Monday, May 16, 2011

Why You Won't Succeed

Ebooks aren't a straight path to fortune and fame. I never said they were.

But I have said, repeatedly, that writers are better off self-publishing than going through a legacy publisher. In the long run, you'll make more money, and sell more books.

However, I keep seeing writers making the same mistakes when it comes to self-pubbing. So here's a hot dose of reality to temper those dreams of vast riches.

Why You Won't Succeed As A Self-Published Ebook Writer

1. You're not self-publishing any ebooks. If you're a writer who would rather complain about ebooks, embrace the past, and spend all of your free time coming up with crummy arguments about why ebooks suck, congrats. You have fulfilled your own dim-witted prophecy, and you won't make a dime.

2. You expect instant success. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to find an audience. But you have a much better change finding it with an ebook, which has an infinite shelf life.

3. You tweak too much. It's smart to experiment with different covers, prices, and book descriptions. But there comes a point where you have to let it go, and write something else.

4. Your book sucks. Read your reviews. If you're averaging 3 stars or less, you need to take a closer look at your writing. Story problems, grammar errors, typos, poor formatting, and sloppy editing will make people avoid you.

5. You aren't promoting. For people to buy your book, they have to know it exists. With millions of ebook titles now available, you need to make folks aware of it, or remain mired in obscurity.

6. You're promoting too much. Spamming, constantly talking about your ebooks, tooting your own horn, and abusing Facebook, Twitter, and forums with nonstop blatant self promotion will turn folks away from you.

7. You're priced too high. Value has nothing to do with the cover price. it has to do with how much money the ebook makes. And lower prices sell many more copies and usually make more money.

8. Your cover sucks. If it looks homemade, you won't sell as many. Period.

9. You're a jerk. Try to avoid being an ass clown in public. A bad reputation will follow you around for years.

10. You haven't written enough. The more you write, the more you'll sell. This is all about shelf space. Have as much as possible.

So what does all of this mean?

If you treat this as a business, act professionally, and keep at it for the long haul, you'll do fine.

But many of you will give up before then. Which is fine. Have fun wallowing in bitterness and bemoaning the unfairness of the world. I'll happily sell my books to the readers you would have had if you'd tried harder.

Like this one:


151 comments:

Selena Kitt said...

Squeeeeee! Running off to one-click!

I shouldn't. I haven't even read Killers yet... sheesh. I'm so behind. Dang that writing more books thing! :x

jtplayer said...

That's a pretty darn cool cover Joe.

Lindsay said...

Heh, I just did a post on 7 Reasons You're Not Selling Many Ebooks, but I have to admit your version is blunter and more succinct. *g*

Thanks for the tips!

~Lindsay
Ebook Endeavors

Gregory said...

ebooks are a no brainer. I offer my book as a paperback as well (as I will future books) because I do love hitting the brick-and-mortar bookstores for a little non-Internet promoting. It's akin to my mom telling me to "get your eyes away from the video game machine and ride your bike!"

Gregory
Nightcry Official Site

V. Furnas said...

The cover looks amazing! Another blunt honest post.

tyhutchinson said...

Nice. Looking forward to another Konrath book.

When is the sequel to Flee coming??

Joe Konrath said...

When is the sequel to Flee coming??

July.

nwrann said...

@Joe,

you forgot the most important reason why Self-Published Ebook writers won't succeed:

NOT LUCKY

right? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Have you heard that agents are becoming e-publishers as you predicted? But they are takinig 50% of royalties and taking all expenses off the top before they send the author any money.

Eric said...

A great summery Joe!

I think that number 6 (You're promoting too much) and 9 (You're a jerk) are closely related.

Under promotion between too little and too much I would also include that you might be promoting your work to the wrong people. I have seen many authors who spend all their time writing on other writer’s blogs. Doing so has a limited reach. Authors need to know who their audience is and where they hang out.

nwrann said...

@Eric wrote:Authors need to know who their audience is and where they hang out

An excellent point!!!

(For example: if your twitter feed is 95% other authors (and you only have 150 followers anyway) you probably shouldn't spend too much time on it, unless you're steadily growing your following)

Stephen Leather said...

Great cover!

"This is all about self space. Have as much as possible."

Self space or shelf space? Freudian slip or deliberate? Either way it works!

Jeff Edwards said...

Once again, you knock it out of the ballpark. Great post.

T.J. Dotson said...

I'm printing this out and taping it to the fridge...

If you treat this as a business, act professionally, and keep at it for the long haul, you'll do fine.

The long-haul it is!

Kirkus MacGowan said...

Lol, I love your blog. It isn't very often that I can find great information and a good laugh in the same place. Thanks for being so straightforward.

Kate Madison, YA author said...

Excellent post!

I've always wanted to run a marathon...

Karen Woodward said...

Another great post! I'm going to go and work on my manuscript now. :)

Gary Ponzo said...

Joe has made the acknowledgment page of my latest novel, because without him opening up the books for all of us to see, I would've never taken the leap.

The Author said...

The best advice is the simplest.

David Tanner said...

Completely agree with you, Joe. My favorite point is number two. It used to be that publishers worked to build a writer's audience over time. Many of the current longtime bestsellers came up this way. Hell, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels took decades before they were bestsellers. So, one of the things that I like best about ebooks is that they ARE forever and that your book doesn't have to take off right out of the gate.

It seems to me that ebooks aren't only giving authors a chance to make more money but also giving them a much more realistic time frame to build a career. Plus, if a newbie is smart, they can learn and grow as a writer and still make money while they do it.

Krissy Brady, Writer said...

Thanks so much for the tips! I especially appreciate your blunt approach; it's very inspiring. I am going to use this post as a guide for when I begin planning my first e-book.

J.D. Pasco said...

This is why your weblog is so polarizing -- in as much as I like it, some people won't (those in perpetual denial).

EC Sheedy said...

Isn't there some concern, that if you self-promote too much, you go blind.

Great post--but then all of them are. Thanks.

jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jack said...

Seriously good stuff.

I do have a question about pricing... would you suggest a 2.99 price for Novels of all genres?

The reason I ask is.

I have read tons of blogs, some by authors you have featured. I am writing a Fantasy novel, and have taken all of your advice to heart! One of the blogs suggests a 4.99 price on e-books of the Fantasy genre just to be taken seriously (not a direct quote, but my summation of the words).

Is this where you would recommend the experimentation you talk about often?

As always, I am a huge fan! Thank you for everything.

Jack

http://osricswand.blogspot.com/

S Alini said...

A good dose of reality, which I think we needed. Success isn't guaranteed, but it's good to know it's possible. Looking forward to reading this one.
S Alini
The Strange Journal of the Boy Henry

Nicole MacDonald said...

Ouch! A stinging post for some ;p Love that new cover Joe, very striking.
Re-edited vsn of The Arrival now up and just .99c for May ONLY

Paul Salvette said...

