Sunday, January 31, 2016

Staying Hard

In the modern age, one of the key questions that plagues writers trying to sell books is whether or not to produce hardcover books.  Years ago, this wasn’t an issue.  You either produced hardcover books or you had nothing to sell.
Today, however, the ebook has made this an interesting question.  Due to Amazon, Smashwords, and others, ebooks are all the rage.  What’s more, they’re cheap and easy to do.  Simply upload your work to the appropriate platform and voila, your book is on the market.
Still, there’s just something about seeing a hardcover book with your name on it.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve long dreamed of walking into a bookstore and seeing a display, preferably up front, where your novel is laid in with the other tomes.  It’s tangible proof of your hard work, and that dream can be hard to ditch.
This is where we need to take the emotion out of it and decide what we’re trying to accomplish.  If your goal is simply to see your book in print, then go for it.  It’s easy nowadays to create a hardcover book and have it shipped to us.  However, if your goal is to have a career doing this writing thing, you need to do a little more analysis.
What is the purpose behind creating a hardcover?  Do you have a distribution channel?  Do you have people ready, perhaps on a distro list or as a set of friends, to buy your hardcover.  Remember, until you’re established, getting your work into an actual bookstore will be challenging, so your work has to stay somewhere while it gets out(like in your garage).
Ebooks are much simpler in the modern market, but not everyone uses them.  Perhaps you want to try a strategy of amalgamation, where you supplement your ebooks with a limited number of hardcovers.  Remember, hardcovers cost more than ebooks(considerably more…this is where cold analysis has to come in to the business side of things as opposed to the emotional joy of just writing).  You have to set up an imprint, produce a proof copy(if you’re smart), get the production cost, figure out a profitable price point, etc.  I know, this is the non-sexy part of writing, but writing is more than good stories – it’s a business, at least if you want to put food on the table by doing it.

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