Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/05/2013

E-Book Formatting and Marketing Help for Indie Authors


E-Book Formatting and Marketing

The busy, busy world of publishing transformation,  transmutation, transfiguration and metamorphosis has spawned unprecedented growth in indie publishing (self-publishing by writers) and the study of supportive skills such as editing, marketing, formatting and cover design graphics, etc.

The main drawback to the growth in self-publishing is a lack of growth (to date, anyway) of the same support usually furnished by a major publisher — sooo, indie types must experiment and use trail and error in ferreting out these luxuries to increase their chances for success.

Jason Boog, God bless him, of GalleyCat, has assembled some free e-book formatting and marketing guides:

 

Free eBook Formatting & Marketing Guides for Writers 

As self-published authors enter the eBook market, formatting has become more important than ever.

Indie authors don’t have the same support as a major publisher, so we’ve assembled a list linking to formatting guides for all the major eBookstores.

Follow the links below to access these free style guides…

1. Smashwords Style Guide (provides guidance for “major ebook retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel”)

2. Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines (PDF link)

3. Barnes & Noble PubIt! Support & Resources Page

4. Kobo Writing Life FAQ for Writers (PDF link)

5. Creating ePub Files with Apple’s Pages program *

6.Calibre User Manual (how to use this powerful eBook conversion tool)

7. Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

Read and learn more

This Publishing/Writing Blog is available on Kindle :)))

 

    

Advertisements

02/14/2013

A Little About Book Discoverability


TOC Discusses E-Book Discoverability

Many today are whining about the difficulty (or impossibility – as they see it) of getting their individual e-book/s ‘discovered’ among the onslaught of  millions of other e-books.

“There’s a literal (excuse the pun) explosion of e-books being published out there since any Tom, Dick and Harry can publish now-a-days — AND they are all badly written as none of these so-called authors have any editing done!” So say the feeling-victimized, stuck-in-the-past, unadaptable, wannabe writers of the present — Now, not all of them fit into this category, thank God.

Book discoverability is not a one-dimensional process. It is more of a three-dimensional or multidimensional procedure. One doesn’t just put a book ad out and expect good results. Or jump on social media, for that matter, and push one’s book and expect the buyers to stampede to the book.

Before you can get results from such one-dimensional actions you must first invest some time and establish relationships, community and trust — build up a following of sorts.

Once you invest your time in others and establish your name, then you will discover there are numerous ways to get your e-work discovered, also 🙂

Insights on discoverability from the Tools of Change Publishing Conference, happening in New York, NY, February 12-14, 2013, reported by Erin L. Cox:

TOC 2013: Authors, What Are You Doing Worth Discovering?

Monday at Author (R)Evolution Day — presented by Tools of Change and Publishers Weekly — authors and speakers worked to answer the question, “how will a reader discover my book?”

Mark Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo, retorted, “Ask not what discovery can do for you, ask what are you going to do that is worth discovering?” As with any discussion on discovery, the panel reminded the authors that they must first write a book that will attract and engage readers then they can create a marketing campaign that is tailored for their audience.

“The same kind of alchemy does not work for all writers and books,” said Elizabeth Keenan, Director of Publicity for Hudson Street Press and Plume. For authors like Anne Rice, who already reaches out to her followers several times a day, reaching out to them via Twitter and Facebook to promote her book was successful. That may not be true for everyone.

Lefebvre added that a million Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Like with any curation or recommendation, there needs to be a level of personal trust in order to reach out to that audience.

Read and learn more

This Publishing/Writing Blog is available on Kindle :)))

07/28/2011

A New Way to Reinvent Book Publishing?


Unbound Publishing, the Kickstarter for books

How about getting the public’s opinion on the viability of a book story … AND THEN get them to contribute to its funding, story input and advance? Pretty cool, huh?

Well this business model is being fine-tuned, tweaked and used by Unbound Publishing in the United Kingdom.

“…with Unbound the funding for the book–as well as the fan’s approval process, which is very public–happens up front, and much more swiftly…and the marketing happens by word of mouth.”

