Indie Author Sonia Marsh Gutsy Living Gutsy Writer

What makes Sonia Marsh different from most Indie authors? Other than growing up all over the world, she’s done a dozen intelligent things to market her book BEFORE it’s published. Some of these include using ARC’s (advance reader copies), active blogging, promoting other writers, reviewing and contacting famous authors, videos, newspaper interviews, virtual blog tours and more.  Watch this video to learn these tips for any budding author.

Find Sonia at http://soniamarsh.com/ and her memoir, Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island soon to be released at Amazon as both ebook and in print (Aug 30th).



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Smashwords Adds Distribution Channels

page foundryIt’s great that Smashwords keeps adding new partners to help Indie authors sell ebooks. Recently it was the addition of Baker-Taylor, the massive distribution center for books and entertainment from Charlotte, NC, in business for nearly 200 years. This alliance will help dramatically with major bookstores and libraries, two areas where Indie authors would like to see more infiltration.

In the past few weeks, Smashwords has added Page Foundry, a company specializing in digital merchandise and delivery. This will help enormously for sales to Android mobile devices like tablets and smart phones, devices that already have a Page Foundry or similar ebook app built in via the manufacturer, a website or application (Asus, Wireless Operation, Versent and Inkterra).

What this will mean to a Smashwords author is the presence of additional sales channels in her/his dashboard and hopefully more money and more readers.

Read the details from Mark Coker in this blog post:

Smashwords Adds Page Foundry as New Mobile Distribution Partner for Android Devices

Smashwords today announced a distribution agreement with Page Foundry, a developer of mobile ebook store apps for Android tablets and smart phones…(keep reading)


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Building Your Book For Kindle Reviewed

Just read Building Your Book for Kindle, Amazon’s basic guide for formatting and uploading MS Word 2010 documents to be made into ebooks.

Pros: Perfect for Kindle. Easy to read and short. Comprehensive for the mandatory stuff. Free.

Cons: Thin, not much but the basics. Lacking advice for where to get help with major items like cover design and editing.

Here’s the video review below.

This is actually a new book (surprising, yes) released by KDP Amazon to help Indie authors upload better books. Here’s the info from their site:

Building Your Book for Kindle

We are excited you’ve decided to design, format, and prepare your book for Kindle! We’ll walk you through the necessary steps in creating a professional digital file of your book for quick upload to Kindle Direct Publishing. (…keep reading)

And for those who want a more comprehensive book that helps writers format ebooks for every e-reading device (Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo Reader, Amazon Kindle and more), may I recommend Mark Coker’s free Style Guide from Smashwords.


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SelfPubSmart.com Authors Review Publishing Companies

SelfPubSmart.com-banner

SelfPubSmart.com excites me. It’s a new site with candid reviews written by writers about the self-publishing options and companies we all need to know more about. Many Indie author sites have come and gone but this one fills a major need–should quickly become a smart solution and valuable service. Got experience with any self-publishing company to share (e.g. CreateSpace, KDP Select, Bookbaby, Dog Ear, iUniverse)? Just join the site for free and help writers navigate their options or read the reviews to see what others recommend.

Founder, Andrew Chapman, is a publishing consultant, professional speaker, author, and former president of a large publishing association who has met many authors confused by the self-publishing process. He’s found how easily writers waste money on services in pursuit of dreams. In the worst cases, authors have been ripped off by deceptive practices.

Andrew knew there had to be a better way. With thousands of authors taking the self-publishing route every year, all of them using some type of company or service in the process, other authors and aspiring writers could benefit from collective knowledge. In leading and growing Publishers & Writers of San Diego for seven years, he prioritized the sharing of this information among members and supporters. But that was just one organization with a limited reach. He realized the only way to truly aggregate and share this valuable information would be through a review- and comment-based website.

Andrew, what is SelfPubSmart.com?

It’s the first website to feature author ratings and reviews of the “self-publishing companies” they have used, such as Lulu or CreateSpace. All the ratings and reviews are from the authors themselves. There are no editorial reviews. Plus, unlike many of the user-review websites, we require our users to create a membership to reduce the likelihood of bogus or planted reviews. So, even though you can find a lot of good feedback of this kind from authors in user groups and other places online, my vision is to bring all this collective wisdom into one central place.

What prompted you to create it?

I’ve been in self-publishing for 25 years, as an author, professional speaker, consultant, service provider, and president of a large association. As such, I have met thousands of authors and heard so many horror stories of self-publishing gone wrong. Sometimes it’s just authors not knowing better and sometimes it’s authors getting scammed. At heart, I’m an educator — I’ve always felt like it’s my role to teach authors, in whatever way I can. I think the self-publishing revolution is an amazing thing. I know firsthand, because I remember what it was like to self-publish in 1987. So I believe all authors should have a fair chance to express their work. You never know what author can come from a humble start in “indie publishing” and maybe change many lives. But there’s a lot to know to succeed and it’s easy to make mistakes. So, anyhow, I’d been thinking for years, since at least 2005, that there should be a site like SelfPubSmart.com — and finally, the pieces came together for me to make it happen. Actually, my first thought was it would be a book of company reviews, but then I discovered Mark Levine had beaten me to it. And he did a great job.

