Friday, November 25, 2016

Could Paper Books Make a Comeback? Two Reasons They Might

From a business perspective it makes sense to have your book available in as many formats as possible and distributed as widely as possible. While ebooks, especially Amazon's Kindle, have been a huge boon to self-published authors, it makes sense for several reasons to offer books in POD print editions as well.

First, it would seem the so-called "digital natives" prefer to read books in print over digital ebooks by a considerable margin, especially when reading for pleasure. Of course surveys that conclude this type of results are controversial, particularly among the serious adopters of technology. Reading the comments are sometimes as informative as the actual story.

Then there is the issue of whether or not we should be creating "digital natives" before their brains have matured physically. As a high school teacher for the past 30+ years, I can assure you the reading ability of the average student has made a serious decline.

Others simply argued any evidence I had was anecdotal and could not be validated. That is until brain researchers discovered all the digital usage by today's youth has in fact changed how their brains develop and not always for the better. One of those negative effects has been a serious deterioration in the brain's ability to process written language.

Given the fact school administrators have moved towards digital textbooks, and with good reason when you see the amount of money spent on textbooks, this is bound to be a controversial topic in the coming years.

As a school teacher and grandparent, this topic is of great interest to me. To read more, click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Association of Independent Authors

It doesn't matter if you are published traditionally or you choose to go the indie route and self-publish.  It can be lonely and frustrating as an author. Like any human endeavor, author's need encouragement and a source of help and information.

Joining local writing groups can certainly serve as one source of encouragement and information. Joining a larger regional or national group can serve the same purpose and often provides additional sources of aid and information.

One such group is the Association of Independent Authors. You can become an Affiliate Member for FREE or become a full member for a $69 membership fee.

The AIA offers a range of services and sources of support for authors, most of which will cost you some money. Like any other choice you have to make as an indie author that involves money, buyer beware and do your homework.

Still, an Affiliate membership is FREE and you can tool around the AIA's website and learn a few things. This is not an endorsement of the AIA, I'm simply pointing out the organization's existence.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review of How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

If you're like me, you have to run your self-publishing business on a shoestring budget. With daughter Number One just out of college and daughter Number Two a freshman this year, every dime has to be accounted for and spent wisely. What could be reinvested often has to go to pay bills or for college.

All the more reason to invest what money you have budgeted for research and educational purposes in the "Frugal" series of books by writer and author Carolyn Howard-Johnson. These books are well worth the money you will spend and the time you will need to invest to read, take notes and digest all the information presented in the books.

The series includes:
  • The Frugal Editor: Do It Yourself Editing Secrets
  • The Frugal Book Promoter (in its second edition now)
  • How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically 
I'm planning my book launch for my first work of fiction, The Predator and The Prey, and I wish I had started reading CHJ's (Ms. Howard-Johnson refers to herself in the text of her book this way) treatise on obtaining reviews two months ago. Even when self-publishing, you need 12-16 weeks lead time for many reviewers. You also need a physical copy of the book to send to be reviewed!
The time saved in research in a single area of book promotion/reviews alone is worth the price of the book. For example, I was aware of only two bloggers who write in the genre my book is in. In less than two hours, using the information in the book, I now have a book blog tour mapped out for the entire month of March.
Book reviews are a scary topic for authors. I know I hate trying to solicit them. It some how feels like I've become a politician or a used care salesman. Ms. Howard-Johnson addresses all the reasons why authors need to get over this and do the work necessary to solicit reviews in the first section of the book.
The second section of the book deals with planning how to obtain reviews. Of particular emphasis is the need to start early and do your homework. Thus my wish I had started reading this book two months ago.
Section three deals with a wide range of ethical, and low cost methods of obtaining reviews. Many of these ideas would never occur to the average writer. Ms. Howard-Johnson's years of experience as an author and wide range of contacts in the industry have provided her with a wealth of information she thankfully is willing to share with other authors. Of particular help is the chapter dealing with the all important Amazon.

Section four deals with putting all those great reviews to work for you, helping as many readers as possible find out about your work. Section five covers the practice of writing reviews to broaden your author's platform and create credibility as an author.

Section six covers putting together a media kit and planning for the future of your book. The successful future of your book. It also covers using reviews for when the sales of your book began to slide.

I purchased the Kindle version of this book. I would like to point out Ms. Howard-Johnson went to the trouble to create a functioning index for the book, making it as easy to use as a traditional paperback version. This is no small feat. 

Also included in the book are examples which can be found in the appendices of the book.

If you're frugal, out of necessity or by nature, this book is well worth the price of purchase.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Indie Arthor Skills - Using Book Design Templates Part II

The good folks at are the creators of a product called Book Design Templates. In my last post I encouraged authors to consider learning how to create their own interiors for their books. Specifically to use this product created by Joel Friedlander and his partners.

As mentioned in my previous post, this product is Word based. If you can use Word, you can master creating your own book interiors. Tracy Atkins, the software genius behind these templates, can easily do the interior of a book in an hour.

I will confess, it took me longer than an hour to do the POD interior of my first work of fiction, The Predator and The Prey.

Here is what I can say about using the template I purchased. It was the easiest book interior I have ever done. It took me just over two hours, the fault of which must be placed on me. I got smart and formatted my original Word document in an effort to speed up the process of loading it into the template. All I did was create a good 45 minutes of work for myself. The template would have handled the features I was trying to create.

My absolute favorite feature, the template set up the page numbers and headings on the pages automatically! Talk about a tedious task made easy.

Even better, my ebook version was created by using the Save As feature on Word. A few changes and the creation of a functional table of contents and the file will be ready to upload to my Kindle Direct Publishing account. Since I hate dealing with ebook table of contents, I am going to happily pay the $47 to have The Book Designer folks create my TOC for me.

I purchased a multi-use license, enabling me to ensure every book in my Inspector Thomas Sullivan Thriller series will have identical interiors, both the print and ebook versions.

For authors who need to save money producing their own books, this is a way to save money, produce a quality interior, and you won't have to learn how to write code or study design in the process.