Indie Authors: An Overview of Book Distribution Options

By Zufrieden (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Zufrieden (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to selling books, most people think of Amazon and Kindle. Although Amazon may be the biggest ebook distributor, it’s not the only option for indie authors. Continue reading

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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

Indie Authors: Declaration of Independents Audiobook Contest with ListenUp Audiobooks

By Peter Eder (Foto von Peter Eder) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Peter Eder (Foto von Peter Eder) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Audiobooks are gaining a lot of momentum in the publishing industry. In addition to offering ebooks and print editions, indie authors should consider also producing audiobook versions of their works.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, a recent annual survey of industry trends by the Audio Publisher Association (APA) found that “sales of audiobooks rose 20% in 2015 over 2014, to an estimated $1.78 billion.” Because of this, understandably, audiobook publishers have been creating more audiobooks. The APA said that “the number of titles released by the 20 companies that take part in the survey hit 35,574, a 37% increase over 2014.” Interestingly, adult books, and specifically fiction were the most popular genres, and most people look to purchase unabridged audiobooks.

That sounds great, but how do you go about producing a professional audiobook? If you want to go the DIY route, then ACX is probably the best way to go—they also distribute titles to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

ListenUp Audiobooks

However, a professional audiobook requires a lot of sound equipment (or hiring of a narrator), and many hours of editing. Another option is to work with a team of professionals. One platform that helps indie authors get their audiobooks out there is ListenUp Audiobooks. Continue reading

Indie Authors and Libraries

SanDiegoCityCollegeLearningResource_-_bookshelf

By Joe Crawford from Moorpark, California, USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Libraries are wonderful for indie authors. They open up a whole new audience of readers, but unfortunately the route to getting an indie book into a library is not always very clear.

The American Library Association (ALA) has a great fact sheet that goes over what libraries buy, when they look to buy books, what the library market looks like, and marketing opportunities. The fact sheet even has a section specifically for indie authors, providing a link to a number of articles and resources about self-publishing and libraries that are accepting self-published books.

According to GoodeReader, more libraries are opening up to the idea of purchasing indie books, which is good news. Libraries in general are changing. In fact, one library, University of Iowa, has started digitizing fanzines.

Until recently, it seemed the best way for indie authors to submit their books to libraries for consideration was via Smashwords, which distributes to Overdrive (who recently announced they are working on a way to convert PDFs to EPUBs) and Baker & Taylor, and IngramSpark, which distributes to libraries. However, indie authors don’t really get to pitch their books to librarians this way, which makes the whole process less likely to succeed.

From what I can tell now, there are two new platforms that basically cater to indie authors looking to get their books into libraries. Continue reading

Indie Authors and Kindle Unlimited

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) service, where readers pay $9.99 per month and authors are paid out of a monthly fund, seems to be very polarizing.

Continue reading

Ebook Distribution: Google Play

There’s a lot going on with Google Play lately, at least when it comes to ebooks.

About a month ago, Google Play shut down its book publisher program, at least temporarily, to new users while they sort out all the accusations about pirated ebooks on the platform, according to GoodeReader.

It’s a shame, and hopefully Google will reopen again to new authors soon. For authors already using Google Play though, there’s a lot of good news. As of June 2015, Google Play Books is the 9th Android app installed on over 1 billion devices. That’s a lot of potential readers to reach.

The Book Designer outlines the good and bad points of using Google Play, though some of it may be outdated. One of the biggest complaints of the post was how to upload descriptions for multiple books so they display correctly, but in my experience all you need to do is upload one spreadsheet (where you can format the description with some basic HTML) for an unlimited number of books. On the other hand, this may be why Google Play Books had such a pirating problem.

Interestingly, according to The Digital Reader, Google Play Books may not actually support epub. Though the system will accept an epub, it apparently renders the files differently.

On the other hand, Google Play Books has been making strides to make their ebooks stand out. For example, they released a new font especially for ebooks, called Literata, and they have a patent to trigger sounds in ebooks. There are also platforms, such as Liberio, that allows you to turn your Google docs into an ebook.

What do you think about Google Play Books? Please share in the comments!

Smashwords: An Indie Author Guide

Smashwords is a retailer and an ebook distributor, and a great choice for indie authors. Why? Because the platform lets you upload once and sell on multiple outlets, saving authors a lot of time, and it offers a number of marketing options.

If you want a step by step on how to upload and distribute ebooks via Smashwords, read my EPUBZone article, “Ebook Distribution for the Indie Author.” I also have a video showing the steps in my Udemy course, “How to Create Beautiful Ebooks.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Coker, founder, back in 2012, and Smashwords has only gotten better since then.

How It Works

According to the Smashwords website, more than “100,000 authors, small independent publishers, and literary agents publish and distribute with Smashwords.” Continue reading

Indie Authors: Expanding Your Content

Writing and publishing a book is a great accomplishment, but it doesn’t have to end there. Books can be spliced, expanded, and distributed in new and multiple ways online.

Gordon Burgett wrote about how to multiple a book’s sales by turning it into six books. It works easily with non-fiction books, where you can separate the book by topic and publish mini versions (of just the topic). Each of these smaller books can help fuel the sales of the other books. Gordon’s example is for his book, How to Sell 75+ of Your Freelance Writing Almost All of the Time, which has the following topics:

  1. Why just sell your writing (idea) once? Why not sell it again and again, then once more—and once again…?

  2. Magazines and Newspapers: two magic systems with lots of sales in each

  3. Books: sell the original in 11 different formats and each of those in six ebooks

  4. Niche Publishing: where the gold is hiding in book publishing

  5. Topic-spoking: one idea exploded, then filtered through the hungriest buyers

  6. The roll-out: once the copy exists, why not make a lot more money from the idea by six other non-print information dissemination means?

But extracting topics from a book is not the only way to expand upon content. David Wilcockson wrote on Digital Book World about “modularity.” This means content in books can be regrouped and reimagined in ways to reach new audiences. Examples include expanding upon recipes, building communities around topics, and building apps, websites, and more.

What are ways you have or have thought of expanding upon your content? Please share in the comments!

Indie Authors: Digital Comics

Novels, children picture books, and even cookbooks are often discussed in the digital publishing realm, but another type of book is gaining more prominence: comic books. Continue reading

Readers and Writers: Library News

Libraries are an important part of the book publishing world, and it’s been a while since I mentioned them in a post, so here’s a collection of links to library news, services, and more. Continue reading