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34 minutes | Nov 27, 2018
#21: Steven Spatz, BookBaby for full-service publishing
Steven Spatz, President of BookBaby is also a published writer, marketer, BookBaby Blog contributor and, even though he's long since moved to New Jersey, remains an avid Oregon Ducks fan. You'll learn about BookBaby's a la carte self-publishing services and their complete do-it-for-you packages. About their in-house printing on the latest equipment, how printing is done and why the self-publishing industry is plagued with variance in print quality. You'll find out how they solved that problem, too. (It's complicated!) We discuss paper quality, trim sizes and all things printing. And though they print a lot of plain text books like novels and business books, they are printing more full-color children’s books, cookbooks, travel books, and textbooks than ever. We also delve into ebook creation and how fixed layout ebook creation differs for the Apple and Kindle devices. They don't design for the Kindle Fire. Find out why. BookBaby created book websites with their BookShop service for anyone who distributes with them, which is an interesting solution to holiday printing shortages. BookBaby sets a 55% trade discount with the returns program the bookstores require instead of the minimum 30% that the online retailers expect.
36 minutes | Nov 15, 2018
20: Rob Price, Gatekeeper Press for full-service publishing
Rob Price is a self-published author turned publisher who founded Gatekeeper Press to level the playing field of the book-publishing industry. The company provides full-service publishing and a la carte services for authors. Gatekeeper is run by Rob and his wife Takako along with a staff of editors, designers and data entry people. They offer a wide and varied distribution network to protect you against possible distribution outages. They also offer lowest-cost printing I’ve seen in an on-demand service, and you’ll learn why. In this episode, we walk through the publishing process from editing, design, and distribution. You’ll learn how long each step takes so you can schedule your book launch. I met Rob at the IBPA conference when he was Chairman of the IBPA, and have gotten to know him in my role as self-publishing and tech track leader at the San Francisco Writers Conference. Authors I know who have used Gatekeeper rave about the service.
37 minutes | Nov 7, 2018
19: John Burke, Pub Site, an easy-to-use website builder just for authors and books
This episode with Pub Site is for you if you don’t have an author website yet or if you’re struggling with your website. Even if you have a great website you'll learn some things. Promise! Pub Site is a super easy-to-use website builder just for authors and it only cost $20 a month. Husband and wife author and publisher marketing team John and Fauzia Burke developed it after 20 years of creating author websites. Among the big names they’ve designed websites for are Alan Alda, Clive Cussler, and Tom Clancy. They showed me Pub Site last year and I‘ve been enthusiastic about sharing it with authors ever since. John and I talk through a few sites that Pub Site authors have created and the different customizations they’ve chosen and why. I’ve linked to them in the show notes. We also talk about how to configure your email newsletter, create header images for your site, how the BUY buttons work (a particular pain point they solved nicely), getting a domain name (John recommends GoDaddy and so do I) and why you need to keep your domain name separate from your hosting account. Author and book websites are not like other product sites and, though builders like Wix and Squarespace are pretty and easy to use you’ll learn about their weaknesses as author site builders. And the weaknesses and difficulties of Wordpress sites, too. Finally, we get into mistakes authors make with their websites and top tips for creating an effective website and what’s important to Google. It’s a lot to pack into a half an hour, and subscribers get a link to some bonus content from this and other episodes. You can subscribe at SelfPubBootCamp.com and that way you can also let you know when I publish a new episode.
23 minutes | Oct 30, 2018
#18: Robin Cutler, IngramSpark (Part 2)
This is Part 2 of my talk with Robin Cutler, Director of IngramSpark, the professional publishing and distribution platform for independent authors. In this episode, we focus on distribution. IngramSpark has the widest distribution in the world, but we also talk about why you'd want to go direct with Amazon KDP Print (formerly CreateSpace) and how to make that happen without any problems. You'll also learn how long it takes the stores to populate your book information - not every store is the same - and how this affects your book launch plan. Find out what bookstores expect and how to attract your local independent bookstore with the right discounting and, of course, a professionally produced book. Robin Cutler began her publishing career as Assistant Director of USC Press and than became founder and CEO of Summerhouse Press. She helped develop BookSurge, an early self-publishing tool that was acquired by Amazon and became Vendor Manager for Amazon/CreateSpace. When she is not traveling to represent IngramSpark at writing and publishing events worldwide, she works, writes, reads and lives in beautiful New Mexico.
