Showing posts with label kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kindle. Show all posts

Saturday, April 27

New Minimum Length For Ebooks On Amazon: 2500 Words

New Minimum Length For Ebooks On Amazon: 2500 Words

This is from Galleycat:
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is reportedly planning to remove Kindle books that have fewer than 2,500 words.

At the KBoards site for Kindle readers and writers, one author shared a letter from Amazon that explained: “Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.”

... A few of writers responded to the post saying they were selling books that were under 2,500 words at Amazon, including a speculative fiction author and a fantasy writer.
You can read the complete article here: Amazon Cracks Down on Kindle Books Under 2,500 Words.

Here is the letter that Amazon sent out:

During a quality assurance review of your KDP catalog we have found that the following book(s) are extremely short and may create a poor reading experience and do not meet our content quality expectations:

Name of Short

In the best interest of Kindle customers, we remove titles from sale that may create a poor customer experience. Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.

We ask that you fix the above book(s), as well as all of your catalog’s affected books, with additional content that is both unique and related to your book. Once you have ensured your book(s) would create a good customer experience, re-submit them for publishing within 5 business days. If your books have not been corrected by that time, they will be removed from sale in the Kindle Store. If the updates require more time, please unpublish your books.
(Amazon going after short shorts)
Question: What do you think? Should Amazon leave it up to authors to determine the minimum length of their stories or should there be a minimum length so readers don't pay, say, $2.99 for a 1000 word story?

Other articles you might like:

- Word Processing Apps For Writing On The Go
- Dean Wesley Smith, Harlan Ellison, The Internet, and Writing A Book In 10 Days
- Prada Writing Contest: Winner receives 5,000 Euros

Photo credit: "Untitled" by Mark Wooten under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, October 12

Jeff Bezos: Amazon Makes No Money On Sales Of Kindle Ereaders Or Tablets

Jeff Bezos: Amazon Makes No Money On Sales Of Kindle Ereaders Or Tablets

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, recently confirmed what I'd always assumed, that Amazon doesn't make any money on its ereaders or tablets. Bezos said:
"We want to make money when people use our devices, not when people buy our devices."
This differs markedly from Apple's strategy. My question: Can it work? I've always wondered how much more, on average, a consumer buys through Amazon after purchasing an ereader or tablet.

Well, now I know! Bezos remarked that "users' appetite for media appeared to grow once they owned one of his devices." (Is it just me, or does that sound ominous? Makes me think of alien mind-altering technology. You will buy more. No? Just me? Okay ...)
"What we find is that when people buy a Kindle they read four times as much as they did before they bought the Kindle.

"But they don't stop buying paper books. Kindle owners read four times as much, but they continue to buy both types of books."
People read four times as much! Wow.

Read the entire BBC article here: Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite sales make Amazon no profit.

Thanks to PG for mentioning it.

Other articles you might like:
- Kristen Lamb: Don't Let Trolls Make You Crazy
- How To Format A Word Document For Amazon's KDP Publishing Program
- Penelope Trunk Discusses Time Management

Photo credit: James Duncan Davidson from Portland, USA

Wednesday, September 19

Amazon's India Store Now Offers 70% Royalty Option

I found this in my inbox last night. From Amazon:
We are happy to announce that the popular 70% royalty option is now available for sales to customers in India for titles enrolled in KDP Select. This royalty option is available for books sold from the new India Kindle Store, Kindle devices, and Kindle apps.

New features for authors and publishers in India include the ability to set prices specific for India, receive royalty payments in INR, and now earn up to 70% royalties when enrolled in KDP Select. For additional details, check out our Terms and Conditions:

Also, take a look at the 70% List Price Requirements:

If you would like to review or change your royalty preferences for each title sold in India, just visit the KDP Bookshelf here:
Looks like the ebook market in India is just getting started:
If you happened to wander down the aisles of the Delhi Book Fair that concluded recently, you would think that India is soon going to be swamped by a tsunami of ebooks, heralding a digital revolution in e-reading like never before. Almost every other store had something about soon-to-come ebook offerings.

The reality is that the Indian publishing industry in its offline form is still flourishing, churning out 100,000 titles a year and growing at 12 to 15 per cent a year. Many of the biggies in the book selling business seem impervious to all the noise about the business of reading digitally. Leading online book chain, Flipkart, had earlier said it was studying the space, but refused to comment on ebooks for this story. Snapdeal, the online marketplace, says that it is treading cautiously. Snapdeal co-founder and chief executive officer, Kunal Bahl, says that he too is analysing opportunities, but first wants “to ensure that there are enough devices for people to access ebooks.”
Looks like a great market for indie authors! The rest of this article can be read here: Is an ebook revolution around the corner? Thanks to the Passive Voice Blog for the link.

