ATTN: Indies! Important Info!

Independent

Hi Indies!

I was just over on Goodreads and saw this topic in my notifications and wanted to share it with you right away! There have been whispers about this coming, but no one was sure when and now it looks like there’s going to be a definite merger between CreateSpace and Amazon Kindle Beta this fall. So for anyone getting ready to go to print, it looks like you might as well take CS off your list of options as a POD and just upload your book directly to Kindle or IngramSpark…

GOODREADS DISCUSSION THREAD HERE

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Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Publishing Part 2

Welcome back! This is the second post this week, since I had to break this publishing segment into 2 parts.  In this section, I’d like to cover the #1 online retailer world-wide.  Amazon is actually an e-commerce search engine, but many view it as its own ‘store.’  With headquarters based in Seattle, WA, Amazon’s reach to potential buyers, new fans and readers is further than any other Indie Book Publishing platform available.  Here’s what they have to offer:

AMAZON

Kindle Direct Publishing: is the original and most frequently used Program that Amazon has to offer Indie Authors.  If you’ve already uploaded your book to Smashwords, then you’ll find Amazon’s process is quite similar and easy to follow.  Here are the most important things to know about KDP:

  • Just like Smashwords, KDP has an available walk-through style guide called Building Your Book for Kindle on how you’ll need to format the interior layout of your book – however – if you’ve already formatted it to Smashwords specifications, you’ll find that it is exactly the same as KDP’s so there’s no need to worry about formatting it twice.  The key difference is that while Smashwords only accepts MS .doc files, KDP only accepts HTML, so you’ll have to save your document in an HTML format in order to upload it to Amazon.
  • Your book cover can only be uploaded as a JPEG file, whereas most other places accept PNG, so make sure you have a JPEG version of your book cover – if you only have a PNG, open it in “Paint” and “Save As” a JPEG – this is the easiest way to convert graphics without ruining your cover or downloading a free converter onto your computer (though that is also an option).
  • This is a mistake I just made: KDP does not automatically assign you as the author of your book, you have to do that under the “Add Contributor” section of your Bookshelf.
  • Also, KDP does not allow you to make multiple changes to your book if you forgot to before hitting the “save and continue.” You must wait for it to come out of ‘Review’ before you can go back into your Bookshelf (the equivalent of Smashwords’ Dashboard feature) and make the other necessary change(s).
  • KDP also has a Pre-Order publication option, though they don’t seem to offer the same ‘Assetless Preorder’ that Smashwords does.  Plus, they require that the final version of your book be uploaded 10 days prior to the scheduled publication date – so to maximize this option, make sure you publish your Pre-Order books more than 10 days out from its release date.
  • KDP will assign it’s own FREE ASIN # for your book, if you don’t already have a purchased ISBN #.

*Note: I paid extra for a formatter to send me both a Smashwords and a Kindle formatted version of my book, only to find out it was an unnecessary charge – PLEASE do not pay for a PDF, Mobi or Epub version of your book, both Smashwords and Amazon convert your word document all on their own – and – after your book has been successfully uploaded to Smashwords, they allow you to download a Full FREE copy of your book in any format you want (mobi, epub, PDF, doc, etc.) or all of the above – So save your money!

*Note: For pre-publication ARC’s and Beta Reader Copies, you can download a FREE eBook converter called Calibre which will convert any document file or even ebook file to any format you need (mobi, epub, PDF, etc.)- make sure you preview the finished product before sending it out, as you may have to use their features to adjust the font, font size and page width to be more reader-friendly. The nice thing is that you don’t have to scrap it and start over, merely select the same file and re-convert it into the same format with the changes and it’s done! Calibre automatically overrides the first conversion so your computer isn’t filling up with unwanted files.

Calibre also acts as an e-reader in case you ever receive an epub copy of someone else’s book and don’t already have an e-reader – simply right click on the epub file, select “open with” and find Calibre (mine is on my desktop) – and voila, you can now read epub files!

