As I told you yesterday, I have decided that it is time to refresh my business life. Time to look at new methods of online earning, different ways I should do things, etc, in order to increase my online income. I suppose that for any of us when we find something that is successful, we keep doing it! But, over time, even successful things will fade, become less effective and need to be refreshed.
My book writing history
I first got into writing books back in 1991 or so. Back then, the eBook did not exist, or if it did, it was not a popular item. So, all of my books back in those days were printed on paper… Paperback books. I don’t recall ever doing a hardcover, only paperbacks. In the years from 1991 until about 1995 or so, I wrote about 15 or more books, and they were all published. They did pretty well, with a couple of exceptions, but I was very happy with the results that I got from my efforts.
For one reason or another, after about 1995 or 1996, I got out of doing very much with writing books. I still had books on the market but was not doing new books for a number of years. For one thing, during that time, I was just getting started at that time on doing Internet publishing. Making websites and such. I experienced a lot of success in the realm of doing websites, both sites for myself, and producing sites for other people.
By around 2002 or so, I had built up some very popular websites, and I wanted to leverage the popularity of my sites in order to make some income. I chose several methods of doing that, one of which was by publishing books that I could sell on the site. The difference, though, compared to what I was doing a decade earlier, was that I decided to shift to doing eBooks. Electronic books that people could buy, download immediately and read on their computer. Over the years, eBook readers came along things like the Kindle and the Nook.
All of the new advances in eBook technology opened up a wide audience for the format, and I went all in by around 2006 or so. Over the years, I did very well with eBooks! I never really got into Kindle, though, until 2014. I was only doing PDF format eBooks, and I was able to make basically an income equivalent to what many people earn on a full-time job just selling eBooks. Starting in early 2014, though, I was seeing my eBook sales begin to decline. Not a serious decline, but enough that I could see that it was happening. I knew that I needed to make some kind of adjustment to keep my eBook sales where they were, or hopefully increase.
My book writing future
Starting toward the end of 2014, I made my first change in the area of book publishing. I started putting some books on Amazon, in Kindle format. I achieved some success with that, but not as much as I was hoping for. Let’s just say that the income produced through my Kindle publishing was enough to justify the amount of time involved, but not a gold mine like I had been expecting or at least hoping for. I will be publishing a post all about this topic in the near future.
About 6 months ago, I was doing some research on Amazon, and I came across a book that was written by one of my competitors in my niche. He is a friend, but we are also competitors. What struck me was that this was a paperback book, and I only knew that he was doing eBooks. I started watching the book and was able to figure out about how many copies he was selling per month (did you know that you can figure that out by just watching the sales page?). The numbers surprised me. I mean, we are not talking about a best seller or anything that you will see listed in the New York Times, but he was doing well enough that I soon realized that this was something I needed to do as well.
I started talking to people – friends and business associates – about publishing my books in paperback in addition to electronic format. They all encouraged me to give it a try, so I did. I decided not to just take my existing books and publish them in paperback, but to create completely new content and come out with those new titles in both paperback and eBook formats. I completely self-published and self-sold my eBook versions through my own bookstore website. For the paperback, I decided to self-publish and have the printing and distribution handed by CreateSpace, and Amazon POD company (Print on Demand). The CreateSpace copies of the book are sold through Amazon, CreateSpace’s own e-Store, and is also available to other booksellers as well.
Well, before I added paper book publishing to my mix, I talked to a good friend who writes books and offers them in both paperback and eBook format. I wanted to get an idea of how his sales were, and how the two formats compare. My friend had told me, as I recall, that he sold about 4 or 5 paperback books for each eBook that he sold. Wow, why had I been ignoring the paperback market? As I talked to other friends, people who are not writers, I was told by most of them that they personally preferred to buy a paper book instead of an eBook. I was missing out.
I published my first new paperback in August 2015. I published a second paperback book about a week later. Based on the input from my friends, I thought about it and set some numbers for sales goals for the paperback books. I was very happy when I hit my sales goal in the very first month of sales! In fact, I hit the exact same number of sales for each book. The interesting and promising thing was that I hit the goal, and I only marketed the books for the second half of the month! I found this very promising.
Another thing that got my attention is that for each of the new books, I sold exactly 5 paperbacks for each electronic book sold!
What did I learn so far?
Well, for one thing, I learned that I had been missing the boat by not offering paper books in the past! The sales results for these new books were fantastic. eBook sales were good, but the paperback sales surprised me greatly! In fact, one of my new paperbacks was the #1 Bestseller in its category at Amazon, which really pleased me.
So making this small change to my book publishing produced a good deal of extra income in the first month, and now in the second month, it looks to be continuing. Publishing on paper is very easy using CreateSpace, and it also costs nothing to do! You can do everything, and CreateSpace will print the book to supply Amazon (or other suppliers) whenever a book is sold (thus Print On Demand). You don’t have to pay anything to have the book printed and published, they just take the money out of your commission payment.
So, publishing in paperback is looking like a great move to increase my income, at least so far! I see no reason why that trend would not continue! I am very happy that I made the move! No downside to doing it at all.
Read the Entire Series:
Just for a quick review, in addition to this article, I published these other articles this week:
- Now That Is Refreshing
- Refreshing: Book Publishing
- Refreshing: DVD Production
- Refreshing: Amazon FBA
- Refreshing: Back on eBay!
Thanks for sharing Bob. This is really interesting information for we who write online.
Glad you found it useful, Byron! Thanks for reading!
Bob New York
I’ll have to be honest with you Bob, Quite some time ago I bought 2 of your eBooks when you had a special offer on them. 49 ways was one of them and I don’t recall the other title right now but I never read too much of them at least not yet.
When your ” Move To ” paperback came out and was available on Amazon, I thought about it for a few days and then jumped on it. I have been kind of busy at this time of the year but I have been reading the paperback because I can read it just about anyplace. I have even been taking it to work with me.
I don’t think your new paperback is actually targeting teenagers and young adults who most likely prefer eBooks, Kindle etc. My thought is that people over a certain age that grew up with printed books might be more comfortable with or prefer a printed version. At least that is the way I feel about it to a good degree.
When I have read enough of it to feel I can give an authentic review of it I will post a review on Amazon. Amazon usually indicates in the reviews those submitted by those who actually purchased the item from Amazon.
Good luck with it Bob I think you really have something there. Print on Demand, this is the first time I have heard of it and it sure makes a lot of sense.
Hi Bob – Thanks for sharing your feedback.
I liked doing eBooks, because it was just so easy to write it, format it properly and start selling. In the past when I did paperbacks, it was always a difficult process that took months and months before the book reached the marketplace.
Now, with POD publishing, it is so easy! I was so shocked at just how easy it is now.
I think you are right… the age of my reader base is older.. like retirement age, and they really prefer getting a paperback, and not an eBook!
So very glad that this is working out for you, Bob! It seems to be a whole new market for you (as opposed to cannibalizing your ebook sales).
Tom, thank you for your input on this when we talked. I have some other new things too, which will be covered in the next few days.. some new things, and some old things too, which I am bringing back into my mix. Your input was very valuable to me.
Always glad to be a sounding board!
And I feel the same Tom. I always save a little space for you in my Inbox! 😉
Thanks for this article, Bob. It is a reminder for me of what you have already encouraged me to do.
Thanks for commenting, Dave. I really hope you also experience great success if you give this a try!