24 minutes | Oct 23, 2018
#17: Robin Cutler, IngramSpark (Part 1)
Learn about IngramSpark, the professional publishing tool from Ingram and its evolution from Lightning Source. You'll find out about free resources on the site for cover design templates, standard trim sizes, and a publisher compensation calculator to find out what your costs and profits will be when you distribute with IS. My talk is with Robin Cutler, Director of IngramSpark at Ingram Content Group. She is the former Assistant Director of USC Press and founder and CEO of Summerhouse Press. She helped develop BookSurge, an early self-publishing tool that was acquired by Amazon, and then became Vendor Manager for Amazon/CreateSpace. When she is not traveling to represent IngramSpark at writing and publishing events worldwide, she works, writes, reads and lives in beautiful New Mexico. We talk about trim size standards for novels, children's books, and coffee table books. How to choose paper color (creme or white?) and weight (50, 60, and up) and the additional costs incurred with heavier paper weight. You'll also learn about creating books with "spot" color vs "full" color. Should you pay POD prices "as you go" or order a large number of books to save money? Where are the price breaks for high-quality digital POD copies of your book? If you're considering a hardback book—and we think you should—what are your choices? When do you choose case laminate or a jacket? We talk about setup fees and change charges, which don't apply to metadata changes and you'll find out why. (Hint: We love experimenting with metadata and we think you should, too.) This is just the first half of my talk with Robin. Next week, in part two, we talk all about distribution.
32 minutes | Oct 16, 2018
#16: JoEllen Taylor, FirstEditing, on the different kinds of editors and how to find them
JoEllen Taylor is Director of Marketing & Business Development for FirstEditing, a family of editors worldwide who help authors bring out the best in their writing. Their vetted professionals have a fantastic array of skills to offer in every genre, including developmental and structural editing, academic reviews and publications, ebook formatting, proofreading, and publishing insights and experience. What kind of editing does your book need? JoEllen takes us through all the different kinds of editing: copy editing, line editing, and content editing. We talk about character and story editing, structural editing, narrative arc, editing tools, common editing problems and misconceptions about what editors do. Since 1994, FirstEditing has edited more than 200,000 documents for authors worldwide. Some of these authors will self-publish, says Taylor, but we also talk about authors who are preparing manuscripts for agents so they can get a traditional book deal. FirstEditing is a virtual company with great pricing and their staff and editors live and work around the globe.
35 minutes | Oct 9, 2018
#15 Kristina Stanley, Fictionary, a mystical magical story editing app
Kristina Stanley is the bestselling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series, an editor, and the CEO of Fictionary. Fictionary is a company that helps writers tell better stories with a tool that analyzes your manuscript. In a way that will astound you, data and visual aids evaluate your book on a scene-by-scene basis, displaying your structure, arc, characters, plot, setting, and other elements of your story, so you know how to improve it. Fictionary's software appears magical and in this episode, you'll learn how Stanley (who is also an editor) figured out how to transform her story analysis spreadsheets to create Fictionary with the help of her co-founders. It's a family business with her husband, who watched her wrestle with the spreadsheets while they were on a long sailing journey, and her brother, who works in software and is also an author. Stanley’s novels have been nominated for prestigious crime writing awards in Canada and England, and her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies. She is also the author of The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores. Fictionary is based in Victoria, B.C., and has made quite an impact in the industry in this first year since formal launch with partnerships with Reedsy, ProWritingAid, and NaNoWriMo.
