Posts Tagged e-publishing
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?
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/
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!
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 …
This week I’ve got a couple of writing-related things that might interest you.
Firstly, eBookSoda 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.
As most of you will be aware by now, I am very interested in e-publishing and have been building my own e-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!
A couple of weeks ago I told you about a Guest Posting contest organised by Nick Daws.
Well, I took my own advice, entered – and won!
My guest post was about the benefits of writing a fiction e-book series and some tips on how to go about it. The post is now available to read in full on Nick’s blog.
And I’d like to congratulate Sharon Boothroyd, who is a follower of this blog, she also entered and was one of the runners-up. Her post too will appear on Nick’s high-traffic blog.
The Page is Printed Creative Writing Prize
Now here’s an unusual writing competition based around a single A4 page. The website says:
“Submissions are invited in any genre, it could be a love letter, a short story, a poem, a court summons or a shopping list … the only rule is that your entry must be contained on one side of A4.”
Closing date is 1st may 2014. There are first, second and third prizes of £200, £100 and £50. Entry fee is £4 or three for £10.
Full details can be found here.
Most of us have a working-title whilst we’re writing, whether it be a short story, novel or a work of non-fiction. Usually it’s the first word or phrase that came to mind as we sat down to begin our masterpiece.
And that’s the way it should be. Too many writers waste time trying to find the perfect title before starting to write – and then never get anything down on paper. A scrappy working-title is fine but take some time to refine it before sending the manuscript out into the big wide world.
If you’re intending to go through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), it’s worth bearing the following points in mind:
- For non-fiction don’t be too clever, simply focus on the benefits the book will bring to the reader – for example, Fast Weight Loss or How to Grow Cacti.
- The title should give an indication of what the book is about. In 1925 ‘Fleece of Gold’ by Gautier sold 6,000 copies. It was then re-titled ‘The Quest for a Blonde Mistress’ (which is a much better description of the story) and in 1926 it sold 50,000 copies. (I know this was way before KDP but it illustrates the importance of choosing the right title)
- Try a brainstorming session with a couple of friends and note down all the ideas that come out. Review them a week later and see which still seem good.
- If possible, try to include in the title any keywords that a reader might use on Amazon to search for books, for example if your work is similar to Fifty Shades of Grey you might want to include ‘Billionaire’ in the title
When you’ve dreamt up something plausible, put your title to the test using a clever tool provided free by Lulu.com. Go to lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php and simply fill in the boxes. The tool will give your title a score of between 9% and 83% chance of bestseller success. Obviously there are no guarantees but it’s worth a try if you can’t decide between two or three different titles.
Anyone else have any tips on how to create a great title that will respond well in Amazon searches?
Finally, a writing prompt for you based on something I saw this week. On a visit to the supermarket, I used the ladies’ toilets. In the cubicle was an empty pregnancy test packet – someone obviously couldn’t wait until they got home to find out if she was expecting. Who was she? What was the result of the test? Was it the result she wanted? What happened next?
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I promoted my non-fiction e-book A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success using the new KDP Select sales tool – Kindle Countdown Deals. It was reduced from £1.99 to 99p for 7 days.
I thought I’d let you know how I got on.
During the promotion period I sold 20 copies in the UK but 1 was later refunded (Kindle books can be refunded if the request is made within 7 days of the original purchase – Amazon then automatically remove the book from your device). I sold 3 copies in the US where the discount was also running and 1 copy in Australia at full price (Kindle Countdown Deals only apply to the US and the UK).
In the week after the promotion period I sold 2 copies in the UK at full price and received 1 new review. I sold none anywhere else.
So I won’t be booking that Caribbean cruise just yet but I might manage to treat myself to a Salted Caramel Latte in Costa (I’m rather partial to them when they appear on the Christmas menu!).
But, all things considered, I’m fairly happy with the result because I didn’t spend much time promoting the Deal apart from here and on a couple of forums and a lot of the people I reached in this way would probably already have the book from earlier, free, promotions. Also, thanks to those people that gave me a shout-out!
It’s definitely a tool I’d consider using again sometime in the future. Psychologically, it feels better than giving books away for free but I think the free promo still has it’s place for cheaper books and as a method of giving a new book an initial ‘lift’.
On another subject, I’ve just finished reading my advance copy of Carole Matthews new book – ‘A Place to Call Home’. The story brings together 4 injured souls who are all hurting in different ways. Over the course of a summer they bond together and help each other to heal. It’s an easy to read, ‘feel good’ novel – just the thing if you’re fed up of these long dark days of winter. It will be published on Jan 9th 2014 but is available for Amazon pre-order now in hardback and e-book format.
In preparation for my next e-book release, I’ve been playing with Amazon’s Cover Creator.
This can be found within the Kindle Direct Publishing process, at the point where you would normally upload a cover that you’ve created elsewhere.
Designing with Cover Creator is far, far easier than trying to do it with GIMP or any other such design software (unless you happen to be an expert – which I am definitely not!).
There are only three steps:
- Choose Design – select an image from those available within Cover Creator or upload an image of your own.
There is a reasonable selection of images available and they are split into sections such as Animals, People, Architecture, Food and Drink etc. I found a picture which I felt was a reasonable likeness to the heroine in my tale.
- Style and Edit – select the layout, colour scheme and font.
There are a limited number of each of these. The layout dictates whereabouts on the cover the title, subtitle and author name will appear. Colour scheme and font are self-explanatory.
- Preview – see how your design will look in the Amazon store.
This is the only part of the process that caused me problems. When I tried to Preview I kept getting the message, ‘Cover Creator has encountered an error. We recommend you refresh your browser.’ So I contacted Amazon. They suggested that I use Firefox as my browser instead of Internet Explorer. This worked but first I had to delete everything I’d already done in Internet Explorer and start again.
At any point in the Cover Creator design process you can save the cover and come back to finish it later. And you can design in Cover Creator before your book is ready to be uploaded.
Inevitably there are some disadvantages to Cover Creator, the principle two being:
- The limited number of variables available (i.e. images, layouts, colour schemes etc.) However, I would guess that Cover Creator would become much more difficult to use were there to be an infinite choice. Just be prepared for someone to have a similar cover to yours!
- Covers created within Cover Creator cannot be used outside of Amazon. So if you intend selling on other platforms, source your cover elsewhere. Initially, my next book will be exclusive to Amazon so I’m not going to worry about this at the moment.
Here is a sneak preview of my proposed cover design. Any comments gratefully received!
To put my design in context – this book is intended to be the first in a series of stories (each around 8,000 words long), all of which will be set in The Museum of Fractured Lives. Each e-book will feature a different donor to the museum and tell the story of the object they are donating. Maxine is the heroine of the first book.
It was loosely inspired by The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb which I told you about here. However, I should emphasise that everything in the book is totally fictional. I have never visited the museum.