Should Self-Published Authors Forget the Paperback and Focus on eBooks?

As the new reality in publishing continues to evolve, self-published authors are increasingly frustrated when they hit the proverbial self-published book marketing brick wall. The future couldn’t be more promising for authors in terms of producing marketable work since there are limitless choices for editing, publishing, cover design and other services. Unfortunately, once a book is ready for release, effective book marketing strategies are almost non-existent.Should Self-Publishers Avoid Hardcopy Books?Sales figures for self published eBooks are readily accessible. According to a study done in February, 2014, single-author publishers accounted for 14 percent of all eBook sales. While revenue to the author lags, authors who self publish should be encouraged that they are receiving significant exposure in the eBook market, which represents about 25 percent of all books sold. However, on the print side, self-published authors are barely making a dent. In fact, looking at the Nielsen Bookscan Top 500 every week would reveal that self-published paperback books account for less than one percent of the total bestseller listings.The reality that hardcopy self-published books are almost impossible to sell is primarily driven by printing costs and the lack of brick and mortar bookstore accessibility. For example, look at this snapshot in time for the following two book listings in the horror genre on Amazon:The Long Walk Kindle Editionby Stephen King (Author)4.1 out of 5 stars 1,364 customer reviewsSee all 15 formats and editionsKindle$9.99Paperback$10.35Mass Market Paperback$6.00The Suicide Society Paperback – March 24, 2015by William Brennan Knight (Author)4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviewsKindle $2.99 to buyPaperback $15.63Self-published authors generally elect to use POD (print on demand) publishing options to reduce costs and produce books as they are sold. Conversely, established authors take advantage of offset printing technology to produce thousands of books in a single run. In this case, Stephen King, who already has an enormous following, can sell his new paperback book at $6.00 a copy while unknown Brennan-Knight must charge $15.63 to cover costs and make a small profit. Who do you think will win in that game?Publishing hardcover or paperback books for vanity and promotion may make sense, but it is only in the world of eBooks that the playing field is level. Back to our previous example: Stephen King wants $9.99 for the eBook version of his novel while Brennan-Knight wants $2.99. Would a 70 percent discount in price compel you to choose the Brennan-Knight book that currently has nine favorable reviews over the King book? Maybe and maybe not, but at least Brennan-Knight has given himself a fighting chance. Coupled with the lack of accessibility for self-published hardcover books at local bookstores and the disadvantages are overwhelming.eBooks sales seem to have settled in at a steady 25-30 percent of the entire market, although those figures only include sales reported by established publishers. In fact, some experts estimate the total eBook market at closer to 50 percent of all book sales. In any event, your book marketing efforts should focus almost exclusively on selling competitively priced eBooks as you strive to find an audience. Low-cost book marketing websites can help you gain the momentum required to raise your sales ranking on Amazon.

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