Tag Archives: ebook

Doing What You’ve Never Done Before

Create Instant Products

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? If you are, that’s wonderful. If it’s your first time, you’re doing what you’ve never done before, so kudos to you.

A little tip: if you’re like most new authors, you want your lead characters to be wonderful… Perfect. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing you can do if you want to write a great book. Make your leads imperfect.

When you’re writing a book, you’re always doing what you’ve never done before

No matter how many books you’ve written, you’ve never written THIS book before. Therefore, writing is always a challenge. That’s what makes it fun. It can be uncomfortable too.

Many writers get stuck. They usually get stuck with writing ebooks.

As I said here, Instant Product:

“Each and every writer I’ve ever worked with on ebooks got stuck because he’d never written and sold an ebook before.

This makes perfect sense. If you’ve never done it, it can be hard to believe that thousands of people will pay you $27 or $97 or more for the stuff in your head.

The ONLY way to get over that particular hump is to do it.

Once you’ve done it, a whole new world will open up to you — you’ll wonder why it took you so long. 🙂

I created the ‘instant’ ebook process to get you unstuck. I was determined to make it so fast and so easy that you could sail through it, and come out the other end with a product you could sell, right away.”

Your ebooks can be as long, or as short, as you want them to be

How long is a book? With traditional books, you’re looking at 60,000 to 100,000 words. That’s a lot of words.

If you’re writing an ebook however, your ebook can be as long or as short as you please. Generally speaking, with ebooks, shorter is better. This applies mainly to nonfiction. I may be more than ready to read a 500-page novel (there are no “pages” as such of course, with ebooks) as an ebook. However, if I’m reading nonfiction, I want and expect the writer to GET TO THE POINT, and keep the ebook as short as possible.

Over the weekend, I bought two Amazon Kindle nonfiction ebooks. One was 250 “pages” in traditional terms. The other was 17 pages. Guess which one I read first?

If you’re writing a book, the rules have changed. Now you can and should create “instant” products — short material that you can write, and sell, within hours.

Sell Your Ebook Beyond Amazon

Here’s a wonderful list of places from which to sell your ebook, 20 Websites To Sell Your EBook. I’ve heard good things about:

A basic publishing package at BookBaby will cost you $99, a standard one $149, and $249 for premium services. The more you pay, the more services and support you will get like being able to personalize your eBook layout and graphic elements. However, regardless of packages you sign up for, you get to select retail partners which include Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo and more.”

If you’re the kind of person who quivers at the thought of ebook formatting, BookBaby may be right for you. (I have no connection to the site, BTW.)

Many writers forget that there’s a whole world beyond Amazon. You don’t have to restrict yourself to Amazon. You can sell your ebook in many different places.

Be aware however, that if you choose Amazon’s KDP Select program, your book must be EXCLUSIVE to the Kindle bookstore for 90 days — you can’t sell it elsewhere.

Ebook Pricing and Professionalism in 2013: Think Apple Quality

Writing Ebooks

This article, The New World of Publishing: Pricing 2013 |, discusses the reasons that ebook prices will go up in 2013.

Dean Wesley Smith makes some suggestions on pricing. The suggestions are reasonable. Whether you follow them or not is up to you. I won’t be following them… I like to plan my prices, and pay attention to the market. 🙂

I did agree with these thoughts on perception:

“If you have a cover that looks amateur, a passive and dull sales blurb, and a cheap price, no one is going to pick it up or buy it. You are screaming over and over that your book is bad, no matter how good it is. You have told the reader subconsciously to stay away. So learn how to do professional-looking covers where the only quibble with it is taste. Learn how to do active sales copy. And then get your price up to match your quality cover and blurb, to tell the buyer subconsciously that they are looking at a quality product. It really does work that way.”

Your ebook is a product: it must look professional

You need a great cover. One of the benefits of self-publishing is that you can do your own cover. By that I mean, you can get the cover art you want. No one else has a say, and that’s HUGE.

Beyond the cover art, pay attention to editing.

I’ve just finished reading Toni Aleo’s Taking Shots (Assassins). It’s a wonderful book, I was totally engrossed, and finished reading it in a couple of sessions.

The version I read was fine. I didn’t have problems with the editing at all. However, the editing is mentioned in the reviews:

The author (and alleged editor, if he or she really exists) had serious issues with tenses and proper word usage throughout the book. For example, the author uses `in less’ instead of `unless’ multiple times, does not know the difference between `to’ and `too’, `than’ and `then’, `your’ and `you’re’, `their’ and `there’, and apparently refuses to use plurals where necessary for proper sentence structure.

That review was published in November 2011, ten months ago. It’s prominent. The book’s description mentions the editing, and that the problems have been corrected. However, the reviews which mention the horrible editing are still there. As I read the book, I was watching for editing errors.

Please get your book professionally edited. Then read the results yourself. Can you find errors? Get someone to read it who knows grammar, if you’re shaky on it. You don’t want reviews to mention silly mistakes which could be easily corrected before your book’s published.

Aim to polish your book like a diamond. If you’ve ever bought an Apple product — iPad, iPhone, Mac computer — you know that when you receive your product, the packaging is a work of art. It’s just elegant. You know that immense care has been taken with the design of the packaging. You need to take just as much care with the presentation of your ebooks.

You must sell your ebook professionally

In 2013 and beyond, ever more ebooks will be published. I spend at many hours on Amazon each week, reading ebook cover blurbs. Most are woeful. No one’s paying attention to the copy (the sales material).

Your blurb sells your ebook. Learn to write a good blurb. Also, learn how to create the meta data — that is, choose the correct categories, and include keywords in your book’s description and the tags.

Yesterday, I suggested that you make the most of the tools Amazon gives you to promote your ebooks. Pay attention to your author page. Create a blog, and add the RSS feed to the page.

As far as pricing goes, the “99 cent” ebook pricing fashion seems to have stopped, thank heavens. Of course, if you have a reason to, you can still publish an ebook at 99 cents. However, if your ebooks aren’t professional, low pricing won’t save them. Use “free” as an incentive, and when you do, make sure you promote the heck out of it.

Going forward, many authors will worry about their pricing. They shouldn’t. Readers want a great experience. They’ll pay a little more for a book they MUST have, because the blurb draws them in, and because you give them a great reading experience.