In early 2010, Amazon was the only place to sell eBooks, and they paid authors a 35% commission. Then iBooks announced they would be inviting authors to sell in their store. Amazon responded by increasing their payout to 70%.
Last week, we talked about publishing your ebook by uploading your file to a distributor such as Smashwords or Draft 2 Digital. There are valid arguments for letting a distributor do the job for you. For one thing, you only have to upload to one place (well, two places – more on that in a sec), which means that you only have to prep one electronic version of your book. And when you need to correct the inevitable typos, you only have to upload the corrected file to one place.
But there are disadvantages, too. For example, a distributor won’t pay you for your sales until the merchant has paid them, and merchants don’t update the distributor in real time. For another, you are going to get a smaller royalty if you use a distributor, because the distributor is going to take their cut before they pay you. Let’s use Barnes & Noble as an example. If you upload your book directly to Nook Press, B&N will pay you 65 percent of your list price (assuming your list price is between $2.99 and $9.99). If you put Smashwords in the middle, B&N will pay Smashwords 65 percent of your list price; Smashwords will pay you 60 percent of list, and keep the other 5 percent for its trouble. And while Smashwords pays quarterly – and must wait for B&N to report sales to them first – Nook Press pays 60 days after you’ve made a sale (although, like Smashwords, you must accumulate $10 in sales before they’ll pay you anything).
You should also keep in mind that you’re going to have to prepare a separate file for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) anyway, because KDP doesn’t play nice with any distributors. So you may decide that it’s worth the hassle to cut out the middleman and prepare separate files for each retailer. Your call.
I have accidentally become a podcaster. Looking back, it was probably inevitable. I’m a talk radio fanatic anyway, I like to think I’m an animated story teller and I have a great face for radio. All I needed was to realise that in the free and open, peer-to-peer world of blogging and youtube, there are no gatekeepers to radio either.
It began when I was given a book. The Best Laid Plans, a humourous look at politics by Terry Fallis, another Canadian. No-one wanted to publish it so he recorded himself reading episodes and uploaded them as podcasts. People liked them, he won prizes. Brilliant, I had a book to publicise, I was going to learn to podcast.
I bought a microphone and asked everyone I knew how to get started. I struck gold with a pal who produces videos for Youtube. He told me to download Camtasia Studio and work with the ‘record narration’ option, then produce the file as an mp3. I had a starting point but I learned upsettingly slowly. Recording 10 minutes of speech requires some serious preparation. Gradually I settled into a routine…have a glass of water handy, blow your nose before you start, print off the script so that you can see it as well as the computer screen. If you fluff, leave a sizeable silence before you repeat the sentence so that it’s easy to find when editing. If you’re not sure what intonation to use for a phrase, repeat it different ways and select the best option later. Don’t speak while you shuffle papers! Continue reading “Why not podcast your book?”