From the Archives: Creating a “So you’d like to…” Guide for your Self Published Book

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: September 1, 2008 ]

If you are promoting your self-published book, hopefully by now you have created a few “listmania” lists. If you were poking around your Amazon “Profile” page, you may have also seen the “So you’d like to….” guide section.

Writing a “So you’d like to…” guide is nearly as easy as creating a listmania list and will probably yield even better results, simply because the number of guides on Amazon is less than the number of lists. Why? Because guides are more work to create. But not for you! You’ve already written a book, and you can turn excerpts of your book into guides.

In fact, you can basically cut and paste a selected section from your published book and create a guide out of it. Just follow the steps on Amazon.com by clicking on the “Create a So you’d like to… guide” link in the “So You’d Like to” section of your profile page.

To get there, sign in to your Amazon.com account from http://amazon.com/connect then click on your personalized “Store” tab the top, and then click on “Your Profile” from tab menu.  If you have not set up an Amazon Connect account yet, you can read more about doing this here: Using Listmania to Promote your Self-Published Book

Again, like with the “listmania” lists, the real power of the guide is adding OTHER books that will spark people’s interest in reading your guide.

Good luck and have fun!

As we’ve mentioned in the intervening years since my first post, Listmania has … gone to list heaven. But it hasn’t left a giant gap in our normal ways and means of doing things, as by and large its primary functions were usurped by Goodreads’ superior tools.

And boy, do we love Goodreads. I mean, I. I love Goodreads. A lot.

So what if it’s been bought by Amazon? Goodreads has Listopia. Goodreads has “best of” lists. Goodreads has twenty different functions that I haven’t even begun to explore, but love the idea of. (Giveaways! Recommendations! Blogs! News & Interviews! It seems endless.) Just so long as Amazon resists the urge to do more than place banner ads on every page (which we’re more than used to with Facebook, anyway) I will love the gift that is Goodreads.

It’s not just good for readers (and it is good for readers). It’s good for authors, too. Reviews on Goodreads consistently show up in the first three or four items indexed in any given Google search for a book. They probably shook hands under the table somewhere, but it certainly benefits self-publishing authors.

Get yourself on Goodreads. Explore Listopia. Explore the relics of Amazon’s “So You Want To…” guides, but be aware: a lot has changed in the past eight or nine years, and a lot will continue to change as we adapt to an ever-changing digital future. The key is not to hold on tightly to any one tool or service (I know, I know, I need to lighten up on my love for Goodreads then!). The key is to be willing to pick up new ones when they become useful, and to let the old (and beloved) ones fade away into obscurity.

Sometimes, self-publishing is about saying good-bye.

RIP, Listmania.

rip listmania

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: Google Book Settlement & Registering your Self-published Book

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: August 18, 2009 ]

Perhaps you’ve been following news about the Google Book Settlement over the past few weeks. The overall implications of the deal are still unclear, with notable opposition coming from The Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

The details of the settlement involving copyright concerns and royalties first initiated through the Google Library Project in 2004 are a bit esoteric and apparently complex. Don’t be overwhelmed. There is no downside to registering your self-published book, so don’t miss the deadlines.

Outskirts Press has provided a step by step overview of the process in their most recent newsletter. Check it out here.

The good news, for most of us at least, is that the Authors Guild v. Google battle hasn’t rated the news much recently. During the battle, which lasted from “the filing of the case on September 20, 2005 to the Supreme Court’s denial of review on April 18, 2016” (that’s eleven years!), the internet was aflame with opinion. And in the initial aftermath of the initial settlement proposal in 2008 and again after the District Court ruling dismissing the case in favor of Google in 2013, tempers were hot. By the time the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 to uphold the District Court ruling, most authors had moved on, emotionally. Most of them had to.

You don’t win against Google if you’re the little guy, the results seemed to say.

Over at the Authors Guild website, they spin a slightly different story–and again, they probably have to, in order to maintain morale and keep up the energy to fight other battles, which they often do in defense of self-publishing authors as well as traditionally published authors. The fact remains–and is becoming increasingly hard to debate–that authors need to form alliances in order to protect their interests in a market that by its very nature lies open to exploitation and rapid evolution in ways that can undermine any one market’s profit base.

