We all have those years we want to put behind us, and this year is one of those for me.
It began with a series of deaths starting with my sister-in-law; my husband’s brother (who was married to the sister-in-law mentioned above); to the death of a colleague reporter I worked with years ago and ended with the cancer death of a woman who did a lot for Special Olympics.
She left behind a husband and two adult daughters – one has Down Syndrome. I remember this mother opening up her home to serve supper for the special education students before they went to the high school prom. My youngest autistic son so enjoyed this. I recall that night and Andrew’s excitement, exclaiming how beautiful the girls looked in their Cinderella gowns.
However, the good-byes do not end there. Another shoe dropped. My writing partner and wonderful and dear friend is moving far away. We have done so much together, not only writing but also other things together. I will miss her so much, such as going to Spaghetti Works and her ordering peppers and mushrooms to add to her spaghetti sauce.
Life brings changes and writing does the same, such as learning how to write a fiction novel by attending a writers critique group. I also learned a lot from writing conferences, editing and promotional techniques as well as what a writer’s life really involves.
After attending my first conference, I was shocked to find out when an author receives an “advance” from a publishing house if that book does not sell out that “advanced” money, the author must return the sum for those not sold. Is that not sad?
I thought once your book was out there you were on easy street. You are not. In my mind, I pictured authors sitting at their desks typing out their stories and sipping their cups of coffees. I also never thought they had to promote their own work. I believed someone else did that and in some cases that still can happen. However, in today’s world, most authors can say bye, bye to that one.
Several years ago my first book, Seasons of the Soul, was released. I had a book signing at the local library. I envisioned lines around the library waiting for them to buy my book. I had a good book signing, but it sure did not measure up to what I had predicted.
I also had several book signings at Barnes and Noble, and the customer service representative was anxious to have me return time after time. She let me stay as long as I wanted. However, those days are gone because when my historical romance, Lockets and Lanterns, was released in 2010 she actually asked me to leave after a few hours. Why the difference? The e-book revolution took its toll on Barnes and Noble’s profits. Thus again, life serves up a lot of good-byes.
I will miss my dear friend. She, though, needs to go where God leads her family, and we still will converse by phone, e-mail, write anthologies together and attend conferences. However, it will never be the same. So enjoy your time with others for nothing lasts forever and let go and let God do the rest. He will sustain you (if you believe in Him) through these good-byes.
Remember I may say good-bye to this post, but another, God willing, will appear next month. And, as always, I will end with a God bless.
If you logged into PubIt recently you may have gotten this pop up:
But what is it talking about? Nook Press is Barnes & Nobles new self publishing platform. To tell you a little about it, here is the email they sent out to users today:
Over the past two and a half years, our working partnership has made PubIt! a resounding success. Because of PubIt! publishers like you, we’ve been able to offer millions of NOOK® customers exciting new content from independent authors.
Our success is your success, and we’ve been working hard to bring you a platform that takes our partnership—and self-publishing—to the next level. Today, we’re pleased to introduce to you NOOK Press, our new and improved self-publishing platform!
NOOK Press is self-publishing made simple. With the NOOK Press platform you can write, edit, collaborate, publish and sell your eBooks all in one place—at no cost.
The NOOK Press platform features these exciting new tools and services:
NEW! One-stop Publishing Solution: Write, edit, format and publish your eBooks in our web-based platform, instantly reaching millions of NOOK customers within 72 hours.
NEW! Easy ePub Creation and Editing: Upload your manuscript file and make changes directly in NOOK Press. Editing and previewing in one session saves you time and effort.
NEW! Integrated Collaboration: Collaborate with editors, copyeditors, and friends, allowing them to review and comment on your manuscript without ever leaving NOOK Press.
Visual Sales Reporting: Our new visually-enhanced sales report makes tracking your sales progress even easier.
NEW! Instant Chat: Live Chat customer service is now available to quickly answer your questions Monday through Friday between 9am-9pm EST.
Pathway to Passionate Readers Everywhere: Publish once and reach millions of customers using NOOK and NOOK Reading Apps in the US and UK and more coming soon.
Same Great Terms: Our favorable PubIt! business terms and commitment to a transparent retail partnership remain unchanged.
NOOK Press Presents Our booksellers are currently hand-selecting titles for a new merchandising program: NOOK Press Presents — Our Top 100 Picks for Summer. NOOK Press Presents will be an ongoing merchandising channel for independently published content that comes to NOOK through NOOK Press.
Once you moved your existing PubIt! account to NOOK Press your titles will be considered for this program, which will promote books across the NOOK ecosystem.
Get started with NOOK Press today! Click here to be guided through a quick, one-time account syncing process. Once completed your PubIt! account, sales, payment, and title information will automatically appear in NOOK Press. To find out more about the changeover to NOOK Press, see our support page here.
We’re excited to turn the page together on a new chapter in self-publishing!
One thing they tout is the manuscript editor, however:
Can I edit my old PubIt! titles in the Manuscript Editor?
