How to make NetGalley work for you

For those unfamiliar with NetGalley, it’s the well-established site where authors can upload their books for review by any of the site’s 300,000+ members. Publishers upload their titles, interested members request them, then the publisher has the option to accept all requests or pick and choose from among them. Member profiles may include such information as occupation, company, blog/review website addresses, and on which, if any, retail sites the member regularly posts reviews. ePub and PDF files are accepted; ePubs are converted to mobi if the user chooses to send Read More …

Five steps to reduce your editing costs

As an indie writer, chances are you’re on a tight budget, and editing can be a major expense, in some cases the biggest expense you will incur as a self-publisher. Luckily, there are ways for you to lower that bill without compromising on quality. Editors charge either by the word or the hour, but either way the more work they have to do, the more you pay. I charge by the word, but I will adjust my fee based on a sample edit of your manuscript; the worse shape it Read More …

How to avoid embarrassing errors in your manuscript

As both a writer and an editor, I often find manuscript errors created by inconsistency in mechanical conventions. A few typical examples are: Chapter headings that use numbers (Chapter 1) at the start of a manuscript but then are inexplicably spelled out later on (Chapter Ten). All caps are used to illustrate a raised voice (“GET OUT!” she screamed.) in parts of the manuscript, but italics (“Get out!” she screamed.) are used elsewhere for the same effect. The author uses an en dash surrounded by spaces (“I wish you wouldn’t” Read More …

Kobo join the print-on-demand game — but should you play?

Many Kobo Writing Life authors recently received an invitation to take part in a beta print-on-demand program at Kobo. Not all Kobo authors received this invitation, myself included, because the program is a subcontract to the POD manufacturer Lightning Source International (LSI): if you already have print books distributed by Ingram, the print distributor and parent company of LSI/Ingram Spark, and if your print books’ ISBNs are in Kobo’s system, then there is no point in them contacting you. For this new POD service, Kobo is charging authors USD $25.00 Read More …

The Perils of Using Song Lyrics in Your Book (and how to do so anyway)

Many indie authors ask me if they can use song lyrics in their books, and if doing so constitutes fair use or if permission is required. The short answer is this: yes, you can use lyrics, doing so might or might not fall under fair use, but in the end that is irrelevant because copyright of most lyrics is aggressively defended by powerful licensing agencies who can make your life miserable if you fail to pay for permission. So forget fair use: you can’t afford it. Permission to use song Read More …

Using SmartURL to maximize book sales

I recently came across a VERY handy website for indie writers: SmartURL. Based in Boston, SmartURL allows users to redirect traffic from a single URL to multiple URLs based on parameters you set, such as the country of the user or the device they use. For indie authors, the problem we have in our email marketing messages, Facebook posts, and website links is that we want to target a worldwide audience yet not have a plethora of unsightly links to all the retail sites that carry our books, and many Read More …

CreateSpace expand distribution to Canada – but there’s a catch (naturally)

On this blog in September 2013 I predicted that Amazon’s CreateSpace were positioning themselves to supply the Canadian market directly. Two days ago, in an email to clients, CreateSpace made it official. Unless the CreateSpace publisher specifically opts out, the following will now apply: Starting October 8, we began making CreateSpace titles enrolled in the Amazon.com sales channel available directly to readers in Canada on Amazon.ca. Your title may already be offered on Amazon.ca through Expanded Distribution or other channels, but now you can earn the same royalty on Amazon.ca Read More …

Changes to Japan tax on Kindle Direct Publishing

In The Global Indie Author I warn authors to pay attention to changes to sales tax in Japan due to 2014 legislation that requires all companies to charge and collect sales tax when selling to Japanese residents. Companies were given time to comply, and as of October 15 time is up. Amazon have thus announced to their Kindle Direct Publishing authors that list prices for Japan will now include 8% consumption tax. Amazon are following the same plan as they did with the new VAT laws that were executed in Read More …

Wattpad change Featured; what you need to know

For those considering their own Wattpad experiment, it is important to know there have been changes to the Featured program. On June 26, Wattpad changed their website and these changes had both positive and negative consequences for the Featured program, as illustrated by Baby Jane. Whereas Featured used to be its own section searchable by genre, the genres are now sections of Discover, and Featured is a subsection of each genre. But it is the second subsection, after What’s Hot, so it is those books that come up first. The Read More …

90 days on Wattpad: the good, the bad, and the ambiguous

Three months ago I began a Wattpad marketing experiment with my first novel Baby Jane. Wattpad had approached me to feature Baby Jane on the site; at the time, inclusion in Featured meant your book was promised a slot in the top 20 for two weeks; after that you went into the general Featured pool, which was rotated at random. So what has happened in the intervening weeks? Drop in Readership During those first two weeks, the number of reads per day for Baby Jane ranged from a low of Read More …