In all of the fevered debate over e-publishing vs traditional print publishing, I find it astonishing that no-one ever mentions the single biggest advantage offered by having an e-book on the Amazon Kindle™.
This hidden advantage will often be the very thing that allows an author to make a full-time living from their books, and yet no-one ever mentions it.
It represents a game-changing moment in publishing history, and savvy authors who jump on the opportunity will have the chance to be more successful than was ever possible before. So here it is:
Your Kindle e-books will never go out of print, so they will keep on selling forever.
Unlike in a traditional book store (which will only stock most new titles for a couple of months) your books stay on the Amazon ‘shelves’ forever.
This apparently simple point is in fact of earth-shaking importance, because it means you now have time to find and grow your readership, without worrying about ‘death by bookstore’.
Let me explain…
Traditionally-Published Print Books Only Have A Small ‘Window Of Opportunity’
The endlessly repeated tragedy of traditional print publishing is when a writer discovers that after the launch of their book, they’re not selling nearly as many copies as they had hoped. They need more time to find and grow a readership for the book, but unfortunately, no such time is granted.
If the book hasn’t proved to be a big hit within a couple of months, the bookstores send all unsold copies back to the publisher, who either ‘remainders’ them (sells them off dirt cheap) or recycles them into paper pulp. Either way, the book is dead.
This is a devastating and all too common experience for the majority of writers. Those few authors whose books become mega-hits manage to avoid this, as do a considerable number of Romantic Fiction authors. Sadly for most authors, this limited ‘window of opportunity’ closes before they’ve had sufficient time to prove themselves worthy of staying on the shelves.
But the advent of e-Publishing has changed the game forever, and very much to the author’s advantage.
Authors Now Have Time To Find And Grow Their Readership
With ePublishing, books can now remain on the virtual ‘shelves’ forever, allowing an author time to find and grow their readership steadily. Furthermore, readers of your ebooks now have time to fall in love with all the characters and worlds that you create, and tell all their friends.
You light a slow burning fuse and all of this begins to build.
Authors achieve this by developing their Author Platform, and specifically by using social media. You interact online with the community of people interested in the genre – including readers, reviewers, book bloggers and other supporters – and your reader audience begins to grow.
Granted that sales will be in small numbers at first. But then the sales magic begins to happen, as you take the time to incrementally promote your books one after another, and as readers gradually spread the word.
Here’s what can happen, compared with the average experience of the book store pathway:
Publishing Hell or Publishing Heaven?
Once an author’s books reach a certain point of readership, a moment of ‘sales fission’ can occur, generated by word of mouth. When enough readers begin to talk about and recommend your book, sales suddenly begin to grow at an accelerating speed. This can only happen because your books don’t disappear from the bookstore shelves in the interim.
If you fully grasp the magnitude of this phenomenon, you will also understand that this is not a utopian dream, but a logical process, and a real chance for success.
But That’s Not All – There’s Another Hidden Advantage That I Call ‘The Phoenix Effect’
The second huge advantage of e-publishing on the Kindle is the powerful ‘back selling’ phenomenon that occurs when slow-selling earlier books are discovered by readers who enjoy an author’s later works.
Those readers go back and seek these titles out hungrily, causing the earlier titles to rise, phoenix-like from the ashes of previously lacklustre sales. Unlike in a traditional book store, these earlier books are still there and available for sale on the Amazon Kindle marketplace, waiting for revival. I have dubbed this the ‘Phoenix Effect’ so that writers have a clear image of the phenomenon firmly lodged in the mind.
In fact the sales of ALL the author’s books are lofted by this phenomenon, and the cumulative compounding effect of this cannot be understated.
Yet another hidden advantage of the Kindle is that if your book is successful, it clearly proves how good your book is, and can pave the way for being offered a traditional deal … if you still crave one. This has been the experience of John Locke and Amanda Hocking, both of whom have been successful with eBooks, and have been offered lucrative traditional print deals as a result.
The bottom line is that with the advent of the Amazon Kindle, your potential for sales has increased dramatically. You now at last have the time needed to find your audience and grow your readership.
What do you think? Are you planning to publish on the Kindle? Have you already? Do leave a comment below.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / CEO Bestseller Labs
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