Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Few Pros About Self Publishing

By Kim G Lain

• Creative Control - Design your own cover or let us help you!
• Financial Control - Determine the number and type of books you want!
• Inventory Control - Order when you want to and when you need to!
• Competitive Pricing - (as in VERY affordable - compare for yourself!)
• Fast Turnaround - As quick as 7 days!

You can develop your manuscript on your time, at your leisure, at your own pace, right at your PC and then simply upload and wait for your professionally bound, bookstore quality books to arrive. You determine the amount you want to publish and you determine the amount of money you feel you can spend at any given time. Again, many authors publish a hundred or so books at first and then find themselves ordering hundreds more.

Creative Control -
You may have a favorite literature category, you like to read and there are scenarios you have never seen written in your genre, then you've most likely experienced frustration. Now you are left to ponder and to speculate. The reason your favorite sub-genre has been ignored is money matters in book publishing companies of today.

A great example is fantasy fiction literature. Until a few years ago, the number of fantasy books (i.e. Dragon books and Warlock books) that had been published could be counted on two hands. Without saying there's current development of ebooks. And ebook sales are only getting bigger. A large collection of fantasy fiction literature has entered the marketplace and is available or in some cases free of charge. Some offer their ebooks free of charge.

Why are all these bizarre and wonderful sub genre literary selections appearing? The new "e" platforms [electronic] platforms allow authors to self publish their creative works, as we know them in the literary field. These writers have about 100% freedom to write about virtually anything that comes to their creative mind. Do not feel left out. Start writing. Write until you've put down all your ideas, then edit. Your goal is to get self-published to an ebook format to share on the world-wide web. Then think about publishing in normal book form. Note, before ebook formats - self publishing became easy and affordable for almost anyone. However, the editors in publishing companies made the decisions on what choices we had to read. Now, readers and authors can make those decisions.

*** Self-Publish! ***

The Internet and companies like Amazon have made this all possible with their self publishing platforms. They allow writers to publish their ebooks on their websites and gain access to large numbers of potential readers. This particular business model has become very successful. Publishers are scrambling to try to figure out how they will survive in the age of digital books.

If you are an author who has an agreement with a traditional book publisher, I am sure you have had issues with their editors in making changes to your creative work. Moreover, I bet you have some wonderful manuscripts lying around that no one would purchase. With the self publishing options of today, you can publish your manuscript without a publisher or editor who changes your book in a fashion you are not satisfied.

Retaining creative control of your content is but one of the many advantages of self publishing your ebook. Remember you have control with self publishing.

Some of today's top selling authors are still with traditional publishers, but this will change soon. The superstar authors of tomorrow are likely to be self published authors.

USA TODAY Launches ', to Expand Coverage of Books

USA TODAY has expanded its coverage of books with its new online destination The new site allows consumers to discover, discuss, share, preview and purchase books online. It is available on computers, smart phones and tablets. provides readers with an interactive experience to browse books across a variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction and children's books; read reviews; and, share personal recommendations in conversations that also allow for tweeting about books or responding to other readers' comments.

Unique to the site is the opportunity for consumers to now preview a book from the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list and purchase it from a vendor of their choice, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore or IndieBound, an association of independent booksellers.

USA TODAY's respected Best-Selling Books list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week, based on analysis of sales from such U.S. booksellers as bookstore chains, independent bookstores, mass merchandisers and online retailers. More than 10,000 books previously ranked on USA TODAY's Best Selling Books list are also now included on with a dedicated page. complements USA TODAY's print books coverage. Anchored by Thursday's USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list, USA TODAY in print continues with Book Buzz, which reports on new best-sellers and publishing news, and includes special code tags for smart phones for an extended, interactive version of the booklist.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

8 Easy Steps to Self Publishing Books From Your Website Content

By Shelley Hitz

Interested in self-publishing books? If you have a website, you can re-purpose your top articles into a book. Think about it. After you write heaps of quality articles and lots of traffic on your website, why not reuse it, all the same articles in a printed book, PDF eBook, audio books and Kindle book getting the most out of your time and work.

