In recognition of Global Social Media Week, Digital Marketing Strategists – ConnectiD partnered with the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) to present an event centered around eBooks, “From Script to Sales: How to Become an eBook Success Story.” I was delighted to learn that the event was free and open to the public, and made my way this past Thursday evening to the fabulous Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston to make the most of that opportunity.
I’m normally an early bird. I like to settle myself, take in my surroundings, especially if they’re new to me, and people-watch. At twenty minutes to the 7:00 p.m. start-time, a smattering of persons waited patiently or chatted with friends. Earlier in the afternoon, thunder had growled something fierce, followed by bucket-loads of rain. It meant that after-work traffic would be horrendous. However, by the time the seminar was about to begin, we had a full house.
Ingrid Riley of ConnectiD ably hosted the first half of the proceedings, while Kellie Magnus, Vice Chair of the BIAJ and a publishing entrepreneur, moderated the Q&A segment that followed the presentation. The panel of speakers consisted of:
- David Mullings – eBook Author & Publisher
- Lloyd Laing – eBook Publisher and Tech Entrepreneur
- Amanda Hanna – eBook Author
- Dr. Franklin Johnston – Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education
- Leon Robinson – Designer and Head of Insight Studios.
In condensing the information shared, here is what I gleaned:
Some Benefits of Digital Publishing
- It allows you to be instantly international. You decide the destinations for the distribution of your books, and determine the cost. While translating eBooks in foreign languages attracts a cost, you can still sell them in English to the rest of the world.
- eBooks are the way of the future and help to bridge the digital divide.
- The risks are minute in comparison to the potential of the reach of eBooks.
- You don’t have to deal with logistics, shipping costs, etc.
For aspiring authors who are worried about piracy, Mullings reassured us that Digital Rights Management is possible for eBooks, and offers protection.
In sharing about her books, Amanda Hanna revealed that she prices her books based on the pop-culture novels that she writes. Her prices range from US$0.99-$1.99, and she makes a couple hundred (US) dollars each month. She also advised us to research the genre in which we wish to write.
Her process involves giving her final manuscript to two family members for review, before submitting it to her editor. The final steps involve working with an illustrator for the book cover, followed by publishing her book.
The One Thing Authors Need to Know and Do
- Create compelling titles: Readers are drawn in by the wrapping before they bite into what’s in the package.
- Find a niche and stick to it.
- Keep the price competitive if you’re writing to a broad audience. It’s more desirable if a zillion people are buying your books at US$0.99, than a few purchasing them at US$5.99.
- Ship, then test: Write the book, get it out there, learn from the results.
- Spend time to understand the technology and integrate it into your business model.
Road to Success Strategies
- Treat your readers with respect. Your eBook still needs a blurb, Table of Contents, etc. Behave like an entrepreneur.
- Write what you want or love to write.
- Collaboration is the way to move forward. The technology is available, so make use of it.
- Learn how to use social media, or hire someone to do it for you.
- Become an evangelist about promoting and marketing your books.
The Statement of the Evening (for me)
- “There is a strong and increasing demand for authors.” – Dr. Johnston.
He added that the Education system presents the largest book market, with textbooks offering massive opportunities in Jamaica for authors.
How did you find this information? If you’re an eBook author or publisher, please share your experience and any other advice.