Posted by: Debrah Martin | August 22, 2016

Grand theft thriller (not auto)…

Apologies for the blanket of silence for the last few months. I have been busy writing, editing – oh, OK, and holidaying. But here, as part of the apology for silence is a lovely little bundle of thrillers to win, including my Patchwork Man …

Win Up To 12 Suspense/Thriller Novels!

(2) Grand Prize Kindle “Gift Baskets” of ALL 12 eBooks!

(12) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

 

Wishing you good luck if you enter, and sleepless nights reading thereafter.

www.debrahmartin.co.uk

https://twitter.com/StorytellerDeb

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahMartin.Author/

Posted by: Debrah Martin | April 17, 2016

Professionalism and the Easy Life

theatre curtainsWe all know that selling books relies on your book being visible and aside from what you can do personally to create exposure for you and your book, how successfully your book gets into the hands of your readers also relies on how comprehensively your distribute it.

So what distribution difference does it make who prints your book? Very little overall in terms of quality, probably – although I will do a full quality and value for money comparison when I’m holding two copies of WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE in my mitts in a few weeks’ time. It’s the differences in other areas of the publishing, distributing and selling life of the self-published author that are major.

Q2: How can I promote myself as a professional self-publishing author – because that IS what I am?

IngramSpark logoPublish in print through Ingram and the book is automatically listed in Ingram’s catalogue and also automatically available for order direct by booksellers etc. Self-published author? No-one need ever know…

cropped-eyes-header-cropped.jpgLonging to be lent? Print publishing through Createspace will NOT get you into libraries or other academically-based institutions (unless you use a Createpace ISBN, which limits you solely to Amazon and isn’t to be recommended – read Kathy Myers useful review of whether to use your own or a Createspace ISBN here: http://hollowlands.com/2014/03/why-you-should-buy-isbns-for-your-books/ )   So, for example if you regularly tread the well-trodden path of digital book promotion on sites such as Bookbub and fancy trying a similar kind of service to attract a librarian’s notice (and lending fees are not to be sneered at) such as the one LibraryBub (http://librarybub.com/authors/) offers, sorry, it’s a no-go. Print publish through Ingram though and you’re in (and don’t forget to claim your lending fees by registering your book with ALCS (https://www.alcs.co.uk/) if you are in the UK).

Best seller book for WPP ad

Sighing to be stocked by booksellers? Well, you won’t be if you publish through Createspace print publishing alone. That’s because a bookseller’s discount through the Createspace Expanded distribution service is a mere 25% (even though it charges the author 60%) compared to the discount through Ingram Spark which is 40% (the 55% option is comprised of 15% for Ingram and 40% for the bookseller). Ingram also allows returns whereas Createspace does not, and  a bookseller can include it within their normal ordering procedure so they get free shipping too!

Crying out for credibility? When you are listed in Ingram’s catalogue, there is no indication whether you are a self-publishing author or otherwise. Sadly, book snobs still regard self-published books as second class, despite many of them being better than traditionally published books in my opinion.

Createspace shouts it from the rooftops merely with the use of its name – although there is a clever little way round that unless someone takes it upoIM Books logon themselves to research you to within an inch of your life; don’t self-publish as you, claim a publisher name. Mine is I.M. Books (and what it stands for is a little known private joke I may share with you all one day).

 

Next up: the streamlined self-publisher …

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Interested in maximising your success as a self-publisher? Have a look at WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE  – a lot (but not all) of what I’ve learnt about writing and self-publishing so far. Have a look HERE to find out more.

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

And download the first book in my Patchwork Trilogy HERE.

 

 

All images are courtesy of Creative Commons, the author or an acquired license.

 

Posted by: Debrah Martin | April 12, 2016

My Questions to Ingram Spark so far

Remember I said I’d post a list of the questions I wanted to ask David Taylor  (Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition International, Ingram Content Group and Group Managing Director, Lightning Source UK, to give him his full job title) when I visit the UK plant on the 19th April, and get the chance to interview the man himself? Well here it is:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

Have you any to add? Just post below and I’ll add them to the final summary the week before I go. wrpeps-3D

 

In the meantime, there’s a lot more about Amazon, Ingram and all the other publishing possibilities in WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE, which you can still grab on pre-order, complete with extra bonuses by looking HERE.