You can never self-promote too much, but once your famous you do have to possess that politician-like quality of making everyone in the room feel more important than they are. Just look at the Clintons. However, I wouldn't consider spamming bit.ly urls on Twitter "self-promotion", because it's mostly just annoying.

I hear a lot of talk from successful e-Book authors about the importance of the cover. This is really great advice, because I had a dumb preconceived notion that it wasn't very important. The small amount of money in getting it professionally done sounds like an excellent return on investment. Thank you for the tip!

Madison Johns said...

I have my first book at a publisher, but putting it in ebook format scares the hell out of me. First off, nobody knows who I am. I do have a blog and a presence on Facebook, but don't really get twitter. I have a great cover artist, and it was edited by an editor once, but I think I'll still be looking into a proofreader. Problem with that is, it costs more money. I found a great one on here that doesn't charge too much. Then most people don't know they need to format their book for an ebook. Most of you that have put ebooks up before think, duh, you should know that, but I'm a newbie how would I know that until I read it somewhere? Reading blogs like this can't hurt either.

Jada Temple said...

As always, straight to the point...I really like the cover, too. I agree, I think too many writers do expect instant success, especially if they have poured so much into one book. I think with anything else be it paying your dues in one's profession, it takes practice, skill, time and learning.

Do you think people tweak too much, because they are really scared or nervous about publishing for the first time?

Woody said...

Hi Joe, Cool cover - I have just forwarded you an email I sent you a week or so ago about potentially interning for you?

Would be great to hear what you think - Email had subject of "Mr Konrath, can I intern for you?" and my name is Woody Hayday!

Cheers

Woody

Erica Sloane - Author said...

Looking forward to the new one!

I'm always having to remind myself that it's a marathon. Patience, patience, patience.

Indy Armada said...

Stay patient, don't give up! Find new ways to collaborate with other writers. Join forces & help each other out! Always look to create situations in which everyone benefits. This is a community! Act like it & sky is the limit. :)

badas2010 said...

My Mum always told me that self promotion will make hairs grow in your palm!

Anonymous said...

Keep the advice coming, Joe.

I just read a (former) agent's blog where the comments call you vitriolic. And an interview with another major agent who said that self-publishing is "cheating."

So we need the other side. Sometimes we need it A LOT.

Joe Konrath said...

Self space. Heh.

David Wood said...

@Jack- David Dalglish is doing well as an independent fantasy author. His prices vary, but he'd be a good person to touch base with to get his advice. He's active on Kindleboards and is a good guy.

Marcus Blakeston said...

Why is Stirred priced three and a half times higher than your other ebooks? Will it drop down to the normal price when it is no longer new?

bettye griffin said...

My two independent novels are doing reasonably well, but even before the latter one started to drop I knew I had to come up with something new. I tend to be a slow and careful writer, but I won't put out crap just for the sake of publishing something else. So my goal now is to speed things up without sacrificing quality.

Joe Konrath said...

Why is Stirred priced three and a half times higher than your other ebooks?

Stirred is $2.99. If you don't live in the US, Amazon adds VAT.

ezbeanz said...

good tips to work/live by.

Katie Klein said...

Awesome advice (as usual).

I just signed on to twitter, and one of the biggest differences I see between the traditional pubbed writers I follow and the self-pubbed is that the self-pubbed are forever throwing links to their books in their tweets.

Nothing wrong with self-promotion, but at some point it becomes white noise. I like to see people on the other end of those facebook statuses and tweets.

Susan Deahl said...

That's my favorite Jack Daniels cover yet.

What is Thomas and Mercer? Do you have a traditional publisher for this one?

Darlene Underdahl said...

Very good comments.

My problem: folks read my book and talk about it for months, it sticks with them. But when I ask for a review they get all shy and stuff.

The subject matter is tough, and added to that, my parents were casual racists who would *not* reconsider their point of view. I'm subborn enough not to gloss things over and cover for them. Sigh. www.vermillionroadpress.com

Samantha Hunter said...

Joe, I was glad to see this common sense post, as I think a lot of folks are jumping into the self-pub "craze" thinking they will make 20K next month (weirdly, a few will, but not many, I think...).

I agree that you will make money over time, and it's money you wouldn't have made otherwise, so that's all good.

However, to be honest, while my self-pub books are doing fine and show exponential growth over last year in sales, there's no way they will make more than I earn in even one 3-book advance through Harlequin in any reasonable time frame -- at the current rate of earning, assuming I don't get any "flash point" there things take off, but just steady sales, I would make the equivalent of ONE 3-book advance (not even counting royalties) in about 4 years w/ the books I have up on Amazon and SW now.

So, considering I usually get one 3-book contract roughly on an annual basis w/Harlequin, there's no way my self-pub earnings can ever overtake my trad pub earnings unless there is a huge rise in sales. Theoretically, they could take off (I have faith) and earn more, or maybe over a *very* long haul they might earn more, but we're talking tens of years then (at the current sales rate), in very small degrees.

What I like about the self-pub income is that, while smaller, it is constant, and fills in the blanks between those advances. It's nice to have a monthly paycheck in this biz. For these reasons alone, I plan to self-pub more books.

So I don't see my self-pub taking over my traditional pub income any time soon -- that's okay. I get other benefits from it, like exposure, new audiences, and creative freedom, as well as some extra money.

I don't think I have committed any of the offenses you name, but if you have other ideas why some books "take off" etc or other advice, I'm all ears -- believe me, I would love it if my self-pubs out-earned my trad pubs, but so far, I can't see that happening anywhere in the near future, because personally I am not seeing those kinds of sales numbers.

Sam

Anonymous said...

I AGREE! This never ending self promotion and marketing talk on Facebook, Twitter, and the forums has turned me off to so many writers, and it's eventually going to kill whatever revolution is happening.

If indie writers really want to carve a niche for themselves in publishing, they need to focus on getting better. Stop talking about how to sell your books, and start talking how to write better ones. I've read close to 100 self published books, and I've found some really good ones, but not one that couldn't use a little more work.

Joe Konrath said...

What is Thomas and Mercer? Do you have a traditional publisher for this one?

Aren't you observant? :)

There will be an announcement soon. And, no, they aren't a traditional publisher, per se.

Joe Konrath said...

there's no way my self-pub earnings can ever overtake my trad pub earnings unless there is a huge rise in sales

That's what a lot of writers thought duing their first year or two on Kindle. Keep at it and see what happens.

Samantha Hunter said...

///That's what a lot of writers thought during their first year or two on Kindle. Keep at it and see what happens.///

Okey-doke -- this is my second year in -- I don't have any plans on stopping, planning a second book in my mystery series up by end of the year. Not being a naysayer (not entirely), but I will definitely see what happens and will let you know. *G*

Sam

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Hey Joe,

Great post. It's nice to see I'm doing the right things. It's just that patience thing I have to remind myself to have. Success is rarely instant, and I completely appreciate that. I just released a second book, and I will say, two is better than one, and when I release a third book in 2 months, I expect it to get better yet again. I've done very little promotion for my second book, and it's doing pretty well comparatively. I still do what I think is ample promo, but I didn't do a mega contest or anything. But I'm lucky and it's a popular topic (YA vampires). And it's doing well at $3.49.

