Marketing Plan Creation (Part 3): Select Promotion Channels

Marketing Plan Part 3:

Select Promotion Channels

This week we will continue with Part Three of how to create your book marketing plan. We will be focusing on the process of selecting the channels by which you will promote your novel. In this segment we will not only talk about whom you choose to sell through, but also websites where you can promote your novels. First, let’s review some of the distribution channels that you have.

E-book Distribution Channels

As the expansion of the e-book continues and threatens to eliminate the printed novel, there will be more and more channels to keep track of. I’ve chosen to have my novels available on three for varying reasons. I’ve seen some authors that have their novel on around ten different websites. This seems a bit exhaustive to me, yes you can reach different types of readers, but as long as one of the websites that your book is on is working from an epub file, you should be good to go. The one channel that I would like to be on but that I can’t afford is the iBook store. This store, for those with iPhones, requires that each novel has it’s own e-book ISBN. The irony of this is, there is no such thing as an e-book ISBN, nor is there a real requirement for your e-book to have a different ISBN for it’s electronic format and it’s paperback formant. Unfortunately, ISBN’s cost around $165.00 each, and compared to the profits available, this just doesn’t make any sense for me. Those that have the IPhone can download any number of applications that would allow them to either buy the Kindle version, or one of the many Epub versions of my novels available. Onto some of the specifics of each channel available that I utilize:

Amazon Kindle

  • Royalties: 70% for all books priced $2.99 and above; 35% for all books priced $2.98 and below. You cannot sell your book for less than $.99, though.
  • Hidden Fees: Yes, there are hidden fees. They are disclosed on the KDP pricing page, but why they are there is beyond me. There is a delivery fee that is built into the 70% royalty pricing that is based on megabytes used to transfer the file to the purchaser. The thing that strikes me odd about this is the fact that no matter if you are choosing the 35% or the 70% royalty option, it still takes the same amount of megabytes to transfer the file. It’s a sales technique where we make something seem better than it is, then we build something in that depletes your profit.
  • File Type: .Mobi
  • Available on: All Kindle devices and devices with the Kindle Application. The reason you need the Kindle application is because of the .Mobi file–you can’t read this on anything but a Kindle.
  • Price Match: They state that they do price match, but not to Smashwords. As far as I can tell, from my own experience, they don’t price match to anyone EXCEPT Barnes and Noble. One of my novels was free for a full month on Kobo and Google Play–Amazon never price matched it. If you want them to price match, you do need to be in the 35% royalty option, but if they don’t do it at all–it doesn’t really matter.
  • Countries Available:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Andorra
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Canada
    • France
    • Great Britain
    • Guernsey
    • Germany
    • Italy
    • Isle of Man
    • Jersey
    • Lichtenstein
    • Luxembourg
    • Monaco
    • San Marino
    • Switzerland
    • Spain
    • United States
    • Vatican City

Barnes and Noble: Pubit!/Nook Press

  • Royalties: 65% for books priced $2.99-$9.99; 40% for books priced $2.98-$.99, and also for books $10.00-$199.99 (who would ever pay nearly two hundred bucks for an e-book, though?). As with Amazon you cannot price your book lower than $.99.
  • Hidden Fees:None
  • File Type:Epub
  • Available on: Nook and all other epub accepting tablets and e-readers (AKA everything but Kindle).
  • Price Match: From what I’ve read they have the right to price match, but for the most part I haven’t seen that they do.
  • Countries Available: United States and the UK, but in their pricing statements it says that they can sell your e-book in any country in which they or their affiliates reside. I’m sure that they will be expanding what countries that they reach.

Google Play

  • Royalties: (I couldn’t figure this out on the Google Play website because it’s so poorly maintained. I had to Google it…wow) 54%
  • Hidden Fees: Ha, if there were some, you wouldn’t be able to find them. I couldn’t even find the royalties on their website…
  • File Type: .Epub
  • Available On: All devices with the ability to download the Google Play application.
  • Price Match: Oh, yes…and they have the right to lower your price to a “competitive” price that is lower than others in the market place. This is great coupled with Amazon’s price matching policy because technically through their policies they could go at war with each other until your book was listed for FREE on both.
  • Countries Available: Japan, US, South Korea, Brazil, India, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, and Germany.

