Join Me at SBWC Santa Barbara Writers Conference June 18-23

SBWC Santa Barbara Writers Conference 2017Since 1972, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference has been connecting writers with mentors, agents and editors. Every summer, writers in many genres from around the world gather to participate in a magical week of intensive work focused on story, voice, craft, marketing, and networking with fellow writers and publishing professionals.

The conference has hosted a legacy of America’s best writers, including:

Ray Bradbury
Jane Smiley
William Styron
Eudora Welty
James Michener
Sue Grafton
Charles M. Schulz
Clive Cussler
Fannie Flagg
Elmore Leonard
T.C. Boyle

Join us this summer for our 45th anniversary, June 18-23, 2017, and become a part of this on-going literary legacy.

I will be there on a panel with Gail M. Kearns, Lisa Angle and Lida Sideris called Navigating the Amazon: Building Your Author Platform Friday, June 23rd at 4 pm. Looking forward to seeing familiar faces and some new ones too!

Register at http://www.sbwriters.com.

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Draft2Digital Adds Playster to Distribution Network

Playster

For authors selling books through distribution service, Draft2Digital, the outlets just expanded. D2D has been sending ebooks to most of the usual (non-Amazon) suspects for a while now including iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Scribd and more. Now they’ve added Playster.

Playster is a subscription-based service that allows readers to pay a low monthly fee for unlimited access to thousands of books (or movies, music, and games, if that’s your thing). Their mantra: Everything Unlimited. Your readers (past, present, and future) can get a 30-day free trial, giving them access to one of the fastest growing digital libraries around.

Amazon Prime and Scribd also use subscription-based business models. Smashwords, the main competitor to Draft2Digital, has more distribution channels but presently does not have ties with Playster. For the meantime, D2D may be the only way to upload self-published books to Playster.

Of note, Babelcube is a site many authors use for translating their books into many languages. Babelcube also uses Draft2Digital for distribution to retailers, so hopefully those of us with translated books through Babelcube should soon see our foreign language versions available on Playster.

If interested, you’ll need to log in to your author dashboard at draft2digital to opt into this new distributor, and start reaching new readers right away. And when you do, you may be prompted to add your books to Kobo Plus as well, another new feature at D2D.

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Write On by Kindle Amazon’s Critique Group Out of Business

Write On by Kindle has gone away. This is old news by internet standards; Amazon’s online critique group shut down a month ago. It was a community where writers shared works-in-progress to get feedback from readers and other writers. But like many things internet, it was a fine idea that just didn’t last or wasn’t executed well or both.

Write On by Kindle

 

Critique groups are helpful to any writer, in my opinion. That’s what excited me about Write On by Kindle, an online feedback forum hosted by the king of book sales. Sounds like a smart place to craft your next bestseller.

Unfortunately not. One might assume since it didn’t generate revenue or spawn bestsellers that it wasn’t worth Amazon’s expense to maintain. More likely, it didn’t have what it takes to compete with established players, and Amazon was okay with that. Que sera sera.

Plenty of online alternatives still exist. Wattpad has been going strong for over 10 years, and while it’s more than just an online critique group, the same benefits can be found there.

Others include Absolutewrite, Critiquecircle, and Inkedvoices to name a few.

Jane Friedman has an excellent post called How to Find the Right Critique Group or Partner for You.

Not sure why it saddens me to see Write On close doors. I had a work in progress there, but it wasn’t getting many reads. Probably a common story.

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Unicorn Writers Conference Presentation Links March 25, 2017

Below are the links for the 2 presentations I’m giving at the Unicorn Writers Conference in White Plains, NY:

1. Self-Publishing Essentials and 2. Formatting Ebooks

1. Self-Publishing Essentials

my gift to you: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/592348 (coupon code – TA34Q)

KDP Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing): https://kdp.amazon.com/

Smashwords (free distributor): https://www.smashwords.com/

BookBaby (paid distributor): http://www.bookbaby.com/

Draft2Digital (free distributor): https://www.draft2digital.com/

Barnes & Noble Nook Press: https://www.nookpress.com/

Amazon Kindle formatting: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A14LJ3QNDNO64G

Smashwords Style Guide: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52/

LibreOffice (free Word alternative): http://www.libreoffice.org/

Kindle Format 8 complex formatting: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000729511

Calibre Ebook Management (convert .docx to ePub and more): http://calibre-ebook.com/

Smashwords List (formatters and cover designers): https://www.smashwords.com/list

Book Design Templates: http://www.bookdesigntemplates.com/ http://www.diybookformats.com/

Creative Commons Search: http://search.creativecommons.org/

Bigstock Photo: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/

Inkscape: https://inkscape.org/en/ Gimp: http://www.gimp.org/

Google Keyword Planner: http://adwords.google.com/keywordplanner

Digital Book Today: http://digitalbooktoday.com/

Self Publishing Review: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/

Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/

2. Formatting Ebooks

my gift to you: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/592348 (coupon code – TA34Q)

Free alternatives to MS Word: http:// www.LibreOffice.orghttp://www.OpenOffice.org

Kindle Direct Publishing (free to join and publish ebooks at Amazon): https://kdp.amazon.com/

Bookshelf where you can Add Titles and fill in your book’s information and also use the Preview Mode: https://kdp.amazon.com/dashboard

Help section at KDP Amazon: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?

Amazon Kindle formatting: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A14LJ3QNDNO64G

Kindle reading app for any device: https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page/

Kindle Format 8 for very advanced formatting (drop caps, embedded fonts, pop up text, fixed layouts, HTML5 support, CSS3 support and more): http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000729511

Types of Formats Amazon recommends: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2GF0UFHIYG9VQ

Calibre for converting to ePub, viewing, editing, etc. ebooks: https://calibre-ebook.com/

Epub Validator to check for any problems with epub file: http://validator.idpf.org/

 
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Why Indie Authors Should Avoid the Big 5 and Instead Focus on Taming the Marketing Beast

big5Enjoy this guest post from author, Carol Vorvain, of Writers Boon.

3 simple truths about traditional book publishers all authors should know:

  • The Big 5 publishers keep authors on a tight leash. You must write about what they think is marketable. You must publish as fast or as slow as they want. The book must have a certain number of words to be considered a commercial book. They are your employer. So, you’d better listen. You are under a standard contract. You have little or no opportunity to negotiate the provisions.
  • Unless you are already famous, the Big 5 don’t help you with the marketing. They simply don’t have the cash for it.  
  • The Big 5 pay you peanuts. They offer low royalties and seize your publishing rights. A penny for your thoughts. Literally. That’s what’s left after they cover their own expenses and take the cut.

3 simple reasons why authors like you resiliently still knock on the door of the Big 5:

  • Fear of failing. I’ve got news for you. You can hide as much as you’d like behind their big name, but you, my dear freshly employed author, are still on your own. You have to make the miracle happen, you have to learn how to stand out from the crowd. And to do all this, you still need to befriend the marketing beast. You are not yet that precious for them to hire a marketing team focusing on you. And when you’ll be, you won’t need them. Right?
  • That feathered thing called Hope… Hope to be praised, get recognized and ultimately make a living out of it. It will happen. But you will make it happen, not them.
  • The Ego monster. You dream of the day when you will brag to all your family and friends that you are hanging out with them now, with the big 5. You got the golden stamp of approval. You have been chosen.  

1 strong enough reason to be an indie author:

  • Control. As the saying goes, “If we were meant to be controlled we would have come with a remote.” So, be the master of your own publishing journey. Unleash your creativity both in your writing and in your marketing tactics. You are now an entrepreneur.

Take advantage of all the resources out there that pave your way. Take advantage of Writers Boon, the digital platform that helps indie authors with marketing and the business aspect of publishing.

How?

Well, it provides guidance, tips and resources that serve as a blueprint for action on all types of marketing and public relations: content marketing, email marketing, advertising, social media marketing, SEO, copywriting.

Let’s say, for the first 6 months, you decide to focus on content marketing.

On Writers Boon, you will start by browsing and learning about all the different types of content book marketing: author and book videos, virtual book tours, public speaking, content distribution and promotion, interactive content, press releases and so on. Then, you can start focusing on finding resources, some at big discount prices: experts in the field or, if you are more of a DIY author, DIY tools &apps. There is also a how-to guides section where you can look for books, courses, webinars or blog articles to learn more.

For example, you’ve heard it’s a good idea to run giveaways. You’d like to try it, but first you’d like to understand more about the process. Easy. Simply look under the Giveaway how-to guides section. If still confused, head to the Q&A section, ask your question and a giveaway expert will answer you. Once it’s all clear, start browsing different giveaway tools. Add notes, tag favorites, read reviews and take the leap.

And don’t forget to use the power of networking. Schmooze or lose. Keep track of live training and book events with Writers Boon free Calendar of Events.

Carol Vorvain Writers BoonRemember the 3 simple truths about traditional book publishers we’ve talked about? Perhaps now it’s the time to embrace the opportunity of being an indie author rather than being frightened by it. Be confident that you can reach worldwide audience through digital marketing. And always remember this old Chinese proverb: “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”  

Carol Vorvain (@writersboon) is an Australian international lawyer, mediator, author and founder of Writers Boon. Her books, When Dreams are CallingWhy not? – The island where happiness starts with a question and  A Fool in Istanbul – The adventures of a self-denying workaholic have been featured in a number of travel magazines including the International Traveller magazine and can be found in libraries, bookstores and on Amazon.

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