These are My 8 Painless Steps to Self Publishing Books:

  1. Write down an layout for the book chapters with the top articles from your website.
  2. Enter your book in a Microsoft Word template (or your preferred software) formatted for your preferred book size.
  3. Save your book to PDF.
  4. Select a book designer for your book cover or choos a DIY format.
  5. Decide amongst all the publishers who you want to use to publish your book.
  6. Sign up for an account with self-publishing and upload your documents, if relevant.
  7. Now begin your book marketing by selling copies online at Amazon, via your own website and in person when you speak or at events.
  8. Now it is the time to layout the book into a PDF ebook, audio book and Kindle book.

This is what I did with my website Teen-Beauty-Tips.Com. That was the autumn of 2008 when I stumbled upon the concept of self-publishing books. One of our associates, also a speaker, showed us his self-published book.

Quality was great and we found out that he was able to buy his self-published books on his cost of just $ 2-3 for every book. Not only would there be added revenue to promote books at speaking events, but it also gives immediate credibility of a "published author." "I thought," Wow... I can I do this."

The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing My First Book

And so, I put together an draft for my book based on the finest articles on my website. So, I came up with the title.

Next, I started to copy and paste my articles into a Word document template. I subsequently converted my Word document using the free of charge edition of PDF995 (click on properties, then advanced option and select the "Statement [5.5 5 X 8.5 5] "From the dropdown menu for the paper format.)

Despite working full time as a physiotherapist and speaking, as well as travelling from time to time, I had a 190-page book ready to print in a month.

I had a low budget (or should I say no budget) so I took the DIY method. I researched styles of my template and did a book cover in Photoshop. I researched self-publishing and decided to go with Createspace (a company with Amazon), since there are no upfront costs and they list you quickly on Amazon.Com.

As an example, my 190 page black and white soft cover book only cost me $3.13 + Shipping, with the help of the Pro Plan. The Pro Plan is a fee of $39 the first year and then an annual fee of $5, but is well worth the cost in an increase in royalties and decreased cost to buy books. I highly recommend the Pro Plan, by the way. There is actually no reason to go with the Pro Plan (that is, unless you don't sell any books at all!).

Same Book, Multiple Formats

When my book was released on Createspace and Amazon, I also had it offered in the PDF eBook format. I give away the PDF format away to my newsletter subscribers, which once more has helped me to build my list in a very small niche (Christian teen girls) to about 2700 and expanding.

I therefore decided to make my book as an audio book using Audacity and a $ 30 microphone to record it. I am now selling MP3 downloads through ClickBank and also sell a Disc of my audiobook on Kunaki.C Com. The Kunaki can I buy Disc's at cost for as little as $ 1 (+ shipping), as I also sell them at my events and online through my website.

Eventually, I took my Word document took out the pictures embedded in my file and saved it as an HTML document. I subsequently uploaded it to Amazon's digital text platform, and I now offer Kindle version from my website as well.

Making Money Selling Books

In such a small and specialized niche, I'm not getting rich by selling books from my website. But there is a regular paycheck from both online and offline sales, and as my traffic increases (now over 1000 visitors per day), so my sales.

Of course, if you want to "Hit it Big" in publishing, you will want to hire a professional to design your interior book template and your book cover design. I ultimately decided to have a designer update my book cover for me.

If you want to go the TRUE self publishing route and do all the leg work yourself, then you can form your own book publishing company and use Lightning Source. In this case, a book like Dan Poynter's Self Publishing Manual is a great resource to guide you step by step.

You Can Do It!

Given that you've already put so much time and energy into writing your website, it could be worth taking some extra time and re-purpose identical articles to a hard good, as a paperback book, CD and digital products as a PDF eBook, Kindle book and MP3 downloads for your visitors.

If you do not want to be a national bestseller, but simply want to provide extra resources to your website visitors and another paycheck, then download my free book templates, sign up for a free Createspace account and get started! Oh, and have fun...Soon you'll be a "Published author."

Download your free book templates at and get more advice about self publishing books.

Shelley Hitz is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and consultant to organizations, individuals and businesses who want to multiply their impact through self publishing. She teaches from personal experience. Over a two year span, (More...)while working full-time, she self published five books, multiple audio CDs, authored two websites that attract thousands of visitors each month, and created multiple products that she sells through her website and at her speaking engagements.

