Back in the day, I wrote a book about songwriting on a platform called “CreateSpace” - now merged with Kindle Direct Publishing.
A Surprise Purchase
Coincidentally, bless the soul who bought my book around the same day I was listening - after no sales for years. (After everything was taken out, I only made $2.50, BUT it got me excited about online publishing and creating books, journals, printables, bookmarks, etc.) Here’s another podcast to check out if you’ve ever toyed around with the idea.
Dodging Inventory With Online Publishing?
My past experience reminds me of how online publishing isn’t easy, but it is an interesting thing to dabble with for someone who loves reading, writing, books, or book accessories.
For example, I’ve always wanted to create a highlighter that also functions as a bookmark, but then I found out it’s already out there. (Check out last week’s article for far more important simultaneous inventions.) Also, I realized I don’t want a bunch of unsold highlighters in boxes in my garage.
All things considered, my inventory surplus and slip-ups could be much worse. Here’s a rundown.
- I’ve made five CDs. I ordered 1,000 copies each time I made a CD.
- I’ve made one book. I ordered 250 physical copies (even though they were also set up for print on demand).
Faulty Logic: The more you order, the cheaper they are by the unit!
Well, my music is completely different now, and with COVID-19, I don’t plan on playing live shows for quite awhile. Although the music sells digitally at occasional intervals, any hope for selling the physical CDs is low.
Is Old Inventory a Badge of Shame?
How many CDs are left? This post inspired me to do some well over-do counting. I have around 500 out of 5,000. I consider this to be a success. They cost around $1 to make physically. It’s still like $500 rotting in our house, but it could be worse. (I once made a vow to myself to play live shows until the CDs were gone, but that doesn’t make much sense now).
Books? I have around 150. These cost me $2.50 each to have on hand. That’s like $350 rotting in the house. (I should’ve relied on the print-on-demand feature more.)
Lesson? Take it Slow with Inventory Next Time Around
When you try to gauge how much inventory to purchase, consider how you may become a completely different person with a completely different set of thoughts and ideas in the future. Personally, I have no desire to promote or sell my old books. They’re in the basement or attic or garage... somewhere. (My husband likes to reorganize constantly so I’m actually not sure!)
All this being said, the act of someone ordering my old book, it simply being printed on demand (and then shipped to their house!) is an amazing concept to me. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten more excited about it sooner.
To start, I’m going to explore printables on Etsy and Kindle Direct Publishing as a way to express newer and fresher ideas related to history, first creative dollars, bibliotherapy, journaling, and songwriting. Eventually, I may move into more physical merch (hopefully without the same mistakes as last time).
I’ll definitely mention this journey on the blog here and there if you’re interested.
Feel free to share what you know! Any experience with print on demand features? How do you decide how much physical inventory to have on hand? Any tips for someone starting over like me?
DISCLAIMER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE PLEASE SEEK A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION.