$1.99, 99¢ or FREE. Free’s good!

It’s official, Avarice and Collar Me Foxy are now enrolled in KDP Select – which means they’re FREE for all you Kindle Unlimited members and through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL)!

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Only 99¢ or

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AC MEDOLY, Avarice 2016-322

Only $1.99 or

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A little note for my fellow Indies: If you’re considering switching from Smashwords to KDP Select now or anytime in the future, it can take a few days for you book(s) to be pulled from all of the third party affiliate sites, so plan ahead if you have a specific date in mind. Smashwords warned me that it could take 1-3 weeks, but all of the retail sites had my books pulled overnight – except Barnes & Noble who took about 3 days. Then I had to wait for the Kindle Unlimited price of $0.00 to show up on my books’ Amazon pages (a few hours at most). Just wanted to share that with you all for future reference. 🙂

Happy Hump Day!

Catching Up & Changing Routes

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Yes! I’m happy to announce that I finished the rough draft of Scavenger, got it cleaned up and shipped off to my beta readers! 😀 I’d do a happy dance, but I woke up with a kink in my neck this morning. Ugh, hate those but I don’t exactly practice proper ergonomics, either – my bad.

I’m also happy to say that I got the final cover for Scavenger done. It’s so hard keeping it to myself, I can’t wait to share it with you! Since I made Collar Me Foxy’s cover, I just decided to stick with it for the rest of the series. The nice thing about Canva is that you can make a copy of your complete cover and that way the same color theme, fonts and everything are already in place, all you have to do is replace/adjust the photo and choose the proper filter setting (if you have any) and tweak it to your liking. No need to start from scratch – so, that’s just a little insight for those thinking about making their own covers. Of course, it’s more complicated if you’re using vignettes or multiples layers.

Another little insight I’d like to talk about with my fellow Indie’s is regarding publishing platforms. First I’ll start off by stating that everyone’s experience is different, so this is in no way a guideline on what you should do – I think we all should try everything for ourselves and come to our own conclusions on what works best for us. I’m going to be unpublishing my books from Smashwords and enrolling them into the KDP Select program at the end of this month (the end of Smashwords’s quarter).

I love everything about Smashwords, why it exists and everything it provides for Indie Authors – this is admittedly a business decision, not a personal one. Unfortunately, Smashwords’s Reporting & Payment policies are not competitive to Amazon’s. I’ll break it down for comparison:

Smaswords Reporting & Payment Policies:

  • 3 months per quarter + 30-40 days for payment, so for the quarter of July/August/September an author gets paid around the end of October, beginning of November.
  • A 30-60 day lag between end of quarter and when third party retailers send payments for sales (if any) to Smashwords. (according to their FAQ)
  • Smashwords purchases reported right away.
  • Third party retailer sales updated every 48 hours under Daily Sales.
  • A $75 minimum for payment by check. A $10 minimum for payment by PayPal, no exceptions.

Amazon KDP’s Reporting & Payment Policies:

  • 60 days after each month you make a sale, you get paid. (i.e. I got paid in August for June’s sales.)
  • Your sales are updated 24 hours after they happen – worldwide.
  • A $100 minimum for check or wire transfers. NO minimum for EFT payments (direct deposit) – whatever you make, you get.

So far, I’ve only sold 1 of each book available on Smashwords, a total of under $3.00. So not only am I unsure of how many books I may have sold at third party retailers, I don’t even know if I qualify to get paid at the end of October/beginning of November. Yet, my books have been selling fairly regularly on Amazon. So, for me, this is a smart business decision to take my books to where they’re selling. Also, since both of my books fall under the 35% royalty range, rather than the 70% royalty range, going Select could be more lucrative than staying normal KDP. Here’s why:

Amazon KDP Select Reporting & Payment Policies:

  • Sales reported 24 hours after they happen – worldwide – for regular, non-KU/KOLL customers.
  • Sales reports generated the 15th of every month for Kindle Unlimited & Kindle Owners Lender Library customers.
  • KENP reports as it happens (number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners Lending Library).
  • You get paid your regular sales 60 days after the end of each calendar month for non-KU/KOLL purchases.
  • You get paid from the KDP Select Global Fund for all books read through the Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Owner Lender Library programs – from my understanding, this is paid the same way KDP payments happen – 60 days after the end of each calendar month – if this is wrong, please let me know in the comments below!

Like I said, this is a choice I’m making for my own books, not something I’m recommending for yours, unless you want to. Another new experience I will happily share with you in a future post to let you know how it works out. In the meantime, I hope everyone is doing great and making progress on their own beloved projects and I have so many blogs and emails to catch up on, I better get back to it! 😀

In Scavenger, Tessa faces a typical sub conundrum more than once. Which is: giving Master too much information, because you’re forbidden to tell lies.

“You don’t like yellow, pet?”

“I hate it, Master.”

“Good to know,” he smiled deviously.

Personally, I think Master Felix just likes having a full arsenal of future punishments at the ready. Which do you prefer in books: blatant attacks, subtle unravelings or a good mixture of both?

 

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Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Alright Indies, before we get down to business, I’ve noticed a couple of things this week that I think are important to share.

  1. There seems to be a small flaw to the social media managing site Crowdfire. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, I just realized that any post I publish or schedule through Crowdfire doesn’t show up under my Twitter profile like all of my other posts do (If you’re familiar with this site and have additional information – like what I’m doing wrong – please let us know!) or I’ll stop being lazy and go look on their FAQ page. Also, none of my Instagram posts show up anywhere on my Instagram, whether it’s on my feed or profile. It shows up as being published under the Archive section on Crowdfire, but nowhere else. I don’t think it’s being posted. So for Instagram, I’m sticking to posting the traditional way. Which is better, anyway, since I use the NoCrop app in order for my entire picture to show up without getting cut off by Instagram’s Square photos only policy.

    NoCrop

    NoCrop Logo – courtesy of Google Play

  2. I received an email from a newsletter that I subscribe to that gave me great pause. I’m not going to name names, as I really like the site the email is affiliated with and they have really low, affordable author services on their MAIN site. This appears to be a spin-off or sister site. And the very first thing in the email is the fact that they are offering a new service that will charge you for reviews [insert gobsmacked expression here]. Paid-For Reviews are 100% BANNED on Amazon, as well as every other retail site, and Strictly Prohibited on Goodreads. Even if by some chance they can promise the review only reads: “Was provided a free ARC in exchange for an honest review” – it’s a big fat lie, because regardless if that money goes to the person who actually wrote the review or not – you, the author exchanged MONEY for that review, not a free ARC.
  • Please Indies, check out other resources before ever paying for a review. There are countless legitimate Reviewing companies out there that will review your book for free – there are countless Reviewing groups, folders and individuals all over Goodreads who are also willing to review for FREE. Granted, you have less control over if your book gets chosen or if you get a good review, or when you might ever see that review, but why would you pay to get a bad review or worse… a fake one? Reviews are important, yes, but they are NOT the end-all-be-all that sells your book – Your dedicated readers are! So focus on your readers, your followers, your newsletter subscribers more than your reviews. Just as with Beta Reads, you should never have to PAY for a review and in my humble, personal opinion, it’s just another unethical practice that ‘tricks’ consumers into spending money, on top of scamming authors!

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, this week I promised we’d cover Pre-Orders. Have you considered the process, or the purpose? Is this something you’d even want to try? There was just a lively discussion about this on Goodreads a week or so ago, and even though it only covered the ‘marketing & sales’ side of it, I did learn a couple of things on the Print end – which I’m unfamiliar with as of yet. I’m going to share those things here with you today, so you have more insight, too. 🙂

Print On Demand: There are no pre-order options with this service (I did not know that). One of the commenters warned us of that, followed with how she gets around it. She simply direct-publishes her POD books a few days before her eBook goes live so that her POD reviews seamlessly merge with the eBook version shortly after its release. So, if you’re interested in going that route, it may be something you want to research deeper. I will have a future post on POD’s, because I truly do want to try CreateSpace when I can.

eBook Pre-Orders: KDP, KDP Select and Smashwords all allow you to publish your book for Pre-Order (click on links for their guidelines). Smashwords then sends your book out to its affiliate stores (Kobo, iBooks, B&N) for pre-order as well. I would normally follow that up with a list of Pros & Cons, but there aren’t any Cons. It’s just a matter of preference and what your purpose for choosing Pre-Orders might be. The first question is usually: Does Pre-Order help with book sales? If you’re a well established author with a huge following, probably. Otherwise, you might not get a single pre-order. However, there are other benefits, and these are the reasons why I will always opt for pre-order:

When I tried to put Avarice up for Pre-Order on KDP, it came back BLOCKED. I spent 4 days pulling teeth (aka trying to get a straight answer from Amazon customer support), because they “retain the right to choose what they deem appropriate or not, without having to explain themselves” (almost a direct quote). The problem is that I had no idea if the issue was with the cover, the content or the book details – and they flat out refused to tell me – which tells me that they don’t know, it was merely something one of their algorithm systems picked up on. Luckily, I had also loaded my book to Smashwords for Pre-Order and when their infamous Meatgrinder kicked it out – they told me exactly why, without me even having to contact customer support! So I was able to take that mistake and apply it to a new upload on KDP and wallah! It went through the second time without a hitch.

Important Note: KDP will not allow you to remove or make changes to a BLOCKED book – you have to load it again, as if it’s a whole other book, under the “Create Title” option on your Author Bookshelf page.

How is that a benefit, you ask? Imagine if that had happened on Avarice’s Release Day. If I had waited until the 22nd when my book is due to go Live, I would’ve had a the worst Launch Day ever. No one would’ve been able to buy my book!

The fact is both Smashwords and KDP take 24-48 hours to APPROVE your book for publishing before they’ll even list it. Perhaps, publishing directly forces it to go through right away on KDP – I’m not sure, as I’ve never taken that route – but from everything I’ve read on Smashwords, even if you direct publish, it still has to make it through their Meatgrinder in order to make it into their Premium Catalog, before they’ll send it out to their retail affiliates. Therefore, your book may be for sale on Smashwords, but not on Kobo, iBooks or B&N until it’s been approved.

Going the Pre-Order route allows you to make sure that all mistakes (if any) are fixed, and your book is being released across ALL retail sites simultaneously, without any delays – leaving you completely free to spend your book’s Launch Day interacting with your tour hosts and readers, rather than trying to fix publishing issues. So, that is simply another aspect to look at other than just the ‘marketing & sales’ side of it.

DEADLINES: Both KDP and Smashwords allows you to put incomplete books up for pre-order. KDP limits some of your options if you’re only uploading the Rough version or what Smashwords calls “Assetless Preorders”: This is the unfinished/or unedited manuscript with or without a book cover. However – both of these sites also have Deadlines of when you MUST have your final versions with book covers uploaded. 10 days prior to its Release Date – and if you don’t, then you will not be allowed to use their Pre-Order options for a certain penalty period after that. *Note: this does not change your ability to upload an “Updated” version of your book, after you’ve met your deadline with the “final” version. You will always be able to load an updated version, even after it’s live. You just need to make sure you have a ‘final’ version up there first.

Well, that’s all I have for this week Indies! Next week’s post will be bittersweet, because I’m going to cover what to expect on your Big Launch Day! That means our Step-by-Step Guide portion is almost at an end – but worry not, even if Dear Indie turns into a Monthly post, rather than weekly, I will still be sharing every new trick, free and/or low-cost resource and anything else I continue to learn along this journey we all love so much!

Weekly Accomplishment: I’ve been diligently working on Scavenger, after having to go back to the very beginning and make changes throughout because somewhere along the way I lost my character’s true voices and was very unhappy with the tragic nosedive they were taking. Writing a scene should never feel ‘forced’ – and that’s where I was at. I’m quite happy with where we’re back to and hopefully will be soaring right to the end now. 🙂 What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments, if not for our drinking habits, then for yourself – every milestone, no matter how small should always be celebrated!

 

 

Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Good evening [she says in Bela Lugosi’s Dracula voice] – Yeah, I’m a nerd – But, I have an important update for all of you who might still be contemplating where to publish your books: Collar Me Foxy just hit its 102nd full download since going Free on Smashwords! Now, we celebrate not getting paid? YES! That’s 102 readers that may otherwise never have purchased my book, 102 people who might love it and then spread the word to all of their friends, coworkers, etc. – in other words, 102 free ads I didn’t have to pay for. 😉 So, is it worth publishing through Smashwords? Yes. Is it worth participating in any sale event that lists your book for free? Absolutely!

Of course, the sale is only through Smashwords, so my book is still selling at regular price on every other retail site. Even though I’ve been trying to advertise the free version, not everyone sees those tweets or posts, and some consumers are under the impression that if they have a Kindle they can only purchase through Amazon, when that’s not the case. Smashwords offers the MOBI edition, too. – Just wanted to let all my fellow Indies know for future reference.