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author.

Posted by: Debrah Martin | April 10, 2016

The streamlined self-publisher

WPP flying books imageRemember where I started with this? To Createspace or not to Createspace – or maybe that has now become, to be an authorpreneur or to be an amateur? The third issue I wanted to address when I first started this series of posts was:

As a self-publishing author is effectively writer, publisher, promoter and bookseller all rolled into one, how can I make publishing my books as simple and streamlined for myself as possible?

Q: How can I make life simplest and most streamlined for myself as a self-published author?

 

IngramSpark logoBooks printed and distributed via Ingram Spark are directly available to all-comers, but most importantly they’re included in Ingram’s catalogue, made available to book sellers, libraries and wholesalers/retailers at normal trade discounts, so the process from ordering a book to being supplied with it if you are in the trade, is seamless. Compare that to a book published through Createspace that a wholesaler/retailer wishes to buy – and I have personal experience of this.  Your book details will be registered with Nielsen BookScan as a matter of course because this is how Createspace will track your sales – or at least 75% of them (although as a self-publisher you must ensure this is done yourself). If a wholesaler/ retailer IS persuaded to stock your book (unlikely through Createspace as they won’t get the usual trade discount nor the option to return) and you have published only through Createspace, you will get a sale enquiry through the Nielsen system, which you will have to personally fulfil (delivery costs, invoicing and all). Inevitably, the method of ordering and fulfilment of the order marks you as a self-publisher.

ebookpartnership logoI will add one more distribution service to the mix if we’re talking solely ebooks: http://www.ebookpartnership.com For a flat annual fee ($50/£35 for up to 9 books) they will distribute your eBook above and beyond the call of duty, you can pick and choose between outlets – o for example if you want to leave Amazon KDP in charge of your Kindle sales, simply specify that, and if you live outside of the US, they will even bypass all the tricky tax stuff you have to do to withhold 30% US withholding tax on all your US sales. Bonus!

My conclusions (and a lot of author’s)?

Reach – or discoverability, in marketer’s terminology – is much greater looking outside of the (Amazon) box and mixing and matching services, despite Amazon being the world’s largest bookseller, ironically.

 

Best seller book for WPP ad

What do I suggest? Currently, the best practice recommendation is to use CreateSpace for Amazon (not the expanded services) and Ingram for everywhere else. They also have printers in Europe and Australia, making international ordering cost-effective (if you’ve ever gasped at the shipping costs for your Createspace orders like I have).

And here’s a little tip to (potentially) avoid that set-up cost (unless the gap’s been plugged): select enhanced distribution on Amazon and once it’s in place, deselect it. Set up an account with Ingram Spark and then send an e-mail to Ingram Spark listing the ISBNs of the book(s) you’d like to transfer over to them from Createspace. This will not affect standard distribution via Amazon Createspace but it is a little slow in being operational. Createspace will e-mail you to say they’ve done as you asked and the ISBNs have been released but you will have to call Ingram Spark to proceed. You may spend five minutes on the phone to Ingram Spark customer service, or you may spend an hour, but when you get through, they will take care of transferring everything (including the cover and interior file) from Createspace, with no set up fee. Your titles will then show as available on your Ingram Spark dashboard and the world’s your oyster…

wrpeps-3D

Interested in maximising your success as a self-publisher? Have a look at WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE . It’s out now so no waiting around; you can get straight into your first campaign (or writing your first book)!

And fancy writing a review? Just send a link to your review here: wppreviewer@gmail.com and I’ll send you detail of how to automate a bestseller pre-order/giveaway campaign.

 

Next time: Dotting the i’s and traversing the BISACs

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Download the first in my Patchwork Trilogy HERE.

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author/author license

Posted by: Debrah Martin | April 3, 2016

Dotting the i’s and traversing the BISACS

mountain pathNot a new kind if dance or an extreme kind of Himalayan trek, although at times it may feel as difficult, uploading your book to either Amazon Createspace or Ingram Spark. This is a back to basics kind of post therefore to tackle some of the trickier bits. Setting up an account on either Createspace/Amazon KDP, Ingram or any of the publishing platforms I’ve mentioned so far is pretty easy. It’s what come after that is more difficult. Not uploading interior files, or covers. Not writing a good book description (although that IS difficult but there’s plenty of guidance on this in WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE  at Chapter 14), and not even finding effective keywords (again, have a look in Chapter 16 of WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE for help with this). Three of the most difficult elements to deal with are these:

  1. Book size
  2. Bisacs
  3. Taxes

In reverse order (as with all the nest announcements), don’t ignore your taxes when publishing your book(s). By that I mean that, if you are not a US citizen, take heed of the fact that most publishing platforms you can self-publish through are US based. If you sell your books- as you hope you will – the business will (correctly) deduct US withholding taxes of 30% from all payments made to you. You will then have to go through the rigmarole of recovering it, unless …

  1. You use eBookpartnership as mentioned in Digital dilemmas for self-publishing authors, or,
  2. You follow all the right procedures, complete all the right forms, and get yourself an ITIN (Individual Tax Information Number) as explained in Chapter 17 of WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE .

Moving back up the list, how do you handle the BISACS? And what are they? BISAC (Book Industry Standards and 7 basic plotsCommunications) codes are a “standard used by many companies throughout the supply chain to categorize books based on topical content.” BISAC codes are established and controlled by the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), and used by Nielsen BookScan and all publishing/distributing platforms to categorise your book. It’s therefore a darn good idea to get the BISAC right. How do you do that? Going back to BISG, they offer a helpful tutorial here: https://www.bisg.org/bisac/tutorial-and-faq. My code choice for WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE was between:

LAN002000 Authorship

LAN005000 Composition and Creative Writing

LAN027000 Publishing

In the languages arts and disciplines codes: https://www.bisg.org/bisac/bisac-subject-headings-list-language-arts-and-disciplines

The full set of codes can be found here: https://www.bisg.org/bisac/complete-bisac-subject-headings-2015-edition

I opted for LAN002000 Authorship as the most appropriate eventually.

So now we’ve navigated the BISACS, let’s look at what you’ll eventually hold in your hand when the print publishing process is complete – a book. What size, what cover finish, what interior page colour?  Is there no end to the choices you have to make?

Here are some basics to help you with your decisions:

Book size: I always choose 6 x 9. It is a standard size for the trade, it’s one of the larger print book sizes, meaning less pages, and therefore less cost to produce and more profit for the author, and it looks substantial. It means business. Other standard sizes include the following (Createspace’s list of standard trim sizes for a cream page interior):

But… books with cream paper must be one of the following: 5″ x 8″, 5.25″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″, or 6″ x 9″ to be enrolled in Expanded Distribution. Colour interior books have a different range, which can be found here: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/?sitesearch_query=book%20sizes&sitesearch_type=SITE#content4

colours

If you’re publishing in full colour there is a cost – a major cost, so research your options well. A comparison between Createspace and Ingram for a full colour children’s book in the Createspace user’s forum had this to offer (https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/thread/33153):

 

“Full color runs $3.65 for a book between 24 and 40 pages.  After 40 full color pages, the cost starts going up.  Also, CS charges us by the page, not by the size of the page.  So I’d use the biggest size CS has for your test book…Right now … it’s near impossible to be price competitive w/premium color at LS… The LS standard color isn’t worth considering for most books… paper too thin, colors too washy. Even if you decide to eventually do your book at LS, I’d do it here (Createspace) first.  Why?  Glad you asked.  At LS, EACH change to cover or interior costs $40…”

pages of bookAnd as a little bonus, white or cream paper interior? Well, most mainstream is printed on cream paper, it feels better, doesn’t have a bold white glare to it, nor the self-published feel of the 90’s when the first wave of self-publishing swept in… Case made?

 

 

Interested in maximising your success as a self-publisher? Do have a look at WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE and bag yourself some bonuses if you’re pre-ordering while you have the chance before it’s released on 5th April. Have a look HERE to find out how.

wrpeps-3D

 

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

And download the first in my Patchwork Trilogy HERE free.

 

 

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author.  

Posted by: Debrah Martin | April 1, 2016

True or False

April 1st

I’m not writing on the subject of self-publishing today, but on the subject of deception since April Fool’s day is all about that – and so is Patchwork Man, the book I was honoured with a BRAG Medallion for. Patchwork Man was my first real foray into the world of self-publishing. I navigated the intricacies of the CreateSpace dashboard and the mysteries of KDP to get it out into the world – learning a number of things along the way other than about self-publishing. they were these:

 

 

  • Always have faith and pride in yourself and your work. Anything you create is akin to a child to you. It’s hard to see something you’ve created in such a way come under fire from critics, but its unbelievably gratifying when someone ‘gets’ what you were trying to say through it. My BRAG Medallion was the most amazing ‘high’in this context and I’ve learned that old adage – “you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all of the time” is very true – but then who ever expects to be perfect?
  • Success isn’t necessarily measured in numbers or £s or $s. As I progressed in my self-publishing career I’ve come across a lot of ‘authors’ and marketeers who feed off self-publishing authors, and propound the benefits of selling short, swiftly produced books from ready-made plots and so on. These are neither substantially-written, substantially-plotted, or – even – substantial! Recently I read a Linked In forum post from an author bewailing the fact that it seemed increasingly difficult to find readers for ‘intellectual’ novels – i.e. real books. If you’ve written a ‘real book’ – and all that are privileged to have been awarded a BRAG Medallion are ‘real book’ authors – be proud. Define your terms of success in terms of quality not quantity.
  • Self-publishing isn’t a quick-fix to getting a book out there. It should be part of a carefully planned, professional executed process, and a medium for your voice and what you have to say. Say it with conviction, fervour and patience – it’s a long road to the top, but tread it with style.

 

There are a lot of other lessons I’ve learned along the way, and I’m privileged to be teaching some of them from the 13th April here, but I’ve also recorded some of them in the book I’m releasing in just a few days time: Write, Publish, Promote. If that interests you, have a look here and also scan down to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the book details repeated. I have some special bonuses for pre-orders and you’ll find them detailed on the page the link will take you to.

In the meantime, here’s a little bit of Patchwork Man and some deception – maybe? Now here’s the challenge on April PatchWorkMan-NEW-3DFool’s day – are you being fooled, or is this really a true extract from the book? Enter the BRAG Medallion competition by clicking on the link here and following the rules which are outlined on the site and you could be a winner too. You’ll have to comment TRUE or FALSE on the excerpt below – TRUE if you think the excerpt is accurate to the book. FALSE if you don’t. The rules are outlined at the end of this blog too.

And here’s a bonus from me, tell me what makes you decide one way or another in a private email (info@debrahmartin.co.uk) and I’ll add you to my mailing list and personally send you the link to grab a free Kindle or ePub copy of the sequel, Patchwork People as well as your BRAG Medallion entry if you’re correct! (TIP: sign up to get a free copy of Patchwork Man HERE: and it’ll be easy to get it right!).

Lawrence is being initiated into his brother, Win’s, gang at the children’s home …

“…The stairs down to the cellar in the Governor’s block were invariably flooded, sometimes by as much as two feet, depending on how much it had rained recently. The most common initiation was to wade through the water at the bottom of the stairs and go into the cellar and wait in the pitch black with the door locked on you for however long one’s examiners determined. There were other initiations, but this was mine. I went firmly down the steps, determined not to show any fear. Anyway, Win was one of the examiners so my big brother would hardly let anything bad happen to me, would he?

Logic does not withstand anxiety. Once I reached the bottom of the steps and the dank stagnant water reached above my knees, my courage was already failing. When the door swung shut and I heard the dull echo of the bolt being shot across the outside, pitched into the dense black of the bowels of the building, my imagination ran riot.

When there is no light, we rely on our senses. Sounds become louder, smells stronger, sensations more intense. So it was for me. I stood stock still and counted, trying to ignore the cold and the dark. I got to three hundred before my nerve broke. I stopped counting and that was my downfall, because then I listened. In the stifling black, at first I heard only the swish of the water around my legs and suffered its numbing cold. I stood very still, biting my lip and determined not to waver. Slowly other noises reached me. The creak of a pipe that sounded like a footstep – even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear a footstep under water, then the hollow drip of something into water – more like a subdued splash than a drip.

The book I’d most disliked at infant school had been the Pied Piper because the thought of all the rats following him, plague-infected, sharp-toothed, evil-eyed, swarming everywhere, had made me shudder. What if there were rats down here? What if the drip was the sudden immersion of a rat body as it dropped into foul water and swum steadily towards me? How many droplets had I heard? Five, ten, twenty. How many had there been whilst I was counting? There could be thousands of rats steadily making their way towards me – an army of gnawing, scratching vermin. My heart skipped a beat and turned into a drum pounding irregularly in my chest. My skin crawled with fear – the sensation of a thousand small bodies covering me in a rancid blanket of fur and limb and teeth. I shivered and panic rose further still. A wave of icy cold followed by nauseating heat swept over my body like fever, leaving me trembling uncontrollably and wanting to scream, scream, scream but no noise came out. I suffocated, voice paralysed like it is in a nightmare, but this was no nightmare – it was real. My legs were so cold from the freezing water, I knew I’d wet myself but I couldn’t feel it. All my being was fixed on not being overcome by the rats and consumed by their yellowed spike teeth and scrabbling claws. I opened my mouth again and this time the terror poured out just as light flooded in and blinded me.

‘Kenny?’ It was Win. I scrambled back up the stairs on all fours, feet slipping on the rickety steps and hands grabbing at anything within reach. Win hauled me up the last couple and I stood retching and panting in the middle of the group. ‘They shouldn’t have left you in so long. I said only five minutes – not half an hour. You OK?’ I nodded wildly, teeth chattering and stomach rolling over and over; so relieved to be out – even though wet and stinking – and away from whatever had been down in that cellar, I would have danced and sung, and even shared my coloured ink pen with him if he’d asked. ‘That’s all right then. You passed by the way. You’re one of Win’s Winners now – get it?’ He nudged me in the ribs and grinned delightedly at his gang’s name…”

 

wrpeps-3D

Stay tuned in if you’re interested in learning more about WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE  and grabbing yourself a bonus offer before it even comes out, have a look HERE and see how.

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

And download Patchwork Man, the first in the Patchwork Trilogy HERE if you haven’t already done so.

 

 

APRIL-FOOLS-POSTER I

 

And do stop by the BRAG Medallion Honorees site here to meet more BRAG Medallion authors.

Here are the rules for the BRAG Medallion giveaway:

  • Prize and book giveaways starts April. The winner of the $50.00 Amazon Gift Card will be announced on April 5th
  •  Click on the indieBRAG Website starting April 1st and comment to enter your chance to win a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card!
  • Each author is providing a print copy or e-book in the book giveaways. Be sure to visit their websites and comment on their post to enter a chance to win a copy of their book.

Rules:

–         The chance to enter for the prize and giveaways ends April. The winner will for the Amazon prize will be announced on the indieBRAG  Website on April 5th. And each author will announce the winner for their giveaways on their sites at the date they choose.

–         You must be 18 years or older to participate in the prize & giveaway.

–         Giveaway is open internationally.

–         Winner has 48 hours to claim prize and giveaway or a new winner is chosen.

GOOD LUCK!

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author.  

Posted by: Debrah Martin | March 24, 2016

The Problems with Print

WPP flying books image

Print books; the main contenders in the self-publishing arena are of course Createspace and Ingram Spark (or Lightning Source for traditional or Indie publishers).

 

There’s a comparison of the two in WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE which essentially says this

Use CS for:

·         Fast and good distribution to Amazon.

·         Fast and affordable shipping to US customers.

·         Shipping “review copies” to bloggers and/or for giveaways like on Goodreads.

Use Ingram for:

·         Distribution to all stores except Amazon.

·         Fast and affordable shipping to international customers.

·         Shipping high-quality copies as samples to bookstores, autographed copies, etc.

and clearly there are advantages to using both for print books going into both of two markets:

·         Print books for general resale.

·         Print books for library lending.

But now here’s the thing – I’ve lumped these potential sales avenues into two categories, but if you drill down further they each present their own problems.

Skipping over library lending and sales to libraries for a moment because they’re an issue all on their own, let’s take a look at print sales, and here it IS a little easier to come to a conclusion. CS enhanced distrib requirments

Createspace offers an Expanded Distribution option…

But if you look carefully at what it includes you’ll see that booksellers and on/off-line retailers are described as including “Barnes & Noble and to distributors such as Ingram and NACSCORP.” Wait – so Createspace actually uses Ingram itself then? What am I really getting with enhanced distribution then? Barnes and Noble are US-based and NACSCORP are in the educational books field. Fine if you are aiming mainly at the US market or educational books, but what if your aspirations include elsewhere in the world?

Back to Ingram. Who do Ingram use then? Here’s their list:

http://www.ingramspark.com/plan-your-book/ebooks/online-retail-partners

so basically the first element of the Createspace expanded distribution option is only the same as using Ingram, and the second part only of any use if you are distributing wholly to the US or to educational establishments. And using Ingram direct has three major advantages over using Ingram via Createspace:

·  looking the professional,

·  bricks and mortar booksellers,

·  and back to that point I skipped over earlier: libraries.

Most bricks and mortar book shops won’t stock a Createspace book, and neither will libraries simply because they recognise it for what it is – self-published and only available via the POD service that Createspace provides, whereas IngramSpark …

That takes me neatly onto my next main issue – digital dilemmas and that question, ‘How can I cover the widest market available to a self-published author?’ 

wrpeps-3D

In the meantime, stay tuned in and if you’re interested in learning more about WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE  and grabbing yourself a bonus offer before it even comes out, have a look HERE and see how.

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

And download the first in my Patchwork Trilogy HERE.

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author.  

Posted by: Debrah Martin | March 23, 2016

Digital Dilemmas for Self-publishing Authors

Female sleuth

Hard on the trail of the best way to self-publish successfully, I’m applying a bit of brain power to my initial questions and am tackling the first one in this blog post:

Q: How can I cover the widest market available to a self-published author?

… Or perhaps to turn this on its head – what could my market comprise?

Once upon a time (there’s a story there …) publishing was all about the print book and getting it into a book shop. How times have changed with the rise of the eBook. The rise of Apple iBooks, followed by the Amazon Kindle Direct programme utilising the Amazon marketplace has probably prompted the majority of the revolution in the publishing industry where this is concerned. They heralded the rise of the self-published author via the KDP self-publishing platform and encouraging the popularity of digital books via Kindle, alongside a whole host of other digital reading devices and platforms, even including your phone now! Personally, I still love the feel of a book in my hands, but I’m also 100% in favour of reading any way you can and however you can – which leads me back to distribution.

D2D logoDigital books can be accessed via Amazon Kindle, but also as eBooks via Nook, Kobo, iTunes and a whole host of other online platforms. It’s a big world of digital reading out there, and a growing network of options to choose from. Some advantages and tricks of the trade I’m aware of in utilising the various platforms for best effect when self-publishing include these:

  1. Use D2D to put a book out there free – and then ask Amazon to price match if you are intending trying permafree strategy. (Don’t know what permafree strategy is? You need to read WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE   Chapter 21).
  2. Smashwords will allow you to do the same thing but your book files will have to pass the dreaded autovetter, so beware… You can find all kinds of helpful services for authors, including formatting a book to pass the autovetter on Fiverr  – just search on the site (that was one of the little helpful extras I referred to in the first post in this series – Fiverr can be an absolute bonus to the self-publisher).
  3. eBook Partnership http://eBookPartnership.com will distribute for you but let you retain all your royalties – there is an upfront cost though.
  4. Here are some useful reviews of who publishes what and how to check out:

Both contain extremely useful information.

  1. And don’t forget about digital books for library lending – to get into library lending of digital books you’ll need to use something like Overdrive, or maybe even EbooksareForever (see http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/ebooks-for-libraries.html) set up by self-publishing phenomenon Joe Konrath. Aggregators and distributors such as OverDrive, Axis 360 and Askews & Holts Library Services  license content from publishers and “sell” directly to libraries. They host the ebooks on their own platform rather than the publisher’s website because copyright law requires a separate licence agreement for eBooks. Libraries then have a license to lend specific eBooks.

To market your books as widely as possible digitally you have to opt out of Amazon’s KDP select and opt into another digital distribution platform as well. Ingram will distribute your ebook for you – for a small fee (for example, in the UK £15 set up +£7 for access to distribution partners) and they list over 70 online ebook distributers here: http://www.ingramspark.com/plan-your-book/ebooks/online-retail-partners IngramSpark logo

They will also only pay you 60% of the sale proceeds.

