Savvy Book Writers

Ebook Conversion vs. Ebook Formatting


Have you ever been wondering why it is possible to get a free ebook version from your online book distributor?  Or seen people offering to convert your novel manuscript into an ebook for $30 or $50?

While $30 or $50 are almost expensive for just clicking a button to import the (pre-formatted) manuscript, fill in a form with details about the book – such as title, author name, and retail price – click another button to add any required companion files to the project, then clicking one last button to output the ebook in the desired file format. It is mostly an automated process – done in less than 15 minutes.

I wrote a while ago that I had once paid $70 in advance for .mobi and epub, and received both versions after a wait of almost two months! and dozens of emails. I immediately transferred it to our distributor. He refused the epub version as it contained 63 !!! technical errors, and it cost me, even more, to have it done by a professional. Very frustrating!

Formatting an eBook – Especially Non-Fiction
Book formatting is mostly manual, because every manuscript is different, and the process of formatting a manuscript for ebook publication is primarily a process of minimizing and standardizing formatting.

List of eBook Formatting Steps for Mobi
Web content manager A. Hamilton once blogged this list:

* “Save As” to create Kindle file copy
* Insert cover image on the first page
* Remove blank pages
* Remove headers
* Remove footers
* Set margins to 1” all around, remove gutter
* Replace section breaks with page breaks
* Set two carriage returns before each pg break and one after each
* Insert page breaks before each chapter heading, if necessary
* Replace double spaces with single space between sentences
* Standardize body text style
* Turn off auto-hyphenate (Tools > Language > Hyphenation)
* Remove any tab or space bar indents, replace w/ ruler indents as needed
* Set line spacing to 1.5, max 6pt spacing after paragraphs
* Standardize chapter headings
* Standardize section headings
* Remove/replace special characters
* Reformat graphics as needed to 300dpi resolution & optimal size     (4×6” or smaller)
* Verify images are “in line” with text
* Insert page breaks before and after full-page images
* Modify copyright page to reflect Kindle edition verbiage
* Add correct ISBN to copyright page
* Insert hyperlinked TOC

Time and effort demands in creating ebooks are highly variable.  So, you better send a sample chapter and ask if the price quoted for the ebook conversion service includes formatting – and also the creation of any required companion files.



Alternative to ACX for Your Audio-Book

Thinking about transforming your print book or e-book into audio?  Draft2Digital e-book distributor partners with FindawayVoices to provide an alternative to ACX.  Starting July 18, 2017, you will be able to quickly and easily start the audiobook production process, right from your D2D  publication page.

Once your eBook is successfully published with at least one of D2D’s distribution channels, you can start creating your audiobook with FindawayVoices, with full support from the Voices team.  You can determine your production budget, select a narrator, and have your book produced and distributed to a robust audiobook network.

FindawayVoices an audiobook creation and distribution service gives authors more freedom and control over their work.  With Voices, it’s easy to create and sell audiobooks to listeners in more than 170 countries, through the world’s largest audiobook distribution network.   Audiobooks are a vital part of an indie author’s strategy, allowing you to increase discoverability and reach new audiences worldwide while increasing the opportunity for revenue.   Audiobooks, eBooks, videos and learning tools are circulated in 40,000 libraries, schools, and military installations.

More Choices for Authors
Until now, authors had limited options for creating and distributing audiobooks and were often forced to surrender partial rights to their work or agree to lengthy exclusivity contracts.  Draft2Digital’s partnership with FindawayVoices, a company that aims to eliminate as many barriers between authors and audiobook listeners as possible.  On the downside: royalty-shares with the narrator are not an option at the moment.

Draft2Digital – D2D – Explains in a Media Newsletter:
Voices is a part of Findaway, an innovator in the production services for audiobooks for more than 10 years and a global leader in digital content delivery across retail, library, and K–12 channels.

  • FindawayVoices gives authors everything they need to create professionally narrated audiobooks, including:
  • Full Control—With Voices, you set the price, own the rights, control marketing, choose your distributors, and never sign an exclusivity agreement.
  • Global Distribution—You’ll gain access to a global platform that reaches consumers in more than 170 countries, through all major audiobook sellers across retail, library, and K12 channels (and yes, this includes Audible).
  • Custom Narrator Casting—The experts at Voices review your book and create a tailored list of recommended narrators at a range of prices for your specific title.  Voices will work with you at every step to ensure you choose the right voice at the right price for your book.
  • Professional Production—All narrators are vetted for quality, and all Voices audiobooks are quality-checked before publication, giving rights holders an extra level of assurance.
  • Full Service and Support—As a D2D author, you’re used to high-level customer support, and you can expect the same with FindawayVoices.  If you have any questions or need help, you can reach out to a Voices expert.
  • Already have an audiobook?—If you’ve already produced your audiobook, you can distribute through FindawayVoices without exclusivity, and at no cost.

