Business of Publishing

Introducing “Kindle MatchBook”: Soon Customers Will Be Able to Purchase Kindle Editions of Print Books Purchased from Amazon—Past, Present and Future—for $2.99 or Less

Over 10,000 books already enrolled from authors such as Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among many others

Today’s announcement is also a call to all authors and publishers to enroll their books in Kindle MatchBook—offering customers great value while adding a new revenue stream

Kindle MatchBook is the latest in a series of customer benefits exclusive to the Amazon ecosystem of digital content

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sep. 3, 2013– (NASDAQ:AMZN)—Amazon today introduced Kindle MatchBook, a new benefit that gives customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon. Print purchases all the way back to 1995—when Amazon first opened its online bookstore—will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook. Over 10,000 books will already be available when Kindle MatchBook launches in October, including best sellers like I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch, with many more titles to be added over time. Customers can learn more by visiting www.amazon.com/kindlematchbook.

“If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase—18 years later—to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “In addition to being a great new benefit for customers, this is an easy choice for publishers and authors who will now be able to earn more from each book they publish.”

Bundling print and digital has been one of the most requested features from customers. With Kindle MatchBook, they can keep their favorite book on their shelf, and have a copy in their digital library for reading, perhaps re-reading it with features like X-Ray and Popular Highlights.

“I love this idea. It’s simple, brilliant, and good for everybody,” said best-selling author Marcus Sakey. “I love to have print books on my shelf, but I love reading my Kindle on the go, and there are plenty of titles I’d like both ways. It’s ridiculous to ask readers to pay full retail twice for the same book.”

Read the whole press release.

1. Clean up your manuscript

Go through and look for idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies. For example, I know I’m a huge fan of starting sentences with conjunctions (and, but, so, yet) and I have an over abundance of phrases in parenthesis. These are my personal writing idiosyncrasies. I don’t want to get rid of them all, but I make sure that each use either furthers the writing or is needed to keep the writing in my “voice”.

I also clean up any inconsistencies. For example, in the cookbook I’m currently editing I find that I’ve used the following:

  • tablespoon
  • Tbs
  • TBS
  • Tbsp.

That’s four different ways to say the same thing! I decided on one standard format and will be keeping it the same throughout the book. (And using the same format for cup, pound, and teaspoon!)

When I edit for clients, this is one of the main areas in which I focus. I don’t really care if you want to say fig. or figure but I want it to be the same throughout the book!

 

2. Write the “extra” pages

There’s more to your manuscript than the main bulk of the content. You also need your title page, acknowledgement and/or dedication page, copyright message, about the author blurb, and how to get more information instructions which can be a list of your other titles or even your contact information.

As I work with clients to take their book projects from manuscript to published, I find that we tend to forget the all-important “extra” pages that a book will probably have. So after a manuscript is turned over to me, I usually turn around and give the client homework.

 

3. Think about your cover

I give my clients a cover-creation worksheet that helps me get inside their head and really find out what they are looking for in the look of their book’s cover. But when a client has thought about it before hand it can really make all the difference!

For example: What color scheme do you like? What feeling are you trying to convey on your book cover? Do you want a picture or just text?

 

4. Define your publishing goals

I always think of goals as a moving target. You may begin your publishing journey looking to have a physical book to sell from stage at a speaking event and through the course of the process discover that holding a book in your hands with your name on the cover keeps you up at night.

When I have my initial call with clients, I always ask what their publishing goals are. I get one of three responses:
A.    Credibility
B.    Extra cash flow
C.    Fulfilling the dream of becoming an author

Through the publishing process, I find that those initial goals will deepen and expand. You’ll find that your book and the process of getting it published will open up new avenues you never knew existed!

 

5. Understand that it is a process

It doesn’t matter if I’m publishing one of my own manuscripts or if I’m working with a client; publishing is a process!

Like my cookbook, for example: I thought it would be a slam-dunk to take my three existing camping cookbooks and put them into one print edition. A simple, week-long project. However, as I’m editing all 101 recipes in the same book for the first time, I’m finding a few typos, unclear instructions, and that I wasn’t even close to being consistent in how I convey measurements.

