Out Of Sync with Belinda Nicoll, The Only Constant is Change

Indie Authors #47 interviews Belinda Nicoll, on her move from South Africa to USA on September 11th, 2001. The expat discusses

change, conflict and culture shock in her memoir, Out Of Sync. Hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.

Amazon author pages:
http://www.amazon.com/Belinda-Nicoll/e/B0086X3N70/
http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Matthews/e/B004A8W4BG/
http://www.amazon.com/Marla-Miller/e/B000APJYSE/

Websites:
http://www.myriteofpassage.com/
https://ebooksuccess4free.wordpress.com
http://marlamiller.com/

G+ Pages:
Belinda Nicoll — https://plus.google.com/111672162253700762003/posts
Jason Matthews — https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313/posts
Marla Miller — https://plus.google.com/103300511748809913411/posts

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Amazon UK and EU Direct Payments to Authors

UK flagIt’s been a long time coming. Authors in the UK and EU have long struggled with a better payment option from US based Amazon.com, typically the largest seller of their ebooks. In the past it was done with US checks that often needed gross amounts deducted by local banks to convert to local currency. This hasn’t been a problem for US authors, as EFT’s (electronic funds transfer) are the common method of payment resulting in direct bank deposits. Now authors in the UK and EU can get that too.

From Amazon:

KDP updates royalty payment options for UK and EU

We are pleased to announce Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has new payment options available. You can update your account starting today for royalty payments to be made in April, 2013. Your account preferences can be set to receive royalty payments electronically across all marketplaces in British pounds or Euros. In order to be paid by Direct Deposit, your bank account will need to be located in the United Kingdom or in Europe.

For more information, https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help.

A happy day for Indies and readers 🙂

Care to comment?

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College Football and Indie Author Dreams

Sometimes people ask, “How did you decide to become an Indie author?” Recently, I wrote this article for inclusion in a book.

Kindle football playerA few years ago a college football game changed my life. During a timeout, the TV camera zoomed in close on the back jersey of one of the players until his last name filled the screen: Kindle. The camera stayed there long enough to strike a chord in me even though I didn’t particularly care about the game or either of the teams. Kindle reminded me of my dream of being a writer and no longer working as a house-painting contractor. Two full-length novels had been written during my free time and then existed solely on the hard drive of my computer while I tried to secure an agent or publisher, which seemed an impossible task. For months I had weighed the options to go for a traditional contract or bite the bullet and get into self-publishing. I knew ebooks were here to stay and Amazon was the place for them. That unlikely moment during a college football game aided my decision. It said to me that Kindle was important. Kindle could be my way out of painting and into writing full time.

Once the decision was made, I began researching how to make and sell ebooks. I first uploaded to Amazon and Smashwords, then created my own websites and sold from there as well. I became active in social media, online forums and submitted articles in cyberspace to promote my novels. I even published paperbacks. The amazing thing was that all of it was done with free methods, literally at no cost to me, and I was finally selling books. When I shared this information with other writers, their curiosity peaked as to how they could do it too.

The proverbial light over my head lit up. I realized a how-to guide would be my next book: a thorough explanation of everything needed to effectively create, market and sell ebooks and paperbacks without spending a small fortune in the process. To my amazement, I wrote the book in just over a month, and as soon as it was released it began selling like crazy. To date, that title, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free, has sold over 10,000 copies in digital and print formats and continues to sell.

How has life changed now that I have five titles selling? I no longer paint houses for a living, thankfully. Every month direct deposits are made into my bank account by Amazon, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Udemy, Google, and Smashwords (quarterly). Readers also buy directly from my own sites and fill my PayPal account with deposits. Even though the money isn’t currently as much as I’d like it to be, it is enough to cover my family’s needs and allow me to be a full time writer. Plus I have the hope that my novels will take off someday soon, and then the possibilities are unlimited. More than that, the contacts I’ve made with other writers, readers and people in general have taken off to the level that all sorts of opportunities are happening including offers for speaking engagements, foreign rights, consulting jobs (which I’ve done), and more.

For new writers getting started, focus on doing the little things one step at a time knowing most independent authors will take ten thousand steps before their dreams are realized. If you expect tremendous results in little time, frustration is likely to be the outcome. First and foremost, do everything in your power to present the very best book you can with a great cover, polished interior, excellent editing and such. Then upload and sell from Amazon and other major retailers. Find your favorite elements of social media and stick with those few; whether it’s Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkenIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Goodreads, blogging or whatever—you’ll save energy and sanity by just doing a few things well than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades in social media. Remember it takes time, so be patient yet persistent. And of course, read my guide. It will help bunches.

http://www.amazon.com/Make-Market-Sell-Ebooks-ebook/dp/B003CJU49I/


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Smashwords 2012 Highlights

smashwordsMark Coker just released the highlights for 2012 at Smashwords and the ebook industry in general. To read the entire post, click here – http://blog.smashwords.com/2012/12/smashwords-year-in-review-2012-power-in.html. For just the highlights, read below.

From Mark Coker;

2012 was another incredible year for the Smashwords authors, publishers, literary agents, retailers, libraries, and customers we serve.

Here are some of our key milestones for 2012:  

  • Catalog growth:  We’re ending the year with more 190,500 books at Smashwords.  98,000 new titles were added to the Smashwords catalog this year.  This is up from 92,500 at the end of 2011, and up from 28,800 at the end of 2010, 6,000 in 2009, and 140 our first year in 2008.
  • More authors/publishers/literary agents choosing Smashwords:  Smashwords today supports 58,000 authors and small publishers around the world, up from 34,000 at the end of 2011, 12,100 in 2010, 2,400 in 2009, and 90 in 2008.
     
  • Profitability: Smashwords has been profitable for 27 straight months, and our profitability is growing as our business grows.  We’ve done this without bringing in outside venture capital, which means we’re free to pursue our unconventional business model without the interference of outside investors.  Profitability is important, because it means we’re here for the long haul.  It means we have the resources to reinvest in our business for the benefit of the authors, publishers, retailers, libraries, and readers we serve.  Nowhere is this investment more apparent than in our staffing numbers (next item).
     
  • Employee Count:  We’re ending 2012 with 19 employees, up from 13 in 2011, and 3 in 2010. This year we continued to invest heavily in customer service and software development. 
     
  • Faster-Faster-Faster:  Thanks to investments in technology and staffing, we’re providing faster conversions, faster Premium Catalog approvals, faster response times to support inquiries, faster distributions to Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble, and faster sales reporting.  We will improve further on all counts in 2013.
     
  • Libraries:  We signed new distribution deals with library aggregators such as Baker & Taylor Axis360, 3M Cloud Library and one other major aggregator not yet announced.  We added support for custom library pricing, and we introduced Library Direct to support libraries that operate their own ebook checkout systems under the Douglas County Model.
     
  • Ebook Distribution Systems:  We began a complete re-architecture of our ebook distribution systems to enable faster, more accurate ebook distributions and metadata updates. 
     
  • Smashwords Profiled in Forbes Magazine:  This was a big deal for us.  For the first time ever, we revealed to the world our revenues (Forbes requires that startups they profile reveal numbers).  Later in the year, we received coverage in the New York Times and Time Magazine.  The indie ebook revolution is starting to go mainstream, though I think we’re all still flying below the radar.  That’ll change in 2013.
     
  • Improved categorization:  We completed adding support for thousands of BISAC categories to help our author’s books land on the correct virtual shelf.
     
  • Merchandising collaboration with retail partners:  We ramped up our merchandising collaboration with retailers, especially Apple, which has been incredibly proactive and creative in working with us to create new opportunities to connect Smashwords books with millions of their customers (See Apple’s Breakout Books promo).  We continued to build tools to help our retailers identify books worthy of promotional love, because these tools help Smashwords authors sell more books and help retailers satisfy more of their customers, which is their primary objective.
     