Other articles you might like:
- How To Format A Word Document For Amazon's KDP Publishing Program
- Lyla Sinclair's 8 Secrets Of Successful Romance Writing
- Indie Books: What Price Is Right?

Photo credit: Unknown

Saturday, July 7

WorldCat: Find Books In A Library Near You

This is a fantastic idea! Ever wondered if a certain book was in a library near you? I know I have. Here's a page that takes the pain out of your search, and it doesn't just work for books, you can use it to locate things such as CDs, DVDs and Articles. (If you'd like to try it out for yourself, go here: WorldCat: The World's Largest Library Catalog.)

To try it out I entered the city I live in and typed in the title of one of my favorite books, Lord Of The Flies, by William Golding. After hitting the enter key I was given a list of links to various editions and formats. I clicked the first link and was presented with a list of libraries in my area that have the book, what format the book is in, the distance to the library, and a list of links to information and services the library provides.

As if that weren't enough I was also presented with links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Better World Books in case I wanted to purchase the book.

At the very bottom of the page I was presented with a smattering of reviews Lord Of The Flies has received and which rate it on a scale of 1 to 5. Which brings up the issue of how useful reviews are.
One reviewer on gave Lord Of The Flies one star out of five and, which may be worse, 102 people agreed with that rating! Let me quote from this review:

See, I would have cared a bit more about the little island society of prepubescent boys and their descent into barbarism if you know, any of the characters had been developed AT ALL
As I say, the mileage you get from the reviews will vary. By the way, I can't give you a direct link to the review I quoted, but you can read it here, it's the last one on the page.

WorldCat: The Site For Mobile devises
WorldCat also has a site for mobile devises (WorldCat: Mobile Web Beta) so I thought I'd try it out on my iPad. This is terrific! It works just the same as the standard website but it seems more streamlined and user friendly.

WorldCat on Facebook
WorldCat also has a Facebook app, to learn more about that go here, WorldCat search plug-ins, or head straight over to Facebook's WorldCat application page.


Sunday, June 17

Audiobook Sales Up 33% From Last Year

net sales revenue from book publishing is up in 2012
Net Sales Revenue From Book Publishing Is Up

According to a recent article in gallycat, revenue from downloaded audiobooks has increased by a whopping 32.7% from last year (25 million vs 18.8 million). That's amazing, and excellent news for folks, such as myself, who love listening to stories.

Lately, I've been putting together a list of book bloggers who review self-published books, or who do author interviews with self published authors, and I've noticed a startling trend: increasing numbers of reviewers prefer submissions in audiobook format. Good news for authors who have made an audiobook version of their story and something that could give self published authors an edge.

But that isn't the only interesting statistic. Net sales revenue from ebook sales (283 M)  has surpassed that from adult hardcover sales (230 M)--although not from adult paperback sales (300 M), although adult paperback sales have gone down by 10.5 percent. But the largest decrease of all was in the category of sales revenue from mass market paperbacks; sales in this category have decreased by an amazing 20.8 percent.
ebook net sales revenue from book publishing is up

For your viewing convenience, I've included the table from the original article, above.

To read the original article, head over to and read eBook Revenues Top Hardcover.

Thanks to Passive Guy for writing about this (eBook Reviews Top Hardcover).

Amazon's KDP Select: Another Author Shares Her Experience

P.J. Sharon writes:
I’ve come to the end of my ninety days of exclusivity with Amazon’s KDP Select program. That means that I’m now able to upload and distribute SAVAGE CINDERELLA on other sales channels, such as B&N,  Smashwords, and coming soon, Kobo. I thought I would give you my final analysis on my experience.

1)      All sales on one distribution channel. Easier accounting and focused marketing plan.

2)      Cross promotion opportunities with other KDP Select participants.

3)      Five days to offer the book FREE in an effort to gain exposure and readership.

4)      Participation in the Prime Lending program (approximately $2 per borrow).


1)      Narrows your readership to Kindle owners, and may alienate Nook or I-pad owners.

2)      Contributes to Amazon’s attempt to monopolize the e-reader market.

