A blogging site that aims to boost authors' independent e-book sales has been created by writers Katherine Roberts and Susan Price in response to a significant contraction in many authors' earnings.
Roberts said: "The whole of paper-based publishing is now set up for bestsellers and instant profits, while e-books offer a better opportunity to build a long-term career." She added: "I am not aiming to make millions from this, I am aiming to make a living in the longer term."
The website venture, www.kindleauthors.co.uk, is open to all UK-based authors, both adult and children's, as long as they already have a publishing "track record" to guarantee the quality of their work, Roberts explained. It will mainly sell Kindle editions of out-of-print books for anything up to £2. "There are a lot of cheap books out there selling for £2.50 in the chain promotions and we need to compete," said Roberts. "Because of the way the Kindle costs are structured—with a 70% royalty option—we can afford to do so."
Roberts admitted that children's fiction will not initially be as popular as adult fiction on the Kindle because the platform "isn't very child-friendly; it needs to be cheaper, more fun and in colour . . . [But] that will eventually change. For now, you can also read Kindle versions on the iPad and other platforms".
Mid-list authors have found it increasingly difficult to survive in the children's book market said Susan Price, who worked with Roberts on the website launch. "A combination of the recession and e-books has made the publishing industry very uncertain; books that I once would have had published easily are now not finding a home."
Price is creating her Carnegie-winner, Ghost Drum, and its sequels as Kindle editions, after the books went out of print and she failed to find a publisher for a sequel. She added, "I'm 56 and not too proud to go and work at Sainsbury's, but I doubt I'd get in because there are so many other young people who need a job. So what do you do? E-books seem to offer some kind of future for authors in this new world."