Tools and Resources for Creating Ebooks

By Kullman (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kullman (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Ebooks are great. You can carry around as many with you as you’d like at one time, and you can easily share what you’re reading with friends. Ebooks are also the easiest way for indie authors to sell their work. For authors who are interested in making their own books, here’s a list of resources: Continue reading

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Becoming an Authorpreneur: Resources for Creating and Selling Online Courses

By Ter-burg (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ter-burg (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Creating an online course is a great learning experience, and another way that authors can potentially earn income. Currently I have two courses for sale, on how to make ebooks. One is on Udemy and the other on Skillshare. It’s been a great experience teaching these courses, and now I’m looking into making a course about dinosaurs, to complement my I Know Dino podcast.

As usual, I’ve been collecting links. Below are some helpful resources about creating, marketing, and selling online courses. Best of luck! Continue reading

Starting I Know Dino and How to Podcast in 7 Steps

Podcasting is a wonderful medium. The content is evergreen, and when people listen to an episode, it’s as if you’re speaking to them in the moment. It’s also friendly. Listeners put you in their ear, and trust you to entertain and/or educate them.

As a listener, I feel like I know the hosts. I listen to them every week and get to know their personality. As a host of I Know Dino, which I co-produce with my husband Garret, I’ve gotten to meet and get to know many of our listeners via emails, messages, posts, tweets, and even voicemails. These listeners have gotten to know us via our podcast and have reached out to share their awesome stories with us. It’s incredibly gratifying, and amazing that we’re able to connect with so many different people.

Podcasting is growing. According to Edison Research, last year an estimated 57 million people in the U.S. listened to podcasts each month. Most of them listened to shows on their smartphones or tablets, and they listened at home, while commuting, and at work.

Garret and I started podcasting because of a shared passion for dinosaurs. Both of us grew up with the Land Before Time and Jurassic Park, and have loved dinosaurs since we were kids.

Somehow, neither of us realized this shared passion until we were living on the east coast together—a couple years after we started dating. One of the perks of my job in New York was free admission to the American Museum of Natural History, and it became one of our favorite places to visit.

Fast forward a few years and we had a dinosaur themed wedding, complete with dinosaur centerpieces, an Ankylosaurus and Brontosaurus cake topper, and a photobombing T-rex named Duncan.

So we could continue our obsession with dinosaurs after the wedding, we decided to start a podcast. We wanted to learn more, and share what we’d learned with other dinosaur enthusiasts. We also had a great excuse to talk to paleontologists and other people in the paleontology world.

We’ve learned a lot about podcasting along the way. Below are the seven steps we follow each week to publish a new episode: Continue reading

Tips for Recording and Publishing Your Own Audiobooks

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that audiobooks are growing in popularity, and are becoming part of the self-publishing process. An op-ed in the New York Times wrote about the benefits of listening to stories:

I listen the way I read books as a child, as if I were there watching. The author becomes more transparent, the characters more real.

According to Copyblogger, having an audiobook gives you more credibility as an author.

Publisher’s Weekly recently reported on the rise of audiobook sales, and how that’s changing the industry. More publishers are producing audiobooks, and there’s been some innovation, such as “multivoiced recordings, short-form content, bonus audio-only material added to audiobooks, adaptations of such print formats as graphic novels, and more original content created for audio.” BookMachine talks about mixing short stories with full cast and narrated audio fiction, “where the magic of its stories were brought to life through links to audio dramas that could be change and be added to.”

It’s exciting to think of the possibilities, but if you’re just starting out, how do you make and sell your own audiobooks? Here are some things to consider. Continue reading

Gumroad: An Alternate Distributor for Ebooks (And Other Products)

We all know about the main distribution channels for indie authors: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google. But there are alternative, and potentially lucrative ways, to sell your work. One such alternative is Gumroad, which allows writers, artists, and others to sell their work.

It doesn’t have to be limited to ebooks either. If you’re a non-fiction author, you can bundle products and sell resources/checklists/PDFs, online courses, additional research, and even services to go with your books. And if you’re a fiction author, you can sell subscriptions to your work. You can sell anything on Gumroad, even templates for professional resumes. Continue reading

Getting Started with Code: A List of Tutorials and Resources

Photo: Chief Photographer/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Chief Photographer/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Knowing how to code can be a powerful tool for an author (like if you want to build your own website). It’s not easy, but it is rewarding. Here are some resources to help you learn and get started:

Learning

HTML5

JavaScript

Git

Ruby on Rails

PHP

Python

Machine Learning

Mobile

Editors

Apple

Additional Resources

140 Tools and Resources for Building Your Author Website and/or Blog

By Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/145972) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

By Matthew Bowden http://www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/145972) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Author websites and blogs are important components to building an author platform. With that in mind, here is a list of resources that can help you set up and optimize your site. Continue reading

Tips and Tricks for Setting Up Your Blog

By User Gflores on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By User Gflores on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Blogging is a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding. Are you thinking of starting a blog this year? Here are some helpful resources to get you going:

Getting Subscribers

Driving Traffic

Avoiding Mistakes

Guest Posts

Writing Posts

Monetization

Marketing Books with Blogging

Metrics

Trends

Tools

Earning Money From Writing

Writing is work. It takes a lot of time and effort to brainstorm, outline, research, and then finally put into words a topic or story. Then afterwards there’s a lot of editing, revising, and proofing. Electric Literature published an essay about how writing is a job, even if it doesn’t really pay:

The fact that writing is hard and there are many hobbyists doesn’t mean it isn’t a job either. It is very hard to be a professional athlete or a head chef, and many people practice sports or cooking as hobbies. But we would not pretend an NBA player or a head chef doesn’t have a job.

The argument is that if we think of writing as a hobby, it will be treated as a hobby, and then only people who can afford to write as a hobby will be writing. This reminds me of when I was in college and went to see Jeffrey Eugenides give a talk. I remember he told a story of how people don’t really think of writers as having a real job. He meets someone new and they find out he’s a writer, and the reaction is, “You know, I’ve always wanted to write a novel, I just haven’t had the time.” And Jeffrey said he thought that was strange, because you’d never go up to a heart surgeon and say, “You know, I’ve always wanted to operate on someone, I just haven’t had the time.”

Obviously, the two are not the same, but both take a certain set of skills that take time to develop. So in the spirit of treating writing as a job, here are some tips and ways you can earn money from writing:

Legal Considerations for Authors

By Sachinwarankar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Sachinwarankar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

For writers and publishers, there are a lot of interesting things to consider when it comes to the law.

For writers looking to go the traditionally published route, there’s a lot to keep in mind contract-wise, including, according to Kristine Kathryn Rusch, control, fairness, and clout. She explains that you want as much control over your project as possible, though some contracts may not allow for negotiation, so you’ll have to ask yourself if that contract is something you really want. Also, things will not always be fair, but you don’t need clout to negotiate, you just need to get past the idea that you need a certain level of success before you can negotiate and just go for it. The worst thing that can happen is the person you’re negotiating with can say “no.” Continue reading