3)      Unable to post excerpts for advertising purposes.
All in all, I’m very pleased with the outcome of my KDP Select experience. I’m not sure if I will do it again, only because I think it’s generally bad for the publishing industry for any one entity to have exclusive rights to our work, but I can’t deny the short term benefits are very enticing.
Read the rest here: The End of Select

Although it seems P.J. won't be re-enrolling in Amazon's KDP Select anytime soon, I'd say her experience makes the program seem attractive.

The problem is it's devilishly hard to decide if a book would have done better if it hadn't been placed in the KDP Select program. From what I've seen, when authors report their sales, generally over 60% come through Amazon.

Are Amazon's promotional efforts worth losing up to 40 percent of your sales? I don't know. I'm very interested to read what authors say about their sales (thanks P.J.!) after the changes Amazon made to its all-important ranking algorithm.

Stay tuned and keep writing!

Tuesday, June 5

Writing Life: Kobo's New Platform For Self Publishers

Kobo's Writing Life program, still in beta, is going head-to-head with Amazon's KDP and Barnes & Noble's PubIt programs in the battle for the self-publishing market.

What is Kobo's competitive advantage? Granting that Writing Life could open up new foreign markets to the North American writer, why should we take the time to publish on yet another platform?

Here's why: because Kobo allows self publishers to set the price of their books to free anytime they like and for as long as they like.

Contrast this with Amazon's KDP Select program which only allows writers to set their book to free for a maximum of five days every three months. With the recent changes to Amazon's ranking algorithm keeping ones book free for a longer period of time has become even more desirable.

Kobo's announcement of their Writing Life program comes at a good time. Their ebook downloads are up 400% from last year and ereader sales are up 280%.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. It would be great if Amazon responds by offering more free days for books enrolled in their KDP Select program.

For more on this story click here: Kobo launches e-book self-publishing platform, “Writing Life”

Further Reading:
- An Indie Writer Shares His Experience With KDP Select
- More on Amazon Select: Is exclusivity worth it?
- Changes in Amazon's Algorithm: An Update

Friday, June 1

No Kindles Allowed At The Hay Festival

Why are no Kindles allowed at the Hay Festival? Apparently it "goes against the ethos of a town to have a machine you can read a story on (From the transcription of the video No Kindles Allowed, see below)."

Edit (June 2, 2012): See the bottom of this article for an update to the situation.

I had never heard of the Hay Festival before, which I feel a bit silly about now since apparently it's quite famous.
The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales for ten days from May to June.... [T]he festival was described by Bill Clinton in 2001 as "The Woodstock of the mind".
- Hay Festival
Ian McEwan once gave a great line about why he previews his novels here [at the Hay Festival]. He joked - 'I don't do research anymore, I ask the audience at Hay'.
- Hay Festivals
Today is June 1, so the Hay Festival should be in full swing. Passive Guy came across a video that looks as though it was shot at Hay-on-Wye, where the festival is taking place. As of this writing, the video can be found in the hayontv YouTube channel.

I've embedded the video and included a transcription, below.

My transcription:
(Woman sitting in a bookstore looking at the camera.)

When you drive into a small American town you often see, by towns side, apart from the number of people that live there, is that it's a nuclear free zone, or something like that, because the local councils have voted on that.

We would like Hay to be a Kindle free zone. We really feel it goes against the ethos of a town to have a machine you can read a story on. The book is the thing in this town. And we would like to really ban them [Kindles] and treat people coming with Kindles quite harshly.

(Woman walks through bookstore and addresses a man. The woman is now off camera.)

 Woman: I heard you actually told somebody off the other day for sitting outside the next door shop reading from a Kindle.

Man: Well, I was gasped in surprise and I did restrain myself from grabbing it and jumping up and down on it and then slashing it to bis with my lightsaber.

(Laughter from off camera.)

Man: So in fact the person holding it was quite lucky they escaped with their Kindle in one piece.

Woman: So no Kindles allowed at this years festival?

Man: No Kindles. Anybody seen with a Kindle will be unceremoniously dumped on the wayside.
I'd like to stress that this story is unconfirmed. It certainly could be someone's idea of joke. I have contacted the Hay Festival in an effort to confirm the story, but I haven't heard back from them.

I should mention that when I looked through the hayontv YouTube channel I found this video of a hiker openly using her Kindle. She was interviewed but appears to have come through the experience no worse for wear.

If I hear anything else about Kindles not being allowed at the Hay Festival, I'll be sure to update this post.

