Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 6

This is Part 6 in my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.

E-book Distribution Options for the Indie Author

Self-Publishing Part 6

GOING DIRECT
Amazon:
https://kdp.amazon.com
Barnes & Noble Press:
https://press.barnesandnoble.com/
Kobo:
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/p/writinglife
Apple Books:
https://itunesconnect.apple.com

Amazon – Higher royalty; chance to be exclusive with Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited. Preorders allowed within 90 days of release date. You can manage your books via Amazon Author Central. Sends out new release notices to your followers.
BN – Preorders allowed. You can schedule your price promotions in advance. Authors earn 65% royalty on eBooks priced over $9.99.
Kobo – Ask to activate the Promotions tab to participate in special deals; global audience. You can opt-in for Overdrive and get a royalty 50% of library list price.
Apple Books – Must upload using an Apple device. You can use an iPad or iCloud if you don’t have an Apple computer; hire a formatter; or go through a service like Draft2Digital. After your book is available on iTunes, if you’re publishing it yourself, write and ask them to change the name of the seller on your account to your DBA or LLC. You can set preorders up to a year in advance. Sales count twice, when the person preorders the book and when it goes live. They give you up to 250 free download codes.

THIRD PARTY AGGREGATORS
Draft2Digital,
https://draft2digital.com
Smashwords:
https://www.Smashwords.com
PublishDrive:
https://publishdrive.com/

Draft2Digital
• Takes 10% cut of retail price.
• Distributes to Amazon, Apple, BN, Kobo, Baker & Taylor, Bibliotheca, 24Symbols, Playster, Overdrive, Scribd, Tolino and Google Play
• Set Preorders at one convenient site. Also handy for revised files.
• Note you make a higher royalty going through D2D than going direct to Kobo with a book priced less than $2.99.
• Payments are once a month.
• 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.
• E-book conversion to multiple formats
• Special copyright page wording is required.
• Distributes to Amazon, Apple, BN, Kobo, Baker & Taylor, Bibliotheca, Gardners, Inktera, Library Direct, Odilo, OverDrive, Scribd, Tolino. Over 500,000 titles.
• SW’s royalty rate varies. Monthly payments
• Set Preorders to Apple, BN and Kobo up to a year in advance
• Exclusive Promotions, Discount Coupons, New Release Alerts, Series
• The discount levels you set for the sale do not impact your retail prices at other stores.
• Free ISBNs for use on SW sites
• Author profile page and Author interview

PublishDrive
• Distributes to Kindle, BN, Apple, Google Play, Overdrive, Scribd, and to more than 400 stores, including digital libraries (schools, universities, public libraries).
• Takes 10% cut of list price.

Comparison Royalty Rates for $4.99 ebook
Amazon – $3.44 (70% – delivery fee)
Kobo – $3.49 (70%)
BN – $3.24 (65%)
D2D – $2.97 (net income – 10% commission)

E-book Options Ingram vs KDP
• KDP has no title setup fees, whereas it costs $49 at IS when uploaded with the print edition or $25 for the e-book alone. Each corrected manuscript costs $25 to upload to IngramSpark.
• IngramSpark has wider distribution, including Kindle, Apple, and approximately 60 other e-book retailers.
• With KDP, you can only make your e-book available to Kindle but no other e-retailers. You’d have to upload the ebook directly to Kobo, BN and Apple or go through Smashwords or Draft2Digital.
• Royalty rates on e-books at Ingram are only 40% compared to 70% at KDP (depending on your book’s price).

E-book distributors for Indie Authors, Part 6 in my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series. #indieauthors #indiepub Click To Tweet

Coming Next: Print Book Distributors

Disclaimer: This information changes rapidly, so it only represents my interpretation at the time this article was written. Please let me know if you have any updates or corrections.

