Happy October and Fall.
I recently listened to Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing and Productivity For Authors. I highly recommend both books, no matter what stage or level you are in your writing career.
I have been a published author since December 2014. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that I realized I wasn’t a very good steward or caretaker of my writing career. I often tell people I’ve written several books. Instead, I should have been saying, “I’m an author as well as a small business owner.”
Listening to Joanna’s books just emphasized my poor caretaker skills. As writers, we’re storytellers first, then business people. However, if we don’t understand the business side, we’re simply hobbyist. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a storyteller who gets paid.
Let me take a few moments to chastise myself. I’ve not been as focused as I could be. I set goals and fall short. I used to create a production schedule, which I probably should go back to. I tried a Kanban board system in 2019. I liked it, but then COVID hit and I didn’t give Kanban a second thought. I tried sprinting and writing blocks, but failed to stay consistent. I’m also guilty of not having a daily writing time. Instead, I’d wait for the muse to visit me. I’m also guilty of letting distractions run rampant in my life.
It was sort of funny how I came to listen to Joanna’s books. I was sitting in the drive through at Raisin’ Cane waiting to order dinner. Don’t judge. I’m a healthy eater, but a girl likes some chicken tenders and fries every now and then. If you know anything about Raisin’ Cane, the line is always long. I didn’t want to listen to music, and I had just finished the Kevin Kwan Crazy Rich Asians series . . . the books are so much better than the movie. I was going to listen to a podcast and saw Joanna Penn’s name and thought, why not read or listen to one of her books. I downloaded How To Make A Living With Your Writing. There’s so much good information about goal setting and time management.
Joanna asked a question that really stood out: Are you were leaving money on the table? I had no idea what she was talking about, because there was no way I could be guilty of such a thing. I replayed the chapter so I could catch all of her statement. I was shocked to discover she was talking about the different ways to monetize your book. She listed the many formats she uses for her books: ebook, paperback, hardcover, large print paperback and audio.
Hold up. I know about audio, I’m not there yet. So I gave myself a pass. However, I was guilty of not doing half of the other formats. When I publish a book, I generally only do ebook and paperback. I thought about doing a few limited edition hardcovers for some of my books, but hadn’t made the move. For large print paperbacks, I have to be honest, it never occurred to me to offer them, although some readers asked me about large print.
Joanna shared that her large print paperbacks account for a huge chunk of her print sales. My mind raced as she spoke and then she said the magic words . . . “Formatting is easy with Vellum.” I was hooked. Then she said there was a large market for large print paperback. I went to Amazon and found several large print romance books available.
Back to my question, are you leaving money on the table? Did you know large print books fetch a higher price for very little work? I created a large print version of The Good Girl Part One. I love how it turned out, but there were two minor issues . . . I forgot to include my website on the back cover and I had the wrong cover dimensions. I made the corrections and put my first large print paperback up for sale. I’m also strongly considering large print hardcover. Did you know there are still quite a few people who like hardcover books? I may not be doing audio books yet, but I can expand my revenue streams by offering two versions of the large print format: paperback and hardcover.
So here are the revenue streams for my books: ebook, regular print paperback, large print paperback, regular hardcover and large print hardcover.
Let’s take a deeper look at the proposed revenue streams (before royalty split) for The Good Girl Part One.
ebook – Free
Regular Print Paperback – $7.99
Large Print Paperback – $8.99
Regular Hardcover – $20.99
Large Print Hardcover – $25.99
The hardcover prices are estimates. Looking at the possibilities, means I’ve been leaving $55.97 (before the royalty split) on the table, because I’ve only been doing ebook and regular paperback.
Imagine if I sold ten of each of these formats for this book daily. (Use your royalty split to calculate a more accurate number.) Whatever number you came up with is correct and shocking. Now multiply those numbers by your entire catalog. I did my catalog number based on my royalty split. I wanted to kick myself.
Of course, hardback copies may not be for you. But why not offer a few as collectibles–that’s still a nice piece of money. Here’s another thought, maybe you do a series hardcover. I’ve seen them on Amazon and they fetch a nice sum. The possibilities are endless.
I hear you saying, “What about audio?” I’m not ignoring audio, it’s just not time for me yet. My plan is to do audio in 2023, but until then, I’m adding large print paperback, hardcover and large print hardcover to my inventory.
So I’ll ask again, How much money have you been leaving on the table?
See you next month.
I’ve been attending the Malmö International Rotary Club for the last few months, and in November I gave an “ego speech.” It sounds a little too self-centered to be comfortable 🙂 but it’s basically a “getting to know you” speech.
I wanted to share the real Kitty, but I still didn’t want it to center on me. Then I realized I could do with the speech what I try to do with my podcast episodes, and even in my fiction: encourage the audience in their own lives. Interestingly, I found myself veering slightly from my notes in the end and telling the club that I was thinking about starting a new project to better use my gifts…but it would be scary and I hadn’t had the courage to take the leap yet.
Here’s the speech. If you’re thinking about starting something new, or even if you’re just planning your work for next year, I hope it encourages you. Let me know what you think.
Many of us are wrapping up the summer, vacations, and watching or helping students go back to school. It’s one of those natural times of year to see what else we want to accomplish in the last few months, and figure out the best way to accomplish our goals.
I teach a time management class most January’s, and I help people do all they can to accomplish the tasks they set for themselves. But this past year or so, I’ve been very careful about not helping you to the point where you burn out, too. One of the things that can help is planned time off. I marked last Sunday off my calendar specifically to have no plans. It was blissful! So in addition to planning some time off, we also want to plan the most important things we want to get done before year’s end.
You can plan forward – how much time do you have each day or week, and how much can you get done in that time. Or plan backwards – what do you need to get done, and how many hours a day or week will be necessary to do so. Planners can also be a big help.
Check out Susan May Warren’s My Brilliant Writing Planner for a discount on the 2019 version, and a discount when preordering the 2020 one. Susie May will be on the show again in a few weeks to tell you about all the new updates in next year’s planner.
Since it’s early July, I’ve been thinking about and talking about and podcasting about hitting the Restart button. How have we been getting on with the writing goals we decided upon six months ago?
I know that I am way off from what I expected. Moving to another country will do that to you! So I’ve been thinking about how I want to adjust the year to finish with strong, achievable goals. I did a live broadcast presentation for the Yosemite Romance Writers in May, and decided to use the recording for a mid-year podcast. Here’s the link to the audio, and here’s the embedded video.
Right after I posted that episode, it occurred to me that it might be a good time for a personal goal review as well. When I started thinking about that for myself, I realized I had some changes to make in my life if I wanted to accomplish my new/biggest goal for the year – recovering from burnout.
Here is the link to the audio. And here is the video with my self-discovery. 😉
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people about the episodes where I’ve talked about my firsthand experience with burnout. (Here’s the embarrassingly honest look at my journey in audio and in video.) Now that I see how much it affects other people as well, I’m going to bring on more guests to talk about how to recover and how to avoid it. I hope my willingness to talk about both burnout and restarting helps others – you included! 😀
I’m super excited about 2017. It’s going to be a great year!
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon . The free short story Superhero in Disguise and the new short story Welcome to Loon Lake are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.
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