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Monday, February 28, 2011

And the times they are a changin'

I write to inspire.

Lately, with our changing markets, I need some inspiration.

I set out on this publishing venture with high hopes and a smile in my heart. My first novel, Rain Song, came out in October 2008. Offered only as a trade paperback for $13.99, sales did well. A new author, first novel, a small publishing house and yet Rain Song sold 25,000 copies within 18 months of publication.

I was not on Facebook then. I didn't have a Facebook Fan Club Page. Tweeter had not been created. I was not a member of the American Christian Fiction Writer. My website needed a make-over. I did not attend writers' conferences. In fact, I did not really know but one inspirational fiction author on a personal level.

But I arranged book events at bookstores, and marketed my novel and the next one---How Sweet It Is--when it arrived on bookshelves the following spring. I sent out newsletters and emails and slipped promotional postcards into everyone's hands. I blogged. My publicist was impressed with my efforts.

Now things are changing. Seems it doesn't matter about that number of 25,000 or that it is now at 28,500. Rain Song is going out of print. Immediately.

So is How Sweet It Is.

Oh, they will still be available in e-book format. People won't be able to dog-ear the pages, or underline sections with a pen, but they can download my novels onto their electronic devices.

When discussing sales at Penguin, Penguin Group CEO John Makinson said, ". . . We all recognize that the ebook is a fundamentally more profitable book with cost benefits for consumer, author and publisher alike."

My husband is not a CEO, but he's told me what Makinson stresses. Yet, I still wonder how the author benefits more with e-book sales over trade paperbacks? E-books cost less, yes, and authors get a higher royalty rate, but it all balances out that I get nearly the same amount whether it be 18 or 20 percent from a print book sale of $13.99 or 25 percent from an e-book sale of $9.99.

Are print books dying? Are e-books here to stay?

For five months, paperback How Sweet It Is has been in the TOP 100 categories on Amazon for Christian Fiction and Christian Romance. The novel ranges from #40 to #90 on these charts. I used to keep track of where it stood, now I realize that doesn't seem to matter. Paperback How Sweet It Is is not selling enough to make room for it anymore in the warehouse.

The times are changin' and I'm not liking it.

I need a good cup of inspiration.

7 comments:

B Squared said...

True book lovers will always value real books. We recently purchased a Kindle, but an e-book will never truly replace a tangible book. Technology will become obsolete, but books will survive for centuries. Plus, e-books just aren't as personal.

After enjoying "How Sweet it Is" and "Hatteras Girl," we just purchased "Rain Song," and we look forward to reading it. We have shared your novels with our fellow readers, who have enjoyed them as well. We are anticipating the release of "A Wedding Invitation" in the fall...and we'll purchase the real book!

Alice J. Wisler said...

Thank you, thank you! You are an author's dream!

Cheryl said...

Alice there was an interesting article in our local paper yesterday I found it online here. http://www.theprovince.com/entertainment/book+dead+long+live+ebook/4385033/story.html

If you still have the rights to your books and they revert back to you when the publisher is no longer printing them then this is the way to go. In one of the links in this article the author is making $1300/day just off his ebook sales.

I prefer paperback books but you know you have to keep up with the times and market demand. I have all the Kindle, Stanza, vBookz, Kobo apps on my iPad but I only download free ebooks until about 2 weeks ago when I paid for a book! When I think of the last 2 moves we made and moving all my books that took many heavy boxes and I downsized them by about half on the last move, maybe ebooks aren't going to be such a bad thing.

Alice J. Wisler said...

Cheryl,

Interesting article!

I know many love their e-readers and am glad my novels are all offered as e-books. But nothing replaces print for this dinosaur! :-)

Wendy said...

Alice, my greatest desire right now is to have a Kindle and am saving my birthday, Christmas and etc. money to buy one. I have read all your books and would own each and every one but my groaning bookshelves will absolutely just not hold one more book. They're stacked in front of, behind on top of and beside each other and the shelves are literally starting to bend a bit. But, my girls won't feed my Kindle money pot. They've given me gift cards to restaurants and a French press coffee maker so that they don't accidentally add to my tiny Kindle fund. I love books, I truly do. But I can have even more of them if I have an eReader. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! But my girls feel just exactly like you do. <3

Patricia said...

I must be a dinosaur too because I love 'real books'. I love to sit back on a rainy day with a good book in hand and a cup of joe. I like the feel of the paper between my fingers when I turn the page. I like to end my day with a good book, proped up on pillows in my 4-poster bed with my minature schnauzer, Pepper, beside me. Holding a kindle or "reader" just doesn't feel the same! And I just had bookshelves built into my living room to hold my books!

Alice J. Wisler said...

Wendy and Patricia,

Thanks for your comments about the printed book!