Sales on Booknet. Interview with Ashleh Queen
Did you know that Booknet is available in 4 languages and total sales of eBooks on Booknet in 2019 reached 4.5 million copies? We've decided to ask one of our commercial authors, Ashleh Queen, about her experience on Booknet.
1. Have you ever had your book published before?
I haven’t published my book traditionally, ever. But I have made my works available for free over Wattpad and Inkitt before I started writing on Booknet for the same purpose. And, of course, the purpose was to experiment on honing the skills of writing fiction and to gain readers. For now, I have my free work available on six sites in total.
2. Have you tried contacting publishers? Have you received any offers? If you refused, why?
Yes, I have got offers from two very reputable sites. And, there was one site I contacted and we were on the stage of reading contracts. The reason behind my refusal was the rights I would lose forever. That was a huge turnoff. It was written that I will be giving out any prospective paperback, audio, translations, and movie rights in the future. Of course, I was getting the commission in each scenario but if some other famous company reaches me (for which my publishing site hasn’t tried) and wants to make a movie or paperback out of my story I have to be loyal with the publishing site and offer them 50% of all my shares because they now own the 50% of my work ownership rights for eternity.
If they want to make a sequel to my story but I don’t want to, they have the right to hire another author and continue my story. And in that case, I will not have any right to the sequel and the profits generated or over the characters (my characters that I made from nothing).
I have done a lot of research and in this written interview I want to summarize: I would prohibit you to sign this. The times have changed and this contract in no sane definition is self-publishing.
And, I am not naming here but all the sites that have the virtual currency of coin system and I can name more than ten here, are not going to be a good deal even if you publish more than fifty paid works on them. Wanna know why? Because most of these sites come with free coins system for their readers. And it is clearly stated that if your readers are spending the coins they got for free, you will get nothing. And if these sites don’t have free coins, they have yearly payment offers where the reader pays a yearly fee and get to read all the paid works on the site for free. In that case, the reader is reading your paid stories and you make nothing.
So, imagine a site with a coin system but the reader doesn’t get free coins and there are no yearly offers for readers. Sounds good? Do you think you are going to make money? I am sorry to break it to you but it is not going to work in the long run. I met a reader who ends up spending 25 dollars only because he started a book somewhere and hooked up. And didn’t realize he spent coins 25 dollars of worth. I reached that site worked to get in just to realize I will get eight per cent of the income tada! That reader had the money to spend but didn’t follow the future work of that author or that site.
I am not going to tell what I have earned so far on Booknet, yet. But it is way more money than 8% out of that one reader on that site could make me. And, I am garnering readers who will read my future work because there is no virtual coin currency barrier between me and my readers.
I remember when I was in contact with editors on Booknet while signing the contract. I told them that I loved how they don’t have any virtual currency system. And, it was one of the reasons I knew Booknet is going to work for me.
3. What are the advantages of being an independent author for you?
Linking to our previous debate, I feel safe being an independent author. I feel like I am working onto my business that I need to nourish over time and that has its very own ups and downs. I have to connect to my readers and have the knowledge for what interests them nowadays or what I should be selling them, next. In particular, I am working on to make my pen name known.
I think most people are aware of how much work getting a traditional deal could be. No one is denying the pride one can have to get their name printed on a famous publishing company but we can’t look away from the scams and brutal reality we got to hear in the news from previous editors. They say we already have our favorites and focus is more on the promotion of three books out of fifty they publish in a year. Imagine writing and dealing with rejections for two years just to realize it is not going to work.
This is the reason self-publishing had emerged and Amazon and Booknet are around.
For me, Booknet is a platform where I can monetize my writings and work on nourishing my pen name without having the fear of losing my ownership over my writings.
Imagine having your own shop in a big mall. You own all your articles in the shop and mall only works onto giving you the customer and a footing. In return, that mall asks for the share that seems so less that doesn’t hurt you. And that mall keeps on working to increase the traffic that in turn gives you more customers. Booknet and Amazon are those malls.
