Hello Fellow Scribes!
No, I haven't run off into the void. Although it sometimes feels that way.
Between June and now, I've been diligently working on writing two books. The first being Book 3 of the Carving Legacies series, and the other being the Sebastian x Niamh standalone romance novel that will dual-release with Book 3. While I didn't get most of the other projects I wanted to accomplish done this year, I did write three books which will be put in different stages of editing going into 2023 so that there is a tighter release schedule for the series as a whole.
Which brings me to this next important topic...
After much deliberation, I have decided that the physical copies of future published works will be sold directly through me.
There are several reasons for this, but namely because physical books sold by 3rd party distributors are the most financially detrimental to me as a self-pub indie author. Right now, I just don't sell enough physical copies to make the ROI worthwhile. I receive roughly $1 profit per sale after print costs, mandatory distributor discounts, and distribution fees are taken out, but I'm charged for the full cost of the book if it is ever returned. Which means it only takes ONE return for any meager profit margin on physical copies to be completely wiped out for the year.
This just makes no business sense in the grand scheme of things. I take on ALL of the risk for both the printing press and the distributors. At the end of the day, they always get paid, and I foot their bills. Even if the reason for the return is their fault.
So, going forward I will purchase the physical copies from the printer myself which allows me to filter out the misprints, provide a personalized experience for the customer, and keep the full remaining profit margin post-print costs.
Does that mean physical copies of Key of Arcandus will disappear from 3rd party distributors?
No. I will keep all formats of KoA on wide distribution, for now, so that new readers who might not know of my series can shop the first book in a physical format with ease from any major distributor. Could I change my mind about this later? Yes. This is not a permanent decision, but it is the decision I am making at this time, yet subject to change.
What about eBooks?
All eBook formats for my series will be available for purchase through 3rd party distributors. This allows my series to stay out into the global ethos so that new readers can easily purchase my books in some capacity that isn't directly through me. The ROI on digital sales is better in this format through 3rd party distributors, and they already have the digital encryption infrastructure in place. It makes financial business sense for me to keep Carving Legacies available via eBook through 3rd party distributors as it currently stands.
Won't this limit the reach of your sales?
Yes and no.
It will limit global sales because S&H outside of the United States is very expensive, and I don't see many readers outside of the USA agreeing to pay $20+ in shipping for a book that costs the same amount. Also, if there are readers who only prefer physical copies of books and don't follow me on any of my social media accounts, they might choose not to investigate further to find out where they can purchase the other installments in physical formats. They might also not want to pay any shipping at all to acquire a physical copy. This also removes me from having my series carried in bookshops and libraries for obvious reasons. I'm also not certain how Barnes & Noble would handle author signing events in this circumstance even if I were to go the consignment route with them at said events. HOWEVER...
After two years of sales analytics, it would appear that many of my casual sales are via eBook, while my physical sales are from me selling myself directly to others via social media, events, etc. Currently, there are only two bookstores that carried my book, and no libraries. Basically, the accessibility is not paying for itself because my series has just not generated enough interest...yet.
I am confident that if I play my market campaign cards correctly, I can convert 3rd party sales to direct sales on the physical formats to help mitigate certain pain points in my financial risks going forward. If and when I get to a point where my physical sales are exceeding my ability to keep up with handling the distribution myself, I will reconsider putting the physical books back on the wide market again. But for now, the wide market is too expensive and not viable for the amount of books I have sold thus far. However, I will continue to piggyback off of KoA's accessibility in hopes of selling the rest of the series myself. We'll have to see how the numbers adjust once enough new data comes in to evaluate.
When will this new sales process begin in 2023?
This new sales method will begin for Book 2's release, which means sometime during the last quarter of the year. Please note that you will also be able to purchase Key of Arcandus directly through me (hopefully earlier in the year), and you will be able to get it signed, and even potentially receive bundle discounts once I get those up and running. The goal is to provide the customer a better purchasing experience by buying directly through me, which in turn helps to support me and my work along the way. I want it to be a win-win for everyone.
And that's the plan!
I hope you all have a lovely holiday season as we head into All Hallow's Eve. Be well, and be safe!
I'm an author and avid gamer from the southwest who grew up on all things geek before they became chic.