 

Draft2Digital https://draft2digital.com – one of the other main competitors alongside Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/ – will distribute for no upfront fee free, as will Smashwords, with D2D giving you around 90% on sales and Smashwords 85%.  By comparison, Amazon KDP only gives you between 70 and 35% return, depending on pricing and participation or otherwise in KDP select, and it does corner the lion’s share of the market. It’s not that easy to weigh up coverage against % return and volume…

Where do I stand on Amazon KDP versus the rest if the world? A foot in either camp. Yes noThere is no doubt Amazon’s KDP programme can work extremely well, especially if you make good strategic use of their promotional tools such as Kindle Countdowns and free days (5 per 90 day period)  to increase your books ranking, visibility and readership. You are, however, required to be exclusive, which means knocking out all those potential readers using devices other than Kindle. You also won’t find your book featuring in libraries because obviously libraries won’t be stuck purely with digital books in Kindle format … The decision is yours. My personal strategy is to do a little of both – I currently have one permafree book, Webs, available in the Apple store et al via Draft2digital because it is the first in a series and encouraging readership following by offering the first book in the series free is always a good strategy on the no risk, no reluctance basis, but it’s also price-matched to free on Amazon. Patchwork Man will probably join it later on this year as it is the first in the Patchwork trilogy, although performing quite well as it is. My other, standalone books will probably remain with KDP select for a while longer whilst the library situation matures, but then…

Next up, the problems with print…

wrpeps-3D

 

Interested in maximising your success as a self-publisher? Have a look at WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE  and bag yourself some bonuses if you’re pre-ordering. Have a look HERE to find out how.

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

And you can download the first in my Patchwork trilogy HERE.

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author.

Posted by: Debrah Martin | March 18, 2016

Ready, get set …publish!

setting up WPP on CSHere I am setting up WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE on Createspace. I know my way around pretty well now since this is my 8th book via the Createspace platform.

It’s all quite simple, add the book details, cover files, interior files, description etc (if you want a step by step guide to setting up a book on Createspace have a look in Part 2: Publish of WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE) but notice you can’t enter a publication date unless you are republishing a book already published. Createspace will allocate the publication date when you approve the files so be prepared – once you’ve approved you project, you’re off the starting blocks and running; no pre-orders, not preparation, no advance planning pre-release at the last minute…

can't choose a publication date on CS

 

By comparison, on IngramSpark, you can choose your publication date AND the ‘on sale’ date beforehand – or in other words, make your book available for pre-order by setting an earlier ‘on-sale’ date to the publication date.:

Ingram publication date

How good is that?

Answer: very good because now you can manipulate who has access to your book for reviews and pre-release buzz. It’s not just a case of hit the button and your book is out there. That’s awesome!

  • Votes for Createspace so far: 1 because I already know my way around the site.
  • Votes for IngramSpark so far: 3 because I have more control over my book – and isn’t that where independent publishing is supposed to win over traditional? I can also set up pre-orders for early exposure, and I can also get my hands on copies of the book pre-release for my own promotional needs, and count them as sales!

Working my way through the set up procedure on each of the sites produced no real problems, but there were a number of other differences.

  • On Createspace you can review a proof of your book online. You can also order a print proof copy to check for cost plus postage – invaluable for checking imagery and the overall presentation of the book.
  • On IngramSpark, once the cover and interior file are uploaded, you hit this screen:

Ingram pay screen

 

Ah! Now there’s the rub – to continue the allusion from the first post in this series: I can’t check how the book looks before paying for the set-up. And if – having paid for the set-up – I’m not happy and want to change anything? Sorry, you’ll have to pay for the changes too, whereas  on Createspace, it’s all free…

  • Votes for IS nil, votes for CS 2 – who wants to pay to see if they’ve got it right?

KG weightAnother complaint I’ve come across is that  IngramSpark use 50lb paper for interiors whereas Createspace use 60lb. The latter is much better quality, and that also calls ton weightinto question whether the cover you are using on Createspace might not need adjusting for use on IngramSpark…

 

  • Nil votes for IS, 1 for CS.

 

On the subject of colour printing though, IngramSpark offer two options – Standard and Premium. According to Giacomo Giammetteo in his post here: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/watchdog-ingram-spark-vs-createspace-for-self-publishing-print-books/ (within the comments).