31 minutes | Oct 2, 2018
#14: Laurie McLean, San Francisco Writers Conference
Laurie McLean wears many hats. She is the Director of the San Francisco Writers Conference, a literary agent, Founder of Fuse Literary, and a former Silicon Valley marketing and PR professional. I asked her to talk about the February 2019 conference and the return on investment for the money and the time for this or any conference. You’ll learn what makes the San Francisco conference different and how to get the most of it. How to organize your time between the sessions, exhibitors, and the agents, getting to know some of the 500 other participants, not to mention the opportunities for deeper learning in the pre- and post-conference workshops. There are over 100 presenters in the various tracks: Fiction, Non-Fiction, YA and Children’s, Self-Publishing and Technology (my track), Business and Marketing, and an Etc. track that includes sessions on audiobooks and book to screen to name just a couple. I hope you enjoy this discussion and that it encourages you to attend a conference here or wherever you are. Listen and find out why.
26 minutes | Sep 25, 2018
#13: Angela Bole, IBPA talks hybrid publishing and professional standards
Angela Bole is CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association, a non-profit membership organization for self-publishers and independent publishers that provides resources, education, advocacy, connections, and tools for success. In this episode, we discuss the role and responsibilities of the publisher, no matter whether it’s you as an author who is self-publishing, or if you’re publishing via a hybrid publisher or even a traditional press, and why publishing standards matter. You'll learn about the hybrid publishing options that have sprung up in the past years. There has been a lot of confusion around what they do and the IBPA has clarified these roles for us. Specifically, you'll learn about author-subsidized hybrid publishing, what a hybrid publisher does for you, how much they might expect you to invest, how much the publisher invests, and how much royalty you should negotiate. In fact, the IBPA offers a nine-point hybrid publishing criteria you can download from their site for free. This document will help you make sure that a hybrid press is what they say they are and not just one of those vanity mills we want to avoid at all costs. Other resources we discuss include the IBPA industry standards checklist, so if you’re doing it all yourself you can make sure that your books look just like those published by Harper Collins or Simon & Schuster. Bole also talks about the cooperative marketing opportunities available to IBPA members, which includes physical catalog mailings to bookstores and libraries. They mail catalogs to 3500 independent bookstores, including the bookstores classified as top buyers. There is so much to IBPA we don’t even get to cover it all in this podcast but you’ll get an idea of why it’s the professional organization I recommend most often to self-publishers, independent presses, and the people who support us. You'll find out why in this episode. Find links and show notes on the Author Friendly Podcast website.
5 minutes | Sep 21, 2018
#12a: Draft2Digital Announces D2D Print
In this addendum to my interview with D2D Marketing Director Kevin Tumlinson (episode 12), he announces D2D Print.
33 minutes | Sep 18, 2018
#12: Kevin Tumlinson, Draft2Digital, an ebook aggregator with easy book creation tools
Kevin Tumlinson is Marketing Director at Draft2Digital and a prolific and bestselling author of thrillers. Draft2Digital was founded in 2012 to provide an easy way to format and distribute your ebook. One of D2D's recent partnerships is with Bibliotheca, which extends their reach to libraries, a market overlooked by many self-publishers. Find out why it’s a great way to increase discoverability, about the mechanics of how ebook licenses get delivered and purchased by libraries, how the cost per checkout model (CPC) model allows as many patrons who want the book to check it out at the same time, and about the potential to make a lot more money by distributing to libraries. We discuss the importance of audiobooks, too which Tumlinson says is “the new frontier” of book publishing because the market isn’t yet saturated. Draft2Digital has a partnership with Findaway Voices to help you get that process started. Author pages also come up in our conversation, and not just your Amazon Central Author page but your free author page from Draft2Digital’s sister site Books2Read. Even if you haven’t published using Draft2Digital, you can use Books2Read author page, book page, and universal book link. A universal book link creates a single trackable link that shows readers where it’s sold. See an example: The Girl in the Mayan Tomb by Kevin Tumlinson. Other features that I think you’ll find interesting are the automated front and end matter, including the Contents and the Also By page, and their book formatting tool that Tumlinson says is their “own version of Vellum” but for both Mac and Windows, with templates that output both ebook and print book formats. The author of more than 30 books, Tumlinson talks from both sides of the author-aggregator equation, and I know you'll benefit from his insights. ADDITION: BONUS CONTENT: KEVIN ANNOUNCES D2D POD PRINT
