Thursday, February 18, 2010

Help! Kindle questions!!

My former agent retained the e-rights for my two books in my contract with my print publisher. I've been meaning to have Kindle versions made of THE VAMPIRE SHRINK and DARK HARVEST, but I didn't motivate myself until recently. I wanted to go through the books, do a "hindsight is 20-20 edit" on each, and find someone to do the conversions for me. I have done all that and the Kindle versions will be up on Amazon within a week or so.

I've also been reading JA Konrath's excellent blog about pricing of Kindle books and I'm confused.

I was going to price my books like other vampire books -- 6.39 -- but JA suggests much lower prices.

An author friend told me recently that the amount of Kindle sales on her royalty statement is very small. JA talks about lots and lots of sales of his books, which he offers very cheaply or free. He said he makes his mortgage payment from Kindle sales.

So, how about you (my author friends)? What price are your books selling for on Kindle and are they selling well? What's your opinion about the book price issue?

And, how are you promoting your Kindle books? Of course, JA is a wizard at promo (and I work a full time job and don't have as much time to do promo as when I was working totally in private practice). What does he know that I don't know? What do YOU know?

Help!

These are the covers my conversion-to-Kindle fellow, Jeremiah Tolbert, found for me.

14 Comments:

Blogger Cyberwizard Productions said...

Amazon takes 65% of the retail of a Kindle book, so if you price your book at 5.00 you're looking at less than 2.50 profit

however since you have no operating costs, and you can sell ulimited number of books, that's money in your pocket.

Kindle books are easy to set up

But if your publisher has the e-book rights, you can NOT sell your book on kindle. Kindle IS ebook

11:38 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Thanks, Cyberwizard. As I mentioned, my agent got me the e-rights to my books, so, since the publisher can't make Kindle versions of my books, only I can. I'm trying to figure out what to charge. I appreciate the comment.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Julie Ortolon said...

I've been trying to figure out how to get my books into digital form. The Word file on my computer doesn't have all the copy edit changes. How do other authors go about this?

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lynda - I'm no expert, but I have 4 titles available thru the Kindle Program. I'd advise keeping your price much lower. $3. or less if you want to pick up new readers.

Also, for readers who don't own a hand-held reader, Amazon offers a free Kindle program for PCs and Macs. It can be downloaded here: www.tinyurl.com/KindleProgram

Feel free to email me at: write@beckybarker.com

Becky

7:04 AM  
Blogger Samantha Hunter said...

Amazon takes 65% now -- in June they will be giving self-pubs 70% of the royalty, as long as you are priced accordingly, etc.

I have a short erotic story up, Barely There, that has done very well at 99 cents -- but it is only 50 pages. But it sells a few copies every day, and has spikes at various times (when someone mentions it on a blog etc). It adds up -- never underestimate a small amount of money. ;)

Kindle readers look for deals -- you will make up sales in volume on a lower price.

However, this is also an original story, not something that was published before -- that can make a difference because no one has read it yet.

I have a book that my agent and I shopped year before last, and she still thinks it's great even though it didn't sell, I am having a trusted beta reader look at it for me to see what they think, and I would probably price it around 4.39, which I think is the Kindle discount price for other paranormal romance in that page range.

Good luck with this -- I love putting Kindle books up, and have another short I want to finish and post. It's fun, and very affirming.

Sam

7:25 AM  
Blogger Michele Hauf said...

Why format only for Kindle? With Smashwords.com you can format for all variaties of eBook, and they only take 15% and leave you 85%. If you get picked up for the premium catalog your book will be offered to Amazon, B&N and other online retail sites, and ten you still get 85% after the Amazon cut. It's not a bad deal, and you don't have to pay someone to format it.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

I have two of my rights returned books for sale on Amazon and they are listed at $1.99. They were oriiginally released in 2003 and 2004 by a small press/e-publisher in print and e-book formats. Sales had dropped to almost zero, so I asked for the rights back and received them. I uploaded the first one around the ninth of January and the second the end of January. I don't expect to make my mortage payments with what I'm selling, but that wasn't my expectation. I'm not particularly well known, certainly not as well known as a NY published author would be. Currently, it's going out to lunch money, but it keeps those books available to a wider market.

The lower price might induce more readers to try my work, and if they enjoy it, lead them to try my more current releases.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Julie,

Since I was published in e-formats I already had an digital copy. However, I copy/pasted both books into a Word document and did another round of light edits before saving as an html file and uploading.

If you don't a digital file of each book, then it would take scanning the book into your computer page by page. *shudder*

I didn't pay anyone to format my two books on Amazon. Basically you just need to remove header, footers and page numbers. Start new chapters a couple of lines below the end of a chapter. Actually I inserted a page break after immediately after the end of a chapter and spaced a couple of lines and started the new chapter. Use 1.15 or 1.5 spacing and 0.3 for indents instead of the 0.5 used in normal print manuscripts.

It's minor formatting changes and done within the Word doc, then "save as" html. Amazon gives you the opportunity to "preview" it so you can make changes.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Joe Konrath said...

$1.99. I've got ample evidence for this on my blog.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Julie Ortolon said...

Marie-Nicole, thanks! I'll give it a shot. My rights for several books revert to me in May, so I'm trying to get ready.

Julie

8:24 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Hi, Julie. Thanks for commenting. I'm glad Marie-Nicole answered your question. Let me know how it goes for you.

Becky: I appreciate the info about the free kindle program for computers. I didn't know about that. Best of luck with your kindle offerings!

Thanks for the great info, Sam. I am looking at the kindle versions of my books as a way to find new readers. Of course, money is always good!

Michele: I'll look into Smashwords.com. Rick Taubold, an author friend, mentioned that to me recently, too. I've never heard of it. I'll put it on my list of things to investigate. Thanks!

Marie-Nicole: Thanks so much. I'm glad you're bringing in some "lunch money." Sounds good to me! And thanks for explaining to Julie (and me!) about the process. After reading the kindle conversion info on Amazon.com, my eyes rolled back in my head and I hired help (plus I just barely have time to get any writing done on the weekends and I'm very slow with computer things). Your post makes it sound do-able.

Thanks, Joe! $1.99. I'll go back and read through your blog again (love your blog).

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer Stevenson said...

To Marie-Nicole's point, you do not have to scan your book if it's been printed before. Just go find it on a pirate site somewhere, download it, and go over it to clean up any little messes. ;) Little tip from the world of print-to-cyber-publishing!

The first book of my trilogy, The Brass Bed, was offered for free by my publisher on Kindle for quite a while. It got pretty high on the lists. This (in theory) drove sales of the second two books, though I haven't seen the royalty statement from that period yet. I'm very interested to see what results that statement will show, because although the series ended with the publisher, I have two more books mostly written which can follow it--and be published by me online.

One thing about having your books epubbed by your NY publisher--you get lots of support. I'm sure they mentioned the ebook on their blog and in their newsletter. How am I to promote the next two books on my own? Stay tuned.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Nancy J. Cohen said...

If you have the rights reverted to your books and don't have an edited version on your computer, Belgrave House may scan them in and offer them in ebook format. This is what I'm doing with my first three futuristics. I gave the print rights to iuniverse under the Author's Guild back in print program so new trade paperbacks are available. None of this has cost me anything (except my membership in AG).

2:12 PM  
Blogger Lois Gresh said...

I found this thread late - sorry - and don't know if anyone's still "here"! I have a question: as authors, how do you convert your old print books into Kindle format? (this is probably a dumb question, and I'm sorry about that -- as an author, I'm accustomed to print but very new to the world of e-books)

7:27 PM  

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