Tag Archive: self publishing details


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.

 

Cuckoo Maran Chicks Love "When No One Else Would Fly" and "Just A Couple Of Chickens" but they wonder about the LCCN.

Cuckoo Maran Chicks Love “When No One Else Would Fly” and “Just A Couple Of Chickens” but they wonder about the LCCN.

The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) is not legally required for a self published book, but it is a mark of professionalism and it does have meta data (and other) advantages.

The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) is the process through which you apply to get your LCCN, and all of this has to be done before you publish your book.

It can take several weeks to receive the LCCN for your book title, and so it should be part of your self publishing calendar as you plan.

The application process, and the assignment, is free. It is only available to self publishers who have created a business and the PCN office will determine if you are eligible for a LCCN.

Having a LCCN is one of the actions you take as a self publisher that makes you really more of an independent publisher or small press.

The entire point of having a LCCN is so that libraries can find, and therefore order, your book for their library collection.

On the one hand, there are @ 9,000 libraries in the USA and if they all ordered my book, I would be very pleased. On the other hand, if my book is in the library, then I am not selling more copies even though I am gaining more readers.

So why do I want the LCCN?  Because I absolutely love libraries and I want my book in the library because it’s part of my vision of being a writer. A vision of a print book on a library bookshelf – like all those thousands of books from the library shelves throughout my life, since the day I could read.

But besides visions and dreams, having my book in the Library of Congress database is part of the magic of SEO and keyword searchability that is an ongoing, slow process similar to the formation of a coral reef. One coral reeflet is lost in the wide ocean, but over time, the reef can grow until it gains the attention of everyone who passes. These small registry actions I take will accrete over time and make my name more findable, and my books more available.

Once you have your LCCN, it goes on the copyright page of your book. The formatting is described in the email or letter you get from the PCN office. There is a follow-up step required once you publish your book, and that is to send a copy of the book (a nice copy, not a proof or flawed one) to the Library of Congress. At the time of this writing, 2013, that address is below. Sending the copy for the LCCN is not the same as sending two copies for your copyright obligation.

          Library of Congress
          US & Publisher Liaison Division
          Cataloging in Publication Program
          101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
          Washington, DC 20540-4283

 

 

 

Trying to determine monthly book sales from the Amazon Best Seller Rank is not black and white.

Trying to determine monthly book sales from the Amazon Best Seller Rank is not black and white.

How does Amazon sales ranking relate to monthly book sales?

Nobody knows. Except maybe Amazon, and they aren’t telling.

But some very determined, diligent, and intelligent people have taken on the challenge of trying to find an answer – and they’ve posted some tools and guides.

They are mostly authors who have self published books for sale on Amazon.com and have found, as I have found, that there is no way to independently verify how many of our books have sold on Amazon.com. We have to settle for Amazon’s report each month… and be patient with the fact that some kinds of sales have several weeks delay in posting on that report.  (I should say here that this whole situation isn’t much different from having to rely on a traditional publisher for a report of monthly sales – and in those cases, the delay can be much longer… but still… inquiring authors want to know.)

At first I wanted to know because I was concerned that maybe I was selling hundreds of thousands of books but only getting paid for about ten. But once I cruised the reports and sites and saw the general overviews of Amazon book ranking translated to estimated overall monthly sales, I accepted reality, (not really, but I pretended to)… and Amazon’s reporting.

Then I wanted to know how many books other authors were selling, particularly my favorite authors or some of the successful self published authors I’ve been following.

Amazon.com shows a book sales ranking as Amazon Best Seller Rank, under Product Details” on the book’s Amazon.com listing – you scroll down past “Description,” past “Customers Viewed This Item Also Viewed,” past “Editorial Reivews,” and you are there.

The rank changes every day, depending on your own book sales, and other people’s book sales. It is a complex algorithm (or a bingo cage at Amazon headquarters) and it can be very volatile.

The most interesting thing about the ranking is the general number range; like less than 100,000 or more than one million. All the info I’ve gathered about this number range is from people observing on their own, not from Amazon.com’s CFO, but I’ve done enough of my own double checking (on my own numbers and through other sources) that I think it is somewhat accurate.

In general, if your ranking is less than 100,000, you are probably selling several books every month. If your ranking is more than one million – meaning that there are at least one million better selling books on Amazon.com than your book… you are probably only selling a couple of books a month (or less), or haven’t sold a book in a couple of weeks (or more) – and you should probably stop checking your ranking and start doing more marketing.

But sell two books in two weeks and watch that ranking climb!  For one day.

Another resource, which is far more iffy, is a site that offers you a chance to enter your actual sales ranking and see what you actually might be selling monthly or daily. I found this calculator a little buggy – make sure you zero it all out and try it several times with slightly variable numbers. But it did show me numbers that made sense on my own ranking, and some test rankings where I already knew the monthly sales of other books.

There are also sites that helpfully offer, for free, to track your Amazon.com sales ranking; presumably so that you can have an average to plug into the calculator.

For me, having yet another numerical measure in my life is unappealing, especially because it does not generally make it under 100,000 on any given day, so I am satisfied with the occasional overview.

I could toss it into my goal pile, but instead, I’m going to get ready to release my grandfather’s aviation biography and see what happens to THAT sales ranking… wahOOOOOO!

 

 

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 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!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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