NOOK Press Opens to European Authors

Nook PressAuthors living in many European countries just got another avenue opened for selling ebooks. Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Press self-publishing wing has expanded its reach. What do you think–hooray or it’s about time? From the retailer:

You may notice some changes the next time you log into NOOK Press. We’ve been working hard to get NOOK Press ready for some new guests – starting today, publishers in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium will be able to publish with NOOK Press and reach Barnes & Noble’s millions of book-loving customers. This means even more great indie content for customers and increased visibility for you and your NOOK Books in the months to come!

The changes we’ve made for this international expansion mean you can now:

  • View nookpress.com in 7 languages: Work and publish in US English, UK English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Select a new language in the dropdown from any page in NOOK Press.
  • Set your EUR (€) list prices. If you have indicated that you have Worldwide Rights, we’ll automatically convert the EUR list price from your USD list price as we do for GBP prices, or you can enter your own EUR price.

Thanks to the changes we’ve made, your titles will soon be on sale in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium if you’ve selected Worldwide Rights in the NOOK Book Details of your project. Because we have a very high volume of NOOK Press content, we are making your titles available in those countries over several months. We appreciate your patience as we work to put all NOOK Press content on sale in our new marketplaces.

With these expanded sales opportunities, it’s a great time to set up a vendor account and get all of your books on sale, if you have not already done so. By signing up now, you’ll have NOOK Books on sale in just 72 hours. If you are looking for self-publishing advice or inspiration from fellow authors, we’ve got you covered. Check out the NOOK Press Blog, which we’ve launched as another way to bring together writers and readers and to expand the conversation about self-publishing, both here and in Europe.

We want to assure you that we’ve been working hard to implement the new features at NOOK Press – including testing, testing, testing! As we open up NOOK Press to international publishers, our primary concern is to make sure that your experience is seamless. In case we missed something, please let us know so that we can fix it right away. We’ve added a new contact form so that you can send our support team an email directly from within NOOK Press.

We want to take this time to thank you for being a valued partner, and to wish you continued success in your self-publishing with NOOK!

Will B&N stay afloat in the ebook business? What are your thoughts?


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Barnes & Noble PubIt Changes to Nook Press, Too Late?

Nook Press logoPubIt is now Nook Press. Smart move for Barnes & Noble, or is it too little too late? Amid speculation that the Nook ship is sinking, or at least taking on water fast, this move to enhance the self-publishing indie author platform feels like a last ditch effort. My opinion: I hope it works but should have been done long ago. Here’s the email they just released (note some cool new features and some serious concerns below):

Dear Publisher,

Over the past two and a half years, our working partnership has made PubIt! a resounding success. Because of PubIt! publishers like you, we’ve been able to offer millions of NOOK® customers exciting new content from independent authors.

Our success is your success, and we’ve been working hard to bring you a platform that takes our partnership—and self-publishing—to the next level. Today, we’re pleased to introduce to you NOOK Press, our new and improved self-publishing platform!

NOOK Press is self-publishing made simple. With the NOOK Press platform you can write, edit, collaborate, publish and sell your eBooks all in one place—at no cost.

The NOOK Press platform features these exciting new tools and services:

  • NEW! One-stop Publishing Solution: Write, edit, format and publish your eBooks in our web-based platform, instantly reaching millions of NOOK customers within 72 hours.
  • NEW! Easy ePub Creation and Editing: Upload your manuscript file and make changes directly in NOOK Press. Editing and previewing in one session saves you time and effort.
  • NEW! Integrated Collaboration: Collaborate with editors, copyeditors, and friends, allowing them to review and comment on your manuscript without ever leaving NOOK Press.
  • Visual Sales Reporting: Our new visually-enhanced sales report makes tracking your sales progress even easier.
  • NEW! Instant Chat: Live Chat customer service is now available to quickly answer your questions Monday through Friday between 9am-9pm EST.
  • Pathway to Passionate Readers Everywhere: Publish once and reach millions of customers using NOOK and NOOK Reading Apps in the US and UK and more coming soon.
  • Same Great Terms: Our favorable PubIt! business terms and commitment to a transparent retail partnership remain unchanged.