Kobo

  • Royalties: 70% for all books $2.99-$12.99; 45% for all books priced under $2.98-$.01. Yes! You can price under $.99–you can even price your book for FREE without falling into the monopoly trap that Amazon offers with KDP.
  • Hidden Fees:None
  • File Type: .Epub
  • Available: On all devices that take an .Epub file without the requirement for an application. This flows with their “ready freely” policy.
  • Price Match: Yes, price matching will occur on the price in the same country that the lower price is found at.
  • Countries Available: 200+ countries, including, but not limited to:
     
     
    Canada
     
    United States
     
    United Kingdom
     
    Australia
     
    New Zealand
     
    Austria
     
    Belgium
     
    Bulgaria
     
    Cyprus
     
    Czech Republic
     
    Denmark
     
    Estonia
     
    Finland
     
    France
     
    Germany
     
    Greece
     
    Hungary
     
    Italy
     
    Latvia
     
    Lithuania
     
    Luxembourg
     
    Malta
     
    Netherlands
     
    Poland
     
    Portugal
  •  
    Romania
     
    Slovakia
     
    Slovenia
     
    Spain
     
    Sweden
     
    Singapore
     
    Hong Kong

iBookStore

Based on my research you get 70% royalties

Smashwords

Upwards of 35% royalties, depending on the channels you choose.

Paperback Distribution Channels

It’s true that many still love the feeling of good ole’ print, but it’s not always needed. It really is a personal preference whether or not you choose to be available in print–many indie authors are no longer given this choice with their small publishers. This is because many small publishers are choosing to forgo print all together. Lucky me, I don’t have to forgo anything because I am self-published. That being said you can’t really lose if you choose to have a paperback available–depending on the channel by which you choose to make it available and the choices that you choose. There are two major choices out in the industry now, and I will give you my research on the two.

CreateSpace (an Amazon Subsidiary)

The great thing about CreateSpace is the fact that it’s completely free to use. There is a learning curve, and there is much time that has to be devoted to the formatting of the novel so that it will print correctly. If you want a paperback available you will have to be willing to spend at least 6 hours the first time you try to format your book in between covers and interior, along with reviewing proofs, etc.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. I myself have my word files set up to be formatted for paperback, then I reformat them for e-book. The reason I do this is simple: e-book formatting is far easier than paperback formatting.

  • Costs: The costs associated with CreateSpace and minimal and are based on preferences. Your book is available to be listed on Amazon for free. When a customer orders the paperback from Amazon you don’t have to pay for anything–you just take your cut of the profits. Thus, this really is a win-win situation. The cost for the actual book if you should choose to purchase paperbacks for your own resale are reasonable to me.  There is a wholesale option, but you have to order a massive amount of books for that discount to occur. Your cost to purchase books to sell yourself depends on the options that you choose–page color, book size, amount of pages of your novel, etc. All of my books cost me less than $5.00 a piece. The shipping is fairly reasonable as well– $3.00 for the first book and $.50 extra for each book thereafter. Paperbacks are a great marketing tool for giveaways and getting your name out there at local schools and libraries. Plus, they are just so nifty!
  • Royalties: The calculation method for royalties isn’t as easy to understand for paperbacks as it is for e-books, the reason being is that there are actual tangible costs involved. It’s written as this: your price-CreateSpace share=your royalty. CreateSpace share is: sales channel percentage + fixed charged + per page charge. So in other words, it’s easier to just use their royalty calculator here.
  • Other Fee’ed options: Expanded Distribution (Ingram prints) where you pay $25 per book (and any time you update the book) and you get “expanded” distribution where your book can be available on other websites (but not their physical stores) i.e. Barnes and Noble, and is available to schools and libraries. That is how they pitch it. My way of looking at it is this: If a school/library wants my book they can buy it directly from me because I have it formatted with an LCCN. I have my paperback available on my website via paypal. With the expanded distribution, because there is another person taking a cut too, the royalties are very minimal–think cents. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever make the $25 back, unless you get as big as say Jessica Sorenson. At that point the $25 will be nothing. They also provide “marketing” services along with promotional printing services at obscene prices.
  • Price Match: Not applicable because they are the ones printing your book.
  • Countries Available: United States and Europe (UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and France)–this is nice. I’ve actually had a person on Europe buy my book. I thought it was my best friend–but it wasn’t. So cool!!!

Lightning Source

I don’t use Lightning Source, so I have fairly little information on it. I will fill you in on my research, but I find that first-hand experience is the best tell of how beneficial something is to an individual. Lightning Source is the primary source of print books for smaller independent presses. It works the same as CreateSpace in the way that it’s a Print On  Demand (POD) service. What’s nice is the fact that they also have hardcovers available, which CreateSpace does not. It also appears that they use Ingram as well for their distribution options.

