Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unexpected losses of income, or why indie publishing can be a bit scary

Two things are going on right now of relevance to indie writers:

1. Lots of B&N authors, on Kindleboards and the PubIt Help Board, are reporting massive drops in sales (possibly due to a problem with keyword searches over there). Some people on the PubIt boards are saying their sales are down 90%. B&N does not seem to be responding to most emails requesting info on the situation.

2. Lee Goldberg reported that Kobo was discounting titles (violating their agreement with Smashwords), that Amazon was price-matching, and that he was losing a whole lot of money as a result. Others on KB said they've had their prices lowered at Amazon as a result of this, too. This is not Smashwords' fault, and Kobo claims it's a "glitch," but the problem has been out there for a couple of days and still hasn't been resolved, resulting in a loss of income for Lee and others.

Once again, this is just a reminder that indie writing can be a bumpy road, and that odd and unexpected events may affect your income despite your best promotional efforts.


  1. On the other hand, in trad publishing and possibly to some extent small press publishing, you can't track your sales or get any idea what is selling, why it's selling, and if you have been able to help.

  2. Very true. The real-time nature of reporting in indie publishing is a good thing. We can see if a daily ad has an effect on our sales, for example. And it even allows us to note that something weird is going on with a site, and (hopefully) to email them and get them to fix it.

  3. Hey Ellen, have you thought about putting your books up on All Romance Ebooks? They pay 60% on cover regardless of price and it's another popular outlet for romance readers. I just put mine up yesterday and have already seen a nice surge in sales. It's not Amazon levels, but it's steady and I'm pleased. You should check it out. :)


  4. Jill, I totally want to put up my books there, but they accept all those different formats. Which ones are you using? How do you do the formatting? How do you know if it looks good or not? Is there a preview option? I have no idea where to start...

  5. I thought it was kind of intimidating too, but I used Nadia Lee's guide over on Smashwords and had my 3 books up in a single afternoon, so that made it so much easier. First you have to sign up for a publisher account, and then Nadia's guide walks you through all the formats.

    If you like, email me and I can give you more details. (jillmyles at gmail dot com). There's also a fairly active self-publishing forum on Romance Divas that has a lot of good info (and a big thread on ARe).