I look forward to talking to BAIPA at 11am on August 13 about “Monetizing Your Book Content.”
I plan to begin that talk with a teasing reference to the day in 1993 when my publisher wrote me a check for a windfall $28,000. Why did he do that? It was a turbulent time of major technological shift, with the invention of the CD-ROM. My publisher, who had the prescient name Ebook, focused on me as a provider of content because I had the travel writing content, the travel photo content, and a comfort level in the new media (having published my travel writing on CompuServe since 1983 for a 10% royalty of their premium fees). My publisher said, “Lee, we will do something that has never been done before. We will do your ‘book’ titled California Travel on our new technology, the CD-ROM, with more than 1,000 photos, plus your 30 top articles on California. No book has ever been published with a thousand photos.”
Fortunately, my publisher added this sentence, “Lee, we have a market for your product. Radio Shack loves the idea of your CD-ROM travel book. They have ordered two units for each of their 7,000 stores, or 14,000 units, non-returnable. Your CD-ROM will sell for $20, and we want you to accept a 10% royalty, so we will pay you the day of manufacture $2 royalty per unit, or 14,000 units x 2 or $28,000. Lee, are you in agreement?” I indicated that I was in agreement, and we proceeded.
Events of 1993 are only helpful to us if they assist us to imagine and identify similar opportunities in 2016 and beyond.
One possible aspect of that opportunity may be publishing your books in China, in Chinese. Some of you may have met my Chinese publisher, Runa Yiang, when I brought her to a BAIPA meeting in April 2015. She is the woman who founded the publishing company Fiberead. I will share more details about publishing in China in my August talk.
Here is the latest episode in my adventures with Runa, which I hope will tease you forward to imagine monetizing possibilities for your own books in 2016 and beyond, in various contexts:
Lee Foster Publishes Second Book in China in Chinese
My Chinese publisher has just come out with the eBook translation of my travel/literary book Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time. This is my second book in Chinese.
In April 2015 the same publisher, Fiberead, released the eBook translation of my California travel guidebook, Northern California Travel: The Best Options. That book has experienced growing sales in every month since its release. The publisher now projects a printed version of that book with elaborate photography.
The main seller of eBooks in my experience in China has been Amazon China. Graphics of my books in Chinese are from the Amazon China site. The second main seller has been an entity known as OverDrive.
My publisher is quite enthusiastic about the long-term markets for both of my books in China.
“The California travel guidebook appeals to the Chinese person who may be traveling or who is just fascinated with California,” says Runa. “There are now actually more travelers from China going abroad than from any other country.”
“Travels in an American Imagination will appeal to another type of Chinese reader,” she added. “Chinese people are now assessing their place in the world, just as Lee Foster did in this book. They, too, will marvel at how we live in the most wondrous and also possibly the most horrific time ever to be alive.”
The guidebook, Northern California Travel: The Best Options, consists of 30 detailed chapters on the iconic places to explore in Northern California, from Yosemite to the Big Sur Coast. That book exists in English as a printed book and eBook, available from all providers, whether from Amazon or independent booksellers. The eBook version is available in all eBook outlets.
Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time gathers 25 of my essays featuring worldwide places, considering how they affect our sensibility and sense of the world. Subjects range from the joy of being at Cape Canaveral, home of the space launches, to the depression of visiting the tropical rainforests around Rio, where thousands of species are disappearing forever. The print and eBook distribution pattern for that book parallels the guidebook, meaning Amazon as well as independent booksellers.
Travels in an American Imagination also exists as an audiobook for people who would prefer to listen to it rather than read the book.