Smashwords founder Mark Coker, a visionary pioneer in the field of ebooks and the revolution in self-publishing, shared a presentation he gave recently covering his thoughts on how ebooks will transform the careers of writers. Have a look.
My company, Caroline Street Press, has used Smashwords as distributor for four ebooks to date, with several more on the way. I like the Smashwords model for distribution. Even though Amazon refuses to participate, Smashwords ensures our ebooks are offered on Barnes & Noble, Diesel, iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, and many more. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into ebook publishing, we can help–and we will certainly recommend Smashwords as part of your marketing and distribution plan.
What do you think?
It’s easy to share your enthusiasm for a book you read from Amazon.com. Speaking as an author, I know writers appreciate it when readers follow the simple steps in this brief video for every book they read.
Speaking of reviews: I prefer even neutral reviews to no reviews at all. A 3-star review is my target–frankly, it’s the best my work can currently hope for. A 5-star review is almost counterproductive, because really, who writes 5 star books? Do you believe books that are exclusively rated as 5-star books are really that good?
I’d rather buy a solid 3- and 4-star book than a book that is nothing but 5s.
Okay, check out this brief video to learn how you can make an author’s day:
Want to practice? Try this link!
Winding up our series of tips on creating and publishing your eBook (get previous entries by scrolling through the last three days of blog entries):
10. Market Your Book. Promoting eBooks online is the most cost-effective method to market your work. We recommend that any author comfortable using the internet set up a Facebook page, a Goodreads author page and an author website. There are numerous methods to market and promote your work–too in-depth to cover here, but we have extensive experience in helping authors promote their books.
11. Reviews, Tips & Tricks. One fantastic aspect of eBooks is the potential for longterm profitability. (They are clearly a marathon, not a sprint.) Properly promoting your book, obtaining reviews and generating word of mouth can achieve this.
Continuing our series of tips on creating and publishing your eBook (get steps 4-6 here):
7. Set Your Price. When you upload your book, you’ll need to set your price. Bear in mind that if you are an unknown author without a platform of dedicated readers, you will want to be careful about overpricing your book. Pricing varies case by case, but in general, we recommend debut books stay in the $2.99 to $4.99 range. Royalties vary be distributor (see #9). Also, pricing can change as time marches on–sales, previous books as loss leaders and other marketing concepts can easily be employed.
8. Sampling. Many distributors offer some form of “free sampling” of your book. We recommend making 10-20% of your book available free as an enticement.
9. Royalties. Amazon pays author royalties of between 35 percent and 70 percent, depending on how the book is priced. Check out this handy chart for more info on that.
Smashwords Pays a generous 85% to authors. The rate may vary for sales made through other outlets. More details are here.
Also–PayPal is the method of choice for royalty payments by most distributors, so you better get an account if you haven’t already.
Tune in for more tomorrow: marketing and more!
Continuing our series of tips on creating and publishing your eBook (get steps 1-3 in part 1 here):
4. Formatting. Next, you’ll need to transform your manuscript Word document into a format that suits eBooks. Kindle uses the .mobi format, Barnes & Noble, Apple and others use Epub. Many writers find it too tedious to convert their manuscripts into proper format for acceptance by the Kindle Store, etc., and prefer to pay a modest amount for a formatting service. (We can help with that.)
5. Get an ISBN. In order for people (and your local bookstore) to find your books, you’ll need an ISBN number. ISBNs are used worldwide as a unique identifier for books that simplifies distribution and purchase of books throughout the world. These may be purchased from Bowker identifier services, or you can get one free using such services as Smashwords. (However, Smashwords strongly encourages authors to use their Smashwords-issued ISBN only on Smashwords.)
Tune in for more tomorrow: pricing, sampling and more!
You may have read a recent blog post about Caroline Street Press, our new e-publishing division here at AlexG PR. We started the division for two reasons:
1. As writers, we love ebooks (and Print On Demand books) as well as working with creative people.
2. We keep getting calls and email from aspiring indie writers asking us to coffee to “pick our brain” about ebooks and print-on-demand publishing.
So, as much as we like a free cup of coffee (and a picked brain), we figured it would be better for everyone involved if we offered a professional service package rather than just caffeine-fueled, off-the-cuff advice.
That in mind, we’re offering a few free (though you can mail us coffee or a Starbucks card if you care to) tips on what it takes to publish a quality ebook right here on the blog every day for the next few days. Bear in mind, this is merely the tip(s) of the proverbial iceberg, so if you’re interested in a one-on-one consultation about getting your book from your computer to Amazon.com (or Barnes & Noble, etc.) then please contact us. We’re here to help!
eBooks are one of the fastest-growing segments of the publishing industry–and the vast majority of eBooks are independently produced. Where once mighty publishing houses controlled virtually every aspect of editing, production and marketing of a book, today authors can go it alone–often with spectacular results. This post (and the next few after it) covers the basic tasks required to publish a quality eBook.
1. Write a Good Book. Though this may seemingly be understood, many writers–intoxicated by the relative ease of getting their book from their computer to market–don’t put enough time and effort into writing a quality book. We suggest writing a first draft, putting it aside for a few weeks, then revisiting the manuscript for a rewrite. After the rewrite, share it with a few “beta readers.” Ideally, these are people who will “give it to you straight” about parts of the books that need work. They shouldn’t take the place of an editor, but they can be immensely helpful if they will read your work and give you an honest critique.