Details by Kit Eaton in FastCompany.com :

Unbound’s Crowd-Financed, Spine-Tingling Effort To Reinvent Book Publishing

Unbound publishing, the Kickstarter for books, just had its very first success: It reached its target so that it could produce and then publish a new book by none other than Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame. Why is the tech and publishing world so excited about a single book from a lone, unheard-of, pint-sized publisher? Because the whole principle behind Unbound is to take the ancient, leather-bound business model of book publishing, rip out its crumbling pages, and replace it with crowd-funding, social interaction, and tandem digital publications and real hardback books. 

Here’s the core of Unbound’s idea: It proposes a new book on its website, and people choose to “donate” a small amount of money to it, in the hope that the book gets produced. The more money you donate, the more likely the target will be reached, and the bigger “treats” you get–right up to dinner with the author. When the target is reached, writing begins and people who’ve funded the book get special access to a back room at Unbound’s website, where they can interact in limited form with the author as the book emerges. At the end, an e-text is published and distributed, but you can also choose to get a high-quality hardback edition, printed on good paper with cloth binding for people who like their books to be weighty, well-designed, and smell like traditional books.

Unbound (tagline: “Books Are Now In Your Hands”) is most similar to Kickstarter, the crowd-sourced funding body that’s been responsible for all sorts of interesting projects from iPod Nano wristwatches to a swimming pool. “We get a little bit of gyp from purists who say we’re not opening the platform out as wide as Kickstarter,” Unbound’s cofounder John Mitchinson explained to Fast Company, “Which at the moment is definitely true.”

Unbound promotes carefully selected books–from well-known names–to see if the crowd is keen to buy a final product, and that’s definitely no Kickstarter. “We’re managing the back end in a way that Kickstarter doesn’t,” says Mitchinson. “They’re a pure fundraising platform.” In comparison, Unbound takes on more of a traditional publisher role once the funding target is raised. “We’re printing and distributing and finding the market for the books,” says Mitchinson. 

Read and learn more

Get this great blog right on your Kindle HERE

 

07/21/2011

Paid Book Reviews – Credible or Expensive Trash?


Do Book Reviewers Actually Read the Material?

All the new indie publishing opportunities out there begs the question: Are book reviews functional or even necessary … especially in the digital sector where readers can just read the trailer or synopsis to find if the story may appeal to them enough to fork over $.99 to $1.99 (or a little higher).

I really don’t know. I’m a little conflicted on the whole concept of book reviews … especially paid book reviews.

Even in traditional publishing, book reviews RE fictional story telling, especially, were dubious to me at best. After all, reviews are just opinions … and you know what they say about opinions. Just because another author or other person of note says a story is good or bad, doesn’t mean another one million readers won’t disagree!

The only legitimate book reviews, I believe, probably exist in the science, math and technical areas when an expert in the field of the subject matter comments on its viability … But, this is something that can be politically motivated, so you have to be careful here, also! 

So, are book reviews necessary or good? I feel they might have a certain marketing value among those enamored with the reviewer … usually this applies to the adolescent, younger crowd.

Reviews will also be taken more seriously if the reviewing source has worked up a certain credibility (this seems very hard work) and track record amongst a particular niche. “I have enjoyed every single book that XYZ has reviewed and recommended! I will always read their reviews.”

If your e-book is good, it will get great word-of-mouth (or social media rush) and that is the best reviews you can receive … and they are free!

Here is a good insight and view on book reviews by indie author advocate Lynn Osterkamp, Ph.D. at http://pmibooks.com:

Are Paid Book Reviews Credible?

What if you could get 50 people to post positive reviews of your book on Amazon? For a reasonable fee?

I know the importance of having reviews of my books on Amazon. A mix of professional reviews and customer reviews is ideal. But for indie publishers and self-published authors, reviews–especially professional reviews–can be hard to get. Many professional reviewers still refuse to review books not published by mainstream publishers.

Sites that will review our books are increasingly charging a fee for what they term an expedited review or for posting the review they write on sites like Amazon and B&N. While most of these book review sites continue to offer free reviews, they warn that due to increasing numbers of submissions, a book submitted for a free review may take months to get reviewed or might not get reviewed at all.

So should you pay for a review?

Purists on author discussion groups and blogs continue to insist loudly that paying for a review with anything other than a free copy of the book, it is wrong. They say these reviews have little to no credibility and will ruin your reputation.