This week, we’re entering the final stages of your publishing process. See that checkered flag up ahead? That’s the finish line, my friend! Let’s recap the steps you’ve already taken thus far: You totally nailed finishing your rough draft, conquered your fears and got those beta read revisions done, then shipped your MS off to your Editor. In the interim, you started building your Author Platform, got your Newsletter started, and have shopped around for – or perhaps, already ordered – your book cover. If you haven’t, now is the time to do that. Depending on how you choose to obtain it, depends on how long it will take for you to get your cover. For those who’ve been following these posts all along, this information is probably starting to sound a little redundant, so to save all of our times, here are the links for my articles on book covers: Post 1 , Post 2 , Post 3.

Here’s a Checklist of what you’ve already accomplished:

  • Author Bio
  • Blurb
  • Final Edited Version of your MS
  • Blog/Website
  • Social Media Accounts
  • Facebook Fan Page – different from a regular user account
  • Goodreads Author Profile
  • (Optional) Teasers, Book Trailer, Playlist
  • Book Cover (self-made, pre-made or professional) Done or Ordered

These are the things that your promoters are going to ask for when you order your book tours, which is something else you should be doing right about now, if you haven’t already. Also, if you’re getting ready to book your tours, that means you’ve already chosen a Release Date – Congratulations! It’s an amazing feeling to have that date circled on your calendar, an obtainable goal within your reach, so take a moment to revel in that feeling of accomplishment. You’re one step closer to becoming a published author. 🙂

Your next step is critical: Interior Layout Formatting. I also covered that a little bit in an earlier post here. Please take a moment to read it over and decide how you’d like to cover this step. I’ll give you my personal experience and opinion in a nutshell: I jumped the gun and hired a professional for my novella, Avarice, and now I’m not even going to be using the two formats I paid over $80 for. I needed to make changes I couldn’t pay the extra money for, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the blahzay title page or chapter headers they used. I wanted to jazz it up a little.

Both Smashwords and Amazon have style guides, but one works just as well for the other, so spare yourself the extra reading. However, they are only for those using Microsoft Word – which, I do not have – so if you’re also using a free word processor like OpenOffice or Libre, message me and I can send you step-by-step instructions on how to apply the right steps to perfect your layout. It seems overwhelming at first glance, but trust me, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy peasy – and you’ll find yourself never using the TAB button again!

If you’re part of the Goodreads support groups, you may have seen an open discussion about this recently. To me, it seems those having a problem with doing their own layouts are not following each step – even though it warns in the very beginning that not following each step will result in failure – so, please have patience young padawan and follow those guides to a T. Collar Me Foxy never saw a lick of trouble in any format (mobi, epub, etc.) and never once got spit out of Smashwords Meatgrinder. If you decide it’s just too much to take on yourself, by all means hire a professional – just make sure your MS is completely done and final so you’re not wasting your money like I did! 🙂

It’s Decision Time, dear Indie. You can’t put it off any longer. You need to decide right now, exactly how you plan on publishing your book. Here’s another look at your options:

  • Smashwords: Who will upload it to every other retail site for you, aside from Amazon – including, but not limited to: Barnes & Nobel, iBooks and Kobo.
  • Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing: Which allows you to still have it listed everywhere else.
  • KDP Select: An exclusive platform that forbids you from selling anywhere other than Amazon, but has a lot of beneficial features that could possibly help sell more of your books.
  • eCommerce Website: Selling directly to customers from your own website at 100% royalties to you, and of course can be coupled with every other option aside from KDP Select.
  • CreateSpace: Amazon’s Print On Demand platform (it’s imperative to know if you’re going to publish here, since it requires a completely different Interior Layout and Book Cover than an eBook).

Keep in mind that you are not limited to your initial choice. You can always change your mind later on and add or remove your book with any one of these programs (KDP Select does have a certain time you’re obligated to fulfill first). That’s the nice thing about being Independent. Your book = your choice. A traditional publisher chooses the sites, sets the price of your book, and you don’t get a say in it. Next week, we’re going to look at more marketing adventures you can take to help pre-promote your book before its launch date!

Weekly Accomplishment: I got over a small stretch of writers block and started working on Scavenger again with a new found flow of creativity. Just started Chapter Five with only 1 or 2 more chapters to go! What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments below, so we can cheer you on!

 

8th Annual Summer/Winter Sale!

