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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Hi David,

Does PA have any restrictions about you publishing a Kindle edition of your book? From the stories I've heard about PA I guess I wouldn't be surprised if your answer is 'yes'. But if you can publish a Kindle edition then you can set the price to anything you want. Don't know if you're familiar with Kindle pricing but it can be as low as 99 cents. A lot first-time and otherwise lesser known authors are pricing their Kindle editions anywhere from $0.99 to around $4.95. Most of the big time NY Times "Best Sellers" are going for around $9.95. Kindle pays a royalty of 35% of whatever retail price you set for the book.

My novel, The Ezekiel Code, was published POD by Outskirts Press and, like most POD books, the retail price was set quite high ($21.95) in order for me to get a half way decent royalty per sale. Fortunately, amazon.com has discounted it to $19.75 and that helps a little. About 2 months ago I finally made the move to a Kindle edition, priced at just $4.95 and I'm so glad I did. It has really helped increase my book sales. The paperback is still available so I'm getting sales from two different editions.

Anyway, it was just a thought. :-)

Hey Gary,
First of all I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful input with my problem.
A Kindle version of my book is a great idea.
PA has the rights to "electronic" versions of the book, but I actually went to them two months ago for permission to publish via Kindle and I got no response whatsoever. I had to go through the BBB of Maryland recently just to get them to answer a question. They are not responding by phone or email to me, other than sending me weekly emails to sell me my book at a 40% discount.

As you can probably see by now, I've explored almost every avenue to try and promote my book. Something I had to come to terms with: I could spend literally thousands to advertise in various media and signings, but how embarrassing would it be to go to a signing and not sell a book because it is priced at $35 for a $16 paperback fiction novel?
Now, if I purchased it through PA with my various discount offerings, well... lets do the math?
my cost @ 40% off: ~$21
a case of 20: (21x20) - $420
plus ship (avg $90) - $510
My cost per book is now: $25.50
If I sold them at cost (no profit) + the store requirements, well you get the picture...
Remember that this is a paperback fiction novel and no matter how good I think it is, which I do of course, and the fact that it's almost 600 pages in 6 x 9 format, it will remain dead in the water.
My hope is to finish the two sequels I am working on, get picked up by a reputable publisher and do a reprint of Between Life and Death when the contract has died with PA.
I have mostly dealt with the fact that I have lost two years of work (writing +editing) and several months of research to make it's storyline scenario's viable.
I don't want to rewrite and and rename it, I had it just the way I wanted it. It will probably never be considered some literary work of art, but it's no shelf filler either.

Okay, this is exactly why I didn't want to see this turn into another PA bashing session. My feelings run too deep to remain calm and balanced.
David,

I'm so angry about the position PA has put you in and it's not even my book! I'm a real live-and-let-live kind of bird. Pretty hard to get my feathers ruffled up. But, like you (and so many others), I'm a POD published debut author and I have nothing but utter contempt for a company that takes such drastic advantage of us newbies. Yeah, I know you probably should have read the small print a little more carefully and you probably should have done a little more comparative shopping when looking for a POD company but still.... They know they're ripping people off and that just irks the heck out of me. Okay, enough of that. I know you didn't want this to turn into hate fest with PA. Arrrggghhh!!!

Bottom line (at least as far as I can tell) is you're just plain stuck with the PA situation until the contract is up. Even if your book is better than the best of Stephen King or any other top selling author in the supernatural/horror genre, few readers are likely to shell out $35 for a book by a new author. I don't know any way around it. If that is the case then the only solution I can see is the Kindle.

By the way, just exactly what would PA do if you did publish the book with another POD company before your contract is up? I'm just curious.
I have a heart breaker for all of you. In my memoir A Healing Heart; A Spiritual Renewal was by PA.

In my story, I cover my dad, a One-Star Brigadier General. I take a trip to Medjugorje in Bosnia were apparitions have been happening to six visionaries since 1981and still are.

Last year, I had the "owner and publisher" of the Medjuorje Magazine ask to review my book. There was no push to sell the book; she LOVED it.
She called PA not only to order the book for her bookstore but to advertise it in their magazine. You have to understand, this is a huge magazine.

PA would not work a deal with them, brought my book from $19.95 (at the time of the review) to $24.95 and was going to charge $4.99 shipping the first book and $3.99 for the others.

I LOST THE SALE! I must have cried for three months along with anger beyond words. They did the same to a huge Catholic bookstore in RI. The store ordered all their books from the distributor with a 40% discount. They would only give them 5% off the book. I LOST THE SALE. The buyer wanted my book on the spot from talk about it.

How do you grow when your own publisher won't help a sale?
I went through withdrawals over the loss of my book and I feel your pain.
They don't want your book to sell. Interesting, isn't it?

I don't have any evidence to this and I hesitate to repeat it here, I read it on slushpile or ripoffreport, that PA was only a front company to keep new fresh ideas captive. I don't consider myself to be so gullible to believe everything that I read, but it would be entirely feasible that the content of the books could be sold to popular authors to be used as content for re-writes.
I corresponded with another author that had her book stolen from PA. She got the contract canceled, yet they continued to sell her book under her name as well as under another author's name and different cover. I still have her info somewhere, but that's her business and she might not want her personal experiences shared as hearsay.

As I said once before, what goes around, comes around. One day we will all look up and PA will be gone along with the thieves that run it.
Who knows? The authors they ripped off may be the next owners!
BINGO! You have to be the third author who has said PA doesn't want your book to sell. They want your money purchasing your own books. I've spent thousands so far.

On a good tone, I did a great talk Saturday, Dec. 12th at the Magnificat, a Catholic Woman's Ministry in Medway, MA (their Boston Chapter).

I spoke to 150 women in February at their Providence, RI Chapter and sold 26 books. From there, I got the invite to Medway.

Medway wants me to speak to their religious students, all 200 of them around grammar age on my talk. I hit abortion and substance abuse from my two memoirs. She said there are 1,000 students in their whole program. I'm putting it together.

To boost my confidence, they said they usually wait weeks before to see how many were coming. From my last talk, she said in days she had at least 50 replies. Hopefully, my name maybe getting there.

The women who came up to me with their stories and the honest congratulations on my talk that touched their hearts, was comforting.

I'm trying to get out more than ever now with my talks.

Just wanted to share this. I sold my memoir from PA and the new one.
Gary, thanks for sharing. I wonder whether you feel the Kindle edition has increased sales of the print edition? Or not? I'd be very interested, thanks!
Hi Joel,

I wish I could say having the Kindle edition has helped sales of the paperback but I'm not sure that it has. It seems like the paperback sales have remained about the same. Not that I'm complaining. I'd be a little upset if it was hurting paperback sales but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case.
Joel,

My book has been available on Kindle for about 6 months, but has sold very little on Kindle. I'm glad I've got it available on Kindle, just to have it available. I surely don't think it's taken away from my print sales. My print sales have increased nicely over the last month.
Gary, Steve and Sara,
Thanks for your feedback. I think this is going to become more and more important as ebooks continue to become a more prominent part of the sales picture for books. Every publisher (and let's face it, although we are small, we are still publishers) has to deal with them, and some of the hardware that is just over the horizon may be very influential on how these books and ebooks get produced in the future.

As I said above, there's some evidence that the inexpensive ebooks and the downloadable freebies actually increase print book sales, probably because they help to expand the market of all people interested in whatever you are writing about.

I'm preparing to launch an ebook/print book/download product and I find all this information very useful. I plan to have the core functionality of the book available as a freemium, in exchange for an email signup on my blog, and an expanded version for sale as both a print book on Amazon and an ebook via Smashwords and others.

Of course, planning all this is daunting, and getting the time to put it all together along with the "infrastructure" that has to accompany it takes a lot of time and education. Anything authors here can offer as guidance or things to avoid is much appreciated.
Hi, all
It is important to try to track what is happening with ebooks. Also, to factor in costs. I'd be interested to know if PDF is the main avenue for publishing, or if there are other more preferred programs.

I read recently that some major publishing houses are pulling back on ebooks. However, the way news goes these days it could be only one or two publishers...

Take care,
Jean
Jean, I think the news lately has been that some publishers are delaying the issue of ebooks, or talking about when to release them in relation to the hardcover and softcover launch.

Right now they seem to be thinking that ebooks should come between hardcover and softcover. This is an obvious attempt to hold on to the hardcover profits, which are much greater than any other edition. It remains to be seen how the market will respond to the plan.

The ebook is gaining momentum and 2010 will be a big year for ebook hardware, software, and publisher involvement, from the looks of it. It should be interesting!

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