Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Start Publishing Your Stories, Keep them Short and Get Them Out

2012 will be the year of the explosion in self publishing. It is happening all over from Amazon, to Smashingwords to Lulu, BookTango, all kinds of places. The key is keep them short and keep producing. It is getting kind of crazy to keep track of all the places, kind of like the wild west.

Here is a nice round up article from PaidContent.org, one of my favorite places to keep up to dates.
Why 2012 was the year of the e-single. Laura Hazard Owen writes about the changes in publishing from longer form writing down to 5,000-30,000 word articles. And also about how newspapers and other places are bundling up their articles and publishing them as short book. It is wide open for all to take advantage of.

If you can write and put these articles up on line you can make money, especially if you can do it yourself. Get writing

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why is a Blog a Great Way to Promote Your Book?

I love blogs, you are on one right now. They are easy to manage, an easy place to put up a variety of content, Google loves them, they just cover all the basis. The video below is about one of our blogs for one of our books, Vote 2012 Presidential Election Coloring Book. We had some tremendous traffic over the election and it gave me a great opportunity to talk about why blogs are great places to promote your book.

In a nut shell, they are great because they give you all kinds of information about who your visitors are, where they are coming from and what they are looking at. The what they are looking at is super important in helping you market the book.

This is also the first episode of my new Web TV show, The Bruce Jones Design Show.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Clips to Scenes to Sequences to Story, the Basic Blocks of any Video Story

Stories are built by bringing together some essential pieces of information and putting them together in a specific order. It is a process whether you are doing it in print or in video. The process involves clips combined together to build scenes, which you combine several scenes together to form sequences and then ultimately stories. It is a process that can be learned, and it is a process that is covered from all angles by former Newsweek Photographer, Bill Gentile and the Video Journalism Workshops. A four day course held in Washington DC several times a year and covers a number of topics including:
  • Articulate story ideas.
  • Capture powerful images and clean sound.
  • Recognize and cultivate dramatic story arcs.
  • Conduct compelling, in-depth interviews.
  • Write powerful treatments and scripts.
  • Narrate stories.
  • Edit for maximum impact.

We are starting to move in several directions lately in the art of storytelling, we have the print and traditional publishing with books, newspapers, even blogs, but we also now have powerful tool,  video and using video to tell compelling powerful stories. Combining video and print together and you have a powerful tool. We can't keep these two are independent, they must work together and Bill is able to tell us how to do this in his course Video Journalism Workshops.

In this video Bill talks to use about the process and about building powerful stories. To learn more about the workshop please visit http://videojournalismworkshops.com/ and if you decide to take the course please remember to use our special discount code "BJONES" for a reduced rate.



I took this course when it first started and it really helped me with telling stories with video. To learn more about the course please visit http://videojournalismworkshops.com/

Video Journalism Workshops New Field Manual

I work on all kind of projects and one of the coolest lately has been on helping Bill Gentile of Video Journalism Workshops of Washington DC produce and get the online version of his course up and running. Using all of the publishing skills that I have learned over the past couple of years we were able to pull together a field manual for the workshop. A book with all the information that Bill teaches in his course. We will now be taking this book and building it out to a full college text book that he will use with his college students at American University. Producing a book these days has become very easy and also very easy to print. The gate keepers are down and we can now bring our projects to the market.

Book, Essential Video Journalism Field Manual by Bill Gentile
The Essential Video Journalism Field Manual by Bill Gentile
To learn more about the Video Journalism Workshops course on telling powerful, compelling stories using images and words in video check out http://videojournalismworkshops.com/ and if you choose to take the course remember to use the code BJONES for a special discount.

How to Use a Tripod When You Are Shooting Video

Telling stories takes all kinds of formats these days. I often talk about do an action once and use the results in many different formats, print, audio, books, and video. Video is becoming such a powerful force that you much include it in any discussion of publishing. They are all merging. Just look at Apple's new iBookAuthor program, it merges all different kinds of media together. Lately I have been working with Bill Gentile and the Video Journalism Workshops in Washington DC. Bill teaches how to tell powerful stories using images and video.

My role is to teach the students about social media and what to do after you make your video. One of my big messages is to set up and use a blog to write about your efforts, and fill-in the back story with pictures and words. But also to tell with video the effort of building a story. One of the tools in his workshop is a tripod. This video tells you the proper way to use your tripod to help keep your camera steady and get the best possible video.



The Video Journalism Workshops are held in Washington DC several times a year and are a great way to learn the art of story telling using images and video. In association with the VJW course we are able to offer a special discount of the workshop price. Please visit the Video Journalism Workshops and learn more about this powerful program. To get the discount use the code BJONES at time of check out.  http://videojournalismworkshops.com/

What Do You Take in Your Backpack for a Video Shoot

Publishing is taking on many different directions these days and one of the big ones is with video. You can publish in print, on line and in video. One of the best teachers in this new medium is Bill Gentile and his Video Journalism Workshops program. We are proud to be working with Bill to bring his teaching to the market. Below is a video on what you take with you when you go out in the field, basically in your backpack.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Building a Business Book, Great for Marketing your Services

We have been working with several people recently and helping them publish their books. One of the great uses for a book is for marketing yourself and your business. That is what we have been doing with Steven Schottenfeld. We sat with Steve recently  and went over how to produce a basic book for promoting himself and his business using MSWord and a local quick printer and HE DID IT!! He made a book. I am thrilled, he did this with just one session and it came out great. 36 pages, nice cover, the book covers myths and tips for preventing business fraud.
Congratulation Steve

To learn more about Steve and his company TraceTech Solutions visit http://tracetechsolutions.wordpress.com/

Friday, August 3, 2012

How to Create Your Own EBooks, Quick Overview

An excellent article from Aaron Lumnah on self publishing. Become Your Own Publisher: How to Create Your Own eBooks, covers in a nice concise article the ins and outs of self publishing.  From why to the numbers, writing, formatting, covers and publishing. One of the things I like is the chart on how to read the Amazon Kindle sales rank numbers. Lots of great info.

Rank            Sales Needed to Break in
250k            Not many
100-250k     Selling 1 every few days
50-100k       -1 per day
10-49k         Multiple per day
Below 10k   Exponential (3k=30-60 per day)

To read the entire article click on the link below
http://bostinno.com/channels/become-your-own-publisher-how-to-create-your-own-ebooks/

Friday, June 29, 2012

Publishing in the Cloud with Peecho.com

Learned about Peecho.com today, printing in the cloud. need to check out this site some more. I have been looking for a service that prints posters on demand like CreatSpace or Lulu. Posters are tricky and tough to ship. These guys seem to do posters, so more to check out.

http://www.peecho.com/index.html


Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to Write and Publish a Book in 3 Hours


Michael Stewart, the internet audio guy put up a kind of cool video on How to Write a Book in 3 Hours with a Microphone. He walks you through the steps to quickly pull a book together.
  • Basically the steps are make an outline of your book. You don't have to really write anything, just pull together a good outline. 
  • Record the book, based on the outline you wrote using whatever recording software you have in your computer. On a Mac you can use Garage Band, or download Audicity for Mac or PC or any number of recording programs. Do a little editing to clean it up.
  • Get the book transcribed, or if you have DragonSpeak transcription software, just let it do it. 
  • Then layout it out in Word or a desktop publishing program like InDesign or Apple Pages, anything that can save a file in PDF, 
  • Upload the PDF to print-on-demand site CreateSpace, or the text file to Kindle Direct Publishing.
  • And finally use the supplied templates or contact a local graphic designer to build a cover and there you go. 
It seems pretty easy, in reality it is a little harder but overall it is not all that hard.

