E-book Vs Print Publishing Dilemma
I get quite a number of emails from budding authors who want to know the advantage of publishing an e-book over the usual hard/softback; how e-books are marketed and its financial implications.
So, I have decided to share the advice I give them (at least from a Nigerian market perspective). I hope it answers someone’s question.
Advantage(s) of an E-book over a Print Copy
E-books are cheaper to make (if you can design an e-book cover, format and typeset, it would cost you next to nothing). In terms of distribution, it has wider reach because it is available online. The problem with this is that it can easily be pirated if you put it on a platform without good security measures. Also, a purchaser can choose to share with his network, and before you know it, copies of your books are all over the place without the money being in your pocket.
Ideally, people ought to express interest in purchasing a print book after reading the e-copy because the content is that good and they want to own a book they can display. But I advise people ( especially independent authors) who really want to have both formats (soft and print) to print and aggressively market their book for 6 months before uploading the e-copy on a secure platform.
Some authors make the mistake of uploading their books on sites where it can be downloaded for free, and on sites where their books can be purchased. Readers will always go for the free stuff.
With e-books you do not always need a publisher but I advise against it even though I understand the hesitation towards the idea.
Anyway, it all depends on how far you want to go with your book. If you want publicity, book tours and book chats, a publisher can make that happen, but if you only desire to put up your book on a secure and transparent online platform and get your royalties without a middle person, then feel free to be your own publisher.
How are E-books marketed?
All online publishers insist that they have a unique approach to marketing e-books but at the end of the day, they are mostly the same. A lot of them offer editing, proof reading, typesetting and e-book cover design services for free or at a small fee. Some demand exclusive right to be the only platform that markets your book. I advise that even though it’s not a bad offer, one should be careful with such platforms. They need to prove their commitment to you ( by assuring you security and transparency) before you give them that right.
Most times, with these platforms, you are your own publicity officer. With the number of publications they have, they cannot afford to publicize a particular e-book for a period of time, so you are encouraged to use your social media platforms and network to advertise your book with the platform’s link.
Most of them charge a 20%-30% commission for each sale of your e-book minus the charge for creating the e-book for you. Research the platforms to see what they offer before making your final decision on where to upload your e-book.
Financial Implications of E-books and its marketing
None really… and even when there is, it’s cheap when compared to print books. Avoid any platform that insists on being paid to market your book. Platforms tat offer commissions are way better because no matter what, they will also work for their money.
I hope this helps. Have a great week and please do stay safe.
If you’re also looking for style guide that will help you format your fiction or non-fiction e-book, we have something to help you HERE
Written by Adachukwu Onwudiwe