37 minutes | Sep 11, 2018
#11: Christine Munroe, Kobo Writing Life, a digital self-publishing platform
Christine "Chrissy" Munroe is Director of Kobo Writing Life, a digital self-publishing platform from Rakuten Kobo who partnered with Walmart to provide Walmart eBooks and a co-branded app. Before joining Rakuten Kobo, Munroe was a foreign book scout and literary agent in New York. So why should an author go direct with Kobo (and the other retailers) rather than use an aggregator to distribute ebooks? The answers are personal, says Munroe, and you'll find out that with Kobo you don't just get direct to Kobo; you get personal feedback from their in-house marketing staff, you get your ebook in independent bookstores via the American Booksellers Association, an opportunity to distribute to libraries with Overdrive (also owned by Rakuten) with a more favorable royalty split then going through an aggregator, and many more perks we'll explore in the podcast. After hearing this conversation, you may end up deciding to upload your book directly to the big five (Amazon, Kobo, Apple, B&N, and Google Play) rather than reaching these sales channels with an aggregator. If you own your book ISBNs you can easily make the switch and experiment. There are definitely pros and cons, which you already realize if you've listened to the podcast episodes with the aggregators (Smashwords, StreetLib, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, Scribl). We also discuss marketing opportunities with libraries, how merchandizing between Kobo, libraries, and aggregators work, the Walmart eBookstore experience for customers, and the Kobo Plus subscription program for the Netherlands and Belgium with bol.com and how English-language authors can reach this market (and why you'd want to). Also find out about their partnerships with Reedsy, Damonza, NetGalley, and other services that help authors with editing, design, formatting, and marketing.
30 minutes | Sep 4, 2018
#10: Kinga Jentetics, PublishDrive, an ebook distribution service with reach into emerging markets
PublishDrive is an ebook aggregator that serves self-publishers and small presses. The company is based in New York City and Budapest, Hungary. Kinga Jentetics is co-founder and CEO of the company, which competes favorably with other aggregators in distribution, royalties, reporting, analytics, and an easy-to-use author-publisher interface. PublishDrive made a recent deal with Chinese e-commerce giant Dangdang to sell English-language ebooks, which gives your ebook access to a readership with enormous growth. We discuss the Chinese market and other emerging markets for English-language ebooks, which I think you'll find enlightening and may cause you to aim to toward growing your platform in those directions. The company makes use of new tech like artificial intelligence (AI) to inspect your book for formatting errors and copyright infringements and this also includes review by one of their staff for a quality end product. We also talk about other partnerships with online retailers, marketing and merchandising tools, and how featured books are chosen. Jentetics got the idea for the company as she struggled to publish her master's thesis on how music influences the perception of a country. She gathered together a tech team and has grown the platform with the help of a Google Developers launchpad grant. Visit the Author Friendly Podcast for links and show notes.
32 minutes | Aug 28, 2018
#9: Bryan Cohen, Best Page Forward, a copywriting service for bestselling book descriptions
Best Page Forward is a book description copywriting service for authors founded by Bryan Cohen in June 2015. Since then they've provided over 1200 book descriptions for authors like you. Book descriptions are one of those things most authors find difficult to do... or difficult to do well. It's not our fault! We're good at writing, and copywriting is a completely different skillset. It's sales and marketing! Authors who hire it out or know how to write strong sales copy get more book reviews, write better ads, find more subscribers, recruit additional fans, and sell more books. Bryan can teach you how to write book descriptions as well as Facebook and Amazon ads that sell your book, or you can just hire the BPF team to do it for you. In this episode, you'll find out how it's done, what's a hook, how to state the conflict, the magic of keywords and other metadata, secrets for getting your book in more Amazon categories, the selling paragraph, and many other book discovery and marketing techniques. Check the AuthorFriendly.com website for links and show notes.