Monday, June 11, 2012

2 Top Print-on-Demand Publishing Sites for Your Books

We have covered the top print-on-demand book publishing site, CreateSpace.com, in a previous post, now lets look at a couple others. CreateSpace is a great service but they have limited options in the kind of books they make. Focusing on paperback black/white or color helps keep their costs under control and makes for an efficient process. But what if you wanted a hard covered book, or a book with a cover wrap or wanted to produce a high quality coffee table book. Then I would look at two other great sites, Lulu.com and Blurb.com. Both of these use the print-on-demand technology so you have no printing or inventory costs and they can distribute out through Amazon and others.

LuLu.com print-on-demand site with a nice variety of book options


LuLu.com
LuLu is a print-on-demand competitor to CreateSpace.com but offers more choices for the production and design of your books. CreateSpace seems to control their pricing by offering one standard paperback version. LuLu can offer you paperback, hardcover, hardcover with different bindings; perfect, wire, spiral bound and many others. Along with books they also have photo books, calendars, ebooks, cookbooks, iPad publishing and education calendars, ebooks, cookbooks, iPad publishing and education publishing. They can also offer you design, and marketing services with a variety of packages.

Their quality is excellent and they offer a wide range of publication choices. Along with their own online store that is under your name, they also offer access to Amazon.

Lulu can also convert your book to an ebook for distribution on ePub platforms like the Nook and iBookstore.


Blurb.com, excellent site for producing high quality art or photography books

Blurb.com
Blurb is a very cool high quality print-on-demand book publishing site. Blurb books are geared to photographers, artists and people trying to break into artistic self-publishing. They have a variety of formats from personal to full professional quality books. Blurb can also convert your book to the ePub format. Blurb offers users the ability to build books on-line with their Bookify™ Online app. You can download Booksmart® software and build the book on your computer along with a plug-in that you can use with InDesign.

Photos can be pulled from any number of photo sharing sites including Flickr, Picassa, Facebook, Instagram and your own computer.

Blurb covers the full range from physical books for stores to ebooks for iPad, iPhone and iPod. With a nice range of sizes and amazing quality this is the book producing site for anyone with images.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kobo Launches It's Own Self Publishing Platform in June

Digital reading company Kobo is launching it's own self publishing platform for independent authors and publishers at the end of June. Hoping to make it simpler, global, with higher royalties, and a lot more control. Kobo competes against Amazon and their Kindle platform.

Read the entire article over on PaidContent.com
http://paidcontent.org/2012/06/05/kobo-launches-self-publishing-platform-writing-life/

To learn more about Kobo and their ereader check out www.kobobooks.com

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Publish Your Book Using Print On Demand with CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com

Over the next several posts I will cover some of the leading print-on-demand sites for publishing your books.

Print-on-demand means that books are printed when someone orders them from a site like Amazon.com or somewhere else. This is the future of publishing. You can get pretty fancy with your books, from black/white, to color, to different bindings, cover wraps, etc. The huge advantage is that you don't have to pay printing costs and have books sitting around in warehouses collecting dust and your money. Your printing and distribution costs drop dramatically, basically to just about $0 and you can focus on the writing, marketing and selling of your book. This also means that you don't need a large publishing company anymore. Publishing houses are valuable with all their services but they also had a large barrier to entry and they can take a long time to bring your book to market. Now with print-on-demand anyone can be a publisher and send their work out into the world. POD isn't just for books, you can also do CD, DVD, audio, video, and even physical products like hats, mugs, shirts, bags, etc.

CreateSpace.com Home Page

CreateSpace.com
One of the leading print-on-demand sites is CreateSpace.com which is a division of Amazon.com. They offer a range of POD products from print to audio, iPod, CD to video, DVD and streaming video. It is a great service not only for the quality but also that it is connected directly to Amazon.com.

CreateSpace is a great service for bringing your book to market:
  • It is trusted because its Amazon.com
  • They have a range of products and services from free on up to custom design interiors and covers.
  • You have no printing or shipping costs, this is basically free publishing.
  • Their standard distribution includes the Amazon.com site, Amazon Europe and their own CreateSpace eStore which you can brand to match your own website.
  • All books are assigned a unique ISBN number for tracking, CreateSpace will give you one for free or you can supply your own.
  • Books can be produced using their templates or you can supply your own hi res pdf files. Text or fully design books are uploaded to the CreateSpace site where they are processed and then moved over to Amazon for selling, printing and shipping.
  • Amazon takes care of display, printing, shipping, and depositing your royalty payments into your account.
  • Royalty payments are 2 to 3 times more than traditional publishers.
  • Why Amazon, well it has over 94 million visitors a month and has a large book distribution system. It is also a trusted name with huge brand recognition I recommend buying the ProPack option for $25. this gives you access into their expanded system. This gives you distribution to bookstores, libraries, academic institutions and other online retailers.
  • The site includes templates, training videos, and excellent help.
  • Excellent pricing if you decide to use them as a printer, you can also ship books wherever you need.
  • Pay a small fee and you can move your book over to the Kindle platform.
You can check out more about them at https://www.createspace.com/

Questions
What is your favorite print-on-demand site and why?  Be sure to sign up over on the right for more information like this and a free copy of our How to Publish and Market Your Book

Monday, May 28, 2012

I Want to Put My Book On CreateSpace, What Do I Have to Do?

I had a great question come across my plate from a colleague about self-publishing using CreateSpace so I thought this would be a good topic for a post.


CreateSpace.com home page

Question: What do I need to have to publish a book on CreateSpace.com?
Hi Bruce, I have a friend who has a Mac and wanted to do a book using Amazon’s CreateSpace.com self-publishing service. Does she need special software? I told her about you and how you were proficient at this stuff. She now has access to a PC laptop so if she needs different software, then she can look at it.

She indicated her problem arose when she went to upload the book as she said Amazon has certain guidelines in regards of loading separate sections of the book, such as cover for the graphics, chapter titles for the reader to see, and the actual chapters for people to read a sample, as well as a bio of the writer. I haven’t been there yet, but will need to soon as I have a few books about to be written and would love a little guidance on getting books up on CreateSpace.com.

