Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ebooks on the Up-swing

An article in the New York Times on December 24, 2008 by Brad Stone and Motoko Rich has a number of interesting points that the self publisher needs to consider. Titled "Ebooks Start to Take Hold," the authors state:
  1. Ebooks are gaining in popularity due to Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader. This prompts people to feel that the ebook has moved beyond the electronic gadget phase.
  2. Increased number of sales outlets and promotion of the devices, to include the endorsement of Oprah Winfrey among others, accounts for wider acceptance. Hence, greater sales of ebooks themselves.
  3. As many women as men are purchasing the device and ebooks.
  4. Ebooks appeal to those who are heavy readers. This may be the result of an ebook's low price as compared to a print book.
  5. Ebooks are already available for the iPhone and will soon be on the BlackBerry. (Clint Brauer, General Manger for, points out in his comment below that his company carries over 65,000 titles in the Mobipocket format that will work on the Blackberry. He further indicates that none of the titles will play on the BlackBerry Storm. I wonder if the New York Times article simply omitted the "Storm" portion of the statement).

Read the entire article here.

A special thanks to Ron Goebel, self publisher and author of Mata Ortiz Pottery: Art and Life, for the heads up about the article.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wholeselling Books to a Large Retailer

There is an article by Pat Volchok titled "The Big Little Bookstore" in the November, 2008 issue of Costco Connection. It offers rare insights into the people and process involved with purchasing books for the Costco stores which are one of the top five book sellers in the U.S. Following is a brief summary of the points of particular interest to self publishers.

  1. A four person team decide which books will be sold in the stores.
  2. Two hundred titles are selected at a time.
  3. The buyers are interested in creating local and then national interest in a title.
  4. Selection of titles is guided by the demographics of Costco members, i.e. they are considered upscale, informed, and opinion makers.
  5. Books are purchased from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing houses.
  6. Titles carried on the website are more numerous than in the store. The website has its own buyer.
  7. Guidelines for submitting a title for consideration can be obtained at (866) 678-9390 or online at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mata Oritz Pottery: Art and Life and I Can't See But I Can Imagine

There are two new websites located in the Important Links and Local Authors section of the blog. The first is the newly released self published title, Mata Ortiz Pottery: Art and Life, by Ron Goebel. The title is found on his website

The second is a children's book titled, I Can't See but I Can Imagine, by Patricia Wilson. Her book website is at While visiting her site, be sure to check out the music that accompanies the book. Pat also has a related blog at The blog offers lots of tips and advice for self publishers.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More on Print on Demand

The buzz about print on demand (POD) seem to become louder every day. When POD is incorporated into publisher services ( an often-seen occurrence), it can become very confusing. Some clarity can be found at, hosted by Angela Hoy .

Angela appears to work very hard to tell it like it is. She is currently involved in a running commentary with Bowkers, the U.S. representative for ISBN, regarding what an ISBN is about. Her previous discussion regarding Amazon and their POD activities gained considerable attention on the net.

Take a look at her site and particularly the comparison of POD/publisher service companies.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Do it Yourself Book Club

There is a new service that provides the means of creating your own book club. Called Booksprouts, it makes available a free platform were it is possible to set up the club, invite people to join, have them buy the book, read it, and then discuss it.

The interesting element for self publishers is that you can select your own book and form a reading group around it. Imagine the response if you posted the book club info on the wall of all your Facebook friends!

For this to work on Booksprouts, your book needs to be available through the usual Internet outlets (Amazon, Abe Books, etc.). So, you make the usual amount on the sale through the outlet and the Booksprouts people make their money as a reseller (usually an 8% commission paid by the outlet). Pretty neat!

Give them a visit at Booksprouts

Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Club Outlets

Book clubs are another outlet for your book. They usually pay royalties of 4% of the cover price if sold at $1 a piece. If sold at the regular book club price, the royalty can be 8% of the cover price. There are many national clubs, most of which specialize in a genre. A Google search can help in making a choice on who to approach about your book and here are a few to get you started.

Book of the Month Club
Children's Book of the Month Club
Conservative Book Club
History Book Club
Progressive Book Club

Monday, June 02, 2008

5 Points of Book Promotion

Here is a nice, concise list of points that the major book publishers use when creating and then working a marketing plan. The points are in their order of importance.

1. Prominent Bookstore Placement. This usually means at/near the front door and/or along the most frequently-traveled isles. Major publishers pay to occupy the spaces.
2. Author Tours. A mainstay of authors everywhere, a tour could include a reading, book signing, short seminar, etc. Contact groups/book stores in a geographic area and schedule the event before hitting the road. Your audience wants to see and hear what you have to say (and the groups/book stores appreciate the attention).
3. Online Marketing. This continues to be a largely unexplored outlet that all publishers are rushing into. Take your book online through your own website or blog. To guarantee more viewers, use an established online retailer such as
4. Appeals to Book Clubs. Whether a national book club or a local one, be sure to let them know that you and your book are available. Read from an existing book, tell of your plans for the next title, offer to help aspiring writers, etc.
5. Community Reading Organization. Local entities such as a public library system, will often hold programs promoting reading. Contact as many as you can and offer your services and book, maybe even help set up such a program for them.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Marketing Your Book

Free Book Excerpts is another means of gaining more exposure for your self-published book. An easy-to-use, two step process will get an excerpt from your book before Internet-savy readers. Give them a visit here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon and Print on Demand

Looks like the Print on Demand (POD) option for self-publishers has become more complicated. Amazon is telling self-publishers, among others, that if they want Amazon to carry their title, they must use their POD, Book Surge. However, if the self-publisher uses another POD service, they can still sell through Amazon but must use the Advantage program (with all its associated fees and commissions). Check out the discussion at Computerworld and gain more insight at Writers Weekly.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Book Stores and Book Sales

There has been a great deal of conflicting information in the news lately about book stores and book sales. It appears that a number of long-time book stores are closing--particularly in the East. Meanwhile here in Central Oregon, a couple of new independent book stores have opened. Hurray for them!

Similarly, the news about book sales has been mixed. Some retail chains and publishers are reporting huge losses, often associated with write-downs, while others report a greater-than-expected sales volume and overall profit.

One thing is apparent: many (most) of the big publishing houses are copying the sales strategies used by the self publisher. Good for us!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Marketing Your Book

The Indie Book Awards are back! If you have a title with a copyright date of 2007 or 2008, enter it in the contest. There will be cash prizes and lots of exposure; hence, the idea of marketing your book. Find all the details here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sell Your Book by the Chapter

Sell you book by the chapter? Might be a good idea--particularly if you have an ebook or book website.

Random House Publishing just announced that they will give it a try. The cost of a chapter will be $2.99. The price seems a bit high but it is a place to start. Let me know your experiences with it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Good Experience with Lulu

R.L. Coffield, a former member of the Self Publish and Sell Your Book class, is in the process of publishing another book. This one deals with cooking recipes that can be accomplished in the galley of a small sail boat. There has been lots of favorable comments about the soon-to-be-released title.

R.L. has used various elements of several different self publishing services for her titles and reports that is by far the best. She found them to be extraordinarily helpful, produces a quality product, and is reasonably priced--both for single and multiple copies. When you are ready to talk to a publishing service, visit them first at