A New Formatting Tool for eBooks

The world is always changing, and nowhere is that more prevalent than the publishing world. What was once great last year, no longer works this year, and the tools we use are constantly upgraded and changed to accommodate this rapid evolution.

When I first began publishing eBooks, I formatted them myself in MS Word. But I could not format ePubs. I’ve tried Scrivener to format the file, but I was unhappy with the results. Then I tried Calibre for ePubs, and that worked great for a few years. Last spring during my six-month review, I found formatting issues with eBooks available at a few online retailers. There were no issues with the files I had manually formatted, but the ePubs were a mess.

So I took the leap and rented InDesign. There’s a large learning curve, but once I conquer it, I’ll be able to create eBooks and print books professionally.

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Reclaiming my Disclaimer to reflect my personality and the story

A few months ago, I happened upon a post on The Book Designer blog regarding writing disclaimers. I have never given much thought to disclaimers; they’re as necessary for publishing as ISBNs, and just as boring.

I created the disclaimers for my novels by consulting already-published books to see the wording they used. It’s all pretty standard, and I’ve never read one that stood out. The main point was to tell everyone you didn’t write this book about a real person, so you wouldn’t be sued if someone thought they saw themselves within the story. Basically, you wanted to tell the world, “This is fiction. Nothing real to see here. Move along to the end and buy the next book in the series.”

Original Disclaimer

The disclaimer I created and used in print and eBooks came out to read as…

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Important Information if You Plan to Publish a Colouring eBook

Lessons in Self-publishingThis year—I’ve been told—is the year of the adult colouring book. I’ve seen them around in local stores. My first reaction was to giggle. Colouring books for adults? Seriously?

Then I flipped through them and thought, “They’re complicated. I’ll stick to my kids’ old colouring books.”

You see, I don’t think it’s horrible for adults to colour. I’ve been colouring all my life. With crayons. Coloured pencils. Markers. And whatever I could get my hands on. I think colouring is a great relaxing exercise, and it’s a great physical exercise for your hand. It also sparks imagination, and trust me, I’ve got lots of imagination to prove it works.

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Adding Twitter to Your Blog Posts

Throught of the DayIn the past few months, I’ve visited a lot of blogs, more so than usual. I’m trying to be more social because for a while there, I wasn’t getting out much.

When I read a good post, I like to inform the writer that I liked it. LIKE buttons allow me to do this with little effort.

Sometimes I like to comment on the post, so I do. But I’ll tell you, some blogs make me jump through hoops to get that comment added. A few make me do it twice. There’s one blog I never comment on anymore because I have no idea how to get it right the first time. It is frustrating to write a comment only to have it disappear without a trace while I am answering math questions or figuring out those wavy letters to let the host know I am not a robot.

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Amazon Reviews

EllsworthWe all know how important reviews are for authors and books. They can help sell a book, and they can help deter others from buying a book. Some authors call reviews the life-blood of sales. However, I’ve visited a few book-sellers’ pages and looked at popular books and found no reviews—not one. I know they sold well, so why wouldn’t they have reviews?

Reviews sell books to a certain audience, but not to the readers who don’t go online and seek reviews.

Readers look to reviews for an honest assessment of the story to help them to decide if they want to read the book or not. When there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of reviews for a book, there’s usually a wide range of ratings. I’ve seen popular books with many four and five star reviews, but they also have one-star reviews. That’s because one book doesn’t please everyone.

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Self-Publishing Vaguely Defined

Self vs IndieI read an article recently that seemed dated. In other words, my first impression was that it was written eight, maybe ten years ago. However, on further reading, I found it was published on December 7, 2015.

My first impression came from two things:

1) The lack of specifics pertaining to self-publishing.

2) The snobbery aimed at those who self-publish.

In the early days of self-publishing, authors used a collection of names to call themselves: self-published authors, freelancers, independent authors, independent publishers, non-traditional authors and indies (shorted from the independent adjective). Some simply called themselves authors and left it at that.

All these tags are still used, but many authors have settled on one and used it to brand their work. Authors can use whichever they want to describe the method they use to get their stories into the hands of readers. They all mean the same thing.

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Distribution News from Smashwords

New FlashSmashwords Expands Global Ebook Distribution with Odilo, Tolino and Yuzu

Smashwords today announced three new partners that further expand the reach of the Smashwords ebook distribution network in the US, Europe and South America.
The new agreements with Odilo, Tolino and Yuzu span three continents and will allow over 300,000 Smashwords titles to reach new readers at retail, in higher education and at public libraries.
Here are details for each the three agreements:

Odilo brings Smashwords expanded library distribution in North America, South America and Europe

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Don’t Get Burned with Copyright Misuse

New FlashDo you know where all the photos come from that you use to spice up your blogs?