Did you miss the earlier posts in my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series? Go here to catch up:

Part 5 – Book Production for the Indie Author https://wp.me/paLXP7-4q6
Part 4 – Buying and Assigning ISBNs https://wp.me/paLXP7-4pO
Part 3 – Adding Front & Back Material https://wp.me/paLXP7-4pz
Part 2 – Manuscript Preparation for the Indie Author https://wp.me/paLXP7-4oX
Part 1 – Getting Started as an Indie Publisher https://wp.me/paLXP7-4oQ

Contests

April 15-21, RONE Awards
Please VOTE for Body Wave Audiobook in the RONE Awards THIS WEEK ONLY! Sign in or Register at InD’Tale Magazine, https://www.indtale.com Be sure to click the email confirmation link if you are registering for the first time. Once logged in, go to RONES in upper right corner, hover over 2019 RONE Awards, and click on 2019 RONE Awards Week One that pops up. Scroll down to the Audiobook: Paranormal/Mystery Category and vote for my title, BODY WAVE.

April 1 – 18, Booklovers Bench
LAST DAY! Enter to win a free book from the Prize Vault at Booklovers Bench, including a copy of SHEAR MURDER, #10 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. https://bookloversbench.com/win-a-free-book-april-2019/ #giveaway #cozymystery

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 3

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Adding Front and Back Material 

This is Part 3 on my Self-Publishing Made Simple series. Today we’re discussing front and back material that you might want to add to your manuscript. In terms of Front Matter, less is better. Some of these items under that category you can move to the back. You want readers to access the first chapter as quickly as possible for the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. Some authors include a brief story blurb here so ebook readers will remember what the book is about if they don’t get to it for a while.

self publishing part 3

Front Material may include:
• Copyright Page
• Dedication
• Cast of Characters
• Family Tree
• Table of Contents
• Character Timelines
• Map of Setting
• Story Blurb with Review Quotes
• Call to Action for Newsletter Sign-Up

Back Material may include: 
• Acknowledgments
• Author’s Note
• Call to Action for Reviews
• About the Author (Bio + Social Media Sites)
• More Books by [Author]
• Excerpt of Next Title [Note: Don’t call it Chapter One since you already have this title in the book.]
• Bonus Content
• Call to Action for Newsletter
• Buy Links or Website Link

After your story ends, you’ll have the chance to add bonus materials, a list of your books, an excerpt of the sequel, reader discussion questions, and more. Here again you can put a Call to Action for your newsletter. Regarding buy links, keep in mind that certain vendors don’t like you to mention other online distributors. You’re always safe if you give the books page on your website. Otherwise you’ll have to change the buy link for each book distributor.

Self-Publishing Part 3 - Adding Front & Back Material #indiepublishing #amwriting Click To Tweet

Do you have any tips to add regarding front and back material?

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 1

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Getting Started

Have you been wanting to indie publish your work, but you don’t know where to begin? Or does the prospective task seem so daunting that it paralyzes you into inaction? Is this even something you can do for yourself, or will you need a “village” to help you along the path to publication?

Self Publishing Made Simple

Let’s think a moment about the difference between a self-published and an independently published author. Anyone can self-publish his work. But an indie author is more likely to be a professional career writer who understands what makes a polished book and what the marketing requirements are to go along with it. He’s not a one-book wonder but is looking to make a profit. With this goal in mind, he treats his career as a small business. But whichever term you use, these same steps apply. I will use them interchangeably in this multi-post series.

We’ll discuss setting up your own imprint, buying and assigning ISBNs, preparing your manuscript, creating front and back material, and options for ebook and print formats.

Getting Started as an Indie Publisher

First let’s look at why you’d like to indie publish your novel. Do you want to become a hybrid author by reissuing your backlist titles or by publishing new works in between your traditionally-contracted books? Perhaps you have a novel that doesn’t fit genre guidelines or a personal project you would prefer to self-publish. Or maybe you have an idea for a nonfiction book that lends itself to indie publishing.

Why should you self-publish your work?

