Self-Published Authors Make UK Amazon Kindle 2012 Bestseller List

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07.01.13 | Lisa Campbell  (Full article can be found on The Bookseller, copyright The Bookseller).

Amazon has revealed that 15% of its bestselling Kindle books in the UK last year were written by self-published authors, with Hodder & Stoughton’s Nick Spalding landing the bestselling self-published author gong [award].

Spalding’s books Love…From Both Sides and Love…And Sleepless Nights sales combined to make Spalding the bestselling digital book author through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform last year. The author was snapped up by Hodder & Stoughton imprint Coronet for a six-figure sum last October.

Amazon said overall 15 of the top 100 Kindle books sold in the UK were by authors using its self-publishing tool, with 75 by traditional publishers. Amazon added that since KDP launched, 61 KDP authors have sold over 50,000 copies of their books. It also revealed that 12 KDP authors have sold in excess of 100,000 copies, with 50 authors earning in excess of £50,000 [$80K US], and 11 of these earning more than £100,000 [$160K US].

The best-selling KDP books of 2012 on Amazon.co.uk:

1. Love… From Both Sides by Nick Spalding

2. Only the Innocent by Rachel Abbott

3. Love… And Sleepless Nights by Nick Spalding

4. One Cold Night by Katia Lief

5. Locked In by Kerry Wilkinson

6. Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne

7. Touch by Mark Sennen

8. Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt

9. The Tea Planter’s Daughter by Janet MacLeod Trotter

10. Here She Lies by Katia Lief

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For Action and Adventure Board “The Enterprise”!

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The Australian High Commission, located in the heart of New Delhi, is anything but what it appears.

An ambitious assistant discovers his reputable place of employment is tainted with corruption. What’s more, his boss the Deputy High Commissioner could be involved. Does he pursue the truth, jeopardising his chances of promotion and risk exposing his own secrets, or does he play the game and get ahead?

In a world where appearances are deceiving and people are not who they say they are, one thing can be relied upon to ruin everything: the Truth.

Well, folks it’s happened again! Another great writer has decided to throw the proverbial hat in to the ring of self-publishing! And we say, Huzzah! to that. MJ Cope has long been a favorite around FAB.

You can preview the first 3 chapters of The Enterprise on Amazon. It is available on Kindle for $2.99. (Not yet available on Nook or in print.) And if humor is your thing, try Cope’s Funny Australian Letterboxes. Basically, you can’t get any more odd box, than OZ boxes. (Yes, that is a full-size trash bin under some corragated tin between two telephone-type posts.)

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One of the reasons we are so passionate about authors going out on their own these days is that so many great writers go unheard because the publishing “gate keepers” don’t really understand what the public wants to read.  This has long been the case and over the holidays this was brought home to us once again when we chanced upon a telling author John Kennedy Toole’s story.

Toole was the Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Confederacy of Dunces. He began writing at an early age, in his teens. But his famous book was penned in his 20s. Upon finishing his opus, he sent it off to Simon and Schuster where it reached noted editor Robert Gottlieb. Gottlieb considered Toole talented but felt his comic novel was essentially pointless.

Despite several revisions, Gottlieb remained unsatisfied, and after the book was rejected by another literary figure, Hodding Carter Jr., he shelved the novel. Suffering from depression and feelings of self-persecution, Toole left home on a journey around the country. He stopped in Biloxi, Mississippi and ended his life by running a garden hose in from the exhaust of his car to the cabin.

Over a decade later, his mother brought the manuscript of Dunces to the attention of novelist Walker Percy, who ushered the book into print. In 1981, Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This is what happens time and again; publishing houses don’t recognize real talent. Had Toole been able to publish his own work on Kindle, he might not have killed himself and the world might have many more great works.

Now, we’re not saying MJ Cope’s The Enterprise (or Funny Australian Letterboxes) is going to take a Pulitzer, but we’re pretty sure the public’s going to love it! Do yourself a favor and bust out that new Amazon tablet, grab that Amazon giftcard, and get reading!

MJ Cope formerly had long-running blog on WP (MJCache.wordpress.com) which we linked to, so many of you know about MJ. Sadly, it was recently deleted and for some reason there was no final post sent out to its subscribers redirecting them to her new blog. We call that “a lost marketing opportunity.” Remember, if you build a following on your blog, you want to keep that following because those folks will be your first buyers, they already like you, and they’ll likely give your book a good review. If you no long wish to use your original blog anymore, NEVER DELETE IT. Instead, make all its posts private except the most recent one. Your one public post should be redirecting your followers (and new folks who stumble onto it) to the new blog you want your readers following.

Before You Buy That E-Reader As A Holiday Gift . . .

Here’s the skinny– Over One Third of All eReaders Are Used Just Once Before Being Set Aside and Kindles topped the survey list of unused devices!

A recent poll showed that a third of US ereader owners said they only used their device once before putting it away or selling it.  (A survey conducted in the UK yielded an even more anti-eReader message: nearly half given as Christmas gifts had yet to be opened a month later.)

A group of almost 2,ooo ereader owners, when questioned about average usage

  • 17% used their ereader at least once a week.
  • 29% use it once a day.
  • 35% indicated that they used the device just once — ever.

The survey went on to ask why those owners who only used the ereader once, did so.

  • 57% stated they didn’t have the time to use it; they are too busy.
  •  22% said that they’d received it as a gift and didn’t have a need for it.
  • 25% simply preferred to read actual physical books.

The survey data went on to show that 37% of the regretful ereader owners did not think it was a good buy, and another 29% planned to get rid of their ereader because they used it so rarely.

Upshot?

  1. Only buy an ereader for yourself. It’s a waste of money buying it for someone else. It won’t be used, it won’t be appreciated.
  2. If you plan to buy an ereader for yourself, buy it after Christmas when unhappy owners are unloading them.
  3. If you plan to buy a gift for a reader, the best gift is still a real physical book or a gift card to a bookstore!

(This post was based on an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader that ran Nov 11, 2012. We encourage every would-be gifter to read it!)

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 1:53 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Congrats! Barbara Freethy sells 1 million NOOK Books through PubIt!

Over 4 weeks stuck in PubIt! processing mode!

New York, New York – October 18, 2012 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced that Barbara Freethy has sold 1 million NOOK Books through its self-publishing platform PubIt! (www.pubit.com). Freethy, the award-winning author of popular titles Summer Secrets and When Wishes Collide, has self-published 17 of her backlist titles and three original eBooks on PubIt!, with 11 of those eBooks appearing on The New York Times bestseller list.

“What’s exciting to me about PubIt! is the ability to find a whole new readership through eBooks,” said Barbara Freethy. “PubIt! is so easy to use and there are great merchandising opportunities. I like having my self-published eBooks treated as if they were published by a traditional publisher in New York.”

*Fair Warning! This is great news for other authors only if PubIt! actually gets their books out of the “Processing” stage 24-72 hours after they are uploaded and puts them on sale.

There are literally hundreds of authors right now whose works have been stuck for weeks (even 6 or more weeks) in PubIt! “processing” mode. They can do nothing about it — not even cancel it out. They receive no responses to their repeated requests for help and no continual updates from support from PubIt about what the cause might be and how it can be addressed.

Although PubIt!’s claim to make your books available in 24-72 hours has been true in the past and PubIt! is a great company, PubIt!’s been a crap shoot the last year or so. They’ve had this exact same “stuck in processing” issue happen multiple times this year and it still isn’t fixed.

The Reality? If your plan is to sell e-books for the Christmas holiday rush, please make sure you upload your work FIRST to Amazon KDP for Kindle and all the other eBook retailers. It’s the only way you can be sure of hitting the release date you’ve already stated on various releases and media platforms and capturing the sales you’ve worked so hard to generate.

“Barbara has been tremendously successful at leveraging the power of PubIt! to reach the vast audience of NOOK eBook readers,” said Theresa Horner, Vice President of Digital Content at Barnes & Noble. “We would like to congratulate her on reaching this incredible milestone and we hope that her success inspires other talented writers to bring their work to PubIt! and Barnes & Noble.”

Freethy, who has had 20 titles make the Barnes & Noble.com Top 100 list, plans to continue her self-publishing success with a new series called The Callaways, a story about a family of brave firefighters and police officers whose lives are complicated by family secrets and life-changing love. Throughout The Callaways series each family member will face a moral dilemma and the question of whether to protect the community, the family or themselves. The Callaways will be available on NOOK at the end of 2012.

PubIt! is Barnes & Noble’s easy-to-use platform for independent publishers and authors to digitally distribute their works across all Barnes & Noble platforms. With clear and competitive terms – and no hidden fees – the self-service online PubIt! portal provides qualified content owners a simple and profitable way to publish and distribute their works across Barnes & Noble’s entire line of NOOK® devices, including the recently announced NOOK® HD and NOOK® HD+. PubIt! titles can also be discovered and read through a range of free NOOK reading apps, available for iPad™, iPhone®, Android, Mac® and PC.

More information on PubIt! can be found at www.pubit.com.

Ebook Conversion, Redux

copyright Joshua Vizzacco

As you all know, we tried a while back to do some epubs and gave up. However, the new book (coming out in Oct) has created a bit of a hiccup. In part it’s down to the cover. Adult minds just naturally go in the wrong direction. In part it’s the content. There truly are adult themes, erotic events, and vulgar language contained within, but all perfectly within reason and within context.

Of course, most people simply react to the cover and title, and jump to the wrong conclusion. (We’ll be posting the cover image Oct 1st.)  This is how we ended up having to buckle down and crank out the book and the ebook ourselves.

Was it easy? Not so easy we didn’t want to kill ourselves now and then . . . but we did managed to create the Adobe Digital Edition epub, Amazon mobi file, and B&N Nook epub on our own in about a week. It took that long because as much as everyone says just create an epub and convert it, that isn’t quite true.