How I Learned to Love My Kindle and Publish My Own Book

By David Lambourne

I never intended to buy a Kindle; in fact I swore that I would never do so. I hated the idea of reading an entire book on a screen; I saw no justification for replacing an object I loved with something as bland and soulless as an 'e-reader'. The gadget looked like a close cousin to Alan Sugar's famously naff 'E-Mailer', last spotted in Alan Partridge's 'static home' on the outskirts of Norwich. Alan, I suspected, must have a Kindle by now.

All this was a bit naive. I was willfully blinding myself to a process which by now should be dreadfully familiar, whereby a piece of technology - a digital camera, a microwave oven, a mobile phone - goes from being a gimmick to something apparently essential to civilised life. Just before Christmas, browsing Amazon, I found myself in the Kindle section, and ended up reading the unanimously rave reviews for what the company said was its best-selling product. Some kind of powerful subliminal pressure was at work, and sure enough it worked. Before I knew it I had clicked on the 'Buy now' button and the machine was on its way.

No doubt you know what a Kindle looks like: a bit like an iPad, only smaller and lighter and very grey, even when it's switched on. Compared with the iPad, or any other tablet for that matter, it is very limited in what it can do. For some reason I was expecting a touch-screen, whereas the Kindle's main navigation tool is a little square button with ridges on all four sides, alongside a rather fiddly keyboard of tiny round keys that calls for a good set of fingernails if you are going to operate it with any degree of precision. Navigation across the screen is jerky and unreliable: it is far too easy to click on the wrong link. For reading you get a choice of two fonts, an ugly serif and a plain sans-serif, which you can view in different sizes. Every page is in black and white. You turn a page by squeezing the right or left edge; every time you do this a reverse image of the text flashes at you distractingly, interrupting the reading experience, which in my view should be as seamless as possible. The Kindle can access the internet, but it is slow and clunky, and prone to crash if you ask it to do anything in a hurry. The worst thing it does (the facility is wisely included under the label 'experimental') is to read to you in a mid-Atlantic robotic voice, with the sort of wooden phrasing that makes it abundantly clear that it doesn't understand a word it is saying.

Once you start using the Kindle, however, much of your resistance to it fades away. It has two great advantages over the book: it can stores as many titles as the average library in a space smaller than a sandwich; and it is serviced by an impressively efficient support system that enables you to download a vast number of titles more or less instantaneously wherever you have internet access. And some of what it provides is ridiculously good value. Virtually every important classic can be downloaded for less than two pounds, many of them (for example, the Collected Balzac) in bundles of up to a hundred and thirty books in a single file. Hundreds of individual volumes are absolutely free. If you have a use for these books, the Kindle will pay for itself within a week. The downside is that a lot of them -- the cheaper downloads in particular - are very poorly formatted. Poetry in particular is a disaster area, much of it coming out as a solid block of words without line-breaks. Paragraphing is often haphazard, as is the rendering of text in italics. The bigger and cheaper collections are particularly bad: often the original text appears to have been scanned into an OCR programme and uploaded to Kindle without anyone bothering to proof-read a single page. (The organisations responsible for many of these bundles of classic books tend for some reason to have deliberately sinister names -'Golgotha Press' for example.)

All of the above may sound like quibbling, but the fact is that many of these flaws crop up pretty frequently, even with the more expensive items. Everyone likes a bargain, but it is a pity to have to read a deathless classic (or a thriller, for that matter) in a form that is constantly interfering with the reading experience.

My grumbles (a Kindle fan called them 'whinges' when I published them as an Amazon review) rather faded into insignificance when, quite by accident, I discovered something that you can do with Kindle that very few people seem to know about, and yet which promises to open up an an enormous new field of opportunity for writers who haven't yet been able to break into print. For the Kindle can be used to publish your own books, very easily and for absolutely nothing. As if that wasn't enough, Amazon will pay you between 35% and 70% of every sale you make (ex VAT) on its Kindle site.

