PublishDrive Blog: Your Self-Publishing Journey Starts Here

11
Jun

Series of Books or Book Serials: What’s the Difference?

The following article could not have been made without the help of PublishDrive author Gabriel Wolf. We are grateful for his insight on the topic of book serials.

Series of books or book serials: What is the difference?

Categorization of multiple episode television programs is fairly common: everybody knows that the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, the sitcom Friends, and Stranger Things are all substantially different formats, and viewers start them with different expectations. The same is true for books as well. However, there are still many people who don’t know the difference between a series of books and a book serial.

As an author, you have to be aware of whether you are writing a series of a books or a serial, and have to follow (or break) genre expectations.

In a series of books, each book can be read individually. They are usually built around a certain character who doesn’t age or set in the same world, and you can get away with reading them in any order you wish (eg. Discworld by Terry Pratchett). No mysteries or questions go unanswered between two books.

Book serials, on the other hand, have an overarching story line. The characters age and change: like in Harry Potter. Often, they come in episodes or parts shorter than a novel: 80-100 pages long instalments. Episodes (whether novel-sized or chapter sized) are separately published in ebook format and get their own cover. Once a story arc has been finished, the author groups the parts together and publishes it as a novel (often called a ‘season’). The book receives a title, a new ISBN, and usually also appears in print form.

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06
Jun

Get to Know the Team: Interview With Author Success Coach Adam Woods

We are happy to welcome Adam to the team as Author Success Coach. The program is currently in beta, but more details are to come.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background?

My full name is Adam Friday Woods. I am an author, speaker, co-founder of YouthLeadershipBuilders.com (currently in beta), and now an Author Success Coach at PublishDrive. I’m from Northern California, about 80 miles outside of San Francisco. I have been married for almost 16 years and have 4 children.

I have always been a people person, so it makes sense that I went into sales and marketing early on. Later, I went into management and have been a Sales Manager, Territory Manager, and most recently a General Manager.

Why publishing? How did you end up at PublishDrive?

I studied business in college, however; I also took many literature and writing classes during this time and my love for writing evolved. After many years of hobby writing, I began writing stories to my children. In 2016, I wrote a kids’ fable in verse. After I had the story edited, I knew I should get it published. So I began the process by connecting with an illustrator, and started navigating the self-publishing world.

During this process, I shared my book with several people. I connected with a motivational speaker and he encouraged me to create a keynote speech on the message of the book, and to begin doing speaking gigs on the topic. So I did just that, and have been doing inspirational speaking for the last few years. My message is mainly targeted to youth, ranging from elementary school to high school ages, but I do speak to corporations and other organizations as well. (More info here.)

The self-publishing journey has its challenges. Navigating the different platforms and options can be time consuming, learning new concepts can be difficult, and choosing the right options can be stressful. Authors will run into many problems along the way, but after you go through the process, it becomes quite rewarding. Hence, I began looking for a more rewarding full time career within the industry. I wanted to help authors navigate the self-publishing’s turbulent waters. This is how I came to find PublishDrive.

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17
May

GDPR for Authors: Are You Compliant?

The new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming to effect shortly (May 25), and has definitely created a lot of buzz. GDPR for Authors aims to demystify the new regulations and explain what GDPR means for authors, publishers and bloggers. If you have completely missed the news: it is still not too late to start preparing!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for general guidance on GDPR and is not legal advice. We’ve tried to ensure that all information is accurate, but please contact an adviser or solicitor for more help.

gdpr for authors

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30
Apr

How to Create a Book Cover for Free

While everybody agrees that creating a beautiful book cover should be the work of an artist, hiring a cover designer could be very expensive. What happens if you can’t afford a designer? Can you still sell your book on Amazon or upload it to Wattpad? Yes. It is possible to create a book cover for free: you just need to learn the business very well to make one that looks professional.

In this article, we’ll explore the main steps of creating a book cover; what are some free online apps to use to design your own book cover; and what tools are required. Self-publishing a book is never easy, and an amazing cover can help you get it right.

