Treat eBooks like Websites and Update them Regularly

eBook UpdatesEach January, I take a few weeks and update my eBooks – all of them.

This doesn’t mean I edit the stories. It means I update the file with new information and refresh what might have gone stale in the past twelve months. I also add details on things to come, such as the release of a book.

How long will it take?

Updating eBooks take less than an hour per book across all venues. It will take longer if you have not gathered the necessary pieces of information or you are unfamiliar with formatting.

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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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Smashwords Announces Distribution to Gardners Books

I received the following notification from Smashwords…

Smashwords today announced a comprehensive distribution agreement with Gardners, the UK’s largest book wholesaler.

The agreement significantly expands the global footprint of the Smashwords ebook distribution network, enabling Smashwords authors and publishers to reach hundreds of online retailers, public libraries and academic libraries.

On October 22 Smashwords will begin delivering 230,000 ebooks sourced from the over 100,000 indie authors and small independent presses to 400 ebook stores powered by Gardners operating in 32 countries and serving customers in 138 countries; 2,000 public libraries in the U.K.; and 400 academic libraries in the UK, Europe and Middle East.  The agreement excludes Smashwords erotica titles.

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Update on Canada Tax Information with the United States

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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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Updating Published eBooks

eBook UpdatesTime ages things: bread, people…eBooks. Every now and again, we must spruce things up, get a make-over or update information. Although I’ve tinkered with my eBooks a few times since originally publishing them, I haven’t done major renovations.

I’ve decided January is a good month to perform the task. I think I might even turn this into an annual event.

When I speak of renovations, I’m not talking about editing the story. I’m talking only about updating the actual file and the information that completes the remaining space in that file.

In the past twenty months, I’ve learned a lot about what an eBook should contain. My writing material has also expanded, much of it still ignored by eBooks published more than a year ago.

In the next few weeks, I’ll renovate each publication to date (all nine of them). Although updating files and ‘republishing’ them may take only minutes at some vendors (Smashwords) and twelve hours at others (Amazon), it will take much longer for other outlets (such as iTunes, Sony, Barnes & Noble) to receive them from Smashwords. These slow reaction times will mean the whole process will take a few months to complete even if my part of the job is done in one week.

eBooks are different than print books. Different information goes in the front and the back. After much research and consideration, here is what I’ve decided to put as front matter in my eBooks this time around:

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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.

NEW: Smashwords Interview

SmashwordsA short while ago I received an email from Smashwords announcing Author Interviews. I didn’t have time then to investigate, so I put it off until tonight. Now I have an interview ‘published’ at the eBook distribution site to allow readers to discover a little more about me.

If you are published on Smashwords, you too can post an interview and share a little about yourself to your readers. All you have to do is visit the Manage Interview page to read the instructions and then clicked the link to Proceed to Your Interview.

The next screen is self-explanatory. All you need to do is answer the question or choose another question. When you’re done, click preview, read it for mistakes then click PUBLISH.

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Introducing Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts

Miss Tuttle's Lemon Tarts - Diane Lynn McGyverMiss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts is a short story. It’s just over 6,600 words long. If it had taken me a few weeks to write or even a few months, it would seem only natural. Except it didn’t take me a few weeks or a few months or a few years. It took me about six years. That’s 1,100 words a year.

That’s slow writing.

But each journey starts with the first footfall, right? And each story begins with the first word.

Miss Tuttle and Rita began their journey over a sack of potatoes. It wasn’t Rita’s intentions to help or stick around afterwards, but she did.

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Canadians, Stop Paying 30% to the IRS

MONEY drainLINKS UPDATED: November 7, 2014

GREAT NEWS: The rules have changed. You no longer need an EIN or an ITIN unless you have extenuating circumstances. Read the update here: Update on Canada Tax Information with the United States. I will leave this original post up for those who still need to apply for an EIN.

* * * ORIGINAL POST * * *

Several months ago I discovered that Smashwords began withholding 30% of my earnings to give to America’s Uncle Sam. If I didn’t act, I’d continue to lose this money for the life of my writing career.

