Monthly Archives: August 2013

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¡Bienvenidos a México!

Amazon announced today the addition of Mexico to the list of countries available for eBook sales.

Amazon Launches Mexico Kindle Store with Over 70,000 eBooks in Spanish and 1,000 titles at Special Prices Starting at MXN$9 (www.amazon.com.mx)—Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite Now Available at Gandhi Stores in Mexico

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 29, 2013– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today launched the Mexico Kindle Store (www.amazon.com.mx), offering Mexican customers the largest selection of the most popular eBooks, the most Spanish-language best sellers, over 1,500 free books in Spanish and a broad selection of titles from leading Mexican authors and publishers. In total, the Kindle Store offers over 2 million titles, hundreds of thousands of which are exclusive, and more than 70,000 in Spanish, including titles from authors such as Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho, among other Mexican and internationally known authors. In addition, Amazon announced that Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite are now on sale locally in Mexico at Gandhi stores. For more details, visit www.amazon.com.mx.

“The vast majority of Mexicans do not have access to a bookstore in their town, so we’re happy to launch the Mexico Kindle Store today and bring a huge bookstore with over 2 million titles to anyone with an Internet connection,” said Pedro Huerta, Director of Kindle Content, Latin America. “We are also excited to bring Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite to Mexico at Gandhi stores. Kindle Paperwhite offers an unparalleled reading experience, with a display that reads like real paper, an innovative built-in front light, a small and light-weight design and 8 weeks of battery life so customers can easily dive into their favorite books.”

“In order to provide a new experience and bring books to all our customers in an innovative way, we will offer Amazon’s Kindle in all of our bookstores. We believe it is a great option to enjoy reading at an affordable price. We are confident it will have very good acceptance by readers,” said Alberto Achar, Marketing Manager at Gandhi. “It is very important to us to take books to anyone interested in reading, using all possible channels. Amazon’s Kindle is a device that easily and quickly serves this purpose.”

Read the full press release.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced it: we spend hours learning a skill or process, invest thousands of dollars in the education, given up free time and sleep. At the end of it all, we have a deep understanding of the complete process.

Then somebody comes along and asks to pick our brain. If that wasn’t bad enough, they want it for free.

I’ve been guilty of this myself! Now that I understand a little bit more about what somebody may have invested in their knowledge, I don’t expect information for nothing.

Before I got started in independent self-publishing, I spent years working on my writing craft. In fact, I have a degree in Creative Writing. And I’ve invested two years learning everything I could about self-publishing. I’ve spent upwards of $10,000 on classes; fought my way through every in and out of formatting; and figured out how to get titles noticed on Amazon.

Why should you care, though?

Because I want to give you some publishing information for free.

I’m passionate about independent self-publishing. I have a really hard time not blurting out the answer when somebody asks me a question about it. I really want to share!

What I’ve realized is that business owners, authors, and entrepreneurs aren’t really interested in picking my brain. Well, they THINK they are. I get calls and emails asking questions. I’ll happily chat about publishing over coffee or on the phone.

And here’s the bottom line:

You want to be PUBLISHED. You’re not as excited as I am about the details of how that happens.

So here’s the information I want to give you for free:

You don’t have to be!

I’ve figured out the publishing process so you don’t have to. Sure, you can buy my home study course and you have an excellent DIY solution. But is that really what you want?

Let me tell you about my Assisted Self-Publishing process:

First off, we jump of the phone for an initial conversation. I want to know all about your project and what your goals are. Are you looking to increase or establish your credibility? Bring more clients in the door? Is being a published author a life-long dream?

I also ask one of the “ugly” questions: How much money are you looking to make? While I can’t (and don’t!) promise riches, I want to know what you’re thoughts are.

From there, I talk about how hands-on YOU want to be. And this is super important to me. Because some clients have a manuscript that is pretty much already a book. And others have a collection of articles. And some even have ideas.

From there, I help you free up your time. Because let’s face it: you want to get back to your life, your family, your job, and your writing. You want to be a published author, but without all the stress and hassle of navigating self-publishing all by yourself.

I would love to chat with you about your project. I love hearing people light up about what they are passionate about.

And I’ll save you all my dewy-eyed excitement over formatting and page breaks!

If you read or write a blog, you know that images can make all the difference in engaging readers, attracting their attention and conveying the message. And if you read traditionally published books, fiction or non-fiction, you know that they don’t have many images in them.

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This was to keep publishing costs as low as possible, both in ink and in number of pages used. With self-publishing books, both print and digital, the rules of including images are changing.

Why do you want to have images in your book?

Humans are visual creatures. We are attracted to bright images. They keep our interest and our focus. And in an eBook, they break up the monotony of page after page of print.

When you’re thinking of adding images into your book there are five factors you need to keep in mind:

1. Limit your image file size
Amazon.com charges authors a file delivery cost (70% commission structure only) that goes up based on the total file size of the eBook manuscript. Adding in images will increase the total file size and increase the file delivery cost.

