Posted On February 22, 2016 by Print This Post

Putting Books in Print: Worth the Hassle? Kayelle Allen

Romance University is proud to announce Kayelle Allen as our newest regular contributor! Kayelle has posted with us several times before and always has great advice to give about book marketing. Welcome to RU Kayelle!

Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen

I lead a writer’s group in my community, and we often discuss pros and cons of specific aspects in publishing. One member recently asked if it was worth the hassle of putting a book in print, especially if it was more short story than novel. People chimed in with responses. Among them was a reminder that by using sites such as CreateSpace, you can sell print books on Amazon, and there was no up front cost for making them available. Print on Demand (POD) meant if a book was ordered, it was printed and shipped. That lowers the cost for the author.

An author might think no one will pay $3.99 for a short story in print. However, we should not discount the value others place on print books. That’s the only type of books some people will buy. Why not make it available?

One author friend often sells autographed copies of her books to readers who want special gifts for friends and family. She makes more in print sales than in eBook.

Should an author worry that their print book will end up in a used book store? Absolutely not! You want them to go there. Why? That’s where many readers get to know new authors. Remember that time you picked up a book by an author you hadn’t read before because it was on sale? I discovered JR Ward, JD Robb, and Michael Connelly that way, and they are all favorite authors now.

Here’s another reason to have a print version. Amazon provides a new service called Amazon Giveaways on certain print books. Not all print books, but many. All but one of my current books is available for it. The setting isn’t something you can request or set up yourself. To see if your book has it, go to the Amazon page for your print book, and scroll past the reviews. If it’s available, it will show up there.

Why is this good? You can set up an Amazon sponsored giveaway that people enter by following your Amazon Author Page. Did you know that when you release a new book, Amazon will allow you to send a note to anyone following you? That’s right. AMAZON sends it to them for you. Why is this good? Because that’s how sales are made.

abset200Let me explain how this works. Say you have a print book that’s $5.99. When you set up a giveaway, you will pay for a copy of the book, and pay the average cost of shipping (about $6.00). So this giveaway (if you offer one book) will cost you $11.99 total. When the book is shipped to the winner, if the cost of shipping is less than $6.00, Amazon refunds the difference to you. To run the contest, people will follow your page, and then be able to click a link to see if they win. If they win, they get a book. If they lose, they see a note from you. I have a note on mine that says they can still get two free books by joining my Romance Lives Forever Reader Group, and I provide a link that takes them to that page. I get new people for my group (which is my newsletter) every time I run a contest.

I figure that if I run a contest on Amazon once a month, give away two books (average cost is about $24), and let 1 in 299 win a book, I could get up to 598 new followers on Amazon each month. That’s over 7100 followers per year. If you have a list of 10k, and 10% buy it, you can hit best seller status. Remember, every time you release a book, Amazon sends your followers a note you create for them. That’s almost as good as having your own newsletter. You should still have both. Some will only buy on sites other than Amazon, so your newsletter is a great way to reach them. Besides, you have news more often that when you release a book, right?

So, should you put your books in print? If you have a reader who only likes print, yes. If you have a reader who wants an autographed copy for a gift, yes. If you want the opportunity of holding a book in your hand, yes. If you want to do a giveaway on Amazon and get new followers, yes. If you don’t want any of these things, go with eBook only. In my opinion, it’s worth more than the hassle to get a print book. It’s worth gold.


RU Writer’s – do you have books in print as well? What are the benefits you’ve seen?


Bio: Kayelle Allen is a bestselling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. She is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers and the owner of The Author’s Secret.


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20 Responses to “Putting Books in Print: Worth the Hassle? Kayelle Allen”

  1. I just learned about the Amazon giveaway option. Great summary here, of both that and other strategies. Thanks, Kayelle!

    Posted by Staci Troilo | February 22, 2016, 7:06 am
  2. Morning Kayelle!

    I didn’t know about the giveaway option – that is a great deal!

    And I found quite a few of my favorite authors – JD Robb and Janet Evanovich to name a few – in the bargain bin at BN….=) I’ve been a faithful reader of both ever since!