To claim this 30% in the future, I’d have to jump through hoops at 1,000 feet in the air and ride a wild boar through the desert…okay, nothing that drastic, but everything I read and everyone I talked to led me to believe that getting all the paperwork in order would be a time-consuming nightmare.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should (Third Edition) (Let's Get Publishing Book 1) by [Gaughran, David]But before I realised the ease of reclaiming that money, I had reluctantly accepted the fact I would lose $300 for every $1,000 I’d earn in royalties. It was hard to swallow. Just think about this for a minute:

You post a book to Smashwords for $2.99. It sells through them to Kindle who takes 30% for selling it plus $0.09 for delivering it to the customer. You’re now left with $2.00. Smashwords takes about $0.14 of this for a service charge (their hand in selling it). You’re now left with $1.86. From this, Uncle Sam withholds 30%, leaving you with $1.30. Withhold means claiming that money as income tax.

Let me paint a bigger picture for you. For every 1,000 books you sell at $2.99, your profit drops from a potential $2999.00 to $1300.00 after all those hands grab what they want. If you didn’t have to pay Uncle Sam, you would have earned $1,860.00. It takes about 30 minutes to get an EIN and complete the proper form to reclaim that money. And you only have to do this once. In my books, $560 for a half hour’s work is an outstanding pay cheque.

The imagined nightmare has discouraged many writers from dealing with the IRS, but it doesn’t have to be like this. You can start claiming that 30% by following the simple steps below. It will take approximately 25 minutes of your time, one long-distant phone call, one completed form and a US stamp. Oh, and one envelope.

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Ebook Giveaway with Shadows in the Stone Launch

I’ve finally heard word from Smashwords: Approved!

That means Shadows in the Stone, the first book in The Castle Keepers series, has passed inspection and is now available for purchase through Smashwords’ website.

Smashwords offers several ebook formats of the fantasy novel, so you’re bound to find the format most comfortable for you. They include formats for Nook, Apple iPad/iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, home computers and a few others.

If your favourite reading device is Kindle, visit Amazon.com to purchase Shadows in the Stone.

Within two weeks, the book will appear in catalogues specific to these devices (Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc).

And now for the giveaways.

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Getting the Numbers: ISBN & CIP

When an author is published in the traditional manner by a publisher separate from themselves, all the business part of a book is taken care of for them. This includes getting an ISBN and CIP.

When you’re a freelance novelist—one who self-publishes—you get to do all this yourself…for good or bad.

ISBN

The acronym stands for International Standard Book Number. This number is exclusive to a book and book format. You’ll find this in the front matter (the pages between the front cover and the first word of the text) of a book, fiction or nonfiction. It’s a 13-digit number which can often appear on the back cover of a book as well.

Here’s what mine looks like for Shadows in the Stone, Book One…The Castle Keepers (bold text added to emphasise point below)

978-0-9868089-7-5     Shadows in the Stone – Electronic Kindle

978-0-9868089-8-2     Shadows in the Stone – Electronic Smashwords

978-0-9868089-6-8     Shadows in the Stone – Book (soft cover)

978-0-9868089-9-9     Shadows in the Stone – Book (hard cover)

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Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Recently, I shared a cup of tea and cranberry muffins with author Diane Lynn McGyver. We discussed the coming year and her current projects. Below is the meat of that conversation.

TIBERT: I read your short story Mutated Blood Bonds on Smashwords. It intertwines the mysteries of the ending of the Mayan calendar and the grid lines criss-crossing Nova Scotia. What do you think will happen in December 2012?

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“A free ebook!” exclaimed Jiggles.

Names. Our characters need them, but where do we find them? I’ve searched dozens of sources looking for perfect names, ones readers will remember easily and relate with. Often times I do find unique ones that suit the characters, but not always.

Sometimes my adult brain gets in the way of finding a great name. Perhaps I should start letting my kids pick them. They seem to have a knack for discovering the perfect name that describes a character, is unique and memorable. Their names – which are mostly gender neutral – for their pets stand out and make visitors smile.

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Thea Atkinson has a challenge for you.

Nova Scotia indie author Thea Atkinson has a challenge for blog readers. She wants to accumulate 100 followers by Christmas. With 68 already, it’s not an impossible number to reach for. She’s even offered an incentive: if the goal is reached, a random subscriber will receive one complete Thea ebook package. AND if she exceeds expectations and gains 200 followers of her blog by December 24th, a random subscriber wins the ebook package plus a $25 Amazon gift coupon.

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