Answer: How to work with CreateSpace.com, the print-on-demand service from Amazon.
Hi, thank you for the great questions about getting your book up on CreateSpace.  CreateSpace is Amazon’s self-publishing service. It is a stand alone division of Amazon and handles their print-on-demand publishing services. Using CreateSpace you can upload a MS Word or a PDF file of your book using one of their templates or a document that you have formatted. Once you have filled in the application form and the book has processed it will be moved over to Amazon.com and can be bought by anyone through their website. The entire uploading process can be done in one sitting. The processing and move to Amazon takes about 1 to 2 weeks. Which in publishing terms is like lighting. The service is basically free or if you want their expanded distribution you can spend an extra $25.00. I highly recommend the expanded distribution. They now have distribution in Europe which is super cool.

Producing Your Book on CreateSpace.com
One of the concepts that took me a while to figure out and this is the same on other print-on-demand services is that the book insides and the cover are treated differently. They are also upload individually. Lets take each and talk about them.

THE INSIDES 
Your book insides can be produced in a variety of ways, at the simplest using MS Word, which you can format and upload. It works great for text based books and simple design such heads, subheads, body copy, headers and footers, that kind of thing. Great for fiction, novels, text based books, etc. Books can be produced in a variety of sizes form 5 x 8 up to 8.5 x 11, black/white or color. I recommend using the industry standard sizes.

CreateSpace will supply you with a MS Word template which I have used and didn’t like. They set their templates up for left and right hand pages which I find awkward and not very flexible. I ended up building my own and liked it a lot better. Basically you just set up the Word document at the size you want, say 6” x 9” and then set up margins at 5/8” or 3/4” of an inch. CreateSpace likes good wide margins and will complain if you move to close to the edge. With this kind of set up I would center your header and your footer. Once it is formatted you will upload this file to Createspace.

You can see all the sizes and other info here:
https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/

MS Word works great if your book has a simple layout. You can use the H1, H2 heads to build a Table of Contents, you can add simple illustrations, it works really well. If your book is more complex with pictures, with a more involved layout then I recommend moving to a program like Apple’s Pages or Adobe InDesign. I use InDesign for some of my books and I also use the latest version of Adobe Illustrator, which now has the ability to have multiple pages. InDesign is a powerful program with any kind of feature you might need to layout a publication. Again you set up the document size for your final size and give yourself decent margins. Once the book is done you save it as a high res pdf file with fonts embedded

Some Keys Tips,
  • Books need to be a minimum of 24 pages and can be up to 220 to 828 pages depending on size. 
  • CreateSpace likes high res graphics, if you are adding images make sure they are 300 dpi. It will accept less but they complain.
  • Images can be color RGB or CYMK, if your insides are black/white then the images must be black/white bitmapped or grayscale. 
  • CreateSpace can produce black/white or color interiors, the covers are always color, it is the interior that determines the b/w or color designation for pricing. You can make a much higher royalty if you produce black/white books, but they do a very nice job printing color. If you need really high quality color images then look at Lulu.com or Blurb.com
  • Decent margins are important, or your book will be priced out as one with bleeds. They have an excellent book reviewing tool that will let you know if you went to close to the edge and you can fix it. This includes the page numbers.
  • If you find you have made a mistake in your book after you have published you can also upload a new file, that is very cool.
  • I like purchasing the physical proof, it gives me a great sample and sometimes you pick up mistakes.
Full cover in  CreateSpace's online cover template

To see how the book looks on Amazon.com Click Here. I put it up in paperback and on Kindle.


THE COVER 
There are two ways that you can go with covers on CreateSpace. You can use their templates or you can make your own and upload them. You can also hire a cover designer through CreateSpace or on your own.

CreateSpace Templates
I recently did a project using their cover templates, the experience wasn't to bad. They have a nice variety of designs for you to choose from. They have a pretty good tutorial that leads your through the process step by step. Front cover then back cover. You can supple your own cover images and there is a fair amount of customizing that you can do. You can change backgrounds, type sizes, colors that kind of thing. If you make a mistake you do have to start the sequence over again but all and all not to bad. On the design that I picked I wasn’t all that pleased with how the back cover type was treated but the process make a decent cover.

For the cover image I used a royalty free stock photo from Dreamstime.com, they have a nice selection of pictures and are very reasonable in costs. I purchased a smaller file size and uploaded it in the template when they asked for a cover image. Pretty easy to do.
Here is the site: http://www.dreamstime.com/

Designing and Uploading Your Own Cover
I generally design my own covers and it takes some care to get it right. To make the book cover you need to layout the front, spine, back and bleeds all on one page. Once the book is printed the cover is wrapped around the entire thing so it has cover all sides. I usually design my covers in Adobe InDesign and then move them to Adobe PhotoShop to prepare the final artwork for CreateSpace. You can also design them directly in  PhotoShop or Apple Pages. The front cover is on the right and the back cover is on the left and the spine in-between. Remember you also need to add 1/8" bleeds all the way around.

In Indesign I generally work on a larger page size than the cover so I can add guides, crop marks and stuff like that. For uploading to CreateSpace, the cover needs to be the actual final size. I will tackle that in a moment.

Books are printed larger than their final size and are then trimmed down. If you have ink running off the edge of your cover then the cover has to be printed larger so that you have a nice clean edge to trim off. This extra space is called bleed. So a 6” x 9” book is printed 1/8” or larger all around.

Your spine width is determined by how many pages you have. For white paper you multiple the number of pages times the thickness of the paper. CreateSpace uses paper that is .002252” thick so a 60 page book is 60 x .002252” or 0.141” thick. 

Once your cover is set up you save the document as a high res pdf PhotoShop file with fonts embedded.

Measurements for a 6" x 9" Cover
Cover width: Bleed + Back Cover Trim Size + Spine Width + Front Cover Trim Size + Bleed
.125” (1/8”) + 6”  + 0.141” + 6” + .125”.  = 12.391”

Cover height: Bleed + Book Height Trim Size + Bleed
.125” + 9” + .125” = 9.25

Moving the Cover File to PhotoShop to Make the Final PDF
Once you have designed your cover it then needs to be converted into a PhotoShop PDF file for uploading. The first thing I do is set up a new PhotoShop document at the final cover plus bleed size for my book. The PhotoShop document for a 60 page book, 6x9 in size with white paper will be 12.391” wide x 9.25” high.

The original InDesign pdf file is opened in Adobe Photoshop, the high res version will open as a 300dpi file. I then copy this file and pasted into my new PhotoShop document. Make sure it is all lined correctly and saved as a PhotoShop pdf file. The PhotoShop pdf setting isn’t one that is normally used so look for it in the Save As popup menu. And that is it, you are ready to upload your cover file to CreateSpace.

