Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lessons Learned

I knew that my first published book would be a learning experience. I braced myself for the worst. Obviously I couldn’t imagine what the worst was. I think I have a better idea now. Yesterday, I got a congratulations email from Wingspan telling me that my book would be available at Amazon and in the next few days. They said I could order books for myself at cost if I wanted. Curious as to how much “at cost” was, I logged onto Wingspan’s site. I wasn’t so much shocked by how much they’d charge me for my own book. I was shocked to see how much they were going to charge my customers. My hardcover children’s book will be selling for a whopping $32! The softcover will be something like $16. My whole body went numb when I saw those prices. $32? Who in their right mind would pay 32 bucks for a first time hard cover book for their kid?? I personally spend hundreds of dollars a year on books, but I get a lot of books for that. I wouldn’t spend 32 bucks for Harry Potter, even if it was the first edition with J.K. Rowling’s eyebrow hair on page 145.
I am having a hard time not hyperventilating. I contacted my account manager to see if there is something that can be done about the price. I should have seen this coming. I asked them to set the book up in electronic form. The retail price they listed was pretty high even for e-books. I opted for the lowest listing price, but I still think it’s high. The royalties from Wingspan are pretty lame. I think it’s like 20%, which sounds great when you compare that to a traditional publisher’s standard 8%. The difference is that a first time, self-published book that is listed for $32 is not going to bring in any sales, whereas the lower priced publisher house book, even the worst story in the world, will at least bring in some stragglers. I am going to see if I can salvage this disastrous situation. The way I see it, the only way I can sell the book cheaper and still make money is if I buy the books myself (at cost) and sell them at a discounted price.
We can definitely mark this down as a hard lesson learned.

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