You know how I said Kindle Unlimited was the subject of this week’s planned post? Well, it was. Until I got an e-mail yesterday that was even more interesting. First, the backstory:
Two years ago I did 70 Barnes & Noble events in ONE YEAR (and that’s not counting the other 80 events I did at other stores/venues), most of them in a 68-day period during my 60-Cities-in-60-Days Book Tour. Nearly every one was a test in patience, perseverance and pride—as in the swallowing of it. Our hope was that in addition to the orders B&N was placing of my novels to stock their warehouse that we could convince them to stock them nationwide in their stores by showing great sales in a short time frame across a broad geographic range. My Nielsen numbers kicked ass.
But B&N didn’t bite. We learned why: paid shelf placement. And we couldn’t afford what the big boys paid. Basically, I was of the great unwashed, an indie, a loser. B&N made deals only with the special people who had lots of money.
Now, 95% of my sales come from e-books. I make no secret of my royalties or the cost of making them, so I’ll share here as well. That tour, including the Bookmobile we bought and the in-depth PR we did that made the tour worthwhile in terms of brand impressions, was a 150k capital investment, in a year in which my royalties were 2k per month. Yep, it was expensive, and I’ll never do it again. We do smaller tours each year: less intense, and far less expensive. And we take our rolling billboard of book covers, the Bookmobile, to events frequently. My books are still available in print online, and POD returnable at bookstores and are 2% of my sales. I just don’t worry about investing time or money anymore to achieve more. And I won’t, at least until it gets easier (see last week’s post on Jamie McGuire and WalMart, HERE).
In the last 12 months, my royalties averaged 16k monthly against 2.5k monthly expenses. Sweet. And only 5% of them come from B&N’s Nook. Honestly, we think we’ve done well on Nook. Saving Grace has ranked as high as #7 overall there as a paid book. At any given time indies like me are 55% or more of the top 5000 genre bestsellers on Nook, per http://authorearnings.com. We think we’ve just seen Nook’s market share decrease, that’s all.
What I haven’t seen much of from B&N Nook is promotion of my novels, as opposed to Amazon Kindle where they regularly promote them. It’s worth noting that Kindle promotes more if you’re with a publisher or third party who enters a paid arrangement to promote your book, but if you are making Amazon money, they’re savvy and will push your book, unwashed or not.
Nook, not so much. At least with my books.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I got this out of the blue e-mail (you may have to zoom in to read it):
What?? B&N asking to promote an unwashed indie?? Don’t they know I’m not special??
(I said yes to them, of course).
Granted, this is not a direct promo to readers hovering over their Buy Now buttons, but it’s still pretty cool to be promoted indirectly through screen captures and video of their products.
An indie. Being used to promote B&N’s devices. Yes, the day has come.
The takeaway, for me? If you show up (go broad distribution) and keep pursuing the basics (5 Rs: reviews, ratings, rankings, recommendations, and readers) to drive sales, EVEN B&N/Nook will eventually give you a hand
Has Nook ever promoted any of your books? What form did it take? Was it effective? What do you think stimulated it?
Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long e-mails, award-winning and best-selling mysteries, and hilarious nonfiction and chairs the board of the Houston Writers Guild. She is a recovering attorney and investigator who resides deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and in the frozen north of Wyoming. Pamela has a passion for great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, traveling in the Bookmobile, and her Keurig. She blogs on writing, publishing and promotion at Skip the Jack and on her beleaguered family, and much-too-personal life at Road to Joy. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound (if she gets a good running start). Check out her USA Best Book Award winning novel, Going for Kona, her permafree mystery (and series lead), Saving Grace, her writing/publishing/promotion Bible, What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes, and How Can I Be One, Too?, and her newest mystery, Earth to Emily (Emily #2).