Who is the Best? Book Distributors Compared


“In my experience, it’s almost always advantageous to go direct where you can.  Benefits include faster payments, up-to-date sales figures (crucial for measuring the effectiveness of any marketing), more direct control of which categories you appear in (important for both discoverability and visibility), and the ability to make changes to your metadata quickly, e.g. to change price for a temporary sales price campaign.  But there are roadblocks: Barnes & Noble only allows US self-publishers to upload books.  Apple famously requires self-publishers to use a Mac to upload,” writes bestselling author David Gaughran.

Are you living outside the USA as an Indie Author / Self-publisher and you don’t want to go through all the hassle with opening a US branch, or US bank account and tax number? The easiest way to circumnavigate this dilemma is to use the help of a book distributor, also called aggregator.
An ebook aggregator deals with ebook authors directly and connects them with ebook retailers such as Apple, Kobo, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  There are two categories of e-book (and often also print) distribution services:

Online Retailer Upload:
These services, typically retailers such as Amazon, distribute and sell your work through only one channel (their own) or their devices, such as Kindle Direct Publishing and PubIt! by Barnes & Noble (for US writers and publishers only), Kobo WritingLife and Google Play.
Apple iTunes allows DIY uploading of your iBooks too, if you’re an Apple Mac user.  Single-channel distributors / online retailers do not offer any assistance in converting your e-book files, although they sometimes accept several file types for upload.  Many other on and off-line book retailers work only through an aggregator / distributor.
Multiple-Channel distribution:
These services, such as eBookPartnership, Draft2Digital, Smashwords and BookBaby, act practically as middlemen and upload your work to a variety of retailers and distributors.  It reduces the amount of work an author must do tremendously.  Instead of dealing with many different single-channel services, accounting systems and payment variations, you deal with only one service and revenues from several online retailers reach you in one amount, which saves writers and small publishers certainly a lot of accounting work.

Quite a few of these distributors also offer basic and advanced conversion services.  Some act as full-service companies, requiring no effort from you, the author – for a hefty fee.  However, in exchange for the services of a multi-channel distributor, you typically have to pay either a yearly upfront fee per book and/or give up a large percentage of your sales.
Book distribution is not a “set and forget” task.  No matter if you self-distribute, or use an aggregator, you need to periodically monitor your book’s presence, out on the digital bookshelves.

Many authors start by using Kindle Direct Publishing, then add on a multi-channel distributor such as eBookPartnership, Draft2Digital, BookBaby, Smashwords (which distributes to all major devices and retailers except Amazon KDP).


When choosing an Aggregator / Distributor: ask, compare and research before you decide which service company you choose.  Are you willing to pay for convenience?  You pay one way or another: either a yearly fee or a commission per book sale.

  • Cost: lump sum per year – or percentage of each book sale?
  • Ease of upload, and do they explain it on their website?
  • Sales reporting: how often and how detailed? Ask them for an example
  • Do they let you set up an author page at the online retailer’s site, will you get the password to do it yourself?
  • Payment schedule: monthly or quarterly?
  • Sales channels: how many retailers and which ones?
  • Revenue: is there a deduction per sale?
  • Speed and cost of changes after your book is distributed?
  • Pre-Orders at online retailers possible?
  • Customer Service – can you talk with a life person?
  • Conversion / Formatting quality – VERY important!
  • Formatting / Conversion costs: Formatting is when a designer polishes your manuscript to professional standards for both print and eBook formats. Conversion is just taking the manuscript and turning it, with the help of software, into epub or mobi format.
  • ISBN’s:  An ISBN is not required for e-book distribution to Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, however Kobo, Apple and other retailers and services do require one.  Authors will need an ISBN for their e-book.  Some services will provide you with an ISBN as part of the fee for their services, however it means THEY are considered the publisher – and you cannot ever reverse it!  Buy your own through ISBN.org!

ISBN’s make you look professional.
ISBN’s get your books into more places, you are considered a publisher.
ISBN’s make your books easier to find – your book gets into a worldwide database


Upfront Cost: $50 per year
Deduction per sale: NONE
Formats accepted: doc, docx, odf, pdf, rtf, mobi, kf8, epub, pages.
Distributes to: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, Gardners Books, EPSCO, Scribd, GooglePlay, eSentral, Textr, Waterstones, BookMate, Indiebound, BookTopia, Angus & Robertson, BookFoundry, Feedbooks, Goodreads, Ingram, Kalahari, StoryTel, Books-a-Million, Whitcoulls, Askews & Holts, and StoryTel – just to list some of the more than 150 partners and 65,000+ libraries.
What’s more: ebook conversion, cover design and book scanning services

Special Offer until 07/31 from eBookPartnership: Save 25% on Worldwide eBook Distribution.
Sign-up for our eBook distribution service and save 25% on our usual prices! This is a limited time offer for orders of new titles placed on or before July 31, 2016.  Simply place an order for our eBook Distribution service and enter the promo code “save25dist” when prompted.

Upfront Cost: $0
Deduction per sale: 15%
Formats accepted: Word .doc, professionally designed epub
Formatting: By the author with the help of a formatting guide (unless a fee is paid)
Distributes to: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, mobile phone app vendors and other online venues (must upload to Amazon KDP yourself)
What’s more: Coupon generator for free books

Print Distribution: $199 for any printed book order of 25+ books.
Upfront Cost: $299 (without ebook-formatting $149)
Deduction per sale: 0%
Formats accepted: Word, PDF
Formatting: Included
Distributes to: KDP, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Copia, Gardners Books, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Flipkart, Ciando, EBSCO, ePubDirect,
What’s more: Print-on-demand and book cover services available. However, their site is tricky built, users are constantly lead into their other (high-priced) services, when just looking for distribution.
Upfront Cost: $0
Deduction per sale: 10%
Formats accepted: Word .doc or .docx, RTF
Formatting: Included
Distributes to: Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, Page Foundry (must upload to Amazon KDP yourself)
Giacomo Giammatteo wrote a great article about Timed Promotion and Territory Pricing that is offered by Draft2Digital.