But thanks for all you do, I agree with one of the others, I need to cut this out and tape it to the fridge!

Thanks again,

Karly Kirkpatrick
www.karlykirkpatrick.com

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

I do have a question about pricing... would you suggest a 2.99 price for Novels of all genres?

I understand why authors are pricing at $2.99. That 70% royalty is very tempting. But I think in the long run $0.99 is going to turn out to be the optimum price point for full-length novels.

Why? There are no used ebooks. You can't trade ebooks 2-for-1, pass them along to a friend, or give them to the library. In essence, I think most authors haven't yet realized that with the new world order they're going to get paid a full royalty on what amounts to used-book sales. That is, most authors are still in the mind set of getting paid once for a book. With ebooks, you get paid every time. So, if I read one of Joe's books and recommend it to a friend, I can't pass the physical book along to him. He has to buy his own. Pricing at $0.99 makes buying books recommended by friends a no-brainer. If I tell a friend, "You've got to read this Konrath guy" and all of Joe's books are at $0.99, chances are he'll buy a bunch of them. If they're at $2.99, he may buy one, and he may buy more later. But at $0.99, they're an impulse batch purchase.

I keep reading rants about $0.99 being horrible for authors. I think it's really great for authors in the long run and even the medium run. If I were Joe, I'd want potential customers to buy all my books at $0.99 rather than one or two at $2.99 and possibly some others later.

Ender Chadwick said...

Another set of well put points Joe. The cover for Stirred looks fantastic. What is this now,eBook 41?

jackfoehammer said...

Absolutely spot on. I've only just begun in self-publishing, but already learned all of these lessons.

Spamming is probably the most irritating. I've seen someone tweet the link to each one of their books each day...sometimes more than once...for weeks.

Megg Jensen said...

Robert - Readers absolutely pass along ebooks. I know Nook allows for lending, doesn't Kindle? I get ebooks for free through my library's partnership with Overdrive.

So, yes, there is a used market for ebooks.

Megg

TK Kenyon said...

I completely agree with what you say about not spam-promoting!

To that end, I've started a page on Facebook, Dr. Kenyon's Writing Apple .

It's a daily writing prompt to help authors think about their characters in their WIP.

An Apple a day keeps the writer's block away!

And yes, I need to get my ebooks up. I'm committed now, with all the connotations of "committed," to get ebooks out.

Thanks for your kicks in the pants, Joe! I need 'em, and I weirdly enjoy them!

TK Kenyon

nwrann said...

@Robert wrote: But I think in the long run $0.99 is going to turn out to be the optimum price point for full-length novels.

There are two kinds of buyers out there (for virtually everything that can be sold). Those that buy things at "regular" price, and those that buy things at "discount" prices. And there's a little crossover in there depending on how badly something wants it.

Both of these factions are huge.

Trad publishers know there is a large group out there that is willing to pay $25 for hardcover books or $14.99 for trade paperbacks or $9.99 for ebooks.

Walmart knows there is a large group out there that will pay $1.99 for bargain bin books.

My point is that it is possible to attract readers in either of the groups. You MIGHT have to do more work to sell at $4.99 (which is largely considered an "impulse" buy) than you will at .99 but you get more reward.

If you think that the .99 price is your biggest weapon against The Big Six because you're an "unknown" self pubbed author, ask this question: Who the hell is Sara Gruen? And who the hell was she in 2006? A virtually unknown author. Did her publisher bargain price her book to try to get people to buy it? No, they went out and made sure that people were talking about it.

a question: If you sell your novels at .99 how do you price your short stories?

Pre-Sale Blockbuster said...

How do you top the sales lists at Amazon, a month before your book is released? Do you?

A) Sign up with a major publisher,which may include signing over a substantial percentage of royalties, and possible debt-financing?

B) Or release digital copies online and become a viral sensation?

The answer is B, at least it is if your book is called “Go the Fuck to Sleep”

The book, written by Adam Mansbach, and published by a little known publisher, has sold over 100,000 copies, pushing it to the number 1 spot. It’s so popular, that the publication date has been moved from October to mid-June.

Want more? How about the fact that film rights have already been sold to Fox2000. Or that publishers in the UK, Australia, South Africa, India and even China are also putting the book out simultaneously with the US release?

Some credit the sales to a pirate PDF of the book. The PDF went viral, with the pages spread via twitter and Facebook as well as other ‘new media’. The book began as a Facebook post between friends 11 months ago, so it’s only fitting it goes full circle.

Not everyone’s looking on the positive side, though. Business Insider insists it only works for ‘a picture book, not a novel, so the value of the physical object is higher than for a book which is just text.’ and that people will ‘buy the book, not for themselves, but for a friend. Again, this isn’t applicable for most books.’

Or, put another way, this book is something people not only want to own, but want others to own, and that it’s obscurity, not piracy that’s the real problem. What a surprise it’s sold so well then. Sounds like a novel way of dealing with piracy though – make stuff people want to buy, it might just catch on….

http://torrentfreak.com/piracy-makes-book-a-pre-sale-blockbuster-110517/

Jason said...

Very happy to hear SPREE will be out in July since FLEE was great. And I agree that the STIRRED cover really is cool.

But why is STIRRED not being released until November? I'm sure you and Blake could have it out much sooner than that. Curious too about this Thomas & Mercer thing...but not happy if it causes your ebook releases to be delayed by months.

I was also surprised to see Crouch's name ahead of yours on a 'Jack' book!

nwrann said...

"Again, this isn’t applicable for most books."

duh.

Jude Hardin said...

Does anyone know of some good places to promote horror?

If you sell your novels at .99 how do you price your short stories?

I agree. I think novels should be $4.99, novellas $2.99, and short stories $.99.

Actually, the optimum price point for novels might be even higher; my $9.99 novel is still outselling my $2.99 novella.

Joe Konrath said...

I was also surprised to see Crouch's name ahead of yours on a 'Jack' book!

It's that damn alphabet thingy.

Blake and I are writing Stirred right now. The due date is August. A November release is a year after Shaken (October 24) and just in time for holiday shopping.

Thomas & Mercer is doing a press release tomorrow. I'll also blog about it.

J.T. Dunsmere said...

3. You tweak too much.
This also applies to the manuscript, especially the first chapter. I'm a niche publisher of non-fiction and I often see first chapters that have been edited so ruthlessly that the voice is gone. I have to go to later chapters to find the writer's actual style.

nwrann said...

@Jude wrote: "Does anyone know of some good places to promote horror?"

1) Depends on what you mean by "promote". If you're talking about a one way conversation (i.e. advertising, marketing, sending a message) then you can buy ads on every horror mag, blog, site etc.

2) You can solicit reviews by sending copies to every mag (Fangoria, Rue Morgue, etc) site (Dread Central, Bloody disgusting etc) and blog (too many to think about listing). Many of them have fiction review sections.

