Tag Archives: ebooks

Six things you should be including in your ebook (and probably aren’t)

Or, How to Use Your Ebooks as Your Best Marketing Platform

Last month I came up with a flash of inspiration: a way to use ebooks to market themselves. After trying it out on a number of my own ebooks, I wrote a post for Joel Friedlander’s wonderful resource for independent publishers, TheBookDesigner.com.

That post sparked a lot of interest and so I knew I wanted to share it here as well. (Since a number of folks have asked: yes, I will help you do this if you’d like. The directions here should be easy to follow — for someone comfortable getting in under the HTML hood of an ebook. Not everyone is, however, and so I can provide assistance. Just email me at [email protected] head on over to our new order page for Smidget — the social media widget for ebooks!

Quick: who—aside from you, your immediate family, and your dog—are the people most excited about your book, most ready to talk about it with their friends, and best equipped to talk about your book’s virtues? Anyone?

Well, there are lots of possible answers for each of those questions, but when it comes to identifying the whole bunch, I’d bet it’s a group that you haven’t thought much about: The people who have just finished the last page.

Think about it. If someone has actually finished your book, they’re committed to it. They’re interested in what you have had to say, and it’s fresh in their minds. They are your ideal advocates, your perfect evangelists for generating more excitement about your work and making sure that people hear about it. So what are you doing to harness that potential?

Most self-publishers don’t do much of anything. Maybe they put a bio at the back, and, possibly a link to their web page. Commercial publishers don’t do a whole lot more—they’ll put a list of similar titles the reader might be interested in, and, if they’re very twenty-first century, they’ll hyperlink those titles to the appropriate pages on their site.

Those are all really, really good ideas, and a great way to make the next sale. Is that enough? No, no, no.

What are you going to do to make sure that this title finds its audience? How are you going to harness that band of potential sales reps who’ve just finished your book and really want to talk with someone about it? I was thinking about this recently, and realized that the answer was pretty simple, when you remember that an ebook is simply a specialized web page. You do something like this: Continue reading Six things you should be including in your ebook (and probably aren’t)

From proof sheets to royalty reports: what a self-published book can earn

A client just asked what she could plan on making per copy of her book — she’s trying to put together a budget, which is always an excellent idea. Well, I talked earlier about the costs of preparing a book for publication, but hey! We know your book is going to sell, right? So what should we plan on in the revenue column?

I thought it might be helpful to share my response to her, to give you an idea of what a book might actually bring in (per copy — how many copies sell is entirely up to you).

The numbers I gave her are based on these assumptions:

  • The book is going to be self-published (so the author will the person going to Amazon’s KDP and Createspace subsidiaries, and to Ingram’s Lightning Source or IngramSpark)
  • The book in question is going to run approximately 350 pages (black ink on white paper), will have a trim size of 6″ x 9″, and will be “perfect” bound (the standard paperback binding)

Here’s my response: Continue reading From proof sheets to royalty reports: what a self-published book can earn

New Guest Post: Best Ebook Marketing Tip EVER

I was working on this site recently when I had a bit of a revelation: the people who read a book all of the way to the end are precisely the people most motivated to review, FB-post, Tweet, Pin, etc. about it, thus sharing their experience with their friends, a group of people who may never have heard of your book, but who will take seriously a mention by your reader.

Better than any advertising you could pay for!

And web sites have been taking advantage of this truth for years — which has led to the ubiquitous bars of buttons that make it as easy as possible to share a web page (or product or…) with your nearest and dearest.

My revelation was that, since an ebook is merely a highly specialized web page, I should include a set of just those sorts of links at the end of each book: links to review the book on the bookseller’s site, on Goodreads, or on my own site, or to post something about the book to Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Joel Friedlander posted my article on his wonderful resource for small and self-pubishers, The Book Designer, as Six Things You Should Be Including in Your Ebook (and Probably Aren’t)

Kindle for PC (Win8) — Bug or Feature

KIndle for PC by Amazon

This is a bit technical; forgive me.