In short, all this is to say: the hubbub may be dying down, but we’ve learned a valuable lesson. Don’t hesitate to register your books, yes, but also … figure out who your allies are, and cultivate a few if you’ve started out solo. It will make a big difference down the road, if someone violates your copyright, for example, if you have a little weight behind your suit. Publish through a reliable self-publishing company (and of course I recommend Outskirts Press, after years working with the company) who is known to advocate for its authors. Put out feelers to join forces with other, local, indie authors. These may seem like small things, but they can have a very big impact later on, down the line.

google books
Google Books–a land of opportunity … and Copyright challenges.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: Putting Authors in the Driver’s Seat

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: September 12, 2008 ]

As we discussed previously, property rights in book publishing is one important consideration in finding the path that best meets your goals.

In all forms of art—painting, woodwork, sculpture, writing—ownership exists. At many levels.  A painter paints a picture. Owns the picture.  Sells the picture.  A sculptor molds a bust.  Owns the bust.  Sells the bust.

Ownership changes but the picture does not.  The bust does not.

In the Traditional sense, authors sell their work to publishing houses for an advance on royalties. Those publishers then, owning the material, can do whatever they want with your writing—cut paragraphs, chapters, change the title even.

Imagine crafting a beautiful landscape only to have someone paint over it.

The good news is many custom self publishing options currently offer non-exclusive contracts now.  The non-exclusive part keeps authors the driver’s seat and preserves the essence and origination of the writing.  It’s your work, thoughts, ideas, and stories, after all.

Have fun and keep writing!

– by Karl Schroeder

contract

So what is a non-exclusive contract, anyway? And what are the pros and cons?

A lot of my friends are great authors who really pour their hearts and souls into their work and I am truly lucky. Why? Because having worked in the industry for so long on both ends of the self-publishing process–author and publisher–and focused both on strict marketing and sales to careful copyright consideration, I have learned a great deal and get to help these, my friends, out.

In short, non-exclusivity means you are not locked into an exclusive contract; you are free to cancel or publish your book elsewhere at the same time.

Here’s an example: say you have been publishing your book with any given self-publishing company for a while, and you have an opportunity to get thousands of copies of your book printed cheaply by a different publisher or printer, either a traditional publishing house or another self-publishing company with better rates. You still want to keep selling your book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble using your existing book distribution system–one ought not to waste an effective system, or already printed books–but you just don’t want to pass up the opportunity to sell thousands more for a better price. Luckily, you can do both–that’s the point of non-exclusive contracts!

Now, if a traditional publishing house discovers your book after you’ve already self-published, what happens next? Very likely, your new publishers will want you to sell your book to them in return for exclusive rights. They would want to make sure that no other publisher or printer would be able to sell or print your book. You won’t violate their contract if you already have a non-exclusive contract, but you won’t be able to sign yourself onto a new one once you’ve committed to the traditional publisher.

Generally speaking, though, you won’t have to worry about the timing. Most self-published books are not picked up by traditional publishers … but nothing is impossible, and you ought to be prepared for anything!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: Quick Start Guide to Marketing Your Kindle eBooks Like a Pro!

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: March 10, 2011 ]

What are the differences between marketing a Kindle ebook and marketing a printed book?

The promotional methods used to drive traffic to your website and your sales page on Amazon are similar to that of printed books, but there are some differences in marketing Kindle ebooks:

  • There are fewer competing books in the Kindle store, so you may have a greater chance of your book standing out in search results. The Kindle publishing platform makes it very easy for you to enter appropriate keyword tags for your ebook.
  • Consumers expect ebook prices to be significantly lower than print books, especially for fiction. You can experiment with different price points, but for fiction books many indie authors report that they sell at lot more books at $2.99 than at higher prices. If you price your ebook between $2.99 and $9.99 (and it’s priced at least 20% less than the printed version) you can opt to receive a 70% royalty from Amazon, which is much higher than what you’d make on a printed book.
  • The audience for Kindle ebooks is smaller, because not everyone has a Kindle, but it’s growing rapidly. Remind potential customers that they don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle ebooks—they can download a free reading app to use on their PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and other devices.

What are the best ways for an author to capitalize on Kindle edition sales?

  • Be sure to prominently state on all of your book marketing materials that your book is also available in Kindle format, and provide links directly to your Kindle page on Amazon. You can use a link shortening service to create a short, customized link to use for marketing purposes, such as http://bit.ly/AmazonEbook.

