Self-Publish 9: Selling
I need to make it clear to whomever reads this article that I’m not a university student of literature, nor a lecturer. I don’t even class myself as an author. I say I’m a raconteur who can write logically. But during my study for a first degree, I took a unit called English 10, which I passed. So I enrolled in English 20 for the next year. The focus was Shakespeare and it took me three weeks to decide it wasn’t for me. My study continued and I achieved a Ph.D, but in an area far removed from literature. So my formal literature background is limited. In reading this, therefore, view me as someone who’s gone from writing formal research reports to creating fictional novels via a process of collected oral stories. This foray into explaining some intricacies of self-publishing is about why I did it, how, what happened and to share the information with anyone who’s interested. And I’ll do it in language as simple I can muster.
The selling area requires a lot of work. As a self-published author, you need to:
- undertake a range of contacts in order to have sites that will sell your novels
- develop a brief personal introduction, a synopsis of the novel, your details ( contact details and BSB and account numbers)
- create records of sites that have taken copies of the novels, how many at each, contact details to make regular contact with sellers to monitor progress
- develop income records for tax purposes
- update your website on a regular basis as well as find time to write the next novel.
And that’s not an exhaustive list. But to start you off, here are some strategies to think about.
- Price is the first consideration. The advice I got was to make sure the RRP (recommended retail price) was below $30.00 AUD at the outside. I’ve started each of mine at $29.95 and I reduce for special occasions: for example, $25.00 for people who attend the launch of each novel, $23.33 per novel if someone buys all three, offering each novel on-line as an ebook using Amazon (which I price at around $10.00, making a discount of 20 per cent on the RRP for purchasers of multiple copies of one novel and so on. If you want to know more about pricing, click here for a good article from the author learning centre.
- Decide if you want go the consignment route with booksellers, and if you do, make sure your price is adequate to cover the printing costs and cover design of the novel, allow 40 per cent for the seller and then decide on your profit margin.
- If you avoid the consignment route, still develop a set of strategies that enable you to get the novel sold. These can include : shops other than bookshops (for example, gift shops), on-line using your own website (which I strongly recommend) and/or Amazon or any of the other on-line sites, setting up a stall at markets, contacting and sending copies of the novel(s) to various newspaper and radio stations to seek reviews and interviews, finding various organisations to which you can present about you and your novel(s) that will allow you to sell copies afterwards
- Keep looking for new and different ways to sell and there are many. Two that come to mind are audio books, and setting up tours to engage with libraries or other organisations either in the city or in country towns and so on. Just know that both of these, and particularly the latter, can involve a lot of work for very little reward. But they’re ideas that can only validated by trying them out.
So ALL THE BEST and if you want to make personal contact to ask a question or two, go to www.aussieyarns.com and use the contact section or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
And keep smiling and having fun.