Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


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

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New Online Tools Make E-Book Self-Publishing Easier :)

Just one of the new self-publishing tools

Self-publishing has become easier and easier over the last few years. As well as the distribution, marketing and formatting processes across all platforms, including the increasingly important mobiles.

So, a little revisit to self-publishing tonight is in order with some good links to new tool resources and a video.

This insight from Dana Dean   of KSDK in Missouri:

Tools for self-publishing e-books

St. Louis (KSDK/USA TODAY) — If you ever thought about writing a book, but didn’t know how to get published, now you can do it yourself.

It’s now easier to self-publish an e-book thanks to new online tools. You don’t need many technical skills and it won’t cost a lot of money either.

Our partner USA TODAY researched new tools for self-publishing e-books. They found several, ranging in price. These new online tools let you upload your books to Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Nobles Nook, Apple’s iPad, and Sony’s E-reader.

A company called Red Staple has a self-service online tool that starts at $30. Folium Book Studio has a tool for $99. Apple’s iBooks Author is a free software app.

One romance author averaged $2,000 a month in royalties. And one mystery writer says his royalties for the month of January were $60,000 for eight previously published but now out-of-print novels that he sold on Amazon.

USA TODAY tech reporter Jefferson Graham interviewed authors who say self-publishing an e-book is easy.

“What isn’t going to be easy is selling,” said Graham.  “I interviewed authors who have a following who worked their social media. And the guy who made $60,000 dollars is a mystery writer. Mysteries are the best selling genre out there. So, he’s got a ready audience. I think if you and I went out and threw stuff up there, it’s not going to move. We’re going to work to move it.”

You can find tools here:

For more information, visit the original USA TODAY article.

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Kindle Self-Publishing, Another Success Story

Dan Holloway Experiences Online Publishing Success

You can register a digital version of your work on Kindle and they will also print on demand…Your work will be available in electronic as well as print formats…And any author can upload books for the Kindle.

Just ask Dan Holloway for details of his recent success…A cool (new ?) author with a hot new thriller series.

This from The Oxford Times:

Self-publishing author wins fans through web

AUTHOR Dan Holloway is reaching out to thousands of fans and even winning favour with some over top city authors Evelyn Waugh and Colin Dexter – all thanks to the internet.

The 39-year-old administrator is getting his thrillers into the hands of fans in print and electronic format via the World Wide Web.

Mr Holloway began writing aged eight and, since 2007, has written four books for the electronic Kindle device which are printed on demand.

Until now his biggest selling book notched up 300 sales – but last month The Company of Fellows sold 1,766 copies in the UK alone. This has seen it ranked 63rd with retailer giant Amazon, which has also ranked it as the 57th bestselling Kindle book.

Publishing on demand sees authors register an electronic copy of their work with a company which then prints and sends books when orders are received. Any author can upload books for the Kindle.

Mr Holloway said: “Self-publishing is all about independence and freedom to do what you want, when you want, to write in lots of different genres and once you have got the technical stuff set up it is very easy to do.

Read and learn more

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E-Book Self Publishing Rains Money for Some

In the last several months a few authors have self-published into monetary success (and fame)…You all have probably read something about them…You know, Amanda Hocking, Barry Eisler, J. A. Konrath and such.

Laura Hazard Owen, writing for, delves into the first of a developing A-List of  successful E-Book Self Publishing authors…with a little background and earnings info thrown in:

Meet The A-List Authors Of E-Book Self Publishing

Authors who self-published their books have traditionally done it out of desperation—it was the result of being ignored or rejected by publishing houses. And without the marketing muscle of a publishing house, most of those self-published books were doomed commercially.

But the world of self-publishing is changing fast in the digital era. A growing number of authors are making a nice living selling their own e-books, often at $0.99 a pop. Below is a list of four that are at the top of that heap. One of them earned between $1.5 million and $2 million last year from sales of her ebooks; another walked away from a $500,000 advance after calculating he could do better on his own; a third bypassed traditional publishers to sign an exclusive deal with Amazon; (NSDQ: AMZN) and the fourth sold over 360,000 ebooks in March alone.

In 2009 (the latest figures available), nearly 765,000 titles were self-published in the U.S., an increase of 181 percent over the previous year. The self-publishing business is heating up in other ways too. Just last week, Smashwords, which publishes and distributes about 45,000 ebooks, signed a deal with ScrollMotion to create mobile apps for all its 18,000 author clients. To be sure, the vast majority of self-published books never come close to a bestseller list and their authors aren’t exactly raking it in. But as the self-publishing business matures, more authors are carving out audiences—in some cases, in sizable numbers. Some of them now even have agents handling their foreign and movie rights, and big publishers knocking on their doors.

Amanda Hocking

Backstory: The 26-year-old from Austin, Minn., writes in a genre known as paranormal romance (romance with elements of fantasy and horror)—think Twilight. She has self-published a total of nine books in three series, with the tenth, Virtue, to be released on Memorial Day. Her Trylle Trilogy made the USA Today bestseller list and was optioned by Media Rights Capital, with District 9 screenwriter Terri Tachell adapting.

Agent: Stephen Axelrod, The Axelrod Agency

Revenues: Hocking says she sold over 1 million copies of her books on Amazon between March 2010 and March 2011, making somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million.

