Category Archives: Blog

Publishing News Update

Recently I participated in the annual Non-fiction Writers Conference.  I attended last year and thought I would never make the grueling teleconference calls from noon to 6:00 pm for 3 solid days.  I managed quite nicely.  This group has it organized where you dial in at the top of the hour, listen in, ask questions, take notes, etc., and when 45-50 minutes are up… you hang up… take a break and dial back in at the top of the hour for the next call/speaker.  And the topics and speakers were excellent.  This year, there was a mystery keynote speaker that was a surprise until we were on the call.  It was Seth Godin!  What a wonderful surprise.  The 3 days went by quickly, and the material, handouts, and knowledge shared with us was extremely valuable.

As an author, if you are not a member already, please consider joining this group – Non-Fiction Authors Association.  They sponsor the annual conference and provide valuable information in between.  You should also consider joining your local author or publishing association.  Here in Florida, I belong to Florida Authors and Publishers Association.  In addition, I belong to the national group Independent Book Publishers Association.  Such organizations offer a wealth of information for the soon to be and/or seasoned author.  Navigating the business of publishing can be tricky with all the constant changes, not to mention overwhelming.

Talk about constant changes?  I learned recently that Create Space (which is the Print on Demand arm of Amazon for DIY authors and Indie Publishers) will be merging into Kindle… why you ask?  Well, the way it was presented at the Non-Fiction Writers Conference, it had to do with brand recognition.  More than 80% of ebooks purchased in the United States are purchased on a Kindle reader.  I take it that Kindle is more streamlined than Create Space probably in all aspects of publishing.  Having books on both Create Space and Kindle, I find both are very competent when I have a question.  However, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a live conversation with anyone at Kindle (except for my 1099 royalty inquiries at tax time).  I find Create Space customer service easy to reach, talk to and glean information to assist me, and often at midnight.  I only hope that continues with the merger.  I don’t know any more than that, and will keep you apprised as this change over takes place.

The other update that was shared at the Non-fiction Writers Conference was this: publish your book on both Create Space AND Ingram Spark.  Well, you know my feeling about Ingram Spark (and if not, read the posts prior to this one).  I just may have to revisit them and attempt again for the umpteenth time.  The coverage that both platforms offer becomes extremely valuable from a distribution standpoint – worldwide.  OK! You know with that comment, I’ll have to try it again – just to help all of you reading this.

Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to consider my monthly group that I facilitate – The Self Publishing Group.  I am looking to change the name at some point, since really the world has moved on from the term “self publishing” since so many well know authors are using the platform, thereby moving away from the very few New York publishers that are left.  Higher royalties, and editorial control are often the biggest reasons authors consider the independent publishing route.  Join us the first Saturday of each month – check the schedule for those months with holidays – and get your questions answered, plus learn the ins and outs that will dispel the myths of publishing independently.  Learn more at: The Self Publishing Group.

Wishing you great topics to write about and plenty of ISBNs!

Happy Publishing,

Rosemary Augustine, Author and Publisher

~ ~ ~

 

 

Met My Goal

secrets-i-learned-hard-cover

This is a continuation of my prior blog post detailing my experience with Ingram Spark.  As you can see, I have completed the hard cover of Secrets I Learned From Ordinary House Cats.  However, I must admit, the book overall is not to my satisfaction.  Read on…

When I left off with my last post about Ingram Spark failing my test, I walked away for a couple of months, until I got an email that offered no initial upload charge through the end of 2016.  It was only a $25 savings, but it was more about “let’s give them one more chance on their dime.”  I worked out the bugs on embedding the font and struggled with the cover requirements.  After several calls for tech support, I was always directed back to their website to read “the tools section.”  Not once did either person I spoke to walk me through what I had to do.  They would only direct me to “READ OUR INSTRUCTIONS IN THE TOOLS SECTION.”   After 10 published books, if I need my hand held for their “clear as mud” instructions, then how does a new author handle this kind of need for technical support?  After a few weeks and many phone calls to them to clarify the additional “mud,” I was ready to submit my book for their review and approval.  Within a few days, I was notified that my book was approved and ready for print.  Great!  I wanted to order a proof copy to view before I would authorize it to be available for sale.

My book was priced at $19.95 (same book with a the soft cover at Amazon is $12.95).  The reason it was so much higher was my expected royalty. If I priced the hard cover at $12.95, my royalty would be a negative 23 cents (which means I would have to pay them 23 cents for every one sold).  My royalty on a $19.95 book at Ingram Spark is $3.97 if the 40% bookstore discount is honored.  I was expecting this hard cover book to go into specialty stores, to compete with two other hard cover cat books (of which will remain nameless).  So my analyzing skills were put to the test. My specs included:

8” x 8”  size;

black/white interior;

Matte finish on cover;

hard cover case laminate;

104 pages;

40% store discount (standard discount).

