A Question About Self-Publishing

Question: If you publish your book only in electronic form, is it good or bad?

Answer: If you indie-publish your work as an eBook, whether it’s “good” or “bad” will largely depend on the writing.

If you market it properly, you’ll make some money.

The only issue you’re going to have with an ePub-only work is fiscal; you’re leaving money on the table.

With eBooks, you’re in pretty stiff competition. Many eBooks are priced at bargain-basement prices between $.99 and $2.99. Some brave authors will even go so high as $4.99.



As someone who helps get authors published every day, I will generally recommend against an eBook-only publication – unless you’re publishing a pamphlet.

You should always Always ALWAYS publish both eBook and dead-tree book. Not because you’re going to make a killing selling physical books, but because it allows you to sell your eBook (where you’ll make the lion’s share of your profits) for a much higher price.

If you only sell an eBook, you’re stuck seeing how close to the bottom of the barrel you can dive in pursuit of sales. On Amazon, for example, you’ll get to avertise one price. That’s it.

If you have a physical book – your Loss Leader – you can demand a MUCH higher price. Look at this Steve Berry book:

The eBook price for this particular eBook on Amazon is a ridiculously high $14.99 – but it’s a SAVINGS of $14! You save 48% by buying this eBook!

It’s all about perceived value when it comes to marketing and selling. Steve Berry – while a damned fine writer and all – is selling an eBook for $10 or more than other authors can sell eBooks for.

Why? Because you – the reader – are SAVING $14 by buying it.

While I don’t know specific numbers for Steve Berry eBook vs. dead tree book sales, with the authors I’ve worked with (a few hundred books for sale now) their eBook sales outpace their physical book sales on an order of 20:1 or more. Some of them haven’t sold a single physical book, but their month-over-month eBook sales remain constant.

If you sell an eBook for $.99, you’ll pull down a whopping $.35 per sale in royalties. And you’re fighting other authors who works may or may not be as good as yours.

If, on the other hand, you follow the Dead Tree As Loss Leader plan and sell your work for – say – $9.99, you’ll make $6.99 per sale in royalties.

Is it worth the extra hour or so of formatting to whip up a dead tree book that will increase the perceived value of your work? I can think of $6.64 worth of reasons to do it.

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