To read more about ebook covers, check out our other articles in this topic:

(Article was updated with more information on May 22, 2018.)

What you’ll need to create a book cover for free (checklist)

Before we start looking for the best app, let’s have a look at what you might need. (You can use the links to jump to the correct position within the article.)

1Your title and your author name. There is no need to put anything on the cover other than the author’s name, the title and the subtitle.
2A suitable image or images. These will be used as the main part of your cover. It is uncommon to create completely typographic covers unless the book is literary fiction.
3A genre-specific font. Serif or sans-serif?
4An editing app. You can use an online service or get a professional photo editing software.
5A feedback group. Just as you wouldn’t publish a book without getting somebody to read it first, you can’t publish a book without getting feedback on your cover either.

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16
Apr

Google’s Talk to Books: Will it Improve Ebook Sales?

I’m all for AI and chatbots – I even designed one! -, but every time I hear ‘use artificial intelligence for book discovery’, I’m sceptical. I didn’t see anything worth looking at since Oyster was closed down, and when I heard that Google has launched Talk to Books, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’m a big fan of everything Google, but most of their new features get shut down within a few months. (Remember Google Buzz?) Anyway, I have tried Google’s free to use AI features a few months back (Google Vision and Natural Language Processing), and I was hoping that Google will soon use these tools to offer better discoverability to the books in their catalogue. Maybe even increase sales?

Google Books

If you are not familiar with Google Books: it is Google’s enormous project, scanning books from all over the world and making the content searchable. The project has not always been everyone’s favourite, but they have recently overcome some copyright challenges, and are working continuously on making information freely available for everyone. It is not only public domain books and legal documents that form Google Books’ catalogue: they have access to the text of all books distributed through Google Play Books as well. Publishers and authors signing up to Google Play Books agree to their books being part of the Google Books project. It doesn’t mean that the whole book will be available on Google Books. It will, however, make the text searchable.

Why the long lead in?

Because it is exactly the gargantuan Google Books database that is used as a basis of the new project, Talk to Books. (The other new lab project is called Semantris, and it is clearly ruining the effectiveness of my workday. It is a word association game: try it, and you will no longer need Tetris. Hey, don’t blame me!)
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03
Apr

Great on Kindle for nonfiction books launches as beta

Remember Amazon’s mysterious 50% royalty rate? Apparently, it wasn’t just an error: it was foreshadowing a new Kindle program. On a book-by-book, invite-only basis, Amazon has launched Great on Kindle with a 50% royalty rate.

According to KDP help centre, Great on Kindle Ebooks offers enhanced features in nonfiction books to readers. Every nonfiction book is eligible to be selected if it is available on Amazon.com and meets the program’s quality standards. Books selected in the program are eligible for 50% royalties.

great on kindle

Quality standards for Great on Kindle

For nonfiction books to be featured, they have to meet the following quality standards:

1) All images have to be high resolution: at least 300 ppi.

2) Enhanced Typesetting must be enabled.

3) Consistent and accurate metadata entry. (Read more about metadata entry here.)

4) Enable X-Ray: it is a handy Kindle tool enabling authors to add descriptions of people, places and events in the book.

5) Get rid of all typos and formatting errors.

6) Set up an Author Page.

If a title meets all of these requirements, it might be selected by Kindle team to be part of this program.

Benefits of Great on Kindle

If a nonfiction book gets selected to Great on Kindle, it can have many benefits.

On the product page, a message will identify the book as “high-quality”. Also, certain promotional credit offers will be available to customers, but these promotions won’t affect royalties. And the best part: the 50% royalty plan, if the book’s list price meets the requirements described here. Interestingly, nonfiction books participating in the 50% royalty plan must be priced between 4.99 and 19.99 USD, or 5.99 and 24.99 GBP. Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader points out that this could be a great opportunity for those authors who have many high quality images: these authors have seen their royalties eaten up by delivery fees before. With the Great on Kindle program, there are no delivery fees.

We are extremely excited to see this new development and we hope that it’ll result not only in better quality nonfiction books, but also higher sales for all authors.