Category Archives: Publishing

The Amazon Kindle Reader for the PC

The Kindle Reader for The PC

The Kindle Reader for The PC

Amazon has just released the Kindle for PC

It’s free.

This isn’t hardware – it’s software that you run on your laptop or desktop computer (Windows only for now) that allows you to read Kindle encoded eBooks.

This is good news. I’ve finally been able to check  MobiPocket books that I created for a handheld Mobi Reader (like the Palm) on a Kindle to see if the formatting translates – and I am pleased to say it does.

If you make eBooks – you’ve probably heard you can just upload a text file or Word doc to Amazon and have the file automatically translated to Kindle format. While that is technically true, most of those books look bad. They certainly don’t look like professional ebooks.

Learning to make MobiPocket books is relatively easy – and Amazon, which owns MobiPocket, automatically adds any book in the Mobi catalog to the Kindle catalog.

There is money in making ebooks for the Kindle – so look to this as a new revenue stream.

Learn to Publish Your Book With NO Up Front Investment

By Your Own Publisher

Be Your Own Publisher

Would you like to learn to design and publish your own book with no up front investment using tools you already own?

Ghost Leg Press and The Web Sellers’ Circle are sponsoring a class that will demonstrate how to do exactly that – and the class is free.

Amazon’s CreateSpace makes it possible to publish your book and get it listed on Amazon.

But only you can make your work look like a professionally typeset and printed book.

Most writers already have Microsoft Word installed on their computers. But they don’t know how to change Word’s defaults so that it becomes a layout and design tool instead of a word processor. In this free class, Dany Byrne of Ghost Leg Media will demonstrate the untapped power of Word. Once you understand the potential of styles and settings, you can build your books they way a pro would.

The design secrets you’ll learn in this class can be used for paper books, ebooks, and newsletters – in fact, for any written document..

Learn how to follow publishing industry standards without spending a fortune in time and money.

Time & Date: Friday, November 6, 2009 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM PST (5:00-7:00 PM Eastern Time)

To register go to

These free downloads will be available for all attendees:

A Dozen Ways to Promote Your Book
Publishing Resources
Suggested Serif Fonts For Microsoft Word
Suggested Settings For Microsoft Word
Suggested Vertical Line Spacing

If you are interested in creating good looking ebooks, printed books or newsletters – please join us next Friday afternoon.

Registration is free:

Photograph by takomabibelot Released under Creative Commons License.

Obscurity – Not Piracy – Is Your Enemy

Ghost Town

Are You Selling In A Ghost Town?

I recently taught a class for Do It Yourself Publishers.

I love teaching this class, because it has become so easy for aspiring and first time authors to get their books on Amazon. In the class, I encourage new authors to explore all their options, including ebooks and audio books.

Invariably, someone is intrigued by ebooks but too concerned by the ease with which digital content can be copied, passed around, and pirated to follow that path

Here’s the sad truth: no one knows your book exists. And if you aren’t making any money from the book, why would someone else want to pirate it?

Piracy is a commercial operation. It is profit driven.

No profit = no pirates.

Simple as that.

However, there is another form of copying known as file sharing, where enthusiasts and fans pass around books and music and TV shows and movies that they love, sharing them freely with each other. Filesharing is a social phenomena. It is word of mouth marketing at its simplest.

Big business likes to paint file sharing with the same brush as piracy, but the truth is more nuanced.


You are a published author now. Your challenge is to reach every single potential reader of your work.

Would you try to prevent libraries from buying your (paperback) book because entire cities will be able to read it for free? Or do you believe that the increased visibility and word of mouth publicity may eventually result in increased sales.

Would you prefer than no one ever lends your (paperback) book to a friend with the words, “You have got to read this book!”? Or do you want to encourage your most ardent fans to spread the word far and wide, and maybe even buy extra copies of your book to give away as gifts?

Then why do the rules change when the content is digitally delivered?

If someone buys your ebook and passes it on to a friend, do you profit more by treating those two people as thieves or as fans?

Obscurity is the enemy of first time authors. You cannot overcome it without help. You need talkers and shouters and fans of every stripe. You need to coddle, encourage, and nurture them.

Your challenge, as the publisher, is to take a potential loss and turn it into a gain.

  • Be sure that your web site is included prominently on every ebook
  • Always make it easy to purchase the ebook
  • Offer buyers a reward – anything from a forum to discuss the book to a podcast
  • Have an upsell ready and available on your web site.
  • Treat all your readers as valued friends

You won’t turn every lost sale into gold – but you will turn readers into repeat customers. Have some faith in the quality of your work. Let the people who like it enough to share it be the sales force you can’t afford to hire.

Photo by JC Olivera Released under Creative Commons License

How To Sell More Books

Do you want to sell more of your self-published books? 

Then you need to be listed on Amazon. Until recently, that meant you had to use a service like Lightning Source to slip in through the side door via Ingram or you had to pay for the privilege by buying a “distribution package” from one of the subsidy presses or you had to list your books in Amazon Marketplace through Amazon Advantage or one of the other Amazon seller programs.

Now, there’s a simple, low cost way available to any author or self-publisher: use Amazon’s CreateSpace publishing/printing service. CreateSpace, Amazon’s answer to Lulu, isn’t a subsidy publisher in the same way that BookSurge, Amazon’s other publishing venture, is.

CreateSpace requires no upfront expense – even for an ISBN number. No books are printed until they are ordered, saving you – the publisher – the expense of shipping, stocking, and warehousing in advance of sales. The flip side to this is that CreateSpace also offers very little in the way of handholding or guidance for novices. They state their submission guidelines for the book block and the cover, and then leave you to figure out how to meet those guidelines.

