Saturday, July 16, 2011

Create Space: Not for fiction?

Short version of long story. I wrote three fantasy novels during my trips to East of Nowhere when I had nothing to do. Friends who read them liked them. They sat on my hard drive for a couple of years. So .... Since I didn't want to spend all of my time not on my day job mailing off letters to publishers, I thought I'd try publishing on Amazon and Smashwords.
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So far, so good. One nice review, some nice emails from readers. Reading up on marketing I came to the suggestion that it was absolutely necessary to have a print version of your book. Okay ... so I spend several hours formatting the book for print for Amazon, spend forever trying to set up the page in Create Space, create a new cover and then I get to the pricing part. The minimum price for a print book to be listed on Amazon is $12.48 . Create Space is a sort of subset of Amazon. The minimum price for a print book on Create Space is $9.48 and you receive zero in royalties at that price.

I'm not sorry I spent the time learning how to do the print version on Amazon because I like to learn new technology and I may use this some time in the future. However, I have to be honest and wonder how reasonable this is for fantasy novels like mine. When a person can buy books from authors whose names they recognize for a $7.99 why would they pay almost five dollars more for mine?

Maybe if I was more conceited or if I had tried to write the great American novel, I could say because my books are so much better. The truth is that what I've tried to write (and I hope I succeeded) is what I think of as the genre of "airplane books", that is, books you'd read on an airplane to make the flight pass more pleasantly. And if you've ever been on an airplane in the last 20 years, you know that I'm providing a public service !

Don't get me wrong, I understand that it costs a lot more to print, package and mail a printed book than to have a link to a file to download. I also understand that people like Patricia Briggs or Terry Brooks sell a great many books and so there is a reason theirs can be sold more cheaply.

I do think, though, that people are going to be a lot more likely to take a chance on a relatively unknown writer like me if the book is cheaper. Right now, The Ex-apprentices sells for $2.99 on Kindle. So, at that price, people may think, "What the heck, it's less than $3, I'll give it a try."

Many of the technical books I buy cost $20 or way more, so I think Create Space, and the Amazon site overall, may be a good bet for non-fiction, but not for those books like fantasy, science fiction, romance or mystery where you can usually pick up books in any bookstore or on line for much less than the minimum Amazon price.

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