Your advice on e-publishing please

This is not the cover image for The Obituarist. It's a bit too fantasy.

Any day/week/soon now I will publish one of my stories for e-readers and to download.

It’s called The Obituarist. It has been described as mordant, funny, dark, teasing and ironic.*

It involves a newspaper obituary writer and the aging members of an elite military unit who became famous for a particular heroic wartime exploit.

Without giving too much away, you can expect to find occasional handlebar moustaches, hyphenated surnames, stiff drinks, greed, treachery and death. Well, the latter is hardly a surprise given the title. But I hope the twists will be.

Before I press publish I need some help.

I need to set the price. If any of you have bought or would consider buying books online – what sort of price is reasonable. I’m thinking along the lines of £1.99 and $1.99 for UK and USA. Not really sure for other territories. I guess E1.99 for the eurozone. What do you think? Too much? Too little? (We’re talking about 11,000 words or so – so it’s not a full length novel.)

If any of you have experience with a publishing package you’d recommend (or recommend that I avoid) – all suggestions welcome.

More on this as it develops. I’m still working on the cover – some ideas – but doubting my own artistic talents. I may need to hire an artist.

And I may also release it as an audio book. So lots to sort out.

I still have the much longer Blackwatertown lurking in the wings, but this is a bit of fun and exploration.

All help and suggestions gratefully received.

* By an actual other person – i.e I didn’t just make that up myself. Here’s another comment I like. “I was hooked from the first page.” A different real person wrote that. Yay!



Filed under My Writing, Obituarist

18 responses to “Your advice on e-publishing please

  1. I have not “considered” buying an e-book. It’s not my style. I can’t see the point. Though would/will make an exception in your case.

    You want advice? Never sell yourself cheap. It doesn’t pay.

    If you are after quantity by all means go loss leader. If you want to convey quality, your own and that of your reader, put the metal on the pedal.


  2. You should ask regular Kindle users—many do download the free materials as paying for books for example from India is not easy!! Your pricing seems to be okay. I hear on Amazon they don’t charge you handling fee if it is below $5…check that out. If it is a ‘short story’–one piece then it may not be value for money. In India we are getting books for Rs 250==$5!! New Jeffrey Archer–second book of the trilogy is priced in paperback at Rs 350 =$7 and on Flipkart (online book store) is available for $5!! So maybe you may have to add on a few more stories.

  3. Absolutely price it $2.99 or above. Amazon has a royalty jump to 70% at $2.99, and Amazon will price match to any other site. If you price it less than that you only qualify for a 35% share.

    Plus, ebook readers are drifting toward the mindset that a cheap book means crappy writing. Ursula’s right. Selling yourself cheap definitely doesn’t pay. I would price an 11K story at $2.99, but definitely not lower these days.

    Hugs and happy sales!

    • blackwatertown

      Interesting. $2.99 was more than I was thinking, but it would still be less than £1.99 so that could work – especially given the jump in share.
      I take your point about being too cheap or free (though I know there is some good stuff for free too).
      Impressive collection of websites you have by the way.

  4. People are selling full ebook novels for $2-$3. I don’t think it’s the money that’s important but you begin to build “I am published” portfolio. Was going to put up 100 cartoon book on kindle/amazon. It is free with 70% royalty but got complicated as images needs several stages of reformatting before upload to their specs and text does not need this. The gray tones make for a less appealing and dull cartoon image. You also go on their world wide sales list and that is the greatest free marketing you can get. So consider that. Cover – I would scan the net. There must be thousands of possibilities for cover images under many search titles.I can get away with making my own cover and back pages as they are simply cartoon drawing, some big letters and some text. Have you considered the contest route? There are several genres. There are paid winners with publication in anthology and the rest of us pays $60 per copy for Christmas gifts to friends. I have done that with poems. Real no money in that or advantage but once again establishes “I’ve been published” portfolio. Before ebook I would explore hawking shorter items like this to literary mags and university press mags for their anthologies. You’ll get paid $50 – $500 and are in print which is also portfolio for possible future publisher interest other works. Don’t ever take a less than stellar appearance for cover. Most of us really do chose and opine based on the cover. Even that of people.

    • blackwatertown

      Yes, will want to be on Amazon/Kindle.
      Sorry to hear about your grey tones problems.
      As for the cover – have been looking for something striking. I may post a couple of options and see what people think.
      I also read a suggestion that it can be a good idea to have the cover put on postcards to spread the word.

  5. Don’t know much about e-books, but Carl has some sound information there. Did you know that WordPress has a “Book Blog?” Maybe they can help. Blessings – Maxi

  6. 29

    I prefer simple maths ie 2 in the various denominations however I know that there is a ‘magic’ barrier. Good luck.

  7. “…stiff drinks, greed, treachery and death.”

    I’d definitely spend $1.99!

  8. rummuser

    WWW, frankly, I don’t have a clue. Haven’t bought anything like this before though I do buy kindle books off Amazon. No matter what price you charge, I will buy it.

  9. klsprout

    I own a Kindle and have downloaded some short stories – the ‘Kindle Singles’. I’ll buy yours if/when it comes out! I think $1.99 is a good price point – most of the Singles on Amazon’s page are at that price. Good luck!

  10. No help whatsoever to you I’m sorry to say 😦 I’ve been eyeing up e-books on amazon of late but that’s about as far as it’s got so far. But! I can wish you every success…and I can also say that graphic is awesome and caused me to come legging it over here immediately…in between the dropping every few min’s connection anyway…GrrrRRRRR!!!!

  11. The people who seem to be doing very well out of this here Kindle lark are those who a) stick to very clearly defined genres (chick-lit, thriller, etc) and b) price as low as possible. There are full-length novels going for 77p.

    Are you really going for sales, or is it more a case of testing the waters as a fiction writer?

    (I’ll buy it whatever, because it’s you and also because it sounds fun, and because it’s got handlebar moustaches in.)

  12. I couldn’t tell you but I’d definitely buy it! Good luck with it, Emx

  13. Had to come back and tell ya, Paul. That typewriter looks like it would eat you for breakfast. Blessings – Maxi

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