FindawayVoices also revolutionized digital audiobook delivery with AudioEngine, which is quickly becoming the industry’s largest B2B audiobook delivery platform that enables brands to deliver one of the world’s largest collections of digital audiobooks within their own experience.
Audiobooks can be a tremendous benefit to an author’s career, and producing something of professional quality is now easier than ever.  If you have questions or would like more information about the Draft2Digital and FindawayVoices partnership, reach out to the D2D Customer Support!



AMAZON: Word Doc templates for POD Books

Nate Hoffelder posted recently on his popular blog: “When Amazon first launched KDP Print in beta last year, it asked publishers and authors to trust that Amazon could take any e-book and turn it into a good-looking POD book.”

Amazon has posted Word Doc templates for making better POD books at Kindle (platform) POD, which authors can use to format their manuscripts.

The templates come in various standard print sizes ranging from the equivalent of a paperback to a college textbook.  They are rather bland-looking, but on the upside, they also incorporate margins and line spacing that meet professional standards.

Find the templates, as well as other useful information on making POD books, on the KDP help pages.

Amazon Information:
We’ve created several resources to help you format your paperback manuscript:

For step-by-step formatting instructions, see this Help page

For tips about trim size, bleed, margins, pagination, and images, see our manuscript formatting guide here:

For in-depth guidance on formatting manuscripts, see our Paperback Publishing Guidelines

For instructions on how to update a published paperback, see our Help page

Step-By-Step Paperback Manuscript Formatting Guide (Beta)
We have created this step-by-step guide to help you format your paperback manuscript.  We recommend that you write your book in Microsoft Word.   The tips we give in this guide are specific to Word 2013, but the steps are similar in most other versions.

For your convenience, we have also created formatted templates in a variety of trim sizes.  For in-depth information on formatting your paperbacks, see our Publishing Guidelines.

Paperback Publishing Guidelines
Our Paperback Publishing Guidelines include the information you need to successfully publish your paperback:

  • Definitions of important terms like bleed, metadata, trim size, and production variance
  • Tips for entering paperback details like title, author name, series information, and ISBN
  • Tips for formatting paperback content like page size, inside/outside margins, images, and cover

To me, it seems that self-publishing gets easier and easier from year to year. 


Multiple Sales of Your Manuscript


Foreign Rights and translations into other languages can be a great way to leverage the value of your manuscript – but don’t expect big numbers right away.

Foreign rights belong to your book’s subsidiary rights.  Like any other sub-rights, such as audio, movies, book clubs, paperback reprints, electronic rights, foreign rights can be sold and separated from your book’s primary rights – which you totally own anyway as an independent author-publisher.
Before you sign a contract: Always first contact your national writers’ association for further information and get legal advice from a lawyer who is specialized in copyright.  This could save you several thousand dollars – if not more.

Let’s Start With the Revenue You Can Get from Your Book’s Retail Price:

If you sell your book on your own website ca. 90 – 95%
Selling through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple or other online retailers: up to 70%.
Selling your manuscripts to a trade publisher, earns a (small) advance and ca. 8 – 10% royalties – but this will be subtracted from the advance and only if you “earn out” your advance, which means the book is really selling well, you receive royalties.
For most authors, the advance is all they really earn.

For small publishers and Indies the thought of selling their book rights internationally might be a scary one, especially if they are not familiar with the foreign publishers or haven’t attended any of the large book fairs in Europe (Frankfurt Book Fair, Leipziger Messe, London or Bologna Book Fair) or the ones even further abroad in Dubai or in Asia.
Some Facts Concerning Foreign Rights:

  • Publishers are going global to find growth.
  • Marketing plays an important role in foreign rights sales.
  • Foreign rights revenue is both, a global opportunity and a sales challenge.
  • In Germany for example, translation rights are around 40% (mostly from English).
  • Revenue will be an advance and approximately 6 – 12% royalty of the retail price, minus a percentage for the agent.
  • It’s also a long-term project as it takes around 18 months until the book is translated and finally available online and in bookstores.

So, how can you, as an author or small publisher earn more money from licensing your works in different formats and countries?  Imagine you can set up all the information about your book, including prices for different formats and contract clauses on digital platforms…
Global Rights Network Platforms:
Selling the rights to your books can be a lucrative business, putting local versions of your works in the hands of readers all around the world. The predominance of book fairs and back-and-forth negotiations between rights agents and editors left a gap for literary rights-holders.

Now there are online marketplaces for the 365 day 24/7 trading of book and journal rights available. Publishers of all sizes, including self-publishers, can make their book’s rights available for sale from several online profiles, allowing buyers to purchase rights based on their terms, growing income, and in many cases, creating new income streams!