No. You will not be able to access the Manuscript Editor for any titles you created in your PubIt! account. If you need to upload a replacement manuscript file for a title that was created in PubIt!, you can go back to PubIt! and upload your new manuscript file there.
Perhaps not a big deal except that the pop up clearly says PubIt is being phased out in a few months. What happens after that?
Another concern I have is this:
Can I edit my Project after I put it On Sale?
NOOK Book Details can be changed after you put your Project On Sale as a NOOK Book, but at this time, the NOOK Book itself cannot be updated or replaced. To update or replace a NOOK Book that is currently On Sale, you would need to take the Project Off Sale, download the ePub from the Project page, create a new Project, upload the downloaded ePub or create a new Manuscript in that Project, and then put that new Project On Sale as a NOOK Book
Essentially this says to me that if you need to upload a new version ie. you’ve fixed typos, or you’ve added a preview of your next book, or you’ve just updated your bio and your list of “other books by” you will lose your reviews and your ratings. Not a very cool prospect in my book. Of course, it does say “at this time”, so perhaps this is something that is coming in the future?
Because of those two questions I have not switched my PubIt account over yet, however I have shot off an email to the NOOK Press support and will happily share whatever they answer me.
Have you switched over yet? What has your experience been?
Each month, Amazon will make a “pool” of money – $500,000 in December. To get a cut of the money you have to enroll your book. Each time it is borrowed, you get a “point”. At the end of the month, the total points are counted, the money is divided up by that number (for example if there are 500,000 points from all authors and $500,000, each “point” is worth $1) and you receive your share of the “pot” which would be X$ x How-many-times-your-book-was-borrowed (not purchased, but borrowed through the kindle Library lending program – which only Amazon Prime members can borrow from.)
So if no one borrows your book, you make 0% of the pot.
And you should. While at first this seems like a way to earn royalties on book borrowing, there is one condition: You must have your book (in digital format) EXCLUSIVELY published with Amazon. This means it can not be on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or even your personal website or blog (blogs and websites are specifically mentioned in the terms). This further means that if your book is already published elsewhere you must first remove it so that Amazon is the only person who carries it. (This does not effect paper back/dead tree versions)
Before you take your books down from B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. and enter the program, ask yourself this question, “Is my book likely to be borrowed enough times to make up the money for those lost sales?”
The answer for me is a simple “No”. Your answer may be different, but as Writer Beware has cautioned, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Go to smashwords.com, log in and click the Publish option in the overhead menu:
(You’ll notice I have a “requires attention warning – this is because I have a “test” book that is archived and unpublished that I use to test files before upload, so I haven’t given it an ISBN number. If you have this warning and don’t have something similar then it means one of your books needs an ISBN assigned.)
You will be taken to a new page. Here you will enter all the information on your book. First up is title and the short description.
You’ll see that there is a 400 character limit for the short description (not words, characters – aka letters, spaces, punctuation, etc.). This is one of the reasons I say it’s good to have several of different length ready to go. Something to consider for shorter works: though Smashwords has the word count clearly posted on each book’s page, not all their distributors do, so it’s best to put Short Story, Novella, Short Work, etc. at the beginning of the description to avoid angry reviews on Barnes and Noble and other sites.
Now comes the “long” description. If it’s the exact same thing as your short description then it’s up to you if you want to bother with it or not. However, if you have a good hook written up that was too long for the short description above then plug it in here.
Choose the Language of your book and whether it has adult content or not. (A note on this. Smashwords has changed its policies and when you first visit the site, or visit it without being logged in, all books marked with adult content will not show up. You now have to remove the “adult content” filter instead of having to activate it. While I understand this change, it’s not one I’m happy with as most of my books don’t show up for a casual visitor. But, don’t try to be sneaky and skip marking it as adult content if it really is. It just hurts everyone in the long run.)
You can also see there are pricing choices. Free is obvious – your work is free for others to download. Is this a good idea? There are blogs by the thousands that tackle that topic, so I’m not going to.
The next option is Reader Sets Price. My advice on this option is to only use it on a book you would have otherwise marked free because most people’s determined price is free. However, once in a while you run into someone who pays more (I has someone pay 10$ for one of my books when I had this option set.)
Lastly is to set your own price. Type a number in and suddenly these magical pie charts will appear:
These show you what percentage of the price that everyone is getting from your book. Again, there are articles galore on ebook pricing, so I won’t get into that here. I will say this; there are probably people out there who will pay $10 or more of an ebook (there’s at least one person!) but they are the minority.
Once your price is set determine how much sampling you want by changing the numbers. If your ebooks is free (mine is), then this will be grayed out.
What is sampling? Go to any smashwords book page (in a new window!) and scroll down past the description and you’ll see a table that looks much like this:
See where it says 50%? The author has chosen to share a 50% sample, or half the book, for free. It’s up to you how much you want to share, but I do recommend making at least the first chapter available.
Now it’s time to choose the categories your book fits in.