NOOK Press Presents
Our booksellers are currently hand-selecting titles for a new merchandising program: NOOK Press Presents — Our Top 100 Picks for Summer. NOOK Press Presents will be an ongoing merchandising channel for independently published content that comes to NOOK through NOOK Press.

Once you moved your existing PubIt! account to NOOK Press your titles will be considered for this program, which will promote books across the NOOK ecosystem.

Get started with NOOK Press today! Click here to be guided through a quick, one-time account syncing process. Once completed your PubIt! account, sales, payment, and title information will automatically appear in NOOK Press. To find out more about the changeover to NOOK Press, see our support page here.

We’re excited to turn the page together on a new chapter in self-publishing!

Sincerely,
The NOOK Press Team

Like many indNook Press my titlesie authors, I’m really wanting this to work. We need more avenues for sales than just Amazon and the smattering of others including Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, etc. If you’re already selling there, switching a PubIt account to Nook Press is simple. This was my screenshot after doing so, and it asks which titles you want to offer for sale–then viola, it’s done.

The sales and payments page is also better, with all the information on one page and a graph of sales. You can also create a profile now (yeah!), something that was seriously lacking before. All information for payments automatically switches from the PubIt account, so no worries to reinsert bank account info, addresses, etc. It’s really simple. The ability to work on their site, collaborate with editors, friends, cover designers sounds intriguing–will have to report back on that.

Now for the serious concerns. Once an ebook is listed for sale, changes can’t be made without dumping the existing project and losing the reviews, ranking, etc: NOOK Book Details can be changed after you put your Project On Sale as a NOOK Book, but at this time, the NOOK Book itself cannot be updated or replaced. To update or replace a NOOK Book that is currently On Sale, you would need to take the Project Off Sale, download the ePub from the Project page, create a new Project, upload the downloaded ePub or create a new Manuscript in that Project, and then put that new Project On Sale as a NOOK Book.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:
Once you click Put On Sale, there will be a period of time of approximately 24-72 hours before your Project goes On Sale as a NOOK Book. During this interim period, you will be unable to edit your NOOK Book Details. Once your Project is On Sale as a NOOK Book, you will be able to edit the NOOK Book Details again. If you choose to change or update your NOOK Book’s title, please note that the NOOK Book will lose any existing customer reviews, sales ranking, star ratings, and links to other products with the previous title. The only NOOK Book Details you cannot change after your Project goes on sale as a NOOK Book is whether your NOOK Book is encrypted with DRM.

This makes me moderately happy. Like other indies, we all just want to sell ebooks. Back on the Nook bandwagon? Perhaps.

What are your thoughts?


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D’vorah Lansky Interviews Jason Matthews

Dvorah LanskyAuthor and book marketing wizard, D’vorah Lansky recently interviewed me on the subject of How Authors Can Benefit by Publishing Their eBooks on Multiple Platforms. It’s an hour video packed with info on this topic including questions on publishing with Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad, Smashwords, selling pdf files from your own sites, teaching a Udemy video course and more. If you don’t have an hour, read the cliff notes below. You can also learn about D’vorah and her work at both http://www.bookmarketingmadeeasy.com/ and http://DigitalPublishingVirtualSummit.com.

Jason, how did you get involved in the digital publishing / eBook world? In 1992 I wrote a screenplay and eventually signed with a film agent. Then I watched a decade pass with no deals. I finally rewrote the screenplay as a novel and also wrote a sequel, but both of those tasks took seven more years. By that time I had little patience for agents or publishers, so after a few rejections I decided to self-publish. I remember the exact moment it occurred in 2009, watching a college football game with a player named “Kindle” and the proverbial light-bulb turned on in my head. I knew then that my novels must be made available for Amazon Kindle owners and began the investigation of how to do that.

Why do you feel it is important for authors to publish their book digitally? Whether the author is traditionally published, or a newbie Indie or something in between, she/he must make those stories available digitally because ebooks are growing exponentially while print publishing is a flat industry. It’s also been shown that people who read ebooks are far more active readers and buyers. Ebooks enable an enormous portable library for people to read anywhere, even from their cell phones (you’d be surprised how many do).