To make a customized link like this, go to http://bit.ly, paste the URL of your book’s Kindle sales page into the large blue box, click the blue “customize” button (beneath the blue box), enter a name for your link (such as AmazonEbook in the example above), and click on the “customize” button.

  • Make sure that your print book and your ebook are linked together on the Amazon website. For example, the reviews for your print book should be showing up on your Kindle page, and the sales page for your print book should indicate that the book is also available in Kindle format. If you don’t see that linkage within a couple of weeks, contact kdp-support@amazon.com.
  • Earn a little extra on each print and ebook sale on Amazon when you sign up for the Amazon Associates affiliate program at https://affiliate-program.amazon.com.

What are some common mistakes in marketing Kindle ebooks?

  • One common mistake is failing to write compelling sales copy and enter the right keywords. The great thing about the Kindle publishing platform at https://kdp.amazon.com is that it’s easy to make changes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sales copy, keywords and price points.
  • Other mistakes include pricing ebooks too high, failing to promote them as much as printed books, and failing to take advantage of the promotional opportunities available on the Amazon website.

– by Dana Lynn Smith.

ebooks

Quite a lot has changed in the world of Kindle ebooks since 2011, including the percentages and the eminence of Amazon Associates and even which devices we use these days (cue the Blackberry exit, stage left). But many things have remained the same, such as Dana Lynn Smith’s admonition to write compelling sales copy, and pricing books perfectly to sell.

Most importantly of all, since Dana Lynn’s original post in 2011, print books have seen a resurgence in popularity. These days, it’s more important to view ebooks not as an end to their own means, but as a part and component of a much larger, much more fully rounded-out sales strategy encompassing print as well as digital. Ebooks aren’t the only answer you need, although they certainly enrich an author’s portfolio.

For more on that, I recommend checking in on Small Business Trends‘ annual report on the situation and balance between print and digital, available here: smallbiztrends.com/2017/02/printed-books-vs-ebooks.html.

small business trends the future of books
Infographic by Small Business Trendssmallbiztrends.com/2017/02/printed-books-vs-ebooks.html

Once you know your place in the “future of books,” you’ll know how to structure your sales and marketing strategies to take advantage of these trends.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: The Book Doctor Weighs In On Apostrophes

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: October 26, 2010 ]

The Book Doctor sets it straight on apostrophe usage for writing on the road to publishing…

Q: When it comes to plurals for last names, which is correct? Hueys or Huey’s or Hueys’? The Robersons or Roberson’s or Robersons’? Microsoft Word always flags these as misspelled. I can never tell the difference.

A: Microsoft Word probably flags them because the words themselves, Hueys and Robersons, are not in the dictionary, plus the computer program cannot decipher whether the name is plural or possessive.

If it is strictly plural, it takes no apostrophe. Examples:
We ate dinner with Joe Huey and the rest of the Hueys.
Mike Roberson said all the Robersons are visiting next week.

If it is plural possessive, it needs an apostrophe. Examples:
We ate dinner at the Hueys’ house.
The Robersons’ dog is visiting, too.

Note that if the name ends in an s, the plural possessive for book style is to add an apostrophe and an s. Examples:
The Jones’s house is painted white.
I agree with all of the Samuels’s suggestions.

– by Bobbie Christmas

quotation marks apostropheApostrophes can be hard work. These busy little signifiers of ownership have a lot to do with how we interpret the texts we read, and it can be disastrous to get it wrong. Consider the following example:

apostrophes

All you have to do in order to get a good feel for how very, very wrong apostrophes can go is to hop on Google and search for “apostrophe errors”–the internet is rife with records of our many mistakes, including signs, newspaper headlines, and more. And of course, there’s always the worst kind of error–the kind which you tattoo on your body for permanent enjoyment/frustration:

tattoo apostrophe mistake

Here, as you can see, this person has made a simple plural into a possessive, which doesn’t suit the grammar of the sentence … at all. So, first of all, have someone else who’s familiar with the laws of apostrophe use look over your writing before you publish … and secondly, have that person read your tattoo design before you commit!

There are two great resources I’d point you to if you’re looking to re-familiarize yourself with apostrophe usage. The first comes from hashtagcritic.com and includes a really handy infographic which presents the information beautifully and succinctly:

From hashtagcritic.com.

You can find the other parts of this infographic (this is just part one!) at the link.