What Are These New Digital Platforms Doing:
Automated rights selling systems, allow you to make titles available for rights transactions – worldwide – with little up-front work!

Set up your prices for rights by language, territory, format (paperback, hardcover, ebook or audio) and length of the deal.
Swap out the standard contract for your own – if you choose.
Reactivate your dormant backlist titles for rights sales and create a whole new income stream without interrupting your current rights-selling attempts through sub-agents and at book fairs!

How Much Does it Cost?
Once set up, your rights will be available for sale within 48 hours and you can start selling immediately after they’re life!  Several membership levels offer a variety of service options and features, some are starting as low as $30 for a year.

These are the Main Players: IPR License
A Marketplace for publishers to trade rights globally.  The platform offers the opportunity to monetise or find the best new content in a global marketplace.  It also acts as a copyright hub making it easier to locate copyright holders to clear permission for use of their work.

Let Your Book Translate into World Languages
You can certainly just translate your book and sell it through online retailers worldwide. Most spoken languages besides English are Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, German, Russian, Russian, Portuguese, Bengali, Japanese (albeit not necessarily e-book readers) according to Wikipedia.

Maximize Your Foreign Presence – For FREE
To maximize your presence in overseas Amazon Kindle stores, just set up an Author Central account in each of those country-specific sites where your book is available.  As Amazon divided the world in single countries, announce your Countdown Deals, new book launches or Free Kindle KDP Days in several languages: Order at Fiverr a short translation of ten tweets in Spanish, French, German etc. for $5 / 200 words. The countries with the most users of eReaders, according to a survey of Bookboon are the USA, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark etc.

International Book Fairs
Do not just turn up at an international book fair, hoping to sell your book. Meetings are arranged well in advance (4-6 months) with acquisitions editors at international publishing houses, to whom new projects are pitched, and new potential publisher customers can be discovered.

Top Publisher for French Foreign Rights
If you want to talk about foreign rights with a French publisher one of the biggest in the world, Hachette who are also partnering with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group in China and holds a 25% share of Atticus in Russia.

Top Publisher for Spanish Foreign Rights
– Good for U.S.A. too!
Planeta publishing-companies leads the world’s Spanish-language publishing markets in Spain and Latin America.  The company has further strongholds in Portugal and France, where it owns Editis the country’s second-largest group.
Grupo Planeta is present in 25 countries, with more than 100 imprints and a catalog of 15,000 titles.
A good idea would also be to join ALLI
New rights services are growing up online to help authors meet rights buyers directly without having to travel to a book fair and using technology to extend reach.  ALLI now has an arrangement with one of these, Pubmatch.  Members have access to Putmatch’s premium service through ALLI (usually $79.99) at the deeply discounted rate of $9.99.  Pubmatch will facilitate communication, data warehousing and the simplification of rights marketing for publishers, agents, authors and others, making it the go-to place for the international publishing community to find new titles and new talent.

Major agencies, specialized in Foreign Rights:

Choose Your Foreign Rights Agent Carefully!
Most agents charge 20% (or sometimes even 25%) on foreign sales.  This 20% rate is justified because normally two agents are involved (the second one being in the foreign country), and they end up splitting the commission.  If you are not represented already, why not try to find agents or even publishers yourself in other countries, especially if you speak more than one language?

There are things to watch when negotiating foreign rights deals – hopefully, an agent will keep an eye on these, but it’s worth knowing about it:

The term of the deal: Five years is most common, anything longer then you should be expecting a premium from the publisher.
Country / Territory for the contract: You might sign away Portuguese language rights without realizing that it will include publication in Brazil (and Mozambique, Angola, Macau, Cape Verde etc). Also, giving worldwide Spanish language rights could cause friction with any United States publishing deal, as there is a large Spanish reading audience in the US.
Tax situation in your and the potential publishers country: While there are now many treaties which allow for the uninhibited flow of money between countries, you could lose some of your advances to a foreign government’s tax.
Before signing a contract with an agent or a publisher, how can an author tell if the company is good with foreign rights?  Ask about their previous sales!  Contact authors who work with that publisher or agent and ask them about their experience.  It’s also possible to find out the name of foreign publishers and go to their websites and see what books they have recently published.

Find out what authors the agency represents overseas, then ask those authors about their own experiences.  Again, foreign rights are only a portion of an author’s income, so that’s something to bear in mind.  Check your agreement with a translations rights agent carefully.  Never, ever! give world rights away as standard, and you should also insist on a large upfront payment.

Read more:

In Gwen Ellery’s article are tips from foreign agents about the cultural difference – something very important!

