Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 5

Book Production for the Indie Author

This is Part 5 of my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.

Self Publishing Part 5

You have a polished manuscript. You have bought a block of ISBN numbers. You’ve determined how you want to present yourself as a publisher re using an imprint or not.

Now you’ll need to decide if you will be publishing an ebook, paperback, and/or hardcover edition. Finish the copyright page by adding ISBNs for the format of your choice.

Note: If you’re simply going to upload your book to Amazon and participate in their KU program, likely you can use the ISBN number assigned by Amazon. This is true for certain other distributors as well. But keep in mind that this will register them as the publisher on record rather than you. See Part 4 for how to assign book titles to an ISBN number.

Book Descriptions and Tag Line
Write a one-sentence tag line for your book along with short and long story descriptions. If you need help, go here:

Blurb Writer: http://www.blurbwriter.com/
Blurb Bitch: http://www.blurbbitch.com
Karen’s Blurb Service: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/BlurbService.html
Killion Group: http://thekilliongroupinc.com/

For a paperback, decide if you want a longer blurb on the back cover or a shorter one with review quotes. Remember to leave room for the bar code. You do not need to buy this. Distributors will provide their own bar codes, or you can get one free online. Prepare the back cover copy to send to your cover designer.

Author Biography
Prepare your author biography. This should be written in third person in an engaging manner. List your writing awards, professional organizations, genres, and special interests. Have a long bio, a short bio, and a couple of speaker introductions geared to writers and readers. You’ll need a shorter bio for the online book distributors, where you might want to include the URL to your website or newsletter.

Keywords
Make a list of your keywords. These are phrases readers might use to search for your book. They don’t have to be one word. You can use phrases such as, “mysteries with humor” or “cozy mysteries with pets” or “mysteries set in small towns.” Here’s an example of more keywords for mysteries. Look at the bestseller categories on Amazon for more ideas. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201276790

Cover Design
Think about a scene or two that you’d like to see depicted on your cover. Also consider your series branding if your book isn’t a standalone. Colors, text, and placement should be consistent from book to book. So should the art style. Look for a cover artist who has a portfolio of books in your genre. Join the writing community to get recommendations.

Pricing
If you’re unsure what to charge, look at other books in your genre with similar page counts to see what the going rates are. What are readers in your genre willing to pay for a print book or a digital copy? 

Formatting
Formatting comes next. You can do it yourself, hire a professional, or use one of the third party aggregates, such as Draft2Digital, to do the conversions for you. What you’ll need will depend on your technical skills and where you plan to upload your book.

Distribution
Before we get into particulars on book distributors, decide where you want your book to be sold. Are you planning to sell it at Amazon alone, perhaps with their Kindle Select program so people can get your book through Kindle Unlimited? Then all you need is a mobi file. For BN, Kobo, and Apple, you’ll need an ePub file. For print, a pdf file is required.

Ebook Distributors
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
Google Play: Access through one of the Aggregators below

Third Party Aggregators
Draft2Digital, https://draft2digital.com
Smashwords: www.Smashwords.com
PublishDrive: https://publishdrive.com/

Print Options
Amazon KDP Print: https://kdp.amazon.com
IngramSpark: http://www.ingramspark.com/
Barnes & Noble Press: https://press.barnesandnoble.com/

Once you have all these pieces ready to go, you can start uploading to the various book distributors. 

Self-Publishing Made Simple, Part 5 - Book Production for the Indie Author #indiepublishing #amwriting Click To Tweet

Coming Next: Ebook Distributors 

Did you miss our earlier posts on Self-Publishing Made Simple Blog Series?
Go here to catch up:
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
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 4

Buying and Assigning ISBNs for your Indie Published Books

This is Part 4 in my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.

Self Publishing Part 4

Legalities

You’ve prepared your manuscript as per Part 2 and Part 3 below. Now decide if you’ll want to publish your work under your own imprint. If so, create a publisher name and do an online search to see if the domain is taken. If it is available, reserve the domain name.

Register with your State as a “Fictitious Name” or a “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 or city business license/tax receipt as required. Note: if you’re 65, you may be exempt from fees but you still have to apply. Check your local regulations.

Open a business bank account. Consider if you’ll be selling your own books and will need to collect sales tax. Otherwise as sole proprietor, you don’t need an EIN number. Use your own SS number as an individual proprietor. Again, check with your accountant or attorney for what’s best for you.

Buying ISBNs

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Why own your ISBNs?

