Friday, January 7, 2011

The Book That Never Stops Selling

Serendipity. Before the holiday hiatus, I mentioned the blogger who influenced my decision to self publish. Well, the person who told me about that blogger, J.A. Konrath, just knocked it out of the park, and she did so using Amazon. Lynda Hilburn first found publication for her paranormal novel, “The Vampire Shrink,” with Medallion Press. She and the company parted ways. This was right before the big Amazon boom. Lynda had all the rights to publish her series electronically though, so she did. Just this week, she announced that she got another offer from Silver Oak Publishing for the same title because her online sales were that good. Find out why her books are jumping off the virtual shelves at:

See? You should try self publishing.

I left you with a suggestion to get into the Amazon Digital Platform and play around with it. Today, I got some author-to-author talk about the fields you need to complete.

The Title is important of course. Search engines will look for this.

Edition Number doesn’t matter if this is your first self publication.

The Description is the same as your book jacket synopsis. Big tip here. For some reason, it took a while for the description to load after my book went live. If it happens to you, give it three or four days before contacting Amazon. Believe me, it’s easier to wait.

You must choose the Language in which your book was written or it won’t take. It will give you an error when you hit save.

If you haven’t applied for an ISBN, you don’t have one. And you probably don’t want one right now. The hearsay is that literary agents track a lot of self publications by ISBN numbers. If the agents see that something isn’t selling, it kind of turns them off of the author. Just in case your self pub doesn’t take off, it would be a good idea to remain off of the radar. But if your book was previously published, by all means, put the ISBN in the box.

Next, you need to select the button that states: This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights. There will be enough cyber pirates out there passing your work around even after you’ve chosen this so don't encourage them by choosing public.

Under the Add Categories button, put in any words that remotely relates to your book so that book buyers using search engines to find particular subjects can be directed to your title.

When you load the Product Image (this is the same as the cover of your book—which we’ll talk about more next week) it will give you a sample that is grainy. That’s because of the compression. Unfortunately this sample is not even a close representation of what will be posted on Amazon. Know this: if you’ve followed the specs delineated by Amazon for the cover art file, it will probably come out just fine.

DRM or Digital Rights Management is a way to track theft of your book. Having had several titles picked up by E publishers that have some kind of system like this in place, I can tell you that this tracking technique is in its infancy and is not very effective right now. Choose whatever you will.

To close this series next week, we’ll talk about formatting and the art work. You can do both of these yourself with the right applications.

E.C. Stacy


Patricia Stoltey said...

With more and more traditionally published authors getting their rights back and self-publishing an e-book edition, this is so important to know.

j. a. kazimer said...


Thanks for a good post. Question, can you give me a sales range? Honestly, how many e-books can a unknown e-pub author sell a month? And what about going both traditional publishing and e-publishing route? How does one effect the other? I know that isn't really what your post is about, but I'm curious about other e-writers thoughts.



N. R. Williams said...

Hurray for Lynda. She was a big influence for me to and why I am now self published through Amazon and Smashwords. By the way, Smashwords makes you pick an ISBN because Barnes & Nobles and Apple iPad require it. So Smashwords is the publisher, it's free, but Amazon doesn't require it.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Chiseled in Rock said...

Nancy, thanks for the ISBN tidbit.

J.A., I wish I could give you a range, but I haven't met an author yet that divulges detailed sales. LOL. This is specualation on my part, but I think what happens is Amazon and other platforms rank the bestsellers and those high numbers are used to negotiate book deals. I've known several authors who got picked up by the big sluggers over independent sales of some sort.

How many books can an unknown e pub author sell in a month? Again, I couldn't tell you, but the sky is the limit. The success DOES come from aggressive marketing, though. I once mince words on that. One cannot merely stick the book out there and watch it take off...which I haven't really broached. Maybe in a different series.