Helping Indie Authors Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

I’ve been spending my social distance-time staying at home as much as possible, reading books, writing books, catching up on some scriptures, enjoying time with my family and binging my favorite TV shows. Earlier last week I got an email from someone whose email I don’t remember subscribing to, but, it mentioned the point that Self-Publishers are small businesses too.

And I concur.

Small businesses are taking a big hit amid the COVID-19 crisis and I thought I’d share a way we can help Self-Publishers in this time of uncertainty.

Buy the author’s book directly from them if you can.

If the author has a website, purchase a paperback or digital version of the book from the author’s website. If you are an author and you don’t have a website or you’re not selling through your website, Joanna Penn’s article here goes into detail on how to set up a store.

Something to keep in mind:

Amazon pays authors royalties for print and ebook sales. A royalty is a percentage of a sale. An ebook going for $2.99 at 70% according to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing will make the author $2.09. This means the author will have to sell at least 10 ebooks to make $20 and still have to wait a month to see that.

“If you publish through traditional publishing, royalties can take many months to arrive. You can’t control the schedule of payment and you don’t get any details of the customers.

If you publish independently through online publishers like Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Google, and other distributors, you will get your money sooner — but it will still be 30-60 days later and once again, you don’t get any details of the customers.”

Authors who sell direct can buy author copies of their books in bulk at a discount, sell those books from their website and fulfill the order themselves. The author also gets to see who their customers are which helps them to build a stronger relationship with them.

I wouldn’t be keeping it authentic if I didn’t also mention authors will have to account for shipping, state tax, and whatever website fees are associated with their platform of choice. The benefit, however, to selling direct is that the author doesn’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.

If the author got ten print book sales at $20 through their author website, they’ve already made $200 and $200 in the age of COVID-19 can be very helpful to families. Consider that most Indie Authors with day and night jobs are either working from home or not working at all. People are being fired, furloughed, and layed off left and right. Besides this, if we are being honest, some Indie Authors don’t even see $200 in royalty checks from Amazon from their Self-Published books.

Of course, there are pros and cons to everything. The major pros have already been stated, you are helping a small business to keep going at a time when money is scarce for everyone. The cons for authors include:

  • Not having the sale go toward your Amazon sales or ranking.

 

  • You must have the right to sell through your website first. You can’t, for example, sell your digital book anywhere outside of Amazon while enrolled in the KDP Select program and if you are signed with a publisher (includes Indie Publishers) you might be restricted from selling your print book through your own website depending on the details of your contract. You will have to check this and see.

“Many authors are so obsessed with chart rankings on Amazon that they forget the point is to reach readers who love our books — and for many of us, make a living with our writing. Selling direct enables readers to support us and money to arrive in our bank accounts quickly — but you will not see a spike in your Amazon rankings. So what do you really want?” – Joanna Penn

Here are ways to help Indies Amid the COVID_19 Pandemic:

  • Buy Directly From the Author (from their Website) If You Can.
  • Those ebook sales do add up. If you can’t afford the print book, buy the digital book.
  • Be sure to leave a review on Amazon so the author can attract more readers and get more sales.

Read Joanna Penn’s entire article “How To Sell Your Books Directly To Readers And Get Paid Immediately” here.


Book 2 is on the way! Get started on Book One.

Order a Signed Paperback* Here

Get it in ebook here.

*Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, stay-at-home, and shelter in place policies I am shipping books in shifts so I don’t have to keep going out. If you want to be included in this week’s shipment, be sure to place your print book order today so you don’t miss it! Paperbacks are signed and includes my author seal.


Want more Indie Author Tips? I’ve written over 50 articles sharing my tips, process, and publishing journey as an Indie Author. You can find them on this page. Enjoy!

Being of Service

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I’m no expert, but I do know that writing is a unique career. It’s the same as other businesses, and yet it is not the same. It requires the same level of dedication, professionalism, and hard work. However, it is also a lot different than lets say, selling your neighbor a bar of soap.

Reading takes a lot of time. It is on a level that is a lot more personal. Readers actually get very sensitive when it comes to buying a book that sucked than buying a bar of soap that also sucks. People are also easily bored these days, so as authors we have to constantly keep our ears to the ground, discovering what’s trending and what’s throwback. It is for this reason that readers tend to find an author they love and stick to him or her. If you’re that author, great, but the story does not always end this way. As I thought about this, I started to really think, not about selling books, but being of service. As I babysat these thoughts, I ran across some great advice from one of my subscription blogs:

“Don’t SELL to your readers, SERVE them. With the changing dynamic between readers and writers, authors need to listen, gather knowledge about readers, foster communications, collaborate, and build long-term relationships.”

We have to be realistic. Authors are constantly told not to sell. But full time authors, those who don’t hold secondary positions elsewhere or receive money from additional sources, have bills to pay, food to put on the table, and needs that require monetary investment. So we can’t just tell writers that they should not sell their books no more than we can tell bloggers not to get excited over new readers. Despite how we gloss it up, the reality is that an author’s end goal is to sell you this book. But here is where being of service comes in:

For me personally, anything that I bring into my space should teach me something. This just means it should advance me in some way. Will it make me laugh? Cry? Think? Discover? Will it inform me? Teach me? Show me? What does this book, more than any other book, do for me? This is the same way that I look at Blogging. I am more than likely to bond with blogs that have something to offer.

Now, back to soap:

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When you’re selling soap, I want to know that it’s because the benefits of this particular soap outweigh Irish Springs; not just because you’re trying to make a quick buck. If you can convince me that your product is of some significance to my life and you can back this up, then I will be more than happy to become a dedicated supporter. I have enough sense to know that you have bills to pay, but I also see that your purpose is bigger than dead presidents on paper.  Why does this matter to authors?

Because people want to matter.

I believe this is true in everything that we do, and not just writing. But specifically, the first clue to readers that they matter, is the amount of hard work we put into the end product. Our professionalism, or lack thereof, speaks volumes far before these books hit the shelves. So I just want to encourage my writers out there to do the best you can, because it doesn’t get any better than your best. And I believe this is the difference between selling a product and being of service to the people. Readers (and bloggers) want to know that they are getting something out of the process. So I wouldn’t say don’t sell to your readers, instead I would just say to be of service to them.