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Old 08-22-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
emellaich
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How and Where to Publish Your Ebooks

Hello all, excuse me for sneaking into this writers-only chit chat.

Over in "News and Commentary" Ficbot began an interesting thread, and zelda_pinwheel suggested I bring the conversation over here, so here I am.

Ficbot had noted that so many new authors seemed to publish exclusively for the Kindle, and that this frustrated him as a non-Kindle owner. My response was that the publishing learning curve might be pretty steep for newcomers to the industry.

We might want to consider adding a series of wiki articles that explain the steps in publishing. Everything from creating books in different formats, pro's and con's of different publishing web sites, and even opportunities to market your book without spamming. In the interest of starting this effort, zelda_pinwheel suggested this post. I welcome your inputs to a guide for writers. Please feel free to add your thoughts and comments to this thread, or even to add pages to the wiki that we can pull together into our writer's guide.

I am looking for both topics that writers need to understand as well as explanations and/or suggestions on those topics.

Here is my initial list of topics / wiki pages

First, an intro to ebook publishing that introduces the key concepts and links to separate pages that then explain:
1) Different formats for ebooks and the tradeoffs
2) How to convert between formats: Calibre, Sigil, and more
3) DRM and the problems of using it
4) Web sites that accept self-published books; the pro's and con's of each and where to go to submit books.
5) Options for setting up your own store using your own web site and paypal or ebay or google checkout????
6) Marketing your ebook including does and don'ts on Mobileread

Your thoughts?

P.s. If you'd prefer to simply contribute your thoughts as a new page in the wiki, then go here:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Main_Page
In the search box to the left type in the name of your new page. When it comes up as a missing search term, you will be given the option of creating a page with that name. If you do take that approach, please report back to this thread to let us know what pages you have added.
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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thanks very much for this thread emellaich, it has the potential to be a really valuable ressource for all the independent writers around here (and there are more every day !).

so, now it's time for everybody to add their tips, knowledge, info, good addresses and best practices ! a good idea to start might be to follow the subjects from emellaich's list and add whatever info you have about the point(s) in your post.

this would also be an excellent page for the wiki, under "how to self-publish" or "tips for independent writers" or something.

i've stuck this thread so it will be easy to find.
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:41 AM   #3
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Excellent idea! Anybody knows what sort of distribution LSI offers for eBooks (if any)?

- Ahi
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:00 PM   #4
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Emellaich - Good idea

Emellaich, great idea for your guide. I'd be happy to assist you. Email me (mark coker) at first initial last initial at smashwords dot com. I've written a couple guides for the authors at Smashwords that address some of these issues, including formats, DRM and marketing. I wrote these two free ebooks:

The Smashwords Style Guide - It's written for authors publishing on Smashwords, but the tips help you create a clean source document you can use elsewhere. Contains a summary of several ebook formats, and some of the pros and cons of each.

The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide - This too is written for Smashwords authors, but the marketing ideas apply to any author, even print authors. We recommend Mobileread in the Guide (we recommend authors join and participate in this community, not just come here to flog books).

Let me know how I can help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by emellaich View Post

So, if we want them to change we will have to help educate them. Possibly a getting started guide for writers on the wiki? Or does one already exist?

I foresee the following arrangement:
First, an intro to ebook publishing that introduces the key concepts and links to separate pages that then explain:
1) Different formats for ebooks and the tradeoffs
2) How to convert between formats: Calibre, Sigil, and more
3) DRM and the problems of using it
4) Web sites that accept self-published books; the pro's and con's of each and where to go to submit books.
5) Options for setting up your own store using your own web site and paypal or ebay or google checkout????
6) Marketing your ebook including does and don'ts on Mobileread

When people post a Kindle only ebook they can be linked to the guide to publishing.

Alternatively, maybe its a business opportunity? You could offer a flat rate fee service or a percentage of sales to convert, submit, and market their book(s) in different places and different formats?
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:01 AM   #5
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I'll weigh in with my experience regarding DRM -- it's not worth it. The technology is unreliable and will work against you far more than it will ever do in your favour.

The only reason big companies (book publishers, video game publishers, etc.) get away with DRM is because their customer base has no choice but to accept it to get the product they want. The challenge for a small author, however, is to get people to want your product in the first place.

The simple fact is, people don't like jumping through hoops, especially when they're paying good money for the privilege. The desire to protect your work is understandable, but it's not realistic. Producing content on the internet is like being one voice in a choir of millions all fighting to be heard. If anyone actually wants to steal your work, they can and they will -- but if you make it difficult for honest readers to get to your content, they have so many other options available that they're not going to want the hassle of dealing with a crippled file. Some people refuse to use anything with DRM on it as a matter of principle.

