Monday, April 24, 2017

A Bloggers Guide: My Experience So Far Selling eBooks Online

In March of 2015 I published my first eBook about Self-Confidence, in my eyes it was a triumph, with no knowledge or real know-how, it's still a learning curve self-publishing anything.

Like anybody wanting to self-publish an eBook online, I started looking into Amazon Kindle Publishing.  Being the largest publishing platform on the web and having the biggest audience, it was a really good place to start.

I got my inspiration from blogger's such as Seed Time, ProBlogger, The minamilists and Catherine Ryan Howard.  I started reading about their individual stories and journeys into publishing their own books and eBooks.  It was really helpful and also inspirational.

My laptop was on its last legs so I invested in a new Lenovo PC to do the job instead.  Being on a shoestring budget it brought u its own problems of which program I could use to type up my eBooks.  I discovered Google Docs, a free word processing platform for those wanting a straightforward platform to type up an eBook manuscript.  This worked really well, as I discovered later on I could use it to easily incorporate images and hyperlinks without any fuss.

When you're looking for something to write about,
Tweet: Write about what you know.
A common phrase that can be used in both blogging and self-publishing.  I started with self-confidence because I'd had my own issues in the past and I thought it would be a good place to start.  I began to realise that when you create your own blog platform you should stay within the boundaries of your chosen subject, ie. writing, blogging, fashion etc and not drift away from that too much especially when you're trying to sell your eBook on your blog.  In my case all things blogging, writing and self-publishing which covers a lot of territory.

Once my books were typed up I started an account with Kindle Publishing, which was really easy to set up, I looked up the dimensions needed for an eBook cover and used PicMonkey, my go to for graphics, to do my eBook cover.

Note:  I always look at what other author's write in their author profile's and about the book's they've written.

Having my own blog has been great platform for launching any new eBook and something I would recommend for anyone wanting to write their own book or eBook.

My journey so far hasn't been an easy one, and I've gone through a lot of changes, trying out independent channels such as Payhip for a short time.  Just to see if I could sell my eBooks independently.  That didn't go as well as I thought it would go.

Which brings me full circle and back with Amazon Kindle Publishing.  The books I have sold have been through Amazon and through a brief period on Smashwords.  What I have learned through my journey so far is not to overstretch myself.  Not to put my eBook on every platform available.  The problem with that is you need to advertise to get that link seen.

I've also learned that by concentrating on one particular social media platform , I'm able to put more time and effort into getting my eBook's seen.

I would advise anyone wanting to create their own eBook, to do the research and sit what fits their current circumstances. Everyone is different, but most of all don't be frightened to have a go, learn from your mistakes, and who knows you could be the next bestselling author on Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Big Kahuna, How to Write Great Content When You're Tired

I spent last night procrastinating about whether to just sit down and get Wednesday's blog post out of the way.  In my head I had visions of getting it done reasonably quickly and being able to move on to my next task.

Boy was I wrong!

I was so tired I started looking into other things that had been on my mind all week.  This left me feeling pretty despondent.  You see for the past month or so I've managed to do two blog posts well before the time of publishing them.  Leaving me free time to concentrate on the other improvements I want to make to my blog.
"I'm So Tired I Don't Wanna Write"
When you're brain wants to write but you're body doesn't what do you do? You end up surfing the net, tricking yourself into thinking that you're getting your work done but in actual fact you're just running away from the task in hand.

There are ways of tackling this dilemma, one way is to say to yourself "snap out of it" or "just do it!".  But what you really need is willpower to come and help you.  To push you into doing that important task and encouraging you to move on.

Unlocking Willpower to Enabling You to Write When You're Tired

So what are your options when you're that tired:

So why not try the "just do it" approach.  It's short and sweet, but over thinking things for to long does lead to that age old problem of procrastination.

When "you just do it" and go ahead with the task in hand pushing all other distractions out of the way, you actually get things done.  You don't sit their and say to yourself hmmmm I wonder if I should be doing something else, because "you're doing it!".

Do you think this method would work for you? How do you get yourself to write when you're tired?

Get a New Habit!

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Monday, April 17, 2017

[How to] Self-Publish Your eBook a Quick Guide for Fledgling Authors

Before You Begin Digital Publishing

Before you start publishing your eBook ask yourself these questions before you begin:

How will you reach your readers online?

Is your book illustrated?  Is colour required? There may be significant challenges when you create and distribute through various channels.

What do your readers prefer, digital or print?

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit your half-way to succeeding online.  If you already have a platform as an established blogger it will stand you in good stead in the long run.  Don't expect immediate sales, instead sales snowballing gradually over time.

Understanding E-Publishing Services

The most important thing to understand about e-publishing retailers is that they're not publishers. They take no responsibility for your work quality, or any rights to your work.  Here are three aspects of major services:

1  No technical expertise required - You're given free automated tools to convert and upload your files.  Along with free tutorials and guides to make sure your files are formatted properly.

2  Non-exclusive and at-will - You have the option to edit or remove your files at any time.  Allowing you to change the cover, price and description.  You can use other services to sell through on your own website.

