10 Reasons Why Authors Love Ebooks

You might have noticed that ebooks are being talked about a lot at the moment. The growth of ebook readers and ebook sales plus the success of Kindle authors have made headline news in even the most traditional press. A few days ago, bestselling thriller author Barry Eisler announced that he was turning down a half million traditional publishing deal to self-publish, primarily because of the potential of ebook sales. And do I need to mention Amanda Hocking’s Kindle millionare status?

If you’re not convinced yet, here are ten reasons authors love ebooks and at the bottom, introducing my new multi-media course on ebook publishing if you’re ready to poke your toe into the water.

1) Ebook sales are growing which means the number of readers is growing. I’ve certainly been noticing more ebook readers on the train and also people in my office are buying the new Kindles and loving them. Ebook sales have been reported to be up 115% this year, and even though that’s growing from a small base, the pace of adoption is speeding up. Your book can be available to this growing market.

2) You can reach readers globally. This is amazingly exciting when you think hard about it. Anyone can now publish their book on Amazon.com, the biggest bookstore in the world, or on a site like Smashwords, also open to all.  Anyone can buy your book as long as they have some kind of digital device to read it on. Since Kindle app, Stanza and other apps are now on the majority of smart cellphones, it won’t be long before even the developing world can be reading your books (since cellphones have a much larger penetration than computers). I’m in Australia and yet my major market is in the US, thousands of miles away. Some US authors I’ve spoken to have said how well their books sell in Europe. It’s a small world when our work is digital. Brilliant!

3) You can publish your book within 24 hours – and for free. Speed to market has to be one of the most annoying factors of traditional publishing. It can take 18 months – 2 years to reach bookstores after you’ve finished writing a book. Perhaps that can be chopped down to as little as 6 months but with ebooks, you can publish to the Kindle store within 24 hours. You should absolutely be using professional editing, cover design and formatting but once the book is ready for the market, you can publish fast and easily. Oh yes, and it’s free to publish on Amazon and Smashwords. They just keep a small % of sales.

4) Ebook readers buy more books. I know this from experience as I read at least 3x more books now than I did before because the price enables it. My husband just bought 5 novels over the rainy weekend which he devoured. They were indie priced at $2.99 and so there’s not even a question that’s a bargain. New books in Australia are around $30 each. The price alone means that people will read more books electronically. There are also studies out that show this too, so it’s not just my opinion!

5) You can experiment with pricing. Joe Konrath has recently been doing experiments with the $2.99 and 99 cents pricing for his book The List. It’s hard to know what makes a difference but the sweet spot is certainly under $5 for larger volume sales. I certainly had a surge at 99c for Read an Ebook week but was also in the Kindle charts for $2.99. The top sellers are playing with different price points, for example, selling the first in a series for 99c and then making subsequent books $2.99 or $4.99. Whatever price you choose, you can make changes quickly and easily for ebooks with the update being posted within 24 hours so you can experiment.

6) Ebook readers buy more indie books. You basically can’t buy books by independent authors in bookstores unless the author has made a specific effort to work with an individual bookseller. Therefore, it was hard for readers to find these books and perhaps it’s understandable why they were considered of lower value. But with ebooks, the publisher doesn’t matter to the reader (generally) and readers are finding ebooks through multiple ways. Obviously the Kindle Top rankings in any category are important but also recommendations and marketing made a difference. Once readers are convinced there are quality indie books around, they can be converted to buying similar books.

7) Daily sales figures. This type of reporting is unheard of in traditional publishing where authors may never learn exact sales figures or understand the source of the sale. Royalty statements might come months later and aren’t traceable to any specific marketing campaign. On Amazon and other platforms you can see your sales figures and adjust your efforts accordingly. As someone who appreciates internet marketing and online sales, I really like to know what I am selling and what money is coming in. It’s great to be able to log into the Amazon KDP and see sales figures for US and UK sites.

8) You can update any typos or problems with the book. There are always typos in any book, no matter how traditional the publisher. I had 2 editors and 7 proof-readers and still there were a few typos in Pentecost. With ebooks, you can fix these up and reload the file and the next person gets the corrected ebook. This also means you can also add references to the next book in the series when your subsequent book is launched, or sample chapters with a hyperlink to the next book. Plus, you can even personalize ebooks by signing them with this method as ireadiwrite has been doing.

9) You can make more money and get paid more regularly. Don’t take my word for this. Read this discussion between Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath, best selling thriller authors. Eisler turned down half million to go the self-publishing route. He explains it all in that post. These are amazing times. (and should I mention Amanda Hocking again?)

10) You don’t have to be technical as you can use freelancers. For many people, the thought of ebook formats and coding is all too technical, time-consuming and frustrating. But don’t worry any more! There are plenty of freelancers you can use for this. I personally recommend B10 Mediaworx, April L Hamilton and EBook Architects. You can also check the ebook formatting directory here. Yes, you need a budget but only a small one and it’s an investment in a quality finished product.

So what are you waiting for?

Many people are holding off because the process for ebook publishing is just too daunting. Hopefully this will help.

I now have four ebooks selling on the Kindle and other ebook distribution platforms and recently went through the process for my first thriller novel, Pentecost. It’s still in the Kindle bestseller rankings six weeks after launch (although rankings change hourly so this will change).

I learned a lot along the way and share all that information with you in this multi-media mini-course, Ebook Publishing for Kindle, iPad and more. It has 4 screen capture videos where I go through everything I’ve learned about ebooks, answers to common questions plus behind the scenes of my Kindle and Smashwords accounts so you can exactly how the process works. There are audio mp3s of each of those videos plus a full color ebook with screen-shots and detail so you can read as well.

The mini-course is US$39.99 with a full money-back guarantee if you’re not happy – no questions asked.Click here to read more in-depth information about the course.

Or click the button right to buy now for $39.99 =Add to Cart

Do you have any concerns about ebook publishing? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to address them.

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Comments

  1. says

    Ebooks are a great advancement for authors. When a reader is done reading one of your books, it’s easier than ever to catch them in that crucial moment when they love what they just read and want more. Before, they would have to either go to a bookstore and buy another book or order one off the internet and wait for it to ship. Both of those options give the reader’s excitement a chance to cool. With e-readers a reader can quickly buy another book by the same author they just read. Like you mention, if an author is smart, they will even provide a link in the back of their ebook directing to their website, newsletter, or other books. There’s never a better time to try to sell to a reader than when they just finished reading something of yours they liked.

    For authors who approach it right, ebooks provide an opportunity to make a lot more money.

    Oh, and I’m also reading more than ever now that I have a Kindle.

  2. says

    Glad to hear your positivity too, Caethes. I love being able to buy the next book immediately – a reason why series are selling so well on Kindle. Just today, I finished one John Locke and bought the next immediately – for 99c, now that’s a bargain and he’s making a living with it.
    Also glad to hear you’re not the only one reading more now you have a Kindle – that can only be a good thing :)

  3. says

    Fantastic article being a born again reader, and a writer the eBook has changed my life. The fact many writers can finally find their audience, we are heading into a bright future of exchange of ideas and thoughts.

  4. says

    Ah, a couple of points: “Smashwords and Amazon take small percentages of sales.” True of SW, but if you place a .99 ebook on Amazon, you get only .35 from each sale. Not exactly a small %, or it is, but for the author. They give 70% of sales if you price it as high as they want you to price it, but the higher the price, the harder the sell, especially when you’re up against 9.99 ebooks by big names. And, if you price it at .99, you are automatically in their lending program and can’t opt out, which means 2 people can read your ebook while you still get only .35 from it.

    Also Eisler will make more than the advance he turned down from his self-pubbed ebook because he’s already a big name. Hocking and Konrath are largely flukes. Indies should not expect to make that kind of money on ebooks. Hocking writes very fast vampire fiction, which is hot right now. Konrath writes mystery, a traditionally good seller, plus he has incredible marketing skills which most of us don’t, or won’t. Erotica does well in ebook sales. Most indies better not expect a lot. And be careful what you pay someone to work for you, since you very well may not get it back in sales.

    Hocking just signed a deal with a traditional publisher. Consider why she did.

    • says

      Thanks LK. Joe Konrath does a lot of rebuttal of these points on his blog, so I will leave that to him. If you read the Eisler/Konrath interview, you’ll see he covers many of your points there.

