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Think “You the Author Meets You the Successful Publisher

Here’s the Book That You Must Read Now to Make It Happen

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 12.15.24 PMFinally.

It’s here.

Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki

The book that hits the sweet spot for everyone who has a personal or professional interest in the ebook revolution from the author’s or publisher’s side of the equation. From a Guy who has made a very successful career of hitting the sweet spot ever since he played the role of Apple’s “chief evangelist” in bringing the product now known as the Mac to public awareness back in 1984.

As someone who has done my own fair share of writing about “the ebook revolution from the author’s or publisher’s side of the equation” during the past five years, I wish I’d written this book. But the fact that I didn’t, combined with the fact that there is currently no existing sponsorship or other business relationship between Guy Kawasaki and Kindle Nation Daily, allows me to be absolutely authentic and unburdened in telling you that this is a book that every author, literary agent, or other participant at any level of the book or ebook publishing industry needs to read, preferably today.

The book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. Beyond the imperative that I’ve tried to share above – you need this book and whether you get it free via Kindle Owner’s Lending Library or spend $10 on it you’ll probably end up making that money back a hundred times over — I’m going to try not to gush about this book. Let me try to make three points:

  1. This is far more than a How I Wrote and Published a Bestseller success story. Such stories can be helpful and inspiring, but they tend to be rather personal. The achievement of authors Kawasaki and Welch in APE is that they do a consummate job of what, back in my community organizing days, we used to call “keeping one eye on the sky and one eye on the cracks in the sidewalk” so that readers get both an objectively recognizable, fully detailed “big picture” and a nuts-and-bolts guide to all of the steps necessary to take any book as far as they can take it in the fullest possible sense of that verb “publish” in this book’s title.
  2. It’s probably obvious to you already that APE‘s mission has nothing to do with the craft of writing the next Great American Novel or Great French Cookbook, but it is nonetheless a professional, well-written book that is appropriately reverential toward the writing process and is full of the kind of imagination and vision that can help us all to think freely and usefully as we chart new pathways during these revolutionary times. One small and perhaps easily trivialized example: Kawasaki’s recognition that we have arrived in a new territory where terms like “self-publishing” are no longer useful, and his offer of new terminology such as “artisanal publishing” to describe the kind of care and control to which authors must aspire now. (That term may already have been corrupted beyond recall by Doritos and Dunkin’ Donuts, but time will tell about that.)
  3. Forget what I say. Forget the fact that it has received 200 rave reviews out of 202 total reviews at this writing. I’ll just let the book’s Table of Contents stand for the third point. Please take a look and see if you don’t agree that it covers the waterfront with respect to the sub-topics on which authors all owe it to ourselves to be well-schooled. But what I can vouch for is that every chapter in this book is a well-researched model of care and thoroughness.
Table of Contents

[ Author ]
1. Should You Write a Book?
2. A Review of Traditional Publishing
3. The Self-Publishing Revolution
4. The Ascent of Ebooks
5. Tools for Writers
6. How to Write Your Book
7. How to Finance Your Book

[ Publisher ]
8. How to Edit Your Book
9. How to Avoid the Self-Published Look
10. How to Get an Effective Book Cover
11. Understanding Book Distribution
12. How to Sell Your Ebook Through Amazon, 
Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo
13. How to Convert Your File
14. How to Sell Ebooks Directly to Readers
15. How to Use Author-Services Companies
16. How to Use Print-on-Demand Companies
17. How to Upload Your Book
18. How to Price Your Book
19. How to Create Audio and Foreign Language 
Versions of Your Book
20. Self-Publishing Issues
21. How to Navigate Amazon
[ Entrepreneur ]
22. How to Guerrilla-Market Your Book
23. How to Build an Enchanting Personal Brand
24. How to Choose a Platform Tool
25. How to Create a Social-Media Profile
26. How to Share on Social Media
27. How to Comment and Respond on Social Media
28. How to Pitch Bloggers and Reviewers
29. How We APEd This Book

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

by Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Welch
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4.9 stars – 202 Reviews

Or currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members
Via the Kindle Lending Library
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

Amazon’s New “FreeTime” Parental Controls for the Kindle Fire: Potentially Very Cool, But Right Now? Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

By April Hamilton and Steve Windwalker

(Editor’s Note: For articles like this one on Kindle Fire features, content, tips, and tricks, please check out our Kindle Fire at Kindle Nation Daily sites on the web and on Facebook.)

