Posts Tagged E-book

PLR for Ebooks

Public Lending Right (PLR) is on its way for ebooks. Until now only ebooks downloaded on library premises, to fixed terminals and then taken away on loan have qualified for PLR payments. Legislation was passed last month (April 2017), in the Digital Economy Bill, which extends the UK Public Lending Right legislation to include remote loans of ebooks. These new arrangements are expected to apply to loans from July 1st 2018, with the first payments being made in arrears in February 2020.

I have written previously about how to get self-published ebooks into public libraries via the distributor Overdrive but there are a couple of things to bear in mind before rushing off to do so:

  • It is not possible to keep an ebook in KDP Select and make it available through other channels e.g. public library loans
  • Under PLR legislation, loans are collected using ISBNs. Many of the ebooks published through Kindle Direct Publishing have only the Amazon assigned ASIN.

So, this is good news for a lot of authors, who will, in the future, get recompensed for ebook loans. Others will have to take decisions about whether it’s better to stay exclusive to Amazon in KDP Select with its marketing/Kindle Unlimited benefits or go wide to other ebook distributors and obtain an ISBN.

Any traditionally-published/self-published authors have an opinion on this new legislation?

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BookLinker

A year ago I told you about GeoRiot, a service which creates universal Amazon and iTunes links. These universal links detect where visitors live and redirect them to their own national Amazon store. For example, a customer clicking on the link in the US will automatically get directed to Amazon.com and a customer in England will see the equivalent Amazon.co.uk page.

Using these universal links when promoting an e-book online gives both a professional image and a smoother customer journey in two ways:

  • There is no need to list different Amazon links for different countries
  • The customer always lands on the Amazon page where he or she can make an immediate purchase, without having to re-route themselves from Amazon.co.uk to Amazon.com or vice versa.

When GeoRiot first started it was essentially a free service, funded by taking a small percentage of Amazon affiliate earnings. However recently GeoRiot introduced a charge. The first 1,000 clicks per month are free and then the cost is $10 per 10,000 clicks. This charge doesn’t affect the very small user (I haven’t yet paid anything) but all users have to give their credit card details to GeoRiot.

But there is now an alternative which is always free and may suit indie authors better. BookLinker is also managed by GeoRiot but directed specifically at indie authors using Amazon (it will not convert iTunes links). Like GeoRiot, BookLinker provides statistics so that you can see how many clicks you are getting and from where in the world. BookLinker is more basic than GeoRiot but, for most writers, will do the job just as well. I intend to move over to it in the near future.

If you are an Amazon affiliate, both GeoRiot and BookLinker will allow you to include your affiliate code in the links.

There is more useful information about using BookLinker on Nick Daws’ blog, Entrepreneur Writer.

My original post, explaining how universal Amazon links work, is here.

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Updated for 2015 – Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners

In February 2014 I pulled together everything I’d learnt about publishing a Kindle e-book and produced Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners. This concise e-book covers everything a writer needs to know in order to publish their first Kindle e-book and it’s written in simple language. Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners

But nothing stays the same and over the last twelve months there have been some changes over at Amazon KDP. For example, UK writers who enter their National Insurance number in the Amazon on-line tax interview (not as scary as it sounds!) no longer have 30% tax withheld on their US royalties, pricing for EU Amazon sites is now inclusive of VAT (see my previous blog post for more information) and it’s now possible to allow pre-orders of a new e-book before it is published.

Therefore, I have updated Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners to reflect these changes plus a few more bits and pieces, such as the advent of Kindle Unlimited allowing e-books enrolled in KDP Select to be borrowed and earn royalties and the ability for authors to run paid-for ad campaigns on Amazon.com.

So, if you’re thinking about e-publishing a collection of short stories, a ‘how-to’ book or a novel then Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners will show you the way – and it currently costs less than a nice coffee (but I’m toying with the idea of putting it up slightly to reflect the extra work that’s gone into it).

And remember, the nice thing about e-publishing is that anything goes! There’s no rules about genres or word counts – as long as the product description and price reflect the content.

Extract from one of several 5* Amazon reviews:
“The field of e-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is full of tall grasses and hedges, but Sally’s straightforward advice offered a tidy path for my first foray into becoming an online author! Easy-to-read, this guide is clearly written by a writer who has experience with the format, and can either be read as a standalone account or dipped into as you’re on the Amazon website.”

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E-Books and New VAT Rules

Last week I (like all Amazon authors) received an email from Amazon about changes in the VAT rules for e-books. This change comes into effect on January 1st 2015.

Previously (i.e. pre-Jan 2015) VAT on e-books was calculated according to the seller’s country but under the new rules, VAT rates will depend on the buyer’s country. Previously, VAT on Kindle e-books was 3% because Amazon’s headquarters (Amazon are the sellers) are in Luxembourg. Now, for UK e-book buyers it will rise to 20%.

Amazon will automatically change all list prices of existing e-books to reflect this change. This means that Kindle e-book prices are on the rise. The British government will benefit but readers of e-books will lose out.

