This post is mostly for those of you who are writers, especially those who take an interest in the publishing side of things.
I’m not going to do anything in particular about it just at the moment. In fact as soon as I finish writing this post I’m going right back to working on The Secret. But I think I’ll pull most of my ebooks from Google Play fairly soon.
I wrote a post about publishing ebooks via Google. For what it’s worth, my stuff is listed. There have even been a few sales. But there are two major problems:
- Book descriptions still don’t show up. I have no idea how to fix this. I may be able to figure this out eventually. But for the moment it sorta has to be hurting sales.
- Google discounts my list price.
Now…#1 is probably some sort of glitch or misunderstanding, and lower sales are not a reason to pull merchandise from a channel. But I’m beginning to see #2 as a deal-breaker.
I’m not opposed to inexpensive ebooks. I have Shiver on the Sky up for $.99 at Amazon right now. I also have Thursday Night Game available for free pretty much everywhere.
But…Amazon price-matches the Google discount. And they don’t pay me the full royalty the way Google does. Worse, I think Google’s discount is occasionally a mistake. A recent Smashwords blog post discussed pricing, and what does or doesn’t seem to be working this year. I’d love to get access to the raw data there–I have specific questions, and don’t really trust summaries–but I’d like to eventually be able to make a living at this, and it seems clear to me that setting my own prices as I please is likely to be an important piece of that.
I’ll still put “perma-free” ebook-only stuff up on Google Play, of course. I’m not sure about print versions, though, because–again–Google likes to take charge and set the price.
I don’t see a reason not to give them info so they can link to my books. But I don’t want to hand over control of my business to them. They’re a lot bigger than I am, but they’re a very small part of my indie-publishing business. Them tail, me dog. No more waving, guys, okay?
In a similar vein, I’ve written before about Smashwords. I still really like them, and I still wonder what happens if they go away. But my plan, as of this moment and subject to change, is to use them in only two scenarios:
- If I intend a book or story to be “permanently” free, I’ll publish it through Smashwords until/unless I can list it for $0 myself.
- If I can’t publish to a site directly, but Smashwords can, I’ll use them.
This means more work for me. But it also means any reviews and such will not be tied to listings under the control of a third party unless there was a good reason to do it that way. Assuming laziness is not a good reason.
Don’t misunderstand: I’m not a big fish in the indie publisher pond. Take all this with at least a shaker of salt, because I’m absolutely not selling a lot of books right now. My stuff isn’t getting a lot of exposure. But on the other hand I’m optimistic about the future: many people who do read my fiction seem to enjoy it.
So what, though? There’s not much for them to buy. A rabid fan, if any such existed, could barely buy me coffee.
Thus, my ridiculous goal: one book a month. This was inspired by Dean Wesley Smith’s recent series of blog posts about a ghost novel he wrote. If he can do what he clearly did…I can probably do less. Which will still be quite a lot.
For now, I will keep all rights to all material I produce. I will try really hard not to sabotage myself, business-wise. And I will build up inventory.
YMMV. But this is what makes sense to me. Today.
Back to writing for me. You too, I hope. In spite of everything, it’s still hard for me to find enough really good fiction to read.
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