Tag Archive: self publishing decisions


Unlimited numbers of copies of When No One Else Would Fly, by Corinne Tippett are available on Amazon.com... and if it says out of stock, just check back the next day.

Unlimited numbers of copies of When No One Else Would Fly, by Corinne Tippett are available on Amazon.com… and if it says out of stock, just check back the next day.

There’s a new aviation pioneering biography in town, and it’s really good. Worth ordering on Amazon.com!

And when you order, you can get the book in about three days!  Which is quite incredible considering everything going on in the background.

It is a symphony of electronic publishing, distribution, and delivery that has changed hugely in just the last three years – since I published my first good book, titled  Just A Couple Of Chickens.

One reason the book has recently been going in and out of stock – although never out of stock for more than 48 hours – is because I am mucking about with the cover.

One reason I am mucking about with the cover is that this Print On Demand super-fast-mega-cool print system has a small amount of fluctuation in the cover placement on the book. It’s less than a quarter of an inch, but that can mean a line gets out of place, or a forehead gets stretched.

It all started with my correction to the back matter on the book. I wanted to say that Tip piloted more than ninety-eight different aircraft models, (instead of types of aircraft) and when I made that change, things started to color outside the lines in very minor ways.

The overall print quality, however, is way way way better than it was three years ago. My latest stack of author copies had NO flaws…and three years ago, it was 2 in 10.

My book does not sit in a warehouse, or garage, waiting for orders. It exists as an electronic file within Amazon’s extensive distribution network and when you order a copy, it prints at the nearest facility near you, and ships out fast.

There is no waste. No stacks of remaindered books going into the landfill or shredder. No trucking heavy books over miles of interstate. No packing material wrapping pallets of books in cardboard, binding, plastic, and more cardboard.

It looks to me like some of the early bugs in the Print On Demand system have been solved, and more. Big changes, big improvements – just in time for a Tip’s big story.

If you go online to get When No One Else Would Fly and it ‘s out of stock, check back the next day.

 

It is Tulip Time here in Portland, and my bulbs of do it your self publishing are getting ready to bloom.

It is Tulip Time here in Portland, and my bulbs of do it your self publishing are getting ready to bloom.

I’ve blogged about this issue of definitions within the term “self publishing” before, but I am doing it again because I think it is so important…

This new publishing landscape is driving the need for new publishing terminology,

Self publishing versus Do It Your Self Publishing

Self publishing generally refers to hiring a company – or a series of professionals, to turn your manuscript or project into a book . You pay for it your self, and that makes it self publishing. I don’t think it is a misnomer for self publishing, because you are hiring services same as you would if you were the CEO of a traditional publishing company.

Do It Your Self Publishing is doing all of the work yourself – hiring pieces out if you can afford it, or taking on the whole process personally. Sometimes including the cover production.

This is important (at least to me) because I am focused on Do It Your Self Publishing… intending to pursue it to get my books out until I can lure a traditional publisher to get them out with me.

The fundamental issues are quality and cost. Do It Your Self Publishing is definitely lower cost than Self Publishing, but the challenge is to match the quality. By doing everything myself, I am more likely to make back my costs through book sales (at all, or quickly)… but not if I do a bad job of the editing, layout, ebook programming, cover, and promotion.

Another reason I’m re-blogging about definitions is because I’m SO CLOSE to releasing my second book, “When No On Else Would Fly” the biography and memoir of my grandfather, Colonel C. J. Tippett, aviation pioneer, and handsome glamorous guy. But instead of announcing the release, I’m waiting for my copyproofer to finish proofing the copy.

My copyproofer is a teenager and although she can finish a twilight novel – or anything related to dragons or vampires – in about 15 minutes, it seems to be taking her longer to read MY book.

Which does NOT mean it is boring or flawed. It means that it has no vampires in it. None at all. And maybe also has something to do with the fact that I’m paying her …. not much. I offered to tell her her birth story again.

We use what resources we have, here in DIY Self Publishing – but our products are excellent. Our books are compelling.  And ALMOST ready for release!

 

Amanda Hocking Hollowland

Amanda Hocking started as a self published author, putting out her first novels as Kindle ebooks, as well as Nook and through Smashwords. They are well-written and took off like a rocket.

As I began researching successful self published authors, I kept running along the phrase: “… and, of course, there’s Amanda Hocking…”

But I hadn’t heard of Amanda Hocking, so I didn’t appreciate the “of course” – and I saw it several times.

Finally, I read one of her ebooks, to see for myself, of course.

I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPad, grabbed one of her young adult novels pretty much at random, and started reading. And kept reading, and read some more.

Because that is my experience of Amanda Hocking’s writing. I’m not a young adult, and I’m not a big fan of zombie apocalypse settings – HollowLand (The Hollows, #1) and yet I couldn’t put it down. It is very very well written.

She wrote her novels while working full time, and in 2010, she self published them as ebooks. Her ebooks sold so well, she broke every self published record and caught the attention of a major traditional publisher.

Her blog is fantastic and she’s taken some time to write about how it went for her, and it was NOT easy. She did a lot of sticking-with-it, not-giving-up, getting-rejected, and keeping-on-keeping-on. She also worked on making her writing better, and since I didn’t read her “before” I don’t know if she ever wrote poorly. I only know that she writes very well now.

Now, she is a traditionally published author. She made it. Self publishing was her pathway to traditional publishing, as it was for Hugh Howey.

There are a growing number of authors out there who are making a living self publishing and have no desire to go to traditional publishing. I’ll be spotlighting them soon.

In the meantime, there’s Amanda Hocking, of course, and she adds a new bullet to my bullet-list-of-things-successful-self-published-authors-have-done:

  • Her books are very well written
  • Her genre is popular – vampires, zombies, paranormal romance aimed at young adults (that’s the new bullet. Hugh Howey’s book is sci-fi, my favorite, but vampires are currently ruling)
  • She put them out as ebooks, alluringly priced
  • She did it all herself, keeping the costs low, and keeping herself focused on writing more

There are some valuable resources she recommends on her blog for authors planning to self publish, and she makes a really good point about the process. She suggests authors do a lot of research, and if I don’t feel I have the time to do the research, then I probably don’t have the time to self publish.

Bravo Amanda Hocking!  Your rock, of course!

 

 

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

Any discussion regarding how to self publish a book has to encompass the world of ebooks. And King of the World of ebooks is the Amazon Kindle.

Kindle has it’s own format, so as I turn my books into ebooks, I have to include Kindle in my plan.

As with all of the business aspects of self publishing a book, there’s a Terms of Service agreement somewhere in the mix – and a button called “I Agree” to press.

I read these terms of service every time… perhaps accounting for some of my red wine consumption by the end of the day. I was planning to discuss the more interesting bits of one of these agreements until I saw the clause expressly preventing me from making any public disclosures of any bits of the agreement.
Well, that’s a bummer!

Because many of the questions I had regarding how my eBook would work with Amazon’s Kindle Program are answered in there. So instead of publicly disclosing things regarding the agreement, I will ask questions and make free association comments, like poetry, that are random. And I’ll offer a common sense piece of self publishing advice: read the contracts carefully as you use any service to self publish a book.

Apropros of Nothing, I Say:

  • Why are the eBooks I buy through the Amazon Kindle Program, especially the nonfiction how to eBooks, not packed chockfull of advertisements and promotions?  I really appreciate the fact that they are not, but I’m somewhat surprised that they are ad-free.
  • Who controls all that marketing and promotional stuff that happens on the Amazon site? Am I going to have to manage that? Because I can barely manage finding my car keys every day, and all that stuff looks complicated.
  • The Kindle Lending Program is a super great deal for me as a customer, because I have enrolled in Amazon Prime. Mostly to watch all the videos and TV, like with NetFlix, but also to get the free two day shipping and access to the once a month lending library. But whassup with that Lending Library where it concerns MY eBook?
  • If I could have three wishes from a genie, I would immediately wish for unlimited wishes… and then I would wish for access to the customer data and raw sales data for my book sales on Amazon.
  • I wonder if it takes a couple of months for sales data to post to an Amazon Kindle Account?
  • If it turns out that someone does not have the copyright to something they sell as an eBook, there are all kinds of dire things that can happen. Just sayin’.