No one wants to open the shop in a mall that wants more than 70% of your income and if you decide to move to another place you can’t pick any of your single articles or works. All of your signed works have to be there exclusively. You have to make new work if you want to move because they are the real owner of your signed work now.
So, I will suggest Amazon or Booknet to any writer and never a site that asks for rights. That’s straight outrageous.
4. On Booknet, before becoming a commercial author and being able to sell your books you need to publish at least one free novel, have the required minimum number of followers and readers. Do you think this is reasonable? Did you have any difficulties with meeting the requirements?
This is where I am going to compare Amazon and Booknet. You open a shop and you don’t know what are you selling or are completely unaware of the things you are selling or don’t have any prospective customers, just imagine! Amazon is way too big and has many examples where many authors don’t make anything to only a few hundred dollars a year. You can search for these facts quite easily on many blogs. The requirements set by booknet are the period of testing your work. My favorite requirement is to have one free book available on the site, Why?
Imagine you have ten books on Amazon for selling and someone reads one of your most uninteresting works and gives you a bad review.
On Booknet, It is the same as giving out the samples of your writings and making a good impression. I would suggest having your best work as a sample out there that can make that customer come and browse into your other works.
As for the number of followers, imagine publishing your first book out there with no sales. Followers aren’t only about having sales but also about the validation and confidence that comes from them.
But many loyal readers can forget to follow you. I would recommend posting a blog post to ask for the followers.
Reaching 100 was difficult for me. Plus, I was always asking my readers for the followers all the time everywhere in the comment section. And, still do. After reaching 100, it was not that difficult. The reader tends to press follow when you have 100 plus followers.
5. When you started to sell your book “Contract Marriage 2”, you invited your readers from other platforms to Booknet, right? What do you think about Booknet as a platform for bringing together your readers and monetizing your works?
I did bring my audience from all the places. I want them to find other interesting free stories on Booknet and hope they can get familiar with the site. So, they are around at the time I publish my next paid story, on Booknet. You can see my comments where I am suggesting them books on Booknet that can interest them.
And, I have noticed that with that traffic a lot of new authors had arrived too. I see my book on the bestseller. And, it gives me confidence and drives to work more. But it is a matter of time and soon authors with hundreds of thousands of followers will arrive on the Booknet too. And, it will take them only a week before my book will be replaced in the bestseller section. But with them, they will bring so many potential buyers that can make me sell more copies in a few days than I would have sold in months. So, any activity that brings more readers to Booknet is going to be a win-win position for everyone. But yes, this scenario is associated with genre too. Imagine an author with thousands of followers writing in the Science fiction genre coming to this site. He/She will bring potential buyers for the books written in the science fiction genre.
6. Authors can sell eBooks on Booknet as ongoing (bookscription) or as complete. Your book “Contract Marriage 2” is sold as ongoing right now. That means that you are writing this story right now and publish new chapters when they are ready. Your readers only pay once for getting access to published parts and all future updates up until it’s finished. What do you think about this sales model?
It sounds something new. In starting, asking readers to spend on something that is not even completed felt so foreign. But now I realize this matter on another level. Writing a whole complete fiction novel or writing a novel in a serialized manner is a completely different thing. In this serialized pattern, you got to have a good start, middle twist, and cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. It spices up things and gives you in-process feedback that sometimes has a suggestion from readers that can spice up things more.
For any reader reading this interview I want to tell you that at the time of bookscription contract, Booknet asks the writers to complete the book in the coming four months. Booknet doesn’t force them but they start giving out monthly payments to writers that can drive that writer to finish the work and start another. No one is forcing you and a writer will never consider you any less of a fan just because you can’t make a purchase. You have every right to wait and make the purchase when the work is finished. But saying that it is something completely unethical and unacceptable will not be fair.