Trying Out Traditional Publishing: On the strength of her success at self-publishing, Hocking sold her four-book series Watersong to St. Martin’s Press in March for an estimated $2 million-plus at auction. St. Martin’s beat HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster—and Amazon, in what is believed to be the first time the company went up against major book publishers in an new-book auction. Amazon had partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to handle the print side and to ensure that Barnes & Noble would carry the books, but insisted on the exclusive rights to publish the e-book; though Amazon’s bid was actually the highest offered, Hocking and Axelrod rejected it because they believed its terms would lead to lost e-book sales.

Since the auction, Hocking has gotten even deeper into the traditional publishing world: Last week, she announced that St. Martin’s will republish her Trylle Trilogy in both digital and print formats next year. On her blog, she suggested that fans buy the Trylle e-books at their current $0.99-$2.99 prices, noting that St. Martin’s will likely raise the price when its version of the book comes out and replaces the self-published editions.

Barry Eisler

Backstory: Eisler’s bestselling John Rain thriller series was originally published by Penguin Putnam and Ballantine. But in March, the 48-year-old author and former CIA agent and technology lawyer, shocked the publishing world by announcing he’d turned down a $500,000, two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press to self-publish the next Rain novels. Eisler splits his time between San Francisco and Japan.

Agent: None

Why the self-publishing math works better: Eisler did the math and concluded that he could do better self publishing than going with St. Martin’s. With traditional publishing contracts, a 25-percent royalty on e-book net revenue is standard. In the case of a book sold on the Kindle Store, Amazon would take 30 percent of that royalty and the agent would take another 15 percent. That leaves the author with just 14.9 percent of ebook revenues. And authors have to earn out their advances—in Eisler’s case, that would have been $500,000—before they even see a royalty payment.

By contrast, when Eisler self publishes, he earns 70 percent of each Amazon sale—forever. And though he doesn’t get an advance, he starts earning sooner. If Eisler had gone with St. Martin’s, his book wouldn’t have been available until next spring. By self-publishing, he says, he can make it available earlier and gain an extra year of sales.

Revenues: Eisler has started his self-publishing career by publishing short stories on the Kindle Store. He says that between Amazon, the Nook Store and Smashwords, which both publishes and distributes ebooks, his short stories generally make $1,500 apiece in the first month and $1,000 per month thereafter. “I’ll keep dropping the price of previous shorts as new ones go up,” he says. Each story contains an excerpt of Eisler’s next John Rain novel, The Detachment, which he plans to release this summer.

Read and learn more

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Xlibris Corporation Announces the Launch of its eAdvantage Publishing Package

How about a way to self-publish your book automatically in all the latest e-reader formats, have it distributed by the six largest ePublishing retailers, have ability to custom design the interior and exterior (cover) AND FURTHER, have your book featured in the Google Search Engine marketing component! (I think Google pretty much happens for you for free when you self-publish on your own anyway).

Xlibris Corporation says it does this very thing through it’s eAdvantage publishing package.

Pretty damn good, eh? I think this could be a good thing…depending on the up-front costs, which I can’t determine over the week-end…But, there is an “800” phone number given below
that you can call later and get all the relevent info.

I DO know that you can get your books advertised on Smashwords that offer downloads in all the e-reader formats FOR FREE…but, you have to pretty much do your own advertising…I just don’t know, at this point, what exact value Xlibris offers. Xlibris is a subsidiary of Author House/Author Solutions (a so-called “vanity” publisher), who hasn’t enjoyed the best rep in the past…but, with self-publishing becoming more acceptable in today’s publishing upheaval, they may just be offering a worthwhile product…Just proceed with caution.

This press release from

Bloomington-based self-publishing pioneer Xlibris Corporation announces the launch of its eAdvantage Publishing Package. This service spells a fresh opportunity for self-published authors wanting to tap into the emerging market of portable eBook readers across the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Figures from the Association of American Publishers, a group of leading book publishers in the US, reported a 176.6% increase in eBook sales amounting to $169.5 million in 2009. The report underscores the growth of the electronic publishing’s share of trade from 1.2% in 2008 to 3.3% in 2009, suggesting a shift in reader’s book-buying preferences.

Xlibris goes on to tap this emerging niche by offering the eAdvantage publishing package for independent authors. The package combines its professional self-publishing services with top of the line marketing services that maximizes an eBook’s availability and visibility online.

Standard package features include a fully customizable book interior layout and cover design services where authors themselves can either work with a professional interior layout and cover design templates or provide their own designs. All published eBooks get the “ePak”, that is automatic distribution to six major electronic publishing retailers in their respective formats: Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes &’s The Nook, Sony Readers and online digital book portals and

Complementing the list of publishing and distribution features is the eAdvantage’s Google Search Engine Marketing component. This allows electronic publishing buyers to find titles using keywords that authors can “bid” on to associate their published works with, thereby boosting their eBook’s visibility online.

Both previously published and unpublished authors can take advantage of eAdvantage’s Author Services Representative who will guide them through the entire publishing process. They can also track their electronic publishing’s progress and sales via the “MyXlibris” tracking interface in the Xlibris website. Published titles get their own book pages within the site with their authors retaining full control of the content. Further, authors get a 50% royalty on every eBook sale paid on a quarterly basis.

For more information on the eAdvantage Publishing Services Package, please visit, e-mail or call at 1-888-795-4274, to receive a free publishing guide.

About Xlibris:
Xlibris was founded in 1997 and, as the leading publishing services provider for authors, has helped to publish more than 25,000 titles. Xlibris is based in Bloomington, IN and provides authors with direct and personal access to quality publication in hardcover, trade paperback, custom leather-bound, and full-color formats.

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