Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Being an indie author is wonderful, exhilarating, difficult, exhausting, profitable, frustrating and about fifty other adjectives that I won't bore you with right now. I am so thankful that I joined the "indie publishing revolution" when I did back in 2010. Since that time, I've watched the industry change and evolve into a very different organism than the one that existed when I first started writing in 2001.

What I find myself confronted with at this point, and I'm sure most indie authors do as well, is deciding how, when or even if I should change direction. Twelve years ago, an author didn't have much choice in how she wanted to build her writing career. There was traditional publishing and vanity publishing. Those were the two choices. One carried respect; the other scorn and ridicule. Today, there are too many options.

When I published Have You Seen Her?, my first book, I'd been closely studying the trends. Electronic reading was about to explode with the introduction of the Kindle e-reader. Other companies followed with the Nook, Kobo, Sony e-reader, Pandigital, et al. Then the tablet debuted and opened up another avenue by which readers could get their reading fix.

But, as with any new trend, there are always people who aren't interested, are slow on the uptake or just plain refuse to try something new. When it comes to readers, the paper devotees are fiercely hanging on to their books. I've had a few inquiries from a handful of readers asking why I didn't publish my books in paperback. 

From conversations in the author groups to which I belong, I knew paperback sales only represent a small portion of indie book sales these days, yet I didn't want to ignore the anti-digital readers. As a result, I decided to experiment with Amazon's CreateSpace and publish the first two books in my Stafford brothers series in paperback just to see how they do before I invest in having my backlist published there.

Amazon has made the process was very simple, if you have the book formatted correctly. This time I didn't have the time or energy to learn yet another formatting process, so used a formatter who was referred to me by an author friend. Her prices were inexpensive, and her turnaround time was remarkable.

A Woman's Worth and Till You Come Back to Me became available on CreateSpace last week, and I've yet to make a sale. In the same week, the e-books are selling very well. Being the impatient woman I am, I'm letting readers know the paperbacks are available, but if this first week is any indication, I am seriously reconsidering publishing the rest of my books in paperback. 

Authors, what percentage of your sales are paperback? 


J.L. Campbell said...

As with everything else, it takes time for sales to pick up. You've made a wise choice to give it time to decide whether or not to put more books on paper.

Ey Wade said...

I love both forms of a book in equal passion. ... well maybe paper gets a bit more hugs. Take for example this morning I needed to finish reading and review a novel. Unfortunately it's on my Nook and the flipping thing wasn't charged. I could've stayed on track with a paperback.
All is choice, but when it comes to gaining readers, I think it's worth it to publish in both formats.

Dalia Florea said...

I enjoy reading both paperback and ebooks. I've heard from some readers that the ebooks can sometimes be a bit straining on their eyes. I chose to publish in both ebooks and paperback for various reasons. I sometimes participate in events where I do book signings and I also carry a dozen or more of the paperbacks in my car and have made direct sales from them. I think that it is worth it to have your publications both in digital and paperback.

LaRedeaux writes said...

It is worth it to have digital and print forms. As mentioned in another comment the print takes a little more hustle to carry but in the end its worth it. You will garner customers who only read paper books. You just have to market them.

Kathryn Treat said...

I think a lot of people still prefer paper books to electronic books.

bettye griffin said...

Like anything else, what works for some readers won't work for others. My own experience was that as eBook sales rose, sales of my two indie titles that were also in paperback format fell and have stayed flat, and I've done strictly eBooks since that time. I get an occasional payment, but that's it. If you still have the names of the readers asking for the paperbacks, contact them directly and let them know of the availability. Good luck to you!

Jason McBride said...

I am in the process of creating a paperback version of one of my previously digital only books through Create Space. I don't expect to sell many/any of the paperbacks, but I like how the Kindle price will look cheaper compared to the paperback price. I think it helps instill value and can help nudge a few more digital purchases.

I would love to hear from an indie who is killing it in paperback, but I haven't heard of any yet.