You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘ebooks’ category.

I taught a workshop this past weekend at a writer’s conference and I got more than a few questions about publishing on multiple platforms, which wasn’t even the topic of the workshop. It shows me that there is still a lot of curiosity out there about whether an author needs to publish on multiple platforms.

In discussing this, most authors are referring to e-publishing. However, there is a case to be made with publishing physical books with multiple printers.

I’ll tackle this in two different posts.

E-books are published in different formats sort of the difference between a .jpg image and a .tiff image. What type of e-book you need as a reader depends on the type of e-reader you use.

Amazon-Kindle-3-567x588KDP Select

As an author, you might publish your e-book only on Amazon’s Kindle platform. In fact, Kindle encourages you to solely use Kindle by offering special marketing tools that you can only use as a member of KDP Select.

By clicking the box for KDP Select, you agree that your book will only be available on Kindle for three months. The membership continues to renew every three months unless you uncheck the box.

The incentive to enroll is that Amazon increases the foreign markets where your e-book will be available. You can also use countdown deals and free book days, which are only available if you are part of KDP Select.

The biggest advantage I have found is that your book becomes part of the Kindle Unlimited program. This allows readers who enroll in this program to read select e-books without purchasing them. You, as the author, get paid per page read of your book.

swlogoGoing Wide

If you choose not to be a member of Kindle Select and instead want your e-book to appear at other retailers, such as Kobo and iBooks, then you need to go wide. This involves publishing your book in different formats and making it available on those retail platforms.

You can go crazy trying to prepare manuscripts for each retailer. It might be worth it if you realize that your books do particularly well with a retailer. Depending on the retailer, it might also offer special tools for authors who work directly with them.

For most authors, using an aggregator site is the easiest way to go. I use Smashwords. Another popular site is Draft2Digital. These sites allow you to upload your manuscript and have it converted to various formats. The book is then made available on dozens of e-book retailers.

My Experience

When I published e-books, I went with Smashwords. It’s a great platform and easy-to-use. It also offers a .mobi format, which Kindle e-readers can read. I figured I didn’t need to use KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) for a Kindle version. However, after months of having my e-book available, I was disappointed with sales, particularly my Kindle sales.

So, I signed up for KDP and put my book up in its Kindle version. My sales immediately jumped. I realized that it had other advantages besides the ones I mentioned. For one, it was easier to connect the e-book to my paperback version. Also, having my book available as a .mobi book did not mean that it was available on Amazon, which is the largest book retailer in the world.

I now sell about five times more e-books on KDP than I do on all of the other platforms combined.

You might also enjoy these posts:



book-panel-2If you like reading e-books, I’m giving away a Kindle Paperwhite. I like the fact that this Paperwhite is waterproof. That makes it great to read at the ocean, near the pool, or in the tub (don’t judge me). It has a 300 ppi glare-free display so you can easily read it outside, but it also has a built-in light for nighttime reading.

You can enter the giveaway daily, and the more you share it, the more chances you will have to win. So enter every day, share it on Facebook, and retweet it.


You might also enjoy these posts:

20170624_092912When 2018 ends, I will have done 28 festivals, not to mention other book signings, talks, and events. I mention the festivals because, as expected, they are a great place to sell books. I enjoy talking to readers, and I’m thrilled when I meet someone who returns to see me year after year at the same festival to buy my latest books.

I have discovered another benefit to festivals. After the festival, I see an uptick in my digital sales. I check my online book sales and ebook sales regularly. I realized a long time ago that my online books sales jumped after festivals. Why? I don’t know, seeing as how I offer a better deal at festivals and I’m there to sign the book. Still, some people apparently look at my books at a festival and then go home to order the unsigned books online for more money.

It was just this year that I finally noticed a similar thing happening with my ebook sales. Some people just don’t read physical books anymore. I can understand that. I can usually recognize these people because they ask if my books are available on Kindle and then take my card when I tell them “yes.”