John Penberthy, a successful writer, who searched the internet, found contact addresses of agents in other countries and contacted them directly.

Morris Rosenthal gives also great, detailed tips in his article about book contracts.

Importance of Foreign Rights

How You Can Sell your Rights or Split Your Book into Single Articles:

John Kremer sells helpful lists and reports for authors and an e-book with an extensive list of foreign rights agents



Pre-Editing Made Easy


Daphne Gray-Grant, a writing, and editing coach and author explained in an article: “When I started writing back in high school, I developed the nervous practice of producing a sentence and then going back to edit it, immediately.  Perhaps you do the same thing?  It took me 20 years to understand why editing-while-writing is so destructive – and another three years to stop it.”
“Remember, you should always write as quickly as you can.  Just be sure to edit – later when your manuscript is finished – as slowly as you can bear.  And to edit your work make use of the great tools that are available these days.”

  • Edit Minion
    This free software identifies adverbs, passive voice, duplicate or frequently used words, and sentence length.
  • Language Tool
    A tool that is capable of proofreading more than 20 languages. Style issues will be marked in blue.
  • Paper Rater
    Robust grammar checking tool which allows you to find those pesky mistakes and correct them.
  • After the Deadline
    After the Deadline helps writers to avoid spelling errors, gives grammar or style suggestions. You will spend less time editing.
  • SmartEdit
    This tool helps writers of novels and short stories to highlight all the issues in their drafts, including misspelled words, and repetitiveness.

My advice is to not use only ONE software, but at least TWO – better THREE – and use them in separate sessions to fine comb your manuscript BEFORE sending it to a professional editor.

It will save you money and embarrassment.  No grammar tool can replace human intelligence.  You will still need a professional editor who will then fine-tune your manuscript for an outstanding, successful book.  This is how your editor will improve your book even more:

Developmental and Line Edit
He or she will give you the “big picture” feedback about structure, style, pacing, and voice. A developmental edit for a work of nonfiction may include feedback about the book’s organizational structure, as well as both stylistic and informational strengths and weaknesses. For fiction manuscripts, developmental editing also includes notes on plot, the point-of-view and characterization.
Often, a developmental edit is given in the form of a detailed report or letter rather than as notes made directly on the manuscript. There is also the line edit, where your editor will point out specific things such as certain lines of dialogue that don’t sound convincing, or pacing problems in a given section.
Here are even more digital tools for your pre-editing:



Pro’s & Con’s to Distribute eBooks via Pronoun



You might have read several articles in this blog about converting ebooks and distribution via aggregators, such as LightningSource, CreateSpace, IngramSpark. We also introduced Draft2Digital and the British eBookPartnership.

Let’s Have a Look Today at PRONOUN
Created by Macmillan Publishing (one of the Big 5), Pronoun is a site which distributes your ebook to online retailers.  But not only that: Pronoun offers you to create a free landing page for yourself, including for each of your books, from where you can add links to any or all of the five largest English-language ebook retailers: Amazon, Apple’s iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Google – to which Pronoun distributes your e-books.
You can pick and choose your retailers on Pronoun.

Pronoun’s greatest benefit is that they pay out a full 70 percent of the book’s cover price on all sales for all ebooks under $10 – and 65 percent for books priced over $10).  Pronoun pays the full 70 percent revenue even for e-books priced under $2.99.

See What You Would Receive Elsewhere:

  • Amazon pays 70 percent revenue minus the $0.15 per megabyte transfer fee for ebooks priced $2.99 to $9.99 while paying 35 percent for lower- or higher-priced e-books.
  • Barnes & Noble pays 65 percent revenue between $0.99 and $9.99 and 40 percent for higher priced e-books.
  • Google Play pays 52 percent revenue.
  • Apple and Kobo pay 70 percent.
  • On June 7, 2017, Pronoun announced the addition of the library distributors OverDrive and Bibliotheca to its retail distribution.  Authors are now able to add OverDrive and Bibliotheca as distributors when publishing on Pronoun, adding their ebook to catalogs from which over 20,000 libraries can purchase for circulation.

Conversion of eBooks is FREE

  • The best file format to deliver to Pronoun is docx – not doc.
  • Files are converted for free to mobi (for Amazon, and ePub for all other online retailers)
  • You can choose separate pricing for of major currencies.
  • However, prices are available only in amounts ending in $0.99
  • Revenue is paid out monthly, forty-five days after the end of the month in which the sale occurred.

Pronoun is helpful for authors and offers a number of amazing features, such as showing you your book cover next to others in its category, as well as suggesting less crowded categories and more effective keywords.

