Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Open Appeal To Draft2Digital, StreetLib, Smashwords, Pronoun, PublishDrive, Xin-Xii Et Al – Help Us Indies Benefit Fully From Your Partner Stores!

Why do our distributors keep their core customers in the dark about their  reach?

Between the various pay-as-you-sell aggregators we indie authors have some very impressive global reach.

Pay-up-front aggregators like Bookbaby and Ebook Partnership still offer some outlets the free-to-upload operators do not – Ingram, Copia, etc.

But the gap is narrowing. Smashwords and PublishDrive will now get us into Gardners and Odilo. StreetLib will get us into BajaLibros and Nubleer. All three will get us into Tolino. Draft2Digital and StreetLib will get us into 24Symbols, etc, etc.

Smashwords has some great outlets others don’t – Baker & Taylor Libraries, Baker & Taylor’s Blio, for example.

But for most indies these stores are just meaningless names that deliver no results and are therefore considered inconsequential to our interests.

Who knows anything of Baker & Taylor or Tolino or Odilo or Gardners? For most Smashwords users these are just names in the dashboard, nothing more.

Odilo now gets us into the Philippines and Odilo and Gardners recently partnered, but apart from a mention of Odilo on the Smashwords blog late last year, which was copy-pasted from an out of date Odilo press release (the Philippines reach was already extant, but Smashwords reported Odilo’s reach in “three continents”, blissfully unaware Odilo was already operational in Asia), there is no data of value available on the Smashwords site about Odilo.

Dan Wood at Draft2Digital, Anne-Catherine de Fombelle at StreetLib – same applies to you guys – how many of your regular users know how many countries 24Symbols or Tolino reaches? Where can they find the Tolino stores to see if their books are listed?

Antonio Tombolini at StreetLib, and Kinga Jentetics PublishDrive, you guys have a simply wonderful selection of global outlets in the dashboard that an internationalist geek like me can stare lovingly at all day, but for most indies and newcomers to StreetLib or PublishDrive, who knows anything at all about most of them?

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The Two CreateSpaces. CreateSpace Pro for Publishers and CreateSpace Lite for Indies.

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Amazon Print-On-Demand? Meet CreateSpace Pro. Is POD-Select Exclusivity On the Cards?

During the Amazon-Hachette spat one of Amazon’s tactics was to push for Hachette and other publishers to use Amazon’s POD system, making sure all books were perma-available.

Needless to say Hachette didn’t go down this route, but rest assured trad pub big and small is looking closely at, and investing in, what we loosely call POD, and as the costs come down so more and more print production will shift to this model.

It’s a bizarre irony that the technology supposedly killing print will end up being its saviour. More on that in another post.

Here to take a look at Amazon Print On Demand and how it differs from CreateSpace.

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Would You Say No To 90%+ Royalties? Maybe You Already Are.

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D2C and 96% Royalties. Get Started Direct2Consumer With Shopify Lite.

Shopify just deposited £9.58 in my bank.

Nothing to get excited about on its own, but when you consider it was for a five-ebook package, each individually selling at £1.99 (GBP) on Amazon, it gets more interesting.

On Amazon those five (children’s) books would have cost the buyer £1.99 x 5 = £9.95. I sell them as a pack of five (not a box set – some people prefer individual titles because they are easier to navigate and to share among the children) for a clean £10.

On Amazon each sale would net me 35% of the £1.99 each, sixty days after the end of the month in which the sale was made. That’s 0.70 a shot x 5 making a total royalty for the five books of £3.50 coming to me. Amazon would have taken £6.50 for brokering the deal.

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How many paperbacks and audio-books will you sell this Christmas?

Christmas Quick Tips → Diversity → Promoting Multiple Formats

I’m delighted, but not at all surprised, to hear how many indies are reporting increasing percentages of their revenue is coming from formats other than ebooks.

With the recent slump in ebook sales on Amazon, now pretty much confirmed by the latest Author Earnings Report, many indies are even reporting revenue from “other formats” is exceeding their ebook revenue.

And it begs the question – would that percentage be even higher if we took time out to take format diversity seriously?

Yes, I know, we indies sell more ebooks than any other format, therefore we should focus on ebooks, blah, blah, blah.

But as I’ve said many times, this is an artificial construction. A corner we have painted ourselves into.

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Wattpad’s Global Data Mine

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Are you making the best of Wattpad’s data tools?

Wattpad is, increasingly, a valuable tool to get actual sales, and I’ll be looking at some of Wattpad’s new sales-orientated features over coming weeks.

But for me Wattpad is most valuable for its global reach and its data.

Take the image above. Obviously this is an inert screenshot, but the original in my Wattpad data dashboard is interactive and a click on each of the highlighted countries will tell me what percentage of my readers are coming from each country.

Wattpad will also break down my readers by gender and by age group, and a lot more besides.