      In terms of Hocking, she wouldn’t have got a print book deal except for her ebook sales, so ebooks have a great plus point there!
      Also, I am more trying to emulate someone like John Locke who rules the Kindle charts with fast paced thrillers like Lee Child. There are many different ebook authors doing pretty well! (check out the LJ Sellers interview as well from a few days ago).

      At the end of the day, we will all explore the options we feel are right for our own books! Live and let live :)

    • says

      Hi Coral,
      I’m a subscriber to the Freemium model. I have 90% of what I do available for free on this site in 400 articles, over 45 hours of free audio and 80+ videos. I then sell a couple of books and some courses. As authors, we also have to be entrepreneurs, otherwise we can’t pay the bills! I’m a businesswoman, so the blog is not just for fun. But as authors, our intention is to sell books – so surely that isn’t unexpected?
      My premium material is for those people who want to take it a bit further, but there is plenty for free on this site.
      Thanks, Joanna

  5. says

    Hi there!
    I’ve written two eBooks… that are “self published”.
    Do you think they could get on Kindle or are they more looking for traditionally published books…

    -S

  6. Carla Krae says

    I love that all the statistics are available to me. I like collecting info and I like transparency.

    Am I making a lot, yet? No. Am I making more than I did as just a housewife? Absolutely! And sales are growing each quarter. I can wait.

    It’s been awesome to connect with readers across the globe through distribution to Apple. A few years ago, I never would’ve expected to see sales from Canada, the UK, Europe, or Australia. Can’t wait for other countries hungry for English books to access the stores!

  7. says

    This is just so exciting (especially for my demographic, the adult late bloomer)! Although fellow commenter LK Hunsaker (above) made some good points, for those of us not looking to make big money, who just want to be working writers, ebooks hold the most potential.

  8. says

    It’s a very exciting time for new and established authors who are interested in self publishing. I’m currently finishing the first draft (of a major rewrite) of my manuscript and am seriously considering self publishing. I’m at least six months away from publishing (got to go through beta reading, editing, cover design etc) but I will definitely buy your e-book when it’s closer to the time. Thanks for making your experiences available for us to learn from!

    • says

      Thanks Cally. The whole process is a great experience! I’m about to start the next novel in my series so will be able to share more as I continue to learn myself. It’s great to help each other along the way!

  9. says

    Excellent post and I wholeheartedly agree! I’ve been writing and publishing for a long time and am really amazed at seeing e-versions of my novels outpace the sales of print (sometimes 7:1)! I’ve been tweaking each of my titles with little things at the end like, “Related titles,” which lets the reader know about other books in a particular series, and “Cheril’s latest release,” to help them not only find my newest work, but give a preview longer than that of what Kindle or Nook provides.

    I absolutely love being able to see my sales on a daily basis as it does prod me to adjust marketing efforts immediately. Ebooks are great! lol.

    I would caution new writers, however, not to expect to become a millionaire as I’ve noticed that it’s those who are already established who do the best sales-wise. Don’t be discouraged, however, just work your butt off to get notice, be patient and always be in a state of continuous improvement. Your hard work will pay off.

    • says

      Thanks Cheril. I’m also selling around 7 or 8 ebooks to 1 print which I guess isn’t surprising given it’s easier to buy indie ebooks!
      I’m definitely not a millionaire yet either, but I see other authors making 6 figures and I see myself a few years behind them in terms of volume of books written. I think it is absolutely possible to get to these numbers if you write good books for an interested niche, use pro freelancers and price the book right. Thanks!

  10. Ron says

    Joanna, I just bought the kindle version of Pentecost and am looking forward to reading it. I, too, have books that I would like to make into ebooks. But I struggle with the pricing. Are you really making much of a profit by selling them at 99 cents? Or is it basically helping you build a platform so you can make money with your speaking and selling of other resources?