Collar_Me_Foxy_Final-chained_JPEGHi everyone! I’m back… kinda. I’ll be here a little more often, at least. Starting today and going all through July, Collar Me Foxy will be FREE on Smashwords! So, tell all of your friends, family and even your frenemies (I’m not biased). 😀

This is a major event with LOTS of participating authors, so make sure you also check out their promotional page HERE and get busy supporting your Indie Authors while collecting a ton of FREE and discounted books!

Have a Safe & Awesome 4th of July weekend!

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.

Accepted!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Collar Me Foxy has been accepted into Smashwords Premium Catalog without any AutoVetter errors!

Though I followed their Style Guide to a T, I still wasn’t sure if everything would go smoothly, because I use Open Office instead of Microsoft Word – so this is to let you all know that while they prefer it, you don’t have to spend the money on MS Office right now if you don’t already have it.  You can use OpenOffice or Libre Office for FREE, they are both completely compatible with MS Word!

All you have to do is make sure your 100% ready-to-publish manuscript is “Saved As” a Microsoft .doc (not docx!).  Smashwords won’t let you upload any other version, it will give you a warning and tell you to fix it, so just another thing to try to remember! 😀

Have a good night!

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.

Cover Reveal ♥ Collar Me Foxy!

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Blurb

Tessa Fauns has but one dream: Move to France and never leave.
So when she’s offered the chance to get enough money, while putting her bilingual skills to use, how can she possibly say no?
The fact that it requires her to join a select group of Club Vitalz submissives for a week-long kinkfest in paradise is just the icing on the cake!

Unless, it’s too good to be true…

Despite all of her experience in the BDSM lifestyle, Tessa isn’t prepared for the extravagant activities their mysterious host has planned—nor the clash of unexpected emotions her new temporary Dom awaken inside of her.
Can a lifelong dream be enough to keep this little fox on her leash,
or will the truth behind her Master’s desires have
Tessa rethinking her place on Dark Day Isle altogether?

Want to download a sample of Collar Me Foxy? Follow the link below to make it happen!

SMASHWORDS PRE-ORDER PAGE

The Nerve to Succeed

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Image source: linkedin.com

I confess, I’m floundering.  I’m very happy to announce that I finished the book I was working on (Yay!) It turned out to be a collection of 3 short novellas, instead.  But, as soon as I handed it over to my beta readers, my Muse made a beeline for the door and is now MIA. Hussy.

It’s bad enough I have a habit of shutting myself up in my writing cave, but now I’ve emerged without a creative spark to show for my efforts.  Today’s one word Daily Prompt got me inspired, though – thank you DP gurus! – It also hit on a Nerve.  Or, should I say, lack there of.

It takes a lot of nerve to be successful in the writing world today.  Now that all of the previous obstacles and walls have been knocked down to make way for a new generation of Best Selling Indie Authors, a fast-paced, chaotic culture devised solely around Social Media has emerged to fill the void. The problem is that it’s damn intimidating!  Where do you even start?  I mean, aside from reading a thousand articles on where to start…

My goal is to try to go Indie with my new series.  Yes, I have a publisher, but I would like the experience and I’m very curious to discover the difference, myself.  To see which form of publishing I prefer.  I’m mostly hoping Self-Publishing will allow me to get books out onto market at a faster, steadier pace so my readers aren’t waiting 2 whole years for the next book to come out!

Going solo takes a lot more nerve, though – and moola.  Shopping for professional editors, cover artists, proofreaders and marketing experts is mind numbing!  Sure, I could just load what I’ve got into an online platform like Amazon, Kobo or Smashwords, but I would know that it wasn’t the best version of my story and would be immensely disappointed in myself.  My characters deserve to be shown in their best light, and my readers deserve to get their money’s worth.

All of the authors I’m hosting and supporting, reading and reviewing every day make it look so easy, when I know it’s anything but.  Mostly, I think it’s all based on one’s nerve to be successful.  Determination, smart business choices and finding the right people to give your book the best chance of surviving the whirlwind.

Knowing it takes nerve and actually having nerve, though, are sadly two different things for an introverted creative-type.  Broke… a broke, introverted creative type ha!  I’ll do it, though, because I’m also very stubborn when it comes to getting what I want.  Maybe that’s really the root behind success.  Sheer stubbornness! (Lots of moola doesn’t hurt, either.) 😀

Happy Hump Day!