Previously the lowest price possible on Amazon UK for an Indie e-book, with the author choosing 35% royalties, was 77p. From the 1st Jan 2015 this will rise to 99p. The lowest possible price with the author choosing 70% royalties was £1.53, this will rise to £1.99. The Amazon information page on this is here.

The moral of the story for readers? Stock up on e-books before the end of the year, or face a steep price hike! If you were planning on shopping for a Kindle or tablet in the January sales, download the free Kindle app to your PC and buy your books now to read on your new Kindle later.

The moral of the story for Indie writers? I’m not sure. We’ll have to wait and see if the new, higher prices send the customers running back to print books. Let’s hope not!

Another word of warning – if you sell e-books directly from your own website, it is your responsibility (whether you are currently VAT registered in the UK or not) to implement the new rules i.e. you must charge VAT according to the buyer’s country and then pay the VAT to the relevant government. I’ve found two interesting links on this topic Rachel Andrew has written a blog post  and Juliet E. McKenna has put together another useful post.

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E-Book News

A couple of bits of e-book news for you:

Just in case there’s anybody out there who hasn’t yet got A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success, I thought I’d let you know that it’s currently reduced to only 99p (99c in the US) until Sunday 18th May 2014. Grab it while you can!

A Writer On Writing

Pete’s Story, the third in the Museum of Fractured Lives series is now available. Pete tells how he fell in love with Sarah almost thirty years ago when he was twenty-one. At the time he was singing in a band and living in a bedsit. Sarah was eighteen and had just left school. They planned their life together. Sarah would manage the band and it would become a worldwide success. But the couple’s future goes awry…

Pete's Story - The Museum of Fractured Lives

 

Finally I had some good news yesterday from Liz Smith at My Weekly – two stories accepted! So if you ask me this week how my writing’s going I’ll say, ‘Very well, thank you’.

By the way – thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my previous post ‘How’s the Writing Going?’ It was really lovely to share all your experiences and know that none of us are alone!

I do hope that this week everyone’s writing is going tremendously – and if it’s not, remember we all often hit a dark spot. So pick yourself up and carry on! (or leave a comment on this post & I’ll commiserate with you).

 

 

 

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How’s The Writing Going?

“How’s the writing going?”

Since I’ve started declaring myself to be a writer this is a question that family and friends often ask – and one that I find difficult to answer.

Perhaps if I was a ‘proper’ novelist it would be easy. I’d say that I was working on the edits requested by my publisher for one book and drafting a synopsis for the next bestseller with my agent – all quite simple and successful sounding.

But in reality I’m more likely to be still smarting from last week’s womag rejection, wondering why I didn’t make the shortlist of that competition I entered, trying to decide whether or not I can turn the anecdote I heard about someone’s long-lost cat into a short story for People’s Friend and toying with the idea of having a go at a serial – if only I could think of a strong enough idea.

None of that sounds very professional, so I could give them the sales spiel about my latest Kindle e-book (click here if you’re interested) but then they’d probably exclaim that they didn’t have a Kindle. And their eyes would glaze over if I tried to explain that anyone can read Kindle books on a PC or laptop if they download the free Kindle app.

So before I say anything I try and guess what they want to hear. Are they just asking out of politeness in the same way that acquintances you meet in the street ask ‘How are you?’ and expect no answer, other than ‘Fine, thank you. How are you?’ Or are they genuinely interested?

If it’s the former, I’ll be brief and positive, ‘I had a story published last month and have just submitted a couple more so, fingers-crossed, I might get some more good news.’

If it’s the latter, I’ll start slowly trying to explain how I’m trying to lengthen a ‘twist in the tale’ that Take a Break didn’t want in order to make it fit the bill at The Weekly News. But as soon as I sense I’ve lost them, I change the subject and remark on the weather.

Is it me, or is it very difficult  to talk about writing to a non-writer?

What do you answer when people politely ask, ‘How’s the writing going?’

 

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GeoRiot

GeoRiot is a free tool that may be useful to those of you who are marketing Amazon Kindle e-books.

I’m going to explain it simply because not everyone will be familiar with the basic concepts.

Amazon stores are country specific i.e. those of us living in Britain shop through Amazon.co.uk, those in the US buy through Amazon.com and there are also geographic specific sites for France, India, Germany and many more.

Most e-book marketing is global via the internet, using blog posts, Facebook, newsletters, paid-for adverts etc. Authors using these methods will endeavour to provide readers with a direct link to the Amazon page for the e-book being promoted.

However, unless the author provides the individual link for each geographical Amazon site, there will be users somewhere in the world who don’t reach their ‘home’ Amazon site and, if they want to buy the book, will have to navigate there by themselves. Many of them won’t bother. When the link provided doesn’t take them where they want to go, they’ll click on to something else instead.

But it looks clumsy and messy to list around a dozen Amazon links every time you mention your book on the web.

GeoRiot creates a single web address for an Amazon product. This address will always take the user directly to his ‘home’ Amazon site. If the link is clicked in the UK then it will route the user to Amazon.co.uk, if the link is clicked in the US then it will route the user to Amazon.com and so on.

Here’s an example. When advertising Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners I could list each geographical link:

For buyers in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/

For buyers in the US: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/

For buyers in Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/

etc. etc.

