To the everyday reader, they may mean little, if anything, but to the discerning bookseller, it may determine the extent of your relationship with them. There’s a growing swell of pushback with book retailers against Amazon/KDP. That attractive royalty rate from Amazon/KDP may, in fact, cost you lots of potential sales. Choose wisely, whether self-publishing or through a small press that takes advantage of POD production. There are two prevalent POS print options, Amazon/KDP or Ingram SPark/LSI.
Working with Ingram is necessary for selling through bookstores, which, more often than not, will not order books from Amazon/KDP. Amazon/KDP will not allow bookstores to return unsold books, something the trade has accepted for a long time and is a crucial option to independent bookstore owners. Without going too deep into the micro-economic considerations of a book retail business, floating the enormous expense of a book inventory forces book retailers to be acutely attuned to Amazon’s less than favorable retailer program. Under the best circumstances, it is not easy to make a profit in the retail bookstore marketplace. Authors should not promote their books with a blind eye to the plight of the book retailers today, thanks to Amazon.
“Learn the printing codes on the inside final page of your books for Kindle and Ingram. They are usually there, but they can be blank, making the printing source agnostic. Don’t accidentally walk into a bookstore with consignment books that show some Kindle-manufactured volumes, as marked on the final page. We wouldn’t want a homicide to occur.” (An excerpt from The Book Designer)
Your author-income depends upon not just the royalty rate but also the sales reach (volume of books sold). After you have decided upon where to publish your book, knowing how your printed book arrives on the market is now even more imperative. POD book production had gotten to be a most welcome, cost-effective means to get books printed. Quality has vastly improved and certainly reduces your upfront costs and associated risks of investing in and maintaining a book inventory. Know your publisher’s and/or your marketing strategy for getting books to readers. Convenience can cost you far more than you are led to believe.
My two-cents on the subject of POD sources
Consider Amazon as a necessary book retailer, but a retailer none-the-less. If you desire to engage the retail reach of brick-and-mortar bookstores, then understanding their profitability is paramount to building a win-win relationship. Would you walk into two competing book retailers in the same town and expect a warm reception from both store owners? Probably not. Well, Amazon is every book retailer’s primary competitor. And, Amazon/KDP printed books offer less profit for the book retailer and do not allow the retailer a book return option. Thus, if you, as the author, agree to a consignment arrangement on the backside of an author event at the store, your book will not find prime shelf space after you are long gone.
“Penny-wise, dollar foolish.”
You may have written a well-written, compelling story, and even have an eye-catching, well-conceived book cover, but no book sells itself. How you plan to promote and bring your book to market is paramount to your book’s ultimate success. What may appear upfront as profitable may more than likely prove very costly? Treat Amazon as the retailer you cannot ignore, but don’t ignore your other retail outlets and consider them as less important. Unless you have built up a huge name as an author with an enormous audience panting for your next book, your books will not sell themselves while you are glued to the world-wide-web and stuck in your comfortable chair at home.
News flash: Authors must invest in and actively engage in the marketing of their books to be successful.
POD book production is a gamechanger
I repeat–POD book production is a gamechanger and is here to stay, but do not overlook which POD printer you choose to use for your books. Amazon is a profit eating leviathan and plays both book printer/publisher and retailer, which for some may be convenient, and that is fine if that meets your book’s expectation. But, they have stirred up a lot of animosity by their voracious greed. Do not expect their retail competitors to provide you with a warm welcome if you carry into their store books printed by their most lethal competitor.
What about the reading audience? Should the reading audience care?
To all those you avid book-lovers whose money is spent in exchange for all the books that are behind this discussion: Please realize your pivotal role in this mortal competition. I hope you’ll patronize your locally owned bookstore and use online retailers only when necessary. Convenience costs more than you might think. Internet convenience influence affects so many others in your own community. Besides, your local bookstore should offer you an irreplaceable experience that engages all your senses whenever you walk into their brick-and-mortar confines. They should also help you discover new bestsellers in the making for your reading enjoyment.
HNN/WQEE Radio Show, September 10th – Special Guest: Toni Striblin, Co-Owner of Rogers BBQ, Hogansville, GA
(Tap the image above to get the actual audio of the radio show – 15 minutes.)
Script used for the Radio Show (August 6, 2019)
Ryan introduction: (use the below as a guideline for your opening comments and introduction)
(Sponsor – Southern Fried Books, 29 Jackson Street, Newnan. Downtown Newnan’s only independent bookstore, and they offer a wide selection of best-sellers and award-winning books with adult, children’s and special-interest titles to suit your fancy. Many of the Hometown Novel Night authors have their books available in the Southern Fried Books local author section.)
Hometown Novel Nights – “Bringing Local Authors and Local Audiences Together South of Atlanta”
In fact, this Thursday evening, August 8th at 6:30 PM, Newnan’s own Carnegie Library will host the next edition of Hometown Novel Nights with three more awesome authors on this month’s panel. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves this morning… We will share more details in just a few minutes, but first…
Host Introduction: His friends and family know him as Mike. However, he also goes by T. M. Brown, an award-winning local Southern author who proudly calls Coweta County home.
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Thank you, Ryan, and thank all you listeners of WQEE—Rock the Key.
Last month many of you heard the interview with my special guest, Mister Steve McCondichie, the owner of Southern Fried Books and SFK Publishing & Media. We also learned he is also an accomplished author as well. His bookstore hosted a special edition of Hometown Novel Nights back on July 18th. The standing room turnout got to listen to and interact with two nationally-acclaimed, award-winning authors, Roger Johns and Mickey Dubrow.