My cost to purchase a proof copy was between $14 and $21.  This was broken out as follows:

$8.00 printing charge

$1.65 handling charge (excuse me?  Shouldn’t this be part of the printing charge?)

$0.63 sales tax (Remember, you also get charged sales tax on the printing and handling. Mine is 6-1/2%.

$3.80 shipping slow boat – basic and not trackable nor insurable;

$11.98 for residential ground (it’s $8.56 for commercial ground – now that’s discrimination)

$59.37 if I want next day… (FYI, Amazon’s Create Space offers next day at $15.98 for your proof copy)

So I paid $18.25 for my first proof copy (the amounts are never the same every time you want to order a copy, and I’m not sure why).  I ordered it the 25th of September and within 3 weeks it still had not arrived.  I called once again to inquire and was told I had to approve my proof copy in order to receive a hard copy.  My response was “I don’t want to approve a proof copy, since I need to see an actual hard copy before I approve it.”  Well this time they did walk me through the page where if you are not careful, you easily approve it ready for customers to buy (tiny check boxes and fine print even on the computer).  Because I was out of town and had requested the book to be sent to the address where I was staying and it never arrived – well it was never going to arrive, because I didn’t “approve” the book.  I asked the lady, if I had to approve it in order to get a proof copy, then WHY did you allow me to order a copy and take my money?  Shouldn’t a pop up notify me I couldn’t proceed?  Well she couldn’t answer that but said she would cancel the order and refund my money, and I could reorder once I “approved” the book.  She assured me I would have my refund in 3-5 business days.  That was October 17th.

I ordered another book, this time my cost was $16.00.  I found it odd that it was less and no cents (originally it was $18.25).  Almost 3 weeks later here comes the book.  I was excited when I opened the package and was in awe of the cover.  The hard cover in a matte finish was exquisite.  But, when I opened the book… I was in shock to see that the photos were almost black and the weight of the paper so thin, you could see the print on the back side of the page – interfering in reading the page you were on. How could this be?  The same manuscript with the same photos is uploaded at CreateSpace.com and the black and white photos are clear and recognizable on the CreateSpace book copy.  Ingram Spark required all photos to be “gray scale” something that is not on the original manuscript that was uploaded to CreateSpace.  Also, because I had so many pictures in the book, Ingram Spark charges a premium for printing the photos, even though they are part of the PDF file and no extra effort on their part.  And, no, that’s not what the $1.65 handling fee covers.

Totally unacceptable to “approve” for customers to purchase, I had to wait a few days for me to “cool down” so I could call them and cancel everything out, delete the file, lose out on one ISBN; a calmly tell them it’s not to my satisfaction.  Why you must be asking “why would you want to cancel the whole project, just correct the photos and upload a new file.”  Ha!  To do this would be an additional $25 upload fee, not to mention another $16 or $18 or whatever to view a proof copy again.  Keep in mind I had received a free upload initially… if I hadn’t, that would be $25, plus the additional $25 to upload another file AND, the printing and shipping charges now approaching $32 if I went with another proof copy.  This whole experiment was to prove a point, “is Ingram Spark worth it?”  I felt like I was being “nickel’d and dime’d” to death with $50 – 80 adding up and no help to adjust the issue, but keep paying for proof copies and corrected uploads.  It’s already Thanksgiving by now and I’ve lost my window to be available in stores for the holidays.

Oh… and by the way, I had to call the middle of November about my refund that I never got… because the girl “assured” me, but never sent it to accounting (according to Anne in accounting she never got the request).  I finally got my $18.25 five days after I spoke with Ann in accounting.

So, personally, I have completed my experiment with Ingram Spark.  Much to my disappointment, the only good thing that came out of this whole darn crazy mess was this:  I decided to use another ISBN and take the 8”x 8” manuscript and  matte cover to CreateSpace.com (their size is 8.25”x8.25”) and print it as a soft cover, keep the price of $12.95 and continue to receive my $5.62 royalty for each book of which my cost is still $2.15 and minimal shipping. Sadly, CreateSpace.com no longer offers hard cover books.  So I’ll stick with the soft cover.

So there you have it.  Ingram Spark is not for me… However, that doesn’t mean it’s not for you.  I’m sure you’ll have better luck than me, or at least I hope so.

Keep on Writing…

Rosemary Augustine – Author and Publisher

Comparison Chart

Ingram Spark vs.  Create Space
8” x 8”  size; 8.25″ x 8.25″
black/white interior; black/white interior
hard cover case laminate; soft cover matte finish
104 pages; 104 pages
40% store discount royalty lowered to expanded distribution (book stores)
 My cost to purchase a proof copy was between $14 and $21.  This was broken out as follows: My cost between $6 and $18
$8.00 printing charge approximately $7
$1.65 handling charge (excuse me?  Shouldn’t this be part of the printing charge?) N/A
$0.63 state sales tax (Remember, you get charged sales tax on the printing and handling. Sales tax collected
$3.80 shipping slow boat – basic and not trackable nor insurable; $3.59 basic about 2 weeks
$11.98 for residential ground (it’s $8.56 for commercial ground – now that’s discrimination) $11.18 for 2 day
$59.37 if I want next day… $15.98 for overnight

~ ~ ~

Is Your Time Valuable?