  • This map shows me that for this particular title some 25% of my Wattpad readership is in the US. More than I would have expected, but then this is an English-language title.
  • The UK accounts for 11% and Canada and Australia account for 3% each.

But what matters to me with Wattpad is reaching the rest of the world and, again bearing in mind this is an English-language title, the stats are both revealing and occasionally surprising.

  • In Europe I’m finding readers in Germany and Austria. Surprisingly no traction yet elsewhere in Europe.
  • 10% of my Wattpad readers for this title are in India. That’s very useful to know as I really hadn’t considered India a likely market for this particular book. And 2% in neighbouring Pakistan and 1.5% in Sri Lanka.

But then come the real surprises.

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Digital Libraries – Our Best Bet For International Reach

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I’ve covered the value of OverDrive and like digital library suppliers many times here, but it’s worth revisiting once more in mind OverDrive’s presence at the Beijing Book Fair last week.

From the OverDrive blog: (LINK)

“Over the last several years, OverDrive has made a significant investment to increase the amount of global content available for our library and school partners. We now offer 35,000+ Chinese titles from over 500 publishers in our online catalog, Marketplace, both in the U.S. and internationally. Additionally, Marketplace now features hundreds of thousands of titles from publishers in 63 countries and we add new titles each month in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese as well as Japanese, German, Spanish, Polish and many more languages. Titles include bestselling eBooks and audiobooks written in the native language as well as titles translated from English.”

But it’s not just about selling Chinese content in China. it’s about selling Chinese and other foreign language content globally.
From the Over Drive blog again, taking Chinese titles as an example,

“Libraries have responded by creating curated collections of community language content. Toronto Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library and Seattle Public Library all provide examples of digital collections featuring thousands of Chinese titles.”

This is where the true value of digital libraries for foreign-language content lies for us internationalist indies: accessing ex-pat and immigrant communities around the world that still want to read in their home language. Continue reading

James Patterson Book Shots, Sachet Marketing and the Perils of the Look Inside Feature.

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I follow James Patterson with interest – not so much for the reading as for the presentation and innovation.

Patterson didn’t get to be the world’s biggest-selling author – bigger than Rowling –by hiding his books away from public view and sticking to safe bet formats.

His latest Book Shots project – titles of approx. 150 pages written for the new world of mobile consumers – is designed to chase reluctant readers for whom a full length title of 300 or 500 pages is a daunting prospect.

Stories at the speed of life, as they are cleverly branded.

But he takes that one step further still with his Dead Heat Book Shot, which with perfect timing is set in the Rio 2016 Olympics and released to coincide. And this is a 150 page standard Book Shot delivered in four parts, of just 35-40 pages each, and in the UK retailing at just 49p (a full Book Shot retails at £1.99 GBP).

Whatever we may think of the actual writing, we have to admire the packaging, marketing and timing.

Yes, we can all find things to complain about in the storylines, but Patterson isn’t pretending to be Shakespeare.

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The Thirty Minute Upload Workout – Going Wide Needn’t Be A Chore.

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And no, despite the image, this is not a self-promo Buy My Book post!

When it comes to finding the path of least resistance we indies have it down to a fine art.

Even though all logic dictates that, unless we have a sweetheart deal with a retailer, being available as widely as possible is the best long-term career move we can make, it seems many indies will nonetheless convince ourselves it’s all soooo much effort that we’re better off just signing up to Select and crossing our fingers.

NB: This isn’t an anti-Select post. Select is a great tool and used wisely can bring its own rewards, but we should never chose an option simply because it’s quick and easy, or because we see big-name authors doing well in Select but who may well have special deals like White Glove, etc that are why they are doing so well when so many regular indies are not.

Especially when it’s so quick and easy to go from being just in Amazon’s dozen stores to being in 400-500 stores worldwide, and still be in those same dozen Amazon stores as well.

How quick and easy?

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Paypal Suspends Operations In Turkey. StreetLib, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Pronoun et al – Take Notice.

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Imagine you’re an indie author in Turkey. You’ve been selling ebooks using platforms like Smashwords, StreetLib, D2D, Pronoun, etc, and receiving your payments through Paypal because for most of the above that’s the only option available to you(in Pronoun’s case, the only option available, period.)

From 06 June your writing career is going to be effectively over as Paypal suspends all operations in Turkey.

The Turkish financial authorities have declined to renew Paypal’s licence. (LINK)

The whys and wherefores are neither here nor there.

For these Turkish authors (and ex-pats in Turkey without a Paypal account in another country) sales coming in through Smashwords, StreetLib, D2D, Pronoun, etc will effectively be meaningless unless those authors are able to use one of the very limited alternative payment options available.

Pronoun only offers Paypal. Pronoun no longer has any relevance to Turkish authors. Some of the other distributors offer bank-transfers, but getting money transferred to a European account from the US can be prohibitively expensive ad make smaller payments pointless. Likewise receiving and banking USD cheques/checks outside the US can be a nightmare.

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