Nancy's Notes From Florida

Choosing an Ebook Distributor

May 29, 2020

If you are not planning to be exclusive to Amazon, you’ll have several choices on where to publish your work in e-book format. You can either upload directly to the book distributors or go through a third-party aggregator. Other blogs compare these choices more thoroughly, so consider this an overview. This post will help you decide where to upload your self-published book.

Going Direct 

Publish your book directly to these distributors for maximum royalties and promotional benefits that may not be available otherwise. It really isn’t hard and you’ll like getting monthly royalties from these vendors once you learn the ropes.

Amazon Kindle –Since the majority of e-book sales are through Amazon, it’s best to go direct through KDP. If you go exclusive in Kindle Select, you can take advantage of certain promotional opportunities such as Kindle Unlimited and sales options.

BN Nook– You can schedule price promotions in advance.

Kobo – Ask to activate the Promotions tab to participate in special deals. You can opt-in for Overdrive and get a royalty 50% of library list price. Kobo Plus is a subscription service.

Apple Books – Apple has a new platform for authors, making it easy to upload your books directly without owning an Apple device. Fill out the four steps at the Publishing Portal – Upload your  ePub file & book cover; Add Title, Author & Description; Set Categories; Enter publisher & ISBN info. If this doesn’t work, if you only have a Word document, or if you need further instructions, see my advice here: https://nancyjcohen.com/publishing-direct-to-apple/

Google Play – They can discount your books at any time. This becomes an issue if Amazon does a price match. The solution? Raise your prices for this vendor.

Third-Party Aggregators

You can avoid all the angst and publish your book through a third-party aggregator that has multiple publishing partners.

Draft2Digital

  • Takes 10% cut of retail price.
  • You can set preorders at one site. Also handy for revised files.
  • Note you make a higher royalty (59.5%) going through D2D than going direct to Kobo (35%) with a book priced less than $2.99.
  • Payments are once a month direct to bank account.
  • Easy to upload files for free file conversion into mobi, ePub, pdf files
  • Author profile page and book tabs and Custom Book Carousels
  • Audiobook Production/Distribution via Findaway Voices
  • Universal Book Links via https://www.books2read.com/
  • Easy user interface and responsive customer service
  • New release notifications
  • Schedule sales ahead of time

Smashwords

  • Readers can buy direct from the SW Store.
  • Special copyright page wording is required. Approval for premium catalog needed.
  • SW’s royalty rate varies. Monthly payments via PayPal.
  • Set preorders in advance
  • Exclusive Promotions, Discount Coupons, New Release Alerts, Series Listings
  • Discount coupons on SW do not impact your retail prices at other stores.
  • Free ISBNs for use on SW sites
  • Author profile page and Author interview

PublishDrive

  • Takes 10% cut of retail price
  • Publishes to Google Play among numerous other sites.
  • Price Promotions in a few easy steps
  • You can add POD and audiobook formats to your distribution

IngramSpark

  • IS charges fees for uploads and revisions. Discount coupons may be available.
    Distribution includes 60+ e-book retailers.
    Royalties on e-books are 40% compared to 70% going direct to Amazon through KDP (depending on book price). However, KDP only allows you to reach Amazon customers.

You can also upload your books directly to some of the vendors above and use a third-party aggregator for the rest. One of the biggest advantages of the third-party aggregators is that they can reach the library market. Check out their partners and then make your own choice on which one you favor.

Choosing an eBook Distributor #indiepub #pubtip Click To Tweet

Disclaimer – This advice is based on my interpretation. Please visit each site to check for updates and to make your own evaluation.

Coming Next – Print Distributors

By the way, did you know the first four books in my Bad Hair Day Mysteries are available in Audiobook format? These stories are “funny, light, full of surprises and twists.” Go Here to learn more and listen to samples.



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Hanging by a Hair Reissue

May 26, 2020

I am pleased to announce the reissue of Hanging by a Hair, #11 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries. The new Author’s Edition is available in ebook and print formats.