PROs:

  • You have a backlist and the rights reverted
  • You want to publish work in between your traditionally-published novels
  • You have a book that doesn’t fit into a particular genre category
  • You have a nonfiction project that you want to publish on your own
  • You want to direct the publishing process, in terms of:
  • Quality control
  • Pricing and discounts
  • Input on cover and interior design
  • Higher royalties
  • Rights ownership
  • Publication schedule

CONs:

  • Learning curve
  • Time-consuming tasks
  • Production costs
  • Back cover copy, book descriptions, metatags are your responsibility
  • Author/Series Branding is essential
  • Loss of prestige
  • Difficulty getting reviews
  • Limited booksigning and speaker opportunities
  • Tougher standards to join professional writers organizations
  • Bookstores and Libraries may not stock your work
  • Pressure to Produce

Coming Next – Manuscript Preparation 

Self-Publishing Made Simple - Getting Started #pubtip #indiepublishing Click To Tweet

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of independent publishing?

Self-Publishing, Part 1

I am dipping into the scary waters of self-publishing. This difficult decision came about for several reasons. I did a brief survey of readers on my Facebook author page asking if they’d prefer, for an original mystery I’ve written, (a) the expensive hardcover library edition that wouldn’t come out for another year, (b) an ebook version being released as soon as possible for $2.99, or (3) a simultaneous ebook and mass market release with the ebook possibly priced over $5.00. Again, this release date might not be until 2015.

The majority of readers voted for (b), the quick and less expensive ebook edition. This choice corresponds to my self-publishing this work, rather than pursuing small press or traditional NY publisher. For either of those, a wait of over a year before publication would be likely, with no control over the resultant price of the books.

If I were a new author, I’d choose the publisher route to establish credentials. But I already have a fan base for my mysteries. Hopefully these readers will be eager to try an original work and potentially book one in a new series.

self publish

So what are the steps to follow? I’ve put up one backlist title by myself. I formatted it for Kindle and Nook and Smashwords, hired a cover designer, and uploaded Keeper of the Rings to those retail sites. Since this title had already been published, I had the cover copy and quotes handily available. Not so for a totally original work.

I am following the steps so generously described by author Libby Fischer Hellmann at http://www.libbyhellmann.com/six-steps-of-self-publishing/. These steps are similarly described in the resource articles below.

self publish3

Step number one is to Hire an Editor once you’ve finished your work. You may need two editors, a developmental and a copy editor. Or you may employ other writer professionals in a time swap arrangement, beta readers, and critique partners. If you are a new author, it is critically important that you follow this step and work with a professional editor.

Next on the list is preparing the Front and Back Materials. Author Marie Force gives a comprehensive discussion of what these should include at http://e-bookformattingfairies.blogspot.com/2012/03/front-matter-and-back-matter-why-it.html.

Author Terry Odell recommends putting most of the items in the back so as not to obstruct the “Sample Preview” offered by Amazon. Terry also made another good point in suggesting I leave off listing the Cast of Characters, because e-book readers won’t be able to flip back to the front of the book for reference. So my front material consists merely of the Copyright Page. I am not having a Dedication, but the front is where this page would go, as well as any advance review quotes for your book.

The back end materials take more time to prepare. First come the Acknowledgments, moved from the front as Terry suggested. Next is an author’s note that reads thus:

Thank you for reading [book title]. If you enjoyed this story, please support the author’s efforts by helping other readers find this book. Here are some suggestions for your consideration.

Write an online customer review.
Gift a copy of this book to a booklover friend.
Sign up for Nancy’s quarterly email newsletter on her website.
Follow Nancy on her social media sites.
Spread the word about her work.
Suggest her titles to a local book club.

Following this page is my About the Author section with social media links. Finally, I have a page with More Books by Nancy J. Cohen. If I can get my formatter to link these titles to the appropriate bookstore, that would be great. Otherwise, the list remains as is.

Another section you can add here is a chapter from your upcoming sequel or excerpts from your other published works. My sequel isn’t far enough along for me to add this additional page.

Keep in mind that these bonus materials add to the length of your book. From what I’ve been reading, this becomes important when formatting your work for Createspace, but that’s another topic down the road, However, if you will be having a cover artist do the spine and back cover for a print book, she may need to know the spine width and that might relate to the number of pages.

Now I’ve added my front and back materials. It’s time to move on to the back cover copy.

In my view, that’s harder than writing the book.