Read and learn more

Get this blog right on your Kindle!

07/05/2011

Can the Average Writer Aptly Be Both Publisher and Author?


Are estributors the future of publishing?

With the newfound, direct-to-readers, publishing freedom afforded  by techy toys … writers can now become their own publishers … BUT, with a big caveat: they must assume all the peripheral business details of a one-person publishing house!

Learning and becoming proficient in all aspects of the business side of writing will be very appealing to some (I’m one), but not so appealing to others who will not want to take the time away from their writing to accomplish the new time-consuming responsibilities.

Not to worry. A new niche is developing in the ebook/digital world that will essentially handle all the non-writing details of self-publishing such as cover design, editing, advertising, marketing, etc, etc, etc.

This new niche is being called ‘estributors’ by J. A. Konrath (the king of self-publishing) and is supposedly his ‘brainchild’ … Actually, he was the first to “idea-lize” verbally this sure to come e-world concept … an idea whose time had definitely come and is simply borrowed from legacy publishing.

These details from The Next Web (dot com) by Alex Wilhelm:

By now it is common knowledge that ebooks comprise an ever-growing slice of the book market, and are quite likely to become the dominant book format in the next quarter century. Quick, simple distribution, ease of sale and purchase, and the ability for extensive continuing revision make ebooks a format that is a winner for both publishers and readers alike.

But  there is a disturbance in the book market’s dynamics. Authors have realized that the advantages of ebook publishing, in many cases, allow them to bypass their old publishers and strike out on their own, taking a much larger cut of the profits along the way. After all, if you can make more money, why not?

But despite the lure of increased royalties per copy, can the average writer competently execute the roles of both publisher and author?

It’s an interesting question, as the market forces that have allowed authors to effectively self-publish and keep a larger portion of their sales have also made it simpler for any individual to leverage sufficient resources to become a one-person publishing house. The Internet allows for authors to find, and collaborate, with excellent editors, artists, and formatting specialists to create a truly professional-grade book in both print and digital formats.

But is that for everyone? Will all authors want to take on that massive workload that they had previously passed of to their publishers? Many will, the money is simply that much better. How much better? Imagine your cut of a book sale going from 15% to 70%. It’s a revolutionary change. But not all authors are going to want to take time that they had previously spent writing and run their own personal publishing outfit. After all, every moment spent haggling with an artist over cover art is a moment spent not writing.

Then again, no savvy author wants to simply continue giving nearly all the revenue from their work to a company who they could likely replace, at least in most respects. Want proof? J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, is setting out on her own.

So for the author who doesn’t want to lose the support of a publisher, but wants a bigger cut, something that traditional publishing houses can’t afford, is there a middle-of-the-road option for them? As it turns out, not currently, but that seems to be about to change.

Enter the concept of estributors, the brainchild of J.A. Konrath, ironically one of the largest and most famous proponents of author’s striking out from their publishers and going it alone.

What is an estributor? We’ll start with Konrath’s explanation of the idea:

Read and learn more

Get this fine blog on your Kindle

04/12/2011

YouTube Next – Opportunity for Publishers


A Good Marriage?

For those that might not know, Google bought YouTube back around 2006. Now they have purchased Next New Networks (NNN), a NYC-based startup in the online video production industry.

Many thought Google/YouTube purchased NNN to get into the content creation business…This is not the case. They just want the expertise, by way of NNN’s staff, to provide deeper and more professional content on YouTube (rather than skateboarding cats, etc). And they are going to do this by offering training in video production and audience development through a new program called YouTube Next

 This will benefit publishers tremendously! And by publishers I mean more specifically people who want to sell self-published books.

How? By teaching indie booksellers the ins and outs of video production (could be simple PowerPoint-like presentations ) and how to get these features describing, detailing and advertising their books (or WIPs)  in front of more audiences.

 These details offered through BusinessInsider.com by Dan Frommer :

Google Really, Officially, Finally Is A Media Company

In case you still had any doubts, Google is now OFFICIALLY a media company.YouTube just finally closed its acquisition of Next New Networks, a NYC-based startup in the online video production industry.

