Why E-publish? 5 Reasons to Ebook It up!

| Posted in E-publishing |


benefits epublishing ebooksQuite a few new folks have found this blog lately (thanks for visiting!), many of whom are starting to contemplate e-publishing, so I thought I’d do a basic post covering some of benefits of becoming an indie ebook author.

I don’t have anything to sell you, and I’m not against traditional publishing, but there are some perks I wasn’t aware of when I got started, and maybe sharing these will help you decide if this route makes sense for you.

Without further introduction…

Five Benefits of E-publishing

1. Higher Profit Margins as an Indie

As an independent ebook author, you keep 60-85% of the earnings for ebooks priced $2.99 to $9.99 (it’s usually 35-40% for lower or higher priced ones). Compare this to a traditionally published paperback where an author might get 15% or less. Even with ebooks published through presses, the earnings aren’t that good, since there are more people that have to get their cut.

The high royalty rate is one of the reasons you see so many inexpensively priced ebooks out there now. You can price a novel at $2.99 and still make a respectable $2 on each sale.

2. Real-time Sales Statistics

This may very well be my favorite part of e-publishing.

While not every ebook seller is this high speed yet, Barnes & Noble and Amazon update your book sales hourly. This is tremendously helpful when it comes to marketing, as it makes it easy to see which tactics are resulting in sales (and which aren’t!).

If you buy a daily advertisement on a site, and it doesn’t result in any more sales than usual, then it may not be worth paying for again. If a book review at a certain blog brings in a couple dozen extra sales that week, then you might buy that blogger a beer and see if he/she will review more of your work!

3. Ability to Give Away Free Ebooks for Marketing Purposes

Not every seller lets you list ebooks for free (Amazon and Barnes & Noble require indies price their work at a minimum of 99 cents), but Smashwords and some of their distribution partners do (if you go through Smashwords, you actually can get a free ebook listed at B&N). This can be a helpful marketing tool.

If you’ve published a brilliant new novel that nobody knows about, you can generate interest by giving away a free story, perhaps set in the same world or with the same characters. (If you haven’t seen it, read about my results giving away a free ebook short story.) Include an excerpt of your novel at the end of the story, and your freebie just might generate some sales.

4. Nothing Is Set in Stone

With e-publishing, it’s easy to change the price of your ebook, change the blurb, change the cover, or upload a new version of the text (always helpful if you find a couple of typos down the line).

In particular, a lot of indie authors will change prices from month to month, trying to find that sweet spot.

5. No Delays in Getting Books out There

With traditionally published books, it can take years to find an agent, a publisher, and get to the point where your work is available at Amazon. Lots of books don’t make it at all.

With e-publishing, it takes a day or two (at the most) between the time you upload your book to the time it’s available for purchase. Sure, you might add on a couple of weeks for having it professionally editing and getting an ebook cover created, but this is still a small amount of time when compared to traditional publishing. We’re not all going to get rich from our e-publishing passion, but the sooner your work is out there, the sooner you can start making money from it!

Can you think of other benefits of e-publishing? (Or maybe you’d like to disagree with me?) Chime in below!

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Comments (11)

It seems that there are benefits and drawbacks to both traditional and self-pub, but the scales are tipping ever so slowly toward self-pub for me!

That’s a pretty good list, and sums up the major advantages I’ve found as well. Ok, I didn’t realize how important real-time statistics were until I tried it. Before that, when I received royalty statements in the mail, it would be ages between trying a promotion and seeing if it had any impact. By then I had usually forgotten, and besides, I didn’t have day-to-day info even when it arrived, just bulk numbers.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate – only $.99
The Unfinished Song: Taboo
Conmergence: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction

The number one reason to e-publish…

*drum roll*

You don’t have to write a freakin’ synopsis!


You have again knocked another post out of the ball park. To add to your list I would like to include –

You build your own destiny. period.

Because the industry is based on the guesswork of hundred people (who are paying the salaries of a thousand) they are not as free to push potential revenues. Let’s be honest for a moment, not EVERYONE can be #1. Some of us get more or less of the pie than others, and it makes better business sense to push books that are ‘known good’.

Can your unique take on an old favorite sell a million copies? Sure it can, but are you willing to gamble your entire multimillion dollar company AND the lives of the families they employ on taking that chance?

As an ePub, YOU can generate the buzz for your little book. As an independent you are the person representing your book! You totally know the story (one would hope) and are more passionate about it than anyone in world *could* ever be. That passion and knowledge, combined with a dash of moxie, can unlock doors you didn’t even know were open to you.

Sorry if this was a bit long. Thanks for the article!

– KT

awesome tips!!

Thanks for the comments, guys!

Margaret, let us know when your first ebook comes out! 🙂

Tara, I added you to the SFF-OWW list on Twitter, since I know I’ve seen you chatting on the mailing list. *g*

Becca…yes, and don’t forget all that work querying agents. Horrible stuff! 😉

Great thoughts, Kevin. Hey, long posts and comments are fine (if they’re not, I’m in trouble!).

Thanks for reading, Connie!

Great post, those are some good reasons. Thanks.

Great post, Lindsay! I would also add this: Real Time Interaction With Readers.

Almost by definition, if an author is e-publishing, they are going to be in tune with what readers want right now. They will also be more open (or should be) to the feedback they get from readers. I know that when I was eagerly reading paper books, I would often wonder about the author, but any thought of possible contact was pretty distant. An e-author has a built-in pipeline to and from the reader. I think this will become an important component in the writing/reading e-world 🙂

Hey Lindsay,

I’m not quite at the publication point in my writing journey, but I’ve thought a lot about self and traditional pubbing, as you know 😀 I’m actually updating my Self-Publishing Compendium to add a section for sales — I’m totally linking to your sales post!

Thanks again for a thoughtful and informative post!

One other advantage: you don’t face the prospect of your book going out of print, which is out of your control if you are letting a publisher control your book’s destiny, the book will be more readily available in far-flung locales (electronic, you know) and, also, having had a very bad experience with a horrible cover on my short story collection (original cover, not current cover) entitled “Hellfire & Damnation,” you can select your own cover art and, as mentioned, change it.
I do have one question regarding checking those statistics you mention. I haven’t been at it long enough to know where to go and what button to push to get stats on Amazon. Advice? My second book, “It Came from the ’70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now,” nonfiction (50 reviews done at the time; major cast, 76 photos, interactie trivia) just went up. Anybody have some help?

Jon, you’re right about that! When you can get feedback from readers (and see what’s selling best in real time), you can adjust your writing focus if you want. For me, I’d been planning to do a sequel to Emperor’s Edge next anyway, but since that’s my best seller that certainly reinforced my idea to work on building up that series. If one of the other ebooks had taken off instead, I might have put that to the side to focus on a series with other characters.

Syd, thanks for your support and for linking to my posts! I know you’re going to do well when your books come out (whether traditional or e-published) because you’re already working on building up that blog!

Connie CW, to check stats on Amazon, log into the Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard and click reports, then month-to-date unit sales. Note, this is the dashboard where you uploaded your ebooks; it’s not your author central dashboard.

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