There is no easy way to find out the cost (other than the one-time set up costs) for distribution and what they are deducting per sale – unless you sign up for an account and give your credit card first.
Indie publishing strategist Sellbox wrote: Ingram pays out a flat 40% of NET sales (after they have all their costs covered) when the eBook is sold.
Ingram’s website says: E-book distribution from more than 70 online partners.
*And: If you have provided any e-books to Amazon for the Kindle in the past 12 months we will not be able to provide service to Kindle through the IngramSpark program.
**If you currently have e-book content available on Apple, you will need to remove those e-books from the iBook store prior to uploading those same titles into IngramSpark.  Also note that any reviews or ratings of that content will NOT transfer when your titles reappear in the iBook store!
It seems their main business is more print book POD / combined with availability for distribution…

Knowing the Rules and Terminology:
“Access to over 39,000 retailers, libraries, schools and universities…” for example means only that readers can order your book via any of these suppliers – NOT that your book is automatically delivered to all of those…
Your ebook will be only uploaded to several major online retailers, while for the rest of the retailers, bookstores, libraries etc. your book is listed as “available” if someone orders it.

Don’t expect much in the fine-tune of each online store’s book selling tools, such as categories, keywords and description formatting, for example—and the ability of your distributors to present your book, the author page and the keywords / metadata attractively…
There are also roadblocks in terms of Amazon KDP Select – think book sales campaigns, free days, Matchbox, countdown deals etc. as it would require to take down all your books from your other retailers as Amazon requires exclusivity when you choose KDP Select.
If you think Smashword’s 15% distributor commission is a bit much, then read our next article where an “Agent-Curated Self-Publishing Distributor – Argo Navis – is taking 30% commission!  And where unscrupulous literary agents are getting an additional 15% for not doing anything, other than  just handing over the name and manuscript of authors to this distributor…



How to Double or Triple Your Writers Income


Re-purposing your book manuscript, your research and your articles is a great way to build your expertise and earn more money from your writing.  Most stories fit more than one genre.  

Re-purpose your manuscript and make more out of it than just a book and an e-book: Your book has a secret ingredient that is called “Copyright.”  Every story you write, every novel, is a package of copyright.   What else can you do with your manuscript and your copyright?  Split your manuscript into slices and sell each piece separately!

You can sell parts of your book to:

  • one publisher
  • other parts to another publisher
  • some parts to overseas markets
  • other parts to audio
  • as e-Books or Singles
  • to game companies
  • maybe even to Hollywood’s film industry
  • use parts of it to submit to contests
  • divide it in chapters and sell to magazines
  • or to web publishers …

The list goes on and on and on. But what you need to do:

  • Self-Publish!  Don’t be on the mercy of a publisher/vanity press!
  • learn all about copyright
  • realize that each piece can be a cash stream for you
  • you don’t even have to use your name, get a pen name or even several

You can sell these manuscript copyrights or uses in several ways:

First Serial Rights
They can be print or electronic and mean that you are selling a publisher the right to publish your article once for the first time.  In the case of print rights – you may immediately sell the piece to an e-publisher before print publication and, after the print magazine containing your article hits the newsstand, you are free to sell it again as a reprint to other print markets.

First Serial Right Electronic
Most Canadian and US freelance authors sell North American first serial rights, reserving the right to sell in other world markets (e.g. Great Britain, Australia or Asia).  Specify what type of rights you are selling: First North American Electronic Rights Only.

Second Serial Right
These are reprint rights and apply to print and electronic markets. Never sell reprint rights, keep them at all costs.  Even you will earn less money for each reprint, yet you can sell your work over and over again.

Subsidiary Rights
Other rights that authors and freelancers hold are subsidiary rights, including, but not limited to movie rights, TV and radio rights, audio and other media rights.

Each story, each novel is a piece of your writing business. If you spread them out over a number of pen names you have a pretty consistent cash flow streams working. You just need to offer them to people who will buy them.

For example: You sold German Translation Rights, and your contract with the German publisher limited your book to trade paper only. Now you can sell:

  • German hardback rights
  • German audio rights
  • German mass market rights
  • German film rights

Your German publisher will pay advances like your Canadian or American publisher, and there will be royalties (against advances).  And then maybe can sell it to Spanish publishing houses. Or Russian, Italian… Dozens and dozens of pieces of your work can be sold.  Each piece is a cash stream.  You just need to sell it.  You create the inventory, your book, just once, but you can sell it for your entire life and even your heirs can keep selling these pieces.

Wring maximum value out of your “book” by spinning off audios, videos, magazine excerpts, foreign-language editions, and more.  Multipurpose your book into downloadable CD’s and e-book versions.

Audio Books:
Why not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-books are becoming more and more popular!  Your readers can listen to your audio-books, which can easily double their book consumption because they are using time that previously was not available and turning it into valuable “reading” time.

They can listen in the car, bus, train, plane… while exercising, walking or hiking, on the beach or while doing mundane tasks around the house or yard.
Special needs readers, such as blind ones will have access to your written words in form of an audio-book.
Audio-books can be listened to on an iPod or iPhone/SmartPhone or other MP3 player, even on most e-readers such as Kindle and Nook.
A membership at www.Audible.com (owned by Amazon.com) is a good deal for your readers. They can choose from various plans, and easily download digital audio-books to their preferred device. Or your readers can go to their local public library to get audio-books for free.