3) Join the plethora of yahoo/goodreads/google/FB groups out there and join in the conversation. Let me emphasize JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION. don't "market" and "promote" your stuff aside from your signature. If people like what you're talking about they'll check your stuff out.

With all that being said, I'm an independent horror filmmaker and I have to say that the horror landscape has changed drastically in the past five years or so and it's very, very difficult to get a handle on where people are actually finding their content. The biggest challenge in horror right now (as well as many other genres) is findability. It used to be that taking an ad out in Fangoria would get you hundreds or even thousands of mail order sales. Now, it's nothing.

BTW, all of the above applies to all genres.

also, check out www.projectwonderful.com for very affordable advertising opportunities. Whether it works or not is another thing. I've run a few campaigns through them and had a good number of click throughs but no sales that I know of (for my films)

Marcus Blakeston said...

Stirred ebook is £5.62 on Amazon UK, discounted from £7.02. The paperback version is listed at £6.97, cheaper than the list price of the ebook.

For comparison, Flee is £2.12, The List is £2, and most of your others are £1.70.

There's a screenshot here:
http://i52.tinypic.com/2lstg8g.jpg

riverrat said...

#5: "For people to buy your book, they have to know it exists...you need to make folks aware of it..."

Obviously, but "HOW"? I know, I know: platform. Book will be finished end of summer so have time to set up blog, twitter, website, etc., but if self-pub, can't fathom how the masses will find me, even one at a time. Advice?

Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Nathan! Do you have links to where we might be able to purchase your films?

nwrann said...

Thanks, Nathan! Do you have links to where we might be able to purchase your films?

I don't like to be all spammy and pimp my stuff all over the place but you might find a link in my sig. Thanks.

Oh and if anyone thinks selling e-books is challenging check out my blog post at nwrann.wordpress.com. The indie film biz is the equivalent of trying to self pub without the benefit of a cool, dedicated gadget like the kindle or nook. (plus add thousands of dollars of production costs on). In short, I sold less copies of my latest film than the number of great reviews I received.

-Nathan Wrann
Dalton Gang Press
Burning Inside

evilphilip said...

"Have you heard that agents are becoming e-publishers as you predicted? But they are takinig 50% of royalties and taking all expenses off the top before they send the author any money."

Turning themselves into the same traditional publisher that eBook Indies are running away from? Not smart thinking.

I posted to twitter yesterday, I'm now officially way above the advance offered by UK Sci Fi/Fantsy publisher Angry Robot for ONE of my books.

What I mean by that is that Angry Robot offers a $10,000.00 advance to first-time authors (like me) and they break that down into the traditional 1/3 up front, 1/3 upon completion of the manuscript and 1/3 upon publication.

That process takes 24+ months and breaks down to about $400 a month for the author -- and that is if the author doesn't have an agent. If you have an agent you make even less than the $400 a month. (15% less if you want to get picky.)

I have a book up on Amazon.com that is now bringing in more than $400 a month. (Quite a bit more this month.)

I love the idea of books and the tactile sensation of holding a good book in your hands, but I'm not giving up my $800 a month for their $400 a month.

Like Joe says, Treat it like a business.

贝挚仁 said...

Just read your Wild Night Is Calling. Short and Sweet. a-la Twilight Zone.

$0.99!

JPK said...

I think most writers fall in love with the idea (dream) of making $1,000,000 right now, versus $1.5 million over 20 years. We live in the I-Need-Everything-Right-Now generation. Instant everything. Yes, forever is a long time. A very, very, very long time...

Patricia Bremmer said...

So many good points, can't pick my favorite, unless it's cover art. I still will always judge a book by its cover. And, your point about not being an overnight success is good, too. I stopped watching the ratings of my books and although my adult mystery line WAS my strongest it is my middlegrade books who jumped into best seller status with me doing nothing to promote them. So I agree with you, give it time and let it happen.

Anna Murray said...

Obviously, but "HOW"? I know, I know: platform. Book will be finished end of summer so have time to set up blog, twitter, website, etc., but if self-pub, can't fathom how the masses will find me, even one at a time. Advice?

Write a second book. Then a third. Then another.

My book sales were milquetoast until I had 3 books up.

Ignore sales data for now. Price your first book aggressively, and then lock yourself in a room with no windows and crank out another great book. Rinse and repeat.

I know. It's hard, but anything profitable and worth doing is difficult.

Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Nathan. I'm on the road right now, but when I get home I'll buy one of your DVDs.

nwrann said...

I love the idea of books and the tactile sensation of holding a good book in your hands,

Createspace POD.

Actually easier to format than e-books.

A.K. Smith said...

Thanks for the great post. You've said it all before, but it's nice to see it all in one place.

Although I think #3 is a valid point, a problem I see more often is not enough tweaking. This seems to come in three flavors: a) people willing to tweak, but not the things that actually need tweaking, b) people unwilling to tweak at all, and c) people unwilling to even question whether they should be tweaking.

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@Madison Johns

This is how I explain Twitter. It's like sending a text message (it can't be longer than 140 characters), but instead of your message going to just one person it goes to everyone on your list.

The folks on your list are known as "followers." When you send out a message you are "tweeting."

After Joe's last kick ass post, I realized I was so excited about my new books that I was pretty much talking about them non-stop.

To correct this, I started posting short quotes from my books on Twitter and FaceBook. They have been very well received and I know it is helping me build an audience.

Here is a FB tip: If you simply post a status update, it will not show up with a "share" link.

Adding a URL, photo, or video makes the "share" link appear. I have found that a beautiful photo of a flower helps draw the eye, classes up my wall, and gets that all important "share" link to show up.

Here is a Twitter tip: https://www.socialoomph.com/login is a site that lets you schedule Twitter posts at no charge. This is cool because it means your Twitter posts will be spread out and you don't have to be in front of the computer and/or remember to post them.

It will also let you schedule FB posts, but when I last checked, it doesn't ideally handle URL/Photos/Video links. Meaning, it just does a status update and doesn't get you the "share" link. I asked them about this and they blamed it on FB......

Anyway, they are great for Twitter and I get new followers from them all the time.


Veronica
Facebook

Twitter

Basil Sands said...

Long haul is where its at. I plan on retiring with the earnings of my books. That means I have twenty years to get it right and earn enough to make the missus happy.

Long term success...nature's viagra

Stacy said...

Brand new commentator here and late to this post's party. But as I'm getting closer to finishing the first draft of my book, I'm beginning to weigh the pros and cons of self vs. traditional publishing. Self-publishing is appealing for obvious reasons. But would you recommend a brand new, unproven author at least attempt the query process (after strong editing, of course), simply for the experience?

Great post!

Christopher said...

The promoting is the part I am trying to figure out right now. Too much, too little it seems like a very fine line.

I released a collection of short stories this weekend as a way of doing a test run for my first novel (coming out in June). I am not expecting miracles here but as I wind my way through process the finding places to get the word out frightens me almost as much as putting the book out.