And this is the third time I’ve edited each individual recipe!

But I understand that taking a project from manuscript to published is a process. It goes through revisions, tweaks, and changes. Thankfully, by now, I have my system down pat so it minimizes headaches and pulling on my hair.

090313-Hair

(Yep, I literally tug on my hair when I’m thinking. And with short hair I can get it to stand straight up.)

Remember that you don’t have to face the challenges of independently self-publishing alone! I have many different resources for you to utilize including my free report, a home study course, and assisted self-publishing!

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?

In this article it has come to light that publishing super-star JK Rowling conducted a very interesting experiment:

She published a book under a pen name, using a traditional publisher.

It didn’t make a huge impact.

Let’s think about this for a moment:

(C) JK Rowling

(C) JK Rowling

I’m pretty sure that anything that JK Rowling writes is as good, or even better, than her writing in Harry Potter.

So why didn’t the book have huge sales and massive followings and become a household name?

Because traditional publishers are risk-adverse, especially for “new” authors. While they may publish a book by an known, the amount of marketing effort they’ll give that book is limited at best.

And why is this a good thing for independent self-published authors?

First off, we have to understand that any book written by someone as well known as JK Rowling would be launched through a media tsunami with press releases, a news junket, author interviews and a book tour.

Very few authors receive this red-carpet treatment so we start out with an unfair disadvantage.

But for a book that was launched with the usual amount of traditional-publisher fanfare (not much) to do so well (about as well as expected from an unknown author: 1,500 copies) means that an independent author can at least equal the sales.

The article doesn’t specify how long Rowling’s book was on the market to gain its 1,500 sales, but we’re assuming that it was published April 30, 2013 and was outed as being written by Rowling on July 15, 2013. That’s two and a half months. That’s roughly 75 days.

Now, the article doesn’t specify where those sales came from: eBooks or printed. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that it is 1,500 sales across all sales channels.

That’s only 20 sales a day. Across all channels.

How many other authors out there are able to write as well as JK Rowling? I’ll bet there’s a fair number. And how many of them got turned down by traditional publishers because their name wasn’t recognized or the publishing house just didn’t want to take a chance?
JK Rowling proved that a good author can hold her own against the media storm in the wake of a new book by an author’s name who has already proven to have a following.

Thanks, Ms. Rowling. I appreciate the experiment that you conducted.

This just goes to prove that traditional publishing is more interested in their know superstars than an “unknown” author, no matter how great of a writer. Traditional publishing wants a sure-thing instead of talent. Money speaks louder than a great story.

I think I’ll stick with my sure-thing: getting my books into the hands of as many readers as possible. You can have your media tsunami; I’ll take my writing directly to my audience.

Oh, and I’ll also take my 70% royalty payment!

In my career as an author and now as a publisher, I’ve heard too many stories of authors who have given up on their manuscript. They got too many rejections. It just couldn’t be sold. It wouldn’t make enough money in the mass market.

For every story that you hear of the “overnight” success of an author who finally had a book published after twenty or thirty rejections there are hundreds of other authors who had to abandon the dream.

Does this mean that they were inferior? Or that the dream was inferior?

Nope. It simply means that at some point an author has to look at her time and say: I believe in this story but I have to live my life as well. I have to work or write another project or take care of my family or… Whatever. It’s time to stop pursuing a publishing contract.

And then there’s one Colorado author who realized that you don’t have to chase a publishing contract to have wild success. You can take matters into your own hands.

Rick Polito, author of Dark Shift, did it. In an article he gave to Claire Martin of the Marin Independent Journal, Polito said: “My agent was excited, but she was unable to sell [the book]”.


 

Even after having an agent who believed in him, Polito was turned down by traditional publishers. But Polito’s Dark Shift is making waves on Amazon.com as a self-published eBook.

Read the full article about Rick Polito in the Marin Independent Journal.

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