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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An open letter to readers about the future of SJS DIRECT and Shawn James titles

A lot of readers will notice over the year that some of my eBook titles aren’t available on certain sites.

The reason for this is that they’re not selling there.

I’ve had some titles get no sales over the course of six months. Others over the course of a year.

When a title doesn’t move in a venue, I have to make efforts to get readers to discover them like the eBooks for under a Buck Campaign. Sometimes that means promoting them hard on Twitter and Facebook every day. Other times that means doing a YouTube Commercial.

If efforts to promote a title through social media don’t work I have to do something to get the sales. I’ve moved poor selling eBooks like All About Marilyn to KDP Select I can get some readers to try a digital copy of a title or two.

Hoping they may even buy a paperback version of the title.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

If none of these efforts work at getting new readers, I have no choice but to pull a title and take it out of print.

Now I don’t like discontinuing an eBook or a paperback. But I can’t afford to keep titles in print that aren’t selling.

In the case of paperbacks self-publishing them costs money. I need sales to cover the maintenance costs to stay on the Lightning Source Server.

This year has been a struggle for me. With my savings shrinking I’ve had to take a long hard look at the future of my catalog. And looking at the weak paperback sales I may be forced to cut some titles.

So far The Temptation of John Haynes has made enough sales to cover its print costs for this year. Unfortunately, All About Marilyn and All About Nikki-The Fabulous First Season still haven’t sold enough paperbacks to cover their maintenance contracts. In fact, All About Marilyn hasn’t sold any this year, and While All About Nikki is an international smash hit as an eBook, the paperback hasn’t moved a single copy.

Paying for a year on Lightning Source costs me $12 a year. And I only need two sales of a paperback title like All About Marilyn, The Temptation of John Haynes or All About Nikki-The Fabulous First Season to cover those costs.

Each paperback you buy helps me keep my titles in print for another year. It keeps positive African-American fiction available in the marketplace. And it helps me stay in business working towards publishing more positive, inspiring, and uplifting African-American fiction for people all over the world to read.

I’ve got a lot of great new titles I’d like to offer readers like The Sisterhood. But the only way I can get those books to the marketplace is with the support of readers like you.

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