So, with the help of Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción of Lynda.com, Liz  Castro’s Epub Straight to the Point, and a great advanced tutorial from BBebooks, all of whom together we needed (because no one had all the answers, drat) and without each of which we could not have succeeded, we finally approved the ADE proof today. Yeah.

Would we recommend using a professional converter? Yes. If you don’t know much about CSS or hand coding, it’s not that much fun to make an epub. It’s not difficult to learn, but if you simply want to write (or design books), it’s probably better to let a professional ebook maker do that step. They will give you a product that is both beautiful and functional across multiple platforms.

Check out ePub Zen Garden for examples of beautiful ebooks. Not every e-reader is going to be capable of translating a great design, but being able to take advantage of the options you as the author do have at your disposal? Priceless.

How the ePub thing ended up . . .Or, in and out of Wonderland.

Ok, here’s how the whole ePub adventure ended up.

While it’s always nice to do things in house, sometimes it’s more cost-effective to pay for an outside conversion.  These times include, when doing it in house is adding an undue burden on the health/safety of yourself or others, or when the hours used cost more than the money spent.

At the end of the day, we have so many projects on right now, doing the ePub conversion in-house was going to cost more than shipping it out to ebookarchitects.com.

Could we have done it in house? Yes.  And we do plan to, in the future. As we got stuck into the process, we quickly realize we could do it. It wasn’t rocket science, or even . . . theoretical physics.

The various web resources available through Lynda.com (and other websites) and books, such as Elizabeth Castro’s, EPub straight to the point, and software, such as Scrivener, all make doing a conversion quick, easy, and within anyone’s grasp.

The only thing you really need to create an ePub (& Kindle) is a PC or Mac with the right OS and enough memory to begin with. Throw on Scrivener for $45 and your there.

Given the average novel conversion runs about $100- $150, even if you bought a brand new computer just for this purpose (making ePUBs/kindles), after producing 3 or 4 books yourself, you’d have  spent only the money you would have spent paying someone else to do it, but you’d still have the ability to infinitely make books, or rework and update or correct the books you’d already made.

In short, you’d be crazy to pay someone to convert your book unless you want to insure a very professional look on the order of your PDF for your print manufacturer, feel that the content of the book is too graphic heavy and you’re afraid to tackle it (but you’ll pay for that too), are extremely pressed for time and by this we mean someone is paying you more for the time you’ll spend doing the conversion than you’ll spend on the conversion, or you are suffering health issues.

Another issue too is wait time. Quality conversion services are generally backed up.  ebookarchitects is running 13-14 weeks.  In other words, 4 months.  Some people just don’t want to wait that long. And in most cases, for simple text conversions, you don’t have to, if you’re willing to do it yourself.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 2:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Free Book Fridays, with the Nook

Some of you are trying to create an ePub out of your current manuscript. We get that.  If you want to look at how ePubs look through a Nook, you can actually download software to multiple devices, including your PC or Mac, and view the books there.

Barnes & Noble offers a Free Book Friday with Nook.  If you sign up for a Nook account, really just a way to buy books more than a device if you don’t have one, you can start creating a library of free ebooks and books they offer for free on Fridays.  The books will remain in your Nook library perpetually, stored in an archive, if you desire.

Should you buy a Nook, you can use those books in your library on the Nook. However, if you don’t, you can still read your Nook ePub materials on your computer, or other device,  by downloading Nook software — similar to Kindle. To create your account, you will have to give them a credit card, even if the only books you want to collect are free.

The virtue of starting a Nook account and library is that you can use your collection to see how an ePub book is structured. You might be surprised by what you see. Something you’d expect to find in the front of a printed book, such as copyright info, is today typically in the back of many Nook ePubs. Not sure if that shift is to keep readers from thinking about the IP law involved or just a convenient way of cutting down on the front matter.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, we were at Barnes & Noble looking at Nooks today. There are 3 versions, all very interesting with a lot of cool features.  But a major complaint would be no real selection of fonts, and no ability to upload fonts to the Nooks.  This is always disappointing to people who derived a great deal of pleasure from the typography.

The tablet Nook is the largest of the three, holds the most books, runs the longest without recharging, costs the most, orients both horizontally and vertically, which is helpful, and is able to display PDFs.  But it’s very heavy and the battery incredibly strong, by that we mean one can feel the electrical current. Quite scary really.

The tablet version becomes very prickly and hot if one holds it more than a minute. The other Nooks have the same problem, but to a lesser degree. Definitely, if we bought a Nook of any kind, it would have to come with a stand, because honestly no one wants to touch it for fear of getting burned, electrocuted, or developing an inability to use one’s hand because it continues to buzz with excited electric current long after the Nook is put down.

So, would we buy a Nook? Yes, if it were inexpensive enough, say under $100, but it would only be used for testing ePubs on. Nook is a good idea, it has huge potential, but it’s got a long way to go.  We will also say that compared to a Kindle, Nook seems like the better made, more user friendly product.  But if you’re going to the trouble of buying a Nook tablet, why not just buy an iPad?

Published in: on September 21, 2011 at 1:25 PM  Leave a Comment  
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