When I first started on my self-publishing journey back in 2008, the majority of my sales were in trade paperback. I sold very few of the Kindle books. Maybe it was the price ($5.99). I didn't pay much attention to my ebook sales since they were only a few dollars a month.
Later, Smashwords came to my attention and I decided to upload the AS THE WORLD DIES trilogy onto that site. The promise of having additional distribution points in the future was enticing. My sales went up a little, but not a lot.
When I took the self-published versions of AS THE WORLD DIES down in 2010, the ebook boom had begun and my sales had increased dramatically. I experimented with pricing on my other self-published novel, PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS by lowering it, and saw the sales climb. I was impressed, but by then I was deep into revising the zombie trilogy for Tor while still working my day job.
Flash forward in time and I'm now a full-time hybrid author. My income is from both my self-published and traditional books. While my advance from Tor supported me through the last year and a half, the trilogy has yet to payout that advance. That means I won't be seeing royalties for some time yet.
Note: An advance is a sum of money publishers give you as payment for your novel. Any royalties you make off the sales of your book go to repaying this advance. Once the advance has been paid back, you receive royalties on your books. It can sometimes take years to pay back that advance.
I want to continue to be a full-time writer and pay my bills, so I've been concentrating on being more pro-active in several aspects of my writing career.
For a long time I was dependent on Smashwords to deliver my ebooks to Kobo and Nook. Since I hadn't published anything new since 2009, I didn't realize the delay that was taking place between the upload to Smashwords and the book's arrival at Kobo and Nook. Last year when I self-published AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES VOL 1, I received a lot of complaints that the book wasn't available in Nook. I double-checked with Smashwords to make sure it was approved to be sent to Kobo and Nook, and it appeared everything was okay.
This year I experienced the same problem with the publication of AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES VOL 2 and THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. There was a significant delay between when the paperback and Kindle version was available and the other ebook formats. It really bothered me when fans sent me messages upset that they couldn't find the version they needed.
I was speaking with another author, Jessica Meigs, when she brought up PubIt, the Barnes & Noble equivalent of the Kindle Direct Publishing website. I had avoided using it because it seemed much easier to upload the books to Smashwords and let them distribute the books. But the delays were worrying me.
Also, I realized I would prefer to receive a check every month (after an initial 60 day delay), then wait a month after a quarter ended to receive my royalties from Smashwords. Since my income is my publishing royalties, I would rather have my money quicker than slower. I do admit that the hard part of being a full-time writer is not receiving a monthly paycheck.
Therefore, I recently opted out of distributing my books for Nook and Kobo through Smashwords, so I can upload them directly to both the Nook and Kobo stores. It took a little extra time to upload all the books myself, but within 24 hours they were live.
In the future, when I self-publish, I will continue this practice so that my readership will have immediate access to the newly published works in both Kindle and Nook formats.
The last year and a half has been an amazing learning experience as I venture into the world of being a full-time writer and I'm still finding my way.
To purchase ebooks from Kobo, click here.
To purchase ebooks from Nook, click here.