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Following a Successful Author’s Experience with New Publishing Technologies

Sunday afternoon

He calls it “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing“, but don’t think for a moment that Joe Konrath hasn’t been to Night School. As I have already discussed in the Kindle Nation newsletter, Joe is my eye idea of an author who is working hard at connecting with his base of readers. As a direct consequence, that base is expanding by leaps and bounds.

Most recently, due in part to some nice symbiosis between Joe and Kindle Nation, “his” novel Serial has soared to the #1 bestseller position, among 290,000 Kindle books, in the Kindle Store. (Why the quotation marks around the word “his”? Because Joe’s the human behind the Jack Kilborn pen name.)

Joe is also the successful author of the Jack Daniels suspense-with-an-edge series, hold the garnish and the little umbrella, that began with the 2004 publication of Whiskey Sour.

If you are an author or independent publisher who wants to learn how to work the new technologies to find your readers, here are two suggestions:

A must-read piece on independent publishing

About ten years ago Michael Pastore wrote this thoughtful, detailed piece which was published widely around the country under the title, Publish Your Book Yourself: Some Simple and Sensible Advice. He has published it again over at ePublishers Weekly and, although there are some obvious things that have changed, it remains well worth reading.

As for the changes, they are in many ways for the better. But the most dramatic of these is that it is no longer necessary to lay out $3,000 to $5,000 up front for short-run offset printing. The speed and pricing offered independent publishers by a quality POD printer such as Amazon’s CreateSpace now make it possible for indie publishers — even those who anticipate sales of over 5,000 copies — to handle all their printing needs without ever laying out more than a few dollars in advance. This, of course, changes everything, and allows for indie authors and publishers to make smart plans that accomodate both print and electronic publishing.

Michael Pastore is author and publisher of 50 Benefits of Ebooks, available in ePub format for just a dollar.

Scribd Beta DIY Launch for eBook Authors and Publishers Looks Viable

San Francisco-based startup Scribd has just launched the beta version of a potentially exciting new opportunity for authors, publishers, and readers. I hesitated before including the DIY label in the subject line because it may be misleading, given that Scribd has done some business with major publishers such as Random House, according to today’s New York Times piece, “Scribd Invites Writers to Upload Their Work and Name Their Price.” But Scribd’s roots are all about document-sharing and a Youtube-like DIY approach for those who understand that uploading is the new downloading.

Scribd stands out among innovators in the arena of connecting digital text authors and publishers with digital readers, because (1) it offers some compelling reasons for faith that it could actually work; and (2) it is not Amazon.

By “actually work,” I mean that it could actually lead to significant sales and exposure for ebook authors and other content providers. By “not Amazon,” I am getting at the notion that, if it proves viable, Scribd could actually provide authors and publishers with an effective counterbalance in a marketplace where Amazon currently threatens to establish such hegemony that the rest of us could end up feeling as if any effort to influence pricing, royalties, sales, and important issues such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) and copyright is utterly ineffectual.

Scribd will allow authors and publishers to upload their content, establish their own approach to DRM, and keep 80 per cent of the proceeds from content sales. That’s not a bad start, and these claims from the Scribd site go even further:

  • “Tens of millions of people visit Scribd every month; your work could be discovered by the world.
  • Every document on Scribd gets frequently indexed by Google, which means better audience targeting for your work.
  • Your documents will be viewed the way it was meant to be – with its unique fonts, graphics, and other details.
  • Check out detailed stats on viewers, ratings, downloads, and more.
  • Take your document anywhere; just copy the embed code and insert it into a blog or website.”

The site also provides user-friendly uploading tools for Mac as well as PC users.

Naturally, I’ll want to have my cake and eat it too: to upload content to Scribd and to be able to read it on my Kindle. No doubt there will be a number of ways to do this, and we’ll be posting more about them in the future.

Thousands of DRM-Free Books in the Kindle Store