Hanging by a Hair

Copyright © 2014 by Nancy J. Cohen
Digital ISBN 978-1-952886-00-3; $4.99; Orange Grove Press
Print ISBN 978-1-952886-01-0; $14.99; Orange Grove Press
Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com

Snarky neighbors, sordid secrets, and community politics play a role in this madcap murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.

Hairstylist Marla Vail’s joyous move to a new house with her detective husband, Dalton, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Alan Krabber was president of the HOA, making Marla wonder if a member of the board had an interest in his death. But before her husband’s investigation can begin, he is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest. Now it’s up to Marla to clear her husband’s name and make the neighborhood safe again. Can she unravel the clues and pin down the culprit before he targets her as the next victim?

Bonus Content:
Reader Discussion Guide
Five Easy Recipes
Peril by Ponytail Excerpt

“Marla is short for marvelous. If you like your mysteries ‘cozy,’ you’re going to enjoy every minute you spend with her!” Joanna Campbell Slan, author of the award-winning Kiki Lowenstein mystery series

Suspense Magazine “Best of 2014” Cozy Mystery
Night Owl Reviews 5 Stars Top Pick
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore Bestseller

“Marla Vail tackles married life and a slimy homeowners’ association in Cohen’s cheerful 11th series entry…A pleasingly lighthearted cozy.” Publisher’s Weekly

“The suspense element in this unusually funny mystery is gripping. What many readers will enjoy is the sensitive, realistic portrait of domestic life and the gently satiric treatment of the South Florida suburban milieu.” Phil Jason, Florida Weekly

“Funny, quirky, fast-paced with just the right amount of romance and humor mixed in with the mystery. Great series!”—Socrates Book Reviews

“…a madcap murder mystery that will have you laughing and guessing until the very end.” Mason Canyon, Thoughts in Progress

BUY NOW

Amazon Kindlehttps://amzn.to/2X3rDNx
Amazon Printhttps://amzn.to/2X1ZDtt
Apple – http://books.apple.com/us/book/id1515005221
BN Nook – https://bit.ly/2ZBYVF5
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hanging-by-a-hair
Books2Read – Coming Soon
Ingram – Coming Soon
BookBub – https://bit.ly/36wqbX9
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53471369-hanging-by-a-hair
Website – https://nancyjcohen.com/hanging-by-a-hair/

Marla and Dalton Vail move into their new neighborhood and discover a murder next door. HANGING BY A HAIR #cozymystery Click To Tweet

A Word About Reviews
Reviews are always welcome even on older titles and reissues. The number of reviews and average ratings count toward promotional opportunities and help attract new readers to my books. Scroll down on a book’s page to where it says Add a Customer Review and write a few lines on why you liked the book. My thanks in advance!



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Buying and Assigning ISBN Numbers

May 22, 2020

ISBN stands for International Book Standard Number. It is a globally recognized identification number for your book. As an indie publisher, you need to think about this option before self-publishing your work.

Why should you use your own ISBN numbers?

  • Control over metadata
  • More professional – Your imprint is the publisher
  • Better availability to retailers, booksellers, and librarians
  • You need an ISBN to get a barcode, which may include pricing information.
  • Certain book distributors may require you to have your own.
  • Some writing contests and library promotions require you to have an ISBN.
  • Your book’s information will be stored in the Books In Print
  • Resource: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/owning-your-own-isbn-in-self-publishing

Legalities – DBA or LLC

If you want your own imprint, create a publisher name and see if the domain is taken. If not, reserve the domain name. Register with your State as a “Fictitious Name” or “Doing Business As” company. You can do this online. Or establish an LLC. Check with your accountant to see which one is right for you. It looks more professional for your book to be published by “XYZ” Press than by the author. Apply for a county business license/tax receipt if required. Finally, open a business bank account so you can receive royalty payments through direct deposit.

This does not necessarily apply if your plan is solely to publish e-books through Amazon. Then you have the option of skipping this whole process and using the distributor-provided ISBN. But know that you are limiting your options for later if you choose to go wider with your books and take advantage of the opportunities listed above.

Where can you buy an ISBN number?