Some of you may have noticed my sparse visits around blogtown and social media these past few days. That was because I’ve been a busy beaver, trying to protect myself from FURTHER copyright infringement. Yes, you read correctly – further.

We’ve all read enough articles on the perils of copyright infringement, but do we understand the rules completely when it comes to adding photos to our blogs?

Apparently, I thought I was adhering to the rules, but Thursday morning I woke up to an email sent to me from Creative Commons, telling me that I was being fined for unlawfully having used a photo which was posted on one of my blogs.

…to continue reading this post by D. G. Kaye, go to her post Listen Up! – #5 Tips to Protect Yourself from #Copyright #Infringement.

The Cost of Hiring a Traditional Publisher

Throught of the DayHave you ever had one of those Ah-ha! moments? Those times in your life when you believed one thing only to find out the opposite was true?

Everyone has them. Some probably have them more than others. I like to refer to these Ah-ha! moments as thinking outside the box. That’s been a catch-phrase of the past two decades, so now it doesn’t have the same power as it did before. It has lost its edge from overuse and misuse. Thinking outside the box to some might be ordering muffins for a meeting instead of the doughnuts that have been ordered for the past ten years.

That’s not really thinking outside the box. That’s just making a change.

One way of thinking outside the box to me means someone has taken a truth that is generally known in society and flipped it inside out to reveal the actual truth. It’s like viewing something from a different angle and learning it is “B” instead “A” like everyone else thought.

This sort of discovery is thought of as innovative thinking because it was never before realised.

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Will Google find you after April 21st?

New FlashThe Internet world is always changing, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the not so good. As users we are forced to take the good with the bad if we still want to play the game.

If you’re like me, you use Google a lot. It is my go-to search engine. It has been for years.

Using Google to check my own sites to see if they appear in search results is something I’ve also been doing for years. After all, we all want to be found on the Internet so people can read our blog posts.

On April 21st the ability to be found in Google search engines on mobile devices might be hampered if you’re not mobile friendly. If your website doesn’t properly fit in the apps of telephones, tablets and other small, mobile devices people use to search the Net on the go, then you have two choices:

1) fall into a black hole, never to be found by a random search

2) tweak your site to fit to make it mobile friendly.

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Update on Canada Tax Information with the United States

Something amazing happened during my seven-month hiatus away from writing: the tax worries and hassles that plagued writing entrepreneurs in Canada had eased. In fact, it’s so darn easy now that no one—absolutely no one—has an excuse for not completing the tax form to prevent the IRS from claiming 30% of your royalties from your books.

More than a month ago, CreateSpace sent a message to update my tax information. I meant to take care of it, but like many things since March, it got lost in the chaos of life. The deadline came and went, but fortunately CreateSpace—who really wants my business—extended the deadline.

If I didn’t update my tax information, I would no longer be able to sell through CreateSpace. They certainly didn’t want that to happen, so a grace period of thirty days was awarded. This time I took advantage of the notice and stayed up late one night to see what the fuss was all about.

The questions were straight forward and easy to answer: Was I a US citizen? Did I have a business in the US? Etc.

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Expand Your Paperback Distribution for FREE

New FlashThat’s right: free. It used to cost $25, but now it’s free. In fact, I heard a rumour that anyone who paid the $25 might actually be reimburse for their trouble. But I can’t find this information online, so perhaps…you’ll have to wait and see.

When anyone publishes their book through CreateSpace, a Print on Demand company owned by Amazon, they have the option of getting their books into stores other than Amazon. This is not the brick and mortar store but the online catalogue of these stores.

In other words, if someone wants your book, they can search the online catalogues of Chapters/Indigo or Barnes & Noble and order it. There’s other book stores as well, but those are the two I’m most familiar with.

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Examining the Business Model of Ebook Subscription Services (Part I)

This is the first installment of a two-part series in which I explore the business models and potential impact of ebook subscription services.

In recent months, we’ve witnessed the launch of two high-profile ebook subscription services – Oyster and Scribd.  Both aim to do for ebooks what Spotify did for music and what Netflix did for film and television entertainment.

They’ll provide readers access to an all-your-eyeballs-can-eat smorgasbord cornucopia of thousands of ebooks for a subscription fee ranging from only $8.99 per month (Scribd) to $9.95 per month (Oyster).

When talk of ebook subscription services surfaced in months past, there was much hand-wringing in the publishing community that such services would devalue books and harm publishers and authors.

