E-books have gone mainstream and it didn’t really take long for it to happen. I’m amazed at the number of poets who don’t mind spending $200-$500 to have a book published in print that will only sell 50 copies, if that, and then not even consider publishing in an e-book format. They may get their investment back on their print book or they may not.
I have nothing against self-publishing. Some of the most read poets in history were self-publishers. I won’t go through the list. You know them.
Instead, I’ll tell you why you should publish your books for the Kindle. In fact, not only should you publish for the Kindle, but you should publish in other e-book formats as well. Without further ado, here are the top 10 reasons you should publish your poetry for the Kindle.
- Publishing is free – Compared to paying a printer or a POD publisher to mark up its services, publishing on the Kindle is free. Amazon charges $0 for you to upload a Word document and have it converted to the Kindle format. Even if you don’t sell a single copy of your poetry book, you have lost nothing but the time you invested in preparing it for the Kindle.
- E-books sell more than print books - An article published in 2010 shows that e-books sold more on Amazon than hardbound books. They sell more today than they did then. More and more people are adopting the e-book format and it’s inevitable that eventually this will be the preferred reading format. The sooner you get in on this action the more likely you are to become a preferred e-book author among readers.
- It’s easy – Publishing on the Kindle is easier than publishing in print. You don’t need an ISBN. Amazon will assign your book an ASIN, which is Amazon’s equivalent. All you have to do is prepare your manuscript according to Amazon’s publishing guidelines. The hardest part of publishing is writing your book.
- Publishing is perpetual – “Out of print” is gone. With print, your publisher decides when your book is no longer available on the market. If you’re the publisher, that decision will most likely be made on economics. With e-publishing, you can update your book and re-publish it without taking it off the market. If it isn’t selling, there’s no financial reason to remove it from the virtual shelves. It can remain in print virtually forever.
- Competition is low - Go to Amazon and search for “poetry” in the Kindle section. There are currently only 27,808 results (compared to millions for print books). And most of those are classics. Most contemporary poets haven’t started publishing for the Kindle yet.
- E-books sell more print books – Your print book is more likely to sell if you have an e-book component. And your e-book is more likely to sell if you have a print component. Giving readers a choice in format increases sales all around. One reason for this is because many readers will buy the cheaper version of an e-book and if they like it enough they’ll graduate to print. If you offer readers a choice, then you increase your chances of making a sale.
- E-books lead to new readers – With e-books it is easier to adjust the price to encourage readers to take a chance on you. Many readers would rather pay 99 cents on a new author than to spend $9.99 and take a chance that they won’t like the author’s work. E-books increase your opportunities.
- Amazon reviews – By offering your e-book for free to reviewers you can increase your exposure on the market and encourage more sales.
- It’s easier to make the best seller list – Amazon publishes a top 100 best sellers list in every category. Even poetry. With less competition, just a meager amount of self-promotion can put your e-book on the poetry best seller list. That will make it more visible to people who browse the poetry book shelves and increase your sales opportunities. My own poetry book “I Like War” made it to No. 18 on the top 100 list last month when I ran a one-day promotion.
- You’re in charge of marketing and promotion – When you self-publish, you are in charge. You don’t have to rely on your publisher to move your book for you. You can run your own promotions and drive your own sales. There’s power in being able to make your own decisions about the success of your book.
As of this date, I’ve self-published 4 of my own e-books for the Kindle and one of those I’ve published for other e-book formats as well. I have not been disappointed. My sales keep going up and each time I run a promotion on my e-books the others sell a few more copies. I’m looking forward to self-publishing more new poetry titles soon.