3   No upfront fee - It's rare to pay an upfront fee.  With a distributor such a BookBaby you earn 100% net and pay $199 for conversion and retail distribution.

Again by using these services you don't forfeit any rights to your work.

Two Essential Groups of E-Publishing Services

Most e-publishing services fall into one of these categories:

Single Channel Distribution - These services which are also distributors will distribute your work through one channel or device.  Offering no assistance in preparing your files, accepting a wide range of file types.  Some examples: KDP and Nook Press.

Multiple Channel Distribution - These services act as a middleman and push your work out to multiple distributors and retailers.  You deal with only one service, most well-known of these are Draft2Digital, Pronoun, BookBaby and Smaswords.

One of the best ways to start for new authors is through Amazon KDP.

Formatting and Converting Your eBook Document File

Different services require different formats, which can be a little awkward at times.  Technology is changing almost daily these days, so you need to be on your toes and know what to expect when your self-publishing.

Below are the most used formats for eBooks:

PDF: Not easily displayed on grayscale devices and difficult to convert for standard eBook formats.

MOBI: Perfect for Amazon Kindle, even though EPUB works just as well.

EPUB: The global standard for eBooks, working smoothly on most devices. While you're not able to directly create an EPUB file on Word there is software you can use to convert your file.

Which ever file type is required for self-publishing your eBook they all require their own particular formatting.  you'll need to do your homework when it comes to formatting your eBook though.

There are some service providers that are customer service oriented that would help take the pressure off  such as Draft2Digital and BookBaby.  If you're eBook contains a lot of illustrations and has a particular layout you could look into hiring an independent company such as eBookPartnership.

Below are some tools for formatting and converting your eBook:
Find out more with this highly rated course created by Karen Prince - Format in Microsoft Word and Convert to eBook in Calibre.

When it comes to eBook cover design, often a plain design will stand out more than a flashy cover. This is because your cover may be seen in black and white, grayscale, colour, high resolution, low resolution, thumbnail size or full size.  It may be worth getting a professional to create your cover for you.

Increasing the Sales of Your eBook

If you're a fairly new author like me, pricing your eBook can be a challenge.

To be honest with you it's difficult to know what to charge, whether you should go cheaper or more expensive, there are many thoughts on both sides on pricing your eBook.   Especially when you've spent all of that time and effort creating your eBook.  So here are some important points to ponder when you price your eBook:

✤ Most new eBook authors and independent novelists start their price point at $2.99.  It's often argued as being really cheap and devaluing to the work put in.  So your competition will most likely be around that price range or lower.  So the more well-known and trusted you are the higher price you can charge.

✤ Amazon Kindle book sales are huge these days, accounting for at least 60-70% of all eBook sales in the US.  Having an Amazon author page is helpful for sales because this may be the only page your reader will look at before buying your book.  If you have reviews they also help towards the sale of your eBook, watched closely by all those in the business for visibility and sales.

✤ If you charge $2.99 or over Amazon offer you a 70% commission on all sales of your eBooks.  Anything below that and the commission falls to a measly 35%.  Which is why so many authors switch their price between 99 cents and $2.99.  This helps maximise profit at the low price point.  Pushing them onto bestsellers lists.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why You Should Make Writing a Regular Habit in Your Life

Since I started blogging, I've been pushing myself to write more and more each week.  I currently write three blog posts as well as various eBooks along the way.

Benefits of Writing

Writing as often as I can has benefited my life immensely in so many ways including:
  • Improving my writing skills
  • More writing practise equals faster writing
  • Clearer thinking as a result of regular writing
  • Deeper learning through life reflection
  • Motivation improvement because of regular writing
  • With Motivation comes regular exercise and eating healthily
  • Distraction and procrastination become a thing of the past

There are so many benefits to writing regularly, from being more certain and confident to expressing yourself through words.

How is possible to write regularly with a busy life? You can discover some the tips that work for me.

Making Writing a Lifelong Habit

Guide to Writing Daily

Everyone has different thought's on what works for them, but these are some of the tips that help me:

✦Reason to write - Have a reason to write something. Even if its what you do each day or if you want to make someone smile express that in a short short or poem.

Take 15 minutes a day - Set time aside, doesn't have to be very long.  Make it a point each day to write in that 15 minute time frame.  Shut the world out, make it your time and just write.

Always Remember - It's like forgetting an important appointment.  Make a note in your calendar every week to do it.

Be thankful for what you have - The simple things that most of take for granted like a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and living in a free country allows us certain freedoms that many don't have, enabling us to write freely.

Grasp your imperfection - Nobody's perfect, not even the really "great writer's" we all know and love.  If you make mistakes with your grammar and punctuation,embrace it.  Don't hide it.  It's what makes you you.

Don't escape the need to write - Every writer feels this.  When the urge is there but you can't find the words, distraction will creep up on you.  Don't run away, stick with it and write.

So in short, simple terms set yourself reminders, stay focused and write.

Doing this regularly will help you set-up good habits, helping you to be more grateful.  So make a start and do it now!

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.