Thursday, June 9, 2011


Bob Moats began his writing career a few years back with his Jim Richards series of murder mysteries and has not stopped since.  He's one of the most prolific writers on the scene today.  His first book, "The Classmate Murders," went on to hook tons of fans and 18 books later he's reaping the benefits of his labor.  For those of you wondering how an Indie author makes any money, Bob has some suggestions for you.  He's a talented writer and very accessible, so for those who have any questions about his work feel free to contact him at   Now, here's Bob:

Spreading your book sales beyond Amazon.

When I first started writing my books, I had an illusion that I would be the next Robert B. Parker, with a series of novels about my private eye, Jim Richards. I finished that first book "Classmate Murders", and then started book two, before I really had any idea of ever being published. Mainly because I didn't know how to go about getting published. My brother is a professional photographer and he had a coffee table book of his photos that he sold at art fairs and such. He finally got on Amazon to sell his books also and he introduced me to selling my books there.

I checked around online to see how much it would cost to print my books and found that for the number of pages and size, the cheapest would be about $5.00 per book to print in quantities over 100. (I did check local print shops and they wanted over $14. per book!) I had originally figured on selling my books for about $7.99, which was average for paperbacks in stores by famous authors. I could only aspire to put myself in their category, but I had to set a price. I figured out how much Amazon would take out for their booty on each sale, I realized I was going to make about .75 cents for each book sold after printing costs. Not a healthy profit, so selling my books in paperback wasn't much of an option.

Then my brother introduced me to Twitter and Facebook. I joined and started to meet people who were putting their books online as ebooks. The word I was reading was that getting an agent or a publisher is about as much fun as a tooth extraction, but self-publishing was not such a bad way to go.

I looked into this and having a background in computers, I set up my first book and put it on Amazon. I tweeted and Facebooked my ebook on Amazon and after a while I sold a couple of them. I also found that the price I was asking was a little high for an ebook, so I lowered my prices as I put more of my books up for sale. My first royalty payment from Amazon came and it was for $13.65 (a whole four books) and I was happy, I was now a paid published author. Each month after that my sales were going up, nothing tremendous but enough to keep me in beer and chips.

I was also reading about how everyone praises Amazon as though it were the only venue to sell books, but I discovered a place called and how they sell books for authors. The nice thing about Smashwords is that they are a distribution channel to other ebook retailers like Apple for iPad, Kobo, Diesel, Sony for Nook, Barnes & Noble and even Amazon for the Kindle. This was a way to get a wider coverage for my books so I put them on Smashwords and waited to see what would happen. I was surprised.

I had to promote to start the ball rolling, but now the the thing has taken on a life of it's own. Every month was showing an increase in sales and I'm hoping they continue. My last royalty payment from Smashwords (covering most of the retailers) was almost $500. while Amazon came in a modest $200. but I took it. I'm not going to get rich, maybe, but using more than one avenue to sell my books compounds the sales nicely.

What I'm boring you to death about is that you shouldn't put all your ebooks in one basket. I hear authors I've met online talking about the thousands of books they are selling on Amazon, I'm happy for them, but none mention about any sales on Smashwords or their retailer partners. Amazon sells only for Kindle, I know people who have other tablets and ereaders but not Kindle, so they can't read the Amazon DRM locked books on their readers, but with Smashwords the options and formats are wide open.

To end this and summing up, I'm just saying if you have a book worthy of selling to the masses, don't just use Amazon, go for the other retailers, you can only improve your sales as I have.

Bob Moats

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you Gary, A great post this week with, Bob Moats.

    Today, the publishing landscape is changing at a rapid rate, and it is vital for writers to embrace the new technology. Aspiring writers who hope to be read will find, Bob Moat's journey to publication both entertaining and inspiring.

    Congratulations Bob, wishing you continued success with your books.