June 2nd Update
I just heard back from the folks at Hay Tourism. Here is the reply:
Thank you for your email.

Please ignore the foolishness on the video.  Mr & Mrs Addyman have a couple of bookshops in Hay so I can see they would rather people purchased books rather than people having Kindles.

I agree in that nothing can replace a good book but for convenience, especially when on holiday when one has to consider baggage weight etc., a Kindle is ideal. 

So please do not let such things prevent you from visiting us here in Hay - I am quite sure it was all done, as you say, tongue in cheek - and bring your Kindle!!

Kind Regards.
So it seems the video expressed the sentiments of two individuals rather than the town, or the Hay Festival Committee. I am glad. It looks like a terrific festival, one I would love to attend one year.

I can understand the desperation bookstore owners must feel in a town where six bookstores have closed in the past year (this is according to the second video I listed, see above).

Here are two articles about the situation at the Hay Festival:
- The man who would be 'king' of Hay-on-Wye
- Kill the Kindle! In home of the Hay Festival, bookshop boss goes to war on gadget that 'turns readers into robots'

Also, there is a lively discussion going on over at the Passive Voice Blog.

"No Kindles Allowed At The Hay Festival," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

Monday, May 21

Changes in Amazon's Algorithm: An Update

For a while I've been wondering if Amazon Select is worth enrolling ones books in considering the exclusivity clause. Recently the matter became even more complicated by Amazon changing their ranking algorithm, a change that directly and, in many cases drastically, affected book sales.

Before Amazon changed their algorithm a free download counted the same as a paid download in terms of the effect it had on how ones book was ranked. After the change, it looked as though a free download counted for a fraction of what a paid download did.

Since many indie authors rely on periodic giveaways to boost their book's rank, and therefore hopefully keep the book toward the top of Amazon's bestseller lists, this was a big deal. Edward Robertson has posted an invaluable series of articles on the changes Amazon has made to their algorithm and in my earlier article I promised to keep readers up to date. Well, here's the latest.

Robertson, in an attempt to figure out the full impact of the changes to Amazon's ranking algorithm, made his book, Breakers, free for a few days and his results were startling. Over the period of a few days nearly 26,000 copies of his book were downloaded, 173 were sold and 93 copies were borrowed. Here's the big news, though. At the end of that period his books ranking had dramatically increased. (See Robertson's post -- How Much Juice Is Left In Select? -- for full details.)

He writes:
[W]hat does this mean long-term? I don't know. I'm trying not to know just yet, because I don't want to get my hopes up. But prior to this free run, Breakers was #121 on the Technothrillers popularity list and worse than #500 on Science Fiction > Adventure. On day three of its run, it improved to #10 Technothriller and #27 Sci-Fi > Adventure. Right now, it's #8 and #24. I'm guessing sales will slow down after an initial rush, but hold, driven by the pop lists, at a decent clip, for an unknown length of time. If that happens, I will be a very happy Ed.
I can imagine, I would be ecstatic! If Robertson's experience with Breakers is any indication the news for indie writers isn't bleak, it's quite the opposite. As Robertson writes, though, it's too early to draw sweeping conclusions.

Stay tuned!

Related Articles:
Amazon's Ranking Algorithm Has Changed: what this means for indie authors
An Indie Writer Shares His Experience With KDP Select
Self Publishing on Amazon: Kindle Direct Publishing

"Changes in Amazon's Algorithm: An Update," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

Friday, May 4

How To Self Publish: An Introduction

This is what I'd like you to get out of this How To Publish series: If the only thing holding you back from self publishing is fear, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, then my goal for you is that by the end of this series, you'll have taken the plunge and published something.

Remember, there's no rule saying you have to publish under your real name, you can use a pen name. The important thing is: If you want to self publish, if this is something that interests you, then do it! It is free and can be infinitely rewarding.

By the way, this post is part of my How To Self Publish series (see Related Reading, below, for links to other articles).

Fear of Technology
It's natural to be hesitant before doing anything new but don't let fear of an unfamiliar process keep you from publishing your work. Self publishing doesn't require any special technical knowledge, anyone can do it.

Later on in this series we'll step through how to publish your work on each of the major platforms: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. (I've published many of these posts already, links to them are below in the 'Related Articles' section.)

Self Publishing is NOT Vanity Publishing
It used to be that the only kind of self-publishing was vanity publishing but the two, today, are quite different. Vanity publishers were stigmatized, and rightly so, because they preyed on writers. Vanity publishers would charge the moon to publish your book and fail to place it with any reputable retailer so it was impossible for you to make your money back.

