Why You Should Have Your Book in Multiple Formats

Even with technological advances, I still love the feel of a physical book.

Whether paperback or hardcover, I love to cozy up on the couch with paper and ink in my hands. But even with my preferences, I’d still advise that it’s a wise business decision for self-publishing authors to sell books in multiple formats.

Despite apocalyptic predictions that digital will kill paper, the physical book isn’t going away. On the contrary, paperback books remain the most popular format. That said, it’s unwise to self-publish your book in only one format.

Readers love choice more than ever, and that love of choice includes book formats: physical books, eBooks, and audiobooks.

Here are several reasons why you should publish your book in multiple formats.

Some formats work better than others for specific markets.

If you’re a romance novelist and self-publish your book only in paperback, you’re more likely to fail. Why? Many romance readers prefer eBooks over paperback, so you’re leaving sales on the table if you’re not getting your stories digital.

Conversely, children’s books fare better in paper formats, so a children’s book in only eBook form may not be enough. Format preferences vary wildly on genre and category, so you’ll glean a wealth of market research by investigating the format most of your potential readers are buying.

But even when one format is more popular than another, it’s wise to publish in multiple formats. Related to the above, many romance readers still prefer paper to electronic—airport stands for romance novels still exist! So, multiple options are crucial to reaching your potential audience.

You increase the number of platforms you can sell your book on.

Not every bookseller sells books in every format. If you self-publish your book only in the .mobi eBook format, you’re practically limited to selling through Amazon’s Kindle section.

While Amazon is the most prominent storefront for self-publishing authors, you can do better.

If you take your manuscript’s file and export it to .epub, you open up most of the rest of the eBook market. You make it possible to sell your book on Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play, and more. Some retailers even sell books in .pdf form.

If you record your book as an audiobook, you can play it in audiobook storefronts, such as Audible, iTunes, Google Audiobooks, Nook Audiobooks, or Kobo Audiobooks.

And if you release your book in physical form? You can sell on most of the above retailers, like Amazon, and even keep open the chance to see your book at a physical bookstore. Sounds exciting, right?

You can get the best of both worlds with exclusivity and availability.

Some retailers offer the option to sell your book exclusively on their storefront. In exchange, you’ll often get better royalties and priority in promotions and algorithmic placement. The downside is that exclusivity commits you to only one storefront. So, if you sign up for Amazon’s KDP Select, you can’t also sell your eBook with Barnes & Noble.

However, exclusivity deals usually only apply to one format. So, you could decide to give KDP Select eBook exclusivity but then sell your book in physical and audiobook format elsewhere. You can mix and match exclusivity deals and benefit from the perks of exclusivity and the availability of multiple formats.

You increase your book’s accessibility.

Not all book readers can read a physical book. For example, some readers are visually impaired. Other accessibility considerations include learning disabilities such as dyslexia, limits in motor skills, and language ability.

Fortunately, a self-publishing author has all the tools to make an accessible book. Audiobooks are an excellent alternative for accessibility. Of course, eBooks are also beneficial in their adaptability. With an e-reader, a reader can increase the text size, change the font, look up dictionary definitions, or even enable text-to-speech.

But when formatting eBooks, you must follow accessibility guidelines. E-readers need a properly formatted file to parse text for the user. When you format your book with accessibility, your product looks more professional, and more readers can enjoy your work.

Bonus Reason: For another kind of accessibility, you can get your self-published books into libraries. This is especially easy with digital formats, and you can use book distribution services to list your book on digital lending services like OverDrive and Hoopla. In addition, the libraries that you license your book to will financially compensate you without the reader having to pay.

You can even sell readers the same book more than once in different formats

A number of retailers make it enticing to buy in two or more formats. For some Kindle eBooks, Amazon offers the option to “add Audible narration,” often at a discount. Through Whispersync technology, readers can switch between visual reading and audiobook reading without losing their place.

You can even set it up so that if a reader buys the physical version, the reader can also buy the eBook version for cheaper or even get it for free. This bundling technique significantly increases goodwill with your readers and entices them to buy your next book.

Closing

The case is strong: Multiple book formats are great for your self-publishing business and the culture of reading. Prepare your manuscript with different formats, and you’ll be a step closer to success!

I’ll turn it over to you: What book formats do you prefer? What factors influence the format you get your books in?


