Friday, July 23, 2010
This should be the final post on publishing Killing Trail via Amazon’s Kindle ebook program. This one is mostly about the text itself, and about my results so far.
Text Issues: I purposefully decided not to make the first line of the stories flush left. Printed books do this but it always bothers me. Perhaps I’ve read too much stuff in manuscript form. Anyway, since it was my book I’d, as Cartman says: “Do what I want!” I indented the first line of all paragraphs, which looks better to me and improves my reading experience.
Whatever you decide to do about indents, however, you use the “paragraph” function on your word processor to set the margins. If you use the space bar to indent, it won’t come out right. You can manipulate the margins directly for the first line if you don’t want it indented. Always remember, though, that you can kindlize different versions of your manuscript to study before uploading it. That way you can use trial and error, if needed, to get the indents right. I’ve seen quite a few Kindle books that have indents all over the place and it does detract from the reading experience.
I picked up the margin information from Natasha, and I also learned that you need to create a hard page break after each section, as at the end of the table of contents page, and the end of each story or chapter in your book. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can put your cursor where you want the break to be, click on the “insert” button on your MS Word Menu and select “Page Break.” Or, you can put the curser where you want the break to be and hit the CTRL – ENTER keys. This doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the table of contents page will always appear on one page in an actual Kindle document, because the amount of words on a page depends on the size font the reader selects. However, it does make sure that chapter 2 starts on a ‘new’ page rather than a few lines down on the same page as the end of chapter 1.
Uploading Your File: After you have your file the way you want it (or before), have a look at the “Getting Started Guide” offered by Amazon here. You can also register and login from that page, which you’ll need to do to publish for Kindle. There is a very helpful video that walks you through the publishing process here.
Getting Paid: Amazon will pay you by check, but only when you’ve accumulated about 100 bucks. If you want to get paid before that, you’ll need to give them a routing number for a checking account so that the money can be deposited directly into that account. They apparently do this about every 60 days. I decided to set up a new account just for writing purposes and used that routing number instead of the one to my primary checking account. I’m not sure there’s any risk, but I’d prefer to take a chance with a 100 dollars instead of the several hundred in my regular account. I haven’t gotten my first pay from Amazon yet.
My Results Thus Far: And now for the good news and bad news. That is: Sales. The good news is that, between Monday, July 5th at 8:39 a.m. and Friday, July 23rd at 1:30 p.m., I sold 33 copies of Killing Trail. I make $2.07 per book at %70 percent royalties on $2.99 (minus .03 cent delivery charge), so the total comes out, according to Amazon, at $61.08. That’s $61.08 I didn’t have before. That’s a nice dinner for two at our favorite restaurant. But that’s not the whole story, of course.
The bad news is that I sold only 33 copies of Killing Trail in about 2 and a half weeks, and I laid out 25 bucks in giveaways before I even started. The bad news is that I sent several hundred emails to folks, did a blitz on my blog and on Facebook, got a big front page write-up in my hometown paper, spent 8 hours or more a day for most of the first week promoting the book…and sold 33 copies. During that time I also bought about $35 dollars worth of Kindle ebooks (and some printed books) from friends, to help them promote their work, and I know that most of them did return the favor. Take away 60 from 61.08 and I’ve got about enough for a MacDonald’s value meal. That’s still not the whole story, of course.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to do a whole lot better than this. I said going in that I’d like to sell 50 copies in the first two weeks. I figured 100 copies was real pie in the sky stuff. And, of course, the book is out there now and may continue to sell some copies over time. I can hope a bit of buzz develops. I can hope.
And, I also had good news in the form of some very nice reviews of Killing Trail. Those who read it genuinely seemed to like it, and that means a whole lot to me. I’m sure others are doing much better with their ebooks than I’ve done. Maybe they’re better writers than I am. Or better promoters. Or both. But they can’t be any happier when someone tells them that their stories are valued. I’ll end with a couple more of those reviews below.
From: O’Neil de Noux
KILLING TRAIL is a wonderfully familiar dusty, road - a thrilling ride of vengeance, unfulfilled love, sweaty saloons, bushwhacks, shoot-em-ups, bloody villains and cowboy heroes. What is familiar is not cliché when penned by Charles Allen Gramlich. The stories in KILLING TRAIL follow the tracks great western writers have left (Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard, William W. Johnstone, Ralph Compton, Loren Estleman, John Edward Ames - the list goes on and I can't list them all). Gramlich joins the posse with stories of vengeance, right versus wrong and bullets flying. I highly recommend this book.
From: Gary Addis
The stories in Charles Gramlich's Killing Trail collection offer plenty of action, and surprisingly thorough character development as well.