I’m not sure how long I spent converting my old out of print books into ebooks, but it felt like a bloody long time.
It was exciting at the same time as being exhausting. I taught myself how to do it through a combination of online searches, asking for advice, manual reading and trial and error. Eventually I got there and the books were done, thanks in no small part to the generosity of the people who preordered copies and kicked some cash my way as part of my pozible campaign.
Since then, the response has been… shall we say not overwhelming?
Since September last year, when I finally released the ebooks of Man Bites Dog and Not Quite the Man available for sale over on bkclb I’ve sold about ten copies of both books combined. Before the sale earlier this month that total was three. During the sale I sold another four copies to three individuals, and then another three at full price to two people a few days after the sale finished.
The most perplexing thing was that while the sale was on, I was aided and abetted with many a share, like and retweet – many more than copies sold, in fact. So – what? People were happy to tell other people to buy the book, but didn’t want to buy it themselves?
I’m also a little bemused by the long string of enquiries about Not Quite the Man for the Job that have accrued over the years on the About and NQTMFTJ pages of this site, none of whose query-posers seem to have gone on to buy the ebook. Maybe they only want one they can dog-ear the pages of?
Now comes the part where I try to work out what I’m doing wrong. It’s a long list, starting with you should be selling them on iTunes or Amazon and going all the way to nobody wants these old books anyway via five bucks for an ebook you’re joking, how the hell do you publicise an ebook? and poetry and devices don’t mix. My plan is to look at the problems in that list that are potentially solvable and see what kinds of changes I can make and what effect they have.
I’ve been a little reluctant to list on Amazon and/or iTunes to date, partly because I prefer to go with the lovely indie folks at bkclb, but also partly because I haven’t had time to sit down and unpick their arcane terms and conditions, and also a little bit because when you read about their monopolising business practises you kind of think eeew.
Still, friends of mine and authors I respect have put their stuff up on Amazon and iTunes, and were I ever again to be published in print by an actual real publisher I’m sure they’d sell me wherever they could. And I’d bloody well let them, too.
I’m also thinking about another sale to see if its a price thing. Maybe I need to go cheaper.
So, yeah. No disrespect to people who’ve bought me ebooks but the whole thing’s been a bit disappointing so far. Still – onward and upward, yeah?
If there’s anyone out there reading this who’s had similar questions about how to sell ebooks, or suggestions on how to get out there more effectively, I’d love to hear from you.