This has been a troublesome year as far as my profitability goes (I am a past master at understating the obvious). First, I spent way too much of my savings on setting up an E-Commerce page on a new web site to market audio book versions of my first two novels only to learn that the sales people at the web hosting service didn’t have a clue about the limitations of their E-Commerce applications. Never mind that I was refunded every penny I had invested; the experience cost me three months’ lost income. All of the time I invested in setting up the E-Commerce site was time and money I was not investing in marketing my work to new readers.
Then it turns out that sales of eBooks have been dropping into the basement for most of this year. THAT I blame on the state of our economy, not to a lack of interest in my novels. People just don’t have cash to spend on books.
I have pretty much tied my fortunes to the Kindle platform; it accounts for about 60% of today’s digital sales. A few years ago I entered my novels into the KDP Select program, and was very happy with the relationship. My royalties last year put a smile on my face. But this year, my royalties have been shrinking every month.
Enter Smashwords (It’s always nice to have a Plan “B”). I cancelled the exclusivity agreement with KDP Select and today published the first three novels on Smashwords. Those three will be available across a very broad collection of platforms over the next few days (the fourth novel, “Lonesome Cove”, will only be published with Smashwords at the end of September). My next step is to start marketing across those platforms ASAP.
If there is a moral to this, it is to stay flexible; if one plan fails to pan out, have a backup. Research and test to destruction. Then make sure you have a Plan B. Keep your options open. If you are an indie author, you and you alone are responsible for your success or your failure. Stay flexible; things won’t always go your way.
“Standing Wave”, the fifth novel in the Terry Rankin series, is still in development. I am long past feeling the pressure to finish it. I have one more trip to Suwannee to make, probably some time in September, for a final round of interviews and a few days checking sites and finalizing scenes. With any luck at all, “Standing Wave” should see the light of day close to the end of this year.