Friday, May 2, 2014

Reinvesting Author Royalties In The Books That Earned Them

For some of my books, the easiest way to release them and start making money is to make my own book covers. I'm not incredibly skilled in the area of computer graphics, but I can put together a decent cover that will help the books sell. My best-selling book over the past two years sports a cover that I made with a combination of Gimp and Paint.

Recently, I decided to reinvest the author royalties made by my travel photo books back into the books themselves. I wanted the covers to look more professional and more like a unified set. This was around the time I was working on the latest travel photo book, Traveling the U.S.: Utah. So I went from four book covers that look fairly amateurish:

to five book covers that look like a professionally made, unified set:

It always bothered me a little bit that I could never get my author name to match the exact same font size and that East Coast History couldn't use white text. The latest round of covers has none of those problems, they all look like part of a set. If you subtract the cost of the new covers, these five have still made me a little bit of money but, realistically, it's like they're all starting over from scratch with better covers and a few good reviews each.

I've swapped the new covers in for the old ones on all of the e-book versions and on all of the paperback versions as well. I had to raise the prices a little on the paperback versions, but the e-book versions are still the same price. I was tempted to order all five in paperback, but I have a rule about not doing that anymore. I've ordered so many of my own paperbacks that sales of my paperbacks haven't quite balanced it out. I need to reach a break-even point.

That being said, I would like to give you a quick run-down on the five travel photo books in my set. It's unlikely I will be able to release another one for at least a year or two because these are all based on my own travels with photos I took and background info that I researched.

Traveling Asia: The Philippines was the first travel photo book I released. I lived in the Philippines for two years as a missionary, speak fluent Tagalog, and returned in 2010 to tour the Philippines once again. This photo-based travel guide includes Tagalog words for some of the things you'll run into as well as some common souvenirs from Baguio (up north in the mountains) and some foods you can try if you're brave enough.

Traveling Asia: Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong features a photo-based tour of the three cities we visited after stopping in the Philippines for our 2010 vacation. I was just a tourist for these three, so my photos come with some research that I did after we left. I had my Canon camera by this point so all of the pictures are high quality (whereas some of the pictures from my Philippines guide were taken with a film camera or a lower megapixel digital camera.)

Traveling the U.S.: Hawaii features pictures from our 2012 vacation in Hawaii. It mostly covers Oahu but also includes a visit to Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center on Laie. The cover features a wolphin (a dolphin / whale hybrid.) There are only a few wolphins alive today.

Traveling the U.S.: East Coast History is, by far, the longest travel photo book I've written so far. It features over 125 photos from the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Jamestown (with excavation photos), Gettysburg, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and more. Since it's quite a bit longer than the others, the paperback is more expensive but I've kept the e-book price the same as the other four.

Traveling the U.S.: Utah is my latest travel photo release. It occurred to me that while everyone gets excited to travel and explore new places, a lot of people haven't seen most of the history in their own city or state. I've lived in Utah since I was fifteen (with the exception of two years that I lived in the Philippines) and I had never visited the Capitol or many of the sites around Temple Square. This, like my other books, is not a comprehensive guide and it mostly covers the history in Salt Lake City but it's well researched and has some amazing photos.

All of the above book covers are linked to the e-book version on Amazon. If you haven't checked out any of them, please consider giving one of them a shot. It's a fun, easy way to get acquainted with new cultures and history and they aren't very expensive.

No comments:

Post a Comment