Words with Rob Preece of BooksForABuck.com

First, can you tell us a little bit about BooksForABuck.com? How are you able to sell novels so inexpensively?

BooksForABuck.com is a small royalty-paying publisher concentrating on novel-length fantasy, science fiction, mystery and romance fiction. We've been in business since 2001 and publish approximately one book every month. Although our primary emphasis is eBooks, we also offer our authors' books in paperback, generally selling through Amazon. We are able to keep our costs down by full use of technology...other than contracts and proof copies of paperback books, all of our work is done electronically.

Our name is BooksForABuck.com and all of our books sell for $1.00 during their first month of availability. After their first month, most are re-priced at $3.99 which is still a highly affordable price. We pay author royalties of 50% (based on net revenue) which is among the highest royalty rates in the industry.

What are your methods of promotion/distribution for your ebooks?

We sell through most of the significant eBook distributors including Fictionwise, Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble, Mobipocket, OmniLit, and Smashwords. In addition we sell paperback editions through Amazon. We offer our authors unlimited eBook downloads for review purposes, and highly discounted copies of the paperback issues for book signings, etc.

We actively promote our books through banner ads, search word programs, a review website, and participation in eBook industry associations, discussion groups, and other programs. In addition, we have frequently addressed Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery and Romance cons and groups and are always willing to discuss co-op arrangements with our authors.

You say that you also offer a paperback option for interested authors, what does that entail?

Our primary emphasis is eBooks. However, many readers still prefer paper and many of our authors are excited about having a physical product they can take to signings, etc. As as a result, several years ago, we added a paperback option to our publishing arrangement. All of our authors are invited to add paperback print (although we have worked with some authors who have, for example, already sold the paperback rights to other publishers which is also fine). There is no cost to the author and there are no minimum sales requirements to have your book come out in paperback. Because we are a small publisher, we do not have the resources to get our books into brick and mortar bookstores, but they are orderable through Amazon.

How many copies can an author expect to sell of his BooksForABuck.com title? What has been your best seller so far?

Sales vary dramatically depending on author energy, subject, and other events happening in the world so it's hard to make an estimate. That said, our sales volumes tend to be small. Because we're an electronic publisher, however, our books never go out of print. Thus, sales continue accruing indefinitely. Authors who publish multiple books with us tend to do increasingly well as each new book published attracts interest not only in it, but also in the authors' entire backlist.

Do you have an editing/layout service? Is it for an additional cost or is it included upon manuscript acceptance?

Once accepted for publication, all books go through a comprehensive editing process. We work hard to fact-check (e.g., what really was Judy Garland's real name), try to catch inconsistencies in author works (did the eye color change from brown to blue without the use of contact lenses), and correct typographical, spelling and grammatical errors or difficult usage. There is no charge for this service...it is included as part of the publication process. In fact, we would not publish a book whose author was unwilling to work with us on the editing process. That said, all of our editorial suggestions must be approved by the author before publication. We also perform all of the layout, cover design, and ISBN registration required to publish. Again, this is part of the service.

Are your titles available on Amazon.com, or for Kindle?

Yes. We offer books through Amazon, both in paperback and in the Kindle store. Our books are also available for the Nook and the Barnes and Noble eBook store. Because we offer all of our books in HTML format, they can also be read on virtually any internet-capable device.

What's been the most rewarding thing about running BooksForABuck.com?

I could give you a whole list for this: being a part of the eBook revolution is certainly one. Discovering great new authors is another. Probably my favorite, though, is actually working with each author to help
their book become the best book it can possibly be.

Is there anything else about you or BooksForABuck.com we should know?

With BooksForABuck.com, the money flows from the customer/distributor to us and then to the author. We don't ask authors to pay for any of the services we provide, we believe they're an essential part of the publication process (although authors may, if they wish, buy author copies of their paperbacks at a discount price). Our royalty rate of 50% (net of distributor fees) is among the highest in the industry.

I'm a huge SF and Fantasy fan and think we have a great stable of up-and-coming fantasy/SF authors. That said, I'm definitely looking for more. I'm open to all kinds of fantasy including urban fantasy, even urban fantasy with a bit of a horror slant, epic fantasy, fairy tale fantasy, and just about anything authors want to send me. I will say that humor is hard. I'd love to get Piers Anthony, Jasper Fforde or Terry Pratchett, but I haven't found very many authors who make me laugh. Also, while I am open to short story collections, they need to equate to a novel-length work and, in my experience, rarely sell as well as novels do.

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