    Thanks Kayelle and welcome to RU!


    Posted by Carrie Peters | February 22, 2016, 8:32 am
  3. You’re welcome, Staci!

    I would never have discovered this gem if it wasn’t for Jackie Weger at eNovel Authors at Work. She shared it with her readers and I decided to try it. It’s one of my planned marketing endeavors now.

    Posted by Kayelle Allen | February 22, 2016, 8:33 am
    • Thank you, Kayelle, for the ping back on Amazon Giveaways. I love engaging in giveaways. For an indie author or any author who does not have a huge following to make pre-release effective, Giveaways are wonderful and Amazon does all of the work to notify followers of your new release. One less time suck for the busy writer.

      Informative post. Enjoyed it, and glad to see your positive results.
      No Perfect Secret

      Posted by Jackie Weger | February 22, 2016, 12:41 pm
  4. There is nothing wrong with putting 2-3 or more short stories into a printed collection which means they get MORE for the money and getting MORE or SAVING money are as important as the desire to get something FREE. I emphasize the key words here. Just like pricing a $6 book at $5.99, the impression is that it doesn’t cost $6. I am getting ready to release two longer works in POD print.

    I was told eBook should be 25K words minimum – I am thinking print should be 60K and up. Any thoughts on those numbers?

    Posted by Donnamaie White | February 22, 2016, 10:10 am
    • Good Morning, Donnamaie White: Actually, ebooks can be any word length. Less than 100 pages becomes problematic when we go to promote because many of the best promotion sites will not accept less. As for print editions, I write what the story arc calls for. I first publish the digital copy and follow up with a POD. The key is providing a satisfactory story arc for the reader. My units are exclusive to Amazon, so I cannot speak to all sales venues, but pricing does not seem to be a issue since Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited subscriptions. Subscribers have a selection of 5 million+ books to choose from. Outside of Select, 99c seems to be the sweet price for short fiction by a less well-known indie author. So many factors come into play, it is difficult to offer suggestions. Print on Demand sets a minimum price–not much leeway there for the author. Hope this helps.

      Posted by Jackie Weger | February 22, 2016, 1:03 pm
    • I have print titles that are well under 100 pages and although they are not big sellers in print, they make it possible for me to give away my own books using the Amazon giveaway program. Some readers want shorter works and don’t mind buying it in print. So I make everything available that way.

      Posted by Kayelle Allen | February 22, 2016, 4:22 pm
  5. P.S. Love this site: Followed and shared.


    Posted by Jackie Weger | February 22, 2016, 1:06 pm
  6. Wow, great info! I haven’t seen too much about the Amazon giveaways before, although Amazon asked on my last 2 releases if I wanted to let my followers there know about it. Heck yeah! Now I’ve just got to get the print books squared away so I can try the giveaway. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    Posted by Donna Cummings | February 22, 2016, 4:05 pm
    • Hey Donna! Thank you for introducing me to this site. It was a banner day for me. Who knew I’d end up being a contributor one day? 🙂
      BTW – it can be anybody’s print book. So if you don’t have one in print, try a popular print book people want that’s in your genre!

      Posted by Kayelle Allen | February 22, 2016, 4:27 pm
  7. This is a wonderful post! Just a few weeks ago I queried every author group I belong to and few even heard of Amazon Book Giveaway, fewer had tried it. This answers my questions and gives me something to really consider.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by Pamela S Thibodeaux | February 22, 2016, 6:07 pm
  8. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I didn’t know this and I will certainly use it in the future and will definitely visit The Romance University more often!

    Posted by Clare Dargin | February 23, 2016, 11:06 pm
  9. Good information, Kayelle. I’ve made a note. Thanks!

    Posted by Barbara Meyers | March 3, 2016, 12:26 pm


  1. […] […]

  2. […] Putting Books in Print: Worth the Hassle? Writer Kayelle Allen on the Romance University blog discusses whether it’s worth having books in print in an ebook-loving genre like Romance. […]

    March Links | Becky Black - March 20, 2016

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