Yet as the launches of Oyster and Scribd indicate, some (but not all) of those skeptics were silenced once they learned the publisher-friendly nature of the compensation models.  Several small publishers and one Big 5 publisher – HarperCollins – signed on to work with both Scribd and Oyster.  Smashwords announced an agreement with Oyster last month. We’re now in the process of shipping over 200,000 ebooks to them as I write.

….to continue reading visit Smashwords Blog.

Kobo Quarantining and Reviewing All eBook Titles

New FlashI just received this message from Kobo. It sounds as though they have quarantined every title to ensure nothing that violates their content policies is published through their outlet.

Here’s what the email said:

To our Kobo Writing Life and self-publishing partners:

As you may be aware, there has been a significant amount of negative media attention in the UK regarding offensive material that became available across a number of eBook platforms. Kobo was included in the reports from media and we are taking immediate action to resolve an issue that is the direct result of a select few authors and publishers violating Kobo’s content policies.

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How to Self-publish at Rock-bottom Prices

MoneyIn my last post I answered the question “How much does it cost to self-publish a book?” My answer ranged from $0 to thousands of dollars.

The question that usually follows this answer is: How can I self-publish my book at rock bottom prices?

The answer is: long hours of work

This is quickly followed by: “Who gets to do all that work?”

The answer is: the author

Honestly, if you don’t want to pay someone to format your book, then learn how to do it yourself. It’s not rocket science. If you don’t want to pay your editor double the fee, learn how to edit your work, so when they get the manuscript they don’t spend hours correcting punctuation, capitalisation and basic grammar. If you don’t want to pay someone to upload your eBooks to distributors, then learn the ropes.

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Self-publishing Consultant

DianeTibertSelfPublishingConsultantMy self-publishing journey was like many others. Although I’ve been published thousands of time in magazines and newspapers, I have never had an acceptance letter from a traditional publisher (except when I was 18 and the publishing company folded before my story actually went to print). I’ve had many great comments from editors that made me believe I was very close, but in the end, close didn’t count. I’ve spent years waiting and hundreds of dollars on paper, ink, envelopes and postage trying to convince an editor to accept my fiction.

I was waiting for someone else to say my stories were good enough for others to read.

Eventually I gave up waiting and learned how to do it myself in 2010. There was a lot of information for self-publishing writers three years ago, but there’s a whole lot more now. And there are many more people/companies who are lined up to take my money to help my dream of publishing come true.

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Four Types of Book Publishing

publishingBack in 1998 when my first article was published in a magazine, I knew very little about book publishing. I believed there to be only two forms: publishers’ publishing (what is today known as traditional publishing) and vanity publishing. I realise now that self-publishers did exist back then, but I was a greenhorn and had limited knowledge.

Fast forward fifteen years and I can identify four ways a writer (or a book) can be published. Below are my definitions of these four methods according to what I’ve learned in the past decade and a half.

Traditional Publishing

A traditionally published author is one who submitted their manuscript to a publishing company and was accepted. The company assumes all financial responsibility for the publication of the book. This means the writer pays nothing, not a penny to see their work in print.

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My Most Popular Post

popular5x5One wonderful feature of WordPress is the ability to see which blog post is the most popular. In other words, gets the most views. After two and a half years of blogging, there’s one post that stands mountains above the rest. In fact every day I get several visitors searching out this particular post.

The most popular post of all time is no surprise to me. People hate to part with money and this post is all about money; or should I say saving it.

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JtFR: Demystifying Publishing Industry in the Chronicle Herald

An article appeared in the Opinion section of the Chronicle Herald yesterday (August 21, 2013) called Demystifying Publishing Industry. It was written by Terrilee Bulgar and discusses the publishing industry in Atlantic Canada.

It begins:

Members of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (APMA) would like to clarify misperceptions that might arise from a recent news story about a Nova Scotia company named Bryler Publications (“Writers’ Cramp: Chester publisher says relationship with a major bookseller has driven her into bankruptcy,” July 15).

On behalf of the 28 members of the APMA, I am responding to the article above out of concern for a number of statements attributed to Bryler founder Cynthia McMurray, and in the interest of informing writers and consumers that the situation she described is not entirely accurate.

The (failed) business model pursued by Cynthia McMurray and Bryler Publications is not “publishing” per se, but a form of self-publishing, wherein authors pay to have their books packed, printed, and in some cases, made available in the supply chain, which links them to conventional and online bookstores.

…the rest of the article can be read here: Demystifying Publishing Industry.

Because this is Just the Facts Reporting, no comments will be approved for this post. I appreciate the comments, however, I am being held responsible for them. The harsh comments in previous posts have led to legal action against me, so to prevent further trouble, all JtFR will remain just that with no comments. Thank you for understanding.