I want to thank everyone who came out and enjoyed that event. I hope more and more of the listeners will discover the growing inventory of new books that Southern Fried Books is offering in its quaint location on Jackson Street—two blocks off of Court Square next door to Christy’s Restaurant.
This morning, I have another outstanding special guest, a bibliophile extraordinaire.
University of West Georgia, B.S. Sports Management/Marketing – Cum Laude, 2012
Owner of her own Photography enterprise since 2010
Co-Founder/Chief Photographer, CowetaLife.org since 2014
Freelance Photographer, Newnan Times Herald since 2016
Senior Carnegie Library Assistant, Adult Programs
Mar 2017 – May 2019
Volunteer Board Member, Newnan Artist in Residence Program since last summer
And, most recently, Susan Crutchfield was named the Newnan Carnegie Library Director in May 2019
And, she’s a great supporter of Hometown Novel Nights.
I know you are no stranger to WQEE’s audience, and, in fact, only yesterday morning, you and Ryan discussed the growth of audible books. I was fascinated since I was headed to Southern Fried Books on Jackson Street in Newnan.
I am working with SFK Media to soon begin recording the narration of the first two novels in my Shiloh Mystery Series, while book three is working its way through the crucible of the publishing process, and hopefully will be on bookshelves this time next year.
For those who may not have caught your interview yesterday, “what is the biggest advantage of audible books in your opinion?”
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It also appears printed books have staved off the initial gloom and doom prognostications after Amazon introduced Kindle eBooks in 2007.
Even with so many current eBook formats and sources, the market share for eBooks in general seems to have waned in the last couple of years.
What are your thoughts on the future of printed books versus digital published options?Printed books have been around for hundreds of years. Are they destined to the same fate as dinosaurs?
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Finally, now that we’ve held our first Hometown Novel Nights program back in June at the library, tell us what you think about our interactive local author format.
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This Thursday evening at 6:30 PM in the upstairs auditorium of the Newnan Carnegie Library, we have three more outstanding and award-winning authors on tap to talk about themselves, their writing journeys, and their books.
Toby Nix is a weekly guest columnist for the Newnan Times Herald. He will be talking about his column writing journey and his book entitled, “Columns I Wrote.”
He says about himself, “I have made about every mistake a person can make but thankfully the people in my life have better hearts than I and have seen fit to give me another chance… hopefully soon I will get back out and gig a little on the side…”
I bet there’ll be quite a few Toby Nix fans in attendance Thursday night.
Angie Gallion is an accomplished, multi-book author who resides with her husband and two precocious daughters in Sharpsburg. However, she confesses that she “was raised on the rhythm of night trains rolling through Bushton, Illinois, where she became an outside child with a big imagination.”
She enjoys exploring complex relationships, often set against the backdrop of addiction or mental illness. Her debut novel, Intoxic, received the Bronze Medal from Readers’ Favorite in the General Fiction, which inspired her to since write the 4-books in the Alison Hayes Journey, a coming-of-age series. This past year she released Off the Dark Ledge, her first psychological thriller.
Angie’s also a partner and major force behind the success Hometown Novel Nights has realized over the past year.
Paul Sinor is a published novelist and a produced screenwriter who currently resides in Barnesville, Georgia. He has taught screen writing at the University of West Florida and at Shoreline College in Seattle Washington. He has an MFA in Creative Writing, A B.A in Criminology and is a retired LTCol in the US Army.
He describes himself as an “Author, Screen writer, and Producer—occasionally a handyman, if I can fix it with a wire hanger and duct tape. An All Around Renaissance Man!”
His Max Maxwell Series has received awards and accolades, and his fourth, That Old Black Magic, just got published. Here’s a hint to the nature of his political thriller novels:
“How far will the government go to protect one of its own and how far will that same government go to destroy one of its own? Max and Anna find out in the streets of New Orleans and the bayous and swamps where voodoo is practiced.”
Paul has also written the Johnny Morocco Mystery series – a 1950s Atlanta based, gripping two-book serial, and a stand-alone thriller about the rescue efforts of an American Vietnam POW.
Paul’s been a screen-writer, producer and technical adviser on several well-known television and movie productions. His story will be a real treat for everyone who joins us this Thursday evening at 6:30 PM at the Carnegie Library.
If you’d like to know more this and future monthly programs, visit @HometownNovelNights on Facebook. Though tickets are free, please register for the event by signing up for a ticket. That’ll help Susan and I plan on enough chairs for Thursday night’s program.
For those looking ahead for the rest of 2019, Hometown Novel Nights will return to Roger’s Barbecue in Hogansville on September 19th and November 21st. We’ll return to the Carnegie in Newnan on October 10th and end the year with a Christmas themed program on December 12th.
Each month we’ll have a panel of award-winning, published authors to introduce to you, all from the surrounding local area.
We already are beginning to plan on the 2020 slate of authors, and we have the prospect of an additional venue that we will soon disclose as well.
On behalf of Susan Crutchfield, the Newnan Carnegie Library, Roger’s Barbecue in Hogansville, Corner Arts Gallery and Studios, and of course our sponsor, Southern Fried Books—thank you. We’ll be back next month with another special guest and another preview of the next Hometown Novel Nights program. Hope you’ll tune in again on Tuesday, September 10th at 9:30 AM.
Thank you, Ryan and Thank you, WQEE!
See you next month!
Send any comments by email to mike@TMBrownAuthor.com
Hometown Novel Nights is expanding in 2020 to Senoia, GA and making its program available to bookstores throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Our goal is to connect local authors with local audiences in an engaging, interactive, and informative format to introduce homegrown talent. Who knows which of the authors at Hometown Novel Nights will become the next National Bestselling Author from Georgia?