Freaky Fridays Is Friday the 13th your lucky day? I’m talking about today, July 13. It could be. (And so could be every Friday for the following three weeks.) I’m teaming up with my friend Joanna Campbell Slan to give away one book a week. She’ll give away one of mine on her Facebook Author Page http://bit.ly/JCSgroup (Or put in “Joanna’s Readers” in your search box.) and I’ll give away one of hers on my Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/NancyJCohenAuthor/ Here’s how to win: Starting today, Joanna and I will post a question. We’ll randomly select an answer (Saturday morning) from the folks who comment. The winner will get her/his choice from a selection of our books. So…mark your calendar and visit our Author Pages TODAY and every Friday for four weeks in total. LibraryThing If you’re a member of LibraryThing, you could win one of two advance reading copies of Trimmed to Death, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Enter hereJuly 9 – July 23: http://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list Booklovers Bench Enter July 1 – 18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench, where readers are winners: http://bookloversbench.com
Cozy Mystery Giveaway, Feb. 28 – March 6 Enter Here to win up to 40+ cozy mysteries, including an ebook copy of Hair Raiser.
(2) Grand Prize “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks! (40) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)
Tropical Treats Giveaway, Feb. 21 – March 14 Enter Here to win a Tropical Treats package with a blue scarf, a blue crystal pendant necklace from Effy, a West Indies cookbooks, and a signed hardcover copy of Killer Knots (Bad Hair Day Mystery #9).
Booklovers Bench Monthly Giveaway, March. 1 – 18 Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench
Cover Design Decide if you’re going to use stock cover art or hire a designer. I recommend hiring a professional cover artist. You’ll have many things to consider, such as:
· Placement, size, and font for your book title and author name
· Series logo
· Text color
· Type of illustrations—photographic or cartoonish? Pastels or bold colors?
· Mood and story genre
· Endorsements or Awards
For upload to iBooks, you must own an Apple device. An option is to go through Smashwords or Draft2Digital. These sites are also useful for access to vendors beyond the big six above. You can choose selective distributor channels. Or you can hire a formatter to do the iBooks upload for you. A professional formatter can customize your document and buy links for each vendor. Here are some popular companies but there are many more. This is not an endorsement of any one in particular.
If you prefer to do the formatting and uploads yourself, check out Terry Odell’s blog for an instructional series on formatting for various vendors. Also join the Self-Publish listserve that is invaluable for the indie author. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If this link doesn’t work, sign into your Yahoo account and look for the selfpublish group.
You’ll want to upload to Createspace for a print edition. I advise using your own ISBN so you will be listed as publisher. Select as many extended channels as you’re allowed. Order a proof copy. Be aware this process takes a couple of weeks so allow for plenty of time when setting a pub date.
These production steps are similar if you are indie publishing a new and original title. In that case, file for copyright after your work has been published. Then proceed to market your new release.
If you missed previous installments in this series, go here:
Once you get the rights back to your earlier titles, what do you do with them? Try to resell these books to a new publisher? Put them online as ebooks for sale? Offer them in a new trade paperback print edition? Go through an intermediary such as Draft2Digital or publish them yourself directly to vendors? And should you revise and update the stories first?
When I got my rights back from Kensington for my earlier Bad Hair Day Mysteries, I decided to tighten the writing, update the technology, and add back materials to the books. Now was my chance to hire a cover artist and get the design I’d always envisioned.
Here are four versions of Permed to Death, the first book in my mystery series. From the left to right: Kensington, Ereads, Open Road Media, and my new AUTHOR’S EDITION (Cover design by Patty G. Henderson at Boulevard Photografica).
So what should you do first if you’re interested in reviving your old titles?
Obtain a File
First you’ll need a digital copy of your book in one entire file. I wrote my early books in the days when we copied the manuscript and snail mailed it to our publisher. Each file was a separate chapter. I didn’t have a single intact file for the book. Nor did I have the edits that were done by my publishing house. In other words, my original files didn’t match the finished product.
What to do? These books came out in hardcover and then in mass market paperback. I decided to have the paperbacks scanned in since they held the most recent edition.
The Scanning Process
If you’re lucky enough to find a digital copy of your book online, you could buy it, download the file and work from there. You can use the free Calibre program to convert between formats. Otherwise, choose a scanning company. I used Blue Leaf. You’ll have to sacrifice the book you send because it’ll be destroyed in the process.
