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Where to Find Your Potential Readers


Publishing your own books, especially non-fiction, has become an amazing option for lots of authors, not only for your new books, but also for books that have been published in the past and for which you now own the publishing rights.

But publishing your books is one thing and getting those books to the readers who buy and read them.  Let’s find out:

  • who these readers are
  • what they like
  • what they’re willing to pay for your books
  • where they hang out
  • how they like to communicate

There are easy and free ways to find this information. You’re probably not going to be surprised, but the first place you should head is your nearest Google search bar.  Google knows more than anyone about what’s going on online. It’s up to us to learn how to use this incredible resource to find our readers.

Let’s say you write about glider flying. Use Google to search form “glider flying forums” and “aviation discussion boards.” If you write about tennis, use “tennis forums” and “tennis discussion boards.”  You’re going to get a lot of hits to research, and you will find some very active communities with engaged people talking about your specific topic. Some of these forums are quite large, and you might need to drill down a bit to find the sections that apply to your specific niche, but this will put you in immediate contact with people interested in your topic.

Another great way to find your readers is through blogs in your niche.
Blogs that have been online for a while will have a readership of some size. You will need to do a little research to find the blogs that have the most readers interested in your topic.  For instance, if you found a discussion forum, check the links that belong to frequent contributors there, and you’ll start to connect to the blogs in your niche.  Look at the comments on popular posts and start exploring the links (usually the link is embedded in the name of the person who left the comment) for even more places readers hang out.

Finally, use the search capabilities on some of the big social networking sites.

These sites are useful not because they have hundreds of millions of users, but because they each have the ability to locate specific groups of people.  For sample, on Twitter you can use http://search.twitter.com to find trending topics or hashtags (words with # in front of them) related to your subject. You can search on #gardening to find thousands of people interested in gardening and then narrow your search further from there.  You can use this same strategy on Google+ to find articles and people commenting on them with the same #gardening search.

Following all these networks will lead to communities of potential readers you can start interacting with and become a household name in these circles. Once your book is e-published you can subtly promote it there. 

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Hyper Smash

 

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Pro’s and Con’s of e-Publishing

E-publishing is a form of publication especially attractive to new writers.

Some of the advantages of e-publishing include:

  • More and more libraries carry e-books for lending.
  • Independent authors receive as much as 70% of the profits in royalties when they self-publish.  Writers get a higher percentage of royalties through e-publishing because the initial financial investments for the publisher is lower than for a paper publisher.
  • There are no returns from book stores and no paper books ending on landfills.
  • Faster publishing time for accepted manuscripts of they go with an e-publisher. Rather than waiting up to eighteen months for a manuscript to see print – e-publishing generally works within a few weeks after acceptance.
  • Writers have the ability to update text often and easily at virtually no cost. This is particularly important for e-books related to travel guides or computer technology.
  • Unlimited links which are important to guide books and how-to publications, music, video’s, images – all these can be added to e-books.
  • E-books are longer available as they can stay infinitive on digital shelves even with slower sales – not like paper books that will be discontinued after some months, if they did not become a bestseller. This gives new writers lots of time to build a following by having their entire e-book available over extended periods of time.
  • Negligible investment for self-publishers.

If this looks all too rosy:

  • Some people are not aware of e-publishing and others prefer reading a book from print rather than electronically. Good sales so far amount to 500 copies for a successful manuscript.
  • Writers are responsible for providing their own ongoing marketing for e-published work – the same as for paper books that are often not very well marketed. A book might be great, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t sell.
  • Authors can’t count on the public seeing their books on shelves or in store windows – they have to find it on the internet.
  • Writers usually do not receive an advance.

However, e-publishing can be a great way for a new writer to gain a following. Romance, science fiction, murder mystery and fantasy are all possible genres for e-publishing. It is also ideal for How-To books that need to be updated frequently.

Businesses can also save money on employee manuals and training materials by e-publishing them. An added advantage here is that works can be clickable.

Do you have all your books formatted as e-books?  If not, what keeps you from doing so?

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Hyper Smash

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in e-Books, e-publishing

 

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How to Choose an eBook Publisher – or DIY


There is quite a difference between a real e-book publisher who pays an advance and then publishes your finished book or an e-book publishing company which is in reality often vanity publishing and takes a certain commission from your book.

And then there are author service companies who charge small fees to produce your ebook, but then do not tap into your royalty and where you can earn 100 percent of your ebook whole sale price.  In all three variations the e-book retailers (Amazon, B&N, Apple, Sony, Diesel etc.) always get a percentage of the e-book sales, mostly around 30%, for providing their sales platform, point-of-sales cost, money transfer fees, workforce, marketing etc.

Compare e-book publishing company commission rates.|
E-book publishing companies hook you to have your book published without investing a dime, but as they act now as the official publisher they retain a big portion of your e-book sales to themselves – which is often not a good deal for you. They offer free ISBN numbers, an amount that is negligible ($25), and then take 15% commission (Smash Words).  If your book becomes successful you lose out on a lot of money!

Your investment will not be more than $500 and $900 if you research for professional, yet inexpensive editing, cover design, ISBN number (free in Canada), book formatting and uploading.  Author service companies such as BookBaby.com offer all these services, but don’t act as publisher and don’t take any commission from the whole sale price. You receive 100%.