2. Hire an Editor. This is some of the best money you will ever invest (trust us, we know from firsthand experience). After you make any necessary changes, ship your manuscript off to an experienced editor. They will find things you and your beta readers missed such as typos, inconsistencies, rough sentence structure, etc. Once the editor returns the marked draft, it’s up to the author (you) to accept the recommended changes. After any changes are made and a final polish of the manuscript is complete, then you’re ready to go to the next step.
3. Get A Good Cover. How many wonderful books are ignored because of a below average cover? You need a cover that screams credibility–and one that will attract attention even when it’s a tiny thumbnail on a computer screen.
Tune in for more tomorrow: formatting, ISBNs and more!
A rising demand for help in getting independently-authored books and ebooks to market led Kansas City PR firm AlexanderG Public Relations to offer independent book publishing consultation.
“Since word has spread about my own books, I’ve have had many inquiries from independent writers asking for advice on ebooks, print-on-demand (POD) and independent publishing in general,” said AlexanderG Public Relations owner Alex Greenwood.
Writing as J. Alexander Greenwood, he is an independent novelist with several ebook and print-on-demand titles. An early adopter and advocate of ebooks, he was recently keynote presenter at a Kansas City Public Library event about his writing and indie publishing.
“In response to the interest from writers, we created Caroline Street Press, LLC. Caroline Street is a publisher of independent fiction, nonfiction and multimedia works,” he said. “Caroline Street works with AlexanderG PR as consultants helping independent writers get their books to market.”
“Our primary focus is consulting on the editing, production and packaging of ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks,” he added. “Though Caroline Street is a publishing imprint, we do not pay advances or provide printing services. Instead, we guide writers through the independent book publishing process and help them market their work. Whatever they need–editing to cover art, formatting to distribution, marketing to public relations–we can help.”
“At Caroline Street, our aim is to use my experience and network of artists, editors, book formatters and distributors to help independent authors publish the best possible work,” Greenwood said.
The demand is palpable.
“According to the Association of American Publishers, E-books grew a dramatic +164.8 percent in December 2010 vs the previous year ($49.5 Million vs $18.7M),” he said. “E-book sales represented 8.32 percent of the trade book market in 2010 vs 3.20 percent the previous year. A huge chunk of those are independent, non-traditionally published titles–called ‘indies’ by many. There are a sizable number of new and even established writers who need help navigating the steps to get their books out there.
Consulting services are project fee-based.
“We don’t take a percentage of sales like a traditional publisher,” Greenwood said. “We help authors prepare their books ready for publication, get them launched and if the authors wish, create and enact a marketing and promotion campaign. We offer three pricing plans.”
Greenwood added that in his 20-year career in public relations, he has a proven track record of successful promotion and marketing of books, music and entertainers. He also has experience as a reporter, newspaper editor, columnist, blogger and magazine editor.
Caroline Street Press is publisher of two indie novels, Pilate’s Cross and Pilate’s Key (and the forthcoming Pilate’s Ghost) by Greenwood. Caroline Street also publishes short stories, including the award-winning short-story Obsidian. The company is currently working on two business books and is consulting with several aspiring authors.
For more information, email Caroline Street Press here.
Founded in 2010. AlexanderG Public Relations has one of the most diverse portfolios of experience and success in the Kansas City area. We’ve spent our careers building a knowledge base that spans several industries and disciplines including healthcare marketing and management, higher education marketing and public relations, broadcasting, publishing, non-profit communications, news media and more.
As a member of PRConsultants Group, we also have associates in every major media market in the United States. Work with us and you get “big agency” service with the affordability of a boutique firm.
Our past and present clients include local, regional and national retailers, organizations, associations, universities and individuals including Tide, Duracell, The Limited, Blockbuster Video, the University of Kansas School of Business, Front Porch Alliance of Kansas City, Community Christian Church of Kansas City, I.O. Metro Furniture Stores, EcoHab and many more.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that in my spare time I like to write short stories and mystery/thriller novels. In fact, my second thriller (Pilate’s Key) is coming out next month (visit my Facebook page for updates). It’s the second in what will be a trilogy of adventures featuring the hapless John Pilate and his imaginary pal Simon. (Hey, the reviews are pretty good!)
So, if you haven’t read the first book, Pilate’s Cross–and you’re worried you won’t dig the new book unless you read the first one–I have good news. You can get 25% off the paperback. Just use the coupon code BUYMYBOOK305 at the link below. This coupon expires December 14, 2011. It also makes a nice gift for the readers in your circle of friends and family, if I say so myself.
If you prefer ebooks, no problem–you can get Pilate’s Cross for only 99 cents on Amazon!
So, this Holiday Season, enjoy a cheap thrill from yours truly. (Did I mention it makes a great gift?)
Check out this interview I did with the Kansas City NBC affiliate about the road I took to independently publishing my novel, Pilate’s Cross. The reporter had read an earlier blog post about my decision and thought it would make a nice story. I think he did a great job and thought you might enjoy watching it–whether you’re into marketing, writing, ebooks, mystery thrillers or just PR guys with very small offices.
I’ve enjoyed writing and marketing my book. Several book clubs have read it and it has received generally favorable reviews. As I work on the sequel and other writing projects (when work and life allows) it’s really gratifying. Sales have been okay (I had a book signing in Omaha–what a blast!), and though I may not be getting rich I’m having a great time.
So to all you “Someday I’d like to write a book” folks out there…there’s never been a better time to do it and actually have a shot at getting your work in the hands of potential fans. Go for it.