Now the Con’s:

  • Only English-language books are converted and distributed through Pronoun.
  • If you let your book distribute to Amazon through Pronoun, you can’t advertise your e-book using Amazon Marketing Services
  • You cannot list the title through the exclusive KDP Select or the KindleUnlimited program – well, after all, they pay you 70 percent revenue!
  • You can’t add any links to other online retailers – as Apple iBooks, for example, refuses to list e-books that have a link to Amazon in their text.

eBook Conversion
Pronoun’s conversion tool is based on the open-source software Calibre.  You can choose fro six book design templates.  So, novels are best suited – not so much non-fiction books with complex layouts…

A well-paying aggregator that converts novels for free, and distributes to all major online retailers – offering even a free website for you and each of your books.  In the future, many authors will want to use Pronoun as their one-stop solution.

Read also:



Author Discussions: Amazon’s New Buy Button



Publisher’s Weekly alerted authors and publishers: “A new program from Amazon is drawing a range of reactions from those across the publishing industry, from fear to downright anger. The e-tailer has started allowing third-party book re-sellers to “win” “buy buttons” on book pages.  The program, publishers, agents, and authors allege, is discouraging customers from buying new books, negatively affecting sales and revenue.”
Interesting comments from authors and publishers on this site too.

And Brooke Warner,  contributor to Huffington Post, wrote: “How Amazon, Once Again, Is Driving Down The Value Of Books And Undermining Authors.  Third-party sellers can now ‘win’ the Buy box.  Here’s what that means:
When you go to a product page on Amazon, the ADD TO CART button is the default offer.  Other used options fall below the ‘Buy Box’.  Where books are concerned, the default “Buy Box” option has always belonged to the publisher.  When you buy a book, Amazon pays the publisher 45 percent of the list price, so authors are making a profit (albeit small) every time you buy.  This contributes to authors’ royalties and also means that your purchase is supporting the entity that published the book, namely the publisher.

Now, Amazon’s policy states that “eligible sellers will be able to compete for the “Buy Box”, but in this case, we had been completely wiped off of Amazon as an eligible seller in any capacity, without being notified.

A Big Question Comes to Mind Here:
Where is Amazon’s accountability to publishers? The impact this policy has on publishers’ backlist (typically meaning any book that’s six months or older) is potentially devastating, especially because consumers don’t understand what’s going on here.

Small publishers, in particular, are dependent on backlist sales for their livelihood.  Amazon is a Herculean player when it comes to backlist sales because bookstores favor front-list books. If you’re looking for a book that’s a year old or more, you’re likely to go to Amazon to find it.  Second Wind was published in 2010, but the way Amazon has set up this listing, it’s as if the book were out of print with the publisher.  I know for a fact it is not.

• Amazon, once again, is attempting to drive down the value of books, and therefore intellectual property and creative work in general.

• Amazon suggests that one of the ways you can win the Buy Box is to keep books “in stock”.  This poses a major problem for self-published authors and any backlist author whose books are print-on-demand.  Print-on-demand automatically means there’s no stock.  The books are printed to order.  If Amazon is penalizing books that are set up as POD titles and favoring third-party sellers who have stock due to any of the above-mentioned means of procurement, authors will again be dinged when their own listing, or publisher listing, doesn’t exist on Amazon.”  Read the whole article with screenshots here:
Nate Hoffelder counters in Digital Reader:
In recent weeks, Amazon’s new Buy Box policy has received a fair amount of industry attention and blowback, leaving publishers and authors speculating about Amazon’s motives for implementing it.  While some think the industry reaction is a tempest in a teacup, with publishers raising their hackles once again over an Amazon business decision, others see the policy—which allows third-party sellers to “win” the “Buy Box”, thus relegating publisher listings to the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section—as an aggressive move against publishers and authors.

The revelation early last week that Amazon is allowing third-party resellers to compete to win the featured “buy buttons” on the e-tailer’s book pages led to criticism from publishers, authors, and agents, as well as a fair amount of confusion over how the program actually works.

Up until March 1, the featured buy button had been reserved for books that Amazon sold on behalf of publishers.  Under the new program, to win buttons, resellers must meet various Amazon criteria that include some combination of price, availability, and delivery time.  In addition, the program is only open to books in new condition.  Amazon noted that it permits resellers to compete with it on the sale of new items in most of its other product categories and that the recent change allows resellers of new books to compete in the books category.

The “Buy Box” Change
Announced in November 2016 without much fanfare, in a seller forum notifying vendors: “Sellers will be able to compete for the Buy Box for Books in new condition.”  The language of the announcement was geared toward vendors, not publishers or author-publishers.

And despite the controversy, some people’s reaction to the change has been ambivalent: So what if a publisher’s listing ranks third or fourth under “Other Sellers on Amazon?”  The argument supporters of Amazon love to make is that e-tail giant is just beating publishers at their own game – so publishers should start playing the game better and stop complaining.

