The Author Friendly Blog

YOUR CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING PRODUCTS, TOOLS, AND SERVICES

Kevin Tumlinson is Marketing Director at Draft2Digital and a prolific and best-selling author of thrillers. Draft2Digital was founded in 2012 to provide an easy way to format and distribute your ebook.

One of D2D’s recent partnerships is with Bibliotheca, which extends their reach to libraries, a market overlooked by many self-publishers. Find out why it’s a great way to increase discoverability, about the mechanics of how ebook licenses get delivered and purchased by libraries, how the cost per checkout model (CPC) model allows as many patrons who want the book to check it out at the same time, and about the potential to make a lot more money by distributing to libraries.

We discuss the importance of audiobooks, too which Tumlinson says is “the new frontier” of book publishing because the market isn’t yet saturated. Draft2Digital has a partnership with Findaway Voices to help you get that process started.

Author pages also come up in our conversation, and not just your Amazon Central Author page but your free author page from Draft2Digital’s sister site Books2Read. Even if you haven’t published using Draft2Digital, you can use Books2Read author page, book page, and universal book link. A universal book link creates a single trackable link that shows readers where it’s sold. See an example: The Girl in the Mayan Tomb by Kevin Tumlinson.

Other features that I think you’ll find interesting are the automated front and end matter, including the Contents and the Also By page, and their book formatting tool that Tumlinson says is their “own version of Vellum” but for both Mac and Windows, with templates that output both ebook and print book formats.

The author of more than 30 books, Tumlinson talks from both sides of the author-aggregator equation, and I know you’ll benefit from his insights.

Christine “Chrissy” Munroe is Director of Kobo Writing Life, a digital self-publishing platform from Rakuten Kobo who partnered with Walmart to provide Walmart eBooks and a co-branded app. (See my blog post Walmart eBooks takes on Amazon Kindle: What does it mean for authors?)

Before joining Rakuten Kobo, Munroe was a foreign book scout and literary agent in New York.

So why should an author go direct with Kobo (and the other retailers) rather than use an aggregator to distribute their ebooks? The answers are personal, says Munroe, and you’ll find out that with Kobo you don’t just get direct to Kobo; you get personal feedback from their in-house marketing staff, you get your ebook in independent bookstores via the American Booksellers Association, an opportunity to distribute to libraries with Overdrive (also owned by Rakuten) with a more favorable royalty split then going through an aggregator, and many more perks we’ll explore in the podcast.

After hearing this conversation, you may end up deciding to upload your book directly to the big five (Amazon, Kobo, Apple, B&N, and Google Play) rather than reaching these sales channels with an aggregator.

If you own your book (ISBNs) you can easily make the switch and experiment. There are definitely pros and cons, which you already realize if you’ve listened to the podcast episodes with the aggregators (Smashwords, StreetLib, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, Scribl).

We also discuss marketing opportunities with libraries, how merchandising among Kobo, libraries, and aggregators work, the Walmart eBookstore experience for customers, and the Kobo Plus subscription program for the Netherlands and Belgium with bol.com and how English-language authors can reach this market (and why you’d want to).

Also find out about their partnerships with Reedsy, Damonza, NetGalley, and others that help authors with editing, design, formatting, and marketing.

PublishDrive is an ebook aggregator that serves self-publishers and small presses. The company is based in New York City and Budapest, Hungary. Kinga Jentetics is co-founder and CEO of the company, which competes favorably with other aggregators in distribution, royalties, reporting, analytics, and an easy-to-use author-publisher interface.

PublishDrive made a recent deal with Chinese e-commerce giant Dangdang to sell English-language ebooks, which gives your ebook access to a readership with enormous growth. We discuss the Chinese market and other emerging markets for English-language ebooks, which I think you’ll find enlightening and may cause you to aim to toward growing your platform in those directions.

The company makes use of new tech like artificial intelligence (AI) to inspect your book for formatting errors and copyright infringements and this also includes review by one of their staff for a quality end product.

We also talk about other partnerships with online retailers, marketing and merchandising tools, and how featured books are chosen.

Jentetics got the idea for the company as she struggled to publish her master’s thesis on how music influences the perception of a country. She gathered together a tech team and has grown the platform with the help of a Google Developers launchpad grant

Best Page Forward is a book description copywriting service for authors founded by Bryan Cohen in June 2015. Since then they’ve provided over 1200 book descriptions for authors like you.

He’s published over 40 books, which have been downloaded over half a million times. His books include How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis and five novels in The Viral Superhero Series.

Book descriptions are one of those things most authors find difficult to do… or difficult to do well. It’s not our fault! We’re good at writing, and copywriting is a completely different skillset. It’s sales and marketing! Authors who hire it out or know how to write strong sales copy get more book reviews, write better ads, find more subscribers, recruit additional fans, and sell more books.

Bryan can teach you how to write book descriptions as well as Facebook and Amazon ads that sell your book, or you can just hire the BPF team to do it for you.

In this episode, you’ll find out how it’s done, what’s a hook, how to state the conflict, the magic of keywords and other metadata, secrets for getting your book in more Amazon categories, the selling paragraph, and many other book discovery and marketing techniques.