Amazon is in the process of rolling out a potentially very cool new set of features that they are calling FreeTime, and as is so often the case with 1.0 versions of new functionality, we have good news and bad news.

First, we’re excited about the things that we expect FreeTime will allow us to do in — we hope — the not too distant future.

  • Set up separate user accounts, or “profiles”, for each child
  • Add specific, permissible content to each profile: anything you don’t add, they can’t see or access
  • Set daily maximum usage time limits, and/or time limits according to content type
  • Changes you make in FreeTime on one Kindle Fire in your household are automatically “pushed” to all other Kindle Fires registered to your Amazon account
  • Each child can set up and maintain her own “Favorites” sub-menu
  • Enjoy some free, kid-friendly apps and picture books that come pre-loaded with FreeTime
  • For out of the box thinkers, FreeTime will also enable an unintentional Collections solution for the Kindle Fire: set up a separate profile for each collection you wish to create, then add the items you want to each profile/collection!

As you can see, there’s a lot here that will make the Kindle Fire models even more family-friendly — and education-friendly — than they are already.

But the bad news is that they are a little further from nailing all of this than we’d like to see with a set of features that somebody on the Kindle team has apparently — and we think prematurely — labeled as “ready for prime time.” Just in case Amazon is looking for suggestions here, we’d suggest the following areas that deserve a “Needs Improvement” grade on our FreeTime report card:

  • When launching a profile, most of the time it launches and displays the correct carousel/menu of items that were added for that profile. But about 30% of the time, the first tap says it’s loading the profile, then nothing happens, and a second tap loads the full, normal carousel/menu, providing access to ALL content.
  • When the above happens, sometimes it stays on the full carousel/menu, other times it suddenly switches to the selected profile after opening some piece of content or other.
  • FreeTime profile carousel changes aren’t reliably pushed to the other Kindle Fires registered to the same Amazon account, as they should be: some changes “take”, and others don’t, and there’s no discernable pattern.
  • The FreeTime app only allows Books, Videos and Apps as content/access types – no photos, audiobooks, web, etc., yet the Favorites star icon/menu is there and it instructs the user to “drag favorite videos, websites, apps, photos…” to the Favorites tab to store them there. The Favorites instruction text should be updated to reflect only the content types that are allowed in FreeTime.
  • It’s unclear whether or not Audiobooks and Photos are supposed to be available content types in FreeTime, but they should be. The lack of Audiobook content is especially disappointing, since it means Immersive Reading and Whispersync for Voice aren’t available from within FreeTime. The Immersive Reading feature in particular would be a very good thing to provide for kids.
  • The FreeTime app prompts for the Parental Controls password for each sub-menu item, even after you’re in the FreeTime Parents’ Menu area; it’s unclear if this is by design, but if it is, it’s a poor design choice because it’s very irritating. You have to enter the password just to get into the Parents’ Menu, so once you’re there it seems you shouldn’t have to enter the password again.
  • In the Parents’ Menu there’s a “More” item that opens up the Fire’s regular Parental Controls menu, but once you’re there, there’s no ‘back’ arrow to return to the Parents’ Menu in FreeTime, there’s just a Home menu icon. Again, we don’t know if this is a bug or purposeful design choice, but it’s confusing and irritating.
  • FreeTime automatically installs a couple of apps and several books, all of which are kid-friendly but all of which are also designed for very young kids. Sfter setting up a profile for a child older than eight or so and handing the Fire off to him, he’d be horrified to find Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and a collection of picture books have automatically been added to his carousel.

These items can be removed from his carousel, but still show up in his book and app collections. You can’t remove them for one profile and still leave them for another. Also, even after you remove them from a given profile’s carousel, they show up there again sporadically from time to time.

