Going Back to the Beach

- by Shannon Donnelly

It’s almost a year ago since the last NINC conference, which inspired me to get my books back into print. The conference was a game-changer for me. I came in a little lost, with only the assurance of other writer friends that this was a conference I had to attend.

I listened, met a lot of great folks, went to even better panels. And a plan formed–a plan for me to actually step up and take a hand in my own writing career.

I’d gotten the rights back for my eight Regency romance novesl, but I’d done nothing with the books, other than to let them sit on the ‘out of print’ shelf. The 2010 NINC conference gave me the information I needed to move ahead with the books and step into the digital age.

Last November, I brought the first of the Regencies as an ebook. Getting all eight Regency romances into print took longer than I anticipated–I wanted all done by the first of 2011, but it was more like July of 2011 when the last rolled into the digital world. Covers took longer to have done–I paid for professional covers, all of which I love, and which I’d learned about taking care with at the NINC conference. I did revisions and edits on the books to clean up copy and correct things I’d wanted to correct. And I moved to New Mexico during that time, so that was a distraction.

I also went from just using a clean (very clean) formatted Word document to using MobiCreator to convert a Word document that’s been saved as “Web Filtered” and add my covers and metadata there to produce better formatted ebooks.

And I learned about pricing.

Initially, I priced all my books at 2.99. That seemed reasonable–and many at the NINC conference had mentioned this as a good price point. The books had been priced at 4.95 in print editions, but the electronic copies didn’t have paper, ink, or warehouse costs to defray. Sales were good at 2.99, but not great, so I started experimenting. That had been another bit of good advice to come out of last year’s NINC conference–try new things.

I also noticed my own Kindle-buying habits. With the move and everything, books at .99 on Amazon started catching my eye. They were easy buys–more like the old days when you could pick up a paperback for just a couple of bucks, and so there was no worry about an investment of money (and time). For .99 I could take reading risks. And so I started pricing some of my books at .99.

They sold well. Very well.

A Proper MistressSo I put all of my Regency romances up at .99. And now I have one book (A Proper Mistress) that’s in the Amazon Top 100 (top 50 actually, and #1 Regency). All eight are in the top 50 Regency romance best sellers. This is great. And it’s all thanks to the NINC conference. I’m one of their success stories.

I’m going again to the NINC conference this year — what’s not to love about white beaches, blue ocean, other writers, and tons of great ideas. I expect to hear more from folks who actually have an idea of what’s really going on not just in publishing, but in this brave new digital sandbox that we’re now playing in. I also met some wonderful folks last year and it’ll be great to see them again.

And I love that NINC has adjusted its membership requirements–if you’re earning money (good money) with a book you’ve brought out online, you can be a NINC member. This not only seems wise to be for the organization, but it’s supportive of authors–it’s about supporting money into the author’s hands so that you can both write and eat (and not have to eat canned soup).

It’s funny since I write about the Regency era–an era when authors often participated financially in their own book production costs, an era when an author had a great deal of say about publishing. Technology is taking us back again to those days.

2 comments

  1. I love hearing rejuvenation of career stories. Hope your regencies continue to sell well, Sharon. I put my old historical romances up on line and am enjoying some extra income and it seems to have increased on line paper book sales too.

    Happy conference. It’s too far from Australia for me.

  2. Also spurred by last year’s conference, I now have 17 (soon to be 18) books up. We’ll have to find a water-facing seat at one of the bars and compare notes!