Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ebook Industry Changes and Distributing in New Zealand

Joy Findlay in all her Petal the Owl hat glory!
Hi and welcome to our Self-Publishing blog. If this is your first time to our blog please take some time to check out our various links and posts on how you can self-publish from New Zealand.

These last few weeks have been very busy for us here at Findlay Books – actually, just at home in general. We are moving house! So if you don't hear from us for the next little while, then you'll know we forgot to get out internet transitioned in time and we are still trying to get connected...

I though I'd do something a little different this week. We have had loads of changes in the children's ebook industry over the last few years and I wanted to let you all know of the changes that have taken place with self-publishing kids picture books.

Don't worry, it isn't all doom and gloom! We've also added a few tips to self-publishing here in NZ and a few lists that will help you get to where you need to go.

I might point out here that self-publishing in NZ is still an exciting time with many changes happening that favour self-publishers. Just this last week Storylines have announced their Storylines 2014 Notable Books List and there a few familiar names on the list! Congrats to our fellow self/hybrid-publishers!!!

OK, so some things I've noticed from self-publishing kids picture books over the last 6mths.
*Amazon's free promotions do not bring in any notable boomerang sales any longer.
*Paying for advertising on ebook promo sites for 'Amazon free promotions' doesn't work any more either.
*Paying for a $0.99 promo does work a little, especially with the bigger sites like Daily Kindle, Book Bub and Pixel of Ink, but it is now much MUCH harder to get your book onto their lists due to everyone else doing it too and it costs upwards of $120.00USD.
*Selling on other platforms like Kobo, NookBook etc, still doesn't bring anywhere near the sales that Amazon brings in.
*Staying with Amazon's Kindle Select Programme is still better than not - they seem to penalise those who aren't in the programme.
*Releasing a book a month is still one of the best ways to get noticed as your book has a chance at hitting the 'released this month' list.
*The Kindle Countdown Deal were useless for large file books as you still have to pay delivery costs - I made absolutely no money on this promo tool over Christmas.
*Amazon's Matchbook is only worth it if you sell heaps of paperbacks - but children's print books doesn't really seem to sell many print versions.
*Prices of books determine sales in a major way. Picture books over the 99 mark don't seem to sell much now, unless it is part of a compilation but even then it doesn't seem to work much over 99cents. You used to be able to ride the pricing trends but with so many more books set at .99cents it is best to sit at .99cents now.
*Blog hops and author interactions doesn't really bring any more sales at all now - everyone is doing it and readers don't read these blogs - authors do.
*Facebook ads and Google word ads doesn't make sales - just awareness and 'likes'.
*Self-publishing children's books costs loads in illustrations and advertising/promotions, more than actually publishing the book.
*Not many authors are making their money back from picture books, but they are still trying, but unfortunately the quality of kids picture books is dropping still and the market is flooded, which is causing trad-published books to look far superior and they sell more and get better rankings because of this.
*I know in New Zealand the self-publisher is getting a better reputation as they keep working on the quality of books here, which is a necessity when there are less and less publishing firms to turn to.

So what is working now for self-publishers in NZ?
*Getting your ebook into Wheelers ePlatform is a great way to get your book into library ebook databases.
*Print books seems to be the way to go at the moment but it is more work and possibly more up-front costs, but it seems to pay off better than ebooks at the moment.
*Getting your print book onto Neilsen's Database is a great way to get your book into libraries.
*Print-on-demand via Lightning Source for cheaper delivery costs – they get printed in Aussie and cost way less in postage than CreateSpace.
*For quality PoD use Lightning Source over CreateSpace.
*CreateSpace distribute to Book Depository in the UK now – free worldwide delivery – great for one off prints.
*Distribution in NZ is difficult if you don't have a contact at a distribution firm. You will need to approach all the indie book stores yourself – list provided – and go into your local kindy's and schools etc.
*There is a lot of leg work needed to get your book into schools and kindy's and doing school visits is a great way to start. If you have a great product, a good reputation and a fantastic school presentation, you could charge for your time as well as send the school your order form before your visit.
*There are a few book festivals that would be great to get into, but most of these do not want you selling your book at the table you are promoting from. I do hope this changes in the future to help us self-publishers make money.

List of Indie Bookstores in NZ:
Booksellers has a whole list of indie book stores in NZ that you can find postal address and email addresses for. Their site is great for learning more about the industry in NZ, found here:

List of Printers other self-publishers have used in NZ:
This is the list on New Zealand Society of Authors website for printers who specialise in book printing. Make sure you get at least four quotes for books and princes for 50, 100, 500 and 1000 units. Found here:

Two lists of Illustrators here in NZ:
These are a couple of lists of NZ illustrators. These are professional illustrators and artists. They will charge at professional prices. Sandra Morris Illustration Agency (NZ)
FBI Illustrators (Fabulous Bureau of Illustrator)

List of Editors here in NZ:
This is the list on New Zealand Society of Authors website for Manuscript Assessors and Editors, found here:

Hope these help.
Have a fantastic week!
~ Joy Findlay


  1. Wow this is really interesting - you know so much!
    Sounds like there's so many changes going on right now - hard to keep up!

    1. Hey Rosie, yes there is a lot going on and not all of it is bad. I'm loving how changes in NZ means it is becoming more of a viable option to self-publish than ever before!

  2. Great post Joy. Honest view of the market and useful tips on how to stay ahead of the pack.

    1. Thanks David, I really enjoy passing on the lessons I've learned to those who are still new to self-publishing. It is a good season to be an author!

    2. Yes David, You are right and thanks to Joy for sharing this beautiful post regarding eBook market and eBook Publishing.