Listen here or subscribe on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Show Notes

Best Page Forward website

Free cheat sheet on writing better blurbs

Selling for Authors Facebook Group

Bryan Cohen’s Author Podcaster Coach page

The Sell More Books Show podcast with Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral

Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Author Page

Pressbooks is a formatting and design tool for your books with a set of themes you can choose from to create a book interior very quickly and easily.

It’s based on WordPress that creates all the formats you ever need – PDF for print, EPUB, MOBI, and other more geeky formats –  from a single source so you’re ready to publish using Amazon, IngramSpark, Smashwords, or any other publishing or distribution tool.

Liz and I talk about Word styles, themes, imports, customization, publishing to your website, creating lead magnets, creating books from blogs, and adding interactive elements like audio and video, which I didn’t know about until our conversation and I fully intend to use.

So far I’ve used Pressbooks to collaborate, publish, and update books. I recommend it all the time and I think you’ll probably consider using it after hearing this conversation.

By the way, especially listen for a special offer for 25% off Pressbooks during our conversation. Also, please check the AuthorFriendly.com website for links and show notes.

Listen here or subscribe on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Show notes

Pressbooks website

Pressbooks YouTube Channel

Consumer’s Guide for Self-Publishers

Greg Ioannou was using the book crowdfunding platform PubSlush to help fund books at Iguana Books, his hybrid publishing company until it closed in 2015. He reimagined the platform as PubLaunch with both crowdfunding and a marketplace to not only serve Iguana Books but the larger author-publisher community.

Listen and learn about hybrid publishing, how to recruit a quality publishing team, and what it takes to crowdfund a book. Other PubLaunch features, including the supplier marketplace, will be launched later in 2018. You’ll hear about that, too, and some surprising facts they discovered when putting editors through a qualification test.

Meantime, check out their learning center, especially if you are are considering crowdfunding your book. Not considering crowdfunding? Maybe you should. Listen here or subscribe on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Show notes

PubLaunch

The PubLaunch Blog

PubLaunch on LinkedIn

PubLaunch on Facebook

PubLaunch on Twitter

Become a supplier

Start crowdfunding

Crowdfunding 101

Iguana Books hybrid publishing company

Colborne Communications professional editing and publishing services company

Smashwords began in 2008 as the first ebook distribution company for self-publishers and remains the world’s leading ebook platform. I’ve known Mark now for a decade and have watched his journey as Smashwords has evolved not only to help authors get your books distributed to the online retailers but to market your ebooks with features like the series manager, asset-less preorders, author interviews, coupon codes, special deals, and audiobooks. You’ll learn about all these features in our conversation and also how to use Smashwords to create your book in all the different file formats.

Find, listen, and review the podcast on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Links:

smashwords.com

blog.smashwords.com – subscribe to Mark’s blog

The Smart Author Podcast guides writers step-by-step from the very basics of ebook publishing to more advanced topics, all with an eye toward helping authors make their books more discoverable, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers. This podcast is for all experience levels.

@markcoker on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Mark’s HuffPost column

Mark’s Publisher’s Weekly column

In this episode, I talk with AC de Fombelle about the StreetLib ebook and print book creation and distribution platform. StreetLib can help you create plain ebooks in EPUB format and fixed-layout EPUBs from a PDF doc. You can sell your book in the StreetLib store, on your own StreetLib author page (with your logo), and create a curated bookstore from the other books on StreetLib. They provide an HTML widget so you can sell direct to customers from your StreetLib store (where you get higher royalties) from your own website. There’s also a marketplace where you can find editors, designers, and translators. You’ll find out about their partnership with the Babelcube translation service and how to reach markets that don’t have Amazon.com.

Find, listen, and review the podcast on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Links

streetlib.com

AC de Fombelle’s blog on Medium

@streetlib on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

This week’s talk is with Colin Highbie, Chairman of Scribliotech, Inc. about ebook marketing with CrowdPricing, Story Elements, and audiobooks. Scribl is an ebook creation, publishing, and aggregation service with some very innovative marketing features. One of those is called CrowdPricing ($CP), which helps authors attract more readers by allowing reviews to determine the price of the book. Another is called Story Elements, which lets you categorize your book in a more granular way so readers can find stories with the elements they like to read about. You’ll learn how to upload your book to the platform, how it works, how the $CP system works on their platform and across the online retailer sites.

Find, listen, and review the podcast on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Links

scribl.com

@scribliotech on Facebook, Twitter

Scribl on LinkedIn

Colin Higbie on Facebook

 

BetaBooks solves the problem of managing comments from your critique partners and early readers by centralizing them in this easy-to-use online platform. In this episode, co-founder Paul Kilpatrick and I talk about the different ways to use the platform and how beta readers are essential to your book and author marketing. You’ll learn how gathering a loyal fan base at the very beginning of your writing career can make the journey to publication a less lonely one and much more effective when it comes time to launch your book.

Find it on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Links

betabooks.co

@betabooksdotco on Facebook and Twitter

The How Authors Work podcast