The end result of publishing through a vanity press was often a drained bank account and a basement full of books.

On the other hand, when a person self publishes with, for example, they will publish your book for free, but take a pre-agreed upon percentage of the sale, either 30 or 65 percent. This is the sign of a reputable publisher.

The rule of thumb is: Money flows from the publisher to the author, not the other way around.

Note: Companies or people who charge a flat fee for specific services -- editing, formatting, cover art, and so on -- aren't publishers and so the above rule of thumb doesn't apply. Just like any business will need to pay for services (telephone, internet, hydro) so authors sometimes employ people to help them with certain tasks. That said, a writer doesn't need to employ anyone to self publish.

If You Don't Try, You'll Never Succeed
There's one thing all successful people have in common, no matter the area: they're all failures.

No, that's not a contradiction in terms. Everyone who has succeeded has made many mistakes along the way. I believe it's a fundamental truth of human existence that in order to succeed we must first fail. No one succeeds at everything, so if someone isn't failing occasionally, they aren't trying. So don't let fear of failure stop you from trying something new.

I'm writing a book on self-publishing and have decided to pre-publish the draft chapters on my blog so, please, if you have any comments you'd like to make, please do! I would welcome the feedback. There are three was to contact me. You can comment on this post, you can contact me through the contact form on this site (use the 'Contact Me' tab on the upper right), or you can contact me through Twitter (@woodwardkaren).

Cheers, and thanks for reading. :)

Related Reading
Self Publishing on Amazon: Kindle Direct Publishing
How To Self Publish on Barnes & Noble
Self Publishing on Smashwords

Photo Credit: Debbie Weil

Thursday, April 19

Self Publishing on Amazon: Kindle Direct Publishing

Kindle Direct Publishing

Would you like to be an author? Writing a book is hard but getting it published doesn't have to be, not with the opportunities that now exist for self-publishing. Last week I wrote about how to publish your book through Barnes & Noble, this week I'll be discussing how to self-publish on through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

When I published my book, Until Death, I was nervous. What if I did something wrong? In that sense, it was one of the most daunting things I've done, but it turned out to be easy! So, if you're like me and you are letting your fear prevent you from publishing on Amazon, don't! Although the process can require a great deal of patience (for example, getting the formatting just right), publishing a book through KDP takes little time.

Let's step through the process together.

First, take out an account at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Unlike Barnes and Noble, you don't need to be a publisher to sign up with KDP. Just enter your name -- or, if you are a publisher, your company's name -- your geographic information, and so on. Another difference between Amazon and Barnes and Noble is that to publish through Amazon you do not need a US address, credit card or bank account.

Section One: Your Book

I'll admit, I felt daunted when I first saw the form you have to fill out to publish a book with Amazon! But I needn't have been. Amazon gives top notch help all the way through, including "what's this?" links. If, at any point, you don't understand what information Amazon wants from you, just click one of these links and all will be explained in great and glorious detail.

Let's go through this step by step.

1. Book Details

a. Book Name
Amazon Kindle DirectThis one's easy! Just give the title itself, nothing else. Some folks like to pad the book title with keywords or extra information about the book, tell readers it's part two of a series, etc., but Amazon would much rather you just gave the title.

For instance, if your book, Death's Door, is part two of your Jaws of Death series they don't want you to write: Death's Door (Part 2 of Jaws of Death)

They want: Death's Door

Besides, in another box just below, you have the opportunity to indicate that your book is part two of a series and to even give the series title and volume number.

b. Book Description
If you've sent off a query letter for your book then you've already crafted a description (just keep in mind it can't be over 5000 characters)! If you haven't crafted a description of your book then I'd suggest taking a look at some of Nathan Bransford's posts on the subject. Here's a link to my post: How to write a query letter. At the bottom I've included links to a few of Mr. Bransford's posts, the ones that I found most helpful in this respect.