3 Ways to Promote an Audiobook

Here are three platforms (in addition to Amazon, Audible, and iTunes) where you should market and promote the “Retail Sample” of your Audiobook: YouTube, Facebook, and SoundCloud.  Here’s how:

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Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

YouTube

The best way to use your audio sample clip on YouTube is to incorporate it with a book video. If you already have a book video, and some basic editing software, you’re almost done.  Use your editing software to separate the audio track from the video track and then lay your audiobook track down onto the video instead. Rarely will the length of the audiobook track and the video match, so be creative to bring them in sync. Once you’re happy with your new audiobook video, upload it to your YouTube channel and other various video platforms such as Vimeo.

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Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

If you do not have a book video, make one, or order one from any number of service providers. Or you can create a “video” by simply using a still image of your book as a static image for the video-length of your audiobook sample. Alternatively, and preferably, with your smartphone and a small tripod, you can record yourself reading your audio sample and make a video of that.

In either case, don’t forget to take full advantage of the description field when uploading your video by making sure to include links to your author webpage and your product sales page on Amazon so they can buy your audiobook (or your hard copy alternatives if they prefer). In addition to mentioning all the main meta data (title, author name, etc), consider giving credit to your narrator. They appreciate that.

FaceBook

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Since Facebook makes it so easy to post videos, the easiest way to promote your audiobook on Facebook is to use the same video you just created for YouTube and upload it to your Facebook page. Again, don’t forget to include the necessary purchase links in the “Write a post” box so your friends, family, and followers can easily find your audiobook and buy it.

SoundCloud

One of the newest ways to market audiobooks is via SoundCloud. Create an account at soundcloud.com and click “Upload” to upload your audiobook retail sample. You can also upload an image. Obviously, we suggest the cover of your book. Then complete the rest of the form, which includes the book’s title, the author’s name, and the narrator’s name. Just as with YouTube and Facebook, use the “Description” field to include links to your author webpage and Amazon product sales page.

Presto. More marketing means more audiobook sales!

Self-Publishing News: 7.23.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

July

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

This article from Publishers Weekly comes at the perfect time to remind us how much we love audiobooks (and how perfectly suited audiobooks are for the summer holiday season, with all of its road trips and its changes of pace). The article, an interview between PW contributor Benjamin South and “audio veteran” Scott Brick, is revealing on many levels–first, peeling back the layers (and the myths) of what audiobooks are or are not to authors, including self-published and indie authors. Brick is known primarily for using his voice as a narrator of these books, but he’s also now using his voice to advocate for them. Says Brick:

My choices are driven by wanting to work with really good authors and it’s thrilling when people get in touch with me to say they’ve discovered a new author because of me. I am also a fan first and foremost. Most of the new authors coming out these days are indie authors, and if that’s where they are, that’s where I am going to follow.

Brick goes on to describe what draws him to a book, how he goes about collaborating with indie authors to bring their books to an audio format, and the ways in which working with indie authors and self-published books is different from working with a traditional publisher. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether or not you should pursue creating an audiobook edition of your self-published book, this revealing interview is an absolute must!

Last month in this news space, we discussed a different, earlier article on one of of the new ways that indie and self-publishing authors are breaking out into mainstream awareness: through Wattpad, and collaborations between streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and that unique story-publishing platform. This month, pop culture titan Vulture tackled the subject with this article by Chris Lee, wherein Lee breaks down what it is, exactly, about the platform that has led to it having such a moment. And it’s not just Netflix and Hulu getting in on the action: broadcast television network The CW is also putting out feelers, as well as NBCUniversal. And while Wattpad’s star is rising quite high these days, the question remains: can its success translate or “trickle down” to other indie and self-publishing outlets, platforms, and authors? According to Wattpad Studios’ chief Aron Levitz, (“as well as entertainment executives from companies in partnership with Wattpad,” writes Lee), there’s one specific reason why Wattpad is leading the pack:

[…] the Toronto-based publishing platform’s devoted community of readers provides a secret weapon in developing content with road-tested mass appeal: data. By actively commenting — often paragraph by paragraph over the course of, say, a 300-page online book — Wattpad readers function as a highly motivated focus group, helping dictate plotlines, vetting characters, and even the deletion of scenes.

It doesn’t hurt that while Wattpad is finding ways to its stories, the vast majority of content on the website is free, and the platform is brokering deals with these film companies without necessarily forwarding those profits to its authors. It remains to be seen whether the authors whose stories are being adapted will receive the same treatment as, say, a traditionally-published author or a self-published author in the usual mode. Watch this space as developments continue!

