December 2012 Christmas Review
Christmas Spirit Kind of News
Well, it's that time of year again. Christmas is just around the corner and everything is getting festive —and cold! I am sort of getting ready for Christmas, nothing special or formal, never really been into that, just getting ready to settle down for some family togetherness. For me that usually involves just the wife and I. At one time there would be the wider family, but I am of an age now (55) that means many of the older family members are not here anymore. And of course, those of the same generation to me are now flung far and wide. So it will be just the wife and I. But I think I probably now prefer that. It is more relaxed as it is only ourselves we need to please and feed!
On the publishing and writing front, my ebooks continue to move slowly on a number of sites. No big sellers, although the two available for free obviously get the greater number of downloads. But they are moving sedately and that is far more than they did in the first few years. The reason for this change? Smashwords.
I didn't join up with Smashwords until the end of 2011. This was a mistake as I had been with Kindle for over a year before that, and although I had wanted to get on Nook, being in the UK meant that wasn't possible at the time. Smashwords opened the door to many more online retail sites and made it laughably easy to get my ebooks on Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo and the rest almost overnight. I had been extremely short sighted in not pursuing a relationship with Smashwords right at the start. Of course it takes time to become aware of things, and as a self-published author you learn as you go. But I truly believe I wasted that time with my ebooks only on Amazon. Smashwords has been a font of knowledge and information. It is also the most valuable tool a self-published author can have, simply because of it's reach. My books are everywhere, on a variety of eReaders and in a multitude of formats in counties all over the world. And of course I also publish through Google Play. Visibility is the most important thing for an author with none. And that has always been me. But that doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed my time on Amazon.
Without Amazon's Kindle I wouldn't have had anything. Some of my books have been on Amazon since 2005, and I still maintain nine trade paperback versions of my books on Amazon. Apart from the two Publish America books, these were all originally published through BookSurge and then CreateSpace. But I also have one published through Feed A Read in the UK. This was something I was going to pursue for all of my books until CreateSpace finally started distributing books beyond Amazon.com. As for my two PA books, the second one has now come out of it's seven year contract. But although I republished the first one in trade paperback through CreateSpace, I am not sure if I will do the same with the second one. The reason? It's no longer worth it.
So far, over the history of my book publishing experience, I have sold only a very small handful of actual trade paperbacks. In contrast my ebooks sell more each month than my total trade paperback sales. So that tells me I should stick to ebooks as my main publishing tool. Sad, as I like to see my books as real books in my hands, and this last PA one will now be missing. But having people read the book is more important than the packaging. People have bought and read, and are buying and reading the ebook version. Can't argue with that.
So I am happy with my Amazon experience. They helped me get into ebook publishing. I will always stick with Amazon and I feel like I am part of the greater Amazon family. No question of that. I read ebooks using the Kindle for PC application, I browse and buy Kindle ebooks through Amazon. But it was KDP Select that urged me to publish through Smashwords. Exclusivity I do not like. I value my visibility. I am poor at marketing, can't afford advertising, hopless at social media, hate Twitter, and don't really have the time for Facebook even though I have two book pages with them. And although my favourite place to hang out is now Goodreads, I don't really comment much there either. For me Exclusivity means going back to just having a print book at the bottom of the several million book list on Amazon. For me, Exclusivity=Invisibility. So...
Happy Christmas Amazon! Happy Christmas Smashwords! I need you both. Please play nicely (that means you, Ammy!).
To everyone, have a safe, happy and warm Christmas! See you all in the New Year!
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