I have always been a fan of festivals as a place to sell books. This just adds one more reason to why authors should use festivals as part of their marketing plan.

You might also enjoy these posts:

CanawlersCurious how to pronounce the title of my historical novel Canawlers?

It’s CAN-all-ers. It’s what boatmen on the C&O Canal sounded like when they used to say “canaller”.

They also had a challenging and dangerous job during the Civil War. Canawlers brought coal and other goods 185 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown. All the while, they traveled along the Potomac River within site of the Virginia shore and the Confederate States of America. The C&O Canal ran along the border of two warring nations, the canawlers were caught in the crossfire.

Hugh Fitzgerald is a proud canawler. For nine months a year, he and his family live on their canal boat, working hard to get them through the lean winter months.

The year 1862 was a hard year to live on the canal, though. To this point, the Confederacy has stayed south of the canal, but now the Confederate Army intends to go on the offensive and take the war into the north.

Not only are the Fitzgeralds’ lives endangered by the increased activity of warring armies and raiders on the canal, but the Fitzgeralds’ secret activity as a stop along the Underground Railroad only endangers their lives all the more.

Then fate takes Hugh away from his family, leaving his wife, Alice, to hold the family together. With the help of her children; Thomas, George and Elizabeth; Tony, an orphan from Cumberland; and David Windover, a disillusioned Confederate soldier, they will face the dangers presented by the war, nature, and the railroad together.

Download your Kindle copy for FREE until Jan. 20.

From the reviewers:

  • “A powerful, thoughtful and fascinating historical novel, Canawlers documents author James Rada, Jr. as a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent.” – Midwest Book Review
  • “James Rada, of Cumberland, has written a historical novel for high-schoolers and adults, which relates the adventures, hardships and ultimate tragedy of a family of boaters on the C&O Canal. … The tale moves quickly and should hold the attention of readers looking for an imaginative adventure set on the canal at a critical time in history.” – Along the Towpath
  • “Mr. Rada presents an interesting slice of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal boatman’s life set against the backdrop of the turbulence and uncertainty of the American Civil War. The use of the canal as a route on the Underground Railroad is also woven into the plot which reveals how hard work, a strong family and difficult times could come together along the canal.” – Rita L. Knox, Park Ranger, C&O Canal NHP

You might also enjoy these posts:

UntitledIf you’re a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, The Man Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe solves the mystery of the great writer’s murder, and you can get it FREE on Kindle until Jan. 13.

You might be thinking that Poe wasn’t murdered. He died in a hospital. You’re wrong.

While he did die at the Washington Medical Center, before that, he was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore and wearing clothes that were not his own. He was admitted to the hospital where he died without explaining what had happened to himself. One clue to what happened to him was that he shouted the name “Reynolds” before he died.

The hospital and its records were later destroyed in a fire, so we’re left with theory and conjecture about how the Master of the Macabre died. One person knows how the Father of the Modern Mystery died, and that person is …

The Man Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe.

This is his story, although it reads like one of Poe’s horror tales.

Alexander Reynolds has been known by many names in his long life, the most famous of which is Lazarus, the man raised from the dead by Christ. Matthew Cromwell is another resurrected being living an extended life. Eternal life has its cost, though, whether or not Alexander and Matthew want to pay it.

Alexander has already seen Matthew kill Edgar’s mother and he is determined to keep the same fate from befalling Edgar.

From the time of Christ to the modern days of the Poe Toaster, The Man Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe is a sweeping novel of love, terror, and mystery that could have come from the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe himself.

Get Your Copy Here

From the reviewers:

  • “Impressively original, exceptionally well written, absolutely absorbing from beginning to end, ‘The Man Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe’ showcases author J. R. Rada’s outstanding skills as a novelist. ” – Reviewer’s Bookwatch
  • “…this fictional nail-biting account of the two men whose blood feud brought about Edgar’s death. … it’s a great ride through suspense, horror, and mystery – worthy of the writer for whom the novel takes license.” – Allegany Magazine

You might also like these posts:


Here is the short fiction that I’ve published electronically. Two are novellas and two are short collections. Two also have previews of novels with the same characters in them.