Once you get the files back from the scanner, make sure you have an editable Word document, if this is the software you use. Then you have to review the text WORD FOR WORD to look for scanning errors. You may see a strange squiggle mark. Note this excerpt from Died Blonde:
Shutting off the blow-dryer, Marla plunked it on the counter. “Did you see how Claudia looked away when I mentioned a power blackout? She knew about it Probably Carolyn went to the meter room to turn off my electricity.”
You have to turn on the paragraph reveal mark in Word to see the irregular mark in “probably.” It looks like a hyphen with a bar hanging off the end. You’ll have to go through the entire document looking for this weird symbol. It’s intense, eye-straining work.
Notice the period is missing after She knew about it. Missing punctuation is another problem. Or quotes pointing the wrong way, use of an apostrophe instead of a quote mark, or an extra space after a hyphen.
In revising and updating your work, one of the things to look for are “ing” sentences like that first one. More about that when we talk about revisions.
Here’s another example with a misspelling for Sun-Sentinel. That weird mark is also present in “released.”
“The medical examiner’s report hasn’t been released yet, but the SunSenlinel reporter is saying Carolyn died under mysterious circumstances.”
Here’s a guide on whatto look for after having your book scanned:
· Weird symbols when you turn on the paragraph symbol in Word · Missing or wrong punctuation · A number “1” instead of an “I” · Misinterpretations, such as comer instead of corner. Watch for words like this with “rn” coming out as an “m” instead. · Misspelled words such as for away instead of far away; “die” instead of “the” · The letter “d” instead of “tl”: Words like abrupdy. Or see this example:
Marla setded a cape around her mother’s slim shoulders.
· Check the spacing for italics that it’s normal and not expanded or condensed (Highlight the word, hit Font, then Advanced). · Make sure italics don’t come out as bold. · Replace two spaces between sentences with one space if necessary. · Format chapter headings properly with a page break and remove any section breaks. · Look for run-on paragraphs or paragraph marks too soon that split a sentence onto the next line. Example:
“Carolyn promised Linda she would inherit her collectibles, but we couldn’t find any items of value.” “Jewelry? If a collection exists, it makes sense
they were gifts from her private benefactor. I don’t see how Carolyn could afford anything else. Did she have a safety deposit box?”
This should read:
“Carolyn promised Linda she would inherit her collectibles, but we couldn’t find any items of value.”
“Jewelry? If a collection exists, it makes sense they were gifts from her private benefactor. I don’t see how Carolyn could afford anything else. Did she have a safety deposit box?”
You need an eagle eye and several read-throughs to catch all these errors. Regardless of which route to publication you take, you’ll want to present a professional product. So gear up to begin the next stage, which is revisions and/or formatting.(Coming Next!)
Working with iBooks Novelists, Inc. Conference St. Pete Beach Oct. 2014
Representatives from iBooks spoke at the Ninc conference. They said their readers like free ebooks, so Apple offers the first free in series promotion. Their readers are also willing to pay more for a book so don’t be afraid to price higher.
Pre-orders count double toward your sales ranking—when a pre-order comes in and when the book releases. You can do pre-orders up to one year before the book’s release. You can offer a sample of the story when the book is in pre-order. So Step One is to set the pre-order date, which is when the book is available for ordering. Step Two is to set the sales start date, when the book can be sent out.
iBook sales count on the USA Today list. iBooks are only allowed on five devices for one person. You should put your iBook links on your websites, Twitter, newsletter and elsewhere. For Twitter, use the hash tag #iBooks, not #iTunes.
It takes time to build readers on this platform. They recommend you have three books minimum in your series when you offer the first one free. In the back material, make sure you include links along with covers for your other books.
Make sure your name is readable on a thumb-sized cover. For the URL, take out the specific country, and the URL will redirect to the country of the buyer.
They can only link your series titles if the books are uploaded by the same publisher. So if the books come from different sources, they won’t be able to link the titles in a series. [NOTE This is no longer true. It doesn’t have to be the same publisher but be consistent with your series title in the Metadata for each book.]
You might want to join their Affiliate program so you can share in some of the revenue from sales.
iBooks is in 51 territories. The German market is huge. We need to think more globally. Apple has a strong worldwide presence. India will be an emerging market for ebooks.
Note: Any errors in this article are due to my interpretation.
