The Journal, Sunday, 8/27

Hey Folks,

Topic: Following Up on DWS’ “The Value of a Paperback”

Yesterday Dean explained in his post why indie authors should publish to paper as well as ebook. He made some good points. (If you didn’t read it and would like to, click

It’s always good to have your books available to more people in more ways. Got it. But there are other considerations too, both positive and negative.

On the positive side, when the reader comes across one of my titles on Amazon, B&N, et al, if I have both paper and ebooks editions out, the reader sees both editions side by side.

When I shop for books, I buy the least expensive, paper or ebook. If the ebook costs $12.99 but I can get a clean (unmarked) used paperback for $2.99, paper it is.

But yesterday, I bought a James Scott Bell novel. The ebook was $2.99 (for a thriller!) and the cost of the paper edition was something with four digits in it. I bought the ebook.

So I’ll freely admit, my main reason for publishing to paper is so the reader will see the price comparison. My hope is that it will drive ebook prices. Why? Because I make more money per ebook sale than per paper sale. More on that shortly.

Some folks prefer paper. I get that, and I’ve experienced sales of my paper editions too, but not very many.

Which leads to the negative aspect, at least for me. It costs me right at $100 per book (cover design and interior layout) to publish my books to paper.

Of course, it costs either money or time to publish the ebook edition too. But since I’m using myself as the example, I’ll just tell you now, I’m happy with most of my ebook covers and my own eformatting. And the cost is negligible at the worst.

I get my cover pics via subscription (so the cost is around 55 cents per photo), I can create a cover in about five minutes with Serif PagePlus, and I take care of the eformatting in about two minutes. So really I incur practically zero cost when I publish to ebook.

But back to paper editions. Let’s do some math.

I spend $100 for a cover and interior layout for a print edition. (I use and strongly recommend

I earn a little over $2 per sale of a paper book, which is priced around $15. So around a 13% royalty.

The same book in Kindle, Nook, iBook etc. costs the reader only $5, yet I earn $3.50 per sale. When one of my nonfiction titles sells for $10, I earn $7 per sale. And again, I don’t have to include cover and formatting costs in that.

Still, I do like that price-comparison thing when the reader sees the paper version right alongside the ebook version in a sales venue.

Currently, about half my novels (13 or 14, I think) are available in both paper and ebook. A few of my 10-story collections are available in both editions too.

So I’ll continue to put my books in paper, I guess. But I’ll pay to have another cover and layout done only as the money is readily available.

Hope this helps some of you.

Today and Writing

It’s still very early in the day. The sun has its hand on its chin, and it’s considering dawning out here in southeast Arizona. Previous to this, I made my Internet rounds, then wrote the stuff above.

I can’t foretell the future, but more than likely I won’t write fiction today. I plan to spend the day reading James Scott Bell’s novel. I’m excited about it.

I read only the first few (gripping) pages yesterday. If the story continues the way I think it will, I’ll be purchasing his course, which I mentioned in this Journal yesterday. And I’ll probably buy the rest of this particular series as well. In ebook.

UPDATE: Well, I had high hopes for Mr. Bell’s work. I really did. But his book, which was tagged as a thriller, definitely is not a thriller. It isn’t even suspenseful.

In the first twenty pages, I found the writing thin and the excitement promised by the opening non-existent.

Note that I was not consciously looking for these things. Their lack popped out at me. As I read I was unable to visualize the characters or much of the setting. Hence “thin” writing. And this is his most recent release, so it should also be his most advanced writing.

If there’s one thing you have to have in a thriller, it’s excitement. So my search for a good thriller writer and instruction continues. Sigh.

Now I’ve downloaded and am reading Any Means Necessary (a Luke Stone Thriller-Book #1) by Jack Mars. The author name has me wondering whether it’s a pen name. Anyway, I’m only a little way into it, but it seems good.

If you’re interested, and if you read ebooks, the Kindle version is free right now at Not that Jack Mars also offers courses, but I can learn from his writing.

If I enjoy the book, I’ll read it again to study his technique. And probably order the rest of the series.

Of Interest

Dean added a second post about why he believes indie authors should publish to paper as well as ebooks. (Caution: he’s being classically DWS.) You can see it at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 900 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 900

Writing of ()

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 134280
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 513900

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 638 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181