How to Assign Title Data to Your ISBN:

  1. Make sure you have your metadata, book cover, author bio, & pricing info ready.
  2. Sign into https://www.myidentifiers.com/ with your username and password.
  3. Go to the My Account dropdown menu.
  4. Click Manage ISBNs.
  5. Click Assign Title next to the ISBN number you wish to assign.
  6. Complete all fields marked with red asterisks.

Upload Cover Image

Title Information
Book title, subtitle, main description, original publication date, language, copyright year, optional Library of Congress Control Number

 Contributors
Your author name goes here along with your bio.

 Format and Size
Medium, i.e. E-book, Digital, Print, or Audio
Format, i.e. Electronic Book Text

Subjects & Genres
Primary Subject, i.e. Fiction, Mystery and Detective, General

Editions and Volumes
Previous Edition ISBN or New Edition ISBN. This is when you issue a second edition, for example. Then you must manually change the Title Status on the older ISBN to Out of Print.
Series Title Info (name of series) and Series Volume Number
Total Volume Number – number of products in a multi-volume work (i.e. box set)

Sales and Pricing
Where is the title sold? United States
Publisher and Imprint – Put your DBA or LLC company name as the publisher.
Title Status: Active Record
Publication Date: This can be in the future.
Target Audience, i.e. Trade
Price: Currency (US Dollars), Price (3.99) Type (Retail Price) 

Hit the SUBMIT button.

NOTE: Except for the ISBN number assignments, you can change most of this material, including adding a cover image, at a later date.

Use CLONE on the Manage my ISBNs Dashboard when you wish to copy this information to the next available ISBN number. This is helpful when you’re registering e-book and paperback editions for the same title. Review the data on the new form and adjust accordingly.

Buying and Assigning ISBN Numbers #indiepub #pubtip Click To Tweet

Library of Congress Control Number

After you have an ISBN, you can apply for an optional Library of Congress number. This allows librarians to catalog books before they’re published and to add the digital record into their search program. If you have an imprint that buys ISBNs in bulk from Bowker, you can set up an account with the LOC. You have to buy at least 10 ISBNs and list a U.S. city as the place of publication. Get started at https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/ about two to four weeks before you do the final formatting. LOC will ask for the book title and ISBN. They will email you the LOC number and tell you how to add it to the copyright page. Check for ineligible works here: https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/about/scope.html

Now that you have assigned an ISBN number to your title and filled in the basic metadata, you are ready to put your book into production. Add the ISBN number to the copyright page and move on to final formatting. Next we’ll be discussing publication choices.

If you missed the previous posts on this topic, see the following:

Adding Front and Back Material to Your Indie Published Book

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing

Why Self-Publish Your Book? 

 

 



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Adding Front and Back Material to Your Book

May 18, 2020

Today we’re discussing adding front and back material to your soon-to-be self-published book. This is one of the advantages of indie publishing. You can add whatever bonus materials you want. In terms of Front Matter, less is better. You’ll want readers to access the first chapter as quickly as possible for the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. So what should you include? Here are some options:

Front Material may include:

Cast of Characters
Copyright Page
Dedication
Family Tree
Map of Setting
Story Blurb with Review Quotes
Table of Contents

If you have a lot of characters, a cast of characters might be useful to the reader. Or it might discourage them from reading the book if they think it’ll be hard to keep track. I’ve had feedback both ways from fans.

The copyright page contains the book title, author, year of copyright, publisher imprint, statements about fair usage and permissions, ISBN numbers, and a Library of Congress number. Some of these are optional and some are not. We’ll discuss these choices more in another post.

Maps are always popular as are family trees. These could be offered in the back of the book rather than up front to save space. Same for the Dedication. A Table of Contents is critical for a nonfiction work. For a fiction work, this will be added when you upload your mobi or epub file to the different distributors.