How Ingram Spark Fail My Test!

Time is valuable to me. And when something takes far more time than it should, I question the value that I’m getting for the time I am spending. Although I want to expand my distribution of Secrets I Learned From Ordinary House Cats, I made the decision NOT to place it on the Ingram Spark platform. Why? Because Ingram Spark Failed My Test!  I’m not here to slam Ingram Spark, just to give you my experience in setting up a book with them.

Secrets I Learned From Ordinary House Cats has been such a good seller on Amazon and Kindle, that for 2016 I decided I wanted to expand the contents slightly (add some graphics, photos, and bio’s for Ziggy and Zack); and create a new cover that would have the title on the spine. This meant I had to pump up from 88 pages to 102.

I use Book Cover Pro to create my covers now that I no longer use the Create Space Cover Templates. Secrets I Learned originally had a cover template from Create Space. In order to upload the book to Ingram Spark, I needed a new cover – or one that I designed myself so that I owned the cover.

With my crazy schedule of work, book marketing, creating art and just life overall, I took about a month to make the changes to the interior; and about another month to create the cover from scratch to look as close to the original cover as possible. This time also included turn around time with Create Space to view a printed copy of the book’s interior and the cover. I had to go back to the drawing board several times to get it just right. During this time I was having trouble with loosing the cover file, since I would save it to my Dropbox and my cover software then couldn’t recognize it so I had to create the cover over again. This user error happened a few times until I got wise to the user problem. Probably could have been avoided if I wasn’t doing this late at night.

So now I come to setting up the account at Ingram Spark. Not a great experience, too many screens, too many questions, and terminology that is a little different than we’re use to. Book royalty on one platform is called publisher compensation on Ingram Spark. I had to call on that one, to confirm royalty info. Seems simple enough right? Your 1099 that you receive for royalty income each January is just that: Royalty! And is stated so on your tax return. I didn’t even bother to ask Ingram Spark if publisher’s compensation is considered 1099 Royalty Income or something else.

Last week I logged onto my Ingram Spark account, now that all the publishing info was set up (that had taken me more than an hour to set up the account. Probably 2+ hours if you include the call I made to them for tech support). I’m ready with my documents… are you ready to see how many documents I needed:

Print Book Version:
*Word document (formatted and sized to meet the size of 5.06 x 7.81 – my choice of size back in 2013 when I first published the book).
*Converted Word document into PDF
*Cover document in Book Cover Pro so I can edit and re-generate if necessary.
*PDF of cover (this is the “generated” copy from Book Cover Pro (Note: with a new ISBN for this book at Ingram – couldn’t use the one from Create Space even though I own the ISBN and it’s for the same exact book).

EBook Version
*Same cover just front only and another ISBN
*Word Document (reformatted to adjust for ebook version which includes no extra spacing; no extra returns; no headers; no footers; no page numbers; etc., etc., etc.
*Word Document now converted to PDF.

Went to upload all this and learned that the ebook PDF has to be ePub 3.0 not PDF. Four hours have passed and I’m now saying, OK… lets resume tomorrow.

Next night I go in search of ePUB software that will convert my ebook and will meet the validation requirements according to IngramSpark or they will reject it. Ingram does not give any recommendations or direction on how to do this. A Google search resulted in 2up.ch/app, a foreign company and will convert my file for 65 Euros. ePubconversion.com email reply to me was:  To convert the book file to Kindle (Mobi) OR ePUB file format, it will cost you $99. If you want the file in Kindle and ePUB (Same file for Barnes & Noble eBook Reader, Apple iPad ) it will cost $153 (value $198). Above price includes one free ISBN number (value $125) for ePUB file format along with the ePUB conversion. Kindle does not need ISBN number. Cost remains same if you don’t want ISBN.

Then I found ePubconverter.com and was able to load a file for 30 days and try it to see if I like it. When I finally had a file that worked (it failed 4 times), I then ran it through validator.idpf.org per Ingram Spark only to receive 9 pages of errors. Nine Pages!!!!!!! ‘Error while parsing file “value of attribute “id” is invalid; must be an XML name without colons’. God Bless you if you understand that error message. By the way, there are NO colons in the document – anywhere. FYI, this software is $36.99 just in case you want to buy it after the 30 days. It did convert my file but not to ePub 3.0, the validator said it was ePub 2.0.

Now I return to Ingram Spark today and decide, “OK, no ebook just print with them.” So I proceed with the process of print only and now Ingram Spark will need to validate my Print version. Poof! Only 3 Errors… but one is fatal for me. “Font’s not embedded in the PDF. LSI requires that all fonts be embedded. Submit a new file with all fonts embedded.”

