Direct From The Author backgrounder...
Our staff has participated in the rapidly changing publishing industry since the early days of self-publishing (2003). Having worked directly with dozens of passionate self-publishers, we have witnessed the roller coaster of emotion as they crest the top of their first big hill (with a beautifully printed book in-hand), and fall crashing down into an emotional pit as they realized that the challenge wasn’t really in publishing their book; the challenge, really, is in selling it.
The publishing industry continues to evolve, and quickly. Prior to approximately year 2000, publishers incurred all of the expense of printing and publishing books. Publishing a book was a huge risk as the cost of printing was enormous. The book went to market via a very closed distribution system: publishers used book distributors to get their titles to the retail market.
We believe that there is one more step in the evolution of the publishing industry…
With the dawn of the digital world,the cost of printing plummeted, making smaller runs of books affordable to everyday people. Self-publishing grew out of this change in printing technology. But self-published books have very little access to the traditional book distribution system. Many authors would agree that attempting to get a self-published book into a national retailer is today’s equivalent of successfully pitching a manuscript to a traditional publishing house. To be fair, some traditional distributors allow access to self-published authors, but the book distribution system, itself, has not evolved. They still charge 40-60% commission, and possibly warehousing costs, and the author is responsible for lost or damaged product. We believe, and already we have shown, that mainstream book buyers, such as library systems, library service companies, and bookstore retailers, should buy directly from the book’s author.
“But what about Amazon and the other online services that are already selling books….”
It is true that anyone can sell books on Amazon. But that’s the problem: anyone can sell all kinds of things on Amazon. These are giant listing services; they are not ‘your book marketing plan’. They are a place to send customers to, but it remains the author’s responsibility to market their books. We encourage authors to send book buyers to their own mini bookstore, and not to a big international firm. We would like to see the author take home the vast majority of their book revenues.
“How is your service any different?”
Here is how we are different:
Authors act as their own book distributors. They store their books in the security of their home. They do not need to worry about the quality of books that customers are receiving if they buy from ‘the big guys’ (these services typically work with the printers who are closest to the purchaser’s address to reduce costs, but this can become a quality issue, and certainly a loss of control of your product). With self-distribution, authors do not need to send books out to book distributors. This saves warehousing expenses (charged by some book distributors), as well as the cost of lost or damaged books. It enable DFTA to put the lion’s share of each sale into the pockets of the author bookseller.
DFTA has built a team-marketing system. Rather than being listed alongside an endless variety and number of other sellers, we are grouping together to grow awareness of the Canadian author community. One of the main questions that authors are asked is, ‘Where can I buy your book?’. Rather than sending the person off to a multi-national, we think that the answer ‘Direct From The Author‘ is a pretty easy name to remember. Our list of authors is growing, and with every participating author directing their marketing efforts toward their bookstore at Direct From The Author, our community will become the home of Canadian self-published books. Our staff becomes your no charge full time book marketing department. All of the energy that you exert into your marketing efforts is rewarded by being exposed to exponentially increasing audience of interest readers.
Author is in Control
This benefit may not seem like such a big deal off the top, but authors who have been working the ropes for a few years will tell you that there is something pretty wonderful about being able to enter your email address and password and immediately know exactly what you’ve sold, and to whom. One of the stories that motivated the development of our service came from an author with three titles on Amazon. The books were listed by the package company that she had used, and she didn’t even know that they had converted her book into an e-book and posted it for sale all over the world. The royalty statements that she received showed no item cost or quantity of books sold. She received one royalty cheque for about $11, and several others for minor amounts, without knowing the selling price of the books (which she had no control over), which titles had sold, when they had sold, or to whom. Our system enables authors to interact directly with their readers (by sending out books directly to the customer) and puts the control of the product into the hands of the author.
Currently Direct From The Author retains 20% of the sell price, and the author retains 80%. We cover the selling costs from our 20% (credit card and processing fees, administration time, website maintenance and support), and are looking at offering another option where the author pays these expenses and takes a greater percentage of the sale.
We encourage authors to use this service as their primary marketing tool but do not demand it.