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Apr 06, 2001

Booklocker's March eBook Sales 20% Higher Than Any Prior Month

SUMMARY: It's a famous story - a few years ago Angela Hoy was a struggling single mother with no money, then she started online publishing firm Booklocker without any outside investors and the rest is history. If you are considering selling books or ebooks online, this is the inspirational article for you.
"Smaller ePublishers are doing very well!" Angela Hoy, President told us today, "It's the MightyWords, ExLibris and iUniverse's who accumulated massive debt who are having a hard time now, just like other dot-coms." Hoy says she decided to go the bootstrapping route on purpose and turned down several angel investor offers. Now the media loves to write about her Erin Brokovich-style rise from being a so-broke-it's-scary single mom two years ago, to being the very profitable eBook publisher she is today. In fact her March sales are up 20% above any priormonth.

Here’s a quick outline of what you need to know if you'd like to be published by (or if you plan to compete with it):

- Pricing: Unlike many eBook stores which encourage authors to set prices below $5.00, Hoy says it's been her experience that"the magic price for eBooks is $8.95." In fact, some of her authors have been lucky with higher price points. She says, "One of our Top 10 bestsellers raised his price from $14.95 to $24.95 and unit sales went up!"

- What Sells: Hoy confirms what we've heard from other digital content sellers -- how-to titles are the winners these days. However, she says that 95% of non-fiction buyers at her store chose the eBook version when a print version is also available, as opposed to fiction titles, which tend to sell well in print.

- How Much Sells: While Hoy can't reveal corporate sales figures, she did admit her own personal sales are in excess of $5000 a month for the five eBooks she's published so far.

She says, "If the author is willing to consider writing and marketing their book a full-time job, they can make a good living at it. The authors who aren't making anything are the ones who just drop their eBooks off at the store and walk away and forget it."

To help its authors market their books, Booklocker gives each an online book promotion ekit (nope, nobody else can have a copy -- we asked!)

- Getting Accepted: The Booklocker store has a self-imposed title-limit of 1,000 books. Hoy looks over every title submitted, and only about 10% make the cut. Copy has to be readable, interesting, typo-free and at least 100 pages long. Fiction, non-fiction and "cross genre" fiction are all accepted.

- Cost: Getting your eBook carried in PDF format by is free -- if they accept it. Print-on-Demand versions cost a one-time $199 set-up fee, plus $95 if you'd like professionally designed four-color cover art. There are no further author charges. After that, it's just 70% royalties on eBook and 35% on POD version sales.

- Terms: All of Booklocker's author deals are non-exclusive and Hoy says, "Our authors are encouraged to list books elsewhere. Plus, we allow same-day contract cancellation. If one of your books is taking off and Harper Collins wants it, it's not for me to stand in your way!"

Note: Don't get your Angelas mixed up. Since both Angela Hoy and Angela Giles Klocke (who we profiled in last week's issue) are well known in independent writer circles, lots of people get them confused with each other. In fact, both told us they've gotten emails intended for the other frequently enough for it to be annoying. Luckily the two women are personal friends. But, who wants to be mistaken for somebody else?
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