Why are Your Paperbacks So Expensive?

Why are paperback book prices so high, even for self-published novels? It's a legitimate question, and I wanted to find the answer, so I went to Amazon and CreatSpace and started reading.

If you want to self-publish your novel into a standard (5-inch by 8-inch trim size), black-ink paperback, Amazon charges $0.012 per page. For example, Amazon's cost calculation for printing a 300-page, black-ink paperback sold on Amazon US is:

     $0.85 (Fixed Cost) + (300 (Page Count) * $0.012 (Per Page Cost)) = $4.45 (Printing Cost).

Your paperback's minimum list price is based on your printing cost (so your royalties cover the cost to print your book). To calculate your minimum list price, Amazon divides your printing cost by the royalty rate (60%):

     Printing Cost / 60% (Royalty Rate) = Minimum List Price

For example, a 300-page black-ink paperback sold in the US is $4.45 (Printing Cost) / 60% (Royalty Rate) = $7.42 (Minimum List Price). To complicate matters, Amazon also has a lowe…

Building my Next Novel

Since the release of Warlock & Wyrm last fall, I've been working on a new fantasy novel. The latest book is still untitled, but will be a stand-alone novel set in a different world than that of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Though I'd also like to continue the adventures of Jetsam, Seryn, and the gang someday, I'm interested in taking the lessons and experience from the trilogy and experimenting with something new.

I'm trying to push myself to break away from the fantasy tropes and standards I relied on for The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy and inject more originality and unpredictability into my storytelling. I still love writing about pseudo-medieval heroic adventures, so likely the differences from my previous work will be subtle, as opposed to drastically different.

Based on the world-building I've done, I envision multiple books in this new setting, and the first novel may end up being part of a series, but it will definitely be a stand-alone story. I'm not plann…

Sharing My Lessons Learned

I've been a self-published indie author since 2012, and I thought I would share some of my main lessons learned from six years in the business. I've still got a lot to learn and don't pretend to be an expert, but there have been some decisions I would reconsider, if I had the chance. The three following suggestions would have saved me a significant amount of time and effort if I had acted on them from the start.

If you've decided to write a novel, my first tip would be to start your writing career with a stand-alone book. Although I enjoyed writing my trilogy, from a sales and exposure standpoint, I think starting with a stand-alone novel has advantages. As a reader, I understand the reluctance to buy the first book of a trilogy by an unknown author who has yet to publish the second and third books of the trilogy. Honestly, there's a good chance books two and three will never get published, and that's a hard sell to a prospective reader. Plus, there's alway…

The Importance of Amazon Reviews

I'm sure you've heard it before: "Amazon reviews are extremely important to authors." That statement (or some variation) is an oft-repeated mantra. And guess what? It's true.

But do you know why it's true? Verified customer (reader) reviews boost your book ranking, which in turn, affects the algorithm that places your book link on other Amazon pages for potential customers to see. Amazon's infamous algorithm is is a formula that instructs the Amazon website how to populate suggested product lists when customers search for items (and even when they don't--thanks, Amazon).

Amazon wants to make money, and they can make money off your book if it's selling and people like it. Amazon determines how much people like your book by how high and how often they rate (review) it. Hence, reviews lead to promotion, which lead to sales, which lead to more reviews, and so it goes.

Amazon reviews are also required for promotional opportunities. Want to purchase an …