Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Kindle Direct Publishing Payments

This week sees the London Book Fair takes place, once again without our presence, and I find myself reflecting on our experience of publishing books.  Most sales of our children's publications are in paperback and this makes me very happy.  I like to think of children enjoying the tactile experience of a "real" book and its content.  In my opinion, too much of too many children's lives is spent staring at one screen or another.

The Itinerant Poet and I made the decision many years ago not to pursue any more publishing deals.  It was time-consuming, expensive and fraught with disappointment after several near misses.  The frustration was compounded by the knowledge that children and teachers in the schools he visited, really liked the books and wanted to buy them.  We needed stock to sell immediately, we couldn't wait many months just to see if someone would publish it or not - hence our foray into self-publishing in paperback format.  It may have been more polished with the editing skills a publisher could offer, and more widely enjoyed through their distribution, but our readership don't seem to care or even notice. 

However, I could not dismiss the entire digital publishing world out of hand.  I had read of people making a lot of money this way but I commenced my epubs without any pre-conceived ideas of making a fortune.  I just hoped that I could put together a file that could be read.  I have only gone down the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) route so far - dipping my toe in the proverbial water.

It's lucky I didn't have any great expectations of huge profits as, one year on from my first releases, I have yet to receive payment for a single copy.  I have sold two in the USA (total $6.10) and seven in the UK (total £14.50).  In the same time frame we have sold in excess of 500 paperbacks.  KDP pay 60 days after the end of the month in which your balance reaches $10/£10/10€ so I will wait with baited breath until the end of May.  It grieves me that Amazon are holding on the money paid in good faith by customers.  How many other people like us are awaiting their first royalty payment?  I bet it's a lot and I bet Amazon aren't paying tax on it.  Grrrrrr... don't get me started!

Am I disappointed in the digital flop?  Yes and no.  I am not surprised so I am not disappointed.  We don't have a budget to spend on promoting it on the internet.  There is a link on our website but, other than that, we rely on the Itinerant Poet spreading its availability by word of mouth - something he is loath to do as he is anti-electronic devices for entertainment.  However, it would have been nice to sell a few more downloads than we have done to date.

Family and Trees

The creative genes have evidently been passed down to the children.  The teenagers have written some amazing pieces in preparation for their forthcoming IGCSE English language exams.  One piece, on war, reduced me to tears... of emotion!  I hope they can deliver on the day but I hope even more that they continue writing afterwards.  The youngest two have been producing their own creations, illustrated too.  It has been one of those weeks when I love home education!

The school term resumed today and the Itinerant Poet has a hectic three weeks down in London.  Having had a great time with the family for the last two weeks, he was reluctant to leave.  Splitting the wood from the felled trees in the back garden and having the children barrow and stack it was wonderfully bonding, as was playing cricket in the garden with an old tennis ball and a garden spade when our older son came back from uni.

But "reality" beckons and, once again, to bring home the bacon yet preserve our meagre resources (and those of the schools he visits), he is going to camp in the back of the car near Wimbledon Common.  A host of lovely friends will be providing B&B from time to time as well.



Admittedly, we have had to update the car in the past week.  The fifteen year old Green Goddess has been traded in for the nine year old Red...Something.  Yes - operating at the bottom of the market once again... and proud of it!