Posted by: Debrah Martin | February 7, 2017

Audiobooks – getting them into the ears of the world…

audiobook-imageSo maybe you now have joined me on the journey towards converting the world to audio? I hope so, because apart from being an exciting way to dive into a book – and especially good for  those people who – in this busy world – are just too busy to make time for a book otherwise, as a writer you also get a different perspective on your work too. Most writing tutors – me included – will encourage  their students to read their work aloud. It is the best way to listen to rhythm, content, style and flow. Now add to that the perspective another reader gives to it. Is that what you expected? Is that what you intended when you wrote it?

coloursIt’s a fascinating insight into what your readers may be experiencing from your book as well as an amazing editing tool. That aside, a voice makes anything come alive, so listen and marvel at how your world appears with full technicolour sound (alright – forget the techinicolour …).

But having enjoyed that moment when Audible, or whichever platform you’ve chosen to produce your audiobook through, tells you your audiobook is now live for the world to listen to, you suddenly realise that marketing your shiny new audiobook is a whole new ballgame. Where are the Bookbubs and the hundreds of free book download sites to promote it through? Where are the Amazon ads, the easy wins through traditional promotional means?

Bad news!

Currently there are virtually none.

Nor can you reduce your audiobook’s price to FREE or anything even approaching that.

happy symbol

What you can do is this:

  • Take advantage of Audibles offer of 25 free US and 25 free UK promotional codes.
  • Use them to hand out to potential reviewers to collect reviews.
  • Use a site like Audiobookboom to invite reviewers to apply for them.
  • Use them in giveaways to build your audio book list.
  • When you have 10 reviews, you can promote your book on a site like Amazing Audio Books (requires 10 reviews before your book will be accepted) or before then on AudaVoxx 

And here’s a little trick to avoid your promotional code being used by a potential reviewer  to purchase an altogether different book – sadly there are scammers in all areas of promotion! Redeem your promotional code first – scroll to the bottom of the Audible website and look for ‘redeem a promotional code’. Once you’ve redeemed the code, search for your book and click on ‘give as gift’. The book will be placed in your basket using the promotional code in payment. You will then be invited to write and accompanying message to the intended recipient (your reviewer), with their email address, and the audiobook will be delivered directly to them. Make your note accompanying the book pleasant and non-spammy, saying you look forward to reading their review if they would like to leave one in due course and that you hope they enjoy the book. You will still get recipients who don’t review, but it’s an occupational hazard, and at least, when they are searching around for an audiobook to listen to, yours will be the next in their inbox!

I hope this helps with what is relatively difficult. In time, hopefully there will be a Bookbub for audiobooks. In the meantime, get creative. Remind everyone of the advantage of listening, rather than looking, and about Audible’s 30 day free trial, not forgetting Amazon’s Whyspersync offer; for anyone having already bought your book on Kindle, they can buy the option to switch between reading and listening for only a couple of pounds or dollars. Here’s what the text of the Whispersync offer for Patchwork Man looks like:

whispersync

You can find my whole Patchwork trilogy on Audible here:

3-v4-covers-for-website-home-page

Patchwork Man

Patchwork People

Patchwork Pieces

so don’t miss the opportunity to get them free by signing up to Audible’s free trial!

My website (and where you can see the type of books I write) is: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

A free copy of Patchwork Man (digital) can be downloaded via this sign up link

Find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahMartin.Author/

And on Twitter here https://twitter.com/StorytellerDeb

My UK based writing and self-publishing courses can be found here: Courses and Resources

Or just say hello here: info@debrahmartin.co.uk

 

 

 

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Posted by: Debrah Martin | January 27, 2017

Audiobooks -are you listening?

Audiobooks – the oldest and most modern way to get your book’s message out?headphones

Yes, I did mean to write that. I remember listening to my first audiobook nearly twenty years ago, on a long drive down to the south of France on a family holiday. It was a cassette then. CDs didn’t exist and who had even thought of MP3s? The result was the same though – a long journey made not just bearable, but positively enjoyable – and me hooked on whichever book I was listening to at the time, as eager for the next section of the book as the autoroute!

Today, technology has moved on and we watch movies on phones, take photos on iPads and walk around with earphones plugged into us like we’ve grown them as essential elements or our twenty-first century  physiology. We listen to music, we listen to each other on Facetime , why not walk around listening to a book too? Our busy lives encompass so much time when we are in transit or in training or simply in limbo, the opportunity to fill it with an audio book must be one of the most attractive up and coming trends for authors since Kindle.

amazon-audible-logoSo here I am, on Audible, looking at three of my books – soon to be four, and wondering, where from here?  An interactive books sounds fun, building on a gaming platform, but before my imagination leaps ahead of my ability, can I tell you – for anyone new to the possibility of putting your book onto audio – how it works.

I chose ACX to produce my books. There are other platforms, and obviously they have their own selling machines, but ACX is the audiobook production arm of Amazon. Every audiobook you create on ACX will be made available on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes, and if you grant Audible exclusive distribution rights, then you’ll earn royalties of 40%.  have you seen the price of audiobooks? None of your 99c/99p free offers. They generally run to $20/ £14 or so. Good enough for me!

sackful-of-moneyBut having opted for ACX, then the games begin! First of all, having uploaded your ‘project’ you have to decide whether to invite narrators to audition to produce the book for a fee, or for a share of the royalties. I have made it seem easy until now, but this is where reality kicks in. Producing an audiobook is expensive. For each hour of completed audiobook, there may be up to ten times that spent in the production of it. That could cost a wacking $225 per hour if your voice-over artist  is a member of the SAG-AFTRA union, because as a member, they can accept no less than that. Imagine what that means when your completed audiobook is likely to run to ten or more hours of completed narration!

The alternative is to offer a royalty share if a producer – a narrator – is interested in making this a joint project with you. I was so incredibly lucky to pair up with Rob Groves when I put my projects out for audition on a royalty share basis. He was juts coming into audiobook narration at the time – although I’m sure I will have to twist his arm for airtime in the future because of the awesomely excellent completed article he has delivered for all three of the Patchwork books, and will do again, shortly for Chained Melodies.

big-tickIf you are lucky enough to agree a royalty share production arrangement with a voice-over artist, the process then continues into listening to and agreeing their audition piece – a fifteen minute sample – and then onto listening to the whole book as it is produced, chapter by chapter, agreeing edits and changes as you go. Once the narration is complete  and you have an audiobook cover uploaded, ACX will review the whole project to ensure it passes their quality controls and if it does, then release it onto Amazon etc. Your audiobook is complete – now what do you do with it? Read the next blog post about it and find out!

You can find the whole Patchwork trilogy on Audible here:

3-v4-covers-for-website-home-page

 

Patchwork Man

Patchwork People

Patchwork Pieces

And don’t miss the opportunity to get them free by signing up to Audible’s free trial!

 

 

My website (and where you can see the type of books I write) is: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

A free copy of Patchwork Man (digital) can be downloaded via this sign up link

Find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahMartin.Author/

And on Twitter here https://twitter.com/StorytellerDeb

My UK based writing and self-publishing courses can be found here: Courses and Resources

Or just say hello here: info@debrahmartin.co.uk

Posted by: Debrah Martin | January 23, 2017

Your Audience Awaits …

Author platform,

audience,

social media,

engagement,

reach,

conversions,

sign-ups,

click backs …

quillIt’s a new language for writers – the language of promotion; but for the novice author, and indeed, even the seasoned one, promotion can be a nightmare. Where do you start? Do you even try to tackle the growing maze of ways to promote your book?

Sadly, the answer is, you have to. No longer can you sit in your ivory tower and simply write. As an indie author or even a hybrid (part traditionally, part self-published), promotion is a must, or your audience – your readers, or listeners – will be nil.

So where to start?

wrpeps-3d

I’ve tried all sorts, and I record the methods and results for a lot of them in Write, Publish, Promote – the book I wrote to accompany the writing and self-publishing workshops I teach in the UK.

You can find a list of my courses for 2017 here, if you or other writing peers are interested:

http://www.debrahmartin.co.uk/courses-resources/

This is a very brief rundown of some of what I’ve tried in 2016:

 Are you on Facebook?facebook-logo

You should be. Set up an author or book page – distinct from your personal profile – and use it to record thoughts, achievements, awards – a BRAG Medallion is perfect for this! Here’s mine:

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

Also let your followers (start by inviting your friends to like and share it) know when you have offers on and when your next book is out.  Being on Facebook provides another bonus too; Facebook advertising. Facebook will kindly help you both create an ad and target the right people for it to reach to spread the news about your books, for a small price – the minimum is $5 per day, but beware that as you pay per click, this can quickly add up. However, if you can get the targeting and the content right, the possibility of adding a steady stream of subscribers to your mailing list is superb. Use the Power Editor for the best flexibility and Lead Gen ads as the best way to target potential subscribers.

Facebook also hosts numerous book promotion and marketing groups you can join – you’ll find a list of the most useful ones in the Write, Publish, Promote downloadable information here (the link is repeated again below).

yesA mailing list – did you say you don’t have one? Then get thee to the internet right now and start one!

Amazon, iBooks, etc and our other various online sales outlets are a wonderful thing, but what would happen if Amazon suddenly shut you down – or out? It has happened to some on the whiff of some misdemeanour the Amazon giant thought they had been guilty of – correctly or otherwise. Of course you can still market books on other sales platforms, but none is as big as Amazon. And although Amazon sells for you, you have no sales data, no contacts, no way to reach the people who have been buying your books – unless you have been steadily accumulating your own data as you have been selling your books.

That’s all very well, you say, but how do I build a mailing list when I haven’t got one to start with?

  • Giveaways through platforms such as Rafflecopter and Kingsumo who will collect entrant’s email addresses for you.
  • Offering a ‘reader magnet’ – a free book, hosted on your website or another platform, such as InstaFreebie .
  • Backlinks and offers in your books.

Anywhere you can offer an incentive to join your list in return for something your readers would like is where you’ll add your sign up link. I use Mailchimp, but Aweber, Infusionsoft and Mad Mimi are also popular.

Here’s my newsletter link if anyone would like a free copy of my first BRAG Medallion winner, Patchwork Man.

Having a mailing list also opens up possibilities of cross-promoting to other author’s newsletters writing in the same genre. Great places to find authors interested in cross-promoting in their mailing list are:

https://www.newsletterswap.com/

http://paulawynne.com/joint-mailing-promotion-for-authors

and

Bookhub: http://bookhub.online/books

https://www.authorsxp.com/

http://www.rrbookdeals.com/mega-promo.html

I also belong to several other Facebook author cross-promotion lists which I’ve joined via courses I’ve followed with Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson, all of which are very good if you still need to learn the ropes.

Of course there are ready-made mailing lists to pay for promotion of your book to. bookbub-logo

The big Daddy of them all is – as everyone reading this no doubt already knows – Bookbub, but there are some other excellent sites it is far easier to get selected for. Personally I’ve had most success with ENT and Booksends, but you can find a list of the top 100 here in the additional information sources usually only accessible from the links within Write, Publish, Promote. There’s a host of other useful information in there too – such as

All the terminology you’ll need to tackle publishing-world-speak.

Advice from the pros.

Publishers accepting direct submissions.

Book cover design and free image sources.

The software the professionals use: software for writing, publishing and promoting books.

Bloggers and reviewers list.

Blog tours – the list.

Facebook groups to join for support, marketing and reviewers.

Twitter hashtags.

Reviewer request template.

Book awards list.

twitter-logoOther social media platforms can also provide useful coverage and visibility, but there are so many of them it is easy to get bogged down and not actually do anything particularly productive on any of them. Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn (business books), Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, and others that are a cross between social media and social reading, such as Goodreads and Wattpad are all potentially good ways to spread the word about your books. My best advice is to pick the one or two you are most comfortable with – probably Facebook and one or so other – and work them, baby! That doesn’t mean tons of posts saying ‘buy my book’. It means posts giving useful information, commenting in an interesting way on current affairs, personal events or achievements, in your voice.  I am a very lazy social media user and my 2017 New Year’s resolution is to do much better on it. That means making full use of automated posting options such as Social Oomph, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and so on to schedule planned posts in advance, leaving you free to add the more spontaneous, every day posts, as things happen in your world. Check back next summer to see if I’ve actually managed this myself #doasisaynotasido …

blogger-imageBloggers are also a helpful source of extra visibility – thank you Stephanie  and the Indiebrag blog for featuring this post there and generously agreeing for it to be on both my blog and hers! Watch out for my next post on audiobooks here that I will be releasing shortly.

Blogging yourself takes time and dedication. If you’re going to do it, do it consistently and enjoy doing it, but give yourself a break if life takes over and you miss a while. Last year I was busy getting three audiobooks out (the whole of the Patchwork series – see below), writing two more standalones and Write, Publish, Promote as well as teaching and increasing my mailing list, which has shot up from a baby 1000 or so, to approaching ten times that. Guest blog, invite others to guest blog on your own blog, and pace yourself so you can write posts without interfering with the real business you’re interested in; writing books.

amazon-logo

To conclude, I’m going to go full circle to where many of the sales first begin: Amazon. AMS ads are an upcoming fad – the Sponsored Product ones, not Product pages, which are expensive to run. Get the targeting right and you can appear on the same page as many of your peers, and those in the bestseller category too. Talk about product placement! You may or may not hit pay dirt with lots of sales, but remember, a rule of advertising is that usually something has to be seen at least 9 times before it registers with a potential buyer, so the more often your book is seen, the more likely it will eventually be bought – or, of course, downloaded and read via KU.

I have used the words ‘targeted’ and ‘audience’ several times and they are the nuts and bolts of any successful promotion. Your book will only appeal to an audience that is interested in your type of book. That holds good whether on paid advertising platforms or through cross promotion or via social media in general. To find that audience, you need to target it properly though the right keywords, similar books and authors, appropriate genres and general interest groups. If you get it right, as the title to the blog says; your audience awaits…

If you enjoyed this post, do come and read some of my other ones on my own blog, sign up for my free book, ask me to cross promote in my newsletter if you write in similar genres to me, or simply say hello!

me-bio-pic

My website (and where you can see the type of books I write) is: www.debrahmartin.co.uk

A free copy of Patchwork Man can be downloaded via this sign up link

My blog is here: https://debrahmartinwrites.wordpress.com/

Find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahMartin.Author/

And on Twitter here https://twitter.com/StorytellerDeb

UK based writing and self-publishing courses can be found here: Courses and Resources

The Patchwork trilogy in audiobook form can be found here:

Patchwork Man

Patchwork People

Patchwork Pieces

And don’t miss the opportunity to get them free by signing up to Audible’s free trial!)

Or simply say hello here: info@debrahmartin.co.uk

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 …

wrpeps-3D

 

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.

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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…”

 

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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?’ 

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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.  

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