Read the fine print; know your contract.
Before you commit to publishing an e-book with any company, always read the fine print.

Contact a lawyer who is specialized on publishing contracts and copyright issues and who can check your contract before you sign!

Research copyright details
Every publishing company plays by a different set of rules. Make sure that the e-book publisher you use allows you to retain the rights to your work.

This is another reason why you need to let a lawyer screen your contract.

Screen the e-Publisher
E-publishers can be anything, from very amateurish to very professional:

  • Is their website professionally designed and easy to navigate? Is the text well-written and formatted? The website is the publisher’s shopping window, and should reflect professionalism.
  • Does their staff have publishing, editing, or marketing experience? Beware of publishers that don’t provide this information on their websites.
  • How long has the publisher been in business?  Are there any complaints about the publisher or its staff? A web search on the publisher’s name (and words such as “complaint”, ”issues”, “problems”, “caution”) will sometimes turn up information–often on authors’ websites or in their blogs.
  • Are other writers happy with the publisher? Contact a few of them, and ask.
  • Order a couple of the publisher’s books. Are they of good quality? Professionally presented? How’s the cover art? Do they show signs of having been edited? Have they been proofread? What’s the caliber of the writing? Bad, poorly formatted, and/or sloppily-edited books do not encourage readers to return for more.
  • For print books, if the publisher produces them, the royalty rate will be lower, but shouldn’t be less than what print publishers pay for trade paperback books–7%-10% of list.
  • What’s the optimum price for an e-book? There’s no consensus, and prices are all over the map. The big print houses charge as much as $14.99, while independent e-Publishers tend to stick to the $4.00 to $7.00 range.
  • How does the publisher market itself and its titles? As noted above, e-book authors are expected to shoulder a lot of the responsibility for marketing and promotion, but a professional e-Publisher will actively support its books–for instance, investing in some form of meaningful advertising to attract readers to its site, sending out press releases and advance reading copies, and attending conventions and book fairs.
  • How forthcoming is the publisher? A reputable e-Publisher should be willing to answer your questions about things like sales figures and formats, give references, make its contract available for your review, and in general to provide information about itself and its publications (preferably on its website).
  • A publisher that charges a fee or requires you to buy something as a condition of publication is either a vanity publisher or a self-publishing service, no matter what its claims to the contrary.

EPIC, an association for electronically-published authors, has a helpful list of contract clauses to watch out for. Explore their “Red Flag List” to find clauses that could become an issue with your future publisher.

 

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A famous Author’s Experience with e-Publishing

Rebecca Forster

Rebecca Forster

I decided to try E-publishing because I had hit a bump in the publishing road. New York was tightening up, I had parted ways with my agent and the project I was working on hadn’t captured an editor’s imagination. So, I published one of my 23 books out of curiosity, boredom, and a niggling idea that if I didn’t I would be missing something big.  Little did I know, I was dipping my toe into a roiling sea that was indie publishing and would soon be drowning in challenges and opportunities.

After publishing all my early work, I ended up with four books on the Kindle legal thriller bestseller list and stayed there. Then I published Before Her Eyes, a novel I believed in but one which  had received conflicting and cool rejections. It was scary, publishing without New York’s stamp of approval.  Multiple five star reviews later I felt sure my creative gut was working just fine..

Read the whole story and lots of marketing tips at Rebecca Forster’s blog:

http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com/2011/08/e-publishing-is-exhausting-exhilarating.html

 

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Not Yet Convinced to E-Publish?

e-Readers

e-Readers

You CAN make money with e-publishing.
There are authors that made already a million with their e-books, but also authors that barely sell a hundred books per year – it all depends on the quality of your book(s) including cover art, layout and reviews – and how well they are marketed. Same how it works with paper books.

There is overhead cost in e-publishing.
Like paper books, e-books need proof-reading, editing, lay-out, cover design, an ISBN number plus converting in various e-book formats for e-Readers and most important: Marketing.

Editing is essential.
Some e-book authors don’t do it to save money, and some e-publishers do it minimal or not at all. But proof-reading and professionally editing is the most important part in publishing.

E-publishers have to invest in e-books.
…or they will fail.  Just because authors are rarely paid any advance (but rather higher royalties) doesn’t mean there are no investments to make. 

It is not so much easier to get your book out with a reputable e-publisher.
Professional e-publishing houses have their standards to carefully pick their authors in order to deliver quality literature. I am here not talking about vanity publishers that are also to be found in this field and easily can be recognized by charging authors beforehand. I read a good advice: “As an author the only place you should be signing a check is on the back to cash it.” 

It can be a stepping stone to traditional publishing.
Yes, there are e-book authors that have been picked up by the “big six” publishers – but with e-books becoming common-place as do e-Reader devices, in the future e-book publishing will for sure overtake paper book publishing – and the “big six” are coming along with it.

More and more people read e-books.
Also paper books will stay with us, there are many practical reasons for e-books: We don’t need to carry heavy stacks of books to the cottage or on the plane. And we can read at night in bed without using a bedstand lamp (my dog hates bright light in the bed room 😉

 

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