Ok – I am putting out the word on various platforms about the novel. I got it listed in Goodreads and I have used Project Wonderful, Facebook ads and I’ve finally gotten the paperback sold through Amazon. Let me tell you the up and downsides of these various things, if only so that other people thinking about using these services will be able to go into it with an idea as to what to expect. If you also look to the left, I finally figured out how to put pictures to links on the blog. It now looks at least a little better. I even get to show off the picture I took for the cover art for 4 Bits and a Dollar. I am actually considering taking up photography as a hobby. I mean… that’s a darn good picture.
The secret was to take it in between the caffeine jitters.
Harder than it sounds.
Here’s the rundown:
CreateSpace, Amazon and Goodreads: You’re written the book and want to get it on paperback so that you can get it into the hands of more readers. So, you look at CreateSpace. Good news, most of it is free – nice considering that buying a single ISBN is $125.00. Yes, as you buy them in bulk they get cheaper, but it’s still a prohibitive cost if you’re starting out. I went the ‘gimmie the ISBN number’ route and hired someone to do the cover art (and she’s good. Check her out.). I went through the steps as a preliminary before I had everything lined up. I used a formula to determine the page count (yes, that’s whipped around and bit me in the rear). The initial price I had for it was around $8.50 – not a bad price for a paperback. Using that number, I figured the price for the Kindle version so it would be a little cheaper since I am going to be heading to a point where I am going to sell most of my stuff through Kindle and bypassing paper completely. So far, so good, so what? Right?
The time came around for the uploading. I started plugging everything into the CreateSpace formula, confident that I could get everything done in a few hours. No. The first problem was the format. They said that the opening page of text was to be on the left side. Fine, so I moved a couple of pages over so that the first page of the text was on the right. Did the rest of the setup for the book, and I got to the point where I could plug in the price. I plugged in the amount of $8.50 and clicked on continue. CreateSpace said no — $8.50 was below the minimum cost… which was $11.35. Apparently the formula I used to figure out the number of pages was completely wrong. I made a copy of the novel and changed the size of the paper to 8″x5″ – the format size I wanted to use. The page count jumped up to the current 300+ pages, which pushed the cost up. I wasn’t happy with this, but I had to take it if I wanted to get it to print. So, I pushed on and sent the file to be proofed. 12 hours later, I got the final proof and they still said that I needed to have the text set up so that it started on the right page – which I did. The text of the story begins on the right, but the dedications and copyright page are on the left page. The automated process doesn’t understand that, so I ended up just putting in a blank page…and adding another dollar to the cost. At this point, it has been three days since it was to be put out – I was aiming for a January 1st release date. I finally got everything put together and sent. One of the things that they put in their checklist was ‘Format your book for Kindle!’ Umm…no, thank you. I did that on my own for good reason (click on the link to get the software I used to format it), and I think I was justified. I don’t think they would have set the price to an acceptable level. All of this I can wave away on using CreateSpace for the first time. Since I know better, I’ll get it out faster and get the price right the first time.
Here are some things that I found out about CreateSpace – they tell you you’ll get a good royalty for the book (I’m getting $5.22 for a $13.50 book), but you only get that royalty rate through their store. If you go through Amazon as well… they get their cut and Amazon gets their cut you get what’s left… which for me is about two dollars. You can’t opt out of it, because who owns CreateSpace? Yep. Amazon. They’re double-dipping and double-dipping hard. If you go to the link for the paperback novel, you’ll see that I send people to the CreateSpace link. I’m sure some of you are saying ‘dude, you should be doing this for love… not money, man!’ I’ll point you to this fine man and (an unwitting) personal mentor and what he has to say about it. Now, Amazon is listing the book on their site at a reduced price. Whether I am going to get the two dollars from Amazon or a further reduction based on the sale price. This sums up how I am feeling about this thus far.
On to Goodreads! Since I have an ISBN number, I can put my book up there to get a little more exposure (I don’t know how that’s going to work, but hey – better than nothing). Now, with the book on Goodreads, it links to Amazon. Let me say this again… it links to Amazon. That’s right, if people looking for the book through Goodreads want to buy it, they’re going to get it through Amazon… fine for the Kindle, not fine for the paperback. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for the exposure, and I know that having a paperback is getting it into more hands than just the Kindle version; but this seems to be the case of getting less and less returns on my investments and having to do a lot of the legwork on my own. As much as I am a maven for the free market – this is ridiculous.
Facebook Ads! This is a good and bad thing. The good thing is that you can track how many people click on the link and you can target a group for better results. I went for as a wide group as I could – 11 million people. If you had a Facebook page and were breathing, I aimed my ad at you. I got 61 clicks. Not bad, but none of those clicks ended up being sales unfortunately. Sure, I got some exposure and it was a lot more than the next one. I might end up sticking with Facebook ads and just link the CreateSpace site to the ad. This is better than the next person…
Project Wonderful! Let’s take eBay bidding and apply it to ads. Let’s flood your inbox with “you’ve been outbid!” I don’t really like this particular service because while it’s very selective in its targeting, but you put in a set bid amount and fight other people about it. I’ve got a limited budget ($40.00 a month) and I don’t want to blow all of it on a single webpage just because someone is willing to get to $40.50. I would much rather know that I have set down my money and have an ad placed. If I continue with Project Wonderful, I am going to really, really fine tune the ad to maybe a couple of sites. The exact opposite of what I think I should be doing. I need to be big and hard to notice. Maybe skywriting.
Wow… that’s a lot of stuff I put down and I hope it helps people who are looking into this. I know that I am a little wiser for it. My next book will definitely be put together a lot better and hopefully a lot cheaper. I am still on the fence with Amazon/CreateSpace/Goodreads – especially with Goodreads, but I will have to see how it shapes up in the coming months. Right now, I need to make lunch and get ready for work. Thanks for sticking with me on this, and as always, feel free to leave a comment on the site.