Saturday, August 15, 2015

Is Publishing Paper Books Worth It?

A fellow author recently asked me if I thought it was worth it to produce books in paperback these days. She said that several of her books sell well in digital but hardly at all in paper. I had to agree with her—my experience is pretty much the same. I have an advantage over a lot of independent authors in that I was a book designer long before I was a writer so I can create my own paper books. If I had to pay someone else to do it I might not bother. Also, because several of my books series are short works, they simply would not be practical to produce in paper. However, once I have three or more books in a series, compiling them in an omnibus paperback is easy to do.
Civil War Re-enactor wearing a Bucktail Cap

That being said, I have two new paper books available from previously published e-books.

The first three Beacon Hill Chronicles—The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic, The Crazy Old Lady'sRevenge, and The Crazy Old Lady Unleashed—were relatively short works available in digital only. However with the third one I had enough to justify an Omnibus edition in both paper and digital. Sales of the paper version have been slim but, since sales in digital are good, I don't feel bad about that. So, when I wrote Volume 4, The Crazy Old Lady's Secret, a full length novel, offering it in paper was easy enough to do. Because the story is set in Boston, and is jam-packed with Boston locations, legends, history, and folklore, I decided to create a Bonus feature for the book. It is a gallery of the locations and legends in the book with more information and resources for further exploration. I recently created a Pinterest board as well for my gallery.

This whole series has astonished me with its popularity. It all began when i was trying to come up with a story in time for Christmas. I wound up writing The ReluctantBelsnickel of Opelt's Wood based on a tradition practiced in my home town for the Feast of St. Nicholas. That grew into the novel-in-eleven-stories, The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secretsof Marienstadt which I first released in Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3, then in a digital Omnibus and finally in a paperOmnibus. The paperback has sold well around Christmas time. I followed that with The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story in both digital and paper. Now, after two years of laboring on it, The third book is read. It is called The Bucktail Cap in theTrunk: More Secrets of Marienstadt, which consists of thirteen stories. The title story is special to me because it is based in a very, very proud part of my hometown's history—the men who fought in the Civil War as part of the Elk County Rifles. They were one of the most feared and relentless regiments in the war, also known as the 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment or The Bucktails.

This new book is available in digital Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 and now also in paper with all thirteen stories included.

It may take awhile but I have a sense there may be another book in this series—I can't talk about it right now, it is still in the planning stages—but the working title is The Legend: A Marienstadt Story and I'm excited about it.

So, ever onward. I am currently at work on a third story in my Halcyon Beach Chronicles to be called Ghost of a Dancer by Moonlight. When it is ready I will think about whether a paper book of all 3 Halcyon Beach stories is worth while. We shall see.

Thanks for reading.

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