  • Control over metadata
  • More professional – Your imprint is the publisher
  • More availability to retailers, booksellers, and librarians
  • You need an ISBN to get a barcode, which may or may not include pricing information.
  • You need one ISBN number per format. So for an ebook and a paperback edition, you’d need two ISBNs. For a hardcover, you’d need another one. You do not need an ISBN to publish an audiobook through ACX. You may need one for audiobook distribution elsewhere.
  • Certain book distributors will require you to have your own ISBN.
  • Resource: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/owning-your-own-isbn-in-self-publishing

Where can you buy them?

Sign in to http://www.Bowker.com  It costs $295 for 10 ISBN numbers. You DO NOT need to buy a barcode or a QR code. You can get these free online by searching for free barcode generators or free QR codes. Otherwise, distributors such as Ingram and KDP Amazon supply their own barcodes. Sign up for emails from Bowker.com so you can be notified of sales.

How to Assign Title Data to Your ISBN(s):

  1. Sign into https://www.myidentifiers.com/ with your username and password
  2. Go to the My Account dropdown menu on the right side of the navigation bar at the top of the page.
  3. Click Manage ISBNs.
  4. Click Assign Title next to the ISBN number you wish to assign.
  5. Complete all fields marked with red asterisks. Be sure you have ready your book’s description, format, price, and author biography.

Title Details

Book title, subtitle, main description, original publication date, language, copyright year, optional Library of Congress Control Number, cover image. 

Contributors

Your author name goes here along with your bio. 

Format and Size

Medium, i.e. Ebook, Digital, Print, or Audio
Format, i.e. Electronic Book Text
Primary Subject, i.e. Fiction, Mystery and Detective, General
Secondary Subject, i.e. Fiction General
Editions and Volumes; Title Volume Number – number of book in a series; Total Volume Number – number of products in a multi-volume work (i.e. box set)
Previous Edition ISBN or New Edition ISBN 

Sales and Pricing

Where is the title sold? United States
Publisher and Imprint. Here is where you put your LLC or fictitious publisher name.
Title Status: Active Record
Publication Date: Fill this in; you can change it later if necessary
Target Audience, i.e. Trade
Price: Currency (US Dollars), Price (3.99) Type (Retail Price)
Series Title Info (name of series) and Series Volume Number 

Hit the SUBMIT button.

You can change or add any of this material, except the ISBN number assignments, at a later date.

If you have another format for the same title, you can click “Clone” next to the first one, select the next ISBN number, and change the data accordingly for the new title.

If this site isn’t working work well for you, switch to a different browser.

Keep your ISBNs handy. You’ll need to add them to your copyright page before formatting and to fill them in when you upload your book to the various distributors.

Do you have any tips on this topic to add?

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Coming Next: Preparing for Book Production

Enter our Monthly Giveaway at Booklovers Bench for a chance to win a free book from our Prize Vault. 

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.

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

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 2

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Manuscript Preparation

Self Publishing Part 2

Reissuing Your Backlist Titles

1. For older works where you don’t have a cohesive master file, you may need to use a scanning company such as Blue Leaf (http://www.blueleaf-book-scanning.com/). 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.

2. 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.

3. If your publisher has provided you with a final pdf file, or you’ve downloaded an ebook file, you can use Calibre Ebook Management (https://calibre-ebook.com/) or Zamzar (https://www.zamzar.com/) 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 Remove Formatting (see symbol on Home page). Then reformat and save it as a Word file. You will lose italics but any weird justifications will be gone. You’ll have to read through the story very carefully adding in italics and looking for spacing errors or other problems as above.

4. Decide if you mean to revise the work and update the technology in the story.

Original Works

For a full-length original novel, hire a developmental editor and a copy editor/proofreader. 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 who’s your friend. Fiction is about structure and pacing along with grammar. You need an editor familiar with genre conventions. Experience at a publishing house is a plus.

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.

General Formatting Notes

I hire a professional formatter, so this section isn’t in my realm of expertise. However, I can share that we use 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. My chapter headings use Heading 1 so they get marked for the table of contents. The line of each chapter is flush left as per my preference. There are lots more choices here, but I’m not going into further details because your formatting source might advise something different. Or you can upload your Word file to one of the aggregators and they’ll do the conversions for you. More on this in a subsequent post.

The main point of this section is to be sure you have a polished, edited work that you’ll be proud to share. You can hire a formatter or learn how to do it yourself, but that’s later down the road after your manuscript is ready.

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Coming Next: Adding Front and Back Material

Are you interested in reissuing backlist titles or publishing new, original works?