No one likes an annoying pest :)

Shawna said...

Loving the cover Joe!

no-bull-steve said...

Ohhhh man. I had you until #8. There's just no way I'm giving up being an azz clown in public!

Rebecca Burke said...

I love this blog. Whoever said it was "vitriolic" is too sensitive by half.

I wish you would consider a Q and A sometime, Joe. I've got a big one re: writers like myself who write in genres where readers are probably unlikely to be using ereaders yet, at least in big numbers. I know this will change. But now, I've got a book (and a few more coming) that are in the YA and women's fiction categories. I seriously wonder what the market potential is for them. Now, I suspect, it is minimal compared to the market in thrillers, sci fi, fantasy, self-help, etc. Any research available that you know--or predictions?

When I Am Singing to You (Amazon, PubIt, Smashwords, etc.)

Rebecca Knight said...

This list is great :).

The thing I love about this particular marathon is that I'm making small amounts of money while I put on my running shoes and take those first few steps...

Feels good, man.

David Gaughran said...

Spot on, Joe.

I remember Dean Wesley Smith talking about putting his first short story up on Amazon, as an experiment, and not promoting it at all.

At the end of the month his royalties were $12.

He said that he wasn't disappointed at all, he looked across to his filing cabinet and thought "Goldmine", because he had 300 stories in there.

I uploaded my first short story less than 2 weeks ago, selling 81 copies so far. While I am happy with that, and it's above expectations, I recognise it's just one little building block in a future career.

My next will go up at the end of the week, and hopefully another every 2/3 weeks over the summer, then the novel.

I don't expect success overnight, I expect to have to work at it very, very hard, but I know I am in this for the long haul.

Thanks,

Dave

David Gaughran said...

@Joe

re the differing prices of your books. I was getting the same questions from my readers.

It's not just VAT (that's only 15% all across Europe).

Amazon add a $2 Whispernet Surcharge PER E-BOOK (whether you have a Kindle or not), if you live in one of the following countries:

Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Hungary, South Africa, Poland, and The Netherlands.

They used to do it for Canada, Ireland & Australia but got rid of it.

I've written to Amazon about it.

More info here if anyone wants it:
http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/are-amazon-ripping-off-international-customers/

Glenn Gamble said...

I have a question about promotion. What suggestions would you give a new author on promoting his new release and subsequent releases without spamming his twitter and facebook followers to death? In asking this question, I'm not looking for a quick-fix approach to boosting sales today or the next week for that matter. To elaborate on my question, what long-term approach to promotion should a new author implement in his promotional strategy in addition to building his shelf space?

fantasydreamer12 said...

I was reminded why I read your blog Joe. I know you'll tell us things straight...

Shelby Cross said...

.99 cents is fair for a short story, and $2.99 is really fair for a novel. The author is still making the same two bucks he/she would have from a full-price publication, because instead of getting around 8%, the author's getting 70%.
I self-published four short stories at .99 cents each, and my sales were fine (for me, at least). But when I bundled the stories into a collection and priced it at $2.99, I began to sell more. A buyer has to spend less to get the four stories, and I actually make more money this way. The problem with Amazon is that a buyer has no way of knowing the length of a work unless the author makes sure to stick that information in the description.

josephinewade said...

Jack and Luther -- cool.

Will this book have just as much Jack as Luther or is she more of a supporting character like in FLEE?

Love the cover.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Awesome. I've been searching for permission to fail! Thank you.

Scott

Réussie Miliardario said...

"9. You're a jerk. Try to avoid being an ass clown in public. A bad reputation will follow you around for years."

I'm picturing an "ass clown" in my mind--looks kind of funny. He has a line down his flabby, bubble butt face with a rainbow afro.

Thank you for the post. It was helpful.

nwrann said...

what long-term approach to promotion should a new author implement in his promotional strategy

1) Stop thinking about it as "promotion" unless you're buying advertising. If you go out with the mindset of promotion you'll just start spamming your info everywhere.

2) Make yourself a presence on the net in all of the places that your genre readers hang out. Yahoo groups, google groups, FB groups, Goodreads groups. Engage in conversation with the members of the group about what they've read, about what they're looking forward to, about what they're talking about. Basically talk about anything EXCEPT your book, unless something in your book is applicable to the topic: "I was researching Seal Team 6 for my next book and ended up meeting the trigger man..." something like that or whatever. Put your book info in your sig and bio and sooner or later people will appreciate your input and check out your books.

3) Make it EASY for people to buy your books. DIRECT links to the book page in your bios/sigs/webpages. I went to someone's website the other day. It was well laid out. Book covers, titles, descriptions all in a nice geometric column. Nothing linked to their amazon pages. Too difficult. Lost sale.

4) Don't ASK people to 'like' your facebook page. GIVE them a reason to 'like' your facebook page. Content is king. FB isn't a tag sale. People don't pick up something covered in dust hoping for a diamond in the rough.

5) I've probably followed 150 self-pubbing authors in the past 2 months on Twitter and 75% of them don't know what they're doing. Constant tweets about your book will get you unfollowed immediately. Imagine going to a party and everybody is in little groups talking. You go up to each group and immediately start talking about your book. How is that going to go over? I'll tell you how, everyone will walk away from you. Twitter is not a carnival fairway where you're a barker hocking your wares. It's a conversation. Every now and then weave something interesting about your book into your conversation.

kathleen shoop said...

Yay! I'm doing much of what JA just suggested and I feel GOOD!

I just spent some time at a conference that has not embraced it's e-authors. In fact there's some pretty hot cold shoulder action that amazes me since some of the biggest e-shirkers are big-time authors.

What do they have against authors who've taken control of their work? As much as I'd like to think they're threatened by such poise and charm as an author who shapes her own destiny, the truth is, I think they just have big egos and small hearts.

For the first time in a long time, I didn't care about agent pitch sessions, big-time editor opinions and I never once thought, "Will they discover the needle in the haystack? My needle???"

Because it doesn't matter. I'm writing, I'm selling, I'm happy.

Thanks for the hundredth time to Joe and everyone here for your support.

The Last Letter--Amazon and everywhere!
Kshoop.com

Christopher Hopper said...

Just curious if anyone knows how long it takes for a Moderator to approve a new member on the forum? I'm eager to ask some questions on Amazon's 35% cut on a book priced under $2. I want to price mine like JA's at 99-cents, but at only 35%? Seems very low.

Theresa said...

You won't succeed because big box retailers just list your books and ebooks in separate categories, undercut you in price and you're up against big publishers with big pockets and self-important maven with no conscience. You also won't succeed if you don't keep that in mind while self-promoting. So you have to work twice as hard to be noticed. I'm too busy writing more books to worry about it.

E. Van Lowe said...

Joe, I have been following you since December. Back in November my new Indy publisher said I should sell the ebook version of my up-coming novel for $3.99. Back then Ithought he was crazy. After discovering you I told him $2.99.
Thanks for all the great advice. I now have two new novels coming out this year, and I am rereleasing my old Dorchester horror titles on kindle. Shelf space, right? If authors choose not to take your advice it's their loss. I have ingested the Kool Aid.