Kindle Singles:
Now it is possible to write 5,000 (better 10,000) to 30,000 word articles, Amazon calls them “Kindle Singles” and sells them online. A prominent author of these Kindle Singles is Stephen King, with his Single “Mile 81” the current top seller (as of this writing).  So, instead of submitting your work for free to content farms, you sell those articles at the internet giant Amazon website and receive 70% royalties, even for Singles priced under Dollar 2.99.  To be precise for Singles priced between 99 cents and $4.99
Other criterias for Amazon Singles are:
• Original work, not previously published in other formats or publications
• Self-contained work, not chapters excerpted from a longer work
• Not published on any public website in its entirety
• But Amazon is are currently not accepting how-to manuals, public domain works, reference books, travel guides, or children’s books!


Split Your Book in Single Articles.
Very few emerging writers realize that they can sell their magazine articles over and over again.  As long as the markets don’t overlap, you can sell exactly the same article as many times as you like and, in this globally connected marketplace, it is easier than you think.

However, you can only sell first rights, either print or electronic, once for the same piece. After that, unless you change the article significantly, you must offer it as a reprint for a lower fee. If you change the article, you can sell it again for first rights.

Then tweak it into an 800 word article for a national US daily. Subsequently, you make some minor changes to slant the piece for a travel magazine. Each time, you are able to sell it for first rights. Continue to sell it, however look out for new markets in other English language markets overseas.

This practice should be your standard operating procedure if you write and sell articles to print periodicals and e-zines. Reselling your work makes good business and time management sense – it reduces the energy you expend and increases your revenue. Unless you routinely sell a single article for several thousands of dollars, and even if you do, you should be squeezing every dollar out of every single piece you write.

Wring maximum value out of your work by creating magazine articles, short e-books, audiotapes, videotapes, magazine excerpts, foreign language editions and more.



To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also our e-books:


Social Media, the Big Online Party!


Imagine you are invited to a fantastic party. You are entering the room, you say hello to everyone, you small-talk a bit, you participate in a discussion, you listen what others say, you make some compliments or praise someone, you have fun and you show yourself from your best side – or at least that’s what it is supposed to be. However there are some people on social media who do not know or respect the unwritten party rules:

There are these party guests who seem to be very uncomfortable:  They don’t look at you, speak and look into another direction, you see only their back and their hair, or they wear a huge hat, pulled deep into their face or equally strange, they wear big sunglasses, so that you cannot see their eyes.

Now imagine some of the party guests are not introducing themselves, they come in, don’t look at anyone, put up their business sign and tell everyone, who stops by: “This is my book, go get it”, pointing at their sign: Nothing else… buy my book, buy my book, buy my book… and never have a conversation with others.

Then there are these annoying braggers, who are constantly talking about their statistics, how many potential customers they have (followers/un-followers), something no one is interested in or wants to hear.

Some of the guests are not very polite either, they only talk with one person during the whole party, even when they are surrounded with lots of other people, whom they just ignore.

And then there are party guests who are totally involved into their parenting role, they are constantly showing total strangers pictures of their young ones and you can bet, at their social media accounts is not an image of them, but of their kids, or at least having their toddlers included in the photo (same with pets).  Others show anyone they meet (even in their avatars), pictures of their boat, car or motor home…  Folks, no one is interested in your motorhome, potential party guests (readers) want to see YOU or learn about you and not about your gadgets!

Other party guests are literally glued to their partner, like Siamese twins, they adore each other and show the whole world how much they are in love.  They barely have a conversation with someone else, but kiss and touch each other constantly.  Not sure why they came at all, maybe for the free drinks.

Some party guests are telling a lot about their private life: which diseases they survived, single parenthood they master etc. – not a party theme at all.  Would they tell the same if they are invited for an interview or a meeting with a potential publisher?
Shine at the Social Media party!  Be social!  And use the same photo at Social Media sites that you use or would use on your book’s cover: a professional one.  You want to introduce yourself as a serious writer.  Don’t show kids, lovers, gadgets or beer bottles in your photos.

You are at parties to have fun, including the big social media party, so be a good sport, be social with everyone and do represent your book business professionally. It’s a shop window for you and your books, even your business card… which you show there to total strangers, maybe agents, publishers, editors or to influential bloggers.

Which type of party guest / Social Media guests do you like best? Or who do you avoid?


American and British Book Reviewers


A beta reader once commented: “A great book – but some typos are distracting.”  She learned English as a second language in school – British English that is – but the book was written (for a US readership in mind) and edited in American English, using the Chicago Manual of style.  Book Reviewers, authors and editors in New Zealand, South Africa, Australia or Canada for example, have the same issue.
“England and America are two countries
separated by a common language”
~ George Bernard Shaw.

Differences in Vocabulary, Grammar and Spelling.
Wikipedia reports: The English language is the third most common native language in the world, after Mandarin and Spanish.  Despite noticeable variation among the accents and dialects of English used in different countries and regions – in terms of phonetics and phonology, and sometimes also vocabulary, grammar and spelling – English  is categorised (categorized) generally into two groups: British (BrE) and American (AmE).

English is either the official language or an official language in almost 60 sovereign states.  It is the most commonly spoken language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia.  Have a look at the many verbs that are differently written in this comparison at Spellzone:

… our endings change to or, such as humour (British) into humor (American)
… our endings change to er, such as theatre into theater, or centre into center
… ogue endings change to og, such as catalogue into catalog
L endings do not double in US spellings, such as travelled into traveled……. and the list goes on and on.
How the Language Evolved:
Because North America was settled in the late 17th century, American and Canadian English had time to diverge greatly from other varieties of English during centuries when transoceanic travel was slow.  Australian, New Zealand, and South African English, on the other hand, were settled in the 19th century, shortly before ocean-going steamships became commonplace, so they show close similarities to the English of South East England.  The English spoken in Ireland and Scottish English fall between these two groups.  Among varieties of English, it is especially American English that influences other languages.
Huge Differences in Spelling.
Many readers and writers are surprised to learn that there are huge differences in spelling between English-speaking countries. A book, written and published in the UK, needs almost to be “translated” into American English and vice versa.
Major Grammar Differences are:
Present Perfect
Past Simple/Past Participles
The Verb “get”
There are also some more subtle differences that might surprise visitors to Great Britain, especially those who have learnt American English.  Linguistics lecturer Dr Lynne Murphy rounds up ten of the subtler US/UK mis-communications. 