Browsing the Kindle store bestsellers I accidentally downloaded a novel called 'Switched'. (It's very easy to hit the wrong button with the Kindle, particularly if like me your hands are a little clumsy.) The book was about teenage trolls; its author was a young American called Amanda Hocking and it cost me all of 49 pence. Despite the rather glaring awkwardness of the writing, 'Switched' was ranked among the top fifty Kindle bestsellers. In fact Amanda Hocking has a total of nine books on Kindle, all of them in the top hundred, which is pretty good considering that the entire Kindle list now comprises some 639,000 titles. Clearly she has found herself a loyal audience, and is selling a lot of books. Partly this may be due to the fact that she writes in trilogies, and prices the first volume of each at below £1.00, but people don't go on buying books by a particular author simply because they're cheap. Her marketing strategy works because the people who read her books want more.

I Googled Amanda Hocking's name, and came up with more than a million results. According to Wikipedia she is 26, has written 17 novels in her spare time, and in less than a year has become 'an e-book millionaire'. She started publishing her novels as e-books in April 2010. By March 2011, she had sold about a million copies and earned in excess of two million dollars.

Most remarkably of all, all of these books were self-published. This is a fact that is well known to her Kindle reviewers; and presumably explains the clumsiness of much of the writing. Interestingly enough it doesn't seem to put her readers off. In fact many of them may well like the fact that the book has been published more or less as she wrote it, without any editor or proof-reader (i.e. authority figure) interfering by boringly tidying things up. That's the Internet for you: it's nothing if not libertarian.

Instructively Amanda was turned down by a large number of publishers before she resorted to self-publishing. What particularly interested me about her story is that like many people I have a number of unpublished manuscripts gathering dust in drawers and cupboards. Some of these are books which failed to find a publisher, but among them is one that was published and is now out of print: a novel for children called 'The Musclemen.'

'The Musclemen' was published by Oxford University Press in 1991. When writing it I had in mind a similar audience to that of the Roald Dahl books, which my own children had enjoyed immensely from quite a young age, and still continued to read into their teens. I meant it to be quite a challenging, even controversial story: an all-out attack on commercialism and particularly the commercialism of modern toys, which I had been observing with horrified fascination since my early days as a parent - my eldest son was born in 1973. In many ways the plot of 'The Musclemen' resembles that of the 'Toy Story' films, although it was actually written and published some four or five years earlier. (I'm not accusing Pixar of plagiarism; this is more a case of what Jung would have called 'synchronicity'.) 'The Musclemen' has a fairly simple plot - hateful toy robots wreak havoc in conventional middle-class household, only to be defeated by an alliance of more conventional play-room characters led by a teddy bear called Hodge. The final nemesis of the villainous Musclemen, as the robots are called, is brought about by their own meanness and capacity for violence. The book relates to Toy Story thematically as well as in terms of plot, in that it pits toys dependent upon technology (Buzz Lightyear/the Musclemen) against toys that encourage the child to use his or her imagination (Woody/Hodge). I have always thought that it would make a great film - particularly if made by Pixar.

'The Musclemen' was initially well-received and was made an 'Independent on Sunday' Christmas Books for Children recommendation, but sales were disappointing, and it was soon remaindered. In hindsight this was predictable. I was at a point in my life where I was seized by an attack of shame and embarrassment whenever anything I had written found its way into the public arena - it felt rather like one of those dreams in which you find yourself at a dinner party without your trousers. As a result I did nothing to promote the book, and nor unfortunately did OUP. The jacket was nicely drawn but insipid, and the whole production looked cheap and dull, like an easy reader. I had wanted illustrations - Quentin Blake would have done very nicely - but my editor at Oxford warned against it: she thought that pictures of toys would associate the book in its readers' minds with Noddy and his friends. I probably should have pointed out that that might depend on the illustrator, but I was a first-time author, and only too glad to be getting published at all.

Once the rights reverted to me I could have published an edition myself, but to do it properly would have cost more money than I wanted to risk, and its publishing history with Oxford did not encourage me to think that I would get much in the way of a return on my investment. In any case, self-publishing carried for me the stigma of the vanity press. If a publisher wasn't going to put their money behind it, then perhaps it didn't deserve to be revived.

Kindle changed all that.