In Query Letter Mad Lib, Bransford gives the following formula:
[protagonist name] is a [description of protagonist] living in [setting]. But when [complicating incident], [protagonist name] must [protagonist's quest] and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal].
I've found that template be an excellent point to start from when writing a description of a story.

c. Book contributors
This is pretty much what it sounds like. If you wrote the book by yourself and no one illustrated the book, and so on, then just put your name down. If someone helped you with the illustrations, or if there was more than one author, then list those people. Next!

d. Language
That's self-explanitory. Just tell Amazon what language you used when you wrote your book.

e. Publication date
I published my book through Smashwords a day or two before I published it on Amazon so I used the Smashwords publication date here. However, if this is the first time you've published your book, then use the current date.

f. Publisher You don't have to be a publisher to publish your book on Amazon, but if you are a publisher then you can put your company name here.

g. ISBN number
Your book doesn't have to have an ISBN number for Amazon to publish it. If you do want your book to have an ISBN number then note that only publishers can purchase ISBN numbers. Also, if you have published this same title in a print edition you can't re-use that ISBN, you need to use another one.

2. Verify your publishing rights
This can sound daunting but it's really very simple. Do you have the right to publish the book? If you wrote it then of course you do!
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

3. Target your book to customers
This part is very important. You are allowed to choose up to two categories for your book, so list two categories. The more categories your book is listed under the better the chance someone is going to find your book when they do a search.

You are also allowed to give up to 7 keywords for your book. You don't have to, but you can. Again, the more keywords you list, the better your chances are that your book will come up when someone is doing a search. If you can't think of 7 keywords, think harder! You've written a whole book, this is the easy part!

4. Upload your book cover
Amazon says that this part is optional, but if you want to sell your book – and of course you do! – you have to have a cover. It doesn't have to be fancy, in fact I think that some of the best covers I've seen have been relatively simple.

When I was doing my cover someone gave me this tip: Look at the bestselling books that are the most similar to yours. Look at their covers and get ideas. You don't want yours to look exactly like any other book, but if, for example, you've written a romance book, there's a certain look most of those covers have and it would be nice if yours did too.

If you don't have any image editing software on your computer, Adobe Photoshop is wonderful, although both the learning curve and the price can be a bit steep – although Photoshop Elements costs less and has most of the functionality you'll ever need. Another great image manipulation program is Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program), and it has the advantage of being free! That said, the learning curve for Gimp can be a bit steep. To help you research this area, here's a review PCWorld did on Gimp. Also, here's an article from that compares photo editing software programs.

5. Upload your book file
There's a lot packed in here, so let's take it one point at a time.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

a. Digital Rights Management (DRM)
One of the things that caused me the most agony when I first looked at this form was whether I should enable DRM for Until Death. I decided not to. If I had enabled it then, for example, if you'd bought the book in kindle format you couldn't have converted it to another format.

For instance, although you bought and downloaded the book file from Amazon you might want to make a copy of it, convert it to the epub format, and read it on your Nook reader. Personally, I feel that if someone buys my book then I would be happy for them to make as many copies as they want for their own use. But that's me. Other people feel that DRM helps prevent folks from illegally distributing books. Personally, I doubt that DRM reduces piracy, but this is an issue on which good, intelligent, people can differ wildly in their opinions. To sum up: Do whatever feels right to you.

b. Upload the digital file of your book
This is it! This is where you transfer your book, your baby, up to Amazon's servers and put it out there for the world to see. Amazon recommends that your file be either a doc (.doc) or .prc (prc) file but – as of this writing -- it will accept epub (.epub), txt (.txt), mobipocket (.mobi or .prc), html (.zip, .htm, or .html), adobe pdf (.pdf) or rich text format (.rtf).

An entire book could be written on just this topic, and I'd like to recommend Zoe Winter's excellent book on the subject entitled Smart Self-Pubilshing: Becoming an Indie Author. Also, Mark Coker's style guide, Smashwords Style Guide, is a must read. Even though Coker's guide is written with Smashwords in mind – Mark Coker is, after all, the founder of Smashwords! – he gives excellent suggestions for how to format your Microsoft Word document that are just as applicable for Amazon.

Basically, if you are using Microsoft Word then don't use tabs, use paragraph styles instead, and keep any special formatting to a minimum.

Again, I highly recommend Coker and Winter's books, they were a great help to me when I did this and they saved me a lot of time and frustration.

6. Preview your book
At this point your book has been uploaded and the conversion was successful. Now it's time to preview it and make sure everything is in the right place. Often artifacts found in a document file can cause unexpected effects in the converted file. If this happens to you – it did to me – try not to get frustrated. Remember, there is no limit to the number of times you can do this conversion, just go back to your original file, fix what needs to be fixed, and upload it again.

Okay! We've done section one. Treat yourself, the hard part is over.