In conclusion, while we’re excited about FreeTime’s potential for providing parental controls and Collections functionality, we’re a little disappointed in the initial rollout. We’re looking forward to the next release though, and will be sure to post about it here, to keep our readers in the loop!

Comparing Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD with Apple’s New iPad and Mini-Pad

It was an interesting week for anyone watching the dueling public statements of Amazon and Apple. And even more so for anyone trying to decide which tablet to buy this Fall, either for one’s own use or as a holiday gift.

 

Kindle Fire HD Download Speed Comparison

I have to admit that I was stunned by Apple’s big event the other day when it seemed like they were announcing updates of just about every product they have ever released: iMacs, MacBooks, all kinds of tablets, and more. It was certainly a testament to the company’s relentless innovation and to the number of times its spokespeople could use superlatives like amazing” and “incredible” in the course of an hour. Anyone who doubted that Apple could keep turning out magical and revolutionary products under Tim Cook was proven wrong.

But Apple made some huge blunders in terms of product marketing, pricing array, and — most importantly — attention to building a relationship of trust with its most loyal customers. It was nice that Apple launched a new iPad with an A6X  chip, but what about the millions of people who bought the last-generation iPad, launched with an A5X just six months ago? It’s nice that Apple launched a $329 iPad Mini to compete with the Kindle HD 7 and the Nexus 7, but Apple execs have to be smoking some funny stuff if they expect to compete with a price that is 65% higher. Maybe Apple customers’ product loyalty is so great that they can pull it off, but it says here that Apple hubris has just opened the door for the Kindle Fire and other Android-based tablets to take a majority market share in the tablet market by the time the 2013 holiday buying season is under way. Kindle Fire HD sales via our Kindle Nation websites were already brisk over the past six weeks, but since Apple announced that its competing Mini-Pad would be priced at $329 we have seen those sales double.

I suspect Amazon execs were a bit shocked themselves by the combination of Mini-Pad’s price and such poor screen resolution that one would not be far off to call the iPad Mini a “smaller, fuzzier” version of the iPad. So I am willing to accept that as an excuse for the fairly clumsy insertion of a bullet-by-bullet comparison between the new iPads and the Kindle Fire HD models in Amazon’s earnings press release Thursday. It was a little clumsy. But it also summed things up quite well:

  • Compared to the iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD 8.9”has:
    • 193% more pixels (2,304,000 pixels vs. 786,432 pixels)
    • 56% more pixels-per-inch (254 vs. 163)
    • Watch HD movies and TV – cannot on iPad mini (iPad mini is an SD device)
    • Better audio with dual stereo speakers and Dolby Digital Plus
    • Wi-Fi with dual band, dual antennas + MIMO
    • Costs $30 less
  • Compared to the iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD 7”has:
    • 30% more pixels (1,024,000 vs. 786,432 pixels)
    • 33% more pixels per inch (216 vs. 163)
    • Watch HD movies and TV – cannot on iPad mini (iPad mini is an SD device)
    • Better audio with dual stereo speakers and Dolby Digital Plus
    • Wi-Fi with dual band, dual antennas + MIMO
    • Costs $130 less

When you take another look at the relative prices and consider the widespread concern that the new iPads may have significant holiday shipping delays, one has to wonder if these magical and revolutionary new products might not be the beginning of the end of Apple’s dominance in the tablet market.

Click here to compare all current Kindles

We’ll Leave the Light On for You:
Our First Hands-On Review of the New Kindle Paperwhite

When Amazon rolled out its new Kindle models back on September 6, there was — understandably — so much buzz at the new Kindle Fire HD models that it would have been easy to overlook the “monochrome” ebook reader, the Paperwhite. Well, I’ve been a Paperwhite review unit since Wednesday of this week, and I can assure you that this new Kindle should not be ignored. I’m impressed, and I am *almost willing and ready to say that the Paperwhite is the best pure ebook reader yet released by Amazon or anyone else. (*My one gripe may just be a personal idiosyncrasy of my own, so I am willing to discount and get to it later in this review, and I may even outgrow it.)

You can order a Paperwhite unit now on the Amazon website for shipment in late October, and there are two basic choices: a $119 wifi only unit and another, for $179, that offers a choice of wifi and 3G connectivity. At those prices the Paperwhite comes”with special offers,” but you also have the option of paying an extra $20 for either Paperwhite model “without special offers.”

At 7.8 ounces, or 7.5 ounces for the wifi-only model, the Paperwhite feels great in the hand and is the same weight as the Kindle Touch 3G from 2011 and about an ounce lighter than its predecessor in Amazon’s evolutionary tree, the Kindle Keyboard 3G that was introduced in the summer of 2010 and remains available. The processor is the fastest yet on a dedicated ebook reader, the connectivity via wifi and 3G are great, and with wifi turned off the battery and power management allow for an amazing 8 weeks of battery life with the light on.

That’s all well and good, but where the new Paperwhite really hits a home run is right where we, as readers, would want it to smack the ball: with an unparalleled visual reading experience.

Millions of us may have gotten used to the charcoal-on-gray visuals of previous eInk Kindle displays, and even convinced each other that they’re better for our sleep rhythms than a cup of warm milk before bed. But I’m here to tell you that visual reading experience with the new Paperwhite display is not just a home run, it’s a walk-off grand slam, due to the combination of gorgeous hand-crafted font and font size choices, heightened resolution provided by 212 PPI pixel density compared with 167 PPI on previous eInk Kindles, and a patented new technology that distributes light far more evenly than we generally experience with ambient light and, in the bargain, allows for a vastly improved capacitative touch experience.

That Paperwhite “lighted screen” far surpasses the “light in the corner” experience of the Nook’s Glow units and the “I can’t read this by the pool” experience of the iPad. It renders the display so beautifully in all environments, from bright sunshine to a totally dark room, that nobody will ever have reason to complain about contrast on the Paperwhite. This very simple image of the several current monochrome models side-by-side illustrates the point we are making about contrast far better than words:

 

We’re keeping this initial review relatively brief so that we can focus on other new Kindle features in coming days without wearing out our welcome, but the bottom line is this: if there is a place in your home for a dedicated Kindle ebook reader, the Kindle Paperwhite will probably meet your needs better than any other dedicated ebook reader on the market. We know that millions of our readers have already invested in earlier Kindle models or in the dazzling new Kindle Fire HD models, but given the fact that Amazon has a no-questions-asked 30-day-return policy, it may be worth your while to order the Kindle Paperwhite now so that you can test-drive it in late October and thus be in a position to make an educated decision about whether it belongs on your 2012 holiday gift list, either outgoing or incoming.

*So, what’s my gripe with the Paperwhite? I have to admit that I’m disappointed that there is no audio on the Paperwhite and, therefore, no text-to-speech. I suspect that I’m somewhere in the top 1/10 of 1% when it comes to how much Kindle reading I do in all forms (including manuscripts that authors and publishers send in for prospective Kindle Nation Daily sponsors), and it frankly is a huge help to me to be able to use text-to-speech to expand my reading time to time when I am doing my daily walking or falling asleep at night. I’ll continue to rely on my trusty Kindle DX and my relatively new Kindle Fire HD for text-to-speech, and I will just have to see where that leaves my new Paperwhite on my Kindle lineup. And I should be clear that the fact that I am personally disappointed about the omission of audio on the Paperwhite doesn’t mean I would quarrel with Amazon’s call on this, because I suspect both that the tradeoff allowed Amazon to keep the Paperwhite weight and price down and also that it may enhance adoption, for instance, in secondary school classrooms and libraries.

Video Post: Kindle Fire vs. Kindle Fire HD Audio Quality

This is a post from another in the Kindle Nation Daily family of sites, Kindle Fire on Kindle Nation Daily, where you can find all things Kindle Fire, every day!


The original, first-generation Kindle Fire had a single speaker, so the only way to get stereo sound from that device was through headphones.

