Not Since The Printing Press…

¡Viva La Revolución!

Yep, I said it and I’m not the first. There is a true revolution happening in writing today. Like my title says, not since the printing press was invented have writers seen the freedom they now have to print their words the way they want to.

That last part is key: “the way they want to”. Not the way an editor wants, not the way a publisher wants, not the way an agent wants and not the way critics want, but the way they, as artists, want.

I’m, of course, talking about ebooks. Specifically fiction, whether flash, short, novella, novel or epic, ebooks give the writer the freedom to publish how they like and when they like. No longer are writers beholden to the whims of some outside entity that has their own agenda, psyche, tastes, lack of mental health or reasoning skills, or just hasn’t had their second cup of coffee. Writers get to make the decisions about their work just like back in the good old days.

Now, I have been on the fence with ebooks for quite a while. Why? Because it all hadn’t sunk in yet. Also, because there wasn’t enough evidence that ebooks were a viable business model. And that is a huge point for me: a viable business model. They gots to makes the cash or I ain’t interested. But now there are many authors that are making great sales with their ebooks: JA Konrath, Nathan Lowell, Lee Goldberg, Michael R. Sullivan, Amanda Hocking. All are killing it with ebook sales each month. The pudding has shown the proof. (For more details check out Mr. Konrath’s site and all the guest posts and links here)

So what does this mean for me?

It means I am now in the ebook biz! Check out the “Buy The Fiction” page above and give it a click or the links to the right. I have put out two short stories at $.99 each to test the market and get my feet wet. I want to understand the process well before I put out a novel.

Of course, just putting it up on the Kindle store doesn’t mean something will sell. You still have to have a good product, good cover and good marketing. Up the quality of all three to great and your sales will go up also. Now, I think I have good products. I know I have good covers. And the marketing? Well, that’s part of what I’m doing now with this post and blog. But, most of all, it’s what my podcast is now for!

In the beginning, when I first started podcasting, I was following the model of others: write book, podcast book, market podcast, get many subscriptions, capitalize on subscriptions and success of podcast to get publishers interested. And that’s what I did, resulting in my first novel, DEAD MECH, to be published. Then what? Well, that’s a whole other story or blogpost.

A year ago, the above made sense. Now? Not so much. The deal is that podcasters have been trying to figure out a way to monetize their podcasts and only a scant few (if any) have found success with it. Now, at least for fiction writers, the ebook makes monetization 100% possible! The podcast model is now full-on marketing for the fiction! Not just a way to market to publishers or agents, but direct marketing for the ebooks! Price those ebooks at the sweet price of $2.99-$4.99 for novels/collections/anthologies and $.99 for short stories and you have yourself a winner. All the marketing you have to do for the podcast in turn translates into marketing for the ebooks. Add some extra marketing for the ebooks and you can have yourself some decent sales given time.

I know many of you will say, “But what about…?’ Well, the “What about”s are the same as they ever were, whatever those may be. Reality doesn’t change, just our freedom to control our own distribution and marketing of our art. You still have to work hard, you still have to make sure you are putting quality out there and you still have to keep the hustle going indefinitely. That’s business folks, and if you can’t get on board with that then don’t bother with ebooks. Commerce is commerce and the time tested rules still apply.

Lucky for me, I LOVE commerce and I have a plan!

What is that plan? Well, that’s for another time. In the meantime I will keep posting about ebooks and insights I find as I start this journey. I’ll be blunt about sales (once I have some) so you can learn from my mistakes, successes, failures and luck.

This should be one heck of a fun ride and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!


Posted on January 25, 2011, in What's Up.... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Good stuff, Jake! I’m happy your going the way of the eBook. I think it’s going to be great for all of us. Just one suggestion, though…I don’t think you’ll be able to accurately “test the waters” with short stories. From what I’ve seen, shorts don’t see all that well, even at 99 cents. Therefore, I don’t think you can get an accurate picture of how well one of your novels would see unless, well, it was for sale. See what I’m saying? Either way, keep on keepin’ on, brutha! Good thing are coming for us 🙂

    • Oh, I agree 100% about short stories. I mainly meant test the process: formatting, getting a cover together, uploading, tracking. All that stuff. The real test will be when I have my own novel uploaded. The TRUE test will be when I have a backlist of novels, then we’ll really see what ebooks are made of!
      Thanks James.

      • Ah, okay. That makes more sense then. Yeah, the formatting and cover art and all the technical stuff is a bit to handle at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly. A side note about shorts…I find that they sell better on Smashwords then on Amazon. No idea why…just what I’ve observed.

      • Yeah, it’ll be interesting to watch which site sells what. I have them on both sites right now. This should be fun!

  2. Jake, you bastard. How dare you steal my opinions and attitudes! I copyrighted that speech, bitch!

    In all seriousness, I’m glad to see another of the “tribe” going forward. You’ll find the sweet spot. It may take a while, but you’ll discover the model that works best for you. We’re all still trying to find the best way to market ourselves in the e-book marketplace and a pricing model that makes sense. So long as you’re willing to hang in there and be flexible, I’m certain you’ll be successful at it. And if not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, mate.

    Welcome to the insanity.


    • Thanks, Paul!
      I’ll give credit where credit is due, you definitely inspired me to move forward on the ebooks. It’s writers/podcasters like us that have the forum to truly make this stuff work. If we can get 10% of our listeners to buy an ebook and another 10% to just spread the word then we can build something pretty darn profitable.
      Time will tell, of course!


  3. I’ve been having a discussion recently on Goodreads about Kindle vs paperback pricing. A lot of the books I was looking at I found the Kindle price to be more than the paperback! Somebody did stated that author royaltys are as high as 70% for self-published work. As a reader I’m more than happy to pay more for a Kindle version if I know the author is going to get a bigger slice.

    Although I have bought ebooks from Smashwords I love Amazon’s Whispernet. Maybe the US ebook market is more fragmented than here in the UK. With more readers and suppliers.

    Well Jake your marketing strategy works for me!

    • The real pricing issue is not the author pricing, but the publisher pricing. You will find pretty much all author published works to be less than their print version. Most publisher priced works are more or the same so they don’t cannibalize their print sales. It’s a backwards way for them to look at it. Trust me, you will never see my Kindle books priced higher or even close to my print books. Just doesn’t make sense!


  4. Great stuff Jake.
    I shall be watching your results with interest as I am exploring ways to get my content out there.

    Stay Alive

    • Cool, man. Feel free to email or DM if you have a question. I’m going to be as open as my books with this process so everyone can learn as I build this from the ground up.

      Cheers, man!

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