“How would you choose to build a general book publisher today, if starting from scratch? That was the question I found myself asking two years ago,” writes Pete Duncan, author of this recent blog post for The Bookseller. Duncan, who compares the average 10 to 20-year lifespan of a modern tech company to the longevity of many large publishing houses, set out to discover exactly what it would take to succeed in modern terms at “that delicate balancing act which the publishing industry has so often been adept at, of combining riskier publishing with safer bets, to keep shareholders’ hair on, and publishing across unrelated categories, to cushion against unforeseeable changes in readers’ taste.” It’s not an easy act, he concluded, after a year working in consultation with “a variety of book publishers small and large, self-publishing authors, website publishers, and companies from other sectors running some type of publishing activity.” One thing these all had in common? Things may not be so stable when it comes to publishing at all, with fragmentation of services and the multiplication and innovation of online services in many ways replicating and suborning traditional publishing models. Having now launched Prelude Books, a hybrid company seeking to occupy many niches all at once, Duncan is entirely honest about the challenges ahead. But the rewards are equally as great: “In this new type of publishing the relationship with the reader is fantastically direct and instantaneous – no more having to persuade intermediaries to stock a book then rely on yet more intermediaries to build the basic level of buzz.” This whole blog is a gem, and we highly recommend you take a look.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 3.26.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

Word MARCH. Vector decorative unusual object

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

Fancy that–this week, self-publishing made The Verge! This week’s article by Verge contributor Shannon Liao focuses in on self-publishing platform Smashwords, which recently announced plans to partner with indie audiobook maker Findaway Voices. The deal hinges, Liao writes, on making it possible for “Smashwords’ authors and publishers [to] find professional narrators more quickly and hear voice actor recommendations from an online casting support team. There will also be estimates of production costs and stated hourly rates for voice actors, ranging from $150 to $400 an hour.” That may sound like a lot, and it is, as the average audiobook lasts in excess of six hours, but it does indicate progress for authors who previously had no access at all.

This is not the first time that a self-publishing company has partnered up with an audiobook company, but it is the first time it has made mainstream news indices like The Verge. Here’s hoping there are many more fruitful partnerships ahead–and not just because this is an excellent service idea, but also because more competition will drive the price down for those authors who really can’t afford the service, just yet.

If you’re wondering why we’re forefronting Facebook this week, then here’s a quick summary of events: recently, the social media heavyweight was implicated in election profiteering (which is not illegal) as well as the dissemination of private user data for profit (which is illegal, or at the very least a grey area) and exploitation by a political entity, which is not quite the same thing. Many Facebook users are outraged, and others are concerned that this marks a transition in the social media industry from providing services in exchange for harmless, benign, and politically (mostly) neutral data exchanges (such as the hosting of annoying ads in the margins of your home page) to a social media industry which ruthlessly exploits its users the same way that everyone else seems to. Many people have decided to quit Facebook altogether as a result. Enter Bruce Shapiro of The Nation, who argues a different take on the subject: that Facebook, a de facto self-publishing platform, “for all its flaws, […] remains a vital tool for political activism.” Shapiro argues we ought to regulate Facebook, transforming it into something more like a public utility, so that these functions can remain available to us without (as much) risk of it being put to political and profiteering ends. This is a strongly-worded take on the subject, but it would seem that the time for strongly-worded takes has come. What happens next depends on us, and our elected representatives. Is Facebook really a self-publishing platform? Should that figure into the debate? We’d love to hear your thoughts, here or on Twitter at @SelfPubAdvisor.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing Week in Review: 4/15/14

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing

This article discusses Jon Fine’s, director of author and publishing relations at Amazon, vision of the future of self-publishing. Predictions include a name change, more options, and discoverability problems. This is a must read for self-publishing authors.

Why Audiobooks Are the Next Big Thing in Self-Publishing

This article looks at traditional and self-published audiobooks and shares the writer’s first hand experience with publishing paper books as well as audiobooks. The writer is the author of more than 14 books, so she has a lot of experience in the traditional and self-publishing industry. This is an interesting read for all writers.

 UK Paper The Guardian Launches Monthly Self-Publishing Award

The Guardian and Legend Times have announced a new monthly writing prize, highlighting the best self-published novels. The winning novel will be selected by a panel of industry judges each month and reviewed in the Guardian. Awards are a great way for self-published authors to gain credibility and publicity. The article discusses all the submission details.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.