Section Two: Rights & Pricing
7. Verify your publishing territories

The choice here is between "worldwide rights" and "individual territories". For me this was easy. I hold the worldwide rights for Until Death so that's what I put. I don't imagine that the average author often sells just the rights for one or two territories, but I'm sure it comes up, otherwise Amazon wouldn't have given us this choice.

8. Choose your royalty
This is a topic that deserves its own bookshelf! Here is my condensed version: if you want a 70% royalty on the sale of your book then you have to price it between $2.99 and $9.99. Other conditions apply as well, but that's the big one. If, on the other hand, you want to sell your book for either under $2.99 – for instance, some people want to sell their book for 99 cents – or for over $9.99 then Amazon will only pay you a 35% royalty.

Your choice.

I opted to sell Until Death for 99 cents. I didn't want to discourage folks from trying out a new author and I thought it would be nice to make a little bit of money from the sale. So far I've been happy with the result, although I sometimes wonder if there is very much difference between the amount of sales made at the 99 cents price point and the $2.99 price point. But that's a topic for another post.

9. Kindle book lending
Here you must indicate whether you will allow your book to be lent out. If you check this box then a person can lend out your book to someone else for a period of 14 days. The buyer is only allowed to loan the book out once.

I allowed book lending. I have borrowed many of my friends books, and they've borrowed mine. It is one of the ways I was introduced to wonderful new authors and I wanted to continue that tradition. Actually, I wish Amazon would make it so I could decide how many times my book could be lent out.

That's it! All you have to do now is check everything over one more time and press the brilliant orange "Save and Publish" button. No worries, though, if you're not quite ready. There is also a white "Save for later" button.

I found the experience of publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing rewarding and hope you will too.

Good luck!

Related Articles:
How to self-publish on Barnes and Noble
How to write a query letter

Photo credit: Amazopia

Wednesday, September 28

Amazon's 79 Dollar eReader: Good for writers?

Heck yea! $79 dollars for an eReader? I have an iPad, am the cheapest person I know, and I'm tempted to get one. I think this will be the device that will knock a lot of people off the should-I-get-an-eReader fence. That means more people wanting ebooks, a lot more. Writers sold a lot of ebooks last year but I predict that this Christmas will make last year seem anemic by comparison.

Articles about Amazon's announcement are all over the web, but here's the news:
When Amazon gathered technology and publishing journalists for a press conference in New York on Wednesday, there was a buzz of excitement. The online bookseller was ready to debut its long-rumored tablet, the Kindle Fire.

The product itself wasn't all that exciting: it's a lot like the iPad, in that it can play movies and music. It retains its bookish roots by storing media on virtual shelves (pictured, right). The real news about the Kindle Fire is its bargain-basement price: $199.

That was the upshot of all the devices Amazon's Jeff Bezos presented: familiar, but cheaper.
$79 Kindle: Like the established and popular Kindle, but lighter and without the keyboard across the bottom (photo, at left).

$99 Kindle Touch: Like the Nook or Kobo, control of the Kindle touch is on the screen. It's an e-reader only, and, for a few dollars more, can be ad-free ($139) and connect with 3G ($159). See our Technology Blog for more info.

$199 Kindle Fire: A full-color multimedia tablet. Some say it's positioned to be an iPad killer; others say its low price will crash the rest of the tablet market. See our Technology Blog's report on the Kindle Fire.
The tactic Amazon seems to be taking is creating its own versions of established products and selling them for irresistibly low prices.
Read more here: Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet, new e-readers target low-cost market

Monday, August 1

Lawrence Block's Afterthoughts only 99 cents on the Kindle

Yesterday, after reading a post by Passive Guy in which he discussed a literary gem he found in his spam filter, I raced to check mine to see if it contained similar literary gold.

It did! But not the sort I expected. I found an announcement that Lawrence Block has a new book coming out on the Kindle and for -- drum roll please -- only 99 cents! That is an amazingly good deal.

Here is a description of Afterthoughts:

A collection of afterwords from Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block’s most acclaimed works

In a career spanning more than fifty years, Lawrence Block has produced over one hundred books, ranging in genre from hard-boiled detective stories to pseudonymous erotica. Collected here for the first time are more than forty-five afterwords from the works that made him a master of modern fiction.

Each afterword is an insightful reflection on the experiences that have brought Block’s fiction to life, from the lessons he learned as a reader at a literary agency to the unlikely—and semi-autobiographical—origins of the acclaimed Matthew Scudder series. Witty and inspiring, Afterthoughts is a must-read for Block fans and mystery lovers alike.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lawrence Block, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

Afterthoughts is available to pre-order for August 2nd.