Dimensions for laying out a cover for a 6 x 9 book with 60 pages
Illustration by J. Bruce Jones © Copyright 2012


To see additional information on building your cover at CreateSpace click on the link below: How to Create a Cover PDF for Your Book.
https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/CoverPDF.jsp




Opening your high res pdf in PhotoShop will give you a 300 dpi file to work with

Some Key Tips,
  • Take your time measuring and remeasuring the cover size with the bleeds. 
  • You want artwork that is at least 300 dpi so that you get the best cover you can get
  • Leave space in the lower right hand corner of the back for the ISBN number
  • Your back cover also sells your book, drop in your main benefits, show some sample pages
  • Add your contact info, remember this is a selling surface
  • You need 130 pages to have text on the spine, I don't worry about it, most of my books are in the 60-80 page length.
Comments
I would love any comments on this article, was it helpful? what is missing? please let me know and be sure to sign up over on the right for more information like this.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Self-Publishing Your Book with Kindle, ePub, PDF, Audio, Video, Web

You have written your book, started a marketing platform and now you are read to publish. Publishing these days is much more than ending up with bound book sitting on your coffee table. It now covers not only a physical book, but also an e-book, something like a Kindle or Nook, a pdf book that might be download off your website, an audio book for your iPod, a book that is read entirely on line, how about streaming video. When publishing you want to look at all of these. Your book is part of a system that brings people into your entire world of products and servies. Plan so that you can take advantage of as many as you can.

This is a constantly changing world with new technologies coming on line everyday. All of the publishers we will cover offer variety of book sizes, along with printing in black/white or color, along with many other options such as binding, covers and marketing assistance. 

Publishing today breaks down to several major formats: the e-book side with Mobie/Kindle controlled by Amazon and epub which is lead by Apple with the iPad and iBook. ePub is also the format that is used buy most of the other portable and tablet readers. The other format is pdf which can be distributed in many different formats from on-line or used to generate print-on-demand books. PDF is a very flexible format that offers you a lot of control over the look and feel of your book.

Over the next several posts we will cover some of the major self-publishing sites.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

9 Additional Ideas and Places to Market Your Book

Continuing the lessons we have been sharing in Chapter 2 of our book here are some additional book marketing ideas.
  • Youtube – YouTube has a huge amount of traffic and viewers and makes and excellent place to put up a book review video with links back to your web or blog site. You can do a series of videos on your book, interviews with the subject, small talks based on the content. It can go on forever.
  • Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, all accept images and text postings with links. Every time you make a post on your book blog or up a new video you also bring that content over to the social media platforms. You can do this with a link, or mention or with Google+ you can bring over the entire post.
  • Just like with the popular social media site, they are most likely sites that are related just to your topic, maybe there are forums or other blogs and you can connect with them also. Search in Google for forums and blogs on your topic. Look under the More Tab on the Google search page or after you have done a search look on left
  • Your own local newspaper, they are always looking for a local story, this material then makes for great press clippings, and links for promotion
  • Check out Joan Stewart and PublicityHound.com she has excellent tips for promoting a book and for low cost easy to do public relations. http://www.publicityhound.com/
  • Make sure you have an About page on your website and blog. The About page is one of the most viewed pages on a website and is a great place to showcase your book.
  • Set up a Google Alerts on your book and book topics, respond accordingly. Watch your market and the trends. http://www.google.com/alerts
  • Set up an email auto responder series using your email host with parts of the book, or a small course built from the book or other info that references subject from the book. These get sent out to readers who have signed up at your blog.
  • ake your book and create a webinar or teleseminar for the audience that you have built from your blog.

This list can go on and on but it gives you a great place to start. Send us some of your best ideas for marketing your book and I will share them.

How to Figure Out What People Want to Read

One of the best blogs out there for  bloggers is Darren Rouse, ProBlogger blog. There I have the word Blog 4 times in one sentence. Darren just delivers outstanding content on how to run your blog. Today he put a great post by guest blogger Brad Smith on 5 Simple Ways to Discover What People Are Dying to Read. He takes you through some simple steps, looking at your own popular posts, other people's popular posts and some easy analytic work. Well worth reading and referring back to.

Check it out at ProBlogger
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/05/09/5-simple-ways-to-discover-what-people-are-dying-to-read/

Monday, May 14, 2012

52 Resources for Self Publishing from The Book Designer.com

Just found a great resource for self publishing called The Book Designer, Practical Advice to Help Build Better Books at www.thebookdesigner.com. The blog follows the journey of book designer Joel Friedlander from traditional ink to the modern day of digital publishing and print on demand. Passing along tons of information for all of us in the self publishing area. Well worth checking out.

This post in particular caught my attention and will take some time to dig around in, 52 Great Blogs for Self Publishers.
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/11/52-great-blogs-for-self-publishers/

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Sell Your Book and Build a List At The Same Time

It is always worth paying attention to what is going on at Amazon. So here is an interesting idea to sell books.
  1. Set up a email signup page for access to a free course or information which is in reality your book that you release out bit by bit through your email auto responder. 
  2. Set it up for a regular release of the content, short lessons, once a week or so, tease the next release with "next week we will talk about Lesson 3, lesson 4, etc." Write your book so that it can be broken down into lessons or small chapters. Take an existing book and pull out some basic short lessons from it. Look at your table of contents and add two paragraphs to it
  3. Highlight that you can also just get all the information or the course faster by buying the book which is advertised on the side of the email. Aweber has some nice templates for doing this. 
  4. Don't have a book, then take an existing book from Amazon that is really good on your topic and make your own set of 10 lessons from it. Advertise this book in the email, use the Amazon affiliate program to make a little money and test it. Maybe just 4 lessons instead of 10 and that way your can continually test books to see which one people want while you are writing you own. You could build out an endless number of books, almost like a book club. Look at the chapter titles for what the lessons should be, rewrite in your own words. 
There are a lot of ways to spin this.


If your customer doesn't buy, so what, they are in your list with great content, yours or content inspired by someone who is a leader in your area. Your customer does buy and you make a few bucks with a buyer, use the Amazon receipt technique to give more content or a video presentation and capture the buyer again, again a win. In the Amazon receipt technique you tell the potential customer if they buy the book to come back with the receipt number and drop it in a sign up box for additional content, or the work book  or lessons or something.

Remember don't copy or plagiarize but be inspired. You can also use the Google Top Ten technique to come up with the autoresponder list. Google "top ten tips for XYX", you will see tons of top ten lists on your topic. Use variations of this phrase and you can very quickly pull together a top ten list. People love top ten lists, then market your's or someone else book on the side.

Here is the article that gave me this idea.
In this article from PaidContent.org Pottermore CEO: New Amazon deal so big, any lost Harry Potter sales "more than made up for" it is highlighted how Amazon noted that 19% of Kindle readers who borrowed the first Hunger Games book ended up buying vol 2 or 3 of because they didn't want to wait. We don't all have Hunger Games but we might have "how to do X Y Z ..."


I do something similar, but I think I might switch around to this new idea.

 
One of my AWeber AutoResponder Pages for one of my map books

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Using Images to Promote Your Book

Here I am sitting in my studio with the rough manuscript of my How to Publish and Market Your Book. Notice I added the web address right in the photo along the bottom
Images from your book can be a very powerful marketing tool. Google announced recently an increased emphasis on looking at images in search. Images can include the front and back cover, of course pictures or drawings from the inside the book, and author images. If you have a book that is just text how about pictures of your studio, or how your write, the coffee shop that you go to. Or the trip you took to research your book, or pictures of the people in your book. The key here is to record the journey of the writing and the elements inside of your book. People love the back story. In some of my music books. I make sure each image has the web address right in the graphic. Those images have spread all over the internet.  You can see what I have done at http://www.acousticmusictv.com

The second step is to upload your images to as many different places as you can, caption them and give a clear link back to your book blog or website. People use Google search, or Google Images, they see your pictures, click on them and link back. Make sure the images have a clear descriptive title like, Bruce Jones How to Publish Book.jpg instead of a name IMG_34565.jpg. My music pages are on Flickr, Facebook and Google Picasa.

Images should be submitted to Flickr, Google’s Picasa, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and any other photo sharing site that makes sense. All images should be tagged, key worded, and with clear captions, also include your web address if possible. Each actual image should also be marked with contact info and a web address along the bottom.

Here is a really cool technique for after you have published your book. In Amazon you can add images to the “Share Your Own Customer Images” area just below the book cover. This is a great place to showcase the individual pages with an extra description, highlight the key features, and show lots of details. A lot of authors don’t do this, in fact you can do this with any book, help an author with some fan images.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Using Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Twitter to Promote and Market Your Book


In a previous post I talked about using a blog for promoting your book. I believe that very shortly your ability to be a successful author will depend on your ability to mange and promote your book using the popular social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+ and whatever are the popular sites in your industry or area. On each platform you can re-post the blog posts, create original content, create links back to your book blog, connect with your community and contribute to the conversation around your topic. Each platform has a different focus and reaches different audiences.

Your book also needs to be integrated into all of the other things you do, displayed and sold when you give talks, listed in your email signature, used as giveaways, and used as a calling card to open doors. Your book is your currency.

Facebook
Facebook lets you promote the lifestyle around your book writing and marketing efforts, where you go, pictures from your events, the back story, show your studio, all aspects. You can also communicate with your fans and they with you. Facebook makes it easy to engage. Every post you make on your blog needs to be copied over on to these other platforms.

Twitter
Twitter can be used both ways, outbound and inbound. The major social media platforms are all pretty much integrated into the major blog platforms so it is easy to post to Twitter when I put up a blog post. It is just push a button. Twitter gives you that quick hit, ask a question in the Tweet that you answer on you blog. Twitter is also a great way to follow people and events that relate to what you write about. I think Twitter is kind of a slow burn. You don't see the results all that much but it is a good way to push out content. Twitter will also accept images and video.

Google+
Google+ keeps growing and growing. Again I duplicate whatever I do on my blog with my Google+ account. Google treats the information on its own platforms pretty high. Easy to upload images, video and connections. What is interesting about Google+ is that you can select the audience or the parts of your list that will be receiving your message through their circles.

Linkedin
I find Linkedin one of the most powerful platforms to connect with your audience. Using the status box you can post a weekly update on what you are doing our successes or links, etc. Once a week this status goes out to all of your followers. You don't sell here but you contribute, educate, or  just update. I have found it very effective.

YouTube
The world is moving to video in a huge way. Make a book review, show your book, the features, what it is about. Make these short and make lots of them. Almost any camera will work and your reach is global. Don't worry about being perfect, be you. Make sure you add keywords, a link back to your blog or website, this goes in the description area, have a good title and lots of of descriptive text about the book.

Social media is changing almost on a daily basis, new sites coming on all the time like Goodreads and Pinterest, which is exploding. Try not to get overwhelmed, I usually recommend staying with the major sites and build you platform.



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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How to Find the Perfect Title for Your Kindle Ebook

Searching on Fly Fishing in Amazon search brings up all kinds of useful information
I was discussing a question with a colleague on how to find the perfect title for their upcoming Kindle ebook. I thought this would be great info for everyone.

Question: Help me find the perfect title for my kindle book!

My advice on the title is to search in Amazon in the regular area and in the Kindle books area. Start by dropping in what you think your title should be and watch the Instant search results that start to appear under what you are typing. This is Amazon's attempt to figure out what you are looking for. Pay attention to what appears, the words and phrases.

Then take a look at what books appear from what you typed in. Are these books similar to what your book is about. Look at the titles, you will find great info on what words should be in the title. Keep doing this until you have a good feel for how people search on your area, what brings up actual books in your subject area.

Kindle doesn't have subtitles where as the regular Createspace/Amazon paperback area does. So your title needs to be descriptive and keyed in on what people actually search on. Do the same thing in Google and in YouTube and see what shows up there also. Remember people often start their search in Google and then move to Amazon. Google indexes the Amazon books.

One of my key pieces of advice on book titles is don't fall in love with your working title, do the research in Amazon and figure out how people are searching and then apply it to your book.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to Make Your Blog Work as a System for Promoting Your Book

In our previous post, Marketing Your Book After it is Published, we talked about using the content of your book to build followers and attract Google's attention. We did this by blogging out the book paragraph by paragraph.

In this post I will talk about how to use your book blog as the beginning of a system around your book. Blogs are great places to assemble content and in the process of writing a book you most likely gathered a lot of information that was used to write it but never made it into the final product. We can now bring all that back and add more. This information makes great blog post and expands out the your book's reach.

Ok what are some of the things you can do?
  • Add additional content from the cutting room floor. Add and describe pictures, interviews, research material, maybe your thinking on the characters, the places you went
  • Conduct a fuller or further interview with the people that you might have featured in the book. Put in the full interview.
  • Additional tips, techniques, how about a workbook, pictures
  • People love to read about the behind the scenes stuff, how you did it, what did you have to go through. A key thing here is to save all this stuff while you are writing the book so that you can bring it back at this stage. The plane tickets, restaurant stub, menus, there is always tons.
  • Develop a course or an online lecture series that goes along with the book. Even if the course is free and is just a series of blog posts people will learn from it and you might find this becomes your next book.
  • A major goal here is to gather more names for your mailing list, maybe put some of this info behind the signup wall.
  • Set up a chance to meet the author, talk about where you will be and where they can meet you. You can also set up an online meet the author using one of the free video streaming sites such as UStream.tv, announce the date and time and give them a link. This technique can expand your reach globally.
  • The goal here is to add resources that add to the book or to the community around the book.
  • Use the Amazon receipt technique to capture a name from buyers of the book with the addition of bonus content. The person buys your book and then signs up to your mailing list using the Amazon receipt to get access to additional content. What is cool is that you are collecting the names of actual buyers of your book.

The task here is to use your blog as book central, make the book more than just a book but an entire system. Blogs are very good at attracting search traffic because they are updated a lot and are topic focused. Google like this and your readers like this.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learn How I Published My New Book-How to Stand Out Online

Cover designed using a CreateSpace template

This past week I have been working on putting up a new book called How to Stand Out Online on CreateSpace.com in paperback. Shortly I will put up the same book on Kindle in ebook format and hopefully Smashwords.com for all the other platforms.

I am trying to do it without using any of my desktop publishing programs, using just what they give you in templates and such. I have been taking screen shots and notes on the effort. This info and effort will be used to produce the publishing tutorial modules in an upcoming book on getting your books up online.

It has been interesting to use just the CreateSpace software, it is pretty good. You have to make some compromises, or maybe I haven't figured out all the parts yet but overall I am pretty pleased. The insides of the book were formatted in MSWord and the cover was done using their cover tool.  It works, you need very little to publish a book.