M. said...

Thank you very much for another great post!

During my (stalkings) wanderings throughout the internet, I've discovered in an entirely non-scientific manner that most indie writers either find their niche or give up somewhere around the fifth book. Honestly, the risk is so low for e-pubbing, why wouldn't you learn, keep going to that fifth book, and see what happens? I'm taking a largely DIY route, but I spend more per month on movies and wine than I do on developing a web presence, and that's in pursuit of something that I love.

Mark Asher said...

"Just curious if anyone knows how long it takes for a Moderator to approve a new member on the forum? I'm eager to ask some questions on Amazon's 35% cut on a book priced under $2. I want to price mine like JA's at 99-cents, but at only 35%? Seems very low."

It wasn't that long ago that 35% was the standard for any price. The 70% rate is generous, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is cut back to 50% at some point.

It would be tough for Amazon to give you 70% on a .99 book. That leaves them .30 and out of that .30 they have to pay a CC fee, pay for the download bandwidth, account for server costs, etc.

Amber Argyle said...

I've heard that a lot of brick and mortar stores won't take POD books. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Amber,

I think it depends on the place and what type of pitch you make to them. I sent out promotional emails to almost every independent bookstore in the country. Some picked up the book and some didn't.

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Breaking the Beale Code

Anonymous said...

Amber and Sean;

>I've heard that a lot
>of brick and mortar stores
>won't take POD books.
>Thoughts?

As a library director, I buy a lot of books throughout the year, in a wide variety of genres and topic areas. I sometimes buy self-published print books, POD books, and other things that fall outside of the traditional "big publisher" spectrum. I was a bookseller many years ago, as well, and worked in a bookstore that bought quite a number of books that fell into those categories.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but I almost never buy POD fiction, unless the story is set close to the town in which I work, or the author is local. They simply don't circulate otherwise (and didn't sell, when I was in a bookstore), even if you put specific effort into handselling them.

Most of my POD type purchases are non-fiction. The big publishers overlook a lot of subjects that they don't feel would have wide appeal, so POD and self-published books are often the only place to find writing on less-common subjects. They also circulate (and sell) as well as big publisher non-fiction, since the name of the author is generally not as important to non-fiction readers.

When it comes to promoting POD books to libraries, emails or postcards are usually best. Cold calls (phone or in person) are usually a very, very bad idea.

- James

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@James
When it comes to promoting POD books to libraries, emails or postcards are usually best.

If you are interested in a book, do you order it directly from the POD company or do you contact the author?

What information do you recommend be included in an email or postcard?

I've never done this type of outreach, but I would love to learn more about it. Your insight would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

Danzig said...

After re-reading this again, not only is this a great post to refer back to again and again, it's a throwdown...a challenge to any and all who want to succeed as an ebook author.

Christopher Hopper said...

Thanks Mark.

Also, anyone up to speed on if-and-how to obtain ISBN numbers for ebooks? Or don't worry about it?

Kate Madison, YA author said...

Just read the press release that Thomas and Mercer is the suspense imprint of Amazon like Montlake is their romance line. I wonder what the deal included.

Walter Knight said...

On POD books:

Bookstores refuse to carry POD books because they cannot be sent back if unsold. That fact gives the big 6 NY publishers a monopoly at your bookstore, no matter how popular a POD book may be.

Small publishers, or self published authors, cannot afford to warehouse books like a large publisher can.

Stephen T. Harper said...

@ nwrann

Excellent comment. Thanks.

I've been starting to "get" all these points over time, but you really laid them all out. Wish I had read that advice a few months ago. I don't think I was too awful, but I'm sure I came across in some places as a passing door-to-door salesman.

I might add to the list - when you are looking around and finding blogs, forums and other content that is in the ballbark of where your potential readers might hang out... just read them for a while before jumping in.

If you are new in town, or just passing through, you wouldn't walk into the local bar and interrupt the Regulars having a conversation to announce your background and what your selling.

Very much like JAKs blog. There are many regulars here. And the guy who's just passing through and makes a passing comment on whatever Joe posted before talking about his book, stands out like a sore thumb.

Get a feel for who the regulars are on forums and blogs too. For one thing, you'll find that you only stick around places where you are genuinely interested in what's happening. There are plenty of places like that out there for everybody.

nwrann said...

If you are new in town, or just passing through, you wouldn't walk into the local bar and interrupt the Regulars having a conversation to announce your background and what your selling.

Exactly!

My friends IRL that I've known for years always ask me how the writing is going. If you take the time to make friends with the people on boards, FB, or twitter, they'll start asking you about your work instead of you, unsolicited, telling them about your work. And you'll get a better response.

nwrann said...

Regarding selling POD to stores Dean Wesley Smith has some great sections in his excellent "Think Like a Publisher" blog series.

Here: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=3968

And discusses returns here:
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=4044

I highly suggest you read the entire series.

Stephen T. Harper said...

And check out Scott Nicholson on the same topic today...

http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com/

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@Walter

I POD with LSI and I can accept returns.

I set it to NOT accept returns because I have heard all sorts of nightmare stories about doing so.

@Nwrann
Thanks for the links, I will head over there now.

Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

Nancy Beck said...

What do they have against authors who've taken control of their work? As much as I'd like to think they're threatened by such poise and charm as an author who shapes her own destiny, the truth is, I think they just have big egos and small hearts.

@kathleen shoop - I think there are some who may have the big egos/small hearts thing going on, but I look at it from a different perspective.

For a long time, writers were told never to self publish, especially when only the vanity model was around (and, unfortunately, they're still around). After getting that drilled into your head for years, it's understandable that they think indies/self pubbers are headed for the same stigma as that old vanity model.

Don't forget, too, that the whole agent thing has been jammed down writers' throats. How is it possible to get pubbed legitimately without an agent? ;-)

Combine these two things, and I think the reason why a lot of those you've met online or in person pooh-pooh the indie/self pub thing: They're scared.

Those who've been Big 6 pubbed for a long time don't know anything else. They've bought into something that's beginning to disintegrate right before their eyes, and they don't know what to do. So they lash out.

At least, that's my take on it. But the egos surely are there too. :-)

Nancy Beck said...

And I've gotta say, I love the comments here! Not only have I learned a lot, there are so many books I've checked out that I normally wouldn't have looked for.

So cool. :-)

Nancy Beck said...

I've heard that a lot of brick and mortar stores won't take POD books. Thoughts?

@Amber - You won't be able to get into the national stores like B&N. However, independent bookstores are another matter.

I'll just direct you to Dean Wesley Smith's site. If I remember correctly, you'd have to have more than a couple of books available to make it worth it, but it can be done.

He talks about that in his Think Like a Publisher series, the post entitled, "Selling to Independent Bookstores." :-)

Anonymous said...