Here’s the problem: Amazon is much more than just a retailer. It’s the go-to site for books. And reliance on Amazon as your only vendor is a dangerous business strategy.
Many in the industry speculate that Amazon’s ultimate motive with the “Buy Box” policy relates to the company’s plans to expand its POD offerings.  Amazon’s guidelines for how to win the “Buy Box” states that vendors must excel in pricing, availability, fulfillment, and customer service.

Print-on-Demand Books
For authors using CreateSpace for POD titles, the only one of these areas Amazon will not directly control is pricing.

  • Authors who distribute their POD books through CreateSpace can choose an option called expanded distribution.  The authors agree to take a smaller royalty (40% vs 60%) in order for the book to be listed with third-party retailers like Barnes & Noble’s website and Walmart’s website.
  • The thing about expanded distribution is that those third-party retailers can price the book however they like.  They can discount the book if they so choose, and they can sell the book at twice the list price.  What’s more, those third-party sellers can also list the book on Amazon’s marketplace.

Authors who choose expanded distribution could now see the “Buy Button” going to third-party sellers that offer the authors’ books at a discount.  On the other hand, given that most indie authors have anemic print sales because POD books are so expensive, any discount is bound to result in an increase in print sales and a net benefit for authors. But they will also be getting a smaller royalty on the list price, meaning they’re earning less per title.

While publishers and authors acknowledged that Amazon has the right to facilitate sales of used books through resellers, they are mystified about how third-party resellers can sell new books at the low prices they are charging and, more importantly, about how they are obtaining the books.

What is a New Book?
In a letter sent to resellers about the new program, Amazon said books must be in “new condition,” a phrasing that made publishers and authors believe resellers are using the term as a loophole to sell used books. Amazon said that, though the reseller letter does use the phrase “new condition,” the definition of what new means is found in its guidelines; a new book must be a “brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition. The dust cover and original protective wrapping, if any, is intact.”

In a statement, Amazon said it has procedures in place to make sure new books are in fact new: “We want customers to buy with confidence any time they make a purchase on Amazon and require all sellers to sell authentic products. We use a variety of methods to review sellers and individual offers depending on the situation and this can include asking for invoices, identity documentation, and other information.”

Lot’s of Comments From Readers
The impact of the change is far from clear at this stage; a number of observers believe it will hurt smaller publishers more than big publishers. But all publishers and authors see it as Amazon taking another piece of the book revenue pie.

“Amazon no longer needs to sell books at all, so there’s no reason that it will fail to extract all possible profit from all transactions.”

“It’s not about extracting profit as it is eliminating the profit margin in order to drive down the price. Amazon has always, always gone for volume.  They sell as much as they can as cheaply as they can.  This latest change is another step in this direction.”

“On the other hand: If you distribute through IngramSpark and offer the short discount of 40%, then you will always get 60% regardless of downstream discounts. Net of print costs – but that applies everywhere.”

“Amazon is getting a profit margin from the sales. And they’re pumping up the volume (to increase their total margin) by dropping the price.”

“They’ll keep it up until they’ve moved every drop from our column into theirs, by forcing the share of the prices offered to (self-)publishers down, and manipulating the demand and supply curves until they’ve got all the available margin possible.”

“Given that Amazon is a publicly traded company, and a near-monopsony, they have no other ethical option.”

“As I understand it, PoD (at least at CreateSpace and Ingram) pays out based on the cover price that I list, not the sales price (the way KDP pays out). Who cares what discount anyone wants to run? I get the same royalty, and (hopefully) a sales increase.”

What Authors Can Do:
The only way to escape somewhat from Amazon’s near-monopoly is to expand to other online retailers, such as iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Scribd etc., setting up an account with each of these retailers or use the services of distributors.

Draft2Digital for example formats your manuscript for free into the epub format and transfers it to dozens of online retailers in North America and Europe – in hours! and promote your book through Books2Read.  They get a 10% commission on sold books. eBookPartnership in Great Britain charges for formatting, but don’t take a commission. Smashwords also takes ten percent.

Sell From Your Own Website!
With all of the fantastic options via e-commerce apps, you have plenty of reasons to sell your book directly from your website in addition to your sales through online retailers. Shopify, Selz, Gumroad or Ganxy offer easy and inexpensive shop programs for your website. Put your eggs in several baskets – not just in one! The best part: you have access to your readers, you know who is buying and reading your books, in order to communicate with them and inform readers about your next works.



