Friday, June 22, 2012

Should Indie Authors Abandon Paperback?

It seems a given: you’re about to publish and, naturally, will release both an eBook and paperback version. Think again. Should you release in both formats?

Art Costs Vary.  Design costs for an eBook’s cover art are much lower—or nonexistent if you’re adept at design. You’ll encounter much higher costs for a full front-and-back paperback cover. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a serious consideration.

Time from Pen to Publication is greatly reduced if you only release in eFormat. You won’t spend hours proofing a paperback or coordinating work between your graphic designer and print-on-demand (POD) publisher.

The Flexibility of an eBook allows for fast edits if, God forbid, your first book reviewers catch errors you somehow missed. Similarly, if readers mention how much they wish you’d given more play to a certain character, or if they think you ended a novel too quickly (or in the wrong place) you can quickly revise then upload again. Yes, you can correct a paperback that arrived hot off the press two months ago, but you’ll pay for the privilege.

eBook, Free Book Some authors opt to release shorter works in eFormat only as a way to drive sales to their longer, more lucrative books. They run free promotions. They price at 99 cents. They do this to build a readership quickly while avoiding expense.

Convinced you don’t need a paperback to garner an ever-widening readership? Wait. There are good reasons to release in both formats.

What about Contests? Many highly publicized contests only accept paperback copies from entrants. Have you written a book you’re confident breaks new ground in your genre? Did your Beta Readers rave that they couldn’t put the book down? A contest win gives you bragging rights, higher visibility and a compelling lead sentence in your query letter to book review sites.

GoodReads Giveaway? With a paperback, you can run a GoodReads giveaway over several months to introduce your name to thousands of potential readers. Often, many of the people who enter but don’t win will go on to purchase your book. If you have other releases, those happy readers may purchase those books too.

Paperback Builds Credibility with Reviewers Most book reviewers will accept eFormats but some will only review paperbacks. Without a physical version of your book, you’ll cut down on the avenues for exposure.

Indie Bookstores? While most independent authors find it impossible to secure placement in chain bookstores, some writers earn a significant income through Independent Bookstores.

What About the Library? If your book garners excellent reviews from a variety of sources, including traditional book critics like The Midwest Book Review, libraries may choose to shelve your book.

Whatever you decide, be aware that most Indie Authors earn the bulk of their income through eBooks but many choose to also release some or all of their books in paperback for many of the reasons cited above. 

Photo: another great pic from Christian's semester in Europe.