Monday 11 July 2011

Self-Publishing Mistake #2

I love eBooks! I adore them! And like any other person who falls in love, the rose-coloured glow of my first eReader love made me think everyone else was as much in love as I.

Okay, I knew there were some disadvantages to eBooks. When you're not enjoying a story, it's so much more satisfying throwing the book across the room, as you can do with a paperback book. With an eBook you can only press a delete button.  And how many paper airplanes can you make with an eBook? None!

Still, these minor inconveniences didn't dim my new-found passion for eBooks, and I planned my whole launch campaign with only an eBook edition of "Dancing in the Shadows of Love."

But, most other people are clearly not as fickle as I. While I abandoned paperback books with alacrity, many people stayed loyal to their first love.  I kept on getting asked, "When's the print edition coming out?" and, in that first rush of interest, I lost too many sales that could have lead to reviews that could have lead to more sales. Why? Because readers still want real books! 

I gave them a real book and issued a print edition of "Dancing in the Shadows of Love."

This universal truth-that many, many readers still prefer paper books-was hammered home in the book giveaways I held on reader sites like Goodreads and Library Thing.  In one week (yes, one week) the ratio of number of books offered to number of readers wanting the book was:

LibraryThing eBook giveaway a ratio of 5:1
LibraryThing pBook giveaway a ratio of 1:9 
Goodreads pBook giveaway a ration of  1:13

I couldn't believe the figures either! For every 5 eBooks I offered, only 1 reader wanted to win it. But for every 1 pBook I offered, there were readers aplenty interested.

My lesson: next book, I'll issue both pBook and eBook simultaneously. And I'll put up giveaways immediately. In the first 6 weeks my book was out, I had 3 people add my book to their library on Goodreads. In the week since the giveaways started, the number of times "Dancing in the Shadows of Love" has been added to a library shelf has jumped to 34. 

So, which would you prefer to win in a book giveaway? An eBook or a pBook? Or a book voucher to buy your own book?

You can read Self-Publishing Mistake #1 here
You can read Self-Publishing Mistake #3 here
You can read Self-Publishing Mistake #4 here
You can read Self-Publishing Success here
Free Image from ClipArt


Judith Mercado said...

I know there will be a substantial, if not leadership, role for ebooks. But, though I find the convenience of ebook ordering, transport, storage, etc. wonderful, I still miss having a book I can touch and markup in real ink. It's a tactile experience that cannot be replicated in an ebook. Am I a Luddite? Well, there might be a thread of that in there somewhere, but I'm fairly electronic device friendly, and I still miss print books. I am glad that with your print edition, you have been able to connect with more of your audience.

Birdie said...

I have to admit I love the printed word. For me, laying in bed with a book is more than just reading. It is time away from all that distracts in life, including the computer. I also consider my books my friends. There is nothing as wonderful as pulling a book from the shelf and saying I know you!

LynNerdKelley said...

I LOVE my Kindle and have had it just a few months. Many of my writer friends are just now buying ereaders, too. We all still read print books, too, but I prefer to read on my Kindle. I can make the text bigger. It's so much easier on my eyes, and I love how it fits in my purse. I'm able to read faster on my Kindle.

I believe we're in a transition period and that in a few more years most avid readers will have ebooks. At least those who can afford them. My neighbor told me they plan on buying each of their sons ereaders, ages 5 and 8! Print books will still be cherished, and I want to buy The Hunger Games trilogy to have on my shelves because I love them, but I'd say ereaders are the wave of the future. Just my opinion.

Frances Garrood said...

Judy, surely the answer must lie in the fact that while anyone can read a paper book, many of us (myself included) don't have a Kindle, and therefore have no choice!

Ann Summerville said...

I have had people contact me to do a review on an e-book, but I don't have an e-reader device. Giveaways always seem more popular with printed books. Although my Kindle sales are higher, people are still wanting printed books. Good post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy .. a book - but I too don't have a Kindle, or eReader ..

However you sent me a voucher to download your book to my laptop and I must do that .. and will do that ..

So it is possible to read on our computers .. just not as easy I guess ...

I'd love to see Dancing in the Shadows of Love in print .. one day soon .. I shall purchase ..

Cheers for now - I admire you all (authors) trying out this new route of publishing etc .. gives us options though .. and your ebook will be there forever ..

Have a great and happy week .. Hilary

Anita said...

I would much rather win an ebook, but I don't really care about winning books. I wonder if what you're seeing here are two different kinds of people. Could those of us with ereaders still be so fascinated with the devices and have so many free books available on them, that we're just not that interested in giveaways?

Bish Denham said...

I don't have an ereader though I've been tempted to look into them. Mostly though, I'm you're basic book type person.

(I would have helped with promotion if I'd known. You can ALWAYS email me Judy.)

Davin Malasarn said...

My plan for how to deal with print books and eBooks was that I would buy print copies of all the books I wanted to reread and e copies of books I only planned to read once. With your book, I could definitely imagine opening it again in the future and looking at passages. Because your book also has interlocking pieces, I thought the print copy would have been better for me personally. I'm not good with names, and so I wanted to be able to flip back and forth in the beginning, until I connected with everyone. I'm delighted that you made a print book, and I plan to buy it after I have my new address. Until then, I'm glad I got to check out your eBook!

A Cuban In London said...