Do you know the difference between KDP and KDP Select?  I haven’t done thorough research yet, but here are the most distinctive differences:

  • KDP Select is 100% exclusive – which means that you are not allowed to publish your book through any other retailer while you are active in the KDP Select Program – so, if this is something you’re considering DO NOT publish through Smashwords first, as it will render your book disqualified for the KDP Select Program.
  • KDP Select allows authors to lower the price of their books or make them FREE for a certain amount of time every 90 days – and this is why most authors join KDP Select, because nothing gives your book more exposure than listing it for FREE. (There are other ways to get Amazon to sell your book for FREE without tying your publishing hands, though – scroll down for that information.)
  • KDP Select takes full control over how your book is promoted and which promotional deals they will offer it in – but this is also a benefit, because it’s marketing you don’t have to pay for on the world’s largest retail search engine.

*That is all I know about the select program so far, so please follow the link above to learn more.

Another thing that Amazon KDP has is the Kindle MatchBook feature.  This allows customers who’ve purchased a Print copy of your book to purchase the digital version for $2.99 or less.  I haven’t looked into this too deeply, but it could be a good marketing feature!

How to Force Amazon to Sell Your Book for FREE:

According to Nick Stephenson, if you upload your eBook to KDP for $0.99 cents (that is the minimum allowed for new uploads) and then upload your books through Smashwords for FREE – you can then request that Amazon “Price Match” your books being sold everywhere else.  It might take some time for them to approve it, but this is supposed to be the alternative to the KDP Select program if you’d like to give your book away for FREE. – I am going to attempt this at some point, so look for an update on this topic in the future.

CreateSpace: This is Amazon’s Print On Demand (POD) platform.  I do not know anything about POD’s, except that the requirements for Book Covers and Formatting are completely different than your eBook version, as you can imagine, so you will have to provide a printable version of both in order to upload your book through a POD.  I know nothing else – and I do not know of any other POD’s by name, so if you do, can you please leave a comment about it below?  Thanks, that would be awesome!

Fun Fact: Did you know that Amazon has actual, brick & mortar Bookstores? I just found that out – all books are sold at the same price as you’d find on Amazon.com. Interesting.

Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Publishing Part 1

This week, I’d like to start covering Publishing, but it turns out I have more to say about it than I thought, so I’ve broken it down into separate posts.  Maybe you’ve already begun looking into how you wish to publish, or maybe that day is still so far off you figure you have time to do that boring, time-consuming step later.  Hopefully I can help cut some of the dullness and time down for you here, while advising you not to wait until the last minute.  For this first part, I’m only going to talk about:

SMASHWORDS

The #1 Indie Publishing site in the world. If you’re still unfamiliar with their services, allow me to reveal what I know so far.  In essence, Smashwords is a one-stop platform that does all of the work for you.  Before I go any further, this is very important: You CANNOT successfully upload your book to Smashwords unless it meets their formatting and book cover criteria.

Fortunately, the CEO has put together a step-by-step walk through on exactly how to format the interior layout of your book (this can also save you $$$ on paying someone else to do it) with this Smashwords Style Guide.  He also went a step further and created “Mark’s List” of professional formatters and cover designers that follow their specifications, if you feel better not going the DIY route.

Formatting aside, you have 3 immediate options with Smashwords:

  1. Assetless Preorders: For up to 12 months in advance, you can create a link for readers to preorder your book without having to upload the manuscript or book cover at all.  This gives you an additional 12 months of possible sales on a book you’re not even done writing yet!
  2. Regular Preorders: This is where your book is already finished and you upload it and your book cover exactly as you would for normal Publishing, only Smashwords allows you to choose “Preorder” and then has you set the future date of publication.  For however long that is, your book is not only available for early buyers, but up to 30% of your content is available as a Free downloadable sample – which potential readers love more than just a blurb. (It’s the equivalent of the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon.) I don’t know about you, but I use that feature quite a bit.
  3. Direct Publishing: Publishing on the day your book is scheduled to be released. *NOT RECOMMENDED!* And this is why:

The first thing Smashwords does with your book is send it to their Meatgrinder to check for formatting errors.  This lists your book as “Pending Review” for their Premium Catalog.  That beautiful list is what allows your book to be distributed to their retail associates (i.e. Kobo, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, etc.), so you want to make sure you check your Dashboard for “AutoVetter” notices and fix them right away.  The sooner your book is accepted into the Premium Catalog, the faster it reaches all of those other retail sites.

So, choosing to wait until the exact date of your book’s release is taking the very real risk that your book isn’t even going to be available for sale anywhere other than Smashwords until they’re through approving it.  I would advise using one of the Preorder options, so your book is already approved prior to the publication date, plus it gives you a jump start on both sales and exposure!

Here are even more reasons to love Smashwords:

  • They assign an epub ISBN number to your book for FREE, if you don’t already have one.
  • You upload your book once, and they send it out to all of the retailers for you. (They only send out the epub version to retailers, that is why you only get the one ISBN number.)
  • Nothing is written in stone:  With their Dashboard feature, you will never have to ‘Republish’ your books.  Found a better cover? Just update your book from your Dashboard.  Realized your book had proofreading errors? No worries, just upload the corrected version of your book through the Dashboard and it’s taken care of – Smashwords will instantly send out your updated files to all of the retailers for you!

Here’s what Smashwords will NOT do for you: Distribute to Amazon.  Unless your book sales have reached $2,000 and even then, I think there is a waiting period or selection process that doesn’t guarantee you a spot.

More on Amazon next time!

Recommended Reading: Smashwords FAQ page. They have to have the easiest FAQ page to read and navigate that I’ve ever seen – and very thorough about answering any question you might have.

Publishing fun fact: Did you know that ePublishers don’t require you to have a literary agent and that you can submit to them directly?  Did you know that most brick & mortar Publishing houses have jumped on board that bandwagon and now offer their own ePub services that also don’t require you to have a literary agent?  Harlequin is one of them and you can find their non-agented ePub site here.

My First On The 1st!!! TZL Book Release & More…

CelebrateIt’s official!  Today is the release day for The Zen Lounge!!  Thank you to everyone who has put up bared with me during my first book publication – what an experience!  And to all of the amazing staff over at Red Sage Publishing who made this day a reality!

To my best friend, Kelly: Thank you for always making me push SEND!

Mom: Thank you for editing for me (among other things) when I was crazy-glued to your side, because my hands were utterly useless and I was on deadline!  I still don’t think it’s okay for you to read this book, so I’m going to pretend that you’re not.

I’d like to offer a virtual toast to all my friends here in the blogosphere, (or drink the real stuff, if you’ve got it!), for sharing this exciting new leap with me.  This is only the beginning!

Also, for today only, you can check out my Author Interview over at the amazing Love, Lust & Lipstick Stains!

The Zen Lounge.Final.niina

Buy Today @ Red Sage * Amazon * Barnes&Noble

Welcome to the Zen Lounge, twenty-one floors of customizable carnal pleasures to fulfill your wildest fantasies. Even in the year 2192, it shouldn’t exist but Voryk Kade simply couldn’t ignore the urge to take a closer look. What he finds is a woman bent on ruining everything he’d ever believed to be true. She holds the key to all of Voryk’s darkest, neediest desires and despite her silence, provides the proof behind his belief that there is something far seedier going on under the high-end gloss of professional eroticism.

Enlisting the help of his closest friends, Voryk’s only goal is to keep Nexlana safe, naked and his. Unfortunately, she was already someone’s favorite pet and when Master comes calling, it’s with a vengeance and the intent of never letting her slip away again. Haunted pasts continue to resurface, only Nexlana’s might be far deadlier than any of them could have guessed—connections between her, arson, an assassination and a cold case no one ever wanted to delve into again. To stop the worst case scenario from taking place, they must finally figure out just who in the hell the Master really is.  

I Submitted

writing

Well, I did it! I submitted my second book to my editor, finally!  So, it’s a little later than Spring, but I do think I confessed to never sticking to my own self-imposed timelines.  I have to admit, that it is no less nerve wracking or intimidating to press that blasted ‘SEND’ button – even when you’ve already got an editor sitting there going “gimme, gimme!”