Make sure you sign up over on the right, I am going to be releasing content from my upcoming book and course as I start pulling it together.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Marketing Your Book After it is Published

Bring in visitors from all over
Ok you have published your print book or e-book using CreateSpace/Amazon or Kindle, now comes the hard part getting people to buy it.

The reality is that most books rarely sell more than 150 copies in their lifetime without a lot of marketing time and money. So the challenge is to find ways of marketing that don’t cost a lot of money.

So what do you do? This is where your blog comes back into play. Hopefully you have built up an email list that you can promote your book back out to your have fans and followers. Along with your blog followers your can also connect with your Facebook friends, Linkedin connections, all of the people that are linked to you by your social media platforms.

A great way to promote your book is to blog the entire manuscript, page by page, paragraph by paragraph. Break your book down into small chunks, add clever titles, or story telling titles and then put it out to the world. The key is that you are using your content to attract Google searches. Once on the site you give people a clear path to purchase your book with a thumbnail picture of the cover and link to Amazon.

Authors worry about that people will just read their book here and not buy. Yes that is true, but most people don’t want to read a book one post at a time. But what you are really doing is helping the search engines find your content and send visitors to your site. If they are interested maybe they will buy your book if you give them a clear path to purchase. What you are really doing is building traffic using your book content. To get 1 buyer you need to bring in 100-200 visitors. More visitors more buyers.

From the blog you can also create events, market the author, conduct interviews, both written and in video, tie in other products, special editions, audio book-ipad, calendar, mugs, the list is almost endless.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Building of a Product with Make, Market Launch It

Over the last two months I have been taking a course with Mike Koenings and Pamela Hendrickson called Make, Market Launch It. The course is about how to build information products. Something I have been trying to do for several years but couldn't figure it out. Along came MML and it just seemed closer than anything else I have tried. I have used it to push me to develop my own product on how to publish books. I now have 14 books selling and what I am trying to do teach others how to do this.
I have now finished the course, I have gone through all 7 modules, every video, every pdf. I have learned a ton. That was my goal to watch the entire program before the conference that they are having in a week or so in San Diego. Through this program I have figured out a product to work on, how to publish a book, that seems to be evolving into how to live a freelance or independent life by building and publishing products based on what you do
Another goal from MML was to give an hour talk on my publishing system, use it as the foundation. Did that also in March in front of 25 people through the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup that I am part of, it went great. Huge thank you to Lew Sabbag who listened to my run throughs and offered lots of great ideas. Because I now talk about this stuff all the time people are now contacting me to have me help them with their books, how cool is that. That is what happens when you tell people what you are doing. 
My next step is rewriting the rough book I made for the talk and figuring out the parts of the product. My next goal is to have a product in the can by this September, a book, some modules, some videos, and offer it for sale. 
So a big thank you to Pamela Hendrickson and Mike Koenigs for this course, it has been a fantastic push to get this far. Because of this my life has changed over the last two months. I am in a new direction and all kinds of cool stuff is happening. Alright back to writing. To learn more about Make, Market Launch it checkout their website http://www.makemarketlaunch.com

The Tim Ferriss Effect for Getting Exposure for Your Book

Thinking of promoting your books and efforts. It isn't something that happens overnight, it is something that takes months if not years of effort. Connected here is an excellent article by Michael Ellsberg of Forbes magazine on connecting with important bloggers that can advance your stuff. The man he is talking about is Tim Ferriss the author of the 4 Hour Work Week. Ellsberg's main point for marketing you book is to connect with a popular single-author blog that is related to your topic and get to know them well and contribute to their conversation.

Check out the full post on Forbes.com  The Tim Ferriss Effect: Lessons From My Successful Book Launch

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pre-Marketing Your Book Using Your Blog

Your blog platform works on both ends of the book writing process. On the front end you can give out pre-launch material, free chapters, or even the entire book in rough format. One should also be building followers, ask for feedback, promoting yourself and the upcoming book. Some authors use their platform to test plot line, I have used it to test covers and internal layouts and design. Blogger has a great little poll feature, our use a service like SurveyMonkey.com. Your blog is there to have a dialog with your readers and followers.

In this next section of our Make Market Publish Your Book posts we will cover pre-marketing, post-marketing and developing your marketing platform further.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to Make, Upload and Host a PDF Tips Sheet on Your Blog


We are often helping people get going with the marketing of their book. One of the first steps is publishing a small pdf chapter, or tips list or maybe a resource list for your readers. You can start distributing your content and getting it out there.

This video lays out how to make a simple tips sheet and host it on your blog so readers can download it.

Steps include:
1. Make a list of helpful tips in MS Word or some word processing program
2. Save it as a PDF
3. Extract the cover page and save it as a jpg for making your thumbnail
4. Make a thumbnail graphic for the blog in Photo shop or Paintbrush
 - Size should be about 3 inches at 72 dpi
5. Host your Tips sheet in Google Docs
6. Set the share option for the public, copy the link for use in your blog
7. Go back to your blog, add an picture widget to the side of your blog
8. Link this image to the pdf in your Google Docs using the share link
9. Test the link

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making Videos for your Books and Products

One of the important tasks that you should do for promoting your products is to make videos. The technology has gotten so much easier and with sites like YouTube you now have world wide delivery for basically free. It is very easy to show the features and benefits of your product. I have been working on quite a few videos lately for many of my different books. I will talk more about making videos later but to put the word out there, start making and start posting your own product and story videos.


This is a video I recently completed for my book, USA and the 50 US States coloring book. It is hosted on YouTube and it is also embedded in the book store page for the book. You can see the entire page on our site www.freeusandworldmaps.com

Friday, April 6, 2012

Resources for Setting Up Your Book Platform

One of the ways to build an audience for your e-book and print book is to release it online in short posts. I have been reworking the text for my Make, Market Publish Your Book and putting it up here as I work through each part. Each section has a resource area and for the first chapter the resources are about the platforms that you use to build your audience and research your market and topic. So they include blogs, social media sites, an e-mail management host, and different sites for researching and doing polls.

Chapter 1 Resources

Blog Platforms

Single topic publishing sites

Social Media Sites

e-Mail Management Sites

Research Sites to Figure Our Your Market

Survey Sites
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E-reader and Tablet Owners Read More Books, Learn More

Excellent article today on PaidContent.org or the four key takeaways from a recent Pew study on e-reading.
1. E-readers reading more books than people who don't own a device. 24 to 15
2. Kindle still rules as the number 1 reader
3. Online bookstore are a powerful source for recommendations
4. Lending and borrowing, most prefer to buy but the jury is still out

check out the entire article plus excellent charts at
http://paidcontent.org/2012/04/05/pew-e-reading-study-takeaway/

I think a big message here is get your books up on Kindle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do You Have the Right Title for Your Book?