    • says

      Thanks so much Ron. I hope you enjoy the book!
      On the pricing, check out this post from John Locke on the 99 cents issue which is what convinced me.
      http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/guest-post-by-john-locke.html
      So I changed my price from $2.99 to 99 cents in order to stay in the bestseller charts because it definitely impacts volume (or has done for me).
      7 weeks after launch I’m still – on Amazon.com
      * #62 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > General
      * #44 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Religious Fiction > General
      and on Amazon.co.uk
      * #39 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Religious Fiction
      * #72 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Spiritual Literature & Fiction
      * #74 in Books > Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Christian

      I also am not into the money right now, I want to build up a bigger audience for the first book so I can sell more of the second in the series and so on. I hope that makes sense. It’s all a bit of a game I suppose, but I’m in it for the long haul!
      (I still have a day job so that pays my bills!)

  11. says

    Hi Joanna, I agree, ebooks are marvelous. So marvelous I’m convinced there must be MORE reasons. But I can’t think of any! Ten’s good. It’s great, so glad we got started and discovered it for ourselves.

    There’s still a place for real books though and I have your Pentecost in hard copy waiting for my trip to UK when I intend to read it with no interruptions! x A

  12. says

    Thanks for yet another punchy, fact-filled, butt-kicking post! I hope to publish a book on Kindle within the next few months. Up to now I’ve gone the traditional publishing route, but times are changing fast. The ebook is here to stay now.

  13. Kerstin Broemer says

    Hi Joanna,
    thanks for this marvellous post – as for so many others on this blog! It’s a great inspiration and to me it’s also a great motivation. There isn’t just that one way of sucessful publishing anymore, today we have several ways to succeed in writing and getting an audience.

    Here in Germany, there still is a reserved attitude towards self publishing. It’s considered to be for the bad authors who don’t get a traditional publishing deal. But at the same time, traditional publishers seem to slumber the new options. The whole book industry is paralyzed by the eventuality of piracy. They fear the fate that overtook the music industry. You get the impression that Ebooks are considered to be evil, to be the gravestone of the publishing houses. And perhaps they are, but then mainly because those publishing houses don’t understand the opportunities of this new medium. Ebooks are priced as high as printed books. That may be another cause for slowing the growth of Ebooks in the book market as you need a reading device in addition to the medium.

    However, having all these discussions in mind, your post reminds me of the great opportunities the new medium Ebook offers to authors. Thank you!

    Many greetings from Germany and all the best for you, your books and this fantastic blog
    Kerstin

    • says

      Hi Kerstin, how lovely to hear from Germany! I’m surprised Germans aren’t embracing ebooks wholeheartedly as you guys always seem so into technology (my friends anyway!) and you all speak great english :)
      I think maybe you just need a breakout selfpublishing German novelist to change opinions – like Hocking & then Eisler in US and Stephen Leather in UK. Nothing changes minds like evidence :)
      In the meantime, you can publish and sell to the US and UK market (like I do!)
      It’s a fantastic time to be an author!

  14. says

    I just posted on my FB wall that anyone who says “eBooks are the future” are not in tune with the present. They are here now. Not necessarily replacing books, but coexisting with them. As an author, I ensure that all of my books are in both print and eBook format because if they’re not in eBook, I’m missing out on a huge venue.

    With Borders closing all stores, authors like John Locke selling millions of eBooks in just five months, and A STOLEN LIFE selling more eBook copies than print copies on its release date, breaking a Simon and Schuster record for eBook sales, it’s clear that the consumer and technology have driven the course of eBooks right to the publishers front doors.

    I think good eBook formatting guru, great editors and talented graphic designers will have a wonderful new niche of eBook authors as clients…that’s essentially what a publisher does.

    I love my Kindle – it sits on my nightstand next to a few paperbacks that I’m reading as well.

    Cheers,
    Heather Hummel, author Through Hazel Eyes, The Universe Is My Sugar Daddy and Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age

  15. says

    I’m still not convinced, especially when it comes to self-published authors just being able to pay a small amount of money and get a book on the shelves over night. I know a hundred other writers have said this before me, and probably a thousand readers and bookstores, but where is the invisible layer that weeds the slush from the actual good self-pubbed stories, ie. the editor? There isn’t one. And this is where the market is becoming flooded and so diluted that one wonders if there are even enough readers to actually *appreciate* all these self-published books and not skim read or even just download it free for the sake of it.

    Thank you, Joanna, for this great insight into the world of ebook publishing, but I think I’ll keep my feet firmly planted on the traditional side of the fence for now. :)

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