As you can see, this venture promises to be incredibly time consuming the first time around. Thereafter, I imagine it is easier because you can just repeat your steps. Will the effort be worth the reward? I hope so, because these publishing duties steal time from writing the next book.

self publish2

It’s exciting to think I’ll have something different to offer my fans, in addition to the Bad Hair Day and Drift Lords series that are on-going. This makes me one of the new breed of hybrid authors. I hope you’ll continue to follow me on this journey of exploration.

Useful Articles on Self-Publishing

http://www.libbyhellmann.com/six-steps-of-self-publishing/

http://e-bookformattingfairies.blogspot.com/2012/03/front-matter-and-back-matter-why-it.html

http://gigipandian.blogspot.com/2012/03/20-steps-in-self-publishing.html

http://www.authorems.com/self-publishing/

EBooks

EBOOKS

“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.                                                         

Annette
Annette Mahon, Nancy Cohen, Cynthia Thomason

Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.

Panelists:

Lou Aronica, Publisher, The Story Plant

Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO, Harlequin Enterprises

Al Zuckerman, Literary Agent and Founder of Writers House

Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP, Global Author Services, HarperCollins

Heather Graham, NYT Bestselling Author

Alan Kaufman, Literary Attorney

Loriana Sacilotto, Executive VP, Editorial & Global Strategy, Harlequin Enterprises

Angela James, Executive Editor, Carina Press

“Publishers are moving toward digital publishing because consumers want it.” Ereaders will be hot over the holidays.

A digital world offers no returns, no print production, and a different distribution avenue. It’s a very big opportunity for writers and publishers. Genre readers have adapted to the technology faster than others.

Neilsen Bookscan (if I got this right) reported $40.6 million eBook sales in one month.  The Kindle is responsible for this explosion.

The competition, i.e. B&N, Borders, Amazon, and Google, are growing awareness of this product.  What will really shake things up will be Smartphones.  This is the next big opportunity.  People who don’t own dedicated eReaders will have global Smartphones.  Even eReaders may disappear in favor of these devices.  The deciding factor is how long brick and mortar stores stay open.

See this article “Verizon Wireless Brings Kindle Experience to Android Smartphones and Other Devices” at http://bit.ly/9LypQG

Lou:  He doesn’t distinguish between print or eBook writers and publishing houses re prestige.  Readers want interaction with writers.  You must connect in some significant way with your readers.  The only way you can stand out from the pack is to market yourself, no matter the publisher or the format.

Regarding whether you should self-publish or go with an epub, Lou reminds you that epubs can manage the different streams of income.  Convenience is a major factor to going with an epub for now.  If eBook sales equivocate to print sales, perhaps these epubs should begin offering advances. 

Print publishers have to set up a new infrastructure while maintaining their legacy print operation, but there may be casualties as their margins are very small.

Angela:  Digital first authors may choose to go with an epub because they want to write something different or they want to start out in a smaller market.  It doesn’t mean they’ve been rejected by the major houses as many perceive it. 

“You don’t want to just publish a book.  You want a career.” Authors are small business owners and have to market themselves. 

Carolyn:  How do pubs and authors collaborate together as partners in a new business model to sell more books?  The major houses have to figure out how to reduce costs on the print side while increasing their investment in digital.  Readers care about what reviewers think and what their own friends like.  They care about a good story.  She believes too much technology (i.e. enhanced eBooks) may interfere with this experience, at least for fiction. It might work better for nonfiction.

Alan believes things may look similar in five years if the general trade publishers acquire the eBook publishing houses.  Then those pubs may in turn be acquired by Google.

“Publishers act as gatekeepers.  This is their most important function.  If they aren’t around to do that, who knows what’ll be out there?”

Harlequin is already ahead of the game because it has Carina Press.  Angela says other issues like DRM and pricing will change the landscape.

Other issues mentioned in the panel were consumer pricing and the strong trend toward price reduction, demographics and the behavior of younger readers and their purchasing habits, and the foreign market which is hungry for content. 

Coming next: Digital Rights

I’m guest blogging today over at Fresh Fiction on Creating Memorable Villains.  Please check out my post and leave a comment: http://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=2864

Judy
Judy Fitzwater and Edie Claire

                                   

Traci
Traci Hall, Sally Schoeneweiss, Kathleen Pickering