Fourth Week in Review: Successes, Opportunities for Improvement, and Tips for Indie Authors

Fourth Week in Review: Successes, Opportunities for Improvement, and Tips for Indie Authors

I am publishing this update a bit early because this weekend I will be doubling down on my draft, and shooting for 10,000 words over the next few days. The first draft deadline is August 23rd, so I am writing my heart out until then. In addition to working on Displacement, I have three teacher assistant shifts to work.

The most significant development this week was my decision to take my book out of Kindle Unlimited. I planned on removing the book after the 90 day period was up, but a few things happened, and I began to wonder if I could pull my book early. After reading several articles filled with complaints about KU, I wondered if Amazon was taking a hard line with authors. Well, it turns out that Amazon was very pleasant when I emailed and asked to pull my book early. I explained that KU wasn’t working well with my business model, the Amazon customer service representative apologized and removed my book from KU. That was it! The process was carried out in a kind and respectful manner on both sides. Why are so many writers complaining? No one is forcing them to be in KU, and if they want to get out of it, all they have to do it send an email or call.

I am grateful for the Kindle Direct Publishing, and I appreciate what Amazon provides for independent authors. With that said, I am working to build a lasting writing career, and KDP Select does not help me with that goal. I have waited for years to put my books out into the world. Now that I see it is doable, and that some people enjoy my writing, I am determined to become a successful, full-time author.

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The Power of Free

I’ve been discussing the power of free since I published Who She Was: A Sylvia Wilcox Mystery. This week, I used up the last of my five free days. So, I moved into a place where I was not going to be able to price my book free anymore until October. Kindle Unlimited is great for new authors who cringe at the idea of leaving their ebook free. I understand why this is bothersome for some, but if you can gain new readers and reviews, it’s worth it. My first book is an advertisement for the rest of the series, and I want readers around the world to have access to the novel. So, I moved my book from KDP Select and uploaded it to Draft2Digital, KoboWritingLife, and Smashwords. PublishDrive is up next, but I want to get things going on Draft2Digtial first.

In addition to spreading my book around to ebook distributors that have more international reach, I also purchased some low-cost advertising at the Fussy Librarian. 

Draft2 Digital

Draft2Digital is an excellent resource because it distributes your book to several different ebook platforms. You don’t have to deal with all the formatting differences that each ebook seller has listed. I also love the universal link that allows you to send out one link for readers. After the link arrives, readers can choose the ebook seller that they prefer. You can also all affiliate links to the universal link, which is so great!There is no charge for formatting on Draft2Digital, but they do take 10% of retail sales. You can set the price at free if you like, and the amount you’re charged is nominal, considering all the places your book will be available.

Smashwords

I remember reading about Smashwords back in 2012. Hearing that there was a place where indie authors could publish their work and make a living, was so refreshing! Mark Cocker brought Smashwords to life, and just as I am thankful for the strides Amazon has helped indie make, Mark Cocker also has done so much for writers. My hat is off to him.With that said, after publishing three books on Smashwords year ago, the experience of formatting my book so it could be included in the premium catalog, deterred me from self-publishing for a while.

The old standby, Smashwords, is a bit of a pain because of the Meatgrinder. The Meatgrinder is a tool on Smashwords that churns up your manuscript and spits it out into different formats. The process of formatting is not that bad, but you will need to access the Smashwords Style Guide to get your book in good shape for the platform.If you choose to upload your ebook to Smashwords, here’s a trick. Don’t select epub on Smashwords. Instead, uncheck that box and upload the same file you used on Amazon. The system will ask if you want to convert it to an epub, click no, and things should work out okay. I choose the online reader, mobi, sony reader, palm doc, and plain text on Smashwords.  Draft2Digital has no trouble formatting, so just let it take care of the epub version.

Kobo Writing Life

Kobo Writing Life does not have an exclusivity policy, they allow you to set your book as free for as long as you want, and they serve about 25% of the ebook market in Canada. Kobo is also great for higher-priced items because they don’t cap the 70% royalty rate the $9.99 price point. That means you can place a boxset on the site for 19.99, and you will still earn 70% in royalties on that item.

The best part about Kobo is that it reaches 200 countries! This is my favorite thing about this platform. It also is a lovely place to sell your books, and the positive, upbeat copy on the website makes me happy. It feels like you truly are a partner when you’re uploading your book. Everything is nice, bright, and friendly.Formatting is super easy. Just upload the your ebook file and the system will convert it in a matter of minutes. It was so easy!

Draft2Digtial will distribute your ebook to Kobo, but if you don’t go direct, the marketing tools Kobo has to offer, are not available. Since Kobo is so easy and pleasant, head over and upload your book directly on the site.Apple BooksI love Apple. Currently, I’m working on my new Macbook, and my iphone is close by, but uploading to Apple Books appears to be a bit of a pain. Once again, I recommend using Draft2Digital in the beginning. Give yourself time to learn the platform before you dive in and upload directly to Apple. I’m sure it’s not that difficult, but going to all of these platforms, fighting with formatting, and struggling to get you ebook loaded, can become frustrating. Don’t let the technology stop you from getting your book out into the word.

Upload to Kobo direct, Smashwords direct-without epub, and use Draft2Digital for the others.PublishDriveIn the next few months, I will begin using PublishDrive, which has a contract with a Chinese ebook distributor. Of course, there’s plenty to learn at this time. I’m going to concentrate on the multiple sites I’ve recently started using and learning more about my email list service. I will be looking for ways to market my book and pushing preorders. Displacement is already up for preorder around the digital globe, and I am going to continue working on the third book, The Remnant.

Thanks for reading this update! Until next time, happy writing!

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