Win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card or free ebooks from Booklover’s Bench authors, including a copy of my cruise ship mystery, Killer Knots, in our December contest: http://bookloversbench.com/contest/
Third Degree Thursday opened the SleuthFest 2014 festivities at the beautiful Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort. I gave a presentation on “Writing is Revising” first thing in the morning, and then I listened to Neil S. Plakcy’s workshop on e-books. Workshops and panels follow. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Go there, Like my page if you haven’t already done so, then click on Photos. Next click on Albums and then SleuthFest 2014.
Neil said to learn your Word basics in terms of styles, formatting and headers. Understand the difference between a hard return and a soft return (shift-enter). In e-books, don’t use tabs or headings. “Write the best book you can if you intend to self-publish.” Take classes and workshops; join a critique group; get a manuscript critique; employ beta readers; do multiple revisions; join the Sinc Guppies; hire a professional editor.
To prepare your manuscript, proofread thoroughly. Check for page breaks and section breaks. A print version will need page numbers and headers. Don’t forget your copyright, acknowledgments, and dedication. The cover should be professional and eye-catching. Use royalty-free photos, and make sure the cover is readable at a small size. Hire an artist if you can’t do it yourself.
The jacket copy is the sales copy for online retailers. It is similar to the back cover copy on paperbacks. Marketing copy is to attract buyers. This may include endorsements. What is the hook for this book to get someone to want to buy it?
Metadata are keywords that readers use to search for your book. It may include terms relevant to the subgenre, location, subject matter, or theme. Go to Amazon and start typing in a keyword to see what pops up. This will tell you the most popular keywords.
Regarding file conversion, you could use the free Calibre software to save a Word doc as HTML. You want to use an Epub validator online to test before posting. Again, if you can’t do it for yourself, hire someone. Once your book is set, you upload it to the various sites. You may have to provide direct deposit information for your bank account. Often your book will be on sale within 24 hours. There is no cost to upload.
Amazon has several programs available, such as their KDP Select, Matchbook, Createspace, ACX, and Countdown. Royalties are often paid monthly after a 90 day delay. You can check your dashboard for up-to-date sales figures. Neil discussed royalties for the various e-book distributors. To determine the price for your book, see how much other books like yours are selling for. Determine your purpose. Is it to make money, to promote your work, or to provide information? What are the prevalent rates on the market today?
Promotion is important. You want to get reviews from other bloggers, Amazon customers, and Goodreads members. “Bloggers are the new reviewers these days.” Keep up with social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Utilize photo sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Promote your work at conferences, festivals, bookstores, and libraries when possible.
If you’re with an e-book publisher, they will likely have a list of reviewers, and this gives them an edge over self-published authors.
If you can, promote your work on sites like Book Bub and The Fussy Librarian. You need a minimum number of Amazon reviews for these sites.
Why give away free books? It helps gain readers. Use the sites above or run contests.
Neil uses Untreed Reads for distribution to various sites like Overdrive. You can opt out of the sites you don’t want them to do. They also sell through overseas vendors.
Neil is the author of several mystery series including his latest title, Genie for Hire–a fun, magical mystery with a genie detective.
Tomorrow, check out my post on “Writing the Cozy Mystery” at the How To Write Shop. Then stay tuned for a recap of Joanna Campbell Slan’s talk on “Seriously Series.”
Get in the mood for romance by entering my Valentine’s Day Contest on Feb. 13-17. You can win a free ebook copy of Warrior Prince and a $10 Amazon gift card. Click on the Contest tab on my Facebook Author Page to enter. Please “Like” my page while you are there. Rafflecopter will choose a winner.
And if you haven’t already downloaded your free Kindle copy of Warrior Rogue, Click Here!
You don’t even need a Kindle. With Amazon’s free Kindle app, you can read the book on your computer, laptop, or Apple device.
So obtain your free download of Warrior Rogue (The Drift Lords Series #2) and then Enter my Contest to win a free copy of Warrior Prince (The Drift Lords Series #1) and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for romance. How better to get in the mood than with a fast-paced romantic adventure?
Warrior Rogue will sweep you away on a thrill-packed ride with legendary villains, Norse myths, and ancient prophesies. The spellbinding action swings across the globe, but you don’t have to leave your armchair. Just CLICK HERE to download the Kindle book for FREE!
Yes, Warrior Rogue is FREE on Kindle from Feb. 13-17. Get your copy now and please tweet, share, and spread the news to your friends.
(And if you don’t have a Kindle, never fear! You can download the free Kindle app from Amazon and read the book on your computer, laptop, or Apple device.)
Warrior Rogue (The Drift Lords Series #2)
When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both.