Add to this the local usage of words, e.g. trousers or pants? Juggernaut or 18-wheeler? Lift or elevator? Tube, underground or subway? Find more eye-opening differences in British / American vocabulary, for example:

autumn – fall
barrister – attorney
bill (restaurant) – check
bookshop – bookstore
biscuit – cookie
caravan – trailer
chemist’s shop – drugstore, pharmacy
chips – fries, French fries
cinema – movies
flat – apartment
coffin – casket
pavement – sidewalk
petrol – gas, gasoline
postbox – mailbox
rubbish – garbage, trash
sweets – candy
So, before you upbraid someone. or point out spelling “errors” have a look if it is not a British, Canadian or other English speaking individual or user of keyboards from these countries.

A person, for example, writing for newspapers in several countries has to adjust the writing for every article/country.  And then there are these not native English speakers…

My solution would be to place a note into each book, which English was used in the manuscript and editing. And also to let book reviewers know about it.
Read more about the differences between US and UK English:





Professional Publishing: How to Master Editorial Reviews

Browsing through print books in libraries, bookstores, or in your own book shelves at home, one thing stands out – compared to digital books in your eReader or on your computer screen: almost all of them have editorial reviews on the inside flap or the back matter.  These are often just excerpts from reviews, but most of the “reviewers” or “endorsers” are household names: bestselling authors or experts in the book’s genre.  You might ask: How can a book already have endorsements and reviews before it is even printed?

Trade publishers are setting up ARC’s (Advance Review Copies)  – often not even edited – and send them out to newspaper and magazine editors, librarians, bestselling authors in the same genre and influencers in the books category. They start 6-8 months before book launch to send out advance copies of the book in order to get reviews before printing and formatting it. Those early reviews are used for the book’s cover, for marketing purposes and certainly for sales pages at all online retailers. This is exactly what self-publishers can do too.

Editorial Reviews on Your Amazon Sales Page.
Let’s assume you have finished your manuscript and edited it. In order to obtain early reviews and endorsements,  just go to a digital printer (or copy studio) and get a couple of book print outs.  Send them out to the most influential writers, bloggers, reviewers, librarians, bestselling authors in your genre, and media people.  Use excerpts from the best reviews and add them to your book’s cover and marketing text – and your online retailer’s sales page under the section EDITORIAL REVIEWS.  In case you don’t have a print version of your book yet, only the e-book or audio-book version: placement of these reviews and endorsements at all sales pages is even more crucial!

Checking out the Amazon sales pages of one of our book marketing clients – a successful independent multi-book author – I discovered that on each of his book’s pages instead of the “Editorial Review” only a short description “About the author” was placed.  As there is already a section for an author bio on the page, he could have placed either or all of these:

  • Editorial Reviews (or parts of) from authors in the genre
  • Updated Book Description
  • An Author Message
  • Product Detail Page
  • From the Inside Flap
  • From the Back Cover
  • Magazine / Newspaper Reviews

How to Update Editorial Reviews.
The place for editorial reviews at Amazon for example is also a great opportunity to post reviews that are usually not accepted by Amazon “as you are related to the reviewer”, or if the review was an “exchange between colleagues”.  How to add a new editorial review is explained on Amazon’s Author Central help site:

  • Log in to Author Central.
  • Click the Books tab at the top of the page.
  • Click on the book you are updating editorial reviews for and select the applicable edition as each can be updated separately. Under Editorial Reviews, there are three possible links:
    If there is no review yet:
    Click Add and follow the instructions at the top of the Add review window to enter the text of the review.
    If you are entering a Review, you must also enter the review source. This is the name of the person who wrote the review and the name of the publication, website, or forum in which the review appeared.
    If you are entering From the Author, From the Inside Flap, From the Back Cover, you do not need to enter a source.
    Click Preview and review your entry.
    When you’re satisfied, click Save changes.
    If there is a review you can edit:
    Click Edit and make the desired changes to the text.
    Click Preview and review the entry.
    When you’re satisfied, click Save changes.
    If your review has been manually edited by Amazon in the past:
    we may ask you to send us your updates. In these cases, we will make the updates for you, and they will appear on the website within 5 days.
    Got a message that Your Content is Too Long?
    The character counts (including spaces) for Editorial Review fields are:
    Review—600 characters
    Product Description—2400 characters
    Words From the Author, From the Inside Flap, and From the Back Cover—8000 characters

What about Customer Reviews?
Customer Reviews are written by customers about your book. They can be found near the bottom of a product detail page and are NOT editorial reviews.
Pete Nikolai Provides the Following Advice:
“To make edits, you must first claim your Author Page and make sure your book is listed there so that it is clear that Amazon recognizes that you are the author.

_ click the link for the book on which you want to add editorial reviews
_ in the Review section, click the Add button
_ go to the site that has the review to select and copy it into memory
_ go to the Amazon page for editorial reviews of your book and paste as plain text in the text entry box (in Windows: right-click to select “Paste as plain text”)

On a paperback or hardcover: add one review at a time to avoid exceeding the 600 character limit for each review. On an ebook: you must add all reviews at one time and the character limit for all those reviews combined is 1,750 characters
_ edit the review to put the source after the review as per the Amazon Guidelines
_ click the Preview button
_ if review is acceptable then click the Save Changes button
_ if you have another review to add then click the Add button and continue through the steps again

If you have made any edits on the Amazon pages for both the print and ebook editions of your book then you will probably need to add the reviews on both editions too–just repeat the steps above to add each review on both editions. On the rare occasion that Amazon has made changes to a section, a “Request a Correction” button will be shown and you must click it and follow the instructions to have Amazon make the corrections you request.

