Is it worth producing print versions of your e-books?

5 books overlappingAt the beginning of this month, I shared the news that I’d finished producing print versions of my three smaller e-books and that they were now available. At that point I was quite tired; I’d been slogging away through the admin of getting new covers (from my cover designer), getting them formatted appropriately (by myself, including loads of fiddling around, turning links into footnotes and goodness knows what else) and uploading them onto CreateSpace. Phew.

I had done this because a few people had overtly said to me that they wanted to buy print editions, and I’d run some informal market research which suggested that enough people still read print books – in fact some commenters strongly suggested that I produce all of my business books in this format because they liked adding notes to their books which was easier with a pen, some sticky notes and a “real” book than with an e-book. So it got done, and I was really busy, and it was a bit of a chore, but it was all done.

Then we went away on holiday (hooray!) and I sort of forgot about it. So much so that I – gasp – forgot to look at my statistics! Goodness me! When I had a look at them, I was pleasantly surprised. We’re almost half way through the month and I have sold some print books (and these don’t include the ones I ordered for myself to check they’re OK). Interestingly, although I haven’t sold the number that I sell in e-book versions every month, the proportions are about the same across the different titles. That’s fine, and I suppose what I would have expected if I’d thought about that aspect.

Now that the effort is over and they are starting to pay for the only real monetary cost (the covers – yes, I know: my time, my time, but I did slot them in, in between paid jobs and didn’t turn down any paid work to have the time to do them). In future, I’ll bring out simultaneous print and e-book versions of any new books I produce (I have a version of my two business books aimed at editors coming out in the next couple of months).

I’d be interested to know about other indie publishers’ experiences – have you done one format then the other or did you start with both? Which is more successful, and do you know why? Would you recommend it?

You can find out more about my books on running a small business (and dealing with high cholesterol) here.

What helped me to start selling more books?

Liz Broomfield print booksA little while ago, I promised to share what has helped me to up my book sales. I’m hoping that sharing my experience will help other authors to get some ideas, and also that you might share ideas that have worked for you in the comments. A couple of people did comment on the original post and other explorations I undertook via LinkedIn, etc., and I’m sharing their input below.

I’m primarily talking to fellow authors in this one;  if you’re interested in reading my books but not in how I spread the word about them, please do feel free to bail out at this point and pop over to my books page!

I have seen some increases in my book sales recently. While it’s not an exact science, and allowing for random chance, of course, I can put at least some of this down to these factors:

1. Looking at what some book marketing gurus who are also authors have done and emulating them / following their suggestions. Chief of these is Joanna Penn at While Joanna is a non-fiction editing and podcast transcription client of mine over in my day job, I do also pay great personal as well as professional attention to the information she puts out there. I have been exploring the ideas and services of some of her podcast interviewees, and she’s got a new book out, “Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur“, which is full of useful hints and tips which I duly noted down as I edited! (note: I was not asked or sponsored to include this, none of the links there are affiliate links). If you’re an author looking to increase your sales or become more business-orientated, I highly recommend Joanna’s resources. Things I’ve done include running low-price adverts on author sites, signing up for lists where reporters look for people to interview, and … well, see number 3 for the last one …

2. Being flexible and seeking second, third and fourth opinions / listening to the crowd – I changed the titles of three of my books following feedback from what one might loosely term my ‘tribe’ on Facebook (I wrote about it on one of my other blogs) and relaunched the titles with a bit of a fanfare. I have noted that I’ve had quite a few requests for mentoring from other newly self-employed editors and other self-employed people, so I’m planning a workbook to help people to mentor themselves and a new book designed just for editors and proofreaders (watch this space for more on that in a couple of months). I was told that people would like to see print versions of my business books, so I created low-risk Print on Demand versions that only cost me time and research and are being snapped up by people who prefer to read in print. I’ve listened to what people want and like, and I’ve adapted and grown the books I offer to match that.

3. Taking my books more seriously. All of the above really falls into this. I’ve created this website, I’ve joined LinkedIn groups for authors, I’ve signed up for a challenge-a-day book marketing blog programme (more on that at the end of the month if it works out). If I don’t commit to my books, and keep them sidelined on a side-page on my other websites, why should I expect other people to commit to them? I’ve shared about them regularly on social media and curated collections of photos and reviews to demonstrate readers’ interest in my books.

A few people kindly submitted their proven ideas for marketing their books. Tim Hildred suggested a Twitter hack conducted by a friend: he followed 100 people on Twitter per day, many of whom looked at his profile when they received the notification of his follow.  They clicked on the link in his Twitter profile to his free book, and he sold more copies of his following book. This is an interesting idea, although it would take a bit of work and you would need to make sure you weren’t being spammy.  Madi Preda who has written a book on book marketing (thus making us go all round in circles!) suggested a launch party on Facebook and also getting ARC copies out there and promoting on Goodreads.

So, are any of these tips useful for you? What have you done that has improved your book sales?

My own books are here. If you are an author-entrepreneur, you might find something of interest in this one and this one. Happy reading!

Calling all indie authors …

What are the three top things you did that demonstrably increased your book sales (whether that’s from 1 a week to 1 a day or 10,000 a month to 10,000 a week)? I’ll be sharing mine on a post here soon; if you add a comment or send me a note via my contact form, I’ll share the most useful (with a link to your website) when I write about mine.

I’m looking forward to hearing what worked for you!

Edited to add: the article is here!