Or I can use just one global link provided by GeoRiot:  http://georiot.co/40oj

I think it looks much more professional to provide a single link.

GeoRiot provide this service for free unless you are an Amazon affiliate and then they take a small percentage of your affiliate earnings. For more details on how this payment system works see the GeoRiot website and Nick Daws’ comprehensive blog post where he goes into this and the mechanics of GeoRiot in much more detail than I have.

That’s it – I hope I haven’t blinded any of you with science!

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E-Publishing with Kobo Writing Life

This week I’ve done something I’ve been meaning to do for months – I’ve finally branched out to another e-book platform. Old Friends - 13 Coffee Break Stories

Old Friends – 13 Coffee Break Stories is now available on Kobo as well as Amazon Kindle.

This collection is my Kindle ‘best seller’ and hasn’t been enrolled in KDP Select for a long time meaning I’m free to publish it elsewhere.

So, how did I find the Kobo publishing process?

The hardest part was creating a Kobo login ID to allow me to start the process.
If the email address entered into Kobo is registered to a Facebook account then Kobo requires you to login with your Facebook credentials. I didn’t want to do this and went round in circles until I discovered that the only way to keep my Kobo and Facebook accounts separate was to login to Kobo initially with my Facebook account and then, within the Kobo ‘My Account’ page, un-link Facebook from my Kobo account.

Complicated or what?!

Kobo accepts manuscripts in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word .doc and .docx, and then converts them to .epub. Initially I uploaded my manuscript as .docx but when I checked the finished product using the Kobo previewer (which isn’t as good as the Kindle one) the line spacing seemed very wide.

So, I downloaded the free conversion software Calibre and converted my .docx file to e.pub. Then I uploaded the .epub file to Kobo and the result looked much better.

This all sounds very complicated and technical – but it’s not! There is a guide available on the Kobo website full of tips about how to format your Word document to ensure the best results. I used the same manuscript that I’d formatted for Kindle according to the instructions in Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide  and, once I’d discovered Calibre, had no further problems.

Having said that, if anyone downloads the Kobo version and finds the formatting isn’t up to scratch – please let me know!

Next, I have to work out how everything works on the Kobo site …

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eBookSoda and the AsparaWriting Festival

This week I’ve got a couple of writing-related things that might interest you.

FirstlyeBookSoda is an e-book promotion newsletter sent daily, and free of charge, to readers’ inboxes.  Until March 26th 2014 it is FREE to advertise your e-book in the newsletter. After this date there will be a $5 cost to have an e-book mentioned in the newsletter.

So why not get your skates on and click here to get a bit of free publicity for your book? The book doesn’t have to be on a discounted or free special offer (although many of them are) – it must just be $4.99 or less and have at least eight reviews with an average star rating of 3.5.

Alternatively, if you simply want to hear about the e-books available (many of which are on special offer) sign up for the eBookSoda free newsletter.

Secondly, crime novelist Judith Cutler has brought the AsparaWriting Festival to my attention. It is specifically designed for aspiring writers. During the event you can learn from the professionals about writing crime, history, comic or straight fiction and poetry. There are events scheduled from 23rd April 2014 to 21st June 2014 in the Evesham area.

There’s also a short story competition with a £100 first prize and a trophy. The story should be no more than 6,000 words (3,000 for junior entries), written in English, set in the Vale of Evesham or the Cotswolds, should fit into the crime genre and include asparagus. But you’ll have to start writing now – the closing date is March 29th 2014.

Happy Writing!

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Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners

As most of you will be aware by now, I am very interested in e-publishing and have been building my own Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginnerse-publishing empire(!) for the last twelve months. I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge along the way and have also had many people say to me that they wished they were ‘technical’ enough to do the same.

A couple of months ago Helen Yendall asked if I would talk about e-books and e-publishing to the writing class that she tutors at Moreton-in-Marsh. Whilst sorting out what I might say, quaking in my boots and being glad that I made the effort to join Sutton Coldfield Speakers’ Club, I realised that I had enough material to write a short e-book for beginners who want to publish their first e-book via Amazon KDP.

And so Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners was born.

It starts with the definition of an e-book and moves on through topics such as choosing what to write (if you don’t have a manuscript ‘ready to go’), how to get your book cover, basic marketing and much much more.

Once I’d finished, I followed my own advice and found a beta reader who matched my target audience i.e. a writer who is contemplating e-publishing for the first time. Peter Hinchliffe is an ex-journalist and news editor who has also completed a novel. He gave my manuscript a big thumbs up and said in his review, “This book shares the skills needed in a detailed, easy-to-follow way. It could be the most rewarding book you ever buy.”

The launch of Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners took place yesterday, following my talk to the lovely writers of Moreton-in-Marsh. There was Bucks Fizz, chocolate cake, coffee and one of the writers celebrated her new grandchild by providing cream cakes for the class – so no one went home hungry! It was really nice to be able to involve other people in the launch instead of doing everything virtually.

So, if you’ve ever fancied seeing your work for sale on Amazon, go and take a look at Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners – it might help you on your way!

KDP for Absolute Beginners Book Launch

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