Back Material may include:

About the Author + Social Media Links
Acknowledgments
Author’s Note
Book Club Discussion Guide
Call to Action for Newsletter and/or Reviews
Character Timelines
Excerpt of Sequel
Glossary
More Books by [Author] with Buy Link
World Building Details

After your story ends, you’ll have the chance to add bonus materials, such as a list of your books in series order, an excerpt of the sequel, reader discussion questions, research notes and more. Here you can put a Call to Action for your newsletter and/or reviews. Regarding buy links, keep in mind that certain vendors don’t like you to mention other sites. You’ll be safe if you use the book page on your website. Otherwise, you’ll have to change the buy link for each distributor.

Adding Front and Back Material to Your Book #indiepub #writingtips Click To Tweet

General Formatting Notes

My personal preference for e-books is to format my work in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins, indent first line 0.33 inches, Widow/Orphan off, single spacing. I put a page break at the end of each chapter. The first paragraph of each chapter or after a space break is flush left. Your formatting source might advise something different. You can also upload your Word file to one of the third-party aggregators like Draft2Digital and they’ll do the conversions for you. More on this option another time. Next we’ll discuss Buying and Assigning ISBN numbers.

GIVEAWAY

LAST DAY! Enter Now to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench in our May giveaway.

May contest

Previous Posts on this Topic

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing

Why Self-Publish Your Book

 



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Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing

May 15, 2020

In the previous post, we mentioned why you might choose to self-publish your work. You may have backlist titles to reissue or have a nonfiction project you want to publish or prefer to go indie to take control of your writing career. Depending on whether these are older titles or new ones, your approach to indie publishing may be different.

Preparing your book for self-publishing

Older Titles

If you wrote your books back in the day when we mailed our works in, you might have to hire a scanning company such as Blue Leaf to scan in your published works. You’ll need a print copy to send in, and it won’t be returned. Send the version that’s the most up to date, i.e. later paperback instead of original hardcover.

After receiving your digital copy, review the story to correct formatting errors. Turn on the paragraph symbol in Word and look for weird symbols in between letters, missing or wrong punctuation, misinterpreted words, and misspellings. Search for ^- or an optional hyphen. Look for “die” instead of “the” or the number 1 instead of “I.” Italics might be missing or bolded instead. Look for “rn” coming out as “m”, such as “comer” instead of “corner.” In other cases “tly” might come as “dy”, as in “slighdy instead of “slightly.” Quote marks might be reversed, or there could be section breaks instead of page breaks.

If your publisher has provided you with a final pdf file, or you’ve downloaded an ebook file, you can use Calibre Ebook Management or Zamzar to convert it into Word.

However, the formatting may be messed up. In this case, copy the entire document onto a blank sheet and save it as a text file. Click on Clear Formatting symbol. You will lose italics but any weird justifications will be gone. You’ll have to read through the story adding in italics and space breaks as needed.

Determine if you will re-edit the work or make major revisions. You might find your writing has changed greatly in the interim, and what you’d published before, although professionally edited at your publishing house, isn’t up to your current standards. So go through and make corrections. Don’t forget to update technology and remove any dated references.

Original Works

Use a program such as Smart Edit (https://www.smart-edit.com/) to look for redundancies and repetitions. Revise your work as many times as necessary to give it professional polish. Ask beta readers to critique your story. Make it the best it can be and don’t be impatient, or your lack of care will show in customer reviews.

For a full-length original novel, I strongly recommend that you hire a developmental editor and possibly a copy editor. Join author groups online and ask for names of editors who have experience in your fiction genre. You don’t want the local newspaper editor or English teacher who’s your friend. Fiction is about structure and pacing along with many other elements. You need an editor familiar with genre conventions. Experience at a publishing house is a plus.

The next step will be to solicit Beta Readers. These are fans who are familiar with your prior work or who volunteer if you send out a request via your newsletter or Facebook page. Write down what type of feedback you want and set a deadline for a response. It’s amazing what these diligent readers will find. They’ll also tell you what works and what doesn’t from a reader’s viewpoint.

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing #indiepub #writingtips Click To Tweet

The main point of this article is to make sure you have a polished, edited work that you’ll be proud to publish. Once you have the manuscript ready to go, you’ll need to add front and back material. Look for my next blog on this topic.

GIVEAWAY

Enter Now to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench in our May giveaway.

May contest

 

 

 

 



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