Why the eBook Route?

March 21, 2012 in

Why The Ebook Route Is Attractive For New Writers

Getting published has seldom been cheaper. Or easier. And I’m not only talking about ebooks. Printed books can be produced to order, quickly, one at a time, but here set-up costs can be heavy and there are drawbacks for the unwary, with unscrupulous operators masquerading as real publishers after your business – the sort who instead of paying you, empty your pocket, and take no investment risk whatsoever.

However, with ebooks, aspiring writers with their wits about them can now bypass the submission marathon and become published authors in a matter of weeks . . . if they feel that impatient. Which I must admit most of us do!

Writing and Publishing Your eBook

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Offers Many Advantages

It’s the arrival of the ebook mass market that I’m really interested in, especially the one set up by Amazon with its Kindle ebook readers and Kindle Store. Publishers failed to appreciate what Amazon was doing to the market for their printed books, and indeed some are still protesting as their old-fashioned ways of operating are exposed for the rackets they were: ones that benefited neither reader or writer, or indeed the publishing houses themselves in many instances.

Why take the eBook route?The Kindle Store offers new writers a free platform to display their books; it’s one where they can list them, describe their merits, offer a profile of the author, and adjust the price of the ebook from one day to the next. Amazon do take a commission on each sale, but at rates that compare well with the abysmally low net royalties offered by traditional publishers. There are also ways to promote your books which may just get their heads above the precipice and into the bestseller category: Listmania, wish-lists and using your buyer profile to like them and promote the search tags. These are tools that can be used on Amazon to give a promotional push that should not be underestimated.

But if something sounds almost too good to be true, as this does, then what are the dangers, the horrors that might plague you as a newly published writer once your book is available for readers worldwide?

When you put your name on an ebook, then its shortcomings will be down to you. Nobody else. And to prepare for and ward off these disadvantages it’s necessary to split the marketing aspect into three facets:

  •  .  what does the ‘packaging’ proclaim, inform readers about treats to come
  •  .  how are the ‘contents’ displayed
  • .  how instructive, well-written or entertaining is the book itself

Taking these in reverse order, if your writing is semi-literate, poorly punctuated, and rambles as you attempt and fail to take your reader on a literary journey, then your reputation is punctured both as a writer (probably for good) and as a person (what will your friends think of you when they read it?). The same care should be taken with the writing of an ebook as you would devote to its printed cousin. Your draft should be planned, edited, proofread, and targeted from inception at an identified readership, and then it should respect it. Provide what readers are looking for and they will respect you and look out for your work in the future.

If you have a brilliant manuscript, the next thing to ensure is that it is laid out so that the software employed by ebook online retailers will display it well on ebook readers. If you pay insufficient attention at this stage – Amazon offers page upon page of advice but it’s not always easy to follow – then your work may look dreadful when viewed on ebook readers. And if that’s true, your book will neither sell or do you justice. My advice: unless you are comfortable with the jargon employed by computer and print people, invest a small sum in acquiring expert help – at least for your first book.

And finally we come to the marketing and ‘packaging’. Here we are talking about what visitors first see when they visit the Kindle Store or other online ebook retailer. Your ebook will commence with two things: a unique listing page, and a place where it sits with all other similar books in your chosen category.

To deal with your unique listing first, you will be asked to describe your book, categorise it, give it a title, price it, and provide an image of ‘the cover’, a reminder that while no ebook will ever exist outside the screen you view it on, publishers still think of it as a tangible thing that can be picked up! Every one of these things, if incorrectly done, will ruin your chances of success.

For the listings, your competitors will all be visible alongside a summary of your book, and because you are new to the listings, you shouldn’t expect to be number one immediately. You won’t be. You’ll more likely be number forty or fifty. But if everything you’ve done works as it should, your sales should rise over the following weeks as readers find your work.

One last point. I would strongly advise new writers to seek a little support when tackling this brilliant market for the first time. Editorial advice should ensure the minor literary flaws are eradicated soon enough (if they don’t then perhaps you shouldn’t be publishing just yet), technical support will guarantee a well laid out book, and an informative listing will ensure your book has a reasonable chance of being a success.

Seize the opportunity, I say . . . but take as much care as you can to produce truly professional work you can be proud of.

eBook Publishing

March 20, 2012 in

Are you considering writing or publishing an ebook? If so, we can guide you through all the stages.

We assist book writers to publish and sell ebooks online. And Amazon’s Kindle Store should be your priority.

If you have already published a book and would like an ebook version listed and selling on Amazon, in days, again we can help.

Your new ebook will be accurately described and displayed on the Amazon Kindle store, with a special cover photo, a description, and your name, as author, shown. Sales worldwide are possible the moment Amazon accept your files and publish the ebook on the Kindle Store. See the Writers Wanted page for further details about these services.

There is another way to approach ebook publishing however: handle everything yourself – self-publish (we list the things you must do below) and it will only cost you the time involved. Take a look and see if you think that is the approach you would prefer to take. There is little doubt the DIY route will save you money in the short term, but what you need to consider carefully is whether it will cost you money in the months that follow.

To get Amazon to accept a Kindle book for sale you need to:

1. register an account with Amazon on KDP, in your name, so that they pay you directly. You will then become the commercial publisher
2. prepare and send Amazon a computer file for the content (Amazon accept several different file formats), and a graphic image file for the ‘cover’. Amazon will attempt to convert the ebook files you send them to put them in their Kindle Store
3. write a description of the book (the selling copy). This needs to be punchy and literate to work. You enter this on the listing form.
4. choose two appropriate categories for listing on Amazon. This will guide buyers to your ebook’s page
5. set a price for your book that buyers will find competitive
6. choose seven keyword phrases. These should be ones that internet searchers frequently use to find books similar to yours
7. provide a profile about yourself, as the author, and add it to ‘Amazon Author Central’. This will interest potential buyers and is an additional means of promoting yourself and your book(s).
*8. create website pages dedicated to your book where you can, a), describe the book and its history and contents in greater detail, b), link directly to your Amazon listing to increase your chances of boosting sales and c), add further commentary about the book as reviews come in.
*9. prepare a PDF version of your book. This you can then email to interested journalists, friends and colleagues to gain publicity and sales. Use this to boost good reviews on Amazon’s Kindle store
*Items, 8 & 9. Website pages tailor-made for your book, and a PDF for emailing to journalists are essential marketing requirements
Amazon offers general advice on all of the above aspects, except items 8 & 9. Amazon do not charge for their advice so if you are computer-literate and have the time to read their documentation thoroughly you should, in time, be able to convert your existing files and then list your book, at minimum expense. We recommend you visit their website (click on the following link) and learn all about the things you will need to do, and not do. Amazon Self Publishing Help

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