Literary Travel in North America and the UK


If you like reading, writing and traveling – these destinations are perfect for you:


USA – Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop
This is an intensive workshop for those who are not only passionate about children’s book writing but who dream of publishing their own children’s books
Starts: 2017-07-10


UK – Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival, Harrowgate/Leeds
The world class, award winning Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, now in its 15th year, celebrates the very best in crime fiction at …
Starts: 2017-07-20


Australia – Speculative Fiction Festival Sydney, NSW
Contemporary speculative fiction comes in many forms and flavours: from robots and rocketships, through time travel, alternate history, steampunk…
Starts: 2017-07-22


USA – Payson, AZ, Book Festival
The mission of the Payson Book Festival is to enhance the love of reading by providing an environment that encourages personal interaction between…
Starts: 2017-07-22


Canada – When Words Collide Calgary, AB
When Words Collide is an annual non-profit festival designed to bring readers and writers together in a celebration of the written word. Up to 10…
Starts: 2017-08-11


USA – Nashville, TN,  International Writers’ Conference
The Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference was created in 2006 by author/filmmaker Clay Stafford in an effort to bring together foren…
Starts: 2017-08-24


USA – The Seattle, WA,  Arts Festival “Bumbershoot”
always has active coffee houses and a book fair spotlighting literary artists….
Starts: 2017-09-01


Canada – Word on the Street Book Fair Toronto, ON
The Word On The Street is a national celebration of literacy and the written word. Each September, in communities coast to coast, the public is i…
Starts: 2017-09-24


Canada – Kingston, ON,  WritersFest
Kingston WritersFest, a charitable cultural organization, brings the best of contemporary writers to Kingston to interact with audiences and other…
Starts: 2017-09-27


Mexico – International Children and Young Adults Book Fair (FILIJ) in Mexico City
For more than three and a half decades, the primary task of the International Book Fair for Children and Youth (FILIJ) is to be a forum open to d…
Starts: 2017-11-10


USA – Miami, FL,  Bookfair International
The Miami Book Fair International Presented by The Center for Literature and Theater at Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest literary event…
Starts: 2017-11-12

Writers conferences, book fairs, and other literary events are a fantastic way to include in your vacation and a brilliant way to promote books.


Your Daily Writing Pleasure

Chipping Away at Rocks…



Not all writers can spend a lot of time typing away at a keyboard each day.  In fact, many would-be writers say, with absolute sincerity: “I’m just itching to get to this novel I’ve had in me for a while, but I have absolutely no time.”

Well, I’d like to claim that there is no such thing as no time at all.  You don’t have to have a lot of time, but you need to set aside a daily portion of it, however small, to write.

Even if you have little available time for writing, consistency is absolutely essential for those who want a jab at writing and publishing professionally.  Consistent daily output adds up, even though each separate day might not feel very productive. It’s like chopping away at a great big rock with a hammer: you break off a tiny piece each time, and while for a long while it may seem as though you aren’t doing anything at all, eventually the rock will crumble.

What exactly do I mean?  It’s better to put in 1,000 words a day, every day than writing 5000 words in a single exhausting burst and then need a week’s worth recovery time.

If you outline carefully and know exactly what you want to write next, those 1,000 words can be written very quickly – in 30-45 minutes.  Most people can carve out 30 minutes of their day to do whatever…  I mean, most people do carve out a lot more than 30 minutes, without even being aware of it, to do stuff like hang out on social media or watch cat videos on YouTube.

When I began writing my most recent release, Wild Children, I was dealing with two little kids at home, pregnancy exhaustion, and an unstable housing situation.  Finding time to write really was like pulling teeth.  So I didn’t have 30 minutes available each day, but I took advantage of what I could get – 20, 15, 10 minutes – figuring that two paragraphs are better than nothing.
Your Daily Writing Habit:
At 1,000 words a day, 5 days a week, 20 days a month, it will add up to 20,000 words a month. It means you write the first draft of a 100,000-word novel in 5 months. It’s two solid books a year which, while not insanely productive, is a respectable output.

I know, I know – the first draft needs to be edited, it needs to be proofread, it needs to be sent out to stand in the throng of queries if you trad-pub; and if you self-pub, you need to format, obtain cover design, publish and market.

But still, those 1,000 words a day will get you in the right direction. So don’t be sorry you can’t put in 2K, 3K or whatever it is other people write daily.

I don’t know what challenges you might be facing in your life right now.  Maybe you have a day job, kids, elderly parents, other commitments.  Maybe you have a spouse who thinks their  hour-long browse of AliExpress is legit recreation, but your hour writing is shameful neglect of family duties.  Heck, I’ve had periods in my life (mostly during Mommy Boot Camp with newborns) when I was so desperate for some writing time that instead of taking a long shower every day, I took a shower every second day and wrote instead.  And I carved out epic novels.  It was a slow, frustrating haul but it happened – one word at a time.

