Styles are the foundation of best book practices

Most authors who use a word processor do not use custom styles; instead, authors are in the habit of using the default Normal style and using the tab key and the formatting toolbar to customize headings and paragraphs. Unfortunately, this is a bad habit that will come to bite you later if you want to turn your manuscript into a print or ebook. It is much better practice to control the formatting of your manuscript through styles. Styles are the foundation of best book practices, in particular ebooks: when your Read More …

Creating a custom lexicon in Word for PC

We all have certain words that we continually misspell but which are nevertheless proper words in themselves, such as typing in form instead of from. Then there are the words where multiple spellings are correct — judgement versus judgment, for example — and which thus make consistency of use difficult. One way to circumvent this problem is to build a custom lexicon that will ignore Word’s default dictionaries and treat any word you add to the lexicon as misspelled. Unfortunately for Mac users this only works in PC. The first 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 …

How digital printers are misleading indie authors

Print on demand (“POD”) is the buzzword of the day, and many commercial printers are losing a chunk of their business to print on demand manufacturers such as CreateSpace and Ingram Spark (Lightning Source International). The result is a plethora of short-run digital printers doing their best to masquerade as true POD printers. A short-run digital printer will often advertise themselves as print on demand, claiming that their system is such because they can print one book or a thousand “on demand,” that is, without having to set up the Read More …

What is the copyright date of my book?

One of the most common questions I am asked by new authors is this: What date do I put on my book’s copyright page? For many authors this is confusing because they may have started the book in 2014, finished it in 2015, and intend to self-publish it in 2016. So what year do you put on the copyright page? The answer is 2016. To understand why that is, it is necessary to explain the difference between a work or title and a book. The term title or work refers to the content created 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 …

Author Reading and Book Signing for The Point Between

Saturday, 14 November 2015 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Point Roberts Public Library 1487 Gulf Rd, Point Roberts, WA 98281, United States Join me at the Point Roberts library for an author reading and book signing of my new novel, The Point Between. We’ll be in the dining room of the community center, adjacent to the library. See the Whatcom County Library listing here.

The Point Between available for pre-order and preview

eBook available for pre-order on Amazon and Kobo. NetGalley members can review it by clicking here. Print book available November 1st. Goodreads giveaway also starts November 1st. Bestselling mystery novelist Lily Harrington has been found hanging in her home in the tiny, oddball haven of Point Roberts, Washington, and all signs point to suicide. Worried the truth will be buried with her, Lily teams up with Marcus Mantova, the sexy detective of her novels, to influence the investigation and catch her killer. Yet no sooner has Lily come to terms 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 …