HTF do you embed a font? I’m pretty technical, but not on 9 pages of error messages and embedding fonts. This is coding that goes way beyond me. What happened to “life needs to be simple” or “simpler” and computers were suppose to make us paperless. My desk is covered in papers because of the notes, files and formats that I’ll need to remember tomorrow or next week when I have time again to work on this.

So… The straw that broke my camel’s back was the 9 pages of errors messages and the embedded font requirement. I’ve taken this experiment as far as I’m going to go. I give Ingram Spark an “F” – “FAILED at My Test.” If you have better luck than me I applaud you a thousand times over. But I’ve reached the end of the road on Ingram Spark and any possible recommendations of them to consider.

My last piece with them was a phone call to delete all files so I could use the 2 ISBNs that I assigned to Ingram Spark. Now that was the easy part!

Sincerely,

Rosemary Augustine, Author and Publisher

~ ~ ~

Get Published in 2016

This was posted back in the fall of 2014… felt it was worth re-posting for the new year.   Participate in my Self Publishing Group for Authors and Publishers …  subscribe to the mailing list for future updates, upcoming teleconferences and webinars and more.  Or, Learn more at the tab: Self Publishing Group on this website.

Easy Steps to Getting Your Work on Amazon and Beyond

1. Write your book – the preferable software is MS Word. Write, don’t format at this time. Do your own edits initially, meaning your version of rough drafts.

2. Plan your book (preferably while you’re writing) and budget the upfront costs. Prices are approximate for illustration of this discussion:
* Cover concept / design – $200 – $500
* Interior layout – see editor fees
* Editor – approximately $250-$500 (maybe more if they also do the layout)
* Set up a publishing company name to be used with your ISBNs – $100.
* ISBN – the only official seller of ISBNs is R R Bowker (they re-direct you to MyIdentifiers.com to buy (prices currently $125/1; $295/10; $500/100).  Note they often have sales so keep your eyes peeled to take advantage of their discounts.
* You will need an ISBN for each version of your book – print at CreateSpace; eBook at Smashwords; etc. Currently Kindle and NookPress do not require an ISBN to list your book with them.

3. Familiarize yourself with Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle websites.
https://www.createspace.com is a DIY for free, or use their services for a fee
https://kdp.amazon.com – for eBooks using Kindle only

 Terms and Agreements
 Cover and Interior Template options
 Their services for a fee and what you can do for free
 Their eViewer (Online look/see before they review your book and before it’s published
 Royalties information
 Extended Distribution
 Proof Copies – online or print
 Your cost to buy once published
 Publish Button that takes you LIVE for customers to BUY

Using other “Vendors” like Lightning Source; Infinity Publishing; LuLu; BookBaby; iUniverse; or other print houses such as Thomson Shore, Morris Publishing etc. to publish your book?… Most will list your book on Amazon and of course it is built into their fee. I’ve found working with Amazon directly offers the best deal.

Other places to consider putting your book after the 90 day exclusive with Amazon and Kindle expires is: www.Smashwords.com. Also consider http://www.NookPress which is the Barnes and Noble’s eReader – The Nook. There are many other places for your readers to buy, but these 4 sites (Amazon/Kindle/Smashwords/NookPress) cover probably 90% of the market.

Remember to set up your Author Profile in Amazon along with asking your readers for reviews. Get involved in social media – Facebook Author Page; Twitter; LinkedIn; Pinterest; and others. Experiment with each one to see where you get the most followers. Boosting your Facebook page and/or posts (for a fee) to generate followers. Collect email addresses with a subscribe button and send out monthly emails about your book or what you are doing. You can use MailChimp.com or ConstantContact.com for these list building/email services.

Consider a website – preferably “yourname.com” as the domain. That was the best advice given to me in 2000. Buy your domain (networksolutions.com) and have it hosted (hostgator.com). Easiest place to set up a website is WordPress, you can have them host it or pay for a hosting company. Need help? Go to www.fiverr.com and work with someone there to set up a WordPress shell. I worked with several people on Fiverr.com who set up WordPress website shells (and I maintain the content) for under $250.  Some individuals may be less, some will be more.

Familiarize yourself with the term Independently Published. Self Publishing no longer carries the stigma it did 20 years ago – or even 5 years ago. The term “Self Published” is now being widely recognized as Indie Publishers or Independently Published. The 5 remaining New York Publishing Houses no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. Literary Agents want to see your marketing efforts as an Indie before taking you on. Thousands of copies need to be sold before presenting you to a NY Publisher. The rules have changed and the players have switched roles. Authors are in control of their work when they independently publish. Readers don’t care who published the book, they care about the book’s content. Enjoy the journey, as you get to decide where to publish your book so your readers can enjoy your work.