It's amazing how fast times have changed. Even a couple of years ago when I wanted to buy Lawrence Block's latest book I would have to pay thirty dollars for a hardback or wait six months and pay ten dollars for the paperback (and his books were well worth the money, but money is often hard to come by). Now I get his latest book the day that it comes out for only 99 cents. Wow! That is incredible, and, even in these times of inexpensive ebooks, an amazingly good deal.

If you want to know why I'm raving about Lawrence Block's writing, read some samples from his other books or go on over to his blog and read his posts.

Grifter's Game
Eight Million Ways to Die
The Sings of the Father's
Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

Sunday, July 17

12 Million Kindles, 38 Million iPads and 80 million iPhones: That's a lot of ereaders!

According to Digitimes,

Foxconn currently is also likely to produce 12 million units of Kindles for Amazon, and 38-40 million units of iPads as well as 80-85 million iPhones for Apple a year ...

That's a lot of ereaders! If this is any indication, the trend toward ebooks is going to continue.

Foxconn reportedly lands 10.1-inch tablet PC orders from Amazon

Friday, July 15

How To Get Smashwords Files From Your Computer To Your iPad

When I bought my iPad the first thing I wanted to do was transfer Kindle books from my computer to my iPad. It's easy to do this with kindle books on your Amazon account, but not so easy to do it with books downloaded from Smashwords. Well, if you have a PC, here's what you do (hopefully it isn't very different for a mac):

1) Attach your iPad to your computer with the cable provided and launch iTunes on your computer.

2) In iTunes there is a blue ribbon on the right side of the screen with headings like LIBRARY, STORE, DEVICES, etc. Under DEVICES you should see your iPad. Mine shows up as "karen's iPad". Highlight this.

When you highlight the name of your iPad the main window will change and, at the top of the screen you will see the headings: Summary, Info, Apps, Music, TV Shows, Podcasts, Books, Photos.

3) Highlight "Apps"

4) The screen will change to show the apps you have on your iPad. The apps that allow file sharing will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Highlight the Kindle app.

5) At the bottom of the screen, on the right-hand side, you will see an "Add ..." button. Press it.

6) There should be a folder named "My Kindle Content" in your Documents folder. Navigate to it.

Open up this folder, select the mobi and mbp files of your choice and lick "Open".

That's it! The book or books of your choice will now be downloaded onto your iPad.

If I've missed something, let me know.

Sunday, February 27

Kindle Software Update Brings Page Numbers!

Our customers have told us they want real page numbers that match the page numbers in print books so they can easily reference and cite passages, and read alongside others in a book club or class. We've already added real page numbers to tens of thousands of Kindle books, including the top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle Store that have matching print editions and thousands more of the most popular books.

Click here to read more.

An entertaining review and commentary on the software changes can be found here.

Wednesday, February 23

Apple to Amazon: 30% please

Philip Jones writes:

I have had it confirmed the Apple's new in-app purchasing rules will apply to e-books sold via apps, including the Kindle app, and that in addition these apps will no longer be able to link to purchasing apparatus external to the app, i.e. via a website. This is bad news for the Kindle app, and others who up to now have got around Apple's rules.

Read the article here.

Saturday, January 8

2011: The year of the tablet

Looks like tablets are going to be the hot item this year. Nathan Bransford, a former literary agent, now an author and CNET employee, wrote yesterday that, "if there's one hot device out there this year it's the tablet. Tablet tablet tablet".

He makes the point, which I think is a good one, that once a person owns a tablet there is no further financial impediment to purchasing and reading an ebook.  Since ebooks are, in general, less expensive than hardcover books and even sometimes less expensive than paperbacks, this is likely to increase the number of ebooks purchased and read.

This could be the year that more ebooks than pulp-and-paper books and bought and sold.

How does it feel to live in the midst of a digital revolution?

Thursday, December 23

Amazon to sell 8 million kindles in 2010

Cnet reports that Amazon is likely to sell 8 million Kindles in 2010.  They site an article from SFGate which states that Inc. is likely to sell more than 8 million Kindle electronic-book readers this year, at least 60 percent more than analysts have predicted, according to two people who are aware of the company's sales projections.
 Wow!  The cnet article also mentions that
Apple sold 7.46 million iPads from April through September, and many analysts are predicting the iPad will easily surpass the 10 million mark after this holiday buying season.
Perhaps 2011 will be the year of the electronic book.

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