I waver back and forth as to whether I like e-books or physical books better. Both have their advantages, but one of e-books biggest advantages is that it has brought back the viability of short fiction.

I remember when I was writing a lot of short fiction back in the 1990s that a professional rate was considered 3 cents a word or more. That means you needed to get paid at least $75 on a 2,500 word short story. At the time, I was making at least 10 times that amount for a non-fiction article. Plus, the market for non-fiction is much larger.

While some novellas could be published as chapbooks, it could be costly, both for the publisher and the reader. I independently published a 65-page novella that I needed to retail at $5.99. That was really too much for a novella that size, but between the printing costs and the retailer cut, that’s what was needed to make it financially viable.

The one area that did work for short fiction was a collection or participating in an anthology. For me, anthologies were always iffy because I usually bought one because a favorite author of mine was part of it, but usually there were other stories in it that I really didn’t like. With short story collections, my impression is that they never seemed to be as big a seller as a novel by the same author.

Then along came e-books.

You can publish a novella and price it at a $1.99. You can publish a short-story collection, just a couple short stories, or even a single story and price them appropriately. Electronic publishing opened up a lot of new avenues for short fiction. These new avenues can pay royalties indefinitely, eventually making the author a lot more money than he or she would earn from publishing a single story in a magazine.

Short fiction e-publishing also makes a great marketing tool. First, these e-books are usually priced very affordably so that a reader would be willing to try out a new author. Second, these e-books can be offered as perma-free without the author feeling he or she is giving up a large royalty. Third, short e-books can be used to promote upcoming novels.

I have seen the latter happening more and more. The author has a new novel coming out in the fall. In the spring a short story is released for 99 cents. Besides the short story, there is usually a preview of the new novel attached at the back of the story. As an added benefit, publishing short fiction along with your novels helps keep your name out in front of readers.

As a reader as well as a writer, I’m happy to see the resurgence of short fiction. I’ve got quite a few on my e-reader that I read and enjoy.

new-amazon-kindleI was reading Joanna Penn’s Author 2.0 Blueprint the other day and she noted, “If you’re self-publishing, most of us make the vast chunk of our income from ebooks, because there are no restrictions on sales and readers don’t even have to know who published the book.” (BTW, you can get this book for free from her web site and it’s a great resource.)

This statement in the book struck me because it’s far from my own experience. I get about 45% of my income from my books and about 5% from my ebooks. I certainly wouldn’t mind it being the other way around if my current book level made up the 5%.

With a $7.99 ebook, I earn a $5.42 royalty for each sale. For $2.99 ebooks, I earn $2.04 and for $0.99 ebooks, I earn $0.35. That a pretty high percentage (35% to 68%).

By contrast, for a $19.95 paperback, I earn between $5 and $15 after subtracting the book production costs. That means I’m earning between 25% and 75% in net profit for each book.

So per book, I make more for each print book than I do for each ebook. Ebooks tend to be less expensive, though, but you need an e-reader to read them. I still run into plenty of people who tell me that they don’t have an e-reader or that they like the feel of a book in their hands. To be honest, I also meet people who look at my books and ask if they are available on Kindle, Nook, or Kobo.

I still need physical books to sell when I do festivals or presentations. People are there ready to buy and are looking for them.

My book sales have been growing nicely over the past couple years, but the e-books haven’t kept up. It certainly seems like it would be a more efficient use of my time if I was selling a couple thousand ebooks a month.

I think Penn’s statement just shows how much better my marketing needs to become. It’s all right, but it needs to be better. It can be better.

So what are your experiences? Do ebooks or physical books sell better for you? What are your best marketing techniques?

Get 3 FREE E-books!

Sign up for my newsletter using the link above and you will get copies of Canawlers, October Mourning, and The Rain Man for FREE.
Follow Whispers in the Wind on

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,032 other followers