Having read lots of terms of service agreements, I might say – if I were saying anything – which I am not… that one of them I recently read was pretty clearly written, and worth reading. And I appreciate that, because some of them, like anything related to Bank of America, for instance, are truly awful.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

The Free Rooster by Corinne Tippett at The Westchester Press

Getting closer to my goal of making a book from my blog at www.TheFreeRooster.com by using FastPencil.com.

I’ve just tried FastPencil.com as a solution for turning my blog into a book.
Previously, I tried Blurb.com, and Blog2Print.com, and I’m getting closer with FastPencil.com.

Fastpencil.com is a website offering to let authors produce their own book, or help them produce it with fee-based services. It is free to get started, and they offer an “import blog” function based either on the url feed of your blog, or on an uploaded xml file.

This is uber-cool because I can pull an xml download of my self-hosted wordpress blogs, or grab the published feed.

This means it can work with any blog that can be exported and downloaded. For instance, Blogger.com can be exported. Check your settings to find where to export your blog.

Back at FastPencil.com, once my xml file was uploaded, I had a variety of choices to make regarding book format, size, font, cover, description, and audience.

  • My 89 posts resulted in 296 pages.
  • I went with the suggested “elegance” format,
  • 6×9, both printed book and epub ebook.
  • I uploaded a cover image, and chose my cover colors – making them all simple.
  • Along the way, I had plenty of opportunities to preview the book. It was looking good!
The cover I could make through FastPencil.com is not great, but it’s good enough for this test. There was an option to upload a cover, but I have not yet spent my bizillion hours creating one.
  • I had a choice to keep the project private, viewable only to me.
  • Or, for free, available to the FastPencil.com marketplace – other FastPencil.com users.
  • Or, for $299 ($249 ebook only), available to retail markets like Amazon.com – which is not something I would choose because as a Do-It-Your Self Publisher, I know that I can do that myself for less. But there is always a balance between spending time and spending money.

Still hopeful for my color photo print book, I chose “color photos in the interior.”

The whopping $76 print book cost cured me quickly.

I re-set that checkbox and saw it would be $13.14. Shipping would be an additional $14. 42. This print book shows FastPencil.com as the publisher – even though I haven’t accepted their offer of a free ISBN. Their imprint is in the pdf of the print book, hmmm. So I put aside the FastPencil.com quest for a printed book of my blog. Having already given up on color photos, it simply isn’t an affordable option even though it looks good and was easy.

But… The ebook would be $9.99. Onward with the ebook!
It will be EPUB.

I purchased the ebook – checkout total was indeed $9.99, and included a PDF and EPUB.

I moved my shiny new ebook over to my Nook, and although it gave me an error message the first time I tried to open it, I tried again and there it was. An ebook!  There were a few small formatting issues, but it looks good. Especially since I didn’t do a lick of formatting.

I moved my sparkling new ebook over to my iPad and without any error message, it opened in iBooks and looks FANTASTIC!  seriously beautiful.

In summary, I highly recommend FastPencil.com for turning a blog into an ebook.

It was easy – despite a few minor bugs in their online process – and affordable. The pictures look beautiful, the formatting is clean. The EPUB format is widely useful.

Although I didn’t get a file I can convert to word and work with, I did get a file I could immediately distribute – perfect for mommy-bloggers, food-bloggers, travel-bloggers and more. I’m so pleased with FastPencil.com that I’ve signed on as an affiliate.

My quest is not yet over! Next I’ll look at a program that may give me the workable file I have been jonesing for, but in the meantime – Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Available in Kindle Format

Now Available in Kindle Format

How do I self publish my eBook?

I asked that question of the Googoracle and found that the technology and methods are changing so quickly that all of the how to instructions and advice were mostly, but not entirely, useful.

In a similar-but-not-the-same way that PC and Mac are different, Kindle and Everything Else is different.

I needed a .mobi file for making my book available on Kindle, through Amazon.com – and I made that myself using calibre and about twenty hours of web research.

I needed an .ePub file for making my book available on Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks, and I tried to use Smashwords.com helpful program to do it from a MS Word file, but the navigation – always the navigation – wouldn’t work in a way I considered professional.