There are many sites, experimenting with many things. But again, those sites work on virtual currency (Coins) and want the user to keep spending coins. In turn, the author keeps writing short but as many as 100’s of chapters just to earn so many coins. And, the reader is supposed to buy coins and then spend it on every chapter. Imagine buying 100 coins for $140. And those coins can only make you get to ten chapters. That’s not going to cut for both the reader and the writer in the long run.
A lot of readers kept texting me and request me to sell my work on the site where they can earn free coins. A lot of you don’t realize, that those sites don’t offer the writer anything if readers are using free coins. You don’t know this because your favorite authors don’t tell you about this because they are in a contract and are not well informed about the gravity of the matter until it’s too late.
And believe me when we author came to sign up a work we think about our readers’ comfort a lot because we want you people to be around for our next paid story or free story. You people are the reason that we keep on going.
After all of this bundle of research, I have chosen Booknet for you. All you have to do is pay once and then get access to all the future updates. And you can do the math here. Spending 140 dollars for ten chapters or reading more than 40 complete e-books of your choice in the same budget over Booknet.
7. Are you happy with your sales numbers? Do you think Booknet made the process simple and clear for authors?
I followed many blogs and researched a lot before signing this contract. And seeing that I am making more than an average beginner on Amazon makes me more than satisfied. But I realize I have to keep taking more works out if I want to make the situation constant and even better in the future.
The simplicity of the process is also the major plus of Booknet over Amazon. Getting a hang of Amazon could be so difficult at times that writers have to outsource many things before they finally publish their book on the site. It makes them cost their money in the process. I am only talking about the people publishing for the very first time on Amazon. Most of the people over Amazon give up on writing because the cost of getting their first book published there is more than the earnings. And, the trick for success is to have more and more paid books out there. But people seeing no profit out of their first book on Amazon give up.
In Booknet, I didn't spend a single penny so far. And, only sharing the percentage I would have been sharing with Amazon. But Booknet offered me free ads for my work too. So, again, a plus point of Booknet over Amazon.
8. Is there something else you like about Booknet?
The best thing is the number of followers I have got on Instagram. I have this habit of asking the people following me on my social sites about where they found my work. And, 95% of people following me on Instagram came from Booknet. My other fellow authors who are not publishing on Booknet are still around 200 while I am going to reach 1K soon.
But of course, there are many other important things too, that I love about Booknet. The foremost is the safety of my rights over my writings and transparency of the payments between me and my readers. At this stage, if I don’t consider the comfort of my readers they will leave me eventually, no matter how good I write.
The virtual coin system harbors a lot more confusion and having the track about what rate is going on is difficult making them strip off more money than they should be spending on average E-book.
Another best thing was the advertisement for my work. I loved how my name was highlighted in the promotions. No site and I repeat no site works like this. And, you will never see the Authors’ writing name be highlighted like this. It indicates how much Booknet has to offer to all the writers who want to work with them. And, of course, no point in the contract suffocates you or makes you think otherwise. You have space to breathe and like an independent author, you can make decisions over the price, discounts, and giveaways.
I am provided with all day to day sales data that can help me understand a lot of factors associated with my sale. I can download it in spreadsheets anytime. Plus, the read stats and knowing how many people have my book in their library is also an important tool for many insights.
It was my first time monetizing my work and the Booknet management was always patient about many questions from my side and even now I feel free to drop them mail even over the tiniest matter. I still remember when I was finished asking them all of my questions (and, of course, those questions stemmed from my research and understanding over such sites claiming to be self-publishing sites) I was stunned. Because Booknet, was not asking for any rights and I had nothing to lose. Plus, they were offering me same share our world-famous Amazon offers. It was the first and only site I came across that was working on providing the same footing for independent authors as Amazon. But Amazon is a lot more tricky and expensive while Booknet offers us to sell our work without spending a single penny. I believe that in future there will be sites that will follow the same footprints of Booknet but until that time Booknet will be far more successful in this game.