Another great resources is this ThoughtCo article on the subject. Again, the material is delivered in a wonderfully streamlined fashion, this time optimized for those of us who like bullet points or who need to view our apostrophe reminders on a mobile-friendly screen. (Infographics are great! But mostly at higher resolution and on larger screens.)

Long story short:

  • check your apostrophes;
  • have someone else check your apostrophes;
  • don’t tattoo anything on yourself without consulting your editor;
  • and …

apostrophe

That’s it! That’s all you need to remember about apostrophes in 2017!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “LOC Acronyms Explained”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: November 1st, 2011 ]

If you are an aspiring author, you’ve probably heard the terms LOC, LCCN, CIP and PCN. But what do this acronyms mean, and which ones are important? Read on to find out.

LOCLibrary of Congress. It is the largest library in the world, and its mission is “to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.” To learn more about the LOC, visit loc.gov.

LCCN– Library of Congress Control Number. This number is similar to an ISBN. It can be helpful when marketing your book to libraries, but it not necessary for publication. To learn more about this number, read Who Needs a LCCN?.

CIPCataloguing in Publication. This program creates a bibliographic record that is printed on the verso of the title page. This program is not available to self-published authors.

PCN – Preassigned Control Number. This is the self publishing alternative to a CIP. This program creates a LCCN prior to publication. Self publishing  companies provide authors with this service.

I’d love to hear your questions or concerns about LOC acronyms. Feel free to leave comments, and I will try to address you questions directly or in future posts.

– by Cheri Breeding

library of congress
Main Hall and dome ceiling, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Honestly, Cheri did such a stellar job with this subject the first time around–short and sweet, just the way we like it!–that I don’t have much to add, except by way of reminder that while the world of publishing and self-publishing is constantly evolving, the Library of Congress (LOC) and its systems remain a steadfast part of our lives. The LOC continues to offer vital ongoing services to authors and readers of all walks of life, and the current Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, is an advocate for marginalized and underserved populations everywhere.

She’s pretty great.

carla hayden

And of course–don’t neglect to file for the various LOC numbers! Booksellers often push back against selling books without them, and libraries will struggle to catalog them. It’s simple and straightforward, we promise! You can read all about it in our post backlist.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “Using Podcasts to Promote Your Self Published Book”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: September 25th, 2008 ]

Perhaps you’ve heard about podcasts? These are recorded sessions of either music or talking. Podcasts that focus on books are perfect because they are already written (so you aren’t making something up at the same time you record) and they are either entertaining or educational (or both).

Recording a podcast of your self-published book is a great way to promote it. Once your podcast is recorded, you can upload it to popular sites like itunes.com and reach a whole new audience.

Podiobooks.com is a relatively easy way to start creating a podcast for your book. You will find helpful instructions for what you need in the way of hardware and software to make your first recording. They also allow you to upload your files to their site for free, but once you have your podcast file (usually an mp3 file) don’t forget to upload it to other popular sites, too.  You can conduct a search on Google to find sites where you can upload your podcast, and you can submit your podcast feed URL to the iTunes Store here.

Other links that will help you down the road of podcasting include:
audacity.sourceforge.net
mypodcast.com
switchpod.com
blogtalkradio.com

Good luck and have fun!
Kelly Schuknecht

podcasts

Podcasts are wonderful. I don’t know how much you know about them, but I spend a fair bit of every day listening to these wonderful recordings which are streamed via a number of apps and websites–SoundCloud, Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and more–and saved to my phone by default. They cover an endless variety of subjects, but the ones I mostly listen to have to do with science, technology, film and television, books and book reviews, and gardening. There are knitting podcasts, social justice podcasts, music podcasts, and cute animals doing cute things podcasts.

I’ve even tried my hand at starting a podcast, and I can say with confidence that with a little time and effort, this is something almost anyone with a computer and a built-in microphone can do. Audacity remains the best and most widely-available software in which to record, edit, and otherwise “mix” your audio tracks, but a component of the whole process which has evolved somewhat from my original post in 2008 is the importance of social networking to a podcast’s success. Just look at how well Nerdette has done in engaging fans on Twitter, Goodreads, and elsewhere! Science Friday has a great and constantly updated website!

I highly recommend spending a little time exploring the notion, at least. Done well and thoroughly socially networked, podcasts can have enormous reach. And they are also a lot of fun! You don’t have to limit yourself to talking about your book, although that’s certainly an option; you might as well discuss any interesting thing you love.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.