Paperback, you say? How can this be? I’ve been studying what the best medium is for my first book for at least two years now, and I’d come to the conclusion that an e-book was the way to go. After my novel came out on the Kindle and Nook, I was excited to see how many friends and family would buy my e-book. Instead they kept requesting paperback copies, which I found shocking. All the advice I had received via reports from Publishers Weekly or other major writing sources said e-books are selling much more than print these days.
But now I think those reports are inaccurate, not that they were trying to be dishonest or deceive aspiring authors, but I don’t think they accurately assess what readers want. My readers so far, even my tech savvy readers, will only purchase my book in paperback. I think there are a couple reasons why. The first being that my friends and family want an autographed copy. The second reason is they know me and they want the opportunity to hold my book in their hands. I gave reports and advice too much credit because not everyone loves technology as the publishing industry might lead you to believe. Also, keep in mind my readers who are requesting paperback are young as well; it certainly isn’t an age issue.
Besides friends and family, I also e-mailed my professors and the administrations of the universities I attended for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I found this academic network to be very supportive, and they again asked when the paperback version is coming out. I’m hoping I’ll sell a decent amount of books in my first month when I have the paperback version on sale, which will hopefully be next week.
I told the Russian studies librarian at NYU and a former publishing house editor about my shock of people requesting the paperback version. But they weren’t shocked at all. From what they’ve observed many readers are still reading paperback. I guess I was the only one who was shocked.
But I do think I made a good decision. I chose to publish in e-book first, and for those of you who don’t know, when you publish in e-book form you can upload as many versions of your book as you want and it will replace the older versions. For example, I’m on my fourth version of my e-book because I found errors in the first three versions. I’ve met writers who’ve had to give away their paperback books for free due to a slew of undetected errors. Publishing in e-book form first allows me to eliminate all of these errors. The only problem is that some readers have downloaded and read an older version of the book which has errors. Since I’m a perfectionist, this kept me up at night, but now I realize less than 10 people read the older versions and they’re all friends and family.
My recommendation is to create the e-book version of your book first when you self publish or if you’re a small publisher who owns press. Make sure to read the versions of your book on the Kindle, Nook or any other e-readers to avoid errors and formatting problems. Then publish in paperback. Also, I’ve hired a proofreader to read through my manuscript before I publish the paperback version.
I hope these tips help you. My novel I, Putin (Vladimir Putin novel) has been published for a mere two weeks but I am already learning so much. Please continue to check in on Pencey X Pages because in the coming weeks I’m going to have blog posts about e-book formatting tips, tips you cannot get from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, ISBN and copyright advice, and updates on my ongoing campaign for book publicity and how I’m increasing my book sales.