The newer, non-HD Kindle Fire has a hardware upgrade that includes stereo speakers, but its sound quality still pales in comparison to the Dual Dolby Digital speakers of the Kindle Fire HD.

In the video post embedded below, our Editor in Chief April Hamilton demonstrates the difference in sound quality between a first-generation Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD.

If you have any difficulty viewing the video embedded below, you can watch it on the YouTube site by clicking here.

Fire owners, be sure to “like” our “Kindle Fire at Kindle Nation Daily” Facebook page for daily tips and great content at great prices – http://www.facebook.com/KindleFire.at.KindleNationDaily

Publetariat Dispatch: What Makes a Critic Tick? Connected Authors and the Determinants of Book Reviews

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, we share findings from a Harvard Business School study about book reviews.

A study of literary critics was recently conducted and the results have been posted at Harvard Business School’s The Working Knowledge journal.

Executive Summary:

The professional critic has long been  heralded as the gold standard for evaluating products and services such  as books, movies, and restaurants. Analyzing hundreds of book reviews  from 40 different newspapers and magazines, Professor Michael Luca and  coauthors Loretti Dobrescu and Alberto Motta investigate the  determinants of professional reviews and then compare these to consumer  reviews from Amazon.com.

Key concepts include:

  • The data suggest that  media outlets do not simply seek to isolate high-quality books, but also  to find books that are a good fit for their readers. This is a  potential advantage for professional critics, one that cannot be easily  replicated by consumer reviews.
  • Expert ratings are correlated with Amazon ratings, suggesting that  experts and consumers tend to agree in aggregate about the quality of a  book. However, there are systematic differences between these sets of  reviews.
  • Relative to consumer reviews, professional critics are less  favorable to first-time authors. This suggests that one potential  advantage of consumer reviews is that they are quicker to identify new  and unknown books.
  • Relative to consumer reviews, professional critics are more  favorable to authors who have garnered other attention in the press (as  measured by number of media mentions outside of the review) and who have  won book prizes.

Author Abstract

This paper investigates the determinants of expert reviews in the  book industry. Reviews are determined not only by the quality of the  product, but also by the incentives of the media outlet providing the  review. For example, a media outlet may have the incentive to provide  favorable coverage to certain authors or to slant reviews toward the  horizontal preferences of certain readers.

Empirically, we find that an  author’s connection to the media outlet is related to the outcome of the  review decision. When a book’s author also writes for a media outlet,  that outlet is 25% more likely to review the book relative to other  media outlets, and the resulting ratings are roughly 5% higher. Prima  facie, it is unclear whether media outlets are favoring their own  authors because these are the authors that their readers prefer or  simply because they are trying to collude.

We provide a test to  distinguish between these two potential mechanisms, and present evidence  that this is because of tastes rather than collusion — the effect of  connections is present both for authors who began writing for a media  outlet before and after the book release. We then investigate other  determinants of expert reviews. Relative to consumer reviews, we find  that professional critics are less favorable to first time authors and  more favorable to authors who have garnered other attention in the press  (as measured by number of media mentions outside of the review) and who  have won book prizes.

 

Read the full text of the paper (in pdf format) here.

 

Publetariat Dispatch: Thirteen O’Clock Australian Dark Fiction News & Reviews – Launched

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author Alan Baxter shares a new site for fans of horror and supernatural thrillers.

I’m very happy to be able to officially announce this new venture.  Myself and writers Andrew McKiernan and Felicity Dowker have put  together a new website, to fill a void in the Australian dark and weird  fiction scene.

Since the untimely demise of Horrorscope, there’s been a  gap where good dark and weird fiction can be reviewed and reported.  We’re hoping to fill that gap with Thirteen O’Clock. And, after all, you can’t have too many sources of news and reviews in this game. Here are the relevant links:

Thirteen O’Clock website.

Thirteen O’Clock on Facebook.

Thirteen O’Clock on Twitter.

All the details are in the official press release, here.

 

This is a reprint from Alan Baxter‘s The Word.