You’ll initially have one box and, as you choose subcategories, new boxes will appear. Find the best fit for your book. For instance, there is no vampire category (sadly) and though this particular story doesn’t really have any horror in it, the other stories in the series do, so I chose Fiction>Literature>Horror so that it is in the same category as the rest of the series.
Now add some tags
Use words that you think someone would use if they were searching for your book. As you type them in they will appear above the box. If you decide you don’t like one – or you have a typo – then use the “remove” to take it off.
Now you need to choose what file types you’d like your book to appear in
Rule of thumb is the more formats, the more potential readers, however, some books just don’t work well in all types. For instance, plain Text means text only – no images. If your book needs pictures then you should uncheck this option.
Now we’re ready to upload the files!
Use the Choose File button to get a pop up box and find your book cover on your computer. As the box says, it must be a .jpg, .gif or .png and needs to be at least 600 pixels tall. I prefer to use high res images, myself, but it’s all a matter of choice.
Now upload your pre-formatted document. (For help with formatting see some of our previous posts).
Check over the publishing agreement and hit the happy publish button!
Usually my browser window will sporadically pop back up to the middle of the page and stare at me for a few moments. If this happens to you, don’t panic. First, check the bottom left of your browser window and (depending on your browser) you will likely see something that says “Uploading” and has a percentage. This means your files are uploading – it can take a moment. If you don’t see that, then scroll through the page to make sure there are no red errors. If several minutes pass and still nothing has happened, then check your dashboard in a new tab to see if the book is listed. If not, then hit the publish button again or refresh the page and redo the forms.
Once the files are uploaded a new page will appear that says something like:
Your number will be different. As it says, you can leave it opened or close it out. I prefer to leave it opened.
When it has finished converting you will get an email with the conversion results – including any file errors – and the page should change. If you have no errors it will look like this:
Click on the “View this page’s Smashwords page” link.
An aside. I said the page SHOULD change. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes it will say “complete” next to all the files and just sit and stare at you. If that happens then 1- be sure to check your mail to make sure the conversion has no errors and 2 – go to your dashboard and access the book’s page from there.
Check the page over – make sure your synopsis is correct, that the book cover looks right, etc. Then scroll down to the table of download options and save the epub version to your computer (I throw mine on the desktop).
Choose file (make sure it is the epub version you just downloaded and NOT the doc you used for smashwords!) and then hit the validate button.
It may take a few minutes, but if there are no errors you’ll get a screen like this:
If so, then you’re done. Share your new Smashwords link with the world and revel in your accomplishments!
But, what if you have errors? There are too many possibilities for me to cover in this blog, so if you have errors, either in the epub or with the meatgrinder, be sure to check Smashwords FAQ at – http://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq
Assuming you have no errors, pop back to smashwords and go to your dashboard and then your ISBN manager (or if you have that handy warning on top of your page just click it!)
There is a LOOONG article describing the different types of ISBN numbers. Read it and choose the option that is right for you (I use the free ones).
When you’ve decided you’ll find, at the end of all that text, a table listing all your books and telling you whether or not you have ISBN numbers – as you can see Benjamin does not have one (and neither does my test book)
Click Assign ISBN.
You’ll go to a new page where you make your selection:
Make your choice and click “Review Order” (don’t let this scare you – it does not mean you’re paying for anything .)
You will get a new page detailing your choices (and I assume payment options if necessary). Check to make sure it is what you want and press Confirm.
And then – congratulations – a new page will appear that will list your title, ISBN, etc. on it. Save the info to your records (if you do that) and then go back to your dashboard.
Now we need to double check the distribution, so go to your Distribution Manager
Scroll down to your book and make sure that it is opted in – and out – of everything that you want. If not, make changes. (As of this posting Smashwords is still not distributing to Amazon, however, I recommend adjusting the settings for this so that when they do you’ll be ready).
And that’s it. There’s nothing else to do until your book is approved for the Premium Distribution (you can check the status on your dashboard at any time.) It takes a few days, and even after it is approved it takes some time to ship. I uploaded Ties of Blood on September 10th and it has still not shipped a month later, despite being approved, meanwhile, the last story I uploaded shipped within two weeks, so I think it depends on volume at the time of your upload. Either way, be patient and, if it seems to be taking too long, file a ticket through the help at the top of the page.
While many of the current ebook publishers shy away from images in the body of your manuscript, or even discourage them, ala smashwords, Barnes & Noble has obviously decided that colored pictures are the way to go.
By abandoning the e-ink and going to LCD screens, the new color Nook makes image rich ebooks user friendly, and allows you to do a handful of other social networking things as well. I’m not going to get into the specs, since I’m not advertising for it, but the point is that if this catches on the “discouraged” images in ebooks may soon be “encouraged” images, which is great news for independent graphic novelists, children’s books, photo books and others which are forced primarily into the dead tree versions due to high graphic content, and then cost a consumer double digits to purchase. I, for one, have no intention of paying well over $20 for a children’s picture book, unless my dearest, sweetest friend is involved in the project. But, if the color ebook reader catches on, maybe I won’t have to, even if some madcap friend of mine publishes it.