(Click here to flip through NNN’s most famous videos.)

However, we are told that YouTube is NOT buying the company to get into the content creation business, but to help its partners create better content. This help, ideally, will also generate more ad revenue for the producers and for YouTube. (More here about how Google is NOT directly getting into the content business.)

Read and learn more

03/02/2011

Publishers: Learn to Better Attract and Retain Readers


Online publishers…especially writers who do blogs to expand their platform and brand and/or websites to sell their books, etc…definitely want to learn how to attract and keep many more readers AND retain them on their sites for longer periods per visit! 

I damn sure do. I have discovered that I’m a real dumbo when it comes to smart marketing…hell, I’m lacking even when it comes to dumb marketing.

Well, I have discovered an annual analysis of these very skill sets run by an outfit known as Lijit Networks and they have just released the results of their 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis.

The figures in this analysis will surprise and educate you.

More details from this PR Newswire release:

Lijit Networks Announces Results of 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis
Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80% as Online Publishers Learn to Better Attract and Retain Readers
 
Lijit Networks, Inc., the leader in custom site search and engagement tools for online publishers, today announced the results of its 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis. Within the Lijit Top 50, a list of the top 50 widgets and tools implemented on publisher websites, adoption of social media widgets grew 80% from 2009 to 2010. Widget adoption specifically related to Facebook and Twitter almost doubled, growing from 6.96% to 11.86% deployment. Social media widgets include tools used for social networking, micro-blogging, bookmarking, and photo sharing.As part of the research project, Lijit surveyed 735,834 websites to collect data on referring traffic and on-site widget deployment. Sites analyzed include all 15,000 sites in the Lijit Network as well as their extended network, which incorporates blogrolls and other linked sites. Of the sites surveyed, 84.8% have widgets installed. A widget is defined as, “any regularly-occurring functionality on a website powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the site owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.”

Referring traffic goes social

Three main categories of referring traffic data were analyzed: 1) search engine traffic, which comprised 44.42% of referring traffic; 2) organic traffic (defined by sites linking to each other), which comprised 35.89% of referring traffic; and 3) social media traffic, which comprised 19.68% of referring traffic. Of referring traffic from social media sources, 44% came from Facebook, 41% came from StumbleUpon, 6.7% came from Digg, 5.13% came from Twitter, and 2% came from Reddit. The data verifies that both social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter as well as social sharing tools such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are being used to drive traffic to publisher websites.

“Online publishing has become a two-way street and those who are most successful have learned to use social media to build highly engaged, conversational communities of readers,” said Todd Vernon, CEO and founder of Lijit Networks. “Social media tools should not only be used to attract new readers but also to engage and retain them by allowing people to post comments, receive feedback, and share relevant information.”

Read and learn more

Remember to get this blog on your Kindle here

12/20/2010

Random House and Marketing Books Directly to Consumers


When you know who is looking for something to download, you can make suggestions directly to that person! Right on. AND, when you know that the download device is a new eReader, you know what that person wants…EBOOKS!

Simple enough concept, even for me.

Well, Random House has used this simple concept to come up with a delightful, functional and FREE marketing device for the holidays helpful to us consumers.

Julie Bosman, New York Times, has the details:

A Christmas Morning Spree

This year, the book publishing industry has its own version of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It’s called Christmas Day.

On that day, hundreds of thousands of consumers are expected to unwrap new e-readers that they received as gifts, and quickly begin downloading books to read.

Random House, the publisher of Stieg Larsson, John Grisham and Stephen Sondheim, is hoping to be there to make a few suggestions. It has prepared a free e-book, “The eBook Insider,” that is full of recommendations, reviews and book excerpts directed squarely at consumers who have just received e-readers.

“With so many people receiving an e-reader for the first time on Christmas, one of the things they’re going to want to do is go looking for the books they want to read,” said Anne Messitte, the publisher of Vintage/Anchor, a division of Random House. “And we think it’s an ideal moment to really begin helping a reader curate the collection of e-books that they want.”

Unlike the traditional holiday book advertising that takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the promotion for “The eBook Insider” is scheduled to begin on Dec. 25, first with social media messaging and then with Google ads and also print ads in The New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker.

Read and learn more

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: