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07
Jul

Do Not Get Caught Un-Quote

Do you remember the eighth commandment? Do not steal. Everybody knows that, and yet: sometimes we get caught off-guard, and even with the best intentions, we end up hearing the worst word a writer could ever hear: plagiarism.

Citing your resources is incredibly easy, and in this article we are going to help you out. It is extremely important to mention the sources you were using when doing your research or who inspired you, especially if you are writing nonfiction (you don’t want to be sued for plagiarism, do you?). The article is roughly based on my favorite publication ever, Chicago Manual of Style , and the extremely useful The Punctuation Guide . Please note that the traditions differ by country (US English vs UK English) and all big publishers have their taste in referencing. When in doubt, please don’t question your editor.

Mentioning others’ works

Underline, italics or quotation marks

When mentioning someone’s work in your text, you should ask the following question: is this the title of a standalone work? If the answer is yes, use italics: for movies, series, books, websites.

correct: I was reading The Jungle Book, when my brother came in.

incorrect: I was reading ‘The Jungle Book’, when my brother came in.

Underlining works just like italics, but is not being used any more: if you remember writing by hand or using a typewriter, there was no option for italics or any other method of emphasizing, for that matter. Underlining was always just a workaround for the shortcomings of the typewriters and today it is generally considered to be outdated.

do not get caught un-quote

If you are talking about an episode of a series, a chapter of a book, a poem, an article in a magazine, use quotation marks.

correct: I was reading ‘The Raven’, when my sister came in.

incorrect: I was reading The Raven, when my sister came in.

These rules above are straightforward enough for there to be a trick. If you are talking about a series of books, for example A Song of Ice and Fire, you can keep the individual titles of each books italicized when mentioning them. If you were to bind all the books together, though, into a giant special edition, you would have to write about the books in quotation marks:

correct: I wanted to take A Song of Ice and Fire off the shelf to read ‘A Game of Thrones’, but it was too heavy.

Right use of punctuation and quotation marks

This is the dodgy area of punctuation, where British and American standards differ. The following examples show tiny differences you probably wouldn’t even notice, but a skilled editor picks up on them easily.

One of these important differences is the use of a typesetters’ quote: according to the legend, commas and periods tended to break when placed outside the quotation mark, and typesetters decided to put them inside the quotation to save them. While Americans still follow this tradition (although traditional printers are not in use any more), in Britain writers and editors decided to put them wherever they are logical: inside the quotation marks if belonging to the quote, and outside, if not.

An other difference is that single quotation marks are more popular in Britain than in the US; but don’t forget that it is always the publisher deciding which standards to follow.

 

Britishbritish flagAmericanamerican flag
 

1. I was reading ‘The Raven’, when my sister came in.

2. One of Poe’s most famous poems is ‘The Raven’.

BUT: 3. Have you read ‘The Raven’?

4. Mr, Mrs, Ms

5. 1960s

6. ‘I was reading “The Raven”, when my sister came in’, Julian said.

 

1. I was reading “The Raven,” when my sister came in.

2. One of Poe’s most famous poems is “The Raven.”

BUT: 3. Have you read “The Raven”?

4. Mr., Mrs., Ms.

5. 1960’s

6. “I was reading ‘The Raven,’ when my sister came in,” Julian said.

 

27
Jun

Bulk Import 2.0 has arrived

Bulk import is an easy and quick way to publish many books at once. However, when you are uploading many books at once, importing the data can be still very time-consuming.

With the new 2.0 version of the product, PublishDrive has optimized bulk import performance speeding up the process and making it more intelligent. Publishers don’t need to sit and wait for the files to be validated any more: the validation starts automatically in the background right after uploading the files.

What has changed:

  • Import time speeded up – You don’t need to wait for the files to be validated at time of import any more. The validation of your files starts automatically in the background just after you upload them to the sftp site. You can check the status of your books and the validation results at the ‘Import’ page any time. We also send a notification email when all your files have been validated.
  • Using only valid titles from metadata files – If your metadata contains both valid and invalid records, you can choose to import the valid ones only and ignore the rest.
  • Multiple prices are used – If your ONIX metadata contains multiple prices in different currencies they are also imported and used for distribution (see Advanced Pricing) .

Happy publishing!

 

27
Jun

Advanced Pricing at PublishDrive

The new Advanced Pricing feature is available now on the platform providing publishers with the option of easily setting the price for every currency in which they are selling books. The system lets you to manually set all prices to your chosen value.

Pretty Price option

The option of individual multi-currency pricing on the platform allows publishers to create ’pretty prices’ for all the currencies they use. Rounding the price to a prettier value is important in winning readers’ trust as they’re accustomed to simple, rounded numbers.

How does it work?

You simply enter the book’s list price in the currency of your country of residence, and we convert the provided price into the various currencies of your selected digital stores using PublishDrive’s real-time currency calculator.

How do you benefit from Advanced Pricing?

  • Increase global sales – International readers can pay in their local currencies resulting in more sales
  • Full control – Decide the price and have control over your pricing process
  • Minimize refunds, chargebacks – Using multi-currency conversion resulting in reduced return rates

Try our new feature and as always happy publishing!

22
Jun

A Guide on Book Title Punctuation

For the trained eyes, there is nothing more annoying than looking at a book which is just one letter away from perfect. It is possible that you have made a capital mistake when not checking the rules of capitalization before publishing. It can be a tricky business, but nothing you cannot master by following a set of simple rules. In this article, we are writing about right capitalization and punctuation of titles (of your own books) on the cover and on the title page, with special regard to consistency.

Capitalization of your book title

This is probably common knowledge, but main titles in English are capitalized. (If you are not writing in English, follow the typesetting rules of your own language: anglicisms are generally frown upon.) Unfortunately for us, the rules of capitalization, commonly known as Title Case couldn’t be more complicated.

CapitalizeDon’t capitalize
 

The first and the last word of the sentence

The word after a colon

All meaningful words (verbs, nouns etc)

Subordinating conjunctions (as, because etc.)

 

Articles (a, an, the)

Coordinating conjunctions (but, and, or, if, nor etc.)

Prepositions under 5 letters (at, to, from, etc.)

the name of the names coverFor more advanced users, there are delicacies such as capitalizing prepositions belonging to a phrasal verb. If your title is longer than a line, don’t capitalize the first word in the new line (unless you would capitalize it anyway.) It is also increasingly common, less so for books but more for journals, blogs and other publications to use sentence case for titles: with sentence case, only the first letter is capitalized.

We have two good news, however. The first one is that these rules are well known to any document editor software or app: even Google Docs can handle title case with a helpful add-on. You Just Have to Select the Text You Would Like to Capitalize, and Click “Title Case” in Your Editor.

The other good news is that you don’t actually have to follow any of these rules when designing your book cover. Your cover could be dsonias sorrow coveresigned with ALL CAPS, ꜱᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘs, minuscule, or a combination of these, depending on the genre traditions and your personal preference.You have to, however, use proper capitalization at the metadata when you upload your book to stores. (But some stores do this for you automatically.)

 

 

The title page

The title page is the first page of your book, straight after the cover. It contains the title, subtitle, the author’s name, the publisher and the year of publishing. Here, you can either use your title with proper capitalization or use philosophical retrospective coverall caps, small caps, or bold. You can also use a smaller sized font for the subtitle. But do not put the title between quotation marks, italicize it, or place a full stop at the end.

The title is usually placed at the middle of the page, with the subtitle separated by a colon, italicized, or being straight underneath. This is not your place to be very creative, these are general customs in publishing: the title page has to be clear and unequivocal. You are allowed to, however, dismiss proper capitalization for well-formed artistic reasons in certain cases.

 

book title punctuation examplePunctuation of headings and chapters

The situation is not that clear once we are down to chapters and headings. There are two big schools of punctuation: some like to have chapter titles and headings in title case, and some people not. There is nothing wrong with either of group, you can follow your heart in this question, but don’t forget to be consistent throughout the document.

16
Jun

How To Price An Ebook – If You Want People to Buy It

how to price an ebook

Setting the ideal price of your ebook is the final step of self-publishing.

By the time you get to the point where you set a price for your work, you might think that you’re done with the hard part. But finding the right price might not be that easy after all.

Pricing is one of the keys to success. There is no best practice on how to price an ebook to sell well. Different factors are affecting the price such as genre, length, quality of the book, the status of the author, etc.

You need to put all these aspects into consideration when choosing the right price.

Get inside your reader’s mind

books and moneyIt’s a good technique to imagine yourself as a reader who wants to buy a book. What things matter to you before you decide on the right book? Readers usually expect short stories to be priced cheaper and longer books should almost always have higher prices. After all, it makes sense, because more time and more money spent on books mean bigger compensation to the author.

Another thing you need to consider is the psychology of pricing and how it affects buyers. Looking at a book priced $ 2,99 and another one priced $ 0,99 readers might go with the more expensive one –
thinking it has better quality.

Figure out your goals

Before you set the final price, you need to think through your goals. You need to ask yourself: what do I want to achieve with my book? If you’re a newbie in publishing, you might need to find your audience first and get awareness in the publishing industry which will result in pricing your book cheaper. However, if you are an established author, your fanbase will probably be willing to pay more for your book. Then your goal could be to sell as many books as possible.

Be flexible

However, you decide to set the price it is good to know that being a self-publisher allows you to change it whenever you want. If you’re experiencing low sales figures or you feel that you set the price too high, you can change it anytime you want. But to do that, you need to keep track of your sales data, monitor your competitors, see how books similar to yours are performing and experiment with different prices.

What about pricing when you have a sequence of books?

discounted ebook pricesWriting book series requires a different pricing strategy. Let’s say your first book is already out and the second one is coming soon. You can then lower the price of the first book or even give it away for free for a short amount of time to gain new readers.

While you’ll lose all income on the first title (if you give it away) your readers will be more likely to purchase the rest of the series. This technique can drive a high volume of new readers to your series. You can get them hooked on the first book, so they’ll be eager to find out what happens next – which will result in buying your upcoming books.

How to build an audience for your ebook

Building a dedicated and loyal fanbase is not easy. You can’t forget about the readers you already have.

In order to build up a fan-base around your book, you need to set the price a bit lower at first. For example, if you have a book out for sale at $3,99 try lowering it to $1,99 or $0,99. Give it some time and see what happens in a couple of months.

However, be careful when lowering the price: don’t let readers think you’ve written a crappy book. People tend to think that if something is too cheap, the quality might be bad. Finding that thin line between pricing the book right and still get readers to buy it can be challenging, so do your research before you set the price.

How you should price an ebook to maximize revenue

smart ebook pricing for increased revenueIf your only goal is to maximize revenue, you need to set the price higher. Your sales figures might be lower but still get a higher income.

This strategy can be successful if you are an established author with an existing fanbase. However, before setting the price higher, you might want to think of other aspects than the fact that your fans will buy it no matter what. An aspect can be the length of a book.

People will most likely agree that you are allowed to charge more for longer stories.

The same thing applies to a genre. Readers tend to pay a little more for nonfiction than fiction. The best thing you can do when pricing within a genre is to check around your genre for prices of current bestsellers and pay attention to some self-published options as well.

When you are determined to maximize revenue, price your book at the highest point you feel comfortable asking for and monitor your sales regularly, measure it for a couple of months. If your audience is not convinced to buy your book, lower the price little by little and keep measuring your sales. When you’re satisfied with your earnings keep that price. Remember: even if you’re making more money at a higher price, you might miss out on potential readers by charging more.

Where can you sell your books?

Depending on where you want to publish your book you have different expenses for different business models. Every store has its own royalty structure so make sure to do your homework before setting the price and look around what the different stores can offer.

If you don’t feel like spending time and putting effort into it, there are ebook aggregators on the market who partnered up with retailers to make publishing easier for authors.

You can publish your books to iBooks, Amazon, Google Play and 400+ stores and 240k digital libraries worldwide with PublishDrive.

When going global with your books, keep in mind that the reader base is unique for every store and country: so set the price accordingly.

09
Jun

How To Promote an eBook – A Step-by-Step Guide

I spent most of my time at the London Book Fair 2017 sitting in the front row of the surprisingly pink ALLi stand, listening to independent authors talking about their success and author-aid services sharing the tips and tricks of the business. And of the many things I learnt while sitting there, this one struck me as lightning: several aspiring writers think that the job is done after having written the last sentence.

How wrong they are.

You are not a writer until somebody starts reading your work, and nobody is going to read your work if you don’t market it. But hey, it doesn’t mean that you should quit writing if you are not naturally good at selling yourself and making valuable connections!

Quite the opposite.

There are plenty of DIY tools and guides available to help you with marketing and turn you – a writer – into a successful writer. I’m not saying that it is going to be easy or cheap. It will require either your money or your time (or both). But as every good investment, it will show a return: while not every book published will be as successful as the Fifty Shades of Grey, examples of writers taking home as much as $300.000 in royalties exist and possible to follow.

 

You can promote an ebook even a year before your book launch.

No, this is not a typo: there is no such thing as starting too early. If you want your marketing to be spot on, you have to decide certain things in advance. This is a good point to make a decision on your niche and imagine your audience. From this moment on, not only your book but all your communication has to be addressed to this imagined audience.

Research them: what social media platforms are they using? What are their reading habits? What time are they sitting in front of the computer? Remember to take the time difference into account; if you are based in Eastern Europe but your desired group of readers is in the US, you don’t want to be posting in the middle of the night.

If this is your first book, you should create a writer’s page on Facebook and Goodreads. You can also create a webpage. You don’t need to create any content yet (as you probably don’t even have a title) but it worth hiring a designer to help you decide on a branding. It helps your future readers to remember you better if you are using the same design elements everywhere.

promote an ebook - step by step

2-3 months before your book launch

This is the time to ramp up interest in your book. Go to social media platforms (check out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Tumblr, Snapchat, etc.), interact with your audience and try to become their friends. Be helpful and open. Mention that you are writing a book. Direct them to your webpage. But remember: no hard sale. Don’t write things like “Buy my book, it’s great!”

But you can look up groups and join conversations. Comment in groups or forums. Use popular hashtags that other writers use as well.

You can also create branded pictures with quotes on them. They can work as memes and get viral, reaching a wider range of people than any other method so far.

You can also share pictures and short descriptions of your writing process. Did you read anything exciting while researching for your book? You can only write while stroking kittens? Try not to be too much and don’t post too often, but be regularly present. We have already written a lot about social media, so let’s keep this short, but remember that social media is your tool to get people know about your book. If they know about it, they can decide whether it is for them or not. It’s free, accessible and used by practically everyone: do not miss out on this one.

This is also the time to start building a list. You can get people to subscribe to your email list (if you don’t already have one, make it on a platform like MailChimp), so they get reminded once your book is out, but do not use this channel too often. Otherwise you will lose your subscribers before the book is out.

You can offer privileges to early subscribers, like sending the first chapter in advance.

At this point, you probably will have a title and a cover. Use these to create a “book launch” package: write the author bio (attach a good photo), the book description (you can have a short and a long version), and different versions of the cover. If you have a 3D cover, this is a good time to use it.

Once you created some attention, set the launch date. You can have a “physical” book launch with a printed copy of your book, or/and an online launch date with live video or chat. You can also set “smaller” launch dates, like a cover reveal event.

Checklist for 2-3 months before your book launch:

  • join important groups on social media in your niche
  • make connections, get your name known
  • share bits and pieces of your writing process
  • share some quotes
  • create your email list
  • set the book launch date

A month before launch

My advice doesn’t consist of offering up limbs to journalists, but you might have to go some lengths to generate pre-reviews and much-needed publicity. Find influential book bloggers, visit your local newspaper and radio station (everyone loves a local writer), send them your book launch package and ask for a review.

If they agree, send them your book for free. Wait at least a week before sending a follow-up email. Be grateful for any reviews you get (even the bad ones): these people will read your book in their free time.

You can also upload your book to the stores for pre-orders, and – more importantly – reviews.

Create a GoodReads page and an Amazon page for your book. When uploading your book on Amazon (or through PublishDrive’s platform), you can set your “selling date” the date of your book launch (make sure you don’t accidentally start selling yet!).

Apart from getting people to review your book on their own blog or newspaper, get some of your reviewers to write a review on Amazon. If there is previous activity on your book page, it will rank higher in search results right from the beginning.

When choosing the proper categories for your book (you can pick two), try to be very specific and go for something with little competition: you simply have better chances of your readers finding you and getting to the top of the bestseller list. We are working on a thorough guide for keywords and categories, but for now, please refer to this incredibly detailed and helpful article.

Book trailers are getting more and more popular. They are a great way to appear in another form of media and easily pitch your book to a different group of potential readers. You don’t need any video editing experience: there are plenty of websites like PowToon to help you. Make it short and catchy, upload it to YouTube and share it on every possible platform.

  • upload your book to stores (but do not start selling them!)
  • get reviews. get more reviews. get even more!
  • create a book trailer and share it
  • find the right categories and subcategories for your book

A week before launch

By now you are probably emotionally and physically tired. You have put a lot of effort in writing and marketing your book, but you didn’t hear anything back yet. You don’t know if you will have any readers (and sales) at all. Don’t give up! During the last week, there is no such thing as too much coverage. You will need every attention you can get.

This is the time to use the email list you carefully built: send out emails (a week before the launch, three days before it and a final reminder on the day). If you are on a budget, ask your carefully selected friends (your “book launch team”) to tweet and write about you on every possible platform.

If you have some money to spend, you can also write a press release and send it to PRWeb, or pay people on Fiverr.com to tweet about you. At this point, you have to remind yourself that you are selling a product, so try to communicate the benefits of buying your book.

Is it going to change lives? Is it going to make them think or laugh?

There are millions of books for sale and only a set amount of readers: the message you have to send is “choose me, I’m writing just for you”.

  • send out emails to your mailing list
  • write and distribute a press release
  • put your book launch team in motion

During your book launch

Having a book launch that is not a complete waste of time is a tricky business.

Always be available during your book launch. Be prepared for interviews and meetings. Yes, be happy because your book is finally out, but this is not the time to relax yet, you are only halfway through.

  • organize interviews
  • be fun
  • be accessible

The week after your launch

Personally (and publicly) thank every single person who helped you to create and promote your book. Thank your reviewers. If possible, thank those who bought your book.

Now that your book is out, you can further spread the word using dedicated book promotion websites. These sites distribute the link to your book to their mass of followers on social media and email lists. Some of them are completely free, some work for a percentage (they are using an Amazon Associate link for promotion) and some of them offer paid packages: it depends on your budget which ones you can afford. Visits, purchases and reviews coming from these sites can do a great job pushing you up in the store toplists.

These websites have various requirements: some don’t accept erotic content or hate language, you already need a certain number of reviewers to qualify or to be a certain genre (like Christian fiction). The Kindlepreneur did an amazing job of collecting and listing 127 book promotion websites with pricing, requirements and other notes. He also lists the ones offering successful indies a contract. If you don’t have time to send the details of your book to 127+ websites by yourself, you can always hire somebody on fiverr.com or get a virtual assistant to do it for you.

  • send follow up thank you notes to everyone involved
  • use book promotion websites to distribute your book

A month after the launch

After the first couple of weeks, the sales might start to decrease. You can have a flash sale or a free distribution campaign (just a day) to give it a second boost and bring it up in the rankings again.

And then, it is time to relax and enjoy your royalties flowing in. Or rather get working on your next book!

02
Jun

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: The Final Countdown

Before going into the details of the most debated area of publishing, let me reassure you: it doesn’t have to be either this or that.

Whatever decision you make, it definitely won’t last a lifetime (unless you get some horrible publishing deal, signing away the rights for the next decade). Many of today’s successful authors went both ways: they have published both at traditional publishers and as self-publishers – sometimes the very same books!

If you came here because you would like us to condemn one of these two ways, you are at the wrong place: we honestly believe that self-pubs and big publishers can peacefully share the market. It only depends on your book, your circumstances, and your preferences.

In this article, we are exploring the reasons why somebody might decide with self-publishing or against it, debunk some myths surrounding self-publishing and traditional publishing, and list the pros and cons of both ways.

“If you have to pay somebody to get published, you are not a writer.” Is this true?

Having seen that the most popular lectures at London Book Fair 2017 were the ones on self-publishing (mostly by ALLi authors, sponsored by Amazon KDP, it is hard to believe that some people still stigmatize authors who decide to go indie. This is probably due to the confusion surrounding the publishing process. The main difference is in who manages the book.

If you have a publisher, the publisher organizes editing, proofreading, design, marketing, and distribution. They usually pay you a percentage of sales after the book is out.

As a self-publisher, you organize editing, proofreading, design; you are responsible for your own marketing and distribution. This is definitely an investment, but in the end, you get a higher percentage of the sales.

There is also a third category: you pay somebody to organize editing, proofreading, etc. on your behalf. These services are called ‘vanity publishers’ and avoid them by all means.

self-publishing vs traditional publishing

Is self-publishing for me?

There are several things you have to consider before deciding either way:

Do you already have funds for editing, design, marketing and possibly printing, and if not, can you get some?

Self-publishing costs money. If you don’t yet have the funds, you can launch a crowdfunding campaign or find a sponsor; it is usually easier if you target a niche audience or if you would like to raise money for a charity.

Do you already have books published you could show the agents?

If you are an author with a known name and can show some sales numbers, it is easier to find an agent or a publisher. If this is your first book, you are less likely to find one.

Would you like to see your books piling up in bookstores all around the country?

The distribution of self-published books (either print or digital) happens mainly online. While it is possible to get into local and regional libraries and independent bookshops, self-published books are unlikely to be seen in bookstores countrywide.

Would you like to become famous?

(Who wouldn’t, of course.) You can achieve fame and success as a self-publisher in your niche market, but don’t expect the traditional media (printed newspapers, magazines, television) talking about you straight away. Traditional media likes traditional publishing, probably because they enjoy the lack of responsibility and boldness coming with a pre-selected material.

Are you stubborn?

Sorry for being brusque, but if you don’t like to work in a team and if you believe that you know everything best, traditional publishing is not for you. People working at traditional publishing houses are experts of their respective fields and are likely to make decisions regarding the title or cover. If you want to have the final say at every step of the publishing process, go indie.

Are you good at marketing?

Your book may be a masterpiece with a beautiful cover and catchy title, but you won’t see any sales if you don’t market it. Traditional publishers have a decent budget for advertising and marketing, and they can also afford to pay reviewers and publicists. They also have the advantage to be in bookstores: even a poorly marketed book can sell if people see it on the shelf.

If you are an indie with an already existing circle of readers, or a respected person in your field (a famous blogger, vlogger or fanfictioner), you start from a less difficult position than somebody who just wrote a novel and would like to see it published.

Last, but not least: do you have what it takes to get a project done?

Publishing a book takes a lot of time and effort – that’s why publishers have a whole team to work on it full-time. You have to decide how precious your free time is, and how determined you are.

Some people thrive under pressure and like to reach out to other authors, build connections, organize events and call HMRC every now and again. Others just like to be left in peace and write books. Spending day after day with a project that doesn’t seem to go anywhere and you cannot be sure that it ever will pay back – if this sounds like something that would discourage you from ever writing again, try to find a traditional publisher.

So far we wrote about the main differences between self- and traditional publishing and raised a set of questions you have to ask yourself before deciding which way to go. In the following, we are going to look at self-publishing and traditional publishing separately, and compare them in this neat table.

 

Self-publishingTraditional publishing
fundsYou have to pay for editing, design and marketing. You can save on printing, if you choose a POD service.The publisher pays for everything, including printing and distribution.
royaltiesYou get around 60-70% of each books sold, depending on the online store you are selling in. Also, don’t forget to pay your taxes.You get around 10% of royalties after each book, depending on the publisher and the country.
rightsYou keep all the rights. You are also responsible for purchasing the rights of all artwork you are using.The publisher has the rights of your book, the exact conditions depend on the publisher. You can read more about the contract traps here.
decisionsYou make all decisions regarding your book. You might make good decisions or bad decisions; they are your decisions nevertheless.An expert team makes all the decisions regarding your book. They will probably only ask your opinion.
timingIt only depends on your time and abilities: your book can be on the shelves within months. Publishing a book can take up to two years.
getting publishedEveryone can get published. Your success depends on how big your actual market is and how well can you reach them.Only a selected few can get published: as publishers have limited funds, they have to choose from the incoming manuscripts. It is extremely difficult to find a publisher that is willing to publish your book.
bookstoresWhile you are not restricted to ebooks, it is difficult to appear in major bookstores.Publishers can easily distribute their books all over the country.
effortsYour job doesn’t finish with typing the last period. You have to organize everything during the publishing process by yourself.You just have to write a book, and the publisher is taking care of it. You can go back and start writing the next one.
know-howIt is difficult to find skilled workers for every step through the process.You can be certain that you book is in the best hands.
fameAs an indie, you will have a hard time getting your voice heard outside your main market.Your name will be on posters, in newspapers and in bookstores – but remember, there isn’t a J.K.Rowling every year.
prizesThere are only a few awards open to self publishers.If you are good and lucky enough to win one of the big awards, you will be well known and well read.

You have a clearer picture of the pros and cons of both sides by now. Ready to make your own decision on which one to choose?

Either way, we wish you happy publishing!

25
May

Google Has Invested in PublishDrive Through its Launchpad Accelerator Program

PublishDrive is one of the inspiring group of startups that is going to Google HQ this summer to take over Silicon Valley as a booktech startup!

Companies from Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe will be heading to Google Headquarters to take part in a 2-week training. Google will help startups dig deeper into machine learning and AI, to help them leverage Google’s latest technologies to scale their apps.

The program gives PublishDrive a unique opportunity to use Google’s network and resources for product development and marketing. It includes intensive mentoring from 20+ Google teams, and expert mentors from top tech companies and VCs in Silicon Valley.

What does Google give during the program?

  • 50k USD in equity-free funding
  • The chance to work closely with Google for 6 months
  • 2 weeks of all-expense-paid training (bootcamp) at Google Headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley
  • Access to Google engineers, resources, and mentors both during and after the program
  • $100k in Google Cloud credits (optional)
  • Marketing spotlight opportunities
23
May

How to Publish a Book on iBooks

If you’re an author, you probably want to leverage multiple channels to increase your visibility and boost your ebook sales. You can definitely make some money by publishing your book with iBooks. In the following, you’ll learn about some Apple tools to make your life easier when publishing a book on iBooks.

iBooks Author

publishing with iBooks author app

iBooks Author is Apple’s book-creation app that helps you develop Multi-Touch books with interactive elements such as 3D video, embedded web widgets, interactive diagrams even Keynote presentations. These multimedia elements can be useful for non-fiction books like cookbooks, history guides, picture books, etc. iBooks files are a special Apple-only version of the epub standard, they can only be created using the app, and they can only be read by the iBooks app. The software supports EPUB and PDF formats. If you have used Apple’s Pages and Keynote before, you’ll be familiar with how iBooks Author works.

How does it work?

1. Pick a template or create yours from scratch. If you go for the templates, you can still customize them, and you’ll be able to get a unique looking book, so don’t worry about that. There is a great selection of book templates to choose from either for free or at an affordable price.
2. Create your iBook cover: pick a cover picture for your book. If you don’t like what iBooks Author provides, you can also add your own artwork for the cover. Remember, cover is what readers see first as the book opens, so a nice custom cover image is always good to have to make your book stand out. Also, iBooks Author allows you to add an introductory video to your iBook which will start playing when the reader opens your book, so make your cover exceptional.
3. Now that you have the cover ready, it’s time to add some content to your iBook. By using iBooks Author, you get everything you need to be able to create your book. You can create the Table of Contents, add a copyright notice, sections, basic shapes, interactive widgets, images and even a gallery. There are great tutorial videos with tips and tricks out there to get you started with iBooks Author just like the one below.

 

 

iTunes Producer app

iTunes Producer is the platform that allows you to upload your ebook to the iBooks Store. Don’t confuse iTunes Producer with iBooks Author, which is an Apple publishing software. To upload and publish your ebook using iTunes Producer you’ll need a Mac computer and a validated EPUB file of your ebook. Use it to provide Apple with all the required metadata for your book, such as title, publisher, original publication date, and so on. You can also use it to submit files such as the book file, sample file, book cover and screenshots for the iBooks Store. If you don’t have a Mac, don’t worry, an aggregator will publish to iBooks for you.

Using an Apple aggregator

Apple aggregators are experts in delivering content to the iBooks Store. An aggregator deals with ebook authors directly and interfaces between them and ebook retailers such as Apple. You might be wondering by now, why do you need an Apple aggregator, so here are some reasons:

  • You don’t have the hardware or software required to publish your ebook directly to iBookstore. Apple requires Mac OS X system.
  • An ePub file is needed for submission to the iBookStore.
  • You don’t know how to format the manuscript technically. An apple aggregator ensures that your epub file passes validation checks.
  • Apple has a strict file validation process. All submitted files must pass EpubCheck.

Apple has selected PublishDrive as an approved aggregator. Being a company trusted by Apple means merchandising opportunity and faster sale for publishers. Publish on iBooks with PublishDrive and get global reach for your books and professional help so you can focus on the most important job: creating excellent content.

Connect with iTunes to publish a book on iBooks

If your book is ready, you’ll need to sign up with iTunes Connect using your Apple ID. Your Apple ID has to be verified and has to have a credit card on file. After you’re done signing up, you need to sign an iBooks agreement. There are two types of agreement you can choose:

  • Offer your books for free
  • Offer your books for free and sell your books.

After you decided which agreement you want to sign, you need to fill out a secondary contract and share with Apple directly your bank account and tax information. If you sell your books and live in the US, you’ll need to provide a U.S. Tax ID.

Selling your books on the iBookstore

how to publish a book on ibooks

You might know by now that you need an Apple ID to offer your books on the iBooks Store. If you don’t have an Apple ID, you can create one for free on iTunes. Enable your Apple ID for iTunes Connect and provide your publisher name and indicate whether you’ll be submitting your own books or submitting books behalf of a company.

Offering your books on iBookstore is free. However, Apple takes 30% cut of whatever you make on iBooks. With an audience of over 800 million iPad users over a million customers every week, iBookstore is making a huge potential market for authors and publishers, so do not hesitate when deciding on publishing to iBookstore. And remember, if you need help, just submit your books through an aggregator such as PublishDrive.

Happy publishing!

19
May

Self-Publishing Success Stories You Need to Hear About

It goes without saying that the ebook market is evolving and this trend brought along another interesting phenomenon in the digital publishing industry named as self-publishing.

However, this is not a new thing. It’s the technology that has changed over the years. Publishing their own ebooks has never been easier for authors. Self-publishing has become a vital part of the publishing industry and has proven to give many writers a jump start in their career. There are quite a few successful self-published authors out there who actually can make a living off doing that.

Indie publishing lets authors achieve a much greater earning potential and allows them to write whatever they want finding niche audiences with their books.

Authors who were rejected and then became successful self-publishers

Many self-published authors got rather successful after they were turned down by a traditional publisher. Michael J. Sullivan’ story was just like that. He wrote for ten years in a variety of genres, but no publisher was interested to publish his books, so he ended up quitting writing. A few years later he wrote a fantasy series and self-published it.

Amanda Hocking’s success story is also interesting and worth knowing: She wrote 17 novels while working at a full-time job. She self-published them all as ebooks selling more than a million copies.

Ashwin Sanghi, the author of bestselling novels such as The Rozabal Line, has also turned to self-publishing after being rejected by dozens of publishers. Unwilling to give up on his dream, he decided to go to the self-publishing way, and the book is now a bestseller.

And the list can continue with many more examples of authors becoming successful self-publishers. And they all have one thing in common: they are confident in their work and agree that indie-publishing is the future. Nothing proves this better than some statistics: 40% of all ebook revenue is going to indie authors, and self-published books accounted for 31% of all ebook sales in the Kindle Store in 2014. According to the trends in 2016, indie books represent 27% of books on Amazon’s ebook bestseller list.

self-publishing-sales-stats

Three authors who made millions by self-publishing

In the following, we collected three writers who have become not only successful but also got quite wealthy after turning to self-publishing.

First, meet Amanda Hocking, a writer of paranormal fiction who started her writing career as an unknown author and has become a bestseller when deciding on self-publishing on Amazon Kindle.

But the road to success wasn’t easy for her. She had a day job caring for disabled people to make ends meet and a night job when she was writing until dawn. By 2010 she had a total of 17 unpublished novels all of which have been rejected by book agents and publishers. At that time she was out of money and frustrated having spent years trying to interest traditional publishers in her work. amanda-hocking-self-publishing-success-storyA few days after publishing her vampire novel, My Blood Approves, on Amazon’s website, she started selling nine copies a day. A few weeks later she published three further books to the series. Sales went up to more than $4,000 followed by $6,000 in pure profit, so she ended up quitting her job.

 

Being a self-published author and her own boss allowed her to set the prices of her books. She decided to sell the first book of the series for 99 cents to attract readers and then she increased the price to $2,99 for each sequel. However, this is still much lower than the $10 charged for printed books she was able to keep a much bigger royalty (30% for the 99-cent books, 70% for the $2,99 editions) versus the 10-15% publishing houses would pay her. Later on, she decided to sign a deal with two publishers in the US and UK which proves that traditional and self-publishing can live in harmony.

Rob Dirks self-published his first science fiction novel, Where the Hell is Tesla? , and it got sold 10,000 copies in the first twelve months after being rejected by publishers. He claims it wasn’t luck and here are five things he learned from it:

  1. Write your best book: give it a time, do your homework, hire professionals if you need help and make it exceptional.
  2. Build your platform: connect with readers, use social media, email list to build your audience.
    1. Website: if you are going to self-publish a book, you will need a website where your readers will be able to contact you. Having a website is also a great way to spread the word about your work and connect with fans. Here is his website: RobDircks.com
    2. Social media: his advice is not to overdo it, just stick with the ones you think is necessary and you feel right for you. Let’s say you have graphic novel which is very visual, then use Facebook and Pinterest. If it is a non-fiction use Twitter. For example, John Scalzi (@scalzi) is a successful sci-fi writer with a huge Twitter fan base.
    3. Amazon author and book pages: if you decide to self-publish on Amazon, use everything they have. Put keywords list on your book sales page on Amazon, use key phrases in your book description. In one word: take advantage of simple features that can help your books get discovered.
    4. Email list: grow your email list by starting blogging, posting, tweeting and use a software like MailChimp to manage your email list and build campaigns.
  3. Book reviews and exposure: he looked up reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads and reached out to provide a review in exchange for a complimentary copy of the book.
  4. Promote your book: he used paid advertising such as Facebook/Instagram ads, Google Ads, Amazon ads. He ran paid ebook promotions through book promotion sites that send out daily emails to their subscribers such as BookGorilla, FussyLibrarian, BargainBooksy, Booksends, Ereader News Today.
  5. Record an audiobook: according to Rob, there are lots of options for getting narrators and producers to help you record an audiobook. Audiobooks continue to be on the rise with 148% sales growth from 2010 to 2015 and audiobooks can be a significant percentage of your sales.

Arguably the most well-known self-publishing success story is E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. She self-published the first book in 2011 as an ebook and print (on demand paperback) through an independent publisher. What began as Twilight fan-fiction, soon became a world-known bestseller.EL James: self-publishing success story with 50 Shades of Grey

Despite the mixed critical responses, Fifty Shades of Grey alone has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, and the book holds the record for the fastest selling paperback which made her the richest of self-published authors.

She promoted the book on FanFiction.net by publishing episodic pieces based on the Twilight series. Another thing that has helped the book became world known is how accessible it is. Erotic novels are popular, and commercial books have a good chance at finding a readership.

She already established a following of fans by offering her writing for free on websites. She had readers who wanted to read more, so she wrote more. Remember, you need to build a reader base and to get that you need to give away some writing for free and then publish.

As you can see by now, authors have different reasons to self-publish their books. Some turn to self-publishing after being rejected from traditional publishing houses, others decide to sidestep the judgment of traditional publishers and self-publish. Whatever you choose it is good to keep in mind that if traditional publishers accept your manuscript, they will dictate the terms.

When you self-publish, you get to be the boss. You get to decide everything related to your book from editing, through designing and formatting all the way to promoting and distributing.

Remember: all the hard work will be worth it when your self-published book is finished, and you’re an official published author.

A self-publishing success story from PublishDrive

To finish off the topic here’s a success story to share from PublishDrive: our long-time partner Elefant.ro, a Romanian publishing company launched in 2010 claims 25% of our catalogue.
According to a Romanian industry professional, it was a small market with only a few players back then but with a tremendous potential for development.

Elefant had the advantage of being the first one on the market and got ahead by being reacting fast to the changing environment. The ebook segment is a small market and started to grow in 2012. Elefant set foot in the market in that year when there was no competition at all. Now, there are several players and approximately 10 out of 12 publishing houses have started to publish ebook versions of their books.

The Romanian ebook market is steadily growing, the revenue in the ebook segment amounts to 5 million USD in 2017. The user penetration is at 5,1% in 2017 and is expected to hit 8,6% in 2021.

Elefant took advantage of the growing ebook market and constantly focusing on improving its catalogue. And it seems to be working for them. They were able to produce a 230% increase in revenue between June-October 2016 and have continuously grown their sales numbers with PublishDrive.

Look how their sales increased since they’ve been working with PublishDrive:

Sales growth between May-October 2016

Sales growth between May-October 2016

Happy publishing!