So I used Calibre again, and that previous twenty hours of web research, to create an .ePub file, and uploaded it to Smashwords.com – and through them, will see it manifest on B&N and Apple iBooks.

I could upload the .ePub file directly to B&N and Apple iBooks but if I use Smashwords.com, I don’t have to manage them all myself. And the royalty rates are in my favor.

The magic of all this is complicated by the ingredients we authors are using at the time we attempt to cast our eBook spell.

Depending on the author’s computer, operating system, update level, internet browser, skill level, document complexity, origination software, and book style – the process is either straightforward or convoluted. And I wizarded up a pond full of toads before I was able to create my shining pretty ebook.

But now it is done!  And with great fanfare, I am happy to announce that “Just A Couple Of Chickens” is available on Kindle, and on Smashwords, and at Barnes and Noble, and at the Apple iBook Store!

My next step as a self publisher is to go write about a dozen more books and put them out in all these different places as well!

 

just a couple of chickens on kindle

Just A Couple Of Chickens is now available on Amazon Kindle… high five for Do It Your Self Publishing!

When I enter the phrase “self publish a book” into Google, I get pages of hits that are actually vanity presses: companies that I can pay to do the publishing for me.

I suppose that is one interpretation of self publishing, but it isn’t what I mean.

I mean “do it your SELF publishing”.

Of the growing number of authors who are self publishing, there are a smaller (but growing) number who are coming up to an intersection called Print Book or eBook. They are discovering that the same materials required for the print book will not automatically translate straight to an ebook.

Yes, a file has to be saved as a PDF for upload to a print-on-demand service for the print book, but very rarely is that same PDF file going to work as-is for an ebook. I’d say never, but I’m supposed to never say never.

I set out, three weeks ago, to produce a Kindle version of “Just A Couple Of Chickens”, which has been for sale on Amazon.com since December 2010.

At first, I was delighted to see that Createspace had a button on my book dashboard saying “Publish On Kindle,” along with a download button for two files: the cover and the interior of my book – for Kindle!

I hopped merrily along to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), with my files, and while the cover file worked well – the interior did not. Not not not. At. All.
And that was the file that Amazon offered me to use on Amazon – for my cooliorageous new ebook.

I learned that it is very easy to publish a messy looking ebook with no navigation, but it is not easy to publish a good looking ebook with standard navigation.

sigh.

For those of you who know something about ebooks, which I did not three weeks ago, you will understand my journey when I admit that my first question was “What is an NCX file?”

And for those of you who don’t know… get ready to climb that learning curve. Pack a lunch.

BUT!  I did it. Myself.

These bullet points were earned in metaphysical sweat and tears, and they are a beautiful thing for anyone interested in “do it your self publishing of a kindle ebook”:

  • You will make a separate file for your kindle ebook. It will not be the same file for the same book in the different ereader formats. 
  • KDP is publisher for Kindle, and many people use Smashwords as the publisher for everything else.
  • The technology behind this process, and therefore all of the how-to directions, are changing so fast that you will probably discover something new and buggy during your process. You must use The Force.
  • eBooks have no page numbers. You do not control the font. You are at risk of not controlling the page breaks. Navigation is important and you are better-off setting that up in MS Word, using styles, headings, and bookmarks.
  • I don’t know if the InDesign kindle plugin works or not because it only works on CS5 or later and I have an earlier version of Adobe Creative Suite.
  • The Word document must be super clean and simple – see the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. Most Word documents are not super clean and simple.
  • KDP will let you upload a word docx but it will look crappy. Use  a Word doc – but unless you did something htmlantizing, you won’t have a nice looking Go To,
  • For that, I used Calibre because I’m on a Mac. 
  • If you are on a PC, good luck using mobipocket – I couldn’t resolve Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8. And I really tried.
  • If you really can find someone who really will Kindle your book for less than $100, pay the money. Make super sure that the offer includes Go To navigation with the chapters listed. Tell them up front if you have images in your book and read the fine print on the offer to be sure your price is still going to be less than $100 after they get started.

To all of the tech-heads who posted how-tos on forums, chats, article sites, blogs, comments, and free ebooks… thank you.

Oh, and I almost forgot… “Just A Couple Of Chickens” is now available on Kindle!!!  WahOOOOOOOOOO!

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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