The publishing industry is at a crossroads. It's trying to figure out what it means to do business in the Digital Age, which has transformed the landscape of its business in ways no one could have imagined. Since late January, e-books have been outselling the purchases of hardcovers and paperbacks. And self-published e-book authors, once repeatedly shunned by traditional publishing houses, are finding ways to produce bonafide bestsellers and make a phenomenal living.
Author and humorist Rachel Thompson has found great success with e-books, and, has helped establish some great ways to assist others in the international community of authors. She co-founded the Indie Book Collective with fellow authors Amber Scott and Carolyn McCray as a way to help independent writers tap into the power of social media to promote their work. So far, the results, and buzz, have been tremendous.
Their Blog Tour de Force - a 12 stop tour with 12 authors and 12 e-books was a great success, and BestSeller for a Day was created combine their social media resources for ONE author on ONE day, driving that author's book sales into the Kindle Top 100. In between their workshops and radio shows, and a recent appearance at the annual South by South West, Thompson sat down with me for a talk about technology, her firm, and the future of publishing.
Thanks. During our last bestseller promotion on February 28th, Carolyn McCray's book, 30 Pieces of Silver, reached #183 out of the millions of eBooks on the Amazon chart that day, and #1 on the Men's Adventure list--ahead of Clive Cussler! Truly an achievement for an indie author. It's a matter of education. Many people don't realize they don't need an actual e-reader in their hands to read eBooks! If you have a smartphone or computer, you can download a free eBook application-- no Kindle - or any other kind of reader - required. The apps are all FREE and downloadable to your iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or laptop. It's s-o-o easy, much less expensive, and of course, greener, than buying a hardcover or even paperback. Many eBooks are even free.
I notice your book is priced at $2.99. Talk a little about the issue of affordability, and its impact on sales.
Price point is one of the most significant factors in online sales. As an indie author, whether traditionally published or self-published, you have no name recognition so reader trust is low. If you were to come in as an indie at $9.99, very few new readers would risk that much cash on an unknown author. At the IBC we normally recommend authors to choose $2.99 to start with since it is the lowest price available to still receive 70% royalties at Amazon (and many other retailers). However, we urge authors to monitor their sales and adjust their price based on interest, promotions, and even the day of the week when deciding on their price point.
This is again the beauty of being indie. You can be extremely sensitive to the market and be very flexible in your marketing approach. The promotions the IBC offers to indie authors like Bestseller For A Day and even our Blog Tour De Force go miles in establishing credibility for indie authors by helping authors get the reviews they desperately need, increasing interaction on their Twitter stream and blog, and most important, getting people to buy our books. Our free monthly workshops and boot camps discuss many of these tips and tricks to help authors learn that pricing your book is but one part of your platform. You are your best promotion.
What was the motivation behind your book?
I'd been writing since age ten and my blog RachelintheOC.com for a few years. After quitting my full-time job and having a second child, however, my inner snark kicked in after eighteen years of marriage and I wondered "Hmmm. Why do men want to change the world but not a toilet paper roll?" Men are confused. Is there a special girl code? Was there an Advanced Placement class in high school they should have taken in order to understand women better? Yeah, probably (Laughs). Why do women set their watches differently than men? Why do we speak in shoes?