  • Retailers earning millions of dollars from the sale of Smashwords books:  Our retail partners have made incredible investments to help list, maintain, promote, merchandise, and sell our books to their customers.  I’m pleased to say their investments are paying off.  We want our retail partners to do well with our books, because the value they provide to our authors and publishers far exceeds the sales commission they earn. 
     
  • We released the Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success:  In March, I released this free ebook, which identifies the 28 best practices of the most commercially successful Smashwords authors.  It’s the lastest in a series of free ebooks I’ve written that promote professional publishing best practices.  Along with The Smashwords Style Guide (how to publish an ebook) and the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to promote any book and build author platform), my three books combined have now been downloaded over 250,000 times.  Thousands of our authors and publishers have since put these practices to work. 
  • Amazon:  Our relationship with Amazon has been frustrating.  Even though Smashwords authors have the freedom to bypass Smashwords and work directly with many of our retail partners, about 80% of our authors choose to distribute through Smashwords.  They appreciate the time-saving convenience and simplicity of centrally managing their books and metadata from the Smashwords Dashboard.  Unlike every other major retailer, Amazon has not yet provided us the ability to do large, automated distributions and metadata updates.  As a result, our authors who would prefer to reach Amazon through Smashwords are forced to upload direct to Amazon.  Although I remain hopeful Amazon will one day see fit to treat us as a partner rather than a competitor to be crushed, killed and destroyed, I’m not holding my breath.  We’ve built a healthy, profitable and fast-growing business without their help, and we’ve done this despite their attempts to harm us and our retail partners.  Unlike traditional publishers which would probably go bankrupt if they stopped distributing to Amazon, we face no such noose.  In the meantime, we focus our energy on helping our true retail partners succeed in the marketplace.
  • We protected your right to publish legal content:  When PayPal tried to ban certain categories of “objectional” books, we pushed back, and led a broad coalition of authors and pro-books advocates to overturn PayPal’s proposed policies.  PayPal and the credit card companies decided to do the right thing.  It was a victory for all authors, and demonstrated the growing power of the indie author movement, especially when we stick together and work toward a common cause.  At Smashwords, we’re always advocating for the rights of our authors.  Much of this advocacy happens quietly behind the scenes, outside the glare of press releases and media spotlight.  We’re all in this together.
  • Smashwords Direct: Today, we released Smashwords Direct, a new publishing option at Smashwords that allows authors and publishers to upload professionally designed .epub files for distribution through the Smashwords network.  The service complements our Meatgrinder conversion engine by enabling us to support ebooks with more complex formatting requirements.


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Writing Goals and Resolutions

From Indie Authors #38, Writing goals and New Year’s resolutions–how to make the most of them. Featuring host, Jason Matthews and manifesting expert, Jana Matthews, with authors, Alana Woods, Emily Hill and Lisa Grace.

Amazon Author Pages:
Emily Hill – http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Hill/e/B004GRK21A/
Alana Woods – http://www.amazon.com/Alana-Woods/e/B0061UWNN0/
Lisa Grace – http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Grace/e/B003H8CMBW/
Jason Matthews – http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Matthews/e/B004A8W4BG/

Websites:
Jana Matthews – http://newmoonmanifesting.com/
Emily Hill – http://www.EmilyHillWriter.com
Alana Woods – http://www.amazon.com/Alana-Woods/e/B0061UWNN0/
Lisa Grace – http://www.lisagracebooks.com/
Jason Matthews – http://ebooksuccess4free.webs.com

G+ Pages:
Jana Matthews – https://plus.google.com/101843370808029116484/posts
Emily Hill – https://plus.google.com/115897756622234367963/posts
Alana Woods – https://plus.google.com/114531688710125871848/posts
Lisa Grace – https://plus.google.com/103935289635198255908/posts
Jason Matthews – https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313/posts


Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on what Indie authors can do to sell ebooks.

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add me to your Google Plus circles.

+Jason Matthews author

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