One of the things that happens when we write our book is that we often fall in love with the working title. This is the title that you use when you talk about your book to your friends and family. Very often this title doesn’t end up being a very good one for Google or Amazon search. Remember books are often found by searching. It is worth spending some time coming up with a good descriptive title, you are trying to get your book found. Using Google and Amazon instant search you can get a pretty good idea of how people look for your type of book. Combine this with the other titles you find when you research on your topic and come up with a good one. Try to work in the main keyword phrase that comes in the search results.

My first music chord book was called Notebook Music Chords, Chord and Music Charts for the Everyday Play, because I thought I would put my guitar chord charts into a notebook to take with me to gigs and music jams and it was directed to beginners. No one bought that book because no one searches for guitar chord books using the word Notebook, they search on guitar chords. After some research I realized a lot of people used the word Essential and guitar and mandolin chords. I renamed the book Essential Music Chords for Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele and Banjo. It has done fine.

You can check out the book on Amazon.com (affiliate link)


Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Analyze Your Book Topic and Market Using Amazon.com

Ok you have done an initial look on Amazon, looked at instant search to see keywords on your topic and selected a phrase. Initial when you do a search you are looking to see that there are actual products, books and other items that are selling. A lot of books and items means this is an active market.You only really want to be in a market where people are spending actual money buying real things.

First, look at the search results.
  • You want to see that there are a good number of books selling in your topic. You want to see that your are looking at an active market.
  • Look at the top 10 books, the titles, the design, what words are being used in the titles, what keywords they are using?
  • Are the titles clear about what the books are about. Look at the subtitles, this is a great way to figure out what your title should be. You can add a pretty long subtitle to your book, which is a great way to add more keywords.
  • You want to spend time looking at the books that have high sales ranking, remember books come up by relevance but the results are not necessarily sorted in order of sales. There are over 8 million books on Amazon. Number eight million is at the bottom and #1 at the top. As you come down the search results page you will see different books that relate to your topic. Look at ones with a sales rank below 500,000, preferable below 100,000 or 50,000. Sales ranks is listed in the Product Details section of each book, see below.
The next step is to select and review the top 5 to 10 books in your category. Click on a cover and start working your way down the sales page.

Top of Page
  • Look at the title and subtitle, how is it phrased, what key words are there
  • Look at the cover picture, can you tell what the book is about, remember our sales image is 1.5 to 2" wide, small type doesn't work any more, what is the book about. This will give you great info for figuring out your own book cover. You need to be able to read the cover when it is thumbnail
  • How many places is it being sold, how many reviews, is it in paperback, Kindle, look a all this
  • Check out Click to Look Inside! How are they laying out the book, what is the design, front matter etc. One of the most valuable parts of Look Inside is getting to see the Table of Contents. The TOC has all the information that should be in your book, how it is broken down and what to include. The task here is to look at several books and then combine their TOCs together into your book outline. You can very quickly pull a book together but looking through successful book's TOCs or figure out what is missing in yours. We aren't copying but we are looking for information, inspiration and what is missing from our project. There is gold here.
Book Description
  • Look at descriptions, what are they writing about, what keywords are there. Descriptions are keys to understanding the book and also its success in being found in search. Lots of great ideas hear. 
Frequently Bought Together and Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
  • Once a book starts to sell Amazon bundles it with other products that customers buy. Take a look at those products. This is also a good indicator of what your next product should be and the pricing. You could also make these bundle yourself and sell them on your own site.
  • Go through all these books and analyze them, there is a wealth of market info here
Editorial Reviews 
  • This is like looking at Customer Reviews but from the media, it is a good review of how the book is seen but it might be built more from press releases than from actual readers.
Product Details
  • Some key information here, we see the size of the book, page numbers, physical size, and the publisher. What I see that is the most important is the Sales Rank
  • Sales Rank. We want to look at book with a sales rank below 500,000, preferable below 100,000 or 50,000. Bestselling books are in the 10,000 and lower area. This tells us which book are successful, we also want to pay attention to books that are ranking in 2 or more categories. This info will tell us where these books fall on the shelf and how the world sees them. Some to remember is that the ranking seems to be a daily snapshot. The numbers can move around a lot but is gives you a feel for what books are selling and which are not. I use this information alot to figure out which book I need to pay attention to. 
Customer Reviews
  • Customer Reviews are the gold in Amazon. Customers will write in what they like, what they don't, what is missing,  how things should be fixed. There is a ton to learn by reading the book reviews that you can add to your book.
  • Make a list and write down all of this key info. 
  • The review are also a great place to help you build the phrases that you will use for your book description, back cover jacket text, your press release.
  • You want to be looking at books that have a healthy number of reviews, more than 5-8, if a book has 30-50 then you have a popular book or at least a book that effects people.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We Need Your Help with Building Our Self-Publishing Book Product

HI, all, we had our presentation last week on publishing and it went very well. I put together a checklist, a resources list, and a book of the notes. All of these are available if you sign up over on the right. What we need now is help with feedback on what you are looking for. We have set up a 10 question survey on Survey Monkey that we would love you to take. Shouldn't take longer than 5-10 minutes. Click on the link below and thank you very much

<a href="http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XFCN6Q2">Click here to take survey</a>

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Researching Your Topic Using the Power of Amazon

 
Use the Amazon Search box to take an initial pass at your top and key word phrase
Today we are starting a short series of posts on how to use Amazon.com to research and help you fill in the gaps in your topic.

To learn more about your topic, what is selling, if there is a market, what are the products and what people are saying about it, you can’t get any better information than Amazon.com. Amazon is one of the most incredible sites and resources to look at to see people’s buying habits. If it is selling, it is selling on Amazon and people are writing about it. Their data is pulled collected from millions and millions of visitors looking for very specific products.

For this exercise we are going to pretend that we are working on a book on Fly Fishing. No real reason, just thought fly fishing would be fun. To start the process we will take our initial key word "fly fishing" and drop it into the Amazon search box. The first thing we notice as the we type the phrase is that words start to appear just below the box. This is Instant Search, this also happens in any of the popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube.

What you are seeing is Amazon's attempt to fit our phrase into other phrases that people have already type in. They are trying to guide you in the popular direction for this topic and get you to your book faster. This is very useful information that we can use on how we should be looking at our topic and making it work with the searching engines. What you will discover is that maybe we aren't setting up our phrase correctly, or we are missing a term, or the order of words, or maybe no one is searching on this term. Remember items on the web are found by search so you want match up and be found in search. What this also tells you is that people think in a very similar way.

This initial research will help you figure out your positioning, maybe the title,  areas you were missing. You can and should do this exercise in Google, Yahoo, Bing and also YouTube. You will see very different results in YouTube, but YouTube is searched 2-3 billion times a day.

