I recently received a press release from the professional public relations firm ESMI entitle How to Price an E-Book.
The release is written by Kim Staflund and is promoting her two books How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, and How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price!.
So here’s an indie author who claims both her books have been Amazon bestsellers telling other indie authors or those considering becoming indie authors how to sell their books and make money. What’s new about that? Libraries must have and entire bibliographic classification complete with it’s own Dewey Decimal code taking up considerable shelf space about this very topic. And now Kim Staflund has published two more. So what?
I guess it’s the hyperbole in the titles as well as unsubstantiated claims and misleading statements that gets my blood boiling.
Staflund claims her POD books became best sellers on Amazon priced at $19.99. Here she muddies the water a bit – these are paperbacks not e-books and the press release is entitled “How to Price an E-book. So what are we talking about here, e-books or paperbacks or is she purposely being misleading?
According to Staflund, her books reached bestseller status because “of their quality content combined with using various online and traditional marketing techniques—not because of low pricing.”
There doesn’t seem to be an optimum pricing point for POD books, but this statement contradicts all the information I’ve seen from Amazon and Smashwords regarding the pricing of e-books. Both these sites have data complete with graphs that show the optimum price to maximize sales and profits. Since both these companies work on a royalty basis, they don’t make money unless you make money, it’s in their interest for your book to sell.
Amazon says, considering you’re a nobody, the optimum price for your e-book on their site is $2.99. A lower price won’t increase sales, but it will diminish profits. A higher price won’t increase profits because it will diminish sales. At Smashwords the optimum price is $3.99.
There’s all kinds of gimmicks (like buying your own books) that might spike your sales for a very short period, but over time these are the prices that work and they should know.
Staflund goes even further with this incredulous remark:
“It will likely take an author forever to make back the money it cost to properly publish a book if the retail price is set at $2.99 per copy. Additionally, such a low price truly devalues content.”
Even the most delusional author must be aware nobody cares, the reader or the publisher, if they’ve spent the last ten years of their life writing a book and, even at minimum wage, it cost them a quarter of a million dollars in work hours. The truth is in this free enterprise system the value of something is the maximum price it will sell for – consistently.
Furthermore, if saying a low price devalues the content of your book what does having no sales at a higher price say? And, oh yeah, who decides if the content has any value in the first place?
So who is Kim Staflund and why is she saying these things?
Staflund’s the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, where she “works with businesses and individuals around the world to produce professional quality audiobooks, e-books, paperbacks and hardcovers using a supported self-publishing business model. As a bestselling author (sic) and sales coach, she shows authors how to sell their books using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade.” (This, from someone who uses a public relations firm to help her promote her own books.)
She further claims to have “a substantial sales and sales management history combined with over 20 years of book publishing experience within the traditional and new publishing markets.”
I checked out her website and it is very similar to those of Amazon and Smashwords in that it accumulates all the information necessary from an author, including a properly formatted manuscript, that is necessary to publish a book with today’s technology.
Once Amazon and Smashwords have this data they can proceed to publish your book on a royalty split basis. You can purchase expertise at any point along the way including the formatting of the manuscript, designing a book cover, and additional marketing services, but you don’t have to.
If you’re patient and persevere you can do it yourself.
For books, from 201 to 300 pages (max. 90,000 words, the category my novel The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic would fall into) Polished Publishing Group offers: two (2) ISBN numbers; copy editing; cover design, proofreading; a hard proof; both paperback and e-book formats; book signing; two-year online distribution term; print-ready files returned to you.
The price is $4,750.00 cdn.
There’s nothing illegal or immoral about what Staflund is doing. If you don’t have the time, inclination or the computer savvy to navigate through self-publishing sites then there are countless “experts” like Staflund that will do it for you for a fee.
What I find objectionable is her claims that she has special expertise on How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price and further more that she can show you How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! There are just too many variables to be able make these bombastic claims.
Be wary of so called experts that make unsubstantiated claims and charge you a hefty fee for what you can do yourself for nothing. Today, having 20 years of experience in book publishing is worth almost nothing. The industry is evolving so quickly what you learned today is worthless tomorrow.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs
My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin
Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014
Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients (now in paperback). http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92
More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin
View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/
Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music