How Kindle Unlimited is killing off authors — and what you can do to protect yourself

Last summer it became public knowledge that scammers were earning big money gaming Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. The scam arose out of Amazon’s decision to pay Kindle Unlimited publishers by the page instead of by the download: the more “pages” of an ebook the consumer reads, the more the publisher gets paid. Scammers began uploading fake books with a “click here for something awesome” link at the front that linked to an ad or some other such nonsense at the back of the book; the consumer quickly realized the book was Read More …

Amazon close Write On. Will they go after Wattpad?

  Amazon announced today that, effective 22 March 2017, their online writing community website, Write On by Kindle, will cease operations. Authors are advised to download their work(s), and a warning has been posted on the site’s landing page. Write On was Amazon’s late-to-the-party entry into the online writing community. Earlier, and more successful communities include Scribd, which morphed into a paid subscription service, and Wattpad, with its 45,000,000+ global membership, and which funds itself through advertising (with nothing paid to authors, but that’s another story). The demise of Write On reminds Read More …

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 …

CIP, LCCN, PCN, PCIP – what are they and does the indie author really need them? (Part IV)

There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Cataloging in Publication (CIP) entails, what is or is not conferred by a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), the nature of the Library of Congress’s Preassigned Control Number Program (PCN), and the for-profit Publisher Cataloging in Publication (PCIP) services offered by freelance cataloguers. Worse still is the myth that the author whose book does not contain CIP data or a coveted LCCN cannot sell their books to libraries. This is simply untrue: all that a CIP data block Read More …

CIP, LCCN, PCN, PCIP – what are they and does the indie author really need them? (Part III)

There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Cataloging in Publication (CIP) entails, what is or is not conferred by a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), the nature of the Library of Congress’s Preassigned Control Number Program (PCN), and the for-profit Publisher Cataloging in Publication (PCIP) services offered by freelance cataloguers. Worse still is the myth that the author whose book does not contain CIP data or a coveted LCCN cannot sell their books to libraries. This is simply untrue: all that a CIP data block Read More …

CIP, LCCN, PCN, PCIP – what are they and does the indie author really need them? (Part II)

There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Cataloging in Publication (CIP) entails, what is or is not conferred by a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), the nature of the Library of Congress’s Preassigned Control Number Program (PCN), and the for-profit Publisher Cataloging in Publication (PCIP) services offered by freelance cataloguers. Worse still is the myth that the author whose book does not contain CIP data or a coveted LCCN cannot sell their books to libraries. This is simply untrue: all that a CIP data block Read More …

CIP, LCCN, PCN, PCIP – what are they and does the indie author really need them? (Part I)

There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) entails, what is or is not conferred by a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), the nature of the Library of Congress’s Preassigned Control Number Program (PCN), and the for-profit Publisher Cataloguing in Publication (PCIP) services offered by freelance cataloguers. Worse still is the myth that the author whose book does not contain CIP data or a coveted LCCN cannot sell their books to libraries. This is simply untrue: all that a CIP data block 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 …

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 …