29 minutes | Aug 21, 2018
#8: Elizabeth Mays, Pressbooks. An interior book design, formatting, and publishing tool
Pressbooks is a formatting and design tool for your books with a set of themes you can choose from to create a book interior very quickly and easily. It’s based on Wordpress that creates all the formats you’d need - PDF for print, EPUB, MOBI, and other more geeky formats - from a single source so you’re ready to publish using Amazon, IngramSpark, Smashwords, or any other publishing or distribution tool. Liz and I talk about Word styles, themes, imports, customization, publishing to your website, creating lead magnets, creating books from blogs, and adding interactive elements like audio and video, which I didn’t know about until our conversation and I fully intend to use. So far I’ve used Pressbooks to collaborate, publish, and update books. I recommend it all the time and I think you'll probably consider using it after hearing this conversation. By the way, especially listen for a special offer for 25% off Pressbooks during our conversation. Also, please check the AuthorFriendly.com website for links and show notes.
22 minutes | Aug 14, 2018
#7: Greg Ioannou, PubLaunch, A book crowdfunding platform with a marketplace
Greg Ioannou was using the book crowdfunding platform PubSlush to help fund books at Iguana Books, his hybrid publishing company, until it closed in 2015. He reimagined the platform as PubLaunch with both crowdfunding and a marketplace to not only serve Iguana Books but the larger author-publisher community. Listen and learn about hybrid publishing, how to recruit a quality publishing team, and what it takes to crowdfund a book. Other PubLaunch features, including the supplier marketplace, will be launched later in 2018. You'll hear about that, too, and some surprising facts they discovered when putting editors through a qualification test. Meantime, check out their learning center, especially if you are are considering crowdfunding your book. Not considering crowdfunding? Maybe you should. Also, please check the AuthorFriendly.com website for links and show notes.
29 minutes | Aug 6, 2018
#6: Mark Coker, Smashwords for ebook distribution, marketing, and preorders
Smashwords began in 2008 as the first ebook distribution company for self-publishers and remains the world’s leading ebook platform. I’ve known Mark now for a decade and have watched his journey as Smashwords has evolved not only to help authors get your books distributed to the online retailers but to market your ebooks with features like the series manager, assetless preorders, author interviews, coupon codes, special deals, and audiobooks. You’ll learn about all these features in our conversation and also how to use Smashwords to create your book in all the different file formats.
38 minutes | Jul 31, 2018
#5: AC de Fombelle, StreetLib: Create, edit, publish, sell, curate, and print
In this episode, I talk with AC de Fombelle about the StreetLib ebook and print book creation and distribution platform. StreetLib can help you create plain ebooks in EPUB format and fixed-layout EPUBs from a PDF doc. You can sell your book in the StreetLib store, on your own StreetLib author page (with your logo), and create a curated bookstore from the other books on StreetLib. They provide an HTML widget so you can sell direct to customers from your StreetLib store (where you get higher royalties) from your own website. There's also a marketplace where you can find editors, designers, and translators. You'll find out about their partnership with the Babelcube translation service and how to reach markets that don't have Amazon.com.
27 minutes | Jul 24, 2018
#4: Colin Higbie, Scribl for ebook creation, distribution, and marketing service
Scribl is an ebook creation, publishing, and aggregation service with some very innovative marketing features. One of those is called CrowdPricing ($CP), which helps authors attract more readers by allowing reviews to determine the price of the book. Another is called Story Elements, which lets you categorize your book in a more granular way so readers can find stories with the elements they like to read about. You'll learn how to upload your book to the platform, how it works, how the $CP system works on their platform and across the online retailer sites.
24 minutes | Jul 19, 2018
#3: Paul Kilpatrick, BetaBooks for Beta Publishing and Growing an Audience of Super-Fans
BetaBooks solves the problem of managing comments from critique partners and early readers by centralizing them in a browser-based platform they invented for their own use. In this episode, co-founder Paul Kilpatrick and I talk about the different ways to use BetaBooks and how beta readers are essential to your book and author marketing. You'll learn how gathering a loyal fan base at the very beginning of your writing career can make the journey to publication a less lonely one and also much more effective when it comes time to launch your book.
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