It’s time for the next independent publishing Q & A session, where all of your questions get answered.
The following questions were submitted by writers and authors in the Book Cover Cafe community, just like you.
Here we go.
Q. Is the Expanded Distribution Channel option in Createspace a good option? Is it something I should use?
A. It’s not recommended. The CS Expanded Distribution Channel (EDC) doesn’t have the reach and it’s restrictive. If you’re intentional about your strategy and want to increase your availability to independent bookstores and other offline retailers, then Lightning Source is your best option. They don’t deal with individual authors though, just publishers. This is why it’s best to have your own ISBN’s registered to your own publishing name.
Q. I’m a first time author and I’ve only got my book on Amazon. Will it help if I make my book available elsewhere like Nook and Kobo?
A. I recommend first time authors to stick with Amazon starting out and here’s why. Amazon has many benefits that help first time authors (authors in general) get exposure for their books. They have multiple lists such as; Movers & Shakers, New Releases, Watch Lists, Top Sellers, Top Rated and others. As your book sells and gets more visibility, your book will begin to travel through these lists giving you more exposure. The other online retailers don’t have this internal marketing and discovery machine like Amazon. They just don’t. The authors that are finding any traction on other retailers have a backlist of titles that create a compounding effect. Until you get to this stage as your author footprint grows, stick with Amazon. Keep in mind, you have to do some marketing to help drive eyeballs. Simply publishing a book and sitting back expecting people to find it isn’t going to lead to bestseller-dom. You’ve gotta start the fire.
Q. I’m confused on which social media channel I should be using. Everyone says use this and that, etc. What do you recommend?
A. You’re not the only one who feels this way. Different channels are going to work for different authors, but it’s not a guessing game. Here’s how. For a cooking book for mums, Facebook and Pinterest are killer, because that’s where creative mums between ages 30-45 hang out and it’s very visual. For a business book on management, Twitter and LinkedIn are great choices because that’s where people in this field of interest spend time. So think about your target audience and where they might be hanging out. This about being intentional and strategic, not about guessing or simply doing what others think you should be doing.
Q. I’ve published using Lightning Source and I read that in order to appeal to “bricks and mortar” stores, I need to set a wholesale discount. What should I set it to?
A. Good question. As stores need to make money to keep their doors open, they require a margin to make it worthwhile selling any particular book. So setting a wholesale discount of at least 40%(minimum) is an option, but to really appeal to stores I recommend setting it to 50% or 55% in your dashboard. This makes your book more viable to the store person responsible for ordering stock.
Q. My book is 30,000 words and I still can’t decide what book size it should be, what’s your suggestion Anthony?
A. I would go with either an 8″x 5″ or an 8.5″x 5.5″ size. These slightly smaller sizes, rather than the popular 6″x 9″ size, will help your book appear thicker which helps perceived value. These two sizes are also common commercial trade sizes, so all printers cater for them. These two sizes feel really good in the hand and fit better in your bag. There’s more on book sizes here.
Q. I noticed Createspace doesn’t print hardcover books, can you recommend anyone?
A. Yes, Lightning Source offers hardcover options. You can also find a reputable local printer as well. Keep in mind, hardcover books are approximately double the print cost, so you’ll need to factor this into your pricing and how you intend to sell the book.
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