As a voracious reader – mostly fiction, mostly in ebook format – I appreciate the ease of being able to click a “buy now” button and have a book appear on my phone moments later.
As an indie author, I have a good idea how much of that book sale goes to the author (if the book was self-published). More and more, I purchase books directly from the author’s website.
I chose to go the self-publishing route because I wanted as much creative control of my “product” as possible. I wanted to see my sales numbers in real time, and to be able to track where those sales were coming from (yay, data!). I also wanted to retain more of the book’s sale price, aka royalties.
I’ve been thinking about this blog post for awhile, because nowadays, I want – and need – more of that money to come directly to me. For instance:
- When I sell a book on Kobo or Amazon or other retailer for $3.99 usd, my royalty is roughly 60% of that, or $2.39 usd. I receive that royalty approximately 60 days later.
- If I sell a book on my website for $3.99, I keep 90%, or $3.59. I receive that money immediately.
- If I run a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of garnering pre-orders for a book – as I’m doing now – I also keep 90%. For example, a $5.00 pledge puts $4.50 in my pocket. I receive that money approximately 14 days after the campaign ends.
Gathering pre-orders and selling books directly from my website, or via Kickstarter, is like getting start-up capital for each project. Each person who places a pre-order becomes an investor in my creative process, with their dollars helping to cover book production costs.
Those out-of-pocket expenses include but aren’t limited to: developmental and copy edits, proofreading, cover design, paperback printing and distribution, and marketing/promoting. All those expenses combined start at around $3000 usd (for me). If I want to add audiobooks to my offerings – and retain the rights to the books – that’s another $3000 usd per book, minimum.
I hope this helps readers understand why I will be offering pre-orders via my website and Kickstarter projects first. All new books will be made available on the usual retail platforms once the exclusivity period has ended.