Thursday, October 13, 2011

How I Learned To Stop Being a Snot and Love e-Books.

About a year ago I thought that digital books were sort of silly. I didn't own an e-reader and, though I had downloaded Amazon's Kindle for PC in order to read a few e-books that were not available in paper, I had a snotty attitude about them and stomped around grumbling about people who didn't have "real" books. I said all the usual things that snotty people like me say: “Oh, I could never give up my books! I love the smell of a new book, I love the feel of a new book! I can't imagine not having 'real' books!” Gad.

Then I read an article about the environmental advantages of using e-readers instead of dead-tree books. The production of 1 e-reader is the environmental equivalent of producing 40 books. But 1 e-reader can hold as many as 3000 books and more than that if you delete your books when you are done reading them. Plus it saves an untold amount of environmental impact because cases and cases of books do not have to be packed and shipped and carted around to bookstores. Whispersyncing (that's what Amazon calls their delivery system) is instant, silent and has virtually no environmental impact. Plus e-books are never “remaindered”.

Then a few things started to change -- I read two exceptionally good books that were only available in e-format: Maureen Gill's January Moon and Ryne Douglas Pearson's Confessions and I got a royalty check for the 2 books I had in e-format. I decided I needed to wise up. I read up on how to format my books for Kindle, Nook, and ePub and uploaded all my books to all the major e-sites.

At first results were slow but every month there was a lovely little check and before long that check (actually, it's a direct deposit) was larger than the royalty from my print book publisher. Then in July I published, in e-format only, a novelette called The Crazy Old Lady In The Attic. It was a fun story to write which grew out of an article I had read in the Marblehead Reporter many years ago. In July it sold about 20 books which wasn't much because my royalty on it is only $.35 but there were other book sales, too.

By August all my books had picked up a little steam and it was kind of fun to see the states soar past the stats for my print books. Then September came and WHOOSH! The Crazy Old Lady took the lead and zoomed out in front of all my other book sales. By the end of the September I'd sold a little over 1,000 books and The Crazy Old Lady accounted for ¾ of the figure. Even though I still only get $.35, the other books have royalties from $2.10 to $5.50 so things were kind of impressive.

October started out even better. The Crazy Old Lady kept right on climbing and she dragged the other books along with her. Sales passed 1000 yesterday and are still climbing – and the month isn't half over!

Plus the big thing is The Crazy Old Lady climbed into Amazon's Top Ten Sellers in both Horror and Psychological Thriller and stayed there for a couple of weeks.

The e-book business is very, very, very competitive and it takes awhile to catch on to all the tricks of the trade but, so far, I am thrilled by the way things are going and so I am presenting the new cover for TheCrazy Old Lady In The Attic:

She worked hard for it, she deserves it. Of course, success is fragile and always fleeting but it is exciting. I know my seller ranking with slip and fluctuate on a daily basis but, having once made it into the Top Ten, my Crazy Old Lady has bragging rights.

And I'm encouraged to keep writing.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Thanks for posting, Kathleen. Your success is very encouraging. Will retweet this.

    Ben English

  2. Glad you came on board with e-books! I remember thinking exactly as you did about print books; I was a real jerk about it but (as is always the case with jerks) I really didn't know what I was talking about! Fortunately two very smart & savvy friends who are avid readers took the time to introduce me to the merits of their e-readers and it didn't take long to see the light from a reader's perspective. Then understanding the benefits that authors derive from e-book publishing soon followed. I believe you transitioned in much the same way, Kathleen, and like you I truly value the eco-friendliness of digital books.

    I didn't know until now, however, that my book and Ryne's were two of the first you read as e-books. How neat! I love knowing that!

    One final comment: I discovered print-on-demand and love it also so for those who still have not transitioned to e-books let me put in a plug here that January Moon is also available in print. I intend to continue to use both new technologies for each of my books as I roll them out. The sequel to January Moon will be available early next yr.

    Happy Writing and Reading!

  3. Thanks, Ben!

    I'm a big fan of POD -- all my books started out that way. But the ebooks are out-selling them 10 to 1.

  4. That's funny, Kathleen. My ebook journey was very similar to yours. Well, I thought they might take off eventually, oh, in 20 years or so. ;)

    I'm often wrong it seems. hehe


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