So, the Kindle app for Windows 8 doesn’t seem to accept “personal” documents. That includes the PDFs and such that one can read on other Kindle platforms; it also includes .mobi files sold through retailers other than Amazon.

Bug or feature?

If a bug, how badly do we want them to fix it?

If a “feature,” do we think that we’ll see it spread to other Kindle platforms? And how can we discourage that?

I’m a little worried — as someone who sells Kindle-compatible .mobi ebooks on other sites (including my own) — that our monopolistic friends are closing the sandbox.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

ETA: Apparently, it’s a “feature.” Kindle for Windows 8 is based on the Amazon Cloud Reader — no local storage, and also no “personal documents.” So no Smashwords (or Stillpoint) downloads, for example.

Of Ebooks and Audio and Editing

Revising, reworking, removing by mpclemons/flickr.com. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Self-publishing doesn’t mean having to do everything by yourself!

Stillpoint Digital Press is proud to serve not only as a publisher of fine ebook, audiobook, and print editions, but also as a provider of quick, affordable, and professional ebook conversion and design, audiobook production, and editorial services.

We have helped small presses, agencies, and self-publishers to produce the books they want to create, and we’d love to work with you!

Contact us for an estimate today. For more information about our services, read on: Continue reading Of Ebooks and Audio and Editing

Spreadsheets to Galleys: How to Budget Your Self-Published Book

New Year, New Spreadsheets by SaraE

After I wrote recently about why self-publishers need to use professional editors, a number of folks emailed and commented, asking just how much such an endeavor would cost. It was a tough question to answer — I know what I would charge for many services, but it’s difficult to say what the market cost might be, especially for services that I myself don’t regularly provide. Understandably, some correspondents were anxious, wondering if they should jump in, not knowing what the whole process might cost.

This week on PBS.org, Miral Sattar, CEO of the publishing-services marketplace site BiblioCrunch, posted what I found to be a quite thorough rundown of what it might cost to put a self-published book through as professional as possible a publishing process.

She posited a fairly typical book, weighing in at around 70,000 words. She made no further stipulations — fiction vs. non-fiction, for example, or thoroughly workshopped, researched, and rewritten (I was obsessed about the need to rewrite my essay as a student, still remember) vs. hastely pulled together. The style, genre, and initial quality of the prose do make a huge difference in terms of the kind and amount of editorial work that needs to be done, obviously. Ms. Sattar was trying to explore a median case.

She based her standards and pricing on the Editorial Freelancers Association’s posted rate sheet, which is as close to an industry standard as exists.

Here in brief is Sattar’s rundown (each entry has a low and a high end estimate):


Stillpoint Partners with Sixteen Rivers Press

Sixteen Rivers Press Logo

As National Poetry Month comes to a close, Stillpoint Digital is proud to be able to announce that we are partnering with poetry collective Sixteen Rivers Press. Not only will we create ebooks with them, but Stillpoint will serve as their online store and distributor. 100% of all Sixteen Rivers net sales will be paid to the award-winning collective. It seems appropriate to us, as a company whose name is drawn from a T.S. Eliot poem!
Continue reading Stillpoint Partners with Sixteen Rivers Press

What Is Reading?

A Tale of Two Cities, Four Ways by Linda Gardner (grandgrrl/flickr.com)

Whether I’m flipping paper pages, scanning through an ebook, listening to an audiobook or reading into a mic, reading a book is reading a book. Or is it?

As much as anyone, I live through words. I’ve been a professional actor. I’ve edited books. I’ve written them. I’ve narrated audiobooks. I’ve designed ebooks. It would be reasonable to say my life centers around words — that my life centers around reading.

But what does that mean?

My earliest memories have to do with books: being read to by my parents, reading along to picture books narrated on scratchy 45s, hiding under my covers with a flashlight and The Hobbit or Encyclopedia Brown. Many of my dearest adult memories are book related: reading the same copy of Ender’s Game side-by-side with my soon-to-be-wife; reading Where the Wild Things Are to my first-born and realizing that I remembered every word, having not seen the book in twenty-five years; reading all seven of the Harry Potter books (and many others) aloud to each of my daughters.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly reading is — Continue reading What Is Reading?