You’ve HAD IT with self-publishing. You want out. I’m hearing from authors who want to quit several times a month.
So, if the “I’ve had enough” feeling has struck you, and you have a few books which are selling minimally, or not at all, read on.
I’ve advised several authors in this situation recently, so let’s look at the tips which helped them to make some money on their way out of the business.
Firstly, let’s look at why you might want to get out of self-publishing.
Self-publishing: do you want to escape and get your life back?
Self-publishing can consume your life. There are never enough hours in the day, even if you’re a full-time writer.
You may consider escaping if:
- You’re writing more books each year and are enjoying it less;
- Your books aren’t selling, and you have no idea why;
- Your life has changed — you got a great job offer, and are back to working full-time;
- Your Return on Investment (ROI) is sinking, rather than growing;
- You can’t handle the stress at the moment; or
- One of a thousand other reasons.
How to get your life back: sell the rights in your books
Your books are assets, just like your house and car. You can sell them — that is, sell your rights in them.
If you’ve been keeping up with self-publishing, you know that many companies hire ghostwriters to write books. Some are large companies, others are micro companies consisting of a single author, or several authors who’ve set up a publishing entity.
In addition to hiring ghostwriters to write, many of these companies buy rights from authors. They may buy the rights to an authors’ complete publishing catalogue, or to just a few titles.
Before we go on…
Vital: please ensure that YOU own all the rights in your books if you want to sell the rights. If you’re traditionally published, or are small-press published, check with your publisher(s) that the rights in your books have reverted to you.
How to sell the rights in your books
Let’s look at the general process of selling all the rights in your books. I’m not giving you legal advice, and I strongly suggest that you pay for an hour or two of a lawyer’s time and have him or her draft a sales contract for you.
Here’s why: you need to know exactly what you’re selling, and your buyer(s) also need to know exactly what they’re buying.
Imagine this scenario: you sell all your the rights to a book. Three months later, the book hits a bestseller list, and then another one, and is making your book’s buyer thousands of dollar a week.
Be sure that you’re OK with that, because once you’ve sold all your rights in your literary property, those rights are gone.
1. List the books you want to sell, and collect all the relevant info for each book
The info you need to collect includes:
- Title, sub-title, description, genre, categories on Amazon and elsewhere.
- Publication date(s), and formats, plus ISBNs for print books, and ASINs on Amazon;
- Covers: who created them? Were image rights licensed? Where from, and by whom?
- Sales: when, and how much?
- How much did you spend on promotions?
- Net profit for each book.
2. Decide on a price: how much per book?
You may or may not get your preferred price, but you should have a bottom-line price.
There’s no point in making the price too low, because if you just leave your books on Amazon and elsewhere, they’re bound to make you a few dollars.
One of the authors I advised set her preferred price by checking how much ghostwriters were paid for books in that genre. Then she doubled that price, because she was selling a complete package; there was no risk to the buyer, he knew exactly what he was buying.
Another author tripled the income she’d made from each book, and set that as her preferred price.
3. Find a buyer: become a sleuth
If you’re a member of a Facebook self-publishing group, or an indie authors’ forum, post a question about publishers who are hiring ghostwriters. Any publisher who’s hiring ghostwriters may be interested in acquiring books — this depends on the genre of course.
You can also advertise that the rights in books are for sale on your website/ blog. However, do check out the buyers — make sure that the buyer has a website, at the very least.
Patience! Take your time when selling your books’ rights
If you want to quit self-publishing, and want a payday when you exit, be patient. As we’ve said, your books are assets. Please be sure that you’re happy with any deals that you make.
And to reiterate… know what you’re selling. Get legal advice.
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