IS Standard is equal or better than CS color.
IS Premium is far superior.”

  • 2 votes for IS, nil for CS.

 Then there’s customer service – and quite a bit of negative feedback online for IngramSpark, little for Createspace.

  • Nil votes for IS, 1 for CS.

The vote count so far is IngramSpark 5

                                         Createspace 5

Where IngramSpark scores more over Createspace is in the less considered opportunities when first self-publishing – libraries, bricks and mortar shops and ease of order fulfilment. More on this in the next post …

wrpeps-3D

 

By the way, have you got your copy of WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE yet? There’s so much more in here – and a ton weight of bonuses if you pre-order; have a look HERE.

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

or follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

Download the first in my Patchwork Trilogy HERE for free.

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author.

 

 

Posted by: Debrah Martin | March 14, 2016

Pros and Cons of the Two Big Boys of Print

Here I am setting up WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE on Createspace. I know my way around pretty well now since this is my 8th book via the Createspace platform.

setting up WPP on CS

It’s all quite simple, add the book details, cover files, interior files, description etc (if you want a step by step guide to setting up a book on Createspace have a look in Part 2: Publish of WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE) but notice you can’t enter a publication date unless you are republishing a book already published. Createspace will allocate the publication date when you approve the files so be prepared – once you’ve approved you project, you’re off the starting blocks and running; no pre-orders, not preparation, no advance planning pre-release at the last minute…

can't choose a publication date on CS

 

By comparison, on IngramSpark, you can choose your publication date AND the ‘on sale’ date beforehand – or in other words, make your book available for pre-order by setting an earlier ‘on-sale’ date to the publication date.:

Ingram publication date

 

How good is that?

Answer: very good because now you can manipulate who has access to your book for reviews and pre-release buzz. It’s not just a case of hit the button and your book is out there. That’s awesome!

  • Votes for Createspace so far: 1 because I already know my way around the site.
  • Votes for IngramSpark so far: 3 because I have more control over my book – and isn’t that where independent publishing is supposed to win over traditional? I can also set up pre-orders for early exposure, and I can also get my hands on copies of the book pre-release for my own promotional needs, and count them as sales!

Working my way through the set up procedure on each of the sites produced no real problems, but there were a number of other differences.

  • On Createspace you can review a proof of your book online. You can also order a print proof copy to check for cost plus postage – invaluable for checking imagery and the overall presentation of the book.
  • On IngramSpark, once the cover and interior file are uploaded, you hit this screen:

Ingram pay screen

 

Ah! Now there’s the rub – to continue the allusion from the first post in this series… I can’t check how the book looks before paying for the set-up. And if – having paid for the set-up – I’m not happy and want to change anything? Sorry, you’ll have to pay for the changes …

  • Votes for IS nil, votes for CS 2 – who wants to pay to see what they’ve got wrong?

Another complaint I’ve come across is that  IngramSpark use 50lb paper for interiors whereas Createspace use 60lb. The latter is much better quality, and that also calls into question whether the cover you are using on Createspace might not need adjusting for use on IngramSpark…

  • Nil votes for IS, 1 for CS.

On the subject of colour printing IngramSpark offer two options – Standard and Premium. According to Giacomo Giammetteo in his post here: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/watchdog-ingram-spark-vs-createspace-for-self-publishing-print-books/ (within the comments).

IS Standard is equal or better than CS color.
IS Premium is far superior.”

  • 2 votes for IS, nil for CS.

Then there’s customer service – and quite a bit of negative feedback online for IngramSpark, little for Createspace.

  • Nil votes for IS, 1 for CS.

The vote count so far is IngramSpark 5

                                              Createspace 5

Where IngramSpark scores more over Createspace is in the less considered opportunities when first self-publishing wrpeps-3D– libraries, bricks and mortar shops and ease of order fulfilment.

More on this and digital printing in the posts to follow – and next up I’ll look at the problems with print.

You can find out more about a range of self-publishing and promotional strategies for your books in WRITE, PUBLISH, PROMOTE. If you pre-order  you’ll even get bonuses on top of bonuses before you even get the book. Find out how HERE.

 

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Download the first in my Patchwork Trilogy HERE.

 

All images courtesy of Creative Commons or the author and her log-in dashboards at Createspace and IngramSpark.

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