Your images should be clear and recognizable, but also optimized for minimum file size.

2. Avoid gratuitous use of images
I’ve read eBooks with gratuitous use of images. They didn’t really add anything to the information the author was trying to get across. I think the author had the best intentions that he or she was engaging the reader but the images weren’t necessary to get the point across.

3. Make each and every image work for you
When I was writing my book, “Must-Know Trout Fishing Tricks, Tips, & Techniques”  I was re-purposing some older articles from an eZine. All those articles had images. I realized that I could include the most descriptive and needed images into the eBook.

Some of the chapters in the eBook don’t have images at all. If the text could stand on its own, I didn’t include an image just for the sake of having an image. (See number 2) But I did add in pictures for concepts that are really hard to grasp without being able to see it. Like the basic anatomy of a fish.

Even though the fish anatomy is fully explained in the text, isn't it easier to see it as well?

Even though the fish anatomy is fully explained in the text, isn’t it easier to see it as well?

4. Know from where you are getting your images
In the past week, I’ve met with two clients who are not only excellent writers, but also gifted photographers. These lucky folk have the ability to take near-professional photographs to use in their books to offset their information.

I’ve been able to use many of my own photos in my books. But sometimes, you won’t be able to create the perfect setup for the image you need. In that case, you’ll need to purchase your image.

When you purchase it, make sure you are using a reputable stock-photography vendor. And don’t ever use an image from Google Images. Just because you credit your source does not mean that you have permission to use the image!

5. Charts and graphs don’t work well
Current eReader technology doesn’t lend itself well to including charts and graphs. They are usually very detailed images that a reader needs to be able to view full-size. If your material requires a chart to be fully understood, you need to break the chart into sections and make each section as large of an image as you can. This means the chart may take up several “pages” on the eReader.

If your chart doesn’t work without being able to view the whole image at one time, a different publishing format may be your best bet.

Are you thinking of having images in your eBook? Not sure if your chart will be readable? Contact me for a free twenty minute consultation about how images can work in your eBook.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-five-stars-quality-product-illustration-image30594258

One of the really cool things about Amazon.com is their reviewing system. For any product that you’ve purchased (from Amazon or elsewhere) you have the ability to write a review of that item.

This is true for eBooks as well.

There is mixed statistics about the impact reviews have on book sales. Many indie authors swear that reviews lend credibility to a book and directly increase sales. Other authors aren’t so certain.

Personally, I’ve found that a book having reviews, any reviews, is a boon to sales. While I won’t say that I’ve found that 5-star or 1-star reviews impact my sales one way or another, I will say that once a book has its first real review, sales do start trending upward.

Here are Amazon’s “rules” about reviews:

  • No “objectionable” material
  • No promotional content
  • No off-topic information
  • No inappropriate content, which includes hyperlinks and references to other products

Amazon also doesn’t allow reviews that were written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package.

Now here’s the inside scoop of Amazon that they enforce but don’t publish: Amazon reserves the right to remove any review they deem was written by a friend, family member or business associate. It doesn’t matter if it’s a positive review or a negative review either!

To learn more about the dos and don’ts of Amazon’s review policy, I would recommend the Publish Your eBook Blueprint Home Study Course.

Here’s my personal take on eBook reviews:

Reviews are like karma: if you give good reviews, you’ll get good reviews.

When I say “good” reviews, I don’t mean 5-star reviews. I mean reviews that clearly show that you took the time to read and evaluate the book. Say what you liked and why. Give examples of what you didn’t like and why. Amazon requires that all reviews are at least 20 words long.

I aim for 100-300 words every time I give a review.

What do I review?

Pretty much everything. Any time I read a book, I try to leave a review. I save all my reviews and try to post them about once a month. I read a LOT of books so I find that it’s easier to post reviews in batches.

I also try not to leave 1- or 2-star reviews. A 3-star review can be constructive; a 4- or 5-star review means the book is awesome.

Why don’t I do 1- or 2-star reviews?

Well, a book has to be pretty abysmal for me to want to leave a 1- or 2-star review. And I just usually don’t pick up books that are that bad. I use the “Look Inside” feature first. If the author has me cringing in the first few pages, I don’t buy the book.

Plus, call me biased, but I understand the hard work that goes into writing and publishing a book. For many authors, that is a labor of love and their dream. I know from experience that a 1-star review can ruin a good day.

However, that being said, there are books out there that were clearly NOT a labor of love; somebody just slapped it together and hit publish. If that’s the case, (and you can totally tell the difference between somebody who cares and somebody just trying to make a buck!) then I have no issue with leaving a 1- or 2-star review. I still make sure that I am being comprehensive and that I read the book.

And I’ve found that since I started taking the time to leave thoughtful, well-written reviews, the quality of reviews on my own books has gone up.

Your Opinion Matters:

Do you leave reviews? What do you do if you think the book should only get a 1- or 2-star review?