You can add several “Editorial Reviews” and each one is important in confirming the quality of your book and removing a potential impediment to sales.

How to Set Up Your Amazon Author Central Account:
Amazon explains: once published, expect to receive an email from Kindle Direct Publishing announcing the news and inviting you to create your Amazon Author Central Account.  Note your book’s ASIN enclosed in the email.  You will need this to locate your book later and associate it to you as the author.  Just sign up for free accounts on both sites, and follow the instructions to set up your page:
Use all the Space Amazon Gives You:

  • Add a professional author photo & biography
  • Add all your books
  • Add videos (e.g. trailers for your books)
  • Add up to seven additional photos, e.g. you writing your books or scenes from your book
  • Add images or graphics from your books content
  • Add a biography – make sure to update it frequently
  • List events, such as book readings or book launches
  • Add your Twitter address so people can see your latest Tweet and easily follow you
  • Set up the “Search Inside/Look Inside” feature
  • Add an RSS feed, linking to your blog – a great way to get your blog in front of new people and encourage them to follow you.

View and edit the list of books you have written – the Amazon system doesn’t always get it right.  If you have written more than one book, it will link your titles together, and allow your readers to find all of your work.  Edit your product description and “about the author” section, add any professional reviews you have had.”
You need a separate account, (and also author pages) for each Amazon “country” where you sell your book: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, Germany, France, Japan etc. to reach your readers worldwide – and you have to do it separately for each country.
Be aware that the versions vary slightly.  You can also use an English version and one in the language of the country if you speak it or have a professional translation (not Google!).  Beside for Japan I was able to place it in each language on the pages for these countries.

Fazit: Before creating an author page, check out the ones from famous writers / publishers to see how it is professionally done.  There is a lot you can copy.  I am not saying that these sites are always perfect, but it will help you tremendously to avoid rookie errors.

Read more about creating a professional Amazon author page.


9 Tips What to Post on Social Media


Are you struggling to create daily numerous engaging “posts” on your Social Media sites?  Then you are not the only one on the search of great content.  We all want to stand out from our “competition”.  After all, people are on the Internet for one of two reasons: Either to solve a problem, or be entertained.  On the other hand, creating content for Social Media should not end up in stress.

In a former post I explained that blogs do not necessarily need to consist of written content, but also may be among others, videos, images, curated content, reposts etc. The same is true for Social Media content. How can you achieve this is explained in nine suggestions:

Your Blog’s Content.
Connect all your Social Media sites and use a scheduling program to post at the best times of the day.  It enables you to publish your message to all of your social media channels at once.  The time you save frees you to communicate with your followers.  Using your blog’s content lets you stand out among your peers and makes sure you have original content / messages that no one else posts.  Write posts that resonate with the things your audience cares most about.  Create a document or notepad and start listing your tweets and posts out of short sentences or headlines from your blog or website, add the URL – and voila! you just have created an archive that you can copy / paste and use forever.

News Content.
Ask questions and tease new stories to encourage people to comment and like.  Try to find news in your field that is interesting for your followers.  Avoid political and religious topics, as well as gossip.  Bookmark the best news sites and comb through them, using their sharing buttons to post on your Social Media sites to save time.  Then spend this time to interact with your followers on a personal level.  Relevant News provide something that is shareable, conversational, and engaging for Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.

Motivational Quotes.
One of the most popular forms of inspirational content are quotes.  Nearly everyone loves quotes!  And especially quotes with images.  Pinterest has helped to make them extremely popular.  Bestselling author Sean Gardner took it a step further: “I searched online for inspirational content from my supporters, and then started making image quotes with what they wrote and said.  I believe this is a powerful way for people to connect online.  The greater the diversity of positive, empowering statements, the greater the diversity of people sharing those points of views. ”

Interact with Followers.
Are you a good party guest at the big Social Media party?  Are you commenting or asking questions?  Are you thanking your followers?  Invite conversation by asking your followers’ opinions on topics, or asking them to tell you what sorts of content they would appreciate.  Everybody likes being asked, and fans and followers feel extra-appreciated when you fulfill these desires. It’s all about conversation, that’s why it is called Social Media networking.

Videos and Slide Shows.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and creating a short video is very easy these days.  Load it up to YouTube or any other video sharing site and post the URL for your video frequently on your Social Media sites.  On most of them visitors can click it directly to watch your content – and generates almost double the amount of visitors / views and attracts more content and likes or plusses on Google+.  The same is true for slideshares.

When you are scrolling through the feeds on any social network, what’s the first thing to catch your eye?  I bet images!  No question, photos are THE most popular Social Media tool, and more appealing than text only.  Even if you are not a professional photographer you can use fantastic photos on Social Media – for free.  We listed several sources for free photos you can use on Social Media in former blog posts.  Photos generate more re-tweets and likes, but keep in mind that attaching an image to a Twitter post takes up approximately 11 of your characters.

Promote or Re-Blog other Posts.
Retweets are a great way to get more followers.  By retweeting something that links to a website or blog, you are doing a service to the website mentioned and the person who originally tweeted the article!  Social Media is all about networking.  Re-tweeting is a very important part of this.

Polls and Surveys.
Most Social Media sites offer this option automatically.  What could be a question for a poll or survey?  You could ask your readers for example which one of the book covers for your next thriller or non-fiction book they like best.  Survey Monkey offers a free program that allows you to create a survey in minutes with our intuitive web based tool.  PollSnack offers a similar program.
Wepolls.com shows in a YouTube video how it works on their site.