The big thing at the heart of the DRM fallacy is that DRM doesn't deter pirates, but it does put off honest people who deserve to be able to use the file they bought without added headaches. It's worth remembering.

Regards,
Ryan
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emellaich View Post
6) Marketing your ebook including does and don'ts on Mobileread
Something I haven't mentioned here on MR is that I run a twitter account called @onlinefiction, which promotes free, available-online fiction by posting quick blurbs + links. People can submit their links via DM on twitter. Not incredibly useful to anyone selling their work, of course.
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:24 PM   #7
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Let me know how I can help!
I don't know about others, but I'd be interested to know about the relative popularity of various formats on Smashwords...?
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:44 PM   #8
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This is a great idea of a thread, I'm watching it closely -- seems to me good and new answers to those questions can be valuable not only to authors!

Last edited by Be Szpilman; 10-09-2009 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:04 AM   #9
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Speaking as a customer (reader) here's my $0.02. Note that I don't use a dedicated reading device, but read on a variety of devices.

1) Different formats for ebooks and the tradeoffs
a) best for reading: MS .lit - unfortunately, MS Reader is moribund and unsupported.
b) best DRMed format: .prc/.mobi is simple, compact, and almost universally usable. Also very good non-DRM.
c) best non-DRM: .rtf - same virtues as .prc, a little larger, and much more flexible
d) other useable formats: eReader, PalmDoc, tagged PDF with very plain settings and no ligatures
...
3) DRM and the problems of using it
I don't - personal policy. It's too much trouble and potential data loss. If you DRM your books, I won't be a customer. Sorry.

The other issues are author-specific, and as a courtesy to the Western canon, I've never published any of my fiction.

As an aside, I buy mostly from Fictionwise and Baen, but have no particular axe to grind against other commercial sites. Some work well, some work less well. I'd suggest authors have any free content available on their web site, to eliminate certain kinds of infrastructure hassles that can annoy customers. I'd also suggest you be careful with free content. If you give it to me for nothing, I'll gladly take it, but I may not buy anything else, even if I like your work. This is simply because the next guy is also offering free stuff that takes up my time. I have to really like your work to go back and buy the next novel you have for sale.

Regards,
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:07 AM   #10
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:13 PM   #11
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This is a great idea! I've been wanting to provide downloads on my website, but the format choices and the methods for doing so are baffling me. I'm not sure I want smashwords, and I'd love a comprehensive rundown of what's popular.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:50 PM   #12
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I posted this on another thread, but in answer to someone's question about popular formats, smashwords did a survey:

http://blog.smashwords.com/2009/03/w...ks-matter.html

Edward Patterson published this helpful guide on publishing ebooks (his experiences and recommendations and he has a lot to say) It happens to be a free download, making it even more useful:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/316

Me, I'm still learning. I can say that the biggest problem is finding a place where enough readers go. Amazon works very well for that precise reason. Tons of readers go there. For any other format, it's a battle to find the readers because there are simply too many sites--it's impossible to go to all of them to get one or two or 10 readers.

It's also a changing scene with new devices coming out and new converts to e-books joining daily!

Maria
Sage: (multiple formats; Amazon or Smashwords--$1.00)
Catch an Honest Thief (Kindle only format: $1.99; a cozy mystery)
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:03 AM   #13
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Me, I'm still learning. I can say that the biggest problem is finding a place where enough readers go. Amazon works very well for that precise reason. Tons of readers go there. For any other format, it's a battle to find the readers because there are simply too many sites--it's impossible to go to all of them to get one or two or 10 readers.
We get 500k+ unique visitors at Feedbooks every month and our most popular self-published books get several thousands downloads: http://www.feedbooks.com/userbooks/top
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:56 AM   #14
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We get 500k+ unique visitors at Feedbooks every month and our most popular self-published books get several thousands downloads: http://www.feedbooks.com/userbooks/top
Hadrien, do you guys plan to offer books for sale in the near future? (Or, rather, offer the ability to offer books for sale via Feedbooks.com.)

- Ahi
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:03 AM   #15
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Hadrien, do you guys plan to offer books for sale in the near future? (Or, rather, offer the ability to offer books for sale via Feedbooks.com.)

- Ahi
Sure, but we consider that mobile distribution is very important. That's why we're working hard on OPDS with various other companies.
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