In addition to Amazon, what are the top publishing options authors should consider, and why? This is currently the big question, and the answer isn’t the same for every author. In my experience Amazon is the king—Amazon is all that matters to me since they sell about 90% of my ebooks. Amazon even has a program called KDP Select, which requires a 90 day exclusive clause that the ebook is only available at Amazon and literally nowhere else including an author’s website. KDP Select offers special promotions and can really help spread an author’s name within the e-reading circles. Surprisingly, I’ve opted not to do KDP Select to keep my ebooks available everywhere possible. Because I teach these methods, my books must be available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, directly through my own websites and even as paperbacks via CreateSpace. Incredibly, all of these things are possible to do at no cost. For other authors, Amazon might be all they need although I would recommend having print copies available at CreateSpace, Lightning Source or Lulu. Print copies do not violate the terms for KDP Select.

If an author has published to Amazon, what benefits are there to also publishing to Barnes and Noble’s Nook? I know some authors who have great sales at Barnes & Noble. A small number sell more there than at Amazon and some sell with reasonable amounts like 25% of what they sell at Amazon. My ratio used to be about 15%, but lately it’s plummeted to 3% for Barnes & Noble sales compared to Amazon. However, that could change at any time so it makes sense for me to keep my books on their shelves. It’s really difficult to pull books from a retailer when they have sold well in the past. Anything could happen in the months ahead.

I know you have a video series in progress where you talk about how you take great care to publish and harness the marketing tools for both Kindle and Nook but your Kindle sales still overtake your Nook sales at a rate of 39:1. What can you share with us about your findings? Some of that is my venting to Barnes & Noble, meaning I wish they were doing the same business for me as Amazon. I find the entire platform at B & N less reader/author friendly including how their search engines operate, a lack of categories, lack of tags and how they recommend books to readers based on demonstrated preferences. Part of it is also this—I believe B & N got into the e-reading game reluctantly and a bit too late. They resisted the initial digital surge until finally realizing the brick and mortar design alone could not stand afloat, and so they introduced the Nook in Oct. 2009, well after the Kindle was established in Nov. 2007. It’s a great product and B & N was a great store, but why did it take them so long to get on board digitally? In the past week Microsoft invested heavily in Barnes & Noble with a pledge of $600 million to help the company compete with Amazon and Apple. Okay, we knew Microsoft didn’t like Apple, but it doesn’t take much now to see Microsoft and Amazon aren’t in bed either. Personally, I think Bill Gates may have just dumped over half a billion dollars. I wonder if Barnes & Noble is a doomed company still relying heavily on brick and mortar sales. If that’s true, it’s a good thing for Mr. Gates that he can easily afford the $600 million.

Are you familiar with publishing aggregates such as Lulu.com and Smashwords.com and what can you share with us about these companies? I’m a huge fan of Smashwords, a company that’s done more for ebooks and Indie authors than anything outside of Amazon. I met the CEO, Mark Coker, at the 2010 San Francisco Writers Conference and got his autograph (first one he’s signed). Smashwords helps new authors in more ways than I can list here. It does a dual publishing job of converting documents into multiple formats to be read on many devices while also distributing ebooks to companies like Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo and Diesel for sales. Smashwords does a tremendous amount of work while taking a smidgeon of profits (around 5%). Lulu, in my opinion, used to make more sense than it does now. For publishing ebooks, just upload directly to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple (if you’re a Mac user) and Smashwords for distribution to the rest. For paper versions, I recommend CreateSpace or Lightning Source over Lulu, but Lulu is not a bad platform either. CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, which makes the integration of ebook and print versions on their site seamless.

Jason, what else would you like to share with our community of authors, coaches, and speakers, regarding publishing their eBooks? This question could be answered in an entire book, or several–believe me because I’ve written them. If I could only impress one idea to a new author getting a book released, it would be this; experiencing success as an Indie author is most likely to happen if you do three things well. First, your book must be fantastic. It must be well-edited and make people want to read it entirely then share it with others who might benefit. Second, you must do everything possible to get the word out about your book, and this is probably wiser with free methods like blogging, participating in forums and using social media. Third, you must have thick skin for the nay-sayers while also having devout persistence when the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years. These things typically don’t happen overnight. There are a million Indie authors releasing ebooks, but only a tiny fraction will succeed. To be successful, you must have those three attributes to rise above the masses.

What one thing would you have our listeners do, in the next 24-hours, to take action on what you shared with us today?

Build an Internet Platform or Internet Presence list and identify your strong areas and those that need work. Think of it like a checklist or an outline or even a marketing plan, whatever works best for you. Items on the checklist don’t need to be worked on in a specific order, all can be done simultaneously in bits and pieces. These should include:

  • Writing the book
  • Editing the book (and this can be done in a several ways)
  • Cover design
  • Formatting the ebooks for Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and your own sites
  • Formatting for print versions (CreateSpace, Lightning Source, Lulu)
  • Building social media presence (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube)
  • Building a blog and/or website
  • Identifying the best forums for your subjects and participating at least occasionally.

Once you have the list (checklist, outline or marketing plan), refer to it monthly to identify which elements need the most work and stick with it.

Succeeding as an author today is perhaps equally as difficult whether one attempts to get published traditionally or enter the world of self-publishing. In both cases, the author will be required to market her/his books. The main benefit in choosing the self-publishing route is bypassing the waiting game; getting a book out there in little time and working on sales is a rewarding momentum boost for many Indies.

If that sounds like you then I recommend my book, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free. It’s a guide for learning everything it takes to make and sell books in a digital world on a budget everyone can afford. There is also advice for those who’d like to spend money wisely.

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Selling Ebooks on Amazon vs Barnes and Noble: Why Search Engines Matter

Why do some authors sell ebooks at Amazon so easily yet struggle to sell ebooks at Barnes and Noble? The answer might be since the search engine at Amazon works properly, while the search engine at Barnes and Noble is junk. This little experiment indicates book buyers who search by subject matter will have a much easier time finding what they are looking for at Amazon than at Barnes and Noble. (It also explains why I sell 39 Kindle ebooks for every 1 sale on the Nook.)

Did Microsoft just waste $600 million by bailing out Barnes and Noble? Perhaps so. Hopefully they have the brains to fix the search engine for buyers who want to find my books by subject matter. Get on that please, Bill Gates.

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Barnes & Noble Nook Sales Slow?

Sorry for complaining, but are other Indie authors selling a tiny percentage of ebooks at Barnes & Noble compared to Amazon Kindle?

When Pubit, Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform, first came out it was exciting. My books were already for sale there via Smashwords, but it appeared Pubit might be a better way to go direct.

I began keeping stats in 2011, and from January through April my Amazon Kindle sales outnumbered sales for Barnes & Noble (Nook) by a 6 to 1 ratio. That was a number I could live with, knowing Amazon is the king of selling ebooks and B & N has always been playing catch-up. Since then, from May 2011 through March 2012, my Barnes & Noble sales have plummeted to a ratio of 1 Nook sale for every 39 Kindle sales. Yikes, seriously not good. Almost 7 times worse than the results before.

And I was one of the authors who resisted KDP Select, Amazon’s exclusive 90-day Kindle promotion program, because of not wanting to pull ebooks from other retailer’s shelves (and also ’cause the exclusive thing rubs me a little wrong). When KDP Select came out in December 2011, I figured the B & N sales would hopefully rise since so many Indies bailed from Nook shelves. But that was another wrong assumption.

So what’s up here? It’s not like I only advertise for Amazon. The links to every major retailer are clearly visible on my sites. Since the Kindle and Nook forums are largely avoided by me, this has turned into something of a head-scratcher. Also of notice, my B & N sales via Smashwords are far better than the same Nook book selling directly via Pubit. Starting to wonder if Barnes & Noble is slowly dying? Maybe. Maybe another wrong assumption.

What about other authors–what are your experiences? Inquiring minds would love to know.

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