For a photo contest, you can encourage users to submit their own photos and videos in order to win a really attractive prize. Another possibility would be to organize a “pay with a tweet’ contest to win a free book.  In an earlier blog we explained how fast and easy it is to set it up.  Don’t forget to highlight your contest winners in several posts later on.



How does Google Adwords Work?

Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches / year worldwide. There is barely a better place to advertise one might assume.
What is Google AdWords?
It is a pay per click (PPC) advertising on Google – or just paid advertising. The way it works is simple:

  • People use keywords (or search terms) to search for specific products and services.
  • If the keywords you have chosen matches what people search for, your paid ad appears next to or above organic Google search results.
  • When people click on your ad, they will go to your website to learn more or they will order your product or service.

Keywords and Other Ad Rank Factors:
Every time a search term, phrase or keyword is put into Google’s search engine, a virtual ad auction takes place in a millisecond. This ad auction determines the order of how the most relevant ads will be organized on the search results page.
For example, if you are bidding US$10 for the keyword “Richmond Nurseries” and your competitor is bidding US$20 for the same keyword, your competitor’s ad wouldn’t necessarily be ranked above yours.

You can test your keywords and phrases with WordTracker, Overture Keyword Selector or Google AdWords Keyword – tools that can help you understand the relative traffic you can expect from a phrase, as well as related phrases that might be used.

Google takes into account several factors
when determining the ad rank:

If your Google AdWord campaigns generally have a higher click-through-rate than your competitor’s, the probability of your ad being clicked is higher, and accordingly, your ad would be placed above the competitor’s.

Google takes into account – or better said, their algorithm is judging the quality of your website and the landing page to which you are directing the paid traffic. If your sites are more relevant to the search query than your competitor’s, the user experience would be much higher for your ad than your competitor’s, and your ad would be placed above theirs.  See, how important a professional platform and web presence is!

Lots of Targeting Choices.
Google AdWords allows you to target specific geographic locations. For each ad campaign, you can select locations where your ad can be shown, such as entire countries, areas within a country, cities, territories, or even a radius around a location. But there is more:

  • AdWords has over 40 language options for campaign targeting.
  • AdWords allows advertisers to select specific hours during the day for optimal targeting.
  • Enhanced campaigns allow advertisers to target mobile device users. Mobile consumption of information and mobile search queries are growing exponentially each month.

Benefits of Google AdWords.
It’s very easy to measure your return on investment (ROI).  You only pay when someone clicks on your ad (i.e. you pay per click), visits your website, calls you, and you decide how much you want to spend: $5 or $5,000…

No visitors, no clicks – no fee, you pay only for results!
In other words, when your advertising is working.  You set your own budget, so your costs will depend on what you are trying to accomplish with advertising.

Google AdWords are a measurable, accountable, and flexible way to advertise. You can see how your ads are doing at any time by logging into your Google AdWords account. You can tweak your ads, try new search terms, pause your campaign and re-start whenever you like, for free.  Your business gets found by people on Google precisely when they are searching for the things that you offer.

AdWords campaigns might also give you interesting insights into your competition.  Set up Google Alerts, not only for yourself, but also for all of our competitors to know what they are up to.  Other resources you can use to dig up information on your competitors: Compete.com, or KeywordSpy.com.


2nd Part of Test Yourself – How Professional are You Publishing?



Here is another example of how poorly publishers often treat their author’s presence, this time a small publisher in Kelowna, BC, Canada.  Statement on their website: “Initially a small kitchen-table operation, the company has grown over the past 30 years to become one of Canada’s most respected independent, ecumenical Protestant publishers, with approximately 200 titles in print.”
Well, I believe, they are still at the “small kitchen-table operation” status, or even worse… See how unprofessional they created the sales page of one of their authors at Amazon (BTW: a fantastic book, I read the print version at a friends place – and I am feeling sorry for the author) :

This publishing company did not even
create an authors page at Amazon! 

They totally omitted this great free marketing and SEO tool. Instead they placed “About the Author” under “Editorial Reviews”, a rookie mistake!  Even worse, if this comes from a “30 year old” publishing company!

Editorial Reviews
About the Author
<P class=MsoNormal style=”MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt”><SPAN lang=EN-US>Lee Simpson was the first female publisher<I style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”> Chatelaine – Canada’s most successful women’s lifestyles magazine. As such, Lee worked contentedly as one of the primary voices in marketing to women for 20 years. Her year of buying nothing was documented by <I style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>The United Church Observer to help spread this message.<?xml:namespace prefix = “o” ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” ><o:p></o:p></SPAN>

I have never seen such a poorly set-up Amazon sales page at a self-publisher’s site, as this one here by a trade publisher!

No matter who’s fault it is, (the publishers or a glitch by Amazon, a publisher (or self-publisher) should periodically check their online presence in order to show a professional appearance to their potential readers and book purchasers.

Oh, and BTW, it’s not a matter of funds to have someone look after the marketing: This publisher is, like many other publishers in Canada, funded by the Government as well as by the province of British Columbia!  See the official acknowledgements in their print and digital books.  Benefit of being a publisher in Canada…

Check Your Own Self-Publishing, Using this Questionnaire:

  1. Did you find ways to recommend books of your writer friends on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks etc?  And convince them to do the same for you?  YES / NO

  2. Did you buy your own ISBN (to officially be your own publisher)?  YES / NO
  3. Do you list your book for pre-orders at least 3 months in advance (Amazon) or 12 months on iBooks?  YES / NO
  4. Did you plan Giveaways for your print and e-book via Goodreads (print) and LibraryThing (for e-books)?  YES / NO
  5. How are you planning to promote your Giveaways?  YES / NO
  6. Do you utilize the FREE Event feature on Google+ and Goodreads for Giveaways, book signings, your book launch?  YES / NO