Reading about Amanda Hocking's success immediately brought 'The Muscleman' to mind. How easy would it be, I wondered, to give the book a new lease of life by publishing it myself on Kindle? The copyright had reverted to me, and I still had the text on file in a version of Word. I googled 'self-publishing on Kindle' and was immediately taken to a page on which showed me how to add a book to the Kindle list. The process is extremely simple and amazingly it is completely free. To begin with it all looks quite complicated - there are a number of websites that give you advice on formatting - but unless you insist on setting every page yourself it is really amazingly simple. First download Mobipocket Creator. Then compile your book into a continuous Word Document, save the string of chapters as a single HTML file (select Web Page Filtered), and build it into a Kindle document with Mobipocket Creator. After that all you have to do is open an account for Kindle at (you can't do it at for some reason) and follow the instructions for self-publishing. You set the price, your book can be downloaded by anyone with a Kindle, and you get to keep 70% of the proceeds (if there are any). Brilliant.

The whole process took me about a fortnight. I could have done it quicker, but I wanted to revise the book and give it a new title - 'New Toys'. My son Henry designed me a very professional-looking (and rather scary) cover. I uploaded the cover and book to Kindle, and by the next morning it was already available on the website and on my Kindle.

The main job now is marketing. The book is on sale for £1.71 a copy ex VAT (you have to pay VAT on Kindle downloads, unlike books), and if you want to look at the first chapter there is a feature on the Kindle system that allows you to download a sample for nothing. Incidentally, you don't actually need a Kindle to access the Kindle store; if you go to amazon you can download a simple application for reading Kindle books on your pc or laptop.

If you want to see what your book looks like on Kindle, incidentally, there is a simple way of uploading it onto your e-reader without committing yourself to putting it in front of the public. Amazon give you a Kindle email address; all you have to do is format the book as above and send it to your Kindle email address as an attachment. And there is is, thirty seconds later. This is actually an excellent aid to proof-reading: the fact that the text comes up on your Kindle screen creates that little bit of distance that allows you to read, evaluate and edit it almost as if it was someone else's work. You can even annotate the file as you read.

I don't believe that 'New Toys' will make me an e-book millionaire like Amanda Hocking - I don't have her energy, or her connection with the 'Young Adult' market - but publishing it on Kindle does at the very least enable me to put the book back into the marketplace, in the hope that some at least will read and enjoy it. It doesn't end there. At present I have a new novel - 'The Boy Scully', part one of a trilogy called 'The Engineer's Children' - doing the rounds of the publishers. This book is aimed at adults, and is about a country something like England that for four centuries has been divided into closed communities along gender lines. The story is told by a seventeen-year-old boy called William Scully who has just been expelled from an exclusive public school and placed in state custody, where he is to be interrogated in connection with some unspecified crime his father is supposed to have committed. It is part novel of adolescence (with a twist) and part novel of ideas. What effect does social conditioning have on an individual's sexuality? And if you have no option of being straight, does that necessarily make you gay? Interesting questions, but not ones to which this or any book can provide a final answer.

As a teaser I have placed the first volume on Kindle at a low price: just to see if anyone buys it. (I've published it under a pseudonym, but you can crack that by searching the title). Three sales to date in a couple of days. Is this the start of something?

If it does take off, of course, I should still have the option, if my sales hold up, of taking the traditional route. Interestingly Amanda Hocking herself is about to leave self-publishing behind, having last month signed a 2 million dollar, 4-book deal with St. Martin's Press for a young-adult paranormal series to be called 'Watersong'. "I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc.," is how she explains her decision.

Fair enough, and I wish her well. She and all the other self-publishing e-book successes have done me and all aspiring writers a great service by showing us a way by which anyone who can't find a publisher can get their works published for next to nothing. Funnily enough though, I can't see Amanda's books doing well in a paper and cash medium. Some things just don't translate.

David Lambourne is a bookseller living in Cambridge UK. He has four children. He has written a study of Novelists in the Nineteen-Thirties (Christopher Isherwood, Henry Green, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell) and published a children's book called 'The Musclemen' (OUP, 1991) -- now available on Kindle under the title 'New Toys'. He is now thinking of retiring and devoting his time to becoming an e-book millionaire.

Article Source: