E-Book Success Story

I recently mentioned that one good thing about e-books (and print-on-demand) is that you have more time to become successful than in traditional publishing.

Amazon just featured the story of author Creston Mapes, who had this very thing happen to him.

“During the next eight years of doing all that was humanly possible to market my [traditionally-published] books, they sold less than 20,000 copies combined—a sales performance my own publisher would later call ‘dismal.’

Creston was certain that the books deserved a bigger audience. So, he decided to take advantage of Amazon’s independent self-publishing platform, which allows any author to bring their books directly to market. He got the rights back to those three novels, put his own covers on them, and used the self-service platform to put them on Kindle.

After offering his first book for free for a weekend, he went to the top of the Kindle charts and has stayed there.

Mapes had glowing reviews for his books, and obviously he had professionally-designed and edited books, so why didn’t they sell in bookstores? Maybe his publisher didn’t market them correctly. Maybe they were competing against much bigger books during that same time frame. Or–most likely–he just needed some time to build up word-of-mouth referrals (the biggest source of sales). But when you only have 2-4 weeks on shelves, it can be hard to get that going. (Mark Coker referred to that as “the death clock” ticking away.)

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5 comments on “E-Book Success Story

  1. Now if only that could happen to us!

  2. Brit Darby says:

    Reblogged this on Brit Darby and commented:
    Great inspiration. Another traditionally-published author finds greener pastures on their own!

  3. Wallace says:

    I especially like the idea of ebooks staying on the “shelves” nearly forever. One can write ten books with very modest sales and then write that eleventh book that jusy takes off and sells great. With a traditional publisher, those first ten books would be long since out of print and gone, with no chance to make any new sales on them. With them on ebook, the entire back catalog of ten ebooks can be instantly ready for new sales and bring the author far more money than would be possible with only one book in print.

    From a readers standpoint, nothings worse than finding a new favorite author and then discovering that the only copies of their books are in used book stores, and even then only at exorbitant prices. By having them in ebook form a reader new to an author can build a back catalog quickly and cheaply without having to scour every used book store or pay inflated prices.

    • Keri Peardon says:

      That’s something Stuart’s run into. There’s an old series from the 70’s or 80’s that he liked, but they’re out of print and the cheapest price I’ve been able to find is $12 per book. Considering there’s well over a dozen of these books, we can’t afford for him to get many.

      If they were re-released in e-book form for $3-$4 each, then he could get all of them.

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