This is what it all reminds me of:

Five years ago, we moved to a major east coast city (suburbs. The housing market was just starting to show signs of imploding and everyone knew what was coming. We wanted to make LOW offers so we wouldn't get stuck buying high for things that were going down in value.

We expected buyers to balk. Most had bought high within the past couple of years and weren't ready to face the need to take a loss.

What we didn't expect was how much pressure we got from OUR real estate agent. "I can't present that offer." "You'll insult them." "They won't take you seriously." Etc.

What we figured out was that the realtors had a vested interest in the inflated market--so much so that they risked losing our business to prop the system up, to keep the sales prices high.

In the end, after 4 counters, we got our home for a lot less than the offering price. And guess what--the market soon tanked.

So when I hear a major, tweeting agent say that self-pubbing is cheating (which is, really, not a neutral word), or that tradionally published authors are condescending to those who self publish, I think of those realtors right before the bubble burst.

Traditional publishing has to keep thinking it is okay and convincing as many people as possible that it is, even if it is screwing them. Just like our realtor.

Nancy Beck said...

Also, anyone up to speed on if-and-how to obtain ISBN numbers for ebooks? Or don't worry about it?

@Christopher Hopper - AFAIK, Amazon doesn't require ISBNs on ebooks, while iBooks does. (Not sure about B&N/Pubit.) However, if you upload to Smashwords, you can get ISBNs that way, since SW gets you into iBooks (not an easy thing to do on your own, from what I've heard).

Nancy Beck said...

@nwrann - Great minds think alike. :-) But unlike me, I was too much of a lazy ass to include links.

nwrann said...

Also, anyone up to speed on if-and-how to obtain ISBN numbers for ebooks? Or don't worry about it?

Amazon and B&N don't require them. Smashwords will assign one when necessary (which is why you have to put "Smashwords Edition" in the copyright section of your book).

For POD, you can get one through createspace. (but it can only be used on the createspace printed version of your book. If you go elsewhere to print it, you need to get a new one.)

nwrann said...

Great minds think alike. :-) But unlike me, I was too much of a lazy ass to include links.

:-)

Andy Conway said...

Excessive tweeting is a real bugbear. I don't like to tweet anything that isn't useful to the point where I rarely get invovled in chats on Twitter (but I'm trying).

However, I recently started following @kindleauthors and I'm amazed at the relentless spamming they carry out. It's great that they're promoting writers, but I really don't want to read about the same book over and over again.

It has the opposite effect. I'm now starting to glance over their tweets and move on to others that might be interesting.

Has anyone else felt this about them?

I don't want to Unfollow them yet because I'd like to think that they might one day be useful in promoting my own books, but as a reader I'm already turned off.


Andy Conway
Publishing 11 titles before 11.11.2011 on Amazon and Smashwords

David Gaughran said...

@Andy

Thinking like a reader is exactly how you should look at your social networking.

No reader likes to be spammed. It will turn them off ever purchasing the book.

However, if they get the occasional tweet relating to your book (new release, big review, competition etc), I think that's fine.

But you also have to make sure that's not the only thing you are tweeting about.

If your book was the only thing you talked about in real life, people would soon stop listening.

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@Nancy
SW gets you into iBooks (not an easy thing to do on your own, from what I've heard)

Smashwords mangles my heavily formatted books. Even after I pass premium distribution, my books don't work right. On a side note: My request to submit an EPUB version of my book to SW has gone unanswered.

To get a properly formatted book into iBooks, I applied to and was accepted to submit to iBooks directly. THEY TAKE EPUB!!!!

Apple's application was easy, but you do have to have your own ISBNs. You also have to submit your books FROM A MAC which is crazy making since I am on PC.

I'm right in the middle of all of it now, so I can't say much more about the process. But, it hasn't been hard so far.

The hardest part was finding the application page. I will save you some time!
https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/apply

Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

kathleen shoop said...

@NancyBeck--I think you're right...it's a complex stew of worry and concern over the unknown. I can't say how much the indie/self pub community has helped me down the self-publishing path.

I don't know if it's because we're all sort of in the same "boat," that everyone is so helpful, but I can say this support rocks and your lazy ass comment has me rolling in the aisles!!! hahaha, how's that for cliche' laden text? Exactly what to expect from a self-publisher right? Ha, its fun, it's all fun.
Thanks, Nancy.
Kshoop.com
The Last Letter

Aaron Polson said...

Running the marathon...

We are all so impatient in the 21st century. The only way to run 26 miles is to run 26 miles.

Thanks for the tips, Joe.

JustRR said...

Love number 6. I'm just getting started and began looking around at some of the promotion going on. I couldn't help but think of all the tweets and shilling as a bunch of authors standing on a street corner throwing their books at every passerby to try to get attention, screaming "please read my book!" at the top of their lungs.

Larissa said...

Another great and inspiring post. I'm going to go back to editing my manuscripts now.

Nancy Beck said...

To get a properly formatted book into iBooks, I applied to and was accepted to submit to iBooks directly. THEY TAKE EPUB!!!!

@Eloheim - I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing.

But you have to submit from a Mac? Sheesh. How would they know?

Veronica, thanks for all the info, including the application. Good to know. :-)

Nancy Beck said...

I don't know if it's because we're all sort of in the same "boat," that everyone is so helpful, but I can say this support rocks and your lazy ass comment has me rolling in the aisles!!! hahaha, how's that for cliche' laden text?

Me loves cliches. ;-) And it should be fun, right? :-)

Paul McMurray said...

@ nwrann & Eloheim and Veronica:
If I buy the ISBN from Smashwords (not the free one), can I use that same # to epub the same book elsewhere (iBooks etc.)?

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@Paul
@ nwrann & Eloheim and Veronica:
If I buy the ISBN from Smashwords (not the free one), can I use that same # to epub the same book elsewhere (iBooks etc.)?


I don't know. I bought 100 ISBNs from https://www.myidentifiers.com before I ever knew about the SW option.

However, I am glad I did. I am going to unpublish from SW as soon as I have everything live on iBooks.

I love having 100 ISBNs available. It feels super abundant and full of possibilities!

Plus, I have a large back catalog of material so I will need them (eventually)!

PS: I just looked it up. Log into SW, go to your Dashboard, click on ISBN manager in the left column. Read all about it!

Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@Nancy
But you have to submit from a Mac? Sheesh. How would they know?

You have to use a specific program to submit the books. It will only run on a Mac. CRAZY TIMES!!

My friend is doing it for me. She says it's the same sort of process for loading books onto the other sites, but instead of a website, it's a program.

So far here is my list of the sites that will take direct EPUB submission.
Amazon, B&N, XinXii, iBooks, LSI.

LSI distributes my book to 54 other sites including Kobo and Diesel. Some seem to be specialty sites, which haven't picked up my titles, but quite a few have.

I don't know if you have to have a POD agreement in place to use LSI ebook distribution, but LSI isn't charging for ebook uploads right now.

It was a lot to get set up with LSI, but I'm happy I did it.

Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

Jools Sinclair said...

Speaking of Apple, does anybody know how often Apple reports sales numbers and/or pays if you load your books directly on iBooks? I'm wondering if it's like BN and Amazon.
Thanks!

Jools Sinclair
44

Paul McMurray said...

@Eloheim and Veronica: Thanks re: SW ISBN info.
Paul

kathleen shoop said...

I'm very confused about some of the book stuff. I'm clear on the kindle and nook stuff, but have no idea exactly what I need to do for the other ebook services/devices. I have my book in kindle format and nook and then I put it through the meatgrinder and it's asking me to do all sorts of stuff that is not really clear...then people here are saying I can submit my ebpub format (same as nook?) to ibooks? is that accurate?
kshoop.com
The Last Letter

Eloheim and Veronica said...

Hi Kathleen,
EPUB is a format. So is .doc or PDF.

If you are using Smashwords (meatgrinder) and pass their premium distribution check and pass the iBooks check, then SW will distribute to iBooks for you so you don't need to do it yourself.

I didn't have a clue how to do any of this when I got started and it was all VERY confusing to me.

When I was setting up my first book I contacted four companies for help in converting my Word doc to formats accepted by other sites. Three of these companies weren't taking non-fiction clients and the fourth had an 11 week waiting list.

There was obviously room in the marketplace!

I explained the situation to my friend who is a PC tech and she taught herself how to create Epubs.

She is AMAZING. Here is her contact information.

Mary T. George
mary@georgeatech.com


Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

JD said...

@Veronica:
I love all the information you've shared but this line on Apple's site is scaring me off:

"Apple does not pay partners until they meet payment requirements and earning thresholds in each territory. You should consider this before applying to work directly with Apple as you may receive payments faster by working with an Apple-approved aggregator."

Unfortunately, they don't tell say what their payment expectations are until you get further into the process. Have you gotten any indication how realistic/unrealistic these payment requirements are? Are they holding off sending out checks until you earn $500, $1000, etc.?

thanks,
Joe

Anonymous said...

>If you are interested in
>a book, do you order it
>directly from the POD
>company or do you
>contact the author?

I order from whichever one I find first, all other things being equal. They have to accept credit cards or do invoices, though, for me to be able to make the purchase for the library.

>What information do
>you recommend be included
>in an email or postcard?

The ones that I pay the most attention to have the full front cover of the book on the front of the postcard. Most readers / patrons will ignore books with amateur-looking covers. Circulation statistics play a large part in getting funding for many libraries, so those of us who do the ordering have to keep the potential popularity of our purchases in mind.

On the back, I look for the price of the book, contact and purchasing information, one or more website URLs that have more information about it, and a blurb that gives a clear explanation of what the book is about (not quotes about how much someone loved it or vague generalizations).

As I said before, non-fiction POD books tend to circulate better than fiction ones. There are some genres/categories of POD books that circulate even less than POD fiction, though, at least in the libraries in which I have worked. These include memoirs, non-mainstream religion, politics, metaphysical / New Age, children's, and any illustrated book where the pictures are black and white.

- James

Merrill Heath said...

Veronica said: When I was setting up my first book I contacted four companies for help in converting my Word doc to formats accepted by other sites. Three of these companies weren't taking non-fiction clients and the fourth had an 11 week waiting list.

There was obviously room in the marketplace!


Veronica, what were they charging to convert your Word doc to the various formats?

Bearing False Witness

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

11. You spend too much time reading this blog.

Karen Woodward said...

11. You spend too much time reading this blog.

I laughed. Good one.

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@James

THANK YOU so much for your insight. Since I am "metaphysical / New Age" it may not be the best news for me, but it is extremely helpful to have your recommendation. I'm saving it for future reference.

Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

Eloheim and Veronica said...

@ Merrill

I never got a hard quote from any of them. I remember one site saying that non-fiction had a $200 minimum, but I could have that wrong. Non-fiction layout is more expensive than fiction layout from what I read.

I was reflecting on what Mary accomplished in formatting my book as her FIRST project.

My book has about 500 internal links, a huge TOC, and images. LOL!!! It cracks me up to think about it. No wonder the meatgrinder hates it!

Mary created a beautiful epub and people love being about to click around the book so easily.



Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1, Vol. 2

Merrill Heath said...

Thanks, Veronica. I can see where your book could take some time and effort. Fiction, OTOH, requires much less work.

I'm helping my editor (my sweet wife) start a business as a freelance proofreader and editor. A good add-on to that would be ebook formatting so, naturally, I was curious about their rates.

Merrill Heath
Consequences

Victorine said...

Great post, I totally agree with what you're saying.

And congrats on the new book!

Anna Murray said...

Amazon just announced that ebooks are outselling all print books (hardcover and paperback) combined.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/05/19/kindle.outsells.books/index.html?hpt=T2

Anna Murray said...

Oops. Hot link below

click here

J. Acoline said...

Agree wit all that you say and with the majority of reader's comments. May I make a few points though: sure, having epublished, you need to tell people about your book/s, but that seems to be harder than it may be. I don't Twitter, I don't have a Facebook, and all the various Kindle forums are such a mess that it's difficult to see how a new author can get the word out. Reviews... well, yes, but see above. I of course have an axe to grind: I self-published on Kindle back in February and to date, not a single sale or a simple review. Maybe the reader who pointed to sheer luck has a point.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Thank you for the information. So far I have been epublishing since the middle of last month. I am seeing a small amount of sales, which is a good beginning. However, I haven't done much promoting because it takes away from my writing. I have a deadline. :-) Once I get that done... I will be back to telling everyone about my writings.

Also, I am very eclectic - I have some short fiction and some information on my disease. Because my audience for the disease info is small with little money, I have put it in the really cheap category.

Sometimes we forget that if we want ereaders, and are relatively unknown, that we need to start on the low end of the book sales as an incentive for readers to buy our books. 7.99 is for the established writers. And even then that amount may soon be considered very expensive with an ebook.

Alan Scott said...

Question about #4, Joe. Is there any place an author can get a constructive review of his work? I keep hearing that 'reviews are for readers, not authors'. Where can one turn for sound, constructive criticism?

jack said...

@Alan Scott

There are several ways to get constructive criticism. You can pay for it (I am not a fan of this one) by hiring an editor. You can have Beta Readers (Twitter is a great place to find these). You can ask other writers you know (twitter is a great place to find and get to know them as well) to read your book and give you honest feedback.

You must be willing to accept the criticism as well. No Novel is perfect and authors are affraid to do this because even with the best of intentions on their part, TONS of people think that their work in untouchable. So if you ask for the criticism, do not be upset when it is given, use it to hone your skills. Hope this helps.

Jack

My blog: Osric’s Wand Blog Spot

Linsey Lanier said...

Joe,

Your list is going up on my board.

You are sooo right about price. My FREE short story, “The West Wind Blows” did 2,113 downloads it’s first day on Amazon! The others are a tad behind that…

Linsey