  7. How many reader and writer forums did you join?  YES / NO
  8. Did you use every possibility to add friends to Goodreads?  YES / NO
  9. Did you use Goodreads’ “Share This Book” feature?  YES / NO
  10. Did you connect your blog with your Goodreads page?  YES / NO
  11. Did you already join LinkedIn (over 300 million members) – even if you do not need a job?  YES / NO

  12. Do you know how to import your LinkedIn contacts to Google+?  YES / NO

  13. Do you have hundreds of LinkedIn connections?  YES / NO

  14. Did you create and promote your book via book trailers?

  15. Do you know the tools on the web to help with basic keyword research?  YES / NO

  16. Do you plan a “book-cover-reveal” for your next title?  YES / NO
  17. If you had book signings already, did you take a video about it?  YES / NO
  18. Did you establish a monthly email newsletter for your readers?  YES / NO
  19. Did you create a magnificent book cover?  YES / NO
  20. Are you sure you have the “right” price for your book?  YES / NO
  21. Do you know the “reputation of numbers” in foreign countries?  YES / NO
  22. Do you have the perfect title to ensure the success of your book?  YES / NO
  23. Do you work hard on getting lots of reviews before book launch?  YES / NO
  24. Did you sent out “Advanced Review Copies” of your book?  YES / NO
  25. Do you write lots of book reviews to get the good karma returned?  YES / NO
  26. Do you use several beta readers before the manuscript goes to editing?  YES / NO
  27. Do you use at least two proof readers before the book’s launch?  YES / NO
  28. Do you know what line editing, copy editing and content editing means?  YES / NO
  29. Do you have a profession book layouter for your print version?  YES / NO
  30. Did you or your formatter create a “Table of Contents (TOC) with links to your chapters?  YES / NO
  31. Did you take advantage of hyperlinks in your e-book?  YES / NO
  32. Did you install review links at the last page of your e-book?  YES / NO
  33. Did you install an opt-in link for your email newsletter?  YES / NO
  34. Did you list your author page on all your books?  YES / NO
  35. Do you have a link to your social media sites in your book?  YES / NO
  36. Did you install re-tweet buttons in your e-book?  YES / NO
  37. Do you use the last pages of your book to promote former or future books?  YES / NO
  38. Did you implement pre-worded tweets in your e-book?  YES / NO
  39. Did you create an audiobook as well?  YES / NO
  40. Did you include the sales tax into e-books in foreign countries?  YES / NO
  41. Do you plan a translation of your books into Spanish, French, German, Cantonese, or Russian?  YES / NO
  42. Do you pitch radio / TV stations for an author interview?  YES / NO
  43. Do you write articles for a local newspaper?  YES / NO
  44. Do you diversify, selling your book at several online retailers?  YES / NO
  45. Do you work on getting your book into libraries?  YES / NO
  46. Are you demonstrating the quality of your book to librarians?  YES / NO
  47. Do you work on getting your books into retail bookstores as a “local author”?  YES / NO
  48. Did you “bundle” your books or create box-sets?  Two or more e-books, or one e-book and one print book?  YES / NO
  49. Do you participate regularly in writing contests?  YES / NO
  50. Did you discount your first book before launching a new one?  YES / NO

How many of these questions could you answer with YES?To implement all these steps and for even more tips read:
111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for free

For more motivation read the author of “Wool” Hugh Howey’s article “So You Want to be a Writer…



Test Yourself – How Professional are You Publishing? Part 1


Just yesterday I wrote a short blog article about Charles Kaiser, mentioning several interesting books of this American Bestseller author, and even watched a video of one of his many interviews he had on national TV.  When I checked out his Amazon and his Goodreads pages however, I was shocked by the unprofessional appearances…

But it is NOT his Fault!
His publisher, one of the largest in the world, one of the “Big Five” is responsible for this disaster.  They establish the author’s presence to the public, they have the login data, and won’t give their authors access.  However, most, if not all publishers – no exception if large or small trade publishers – need URGENTLY boot-camp-like training on how to build an author platform and how to market books in the 21st century. It was not the first time that I have seen such improper author pages. Hey Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre and HarperCollins: L.I.S.T.E.N…  Don’t embarrass your authors and their readers!

Self-Publishing Authors Know Better.
In contrast, an hour later, I checked out the online presence of a bestselling self-publishing author with only two books so far and was surprised how professional and appealing her platform is.  She implemented just about every step and everything a perfect author presence needs.  There are dozens, maybe hundred small steps, many of them need just a minute to set up.  This was when I got the idea to set up this test / questionnaire.

Are You Ready to Answer these Questions?
… and add up your “YES” answers at the end of this little test. Don’t worry, no one is seeing your answers, and how favourable you compare. The test needs to be split in two parts as there are so many test questions.  Today’s questions are regarding your author platform, and the next one will be about the publishing process and your sales efforts.  I think it’s a great way to see what you have already achieved – and where there is room for improvement. Ready? Here it goes:

  1. Do you have a well-defined “target-audience” for your book(s) YES / NO
  2. Do you sell your book on more than two online retailer sites YES / NO
  3. Do you post regularly (at least once a week) in your blog or your website YES / NO
  4. Did you count / make a list of all keywords in your manuscript YES / NO
  5. Do you use at least 3 links in each of your blog posts / web pages YES / NO
  6. Is your website / blog mobile-friendly created YES / NO
  7. Do you have an appealing “About the Author” page / Author Bio site YES / NO
  8. Do you have a sign-up form on your blog/website for an email newsletter YES / NO
  9. Do you have a sales page for each of your books on your website/blog YES / NO
  10. Did you include testimonials or review snippets from happy readers YES / NO
  11. Did you place Share and Follow buttons on your website/blog YES / NO
  12. Do you write regularly guest posts for “high-traffic” book blogs YES / NO
  13. Did you submit your blog to Blog Directories YES / NO
  14. Do you post regularly at Google+ reader/book-lover communities YES / NO
  15. Did you analyze your webpage speed scores with Gtmetrix.com YES / NO
  16. Do you use an attractive, professional author photo at all online sites YES / NO
  17. Do you have a free “about.me” website as virtual “business card” YES / NO
  18. Did you set up your Online Bookstore at your website YES / NO
  19. Did you create an Amazon author page for each country you sell books YES / NO
  20. Did you place editorial reviews to your Amazon sales page YES / NO
  21. Did you use the best-ranking keywords in Amazon’s categories YES / NO
  22. Do you have at least 2,000 followers on Google+, Twitter and GR YES / NO
  23. Do you post regularly blog articles on LinkedIn and Google+ YES / NO
  24. Did you contact at least 10 book reviewers last week / month YES / NO
  25. Did you find Beta Readers / Book Reviewers 3 months before launch YES / NO
  26. Do you ask your reviewers to place Amazon Reviews worldwide YES / NO
  27. Do you ask your readers at the end of the book for reviews YES / NO
  28. Do you place all your online sites / social media links in your book YES / NO
  29. Do you have an email newsletter signup in your ebooks YES / NO
  30. Do you use “Click-to-Tweet” in your books and your website YES / NO
  31. Do you network with book bloggers YES / NO
  32. Do you use social media scheduling site (Hootsuite, Futuretweet etc) YES / NO
  33. Did you create ONE sales link to ALL Amazon “countries” YES / NO
  34. Did you connect ALL your social media sites YES / NO
  35. Are you signed up in at least 10 online reader communities YES / NO
  36. Do you post your book events on free events at Goodreads, Google+ YES / NO
  37. Did you post a “pinned tweet” into your Twitter timeline YES / NO
  38. Did you “feed” your blog to your Goodreads page YES / NO

How Many YES Answers did you Count?

These were questions, more related to your platform.  The next blog will contain “test” questions related to the publishing process. If you like to learn more about each one of these functions, just type the keyword into the search function on the right upper side of this post and get lots of info and tips through the articles that show up – or get our latest ebook:



THE Best Place to Find Your Readers


Do you still wonder where you can find new readers for your books? THE best place is good old Goodreads.  It has more than 27 million users who join Goodreads to learn more about books and their authors.  Do not forget the ten-thousands of communities and groups for every kind of literature one can think of, as well as discussion groups, and book clubs on Goodreads.
As a Goodreads member – no matter if writer or reader – you can post your own reviews and catalog the books that you have read, that you are currently reading, or plan to read in the future – exactly what almost every Goodreads member does.
Use Goodreads to Learn About Interested Readers:
You might have used already Goodreads’ Giveaway feature, had hundreds of people applying for a free copy of your print book. The great benefit with these giveaways is not only the opportunity to receive reviews, but also to see who wanted to get and read your book. Check your giveaway page several times a week and immediately follow these readers on their Goodreads site (and on social media, if they post it on their Goodreads site).

Follow Your Giveaway Applicants.
Sure there will be some members who are only chasing free books and enter lots of giveaways.  But the majority is at least interested in your genre and your book.  After the giveaway ended, send them a message through your Goodreads email.  Thank them for entering the Giveaway, and ask them if they might be interested in a free e-book version as a consolation prize.  In order to send your e-book to them via Amazon or as a PDF or ePub version from your files, they need to give you their email address.

Meeting Readers via Book Shelves.
Goodreads ‘Book Shelves’ are another way to find your potential readers.  You know for sure who are the bestseller authors in your genre.  Go to their book’s Goodreads site and find all people who ‘shelved” (added) their book, then scroll down and see exactly who “marked it as to-read”.  Follow these readers on Goodreads, on their blogs, websites or their social media appearances, and connect with them online. You might also send them an invitation to your next virtual book launch through Goodreads or Google+.

Readers who ‘shelved’ your own book to their Goodreads page will automatically receive a message once you start a book giveaway.

Join Reader Forums at Goodreads.
Do you realize how many writer forums and groups are on Goodreads? Just go to the top of each page and click on “Groups”. A new page opens and shows “Recently Active Groups”, “Featured Groups”, “Goodreads Author Groups”, and so on.  On the right-hand side of the page you will find “Browse by Tag”.  This is where all the groups are listed by over 1,000 keywords.  For example:

  • Book Club
  • Historical Fictionistas
  • Non-Fiction
  • Young Adult Book Groups
  • Suspense
  • Super-Natural
  • The Perks Of Being A Book Addict

As you can see, when you scroll down on the right-hand side, there are ten-thousands of groups: Books & Literature (26598) Business (1393) Entertainment & Arts (2222) Friends & Common Interest (6914) Geography (490) Goodreads Authors (2535) Just for Fun (22709) Organizations (3365) Student Groups (6129).

There is even a group that encourages Author-Publishers (Indies) to promote their books – a rarity at Goodreads, where obvious self-promotion is not well received otherwise.
These groups are a hidden gem, helping readers and reviewers to meet. Almost all are public groups.  Anyone can join and invite others to join. However, it is not a place to blatantly tout your books, with the exception that I just mentioned.  Goodreads explains it as follows:

“Authors are welcomed and Goodreads supports authors in many ways, but the groups are primarily geared towards readers.  Authors should join and participate in the group as a reader first.”  Once you are known in these forums, your author site will be known and your books will automatically be read – and often reviewed.  Do not miss to join this group, where writers and book reviewers meet.
As you can see, with a little bit creativity you can find out who are your actual and your potential readers. Goodreads is just one example, there are many other reader communities, such as LibraryThing, Wattpad or Shelfari and social media places to meet your readers.


If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also“111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free”

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