 

Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Production, Part 2

Step 5 Production—Cover Design, Formatting, Uploads

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

See my previous posts on this topic:
Book Cover Design Process
Book Cover Design

Hair Raiser 3D

Formatting and Uploads
Prepare an author bio, book description, and keywords. For a print edition, you’ll also need the back cover copy. Determine the price of your book.

If you need help with the book blurb, go to:
Book Blurbs: http://blurbcopy.wordpress.com/
Blurb Queen: www.theblurbqueen.com
Blurb Bitch: http://www.blurbbitch.com

Book Description Tips: http://insights.bookbub.com/how-to-improve-your-description-copy-to-sell-more-ebooks/

Set up a publisher account at the various vendors.

Amazon: https://kdp.amazon.com
Barnes & Noble: https://www.nookpress.com/
Kobo: http://writinglife.kobobooks.com
Apple/iTunes Connect: https://itunesconnect.apple.com
Createspace: http://www.Createspace.com
Google Play: http://googleplay.com

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.

Author E.M.S. with Amy Atwell
Ebook Formatting Fairies with Marie Force
eBook Prep
Formatting4u with Judi Fennell

The Killion Group, Inc.

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 selfpublish-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. 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:

Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Revisions
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Updating the Work
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Manuscript Preparation
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Legalities
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Production, Part 1

Contest Alert!
Enter May 1-18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.
http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

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Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Production, Part 1

Step 5 – ProductionFront and Back Materials

Continuing our series on reviving your backlist titles, you’ll want to add front and back materials to your manuscript. What should this include?

Front and Back

Front Materials

Minimize the front end of things so when the reader clicks on Look Inside at Amazon, he gets to see the text of your work right away. You don’t want him scrolling through pages of other material and losing interest. Here are some items you might place in front:

Copyright Page—Insert the ISBN number for your ebook or print edition. Add the logo for your imprint, if you have one.
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters
Foreword
Maps or Family Trees
List of Books in Series
Book Description
Review Quotes

Back Materials

This is your chance to add bonus materials for the reader, such as:

Author’s Note
About the Author
Books by Author with Series Listing
Call to Action (i.e. ask for reviews; ask reader to sign up for your newsletter)
Vendor-Specific Buy Links
Reader Discussion Guide
Deleted Scenes
Excerpt from your Next Work or another title in your repertoire

Coming Next: Cover Design, Formatting, and Uploads

If you’ve missed this series, catch up now:

Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Revisions
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Updating the Work
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Manuscript Preparation
Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Legalities

Contest Alert!
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/ 

Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Manuscript Preparation

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).

coverPTD  PTD  Cohen_PermedDeath  PERMED TO DEATHeBook

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 what to 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!)

LAST DAY FOR CONTEST ENTRIES!!!

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Enter to win 35 cozy mysteries and a Kindle Fire in Storytellers Unlimited Spring into Mystery Giveaway. My contribution is an ebook copy of Permed to Death. http://bit.ly/CozySpring

 

ACX and Audible

ACX and Audible
Novelists, Inc. Conference St. Pete Beach Oct. 2014

P1030932

What Sells in Audio? Teen and YA Fiction, Romance, Scifi/Fantasy, Mysteries/Thrillers, Business and History.

What do you need to get started? You need a published book on Amazon, audio rights, a manuscript, cover art and rights to the cover. There is no particular length requirement. Figure that 9300 words equals one finished hour of audio. In your profile when you apply to ACX, mention the main characters in your book, your awards and track record.

Options include paying the narrator upfront based on book length or sharing the earnings 50-50 and paying nothing up front. This latter term lasts seven years. Thereafter, you can renew each year or remove the audio book from distribution. A third option is to upload your own audio file.

Royalties are 40% for exclusive distribution and 25% if you go nonexclusive. For the former, you and the narrator split the royalty, meaning you’d each earn 20%. Distribution is to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Make sure you grant world rights for global reach.

You can earn a $50.00 bounty when someone joins Audible and purchases your book first. The person must stay in Audible for 30 days after the trial period.

The author gets 25 download codes for promotion but these don’t count toward your bounty. You can request more. How can you use these? Use them to generate reviews. Check out these sites: Audiofile, AudioGals, Books for Ears. Offer giveaways to your newsletter subscribers and social media fans. You can use Audible’s gift center to send a book to a fan.

If you already have an audio file, make sure it meets the requirements. It takes about three weeks after uploading to become active. Royalties are paid monthly via check or direct deposit.

Selecting your Narrator

Is she too fast? Too slow? Too cartoonish? Just right? Keep in mind that the listener can speed the audio with a tool in the app. You’ll want to give your narrator about three pages to read. These can be different paragraphs along with the context. In a series, continuity of narrator is important. A single voice is more popular than a multi-cast. Any additional material should come after the credits at the end.

One tip: use fewer dialogue tags. Various checkpoints occur in the process: the initial audition, and then a 15 minute sample which does not have to be the first pages of your work. You can request two rounds of revisions. Listen for the quality of sound during the longer samples. You can terminate the contract if you do not like the results. If approved, you can request three chapters at a time from your narrator.

Check the performance rating with each narrator, visit their website and note how many books they’ve done. You can click Like or Dislike to organize your selections. Narrators do not see this. You can send sample clips to friends for their opinions. Ask the narrator about her editing. Will she allow you to review the audio chapter by chapter, or at least three chapters at a time? You want somebody who’s easy to work with. If you are not happy with the narrator and reviews reflect your views, you can ask the narrator to re-record and upload. Do the first book slowly and thoughtfully. Do not rush the process.

The speaker from ACX at Ninc who nominates audio books for promotion said she looks at the book cover first. Next she’ll check out the number of reviews and what they say. She will check out your social media sites to see if you are promoting your audios. If you have a series, getting a promo boost for book one is important. Branding and packaging should carry over from other series titles.

How to Stand Out

Consider adding teasers for sequels after the credits. Coordinate promo efforts with your narrator. Leverage SoundCloud for audio clips. Make a dedicated space on your website for audio books. You can distribute up to 10% of your audio on a clip. This can be embedded on your website.

 

Note: Any errors in this article are due to my interpretation.

 

Amazon Independent Publishing at Ninc

Empowering Authors with Amazon Independent Publishing
Novelists, Inc. Conference Day 2, St. Pete Beach Oct. 2014

Several representatives from Amazon Independent Publishing spoke at the Novelists, Inc. Conference. They said they’ve seen consistent growth in print and Kindle books over the past few years. The Kindle growth curve exceeds print. This is a global trend as well. The adaptation to digital, when it occurs, happens fast across the world. The percentage of books sold online compared to brick-and-mortar stores is rising steadily.

P1030923
Digital creates discovery through dedicated e-book readers. Kindle owners buy four times more books than before they owned one. “What’s old is new again.” Digital creates incremental demand. We release older titles, and Kindle sales of all our books increase along with print editions. In 2013, there was 90% device ownership in the U.S. with 32% of these being e-readers and 42% being tablets.

At a bookstore, you have to worry about how your book is placed and where customers can find it on the shelf. Online, you’re concerned with how customers hear about and find your books. How can your book stand out against other content? Books have to compete against all other entertainment products and pricing. So how can we grow the mind-share of people who read books?

What’s next? Global marketplaces are another focus. So are opening Kindle stores based on local experience. Reading experiences such as Kindle Voyager and Kindle reading apps. To drive discovery, we have Amazon Author Central, Goodreads, Kindle Daily Deal, and Kindle Countdown Deal.

The Author Experience
Ease-of-use with KDP, Createspace, and Audible
Better tools with a pricing tool and now a Kids Book Creator
Reimagined content through Kindle Worlds and Kindle First Day One
Author lifestyle support with Kindle Scout, WriteOn, APub, indie platforms

The Customer Experience
New models such as Kindle Unlimited
Wider functionality such as #AmazonCart
Global and Local

KDP
Benefits are that it’s easy to enroll, fast to market, global reach. Author maintains control, retains full rights, keeps up to 70% royalty. You can use KDP to publish in territories where you have the rights. The new reporting dashboard launched in February. An order is different from a sale that has cleared the bank. You can retrieve up to 90 days of data. The pricing tool suggests how much you should price your book based on various data.

Pre-order means you can promote your book up to 90 days before the launch. This helps to build sales rank. You should put a link to the next book in your series at the back of the book if possible. 10 days before, you must present the final file. There is a three day block out period prior to launch where you can’t make any further changes.

Series Promotion
Improved search and browse feature.
Be sure to put your info in the metadata.
New series landing pages for the whole series so you can see your books in order.
The next in series will appear as a buy button on devices at the book’s end.

KDP Select means you can attain higher royalties, reach new audiences, participate in special promotions. This includes the Kindle Lending Library, Kindle Countdown Deal, Kindle Unlimited. KDP books do hit the bestseller lists. Authors get paid from a global fund and can earn All-Star bonuses.

Kindle Daily Deal leads to 3000 times more sales. There’s a lasting effect. One day later, there is 110 times sales. At seven days, it’s 18 times sales. At fourteen days, it’s 5 times more sales, and at thirty days, it is 4 times more sales.

On the Kindle Countdown Deal, you get up to seven promo days. The book must be at least one dollar off the list price. There’s a countdown clock on your Amazon book page. Your book is also listed on the KCD landing page and it’s based on ranking where your book appears.

Kindle Unlimited costs consumers $9.99 per month, and this includes audio books. The Kindle Matchbook program means if you buy the new print book, you can buy the Kindle book for $2.99 or less.

Createspace offers global reach, 24/7 customer service, Kindle conversion, industry-leading royalties, free Cover Creator tool, forums, blogs, articles and videos as publishing resources. Professional services of editors and designers are available if needed. Your share of the list price: Createspace 80%; Amazon 60%; Expanded Distribution 40%–all minus a manufacturing fee.

How to Maximize your Success: Use Metadata. This can consist of keywords in terms of genres and categories that are visible at the bottom of the Kindle detail page. This metadata should be consistent across all locales.

Your Amazon Author Central page includes a book list with cover images, author photo, bio, Twitter and blog feed, videos that you upload. Readers will also see recommendations for similar authors. You can get your sales data and ranking on Author Central. Make sure your books are on Goodreads and you have an active presence there.

How to Get Reviews? Offer promotions such as permafree, KCD, etc. Publish in multiple formats, i.e. print, e-book, audio.

Author Platform: Keep up with Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, social media, email lists. Consult with other authors on ways to attract readers.

Note: Any errors in this article are due to my interpretation.

CONTEST ALERT

Win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card or free ebooks from Booklover’s Bench authors in our November contest: http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

1000 Thriller Giveaway: Enter to win a new book every week for a year: http://www.thebigthrill.org/1000-thrillers/

HANGING BY A HAIR is up for a Readers Choice BTS Red Carpet Book Award in the Mystery category. Check it out and vote here: http://btsemag.com/redcarpet/2014_ReadersChoice_Mystery.html

 

It Takes A Village: Self-Publishing Tips

“It takes a village” to be an author today, says Deborah Richardson from Dremservices.com at a recent meeting of Florida Romance Writers. “You can’t do it all yourself.” She suggested that you first create your mission statement so you know who you are and where you’re going. Figure out what jobs you can do and what you should hire out. Set realistic deadlines. And never plan on being your own editor because you’ll fill in your own mental holes.

Debbie Richardson

Steps to Take on the Road to Success

Author
First you have to write the book.

Editors
This may include people such as a developmental editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.

Cover Designer
Often you cannot see the quotes on the front of a Kindle book cover, so maybe put your author endorsements elsewhere. If you use a stock photo, try to change it somehow to make the cover more unique.

Beta Readers
Find two to four beta readers for your book. Know them. Trust them. Be very careful who you choose since “piracy is getting to be a really big deal. It is our job to educate,” meaning we should make the public aware of this issue and why it’s not all right to download free, unauthorized copies of our books. Write take-down letters to the sponsored sites. These pirates can alter your work without permission.

Formatter
Decide if your time is worth it to do your own formatting or to hire this job out.

Pre-Publication Marketing
This includes soliciting advance reviews, attracting pre-orders, scheduling a Facebook launch party or a blog tour. Don’t give away a free copy of your new title as a prize during these events. Give away a gift card or a backlist title instead so people won’t wait to see if they won your new book. Marketing can be “all-consuming.” It’s a lot of work for an author, so hiring someone to coordinate your efforts might help.

Social Media
Decide what you can do and what to hire out plus what level of help you want. “Be as professional as you can be” in your online connections.

How do you Pick your Village?
Through word-of-mouth, research online, and networking. Speak to potential candidates that you feel you can work with. “Collect business cards wherever you go.”

Building a relationship with bloggers is one of the best things you can do. “Bloggers should be your best friends.” You can check their analytics to see how much traffic there is on their sites. Find out what works for each individual book and target your efforts accordingly. Even book bloggers specialize in certain genres.

How to Take your Village into the Future
Have your career mapped out. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the last book launch. Set new deadlines and goals. Your village should work with you toward a common goal.

Find Deborah Richardson Online:

Website: http://www.Dremservices.com
Twitter: @DREMServices
Facebook: dremservices

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By the way, if you missed my radio show this past week, you can catch it here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2014/10/10/florida-cozy-mystery-author-nancy-j-cohen-on-authors-on-the-air