Other places to help with online marketing:
 Author Publicity Pack by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart
 9 Strategies to Build and Grow your Author Platform by Shelley Hitz
 Publishing eBooks for Dummies

Best Wishes for Author Success!

. . .

Memories of Dan Poynter

Dan Poynter and Me Sep 2009

 

Death of a Great Publishing Icon

I was deeply saddened  when I learned that Dan Poynter passed away last month.  My memories of meeting him rushed through my mind as tears streamed down my face.

I first learned about Dan in 1991 when I bought a copy of his book Self Publishing Manual.  I read it cover to cover and cemented my commitment to book publishing.  I applied his principals to the book I was writing including forming my own publishing company and buying my first block of ISBNs.  I followed his words to the letter.

When I joined Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association and attended their annual 2-day conferences (CIPA College), Dan was a speaker.  I first met him in person in 1995.  I went up to him and asked some questions not sure what they were now, but he was more than generous with his answers.  He was encouraging, supportive and never tired of the same questions.  Dan spoke at CIPA College many more times before I relocated from Denver to Philadelphia in 2001.  After that I continued to follow him, buy his books and reports and looked to him as my publishing mentor.  I never lost track of Dan since I knew I could always go to his website when I needed an answer.  Once I relocated, I couldn’t find any self publishing groups anywhere along the New York to Washington corridor.  I kept writing, however, and never forgot Dan’s material each time I wanted to publish.

In 2009, I attended a 2 day publishing conference in the Philadelphia area and Dan was the key speaker.  I was thrilled to see him once again in person.  Of course I went up to him and gave him a quick synopsis of how he has been my publishing mentor all these years, and how thrilled I was to see him speak again.  He asked me to sit next to him at the conference dinner and we had wonderful conversations and lots of laughs.  And a table mate took our picture.  It’s one photograph I’ll treasure for a lifetime.  Little did I know it would be the last time I would see him.

So when I got an email from Smashwords with the subject line “5 things for authors to know” I scrolled down and saw #3 “Dan Poynter Remembered” I knew, “oh no he died.” I took the next hour reading various notices, obituaries and wikepedia / about.com to learn what happened and when.  But the why he was taken from us so young will never be answered.  I just have to trust that God felt his work was done.  His work with us author/publishers will never be done, he will live on in our hearts and minds. His words of support, encouragement and knowledge will remain in our thoughts. When I saw him in 2009, I marveled at how he embraced technology within the book publishing industry, and encouraged us to never waver from paper books even with the ebook craze.

I’m sad for the loss of such a knowledgeable man who was the godfather of self publishing and who paved the way for us to be successful as indie publishers. I will treasure my photograph of us together at that 2009 dinner. Most importantly I will continue to do my best to make Dan proud as an author and publisher following what he taught me and embracing the ongoing changes in the publishing world.

RIP Dan, I will miss you … we will all miss you.

Rosemary Augustine – Author & Publisher

~~~

 

Publishing Group to Meet

cropped-cropped-self-publishing-word-cloud.png

It’s been brought to my attention that many of you would like for me to start hosting a book publishing group again.  For three years I ran Self Publishing for Writers in the Philadelphia area via Meetup.  I handed the group off to another author when I moved to Florida this past spring, but there seems to be a desire for me to run another group – this time either via Skype or a monthly Conference Call. I keep getting the calls, the emails, the instant messages, so I can’t ignore these requests.  

Here on this Blog, I would love your feedback regarding this. I’ve included a few questions and would love for you to give me your thoughts, responses and any other ideas that may be crossing your mind regarding such a group.  Technology is so advanced these days, that we can all be sitting in our living room participating on a conference call or webinar while I sit in Florida and others are in Philly, Denver, or Los Angeles.  

If you would like to participate, please reply by December 20th.  Here are a few questions I have for you:

1. Would you participate in a book publishing “meeting” on a monthly basis for approximately 1-2 hours?

2. Best time for you to participate on a monthly basis? Saturday morning time frame? Or other timeframe?

3. Would you prefer to participate via Skype? Webinar? Group Conference Call? (toll charge may apply).

4. Describe where you are currently in your book publishing process? Are you… Writing? Finished manuscript but not sure what to do now? Already published? Struggling with publishing? Need help with book marketing? Need to understand Social Media? Other Help? (Please describe).

5. Describe your level of computer knowledge navigating Create Space; Kindle; Smashwords; NookPress, MS Word, internet searches, google analytics, wordpress, meta tags, etc.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and strongly needed for your book publishing success. I welcome the opportunity to provide my expertise on a Saturday morning each month, however, your response along with other authors reading this will determine if this monthly meeting group becomes a reality.

Please participate and reply by the deadline of Dec 20, 2015.  Send your comments and replies to me via email.

 Email: Rosemary Augustine

Thank You!

Rosemary Augustine – Author/Publisher
Former Self Publishing for Writers Meet Up Organizer
Former President of Colorado Independent Publishers Association

Marketing Tips for May

Publishing your own books can be an exhilarating process. Lots of work and lots of pay offs eventually – depending on how much work you do.

As I was researching some sites to provide you with some great publishing tips, I came across this link that is a great idea for marketing your book. This is a great idea and I can’t wait to hear from some of you on how this worked for you. I would suggest that the gift card is not only used to buy your book but also ask (possibly call it a card with strings) for them to also review your book once they buy it.

http://buildbookbuzz.com/how-to-sell-more-books-on-amazon/

Some other ideas for you on book marketing includes:

Setting up your Author Page on Amazon. If you are not comfortable promoting yourself, hire someone to write the copy for you. Look at other authors’ bio’s which will help you in promoting yourself.

Do you have an Author Page on FaceBook? If not, it’s time to get one. Simple to create, post teasers about your book, upcoming books or other writings you are working on. Remember to “Pay to Boost” your posts so you can attract readers (and ultimately buyers). Set up the links to buy your book as well, I set mine to go right to my Amazon page.

Some of you may do well with a Pinterest account too. I’ve been a Pinner for a couple of years now, and find that I have Pin Boards relevant to my book topics. They include: Journal Spaces (places to sit while journaling – which really are beautiful porch settings with wicker furniture); Cats – oh my, I’ve gone overboard on this Pin Board, but, hey, it sells Cat books; a Book Board with all my books plus many others that I recommend. These are just a few ideas on how I’ve used Pinterest. Put your thinking cap on and get creative on pinning pictures that your readers would find interesting and that correlate to your genre.

Comment, Like and Follow on other pages, blogs and boards. Spend about 30 minutes doing some searching around and then return to these places on a regular basis. Post comments, create a dialogue, Like, etc. Usually, your FB name; URL or some other identifier is part of your reply, so people may follow you as well.

All of this is an experiment. You may find some sites more to your style than others. Just because FaceBook has many groups that authors can promote their books for free, doesn’t mean it’s the right place for your book. I joined one of these groups one night and was able to increase my Likes by 25 people in a matter of an hour, but the other authors weren’t all the types of books I was interested in reading let alone promoting with a Like. Spend some time researching such places.  I made sure I Liked the 25 that reciprocated.

Twitter and LinkedIn may be helpful for you. I like to use them more for information rather than posting and getting followers. But, that’s relevant to me and may not be relevant for you. You need to go on the sites and see if it’s something that would benefit your topic.

So, that just a few tips for now. I’ve gotten moved to my new home and settled in and just now getting back to working on my books, publishing and working on some new projects. All the boxes are unpacked so I have no excuse now.  As always, if you have any questions, or need any help getting your books written, published or marketed, don’t hesitate to contact me – 610-647-8863.  Or send me an email.

Hope this finds you writing, publishing and marketing with ease.

Rosemary Augustine ~ Author and Publisher

 

 

Fact Sheet for Authors and Publishers

Fact Sheet

This is a guideline for your book showing the content to include on a Fact Sheet. However, your layout may vary.  Use with the media, book reviewers, or create a general book flyer.  Include a photograph of your book – easily to the right of the content below.  Keep this to one page and include links when doing an electronic version.

Title:

Subtitle:

Author: author’s name (include illustrator name also, if one)

Date of Publication: (release date)

Type of Book: hard cover / soft cover / ebook, etc.

Trim Size: dimensions of the book (N/A for ebooks)

Binding Type: perfect bound, spiral bound, etc. (N/A for ebooks)

# of Pages: total number of pages (N/A for ebooks)

Selling Points: can also be called “reader benefits” briefly list 3-5 selling points directed at your readers

ISBN: use the 13 digit ISBN

Price: suggested retail price

Book Summary: give a brief description of the book – approximately 100 words or less

Reviews: include a couple of brief quotes from any book review received

Author’s Contact Info:

Author’s or Book’s Website:

Publisher’s Name:
Publisher’s Address: (include street, city, state, zip code)
Publisher’s Phone #:

Author Bio: Keep to one paragraph

Available Via: include wholesalers / distributors and their contact info; bookstores and retail outlets (including Amazon, Kindle and/or Smashwords, etc.); include any other outlets.

________________________________________________________________

Easy Steps to Publishing

Recently, Rosemary Augustine, Author and Publisher, spoke to Pagoda Writers Group about book publishing. She found it helpful to include the information here as well. For future updates, please subscribe to Self Publishing for Writers…

Easy Steps to Getting Your Work on Amazon and Beyond

1. Write your book – the preferable software is MS Word. Write, don’t format at this time. Do your own edits initially, meaning your version of rough drafts.

2. Plan your book (preferably while you’re writing) and budget the upfront costs. Prices are approximate for illustration of this discussion:
* Cover concept / design – $200 – $500
* Interior layout – see editor fees
* Editor – approximately $250-$500 (maybe more if they also do the layout)
* Set up a publishing company name to be used with your ISBNs – $100.
* ISBN – the only official seller of ISBNs is R R Bowker (they re-direct you to MyIdentifiers.com to buy (prices currently $125/1; $295/10; $500/100).
* You will need an ISBN for each version of your book – print at CreateSpace; eBook at Smashwords; etc. Currently Kindle and NookPress do not require an ISBN to list your book with them.

3. Familiarize yourself with Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle websites.
https://www.createspace.com is a DIY for free, or use their services for a fee
https://kdp.amazon.com – for eBooks using Kindle only

 Terms and Agreements
 Cover and Interior Template options
 Their services for a fee and what you can do for free
 Their eViewer (Online look/see before they review your book and before it’s published
 Royalties information
 Extended Distribution
 Proof Copies – online or print
 Your cost to buy once published
 Publish Button that takes you LIVE for customers to BUY

Using other “Vendors” like Lightning Source; Infinity Publishing; LuLu; BookBaby; iUniverse; or other print houses such as Thomson Shore, Morris Publishing etc. to publish your book?… Most will list your book on Amazon and of course it is built into their fee. I’ve found working with Amazon directly to offer the best deal.

Other places to consider putting your book after the 90 day exclusive with Amazon and Kindle expires is: www.Smashwords.com. Also consider http://www.NookPress which is the Barnes and Noble’s eReader – The Nook. There are many other places for your readers to buy, but these 4 sites (Amazon/Kindle/Smashwords/NookPress) cover probably 90% of the market.

Remember to set up your Author Profile in Amazon along with asking your readers for reviews. Get involved in social media – Facebook Author Page; Twitter; LinkedIn; Pinterest; and others. Experiment with each one to see where you get the most followers. Boosting your Facebook posts (for a fee), generates followers. Collect email addresses with a subscribe button and send out monthly emails about your book or what you are doing. You can use MailChimp.com or ConstantContact.com for these list building/email services.

Consider a website – preferably “yourname.com” as the domain. That was the best advice given to me in 2000. Buy your domain (networksolutions.com) and have it hosted (hostgator.com). Easiest place to set up a website is WordPress, you can have them host it or pay for a hosting company. Need help? Go to www.fiverr.com and work with someone there to set up a WordPress shell. I worked with Kami Designs at Fiverr who did one of my websites (www.careeradvice.com) recently for $250.

Familiarize yourself with the term Independently Published. Self Publishing no longer carries the stigma it did 20 years ago – or even 5 years ago. The term “Self Published” is now being widely recognized as Indie Publishers or Independently Published. The 5 remaining New York Publishing Houses no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. Literary Agents want to see your marketing efforts as an Indie before taking you on. Thousands of copies need to be sold before presenting you to a NY Publisher. The rules have changed and the players have switched roles. Authors are in control of their work when they independently publish. Readers don’t care who published the book, they care about the book’s content. Enjoy the journey, as you get to decide where to publish your book so your readers can enjoy your work.

Other places to help with online marketing:
 Author Publicity Pack by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart
 9 Strategies to Build and Grow your Author Platform by Shelley Hitz
 Publishing eBooks for Dummies

Best Wishes for Author Success!

. . .

Get Published

Secrets of a Self-Published Author

by Rosemary Augustine

Often I hear “how do you do all that you do?”  well, the trick is there is only one thing I do everyday, and everything else waits.  And that one thing is WRITE!  I write daily!   My writing takes on various forms from a Blog to Email Blasts, Book Chapters, Business Ideas, Marketing and PR for book promotion and of course journaling.

My day starts anywhere between 6 AM – 12 Noon (depends on when I went to bed (often after midnight) – and depends on how long my next day will be especially if I’m speaking or teaching a class that evening.  I live alone so I only have the morning cries of my two feisty felines wanting their food.  They can be quite demanding in the morning.  While drinking my morning hot beverage – of tea or coffee, I spend 20 minutes and write my morning pages – I journal my thoughts, my ideas, my list for the day, my concerns, worries, fear, disappointments, conversations with my inner thoughts, God or an imaginary person!  I write to get whatever off my chest and in the process I write some pretty interesting stuff – sometimes I use it as part of my Blog, article or even something for the book.  Other times it’s not worth the ink it’s written with but it has to be written in those daily morning pages.  It is in these moments that GEMS are born – writing gems that later take on a life and become a story.  This article/speech was one that was created in my 20 minutes of morning pages.  I write and I write rough – rough drafts are meant to be rough.  Later when I scheduled time to edit and/or type up for distribution is when I spend the time to add, enhance, develop more, polish or decide to trash.  When I trash it, it still stays in the journal! It just doesn’t get to the electronic file marked “writings.”   It may be days or weeks before I go back and use what I wrote, so I write on top of the Page – For Blog or Speech etc. and highlight it so I can refer back to it later.

When I wrote my first book, FCIE, many chapters were articles that were published in a syndicated column I wrote for every two weeks.  Those articles were expanded into chapter of the book.  And those articles started out as morning pages – journal dumping and later polished for newspaper column and later the book.  So if you’re not already journaling, consider journaling in the morning – 1st thing before the distractions of the day take hold and taint your mind.  I am a huge believer that writing long hand for those 20 minutes makes all the difference in your life – even though later you may type it up and/or even spend the next 8 hours working on the computer.   There is more and more proof that journaling reaches a cellular level for healing, growth, creativity, and higher consciousness that is tapped when journaling.   The insight, wisdom, awareness, and more can never be attained doing it via a keyboard.  There are different sides of the brain that are used therefore, different information that is released.

When I journal, I don’t re-read what I just wrote… I often never re-read it.  I just keep writing til my 20 minutes are up  or my thoughts have emptied and I go on to writing affirmations or a prayer or my to do list.  But I write for 20 minutes!.  3 pages in a composition notebook takes about 15 – 20 minutes.  I have sped through and done it in less time (totally illegible) , so it’s either 3 pages or 20 minutes whichever I complete first.   By doing my 20 minutes it stretches my mind for later writing in creative activities and yes!  More writing.

Writing my book 365 Days of Creative Writing started about 3 years ago. 

Writing comes easily for some… journaling however, can be a challenge for many.  As a writer, struggled with journaling for a long time – some days not knowing what to write.  My writing started as poetry and short stories as a teenager and then I began journaling around age 30.  For the next three decades, my daily writings would flow like water from an open facet.  Then there would be skipped days, weeks even months.  When something was bothering me, I’d pick up my journal and write about it.  Then I would go back to skipped days, weeks and months.  “I was very much like many other women, who found the daily challenge of journaling hard to stick with and often with blank stares at an empty page not knowing what to write.”

Rosemary is not exactly sure when, but she started offering journal prompts to her clients in the 1990s who were struggling with career transition.  As their Career Coach, she found herself listening to many tales of woe and would suggest “why don’t you journal on that” with the response being “I wouldn’t know what to write.”  When she would suggest a particular word or phrase, a light bulb would go off with their response of  “what a great idea.”  Those suggestions eventually turned into an idea for a book and now many years later a book just released titled: 365 Days of Creative Writing.

365 Days of Creative Writing by Rosemary Augustine offers journal prompts and creative ideas for everyday of the year.  Rosemary wrote the book for those of us who want to journal daily but find it hard in the chaos of life to carve out even 5 minutes.  However, in the bigger scheme of things it is important to not only find the time, 15 – 20 minutes at least on a daily basis, but to make the time – everyday.  As Rosemary points out in the introduction of the book, it is vitally important to your mental well being, physical health and spirit’s survival to find the time to write.  The prompts can also be used for creative writing ideas, helping one write a memoir, breakthrough writer’s block and for writers to hone their writing skills.

Publishing…

Rosemary says… “It never occurred to me to consider a NY publisher!  In 1991 I had purchased a book by Dan Poynter called: The Self Publishing Manual and while driving to Los Angeles I stopped in the desert to take a break and started reading his book and said that’s it!  I want to write and publish books… Well, I took the next 6 weeks in Los Angeles with my brother (he was recouperating from a heart attack and I was seeing my 8 month old niece for the first time) and read the book and got very clear about writing and publishing.”

Publishing in the early 1990s was VERY different than today.  The process took about a year from writing/editing/book cover design / interior layout and production (with blue lines for review).  Although I did send an electronic file for printing I still review “Blue Lines” before the final printing.   I was fortunate to belong to a group called : Colorado Independent Publishers Association (I later became President of the organization).  And I attended every monthly meeting and annual conference where I actually met Dan Poynter.  All my books were short runs (100 printed copies).  And reprints were 100 as well.  The cost… for the first book was probably close to $5000. Just to get to print.

My second book was a lot less cost and a lot quicker to get to print.  After 18 months of writing it / editing/ book cover design and interior layout / we were printed in less than 4 weeks.  Again I printed short runs of 100 copies.  I used Morris Publishing in Nebraska for the reprint of the 1st book and printing the 2nd book.

After looking at all the online options for publishing I chose CreateSpace for my 3rd book with a total investment outlay of $18.  I did it all as I wanted to prove a point that self publishing can be done on a shoestring – if you are willing to take advantage of the tools and have the time.  You don’t need to be creative, as CreateSpace provides you will all the tools you need – it’s really the time investment.

Self Publishing for Writers Meet Up

In 2012, I started a meet up group called Self Publishing for Writers.  In that group we had at least 50% of the people who attended publish their work in 2012 alone!  There is no better time than now to get published.  Create Space and Smash Words offer you opportunities for print on demand and e-publishing formats for any type of reading format.

Don’t take too long to think about it… finish that manuscript and get published.