Next post, looking at the results of your search, what shows up, products, that kind of thing.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Make, Market Publish Talk on March 21 and the Main Takeaways

J. Bruce Jones speaking at the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup Publishing Event
We had a great night at the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup with my talk on publishing your book. We had about 25 people and then a great pizza party afterwards. Huge thanks to Lew Sabbag and Keith Spiro. The main takeaways from the night were:
  1. Self publishing can be almost free with print on demand and Kindle publishing
  2. Huge changes happening in publishing, people are taking over
  3. All items sell, especially if you can drive traffic to Amazon and to your products
  4. Social Media and your online presence is super important
  5. Break things into smaller packages, instead of a 300 page book, do five 60 pages books
  6. Get Going, just start

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Succeeding in Business as a Graphic Designer

A question came up in my Make, Market Launch course I am taking on getting a Kindle book up on Amazon. I hadn't done an ebook for a while as most of my books are print-on-demand so I went through some of my articles and adjusted one for a book.  

Getting a book is pretty easy, you can do it in a couple hours. You just need a MS Word file of your book and a cover image. If you want to just use the basic Kindle upload then the file should be very simple with very little formatting, bolds, italic, and not much more. Put in a title in the word file, then a page break, Table of Contents, then a page break and then the text of the book. Use the H1 style for chapter heads, just put one space between each paragraph. Generate a TOC, Kindle likes that. For the cover, 600x960 pixels at 72 dpi works just fine. I made mine with an image from Dreamstime.com and Adobe PhotoShop, but you could also use an paint program on one of the on line like FotoFlexer.com. You can also make one right off of your MSWord file with a screen capture program like Snagit.com, if you don't have PhotoShop. Keep it simple, fill in all the boxes they give you and you should be fine.

Most of the time was making adjustments to the text. I need to learn more about spacing between paragraphs. I also had to push together a cover pretty fast. My goal was to do this in one sitting.

Our book is Succeeding in Business as a Graphic Designer, Quick Tips for Developing a Second Income Stream with Your Graphic Design Knowledge. This book is about using your graphic design skills to develop a second stream of income that can help support you while you are managing and building your design business. Something that can give us a base under our regular graphic design business, sustain you when times are tough, and build a passive and continual stream of income. Tips include producing books, video products, products and more.

We will be writing more on this as we continue to add to our program. Check out our book at Amazon.com

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why are Stats Important when Writing a Book

Stats, Research, Test
  • A key to understanding what readers are interested in is to using the built in stats package built into your blog or if you don't have one then installing Google Analytics to analyze what is being read on your blog and then responding to it. Set up a feed back loop, 
  • One goal in building your blog platform is to figure out what people are reading and interested in. Once you know this then you can write more on this topic, or add to this topic. Visitors figure out pretty quickly what your blog is about even if you don't actually know. Watching your stats is one of the ways to figure this out.
  • Test new material.
  • Blogs allow you to research different topics quickly and easily
  • Test concepts, plot lines, and designs with your readers using polls, set up surveys, and ask questions.
  • Get reactions and comments
  • Some writers even write their entire books right into the blog.
Most blogs have stats built right into them, if not then check out Google Analytics and get it installed. It is free and gives you some amazing information on what is going on with your blog or website.


http://www.google.com/analytics/

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Making Your Publishing Platform and Building Your Followers

I am going to put out parts from our new book, How to Publish and Market Your Book,

Chapter 1. Making Your Platform and Building Your Followers
This chapter is built on three ideas
  • Building your platform
  • Building followers
  • Reviewing your stats, doing research, and testing ideas

Build Your Platform
• Your publishing platform is based on a blog or website, your email list, people who come to your talks, any place you connect with your readers

• It is built on your social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Any place that you can connect, communicate and contribute to the conversation and collect followers.

• Your platform (blog or website) also allows you to assemble components for your book, text, images, videos, links, articles, etc. Once you have enough material assembled you can pull it off and create a book. In the mean time you have been communicating with people and building followers.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Publishing Trends for 2012

Book and Publishing Trends
  • Bookstores are declining which will cause a lack of distribution and a drop in non-bestseller types of books such as specialty and coffee table books.
  • Traditional publishing houses will decline or be under intense pressure to sell just best sellers
  • Books are exploding across many different platforms, from e-book, tablet, audio, smart phone, pdf, and interactive.
  • Increasing growth of e-books and textbooks on tablets with interactivity, audio, video and animation
  • E-books will be huge in the education market, Apple is putting in lot of resources into this with release of iBookAuthor and selling them on the iBook Store
  • The definition of a book has changed from 300 pages to 30-50 pages to even less, from paper to electronic to media to interactive.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Benefits of Self-Publishing, the Ups and Downs

Benefits of Self-Publishing
My upcoming book, How to Build Your Own Publishing Platform, is about my self-publishing efforts and how I have built my own publishing system to promote my books. Publishing has changed a lot over the last several years. Authors have more control of the content and rights of their books and with the explosion of e-books, tablets, and print-on-demand there are more and more options. Below are some of the things I have learned in today's every changing publishing environment.

Upside
  • Control over your own destiny, the word no doesn’t exist. You have control over the editing, the book layout, cover design, inside design, the marketing and the rights.
  • Speed to market is very much higher, traditional publishers can take 1-2 years to get your book to market if you can attract the attention of a publisher
  • Much higher royalty payments from the print-on-demand sites like CreateSpace and Lulu.com
  • More opportunity to create additional products because you keep control over all your rights
  • Publishing can be close to free and with print-on-demand there is no need to have excess inventory hanging around

Downside
  • No book advance
  • You have to do all the work yourself, editing, design, formatting, publishing and marketing
  • You don’t have a group of professional marketing people to support you. Often though these people don’t really exist and a lot is put on the author to promote and market 
If you are actually self printing physical books you would need to front all of the printing costs.



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How Top Build Your Own Publishing Platform

Been hard a work getting the book for my talk on the 21st finished up. I am just about there, still need to add in the resources which I can do over the next several days. I will be putting it as a free give away for anyone who is in the mailing list, so make sure to sign up over on the right and it will be coming your way as soon as I have finished it.

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U.S. Publishing Facts, and Exciting Time to Be Involved

Publishing is big and strong and changing. That is the message today. If you are coming from the traditional side of book, magazine and newspaper publishing you are no doubt going through some tremendous stress. If you are on the internet, e-book, tablet side you are also going through stress but in a much more positive way. There is a dynamic shift happening in how content is being delivered and consumed and it often feels like the wild west. It is an exciting time to be involved and to participate. I thought I would throw out a few facts to ponder.

U.S. Publishing Facts
• USA Today poll, 82% of Americans want to publish a book
• The Publishing Industry is a $8.5 Billion Market, made up of Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback and Adult Mass Market*
• E-books have grown $969 Million*
• Children/Young Adult Paperback $546 Million
• Children’s/Young Adult Hardcover $661 Million*
• Educational Books Higher Ed $4.5 Billion
• K-12/High School $3.5 Billion
• University Press Hardcover and Paperback $120 Million
• Professional Books $812 Million
• Religious Books $645 Million*


• Most Books never sell more than 150 copies
• Almost 900,000 books were self published last year
• Amazon only sells 7-10% of all the books sold in the US, there are lots of channels
• 40 Million iPads we sold in 2011, 100 Million+ iPhones sold worldwide
• 5.9 Billion mobile subscribers
• Millions of Kindles


*http://paidcontent.org/article/419-new-stats-2011-was-good-for-e-books-not-so-good-for-print/