My e-book Experience

I published three of my books as e-books on Smashwords and Amazon Kindle in the beginning of February. Two of those books were from my previously published backlist (‘Fresh Powder’ and ‘Finding Margo’), the third, ‘Swedish for Beginners’, my soon to be published fifth novel. All the books had been professionally edited and proofread, which, to me, is  a must when uploading a novel that you offer for sale. In any case, e-book readers are extremely discerning and expect books they buy online to meet a certain standard. And if they find the book wanting in any way, they will post a bad review on the book’s page for all to see (not happened to me yet).

I priced all my books at $2.99, which seems to hit the right middle ground between not too expensive and and high enough to earn the hard-working author a little bit of money. Priced any higher, the sales slow down and earnings are less. Imagine 10 books @, say, $5.99, compared to several hundred @$2.99. I’m no good at maths but the sales figures and the ‘grand total’ at the bottom of my sales report each day speak for themselves.

It wasn’t the earnings that delighted me the most, however, it was the direct contact with readers. I have been able to reach people right across the globe; in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and all over the US with the e-book versions of my novels. They have sent me e-mails and ‘talked’ to me on various forums, telling me they enjoyed my stories. They also put some wonderful reviews on all my books. The added advantage with e-books is also that they never go out of date. Nobody takes them off the shelves to make space for new releases. They are there for as long as I want them to be and will keep selling (I hope) without going out of date or coming to the end of their shelf-life.

So, in all a very positive move. I am planning to upload more e-books in the future. It appears that if readers like a book, they will look for others by the same author.

A few points to remember:

1) Make sure your book is properly edited, proofread and formatted (I had mine formatted by a professional, which cost me around $50 per book).

2) Have a nice cover. It’s important to spend a little time to do this, whether you do it yourself or get a cover designer do it for you.

3) Promote your book on Face book, Twitter and readers’ and writers’ forums. I like Amazon’s Kindle Authors Forum and Kindle Boards.

The e-book market is already growing very fast in the US and it won’t be long before it picks up in the rest of the world. I don’t think ‘real’ books will ever disappear and e-books will probably not ever be THE market. But it’s going to be a big part of it.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cherilaser
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 12:04:25

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I recently put my first novel (published six years ago) on Kindle. And my second novel (coming out in June) will also include the e-book format.

    Your point about quality editing is so important! This is something I stress over and over in my blog. And I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying such wonderful success. Your story is inspirational for lots of us out here!

    All the best,


  2. susannefromsweden
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 12:14:07

    Thanks Cheri, glad you liked it. Good luck with yours too.


  3. Jason Matthews
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 01:59:26

    Good for you, Susanne. I’m also an ebook author and agree immensely with your points on editing and pricing. The main knock on Indie authors is the amount of poorly edited (and often poorly written) books while there are diamonds in then rough as well. I recommend you add PayPal buttons to your own sites for those who want to buy direct, plus that way you keep all the profits. The more venues the better, including your own.
    For anyone interested there’s a great guide for this: How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks – All for FREE.
    Best wishes.


  4. susannefromsweden
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 07:03:49

    Thank you Jason. I wouldn’t normally approve of someone touting their own books on my blog, but as it’s free, I’ll allow it. It might be useful for others. I just think that the amount of marketing and where and how you do it, is a very individual thing. Tips are great but in the end, each author will do what suits him/her. It can be very time consuming too.


  5. Jason Matthews
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 16:34:03

    Susanne, I appreciate that and agree. There’s a fine line between touting and contributing. Sometimes I feel like a tight-rope walker, but it’s easy to also feel justified because my aim is also to help by providing authors avenues at no cost that assist their promotion. In fact, the more I contribute to others the more good things happen for me. Self-publishing can really be a bonding experience for many that I’ve met along the way.
    Thanks again.


  6. susannefromsweden
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 16:43:51

    I know what you mean, Jason. It’s hard to get the word out there. But in my experience, leaving comments on blogs and forums without a link selling something works just as well, if not better. If people like what you say and the way you say it, they’ll click on your name and discover your site that way. Use your charm, dontcha know?


  7. Jason Matthews
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 16:46:16

    You’re probably right. I’ll tone it down. Thanks.


  8. susannefromsweden
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 17:11:28

    I more subtle approach will work better. Let people discover what a fun guy you are and be intrigued.


  9. Trackback: 2010 in review « Susanne's Blog

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