Thursday, January 6, 2011

Guest Post: A Sale is a Sale—Hard Copy or E-Book

by June Ahern

Both my self-published books are now also e-books. I like having this option to sell my self-published books. Selling and marketing books has greatly improved since I self-published a how-to booklet, in 1990. Through the use of the web and e-books I’ve sold more of my second book, a novel published in 2008, than the first did in five years.

Not being particularly technical or overly ambitious (a trait needed to sell a lot of books), I wasn’t sure at first if I could figure out how to sell e-books on Amazon. But since I was already selling hard copies of my novel there, I gave it a shot.

I began the process by registering at and following the easy enough instructions. I researched the middle-priced novels and picked an amount, then uploaded my novel’s PDF (sent to me by the publisher). My only concern was what authors were saying on the site about royalties not being paid. I vowed to keep an eye on my account and am glad I did.

After seeing some sales had taken place and receiving no payment, I revisited the site and found the error was mine. I hadn’t put the correct information about where the royalty payment was to be made. Both the uploading and royalty problems have improved since I first started.

I sent an email announcement that my novel was now available as an e-book. My first Kindle sale was from a woman who had bought several copies of my hard copy novel as gifts. She now wanted the first book on her newly acquired Kindle to be mine. She was the first but not the last.

As Kindle sales of my novel increased, I decided to also sell my first book, which had to be retyped because the old floppies had gone asunder and I had no copies left. That proved a bit more challenging format-wise. At first I tried .doc and .docx, but neither translated well (although Amazon is improving what formats can be uploaded). Jimmy jacking a .pdf, I finally let it go as that. The information is there, but I don’t like the way it turned out. I haven’t received any complaints to date, though.

I’m told that for traveling purposes, e-books on Kindle (or other electronic devices) are the best way to go. Even at a few book reading events guests have proudly displayed their Kindles, happy to show off the book on screen. My Facebook page has secured even more Kindle sales (in addition to the hard copies.)

I’m happy my books sell—no matter how many or by which outlet—whether my own stock, through Indie bookstores, Amazon, hard copy or Kindle. After all, who am I to judge how people enjoy reading? Personally, though, I still like the book in hand.

June Ahern is the author of The Skye in June and The Timeless Counselor-A Professional Psychic Reading. You can find her at


  1. I took my remaindered titles, and a few short stories that had been free reads elsewhere and tested the uploading process, etc., at Smashwords, which walks you through the process. From there, it's a simple click to do a 'save as' html to upload to the Kindle store. And I agree, it's wonderful to be able to track sales and see that deposit into your bank account, even if mine isn't anything close to what JA Konrath gets!

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  2. Constructive and informative and certainly timely for me and I would guess a lot of other POD authors.
    The whole system is evolving and the shell of the chrysalis will be left behind as the industry metamorphoses.

  3. I've gone with Smashwords as well, and have had wonderful succuess there. One advantage of starting with Smashwords is your material, once approved for their premium catalog, can be sent by them to all other ebook outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel, and Apple ibooks.

    Sales have been decent at Amazon through their digital text service and the ability to track sales almost up to the minute is also a plus. I decided to offer my novel in print as well through CreateSpace (Sponsored by Amazon) and have had limited success through this channel. I've had much greater success selling the paperback through independent outlets like local bookstores and novelty stores. Publish through POD still presents its own challenges, most of all, high sales prices, but I've managed to bring my paperpack price down by paying the extra $39 dollars for CreateSpace's professional service, although I've set my selling price so low that my royalties are quite small and I cannot meet the requirements to sell the book in paperback through other channels such as Barnes & Noble or Borders.

    I agree that ebook publishing and self-publishing have come a long way in the last few years especially. Now, through indie publication, one's work is truly judged solely by the most important person - the paying customer. I don't see the print book going away anytime soon though, and the biggest hurdle for this method of sales remains cost and those inherent hurdles associated with POD publishing.

    I tried this method on my newest novel, "Lovestruck Succubus" a paranormal erotic fantasy (with an actual plot) written under my pen name, Ellison James. I've had enough success with this first attempt that I'm quickly becoming addicted to indie and self-publishing in the ebook world and plan on using this method for other works as well.

  4. thank you for the information and how your books are doing and the site Smashwords. What an easy process and an author can also buy an ISBN there, which I will. Keep on truckin'authors~

  5. Thank you for ALL this awesome information. I had no idea there was SO MUCH out there available rather than just the traditional publishing avenues.