I’m biting my nails, waiting to hear what she thinks about the book and hoping that she likes it, feeling all of the same anxiety I felt when I submitted my first novel – only there’s more.  Now, there’s a pressure not to be disappointing.  Not to let someone who likes your work down, if the second book isn’t as great as the first!  Ugh…

Okay, moving away from that momentarily, I’ve also been learning new words lately.  I love expanding my vocabulary and especially when I happen upon words that are fun to say.  My oldest introduced me to the word Derpy.  My initial reaction was to laugh and think that it must be just another one of those slang words that kids of his generation are making up as they go along, but apparently it’s become popular enough to get a definition in the Urban Dictionary.

Derpy: Awkward or embarrassing, especially when pertaining to a person.  Can also mean foolish.

This is not to be confused with Dirpy: A conglomeration of the words “dirty” and “hippy”; a dirty hippy. A bearded boy who is more than likely an English or philosophy major and owns at least 12 pairs of Chuck Taylors. These elusive creatures can be sighted at coffee shops and Whole Foods Markets; they are more than likely vegetarians or vegans. He smokes weed daily, but only showers once a week.

I think I actually know a few Dirpies… hmm… Anyway, my learning didn’t stop there.  The book I submitted to my editor has a one word title.  A play on words, as it were, that also happens to be the name of an actual place in the story.  I had already started the second book to the trilogy, but was unhappy with the title, so I went to Thesaurus.com and put my brain to the challenge of finding just the right word that could double as a location/place.  And, I found it!

Unfortunately, I’m leery to share the word with you – it goes back to that little issue of pre-publishing – but I can give you a hint: It’s the name of a citizen from a Greek city in Southern Italy that was destroyed in 510 BC and the definition of the word has both literal ‘sensual’ meaning and connotations.  Have fun! 🙂

Now… back to biting my nails…

The Final Countdown

The Zen Lounge.Final.niina

Wanted to share with all my fellow bloggers, that the next step in the process of publishing my first book has begun.  Got an email from my copy editor that she’s reading my novel now and I should have her suggestions soon, so we can get this baby edited and ready for sale.  I’m nervous, but surprisingly more excited than fearful and have, thus far, been getting positive feedback from her on the story.

In other news, I’ve been contemplating doing another chapter series on here.  My first short story was received by all of you lovely readers far better than I’d anticipated and it’s unbelievably encouraging and inspiring to attempt another.  So, thanks and keep your eyes peeled for a new one (possibly) coming soon.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday! 🙂

One Step Closer

Today, the wonderful Marketing Director at my publisher gave me the green light to add the cover art and publication blurb for my upcoming book, The Zen Lounge, to my blog.  I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to see the cover of a book you’ve spent countless hours, days, weeks, months – okay, I admit, it was years – writing, proofing, editing, rewriting, loving, hating, swearing at… well, I’m sure there are plenty of authors out there nodding their heads right now!

While the publication date is still a year away (tentatively scheduled for November 2014) I’m super excited to be able to share this development in the long process of getting published, to announce that I’m one step closer to seeing one of my biggest dreams come true.  Now, onto the good stuff:

Blurb

Welcome to the Zen Lounge, twenty-one floors of customizable carnal pleasures to fulfill your wildest fantasies. Even in the year 2192, it shouldn’t exist but Voryk Kade simply couldn’t ignore the urge to take a closer look. What he finds is a woman bent on ruining everything he’d ever believed to be true. She holds the key to all of Voryk’s darkest, neediest desires and despite her silence, provides the proof behind his belief that there is something far seedier going on under the high-end gloss of professional eroticism.

 Enlisting the help of his closest friends, Voryk’s only goal is to keep Nexlana safe, naked and his. Unfortunately, she was already someone’s favorite pet and when Master comes calling, it’s with a vengeance and the intent of never letting her slip away again. Haunted pasts continue to resurface, only Nexlana’s might be far deadlier than any of them could have guessed—connections between her, arson, an assassination and a cold case no one ever wanted to delve into again. To stop the worst case scenario from taking place, they must finally figure out just who in the hell the Master really is.  The Zen Lounge.Final.niina