Jen tilted her head, taking the plunge. “I’m just wondering where we’re going with us.”
“Are you embarrassed because of my job, is that it?”
“I brought you home to meet my parents, didn’t I?”
“That’s not a proper answer.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “All right, I really like you. I want to be with you. But what happens when your mission is over?”
His eyes hardened. “I go back to my job.”
“Exactly. You leave me. You leave Earth.”
“Why, would you come with me?” For a moment, something flickered behind his expression.
“Not if you’re a space jockey hopping from one port to another. I want to settle down and have a family.”
“Well, then I guess you’ll have to look for someone more stable and suitable to your goals.”
Hurt and disappointment slashed through her. “I guess so. Someone like you can never understand drive and ambition. You just know how to kiss women or kill people.” She regretted the angry words as soon as she flung them at him, but his refusal to consider her feelings wounded her.
He grinned, but his eyes were two cold ice chips. “I’m very good at killing, Jen. It’s my best trait. Too bad you don’t count that among your requirements for a mate.”
I have hopped on the Kindle train, become Kindle-ized, joined the Kindle generation. In simpler terms, I got my first Kindle as an advance birthday gift (the big day is Thanksgiving if you’d like to send me a card).
It’s the 3G Kindle model for $189. I got a thrill opening the box and finally holding the e-reader device in my eager hands. It came with a little booklet of instructions and a charging cable. The initial charge took an hour or so, then it was ready to go. I turned it on and followed the directions on registering my account. Then I read the manual on the Kindle itself. It also comes with embedded dictionaries. Instructions are easy and clear. My fingers had to get used to texting on the little buttons but the controls are quick to learn. I like the simple page turn button and the almost instantaneous speed with which it turns pages.
Then I emailed myself, at the address they specified, a pdf file I’d been saving on my computer of a romance novel. Oops, I’d sent it to my regular Kindle email account and got charged 30 cents. Now I read that you’re supposed to email the file as an attachment to your account name at free.kindle.com and put “convert” in the subject line. It’ll convert the file for free into Kindle formatting and download it to your device. I did this with a copy of Silver Serenade, my latest sci fi romance. Voila! It showed up on my Kindle!
I connected the Kindle to my home wireless network and activated my Twitter account. Now I’m ready to buy the list of books I’ve been accumulating on my Wish List. I’ll still read regular print books around the house, but I can’t wait to take my Kindle on a cruise.
The hunt is on again, this time for a cover. Fabric, leather, or canvas? Zippered or slip-in? Light or no light? Since I can read in bed at home with the lamp on, I don’t see the need for a reading light. And I’ll want a case that’s as lightweight as possible that fits in my purse. One reason why I never used my PDA was because the metal case made it too heavy. I’ll need to be able to stick this e-reader in my bag without weighing down my shoulder. The cases at Target are $29.99 and up. Cheaper ones exist online, but do I want to waste my time hunting one down? Oy, more choices.
Get Rich Self-Pubbing Your E-books with J.A. Konrath
“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.
Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.
Self-publishing eBook guru J.A. Konrath shared his experiences with us at the Ninc conference in St. Pete Beach. His sales figures are impressive and I’m not going to repeat them here. You can follow him on his blog, http://jakonrath.blogspot.com
Joe suggests making your website “sticky”, i.e. give people a reason to stick around. Content should be informative and entertaining. For example, you might offer an unsold book online for free as a pdf download. Joe calls this a “gateway drug” because these readers will go on to buy your print books.
Publishing houses still provide editorial services, cover design, and distribution, plus they serve as gatekeepers between the author and readers via bookstores. But should we pay for these services forever, or one time only?
If you are self-publishing, the cover art should be professional, even if you have to hire your own artist. Be sure to get the rights to use your cover design for any promotional purposes and also possibly if your book goes into print someday. Make sure your work is edited, error free, and correctly formatted so it looks professional. You’ll need to write the blurbs and back cover copy and get reviews and quotes. You’ll want the free preview option and no DRM.
Joe suggests doing a Kindle Nation ad but not necessarily a Facebook ad to attract readers. Participate in the kindleboards and social networks.
When self-pubbing, if you start out at Smashwords, you’ll get an ISBN there. You can opt out of the Kindle and Pubit (for B&N) and do those yourselves.
If you have an agent, think above having him sell the subrights to your eBooks, i.e. audio, foreign, film.
Books no longer have a shelf life. “This is infinite. It is forever…It’s a buffet mentality. We’re not going to have a saturation.”