyebrows at Claire in a knowing way.
“I haven’t slept because I stormed out at midnight and drove to Mum’s from the Welsh border.”
Ruth’s face dropped into a frown, like a parody of theatre masks, grinning and scowling alternately. Suppressing a sigh, Claire realised she would have to start at the beginning, with Kim’s visit to Hunstanton while Sky was on her Easter vacation.
“Let me at least go and make a cup of tea first. It’s quite a long story.”
When Claire finished her story with her mother’s revelation, Ruth tutted.
“What a mess. I don’t know who is more daft: Michael for refusing to take no for an answer, Kim for getting into a paddy, or Mum for being so foolish as to think Dad’s having an affair. He’s got some secret project on that he won’t tell me about, but I know it involves spending time at the library because Sky and I have bumped into him there half a dozen times.”
Claire forced herself to hold her tongue. If their father hadn’t shared his secret with Ruth, it wasn’t her place to tell. She was surprised Ruth took her side over Michael, especially after her comment about the two of them being great together.
“I thought you’d be rooting for Michael.”
Ruth shook her head. “It’s your life, your body. If you don’t want children, then Michael needs to accept that, rather than keep trying to change your mind. Life’s too short.”
Her words made Claire shiver. For most people it was just a phrase, a reminder to not sweat the small stuff. For Ruth, it felt like a prophecy.