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.
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