And let’s be clear – the guidelines are technical, not editorial. CreateSpace will make you a published writer – they don’t even try to make you a good writer. You can submit a manuscript rife with spelling errors, howlingly bad word choices, and the sorts of grammatical mistakes that will make your 7th grade English teacher disavow all knowledge of your existence. As long as the margins are OK and the fonts are embedded in the PDF, CreateSpace will print your book. 

Amazon Listings Make Money

Here’s the profitable part – CreateSpace will give your book automatic entre into Amazon’s main catalog. Whether you use your own ISBN under your own imprint or list CreateSpace itself as the publisher, you book will be listed and sold by Amazon, eligible for free shipping and all the other Amazon perks.

Amazon’s reach will make you money – but first they’ll make some for themselves. Under the Pro Plan upgrade (free until the end of the year), each book with 110 pages or more will have a base price of $0.85 plus $0.012 per page. You set the cover price for any amount you wish – and Amazon will keep 40% 

So – for a 150 page book the costs would look like this:

  • $0.85 base price
  • $1.80 for 150 pages ( at $0.012 per page)
  • $2.65 per book – total printing cost

You decide to sell the book for $14.95. Amazon keeps 40% of that – or $5.98

You make a $6.32 royalty on each book sold. 

Now you may be tempted to subtract $2.65 (the printing cost) from $14.95 (the cover price) and say, I’ll sell it myself on my own web site and keep $12.30 per book! I’ll sell it in the back of the room after my seminars! I’ll sell it on eBay! And so you should. You should sell your book everywhere and anywhere you can. But understand this – Amazon is where buyers, who do not yet know that they want your book, will discover your book and buy it.

Last year, Ghost Leg concentrated our book sales on in-person events, web sales, and third party sales on Amazon. Our books sold steadily in every venue except Amazon, where sales were slow. As an experiment, we decided to take advantage of the free Pro Plan upgrade at CreateSpace to reposition a few books on Amazon.

Our Amazon sales have increased 5 fold in just two months. Not a bad trade off for a smaller percentage of the gross.

Selling Less of Lots

Tortoise and Hare

Tortoise and Hare

You are probably familiar with the idea of the the Long Tail by now.

Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, not only made the concept famous, but explained it quite clearly. If you’ve read the book, however, you may have been left wondering: what good does this do me?

Amazon may make millions by selling five or ten copies of thousands and thousands of books. But if you are the author of one of those thousands of books – you are only selling five or ten copies a year. $10.00 profit per book x 10 books is a meager $100.00. All the other books on the long tail profit you not at all.

In other words, selling on the long tail doesn’t offer the same monetary benefits to information product producers as it does to large retailers…

But wait – we’ve fallen into a trap!

“Make Millions on the Internet” type marketers entice new buyers with the lure of the gigantic product launch. You’ll hear how company “X” made $1,500,000.00 in a week or how entrepreneur “Y” sold 1,000 copies of a $97.00 ebook in 48 hours. Then those products disappear and the creators move on to the next big launch.Easy Auction Photography

There is no reason to follow such a strategy unless you are trying to stay just one step ahead of disappointed customers.

Amazon has millions of books for sale, day in and day out. Why should only one of them be yours? Digital technology has not only turned each writer into a publisher and every singer into a producer – it has also given all independent product producers the ability to maintain a comprehensive backlist.

The less glamorous part of the Long Tail is an “Old Media” story we all know – the Tortoise and the Hare.

Everyone dreams of creating the book or DVD that sells 50,000 copies. And eventually, some of us will. But you don’t have to swing for the fence with every product. A DVD that sells just 2 or 3 copies a month, every month, for two years can easily make a profit of $3,000.00 or more. Multiply that by 10 or 20 DVDs and your backlist looks a lot more valuable, doesn’t it?

When Ghost Leg Press published Easy Auction Photography in 2006, we had very strong sales in the first six months. Two and a half years later, sales have tapered off, but the book continues to sell. (In fact, we are discussing a second edition.) That has been the pattern with all of our products: a strong launch followed by slow, steady sales.

In a traditional bricks and mortar store, shelf space is valuable. If a product doesn’t pay the rent, it gets evicted. But on the internet, the cost of a few bytes in a database is infinitesimal. The long tail benefits small businesses by accommodating our slow but steady sellers on the backlist. While the best sellers and the blockbusters get the acclaim, we just plod along, selling a few thousand dollars worth of products each month, every month, year after year, long after the mega-hits have faded into memory.

Experts Will Help You Sell Your Books

Would you like to find some expert advice on how to sell your self-published books? Booksurge, the Amazon-owned subsidy publisher, hosts monthly webinars with book industry and self-publishing experts. They’ve discussed topics such as library sales, specialty markets, tradeshows, and holiday promotions as well as offered tips for best practices for manuscript submissions.

The next seminar is entitled Building a Powerful Presence Online. It’s scheduled for Sept. 19 at 6 PM EDT.

If you want to sell your own books (or CDs and DVDs) online, this free webinar would be a good place to start.

Create Space Extends Free Upgrade Offer

Free Upgrade at Create Space

Free Upgrade at Create Space

Good news for self-publishers. Create Space has extended their Free Upgrade to Create Space Pro until the end of the year. The upgrade normally costs $39.00 per year, per book. In return for the additional fee, the publisher gets a lower wholesale cost. For instance, a 200 page book with a black and white interior cost $5.50 under the standard plan but only $3.25 with the Pro upgrade.

You need to sell around 20 books to pay for the $39.00 Pro upgrade – then all other sales will net you an extra $2.25.

Of course, since the Pro upgrade is free – it just costs less to print any book.  Note however, that you do need to actually go though the steps of buying the Upgrade before printing your book. It is not automatic.