Are ebook sales going through the roof…or the floor?

Most of what I read lately regarding ebook sales by freelance novelists—independent authors, indies, self-publishers—whatever you want to call these entrepreneurs—has been either mediocre or depressing. For the most part, authors are giving away massive amounts of books or selling them for $1.99 or less.

Is this the fate of ebooks? Is this the fate of freelance novelists?

I don’t think so.

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Calculating the Price of Ebooks

The publishing world is changing quickly, making it difficult for authors and publishers to accurately judge the value of an electronic book. When ebooks first became available, there were no numbers to crunch to calculate their price. Should they go for free because they’re not permanent (in the same sense as a printed copy), or should they be priced the same as their paper counterparts?

Now with several years of ebooks behind us, a general pricing by publishers is taking shape. It’s aided by the facts more readers have devices to read ebooks and ebooks are becoming more popular. Have you looked at the price of the ebook version of the recent paperback you just bought? I did. The paper copy cost about $15.00 whereas the ebook cost $10.99.

Browsing Chapters online, I found many ebooks selling for more than ten dollars, some more than $30. Wow. I never thought electronic books would sell for so much, but then, this is a whole new world for books, authors and publishers. They—we—are learning as we go.

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Getting the Numbers: ISBN & CIP

When an author is published in the traditional manner by a publisher separate from themselves, all the business part of a book is taken care of for them. This includes getting an ISBN and CIP.

When you’re a freelance novelist—one who self-publishes—you get to do all this yourself…for good or bad.


The acronym stands for International Standard Book Number. This number is exclusive to a book and book format. You’ll find this in the front matter (the pages between the front cover and the first word of the text) of a book, fiction or nonfiction. It’s a 13-digit number which can often appear on the back cover of a book as well.

Here’s what mine looks like for Shadows in the Stone, Book One…The Castle Keepers (bold text added to emphasise point below)

978-0-9868089-7-5     Shadows in the Stone – Electronic Kindle

978-0-9868089-8-2     Shadows in the Stone – Electronic Smashwords

978-0-9868089-6-8     Shadows in the Stone – Book (soft cover)

978-0-9868089-9-9     Shadows in the Stone – Book (hard cover)

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Penning a Name

I’m having an identity crisis.

My birth certificate states: Dianna Lynn Tibert, but am I really that person recorded many decades ago? Shouldn’t a name give a hint of personality, of trade, of origin?

“Aye,” you say, “a surname tag gives the origin.”

That’s only one-fourth correct. A surname at birth gives only the origin of the father’s father’s father’s father. It completely ignores the father’s mother and the mother’s family lines.

More than four hundred years ago, when surnames were becoming standard, people wore names of their profession—Baker, Fletcher, Crofter—and their father—M’Donald, McIsaac, O’Brien—and their surroundings—Forrest, Glen, Field—and their locations—Glasgow, Paris, Lomond—and countless other things associated with their lives. There was great pride to be known as Joe the Fletcher or Matilda of the Meadow.

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