  • Cost: $12.00/year/book, but unlike Amazon this fee is based on the fact that they merely distribute to others. They don’t have a store that they operate–they send your files to those associated with Ingram–including Amazon. As with Amazon you pay nothing for the books to be printed for those that order them, only if you order them yourself. It appears that the costs to order them for yourself are much the same as Amazon, but you get far more print options (Covers, Binding, Hardback, Paperback and Color options). If you are thinking about Amazon’s expanded distribution–you might want skip CreateSpace and do Lightning Source. It really looks like you will get more bang for your buck–this is only if they pay for your ISBN. If you have to pay for this as well then you might as well stick with CreateSpace because the cost of the ISBN versus the cost of Expanded Distribution is quite different and leans towards Expanded Distribution.
  • Royalties: Lightning Source collects the wholesale book price, deducts the cost of the book and gives the remainder to the publisher (you). There are no royalties involved because they are a printing company.
  • Price Match: Not Applicable, they sell your book for your list price to those retailers that buy it.
  • Countries Available: They work with 30,000 retailers in 100+ countries.

Just One Cup will be available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and paperback. Note that I’ve decided due to the lack of sales and general idiocy of it’s set up to not do Google Play. The set up was such a hassle that it’s not worth usage on any further titles. I will also be doing a paperback version of my novel via CreateSpace until I have more information on Lightning Source. From my current level of research I can see Lightning Source as being an excellent option, with the exception of one thing. It’s not clear whether or not they assign a free ISBN or if you have to pay to purchase one. CreateSpace gives you a free ISBN, to the tune of $125.00, thus if you have to purchase an ISBN for Lightning Source and are just looking for paperbacks, you might want to stick with CreateSpace. I must say that Lightning Sources options of matte or gloss finish covers, along with the option for hardbacks is a tempting one, and I hope in the future that CreateSpace expands its options to at least include matte or gloss finishes.

I recently did a write up that may be of interest to you if you’re looking at the four different e-book distribution channels that I have discussed. In the write-up I did an in-depth pro and cons of my experience with each of the four channels. You can check out the article Extending Your Reach here.

Where to Promote Your Novel

  • Goodreads: This is a great place to meet readers, network and to meet the precious bloggers. This is a website that you should take advantage of by making your presence known–not only by talking about your book, but by interacting with other readers and authors. I warn against using this site soley as a place to put SPAM about yourself. You should truly interact with readers and not only about your book. You should show that you want to have an active role in the reading community, not only as an author and businessperson, but as a person who loves the written word.

  • LibraryThing: I’m going to be honest with you, I no longer use this website. I have my own personal reasons for doing so, but it is a website that was recommended to me from reading around the internet. I don’t find it as user friendly as Goodreads, and I’ve had some bad experiences on there with other users. You might want to look into it, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it as a place to promote your book or yourself. You might find yourself as shark bait, no matter how active you are.

  • Facebook: This used to be the bane of my existence, but I must admit that it’s been an essential and good marketing tool for getting word out there. I don’t suggest it for personal use, but as an author it’s a great place to put yourself and allow your readers to do the work for you. It’s a great word-of-mouth marketing tool that is easy for your readers to use to spread the word. I believe that is why it is so effective.

  • Blog: Create a blog, be honest on it, share things about yourself, writing and your readers–make it interesting, give people a reason to come back to your blog again and again. This means you should do more than just talk about how wonderful you are. You should interact with your readers, give your insights, share some (thin line here) personal information and give other authors a chance to shine on your blog.

  • Website: I use my website as pure promotion of my novels. There is nothing on there about anything else–that’s what my blog is for.

  • Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn and other social media:Experiment–see what works best for you and then rock it. Let us know how it works while you’re at it…Some one other than me might be just as inapt at social media, and I know I’d appreciate your thoughts on these other outlets. 😉

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6 thoughts on “Marketing Plan Creation (Part 3): Select Promotion Channels

  1. Cassandra, this is a great series you’re doing, and you’re not just repeating information from other sites. I didn’t know much about Google Play. Do you think they have enough distribution at this stage to make it worth it, or is it better to wait?

    • I don’t think that Google Play is worth the effort. First, it was a pain to get on and is absolutely archaic. It’s also a complete mess trying to get someone to help you. Then there is the fact that after all that effort I’ve sold no books on it at all…as far as I know…It takes like 3 minutes with high speed internet to get into their website, and their reports, like everything else Google Play, suck as well.

  2. Hi. Thank you for sharing. Some great information. I’m wondering if going through Smashwords for companies like iTunes wouldn’t that save you the ISBN issue? I upload from Smashwords to iTunes and don’t have to have a separate ISBN. In Canada I hate to tell you that ISBN’s are free but we are also restricted from uploading to ebook sellers like Barnes and Noble so have to go through an aggregate.

  3. Pingback: Marketing Plan Creation (Part 4): Implement the Plan | C Giovanni Writes

  4. Pingback: Sales Saturday: Go Team! |

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