Just do what you can, and do it consistently, and it will pay off!
Hannah Ross is the author of the dystopian novel Wild Children, and of several other books. She enjoys a quiet rural life with her husband and three children. Follow Hannah’s blog, Flight of Fantasy.



13 Tips to Promote Your Crowd Funding Campaign


The term “crowdfunding” means: You need a crowd to fund your idea.  And: supporters of your crowdfunding campaign are your (future) customers.  You also will get for FREE what industries have to pay for top $$$ when you are running a crowdfunding campaign: responses to your pledge proof the interest in your book or product.

First Steps in Promotion
Plan well ahead to get a great start. According to Kickstarter’s own data: the vast bulk of backers seem to happen at the very beginning and very end of a project.

Approaching family and friends might be your first step.
Checking your email contacts, Facebook and Twitter friends and Google+ or LinkedIn followers for those who might help to support your campaign is the next.  Customize your pledge!  You wouldn’t send the same note about supporting your crowdfunding project to a social media acquaintance or business associates as you would to a family member or a good friend.

Rich Brooks explains in an article: “You’ve heard the old saying, ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression.’   Well, it is even tougher on popular crowdfunding sites where there are 30 other projects simultaneously trying to make a first impression on the same page.  Moreover, do create compelling rewards!

Considering that only a small percentage – max. twenty percent of any fan base will actually donate, the more followers and fans you can assemble, the better your chances of success.  When identifying people who can help promote your campaign, think about all the folks who relate to your project.  You want to find groups that have the same goals as you do; they’ll be the most motivated to support your efforts.

Websites & Social Media to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign:

  1. Before you start your website und sign up for several social media sites: Get your Google+ site running, but not one, set up several sites for your crowdfunding campaign.  To be on Google+ with several accounts means to get every post directly on to Google’s search engines!
  2. After signing up for Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc. get as many followers as possible, and follow and re-tweet others as much as possible.  If you only have a personal Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page, start one for your campaign. Find real friends on these sites who are helping to promote your campaign (after you helped them promote their pledge or book or other agenda).
  3. The best site to promote your crowdfunding campaign is…your own website!  It is easy and often free to put together a simple website with a home page and a blog, using, or  Write and blog at least two times a week for a couple of months before and during your campaign.  And immediately post or tweet your article!
  4. Add your project to Kicktraq as soon as it goes live – by simply placing your Kickstarter web address into the search bar.  This site tracks Kickstarter campaigns, providing information on daily pledging and estimates on how likely a campaign is to reach its funding goal.  Campaigns that were added on their first day go into a special list that people can browse and the site has several other categories where your campaign can be found by visitors.
  5. Crowdfunding communities members on Google+ start at 180 members to more than 18,000 and have the same benefit as every post is immediately seen on Google’s search engines.  The group is also more active than others and you can pick up some great ideas on how to promote your crowdfunding campaign besides just posting your link and talking about the campaign.
  6. As with all social media groups, be sure to answer questions from other members and be social besides just posting links to your own campaign.
  7. Another benefit: Every post of others that you “plus”  on Google or repost their article will show up on the search engines – with a link to YOUR site!  Being very active on Google+ helps your campaign immensely.
    LinkedIn has a large and strong community of groups dedicated to crowdfunding.  Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding groups on LinkedIn are also pretty engaged.
  8. Use tools such as HootSuite, Buffer, SocialOomph, SproutSocial, TweetDeck… to schedule automated posts to your social media accounts.  Many are free and allow you to post on multiple social media sites simultaneously – big time savers!
  9. While it is generally for selling stuff, Craigslist also can be a good resource to promote your crowdfunding campaign.  Post in the discussion forums or in one of the other categories.  If your crowdfunding campaign offers rewards, try posting as if a reward were a product for sale to get people to come to your page.
  10. Forums can be another great place to promote your crowdfunding campaign and are usually a little more active than social media groups.  There are a couple of crowdfunding-related forums and a few that are directly related to your campaign topic.
  11. The Google+ Crowdfundingforum has over 18,000 members and tens of thousands of posts with usually a couple of hundred members online at any given time.  You’ll find posts for general crowdfunding questions and project manager tips on different types of crowdfunding.
  12. Most of the posts on Kickstarter Forum are for rewards-based crowdfunding.  However, it is not affiliated with Kickstarter.
  13. Articles about campaigns and interviews with campaign owners can be found on the Crowd101 blog.  Talk with others about crowdfunding, something that interests the audience.  This blog is more a social media site – less to promote your own campaign. But you are much more likely to get your article read and shared. That means your short description of the campaign and link gets seen by more people!

You can see how important it is to start preparing your crowdfunding campaign as soon as possible – months before you actually begin to pledge at the crowdfunding site.
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