Seems like a lot of work. How does it benefit you or do you have plans to monetize?

Great that you asked about monetizing it. Authors need to realize that self-publishing is a business, so I’m glad you think that way! And yes, it has been a lot of work over the course of two years, trying different tools and solutions to make the site work well (at least to start). I see the site as my venture into social entrepreneurship — which means, this isn’t a non-profit, but the primary goal is social good and money comes second. Right now, there is an Amazon store on the site, which features my recommendation of resources for self-published authors. Of course, your book is there, Jason! But the money from Amazon affiliates commission is minimal, just a few percent. So, unless someone clicks through to find your book and then happens to buy a big HDTV at the same time (hint, hint), there won’t be much money in commissions. The main revenue will come eventually as I develop products that will be sold directly from the site. I have some ideas about what those can be, but a lot will come from listening to what the site’s members and self-published authors in general could use. The model is very much in line with the “lean start-up” concept — launch with a minimum viable product, and build from there based on audience feedback. I also like Brian Clark’s concept of minimum viable audience, which fits here as well.

How does it help authors?

SelfPubSmart.com 2Three ways. First and foremost, any author considering using a self-publishing company will benefit from the experiences of other authors through the ratings and reviews. The ones you’ve posted, for example, are excellent. Some things may help authors in small ways, like choosing certain service options, but in some cases, authors may discover something that could literally save them hundreds or thousands of dollars. The site is also beneficial through its blog and articles, which will serve to supplement the rating and review content with further education. Last but not least, authors benefit because they can create a membership profile that promotes their books and websites. And I should probably mention that there are no fees for any of this — membership is free.

Have you been getting any response from some of the companies listed for reviews?

Not yet, but it’ll be interesting to see the reaction. Some user-review sites have been criticized or even sued by the companies they profile, but the courts have sided with the sites. It’s pretty much a rock-solid First Amendment issue, as with many aspects of the Internet. But part of the problem for some of these sites is that they let anyone post a review, even anonymously. So that opens the doors to unjustly negative comments, as well as gaming the system, either by the companies reviewed posting glowing testimonials about themselves or flaming their competition. With SelfPubSmart.com, anyone can visit and use the site, but you have to be a registered member to post a review. In addition, we encourage members to create full profiles, which raises their credibility. And then, of course, we audit reviews and members for posts or anything that might be suspicious or inappropriate. We reserve the right to remove content we feel is inauthentic, although we will contact the person who wrote it first to give them a chance to verify it.

What do you envision for the future at SelfPubSmart.com?

I’d love to hit 1,000 reviews by the first anniversary, next May. That would be great. And I’d love to see it be the equivalent of Dan Poynter for its purpose. When anyone talks self-publishing for more than a few minutes, Dan’s name is sure to come up. That’s branding. And that’s what I’d like for the site — to be recognized as a “must have, must see” resource for someone embarking on self-publishing. And, to expand on the social entrepreneurship aspect, I’m currently looking to partner with one or more social ventures to create a win-win. So, for example, when someone posts a review on SelfPubSmart.com, a copy of my college book could be donated to a group that helps underprivileged kids reach higher education. That’s in the works, but I have other similar ideas to create social good from the site beyond just what the site does in and of itself. Stay tuned!

See a list of their companies and share a review.

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Kobo Direct Uploads for Indie Authors Self-Publishing

Kobo logoKobo ebook retailer just announced Kobo Writing Life, a direct method for Indie authors and self-publishers to upload ebooks to the Canadian store’s cyber-shelves. It’s still in beta-mode and scheduled to be widely available by the end of June. Presently, Kobo is most commonly accessed by Indies via Smashwords.com or another distributor.

From their website:

How’s it work?

Bring us your Word documents, your Mobi files, your Text files! We’ll run your manuscript through our advanced open-source conversion process, transforming it into an ePub in a snap so it’s ready for instant publication to hoards of Kobo readers.

Read Freely? Write freely, too!

Unlike some self-publishing portals we could mention, Kobo doesn’t bind you to us. Publish to Kobo and take your ePub to your adoring fans, no matter where they might be. You’re free to sell your eBook the way you want.

From your computer to the world

Set up your free Kobo Writing Life account and start publishing right away. You won’t have to wait long for the accolades (and royalties) to start pouring in! Kobo Writing Life is launching soon. If you sign up now, you’ll be the first to know and get your eBooks out! Sign up link.

Okay, Kobo takes a shot at Amazon’s KDP Select program by mentioning they aren’t requiring an exclusive agreement. While I don’t like the KDP Select program either, pretty sure Amazon isn’t too worried. After all, Indies have the choice at KDP Amazon and besides, what took so long, Kobo?


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