How many aeroplanes can you make with an e-book? That was hilarious. Great post and thoughts on a very dangerous and menacing piece of technology. I still love touching and feeling real books. But totally understand the existence of e-books.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

CA Heaven said...

In general I'm not very concerned about winning things, and I never buy tickets for the Lottery (and I have taken statistics in the university so I know the odds are close to zero). Regarding books, I still paper books, because I can read it anywhere, even on a plane during takeoff and landing. Also, I enjoy audio books. Great company when driving, or doing boring house work >:)

Cold As Heaven

Linda Cassidy Lewis said...

I have Dancing in the Shadows of Love in both versions. I started reading it on my Kindle, but for the reason Domey cited, I wanted to flip back and forth. Unfortunately, your print version type is a bit too small for my weak eyes, so I'm still reading the ebook, but referring to the print.

The book is a joy in any format! :-)

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

JUDITH: I do love the feel of the print book, but the convenience of the eReader outweighs that. But I do think it’s a generational thing – eBooks are going to come into their own for adult books when the current teen generation grows up. Our generation will probably always hanker after the feel of that print book, because of the memories and the familiarity attached to the weight of a paperback in our hands.

BIRDIE: I love that…“to pull a book from a shelf and say ‘I know you!’” Yes, that doesn’t quite have the same resonance for me when I click a forward arrow!

LYN: Too true – this is definitely a transition period, it’s still very early days. I think in 20 years’ time, the eReaders of today are going to be clumsy and arhaic compared to what eReaders of the future will be like (think of personal computers vs iPad2) But I’m with you in that eReaders/eBooks are here to stay and will eventually dominate because of their many advantages (and despite their few disadvantages!)

FRANCES: Yes, that must have been a factor, but it’s one that (in my rosy glow of Kindle love) I didn’t think about!

ANN: Interesting that your Kindle sales are higher! I read my eBooks on Kindle for computer for about 6 months before taking the plunge and investing in the Kindle. It made such a difference to the ease of reading eBooks.

HILARY: You won’t need to read the eBook because you won a print copy for commenting on my guest post of Jane Friedman’s blog post “When Mom was My Age”! But it’s not as easy to read an eBook on the computer as it is on an eReader (can’t take it to bed with you… or lie in the bath reading a computer, but you can with an eReader!)

ANITA: Hmmm. There are so many free eBooks around that could have contributed.

BISH: I thought I was your basic book person too…until I got my eReader. :)

DOMEY: Yes, some books lend themselves better to reading in paper edition than in e-edition. I find myself still reading reference books in paper, but that’s because I “converse” with those books, scribbling in the margins, highlighting and making notes. The keyboard on the Kindle is not that conducive to making notes although the highlight function is very easy to use. I’m hoping note making facilities will be easier in future models.

CUBAN: Ha! Ha! I promise you won’t hear menacing “Jaws” music rumbling in the background when you use an eReader!!

COLD: Well, you know what the sages say…lies, damned lies and statistics! Never enter a competition or raffle if my Dad or my sister enter. Their win rates beat all statistics. It’s unbelievable, they may not win the grand prize on offer (although they do sometimes) but either one or the other wins something whenever they enter. It’s quite lucrative, actually, being related to them! :) Audio books are something I’ve never taken too. Can’t get used to those voices.

LINDA: The small font (TR10 instead of TR12) is another one of the mistakes I made. Still trying to decide whether it’s worth fixing. I’m getting a bit worried – you’re the third person who seems to find my book hard to read. Who wants to flip back and forth when you’re reading? I know I don’t. Seems like I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me on my writing journey. Oh dear. :(

Misha Gerrick said...

At this stage, I'm still a dead tree book person. I've been known to read on my computer, but until (one day in the VERY distant future) I have an actual e-reader, I prefer the convenience of books.

Still, it's an interesting lesson that you've learned. I'm definitely keeping it in mind.


Jen ( said...

I prefer eBooks, but I also read print books. Most review copies I get are print books. :)

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

MISHA: Reading on a computer is a completely different (less like reading a paper book) than reading on an eReader. Pity you can't borrow one from a friend to just feel what it's like; you'll be amazed!

JEN: Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting. You may be sorry you mentioned you do book reviews...:) Interesting that most of the books sent to you are print; one would think the authors would save a few cents sending eBooks.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I was definitely holding out for your print book! So you're listing all these mistakes, but I do hope you list some things that worked, too! :)

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

MICHELLE: As I said in SP Mistake # 1 blogpost...I eat the broccoli first and get the worst over with, saving the best for last! Will also do a post on successes, but only next week (going away for a few days - gasp- away from my computer & 'net connection! How will I survive!!) But I am trying to concentrate on the positive side of the out for post #4 :)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Oh, sorry, I forgot about that part in your first post, Judy! Hehe. I'm following each one with great interest - mistakes or successes, either way!

Kiru Taye said...

Interesting post. It's given me food for thought. Thanks for sharing, Judy.

septembermom said...

My husband is promising to get me a Kindle one of these days. I wonder if I'll turn into an ebook devotee. I love turning the printed page though. This is an interesting post for reflection, Judy.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

KIRU: As long as that food isn't broccoli...:)

KELLY: You can download a free app to read Kindle on your PC. It's not quite the same as reading a Kindle but it's a good way to ease into reading eBooks. (Scroll in my sidebar - there's a post about where you can download the free apps)