2nd Annual Smashwords End of Year Sale (Christmas-New Year’s Day)

For authors interested in participating, here are the details:

Welcome to the enrollment page for the 2nd annual Smashwords End of Year sale! For the these eight days only, thousands of Smashwords authors and publishers will offer readers exclusive discounts on their ebooks.

To enroll your books in the promotion, select from one of four promotion levels below: 25% off; 50% off; 75% off, or FREE.

If you manage a lot of books, you can use the bulk enrollment option which you’ll find in the pulldown menu directly underneath each of the enrollment levels.  This feature allows you to enroll all applicable books into a single promotion level.  Remember to click “Submit” after you make your selection.  You can modify your selections at any time.

Once you enroll, customers will obtain your books using one of the special discount levels below, which will automatically reflect in their shopping cart at checkout.

Benefits of Participation

Smashwords authors and publishers enrolled in the promotion will receive:

  1. Placement in a special Smashwords home page catalog from December 25 through January 1
  2. The sale will be promoted to over one million customers of the Smashwords Store (so be sure to enroll before December 25!)
  3. Notation on your book page that the book is participating in the sale.
  4. This is a collaborative sale.  The more authors and publishers participate, the more it amplifies results for all participants.
  5. Readers love Smashwords sales because it’s a great opportunity to stuff their shopping devices chock full with deep-discounted ebooks from both new authors they haven’t tried yet as well as long-time favorites.  Have fun!

How to Participate (Scroll down the page to enroll your books):

  1. Log in to your account. If you do not have an account, click here to join now for free. Books must be published at Smashwords to enroll in the Smashwords promotion.
  2. If you’re logged into your account, below you’ll see a list of your published books. Simply select the book(s) you want to enroll, and at what level you want to enroll. Click “Submit” and you’re done.
  3. If your book is already free, or you previously selected the “name your own price” pricing option, you’re already enrolled and you do nothing.
  4. Offer your books at 25% off, 50% off, 75% off, or for FREE.
  5. Your discounted price, after the coupon is applied, must be $.99 or higher, otherwise your book will default to free.
  6. The catalog goes live at one minute past midnight on December 25 Pacific time, and expires 11:59pm on January 1.
  7. You can opt out of the promotion at any time, or change your promotion settings at any time.
  8. These deals are exclusive to the Smashwords Store and will not work anywhere else.
  9. By participating in this promotion, it does not change your retail price at Smashwords or at Smashwords retailers.
  10. You will receive an email confirming your participation.

Thanks,
The Smashwords Team

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CreateSpace (CSP) and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Become One

Not a surprise to many self-published authors to hear that Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (for ebooks) and CreateSpace (for paperbacks) are merging. Amazon has owned CreateSpace for many years, but all this time authors have had the ability to upload and sell their ebooks and paperbacks through each service independently.

This is the official word on the marriage:

We’re excited to announce that CreateSpace (CSP) and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) will become one service. As a reminder, KDP now offers Expanded Distribution to sell your paperbacks to physical bookstores in the US, as well as the ability to sell your paperback books on Amazon.ca (Canada) and Amazon.com.au (Australia) (Amazon.mx (Mexico) coming soon). With these features, KDP’s paperback distribution will be on par with CreateSpace’s distribution. KDP also offers features that aren’t available on CreateSpace. These include the ability to purchase ads to promote paperbacks on Amazon.com and locally printed author copies in Europe.

As a result of these enhancements to KDP and our ongoing efforts to provide a more seamless experience for managing your paperback and digital books, CreateSpace and KDP will become one service. On KDP, your paperbacks will still be printed in the same facilities, on the same printers, and by the same people as they were on CreateSpace.

In the coming weeks, we’ll start automatically moving your CreateSpace books to KDP. Your books will remain available for sale throughout the move and you’ll continue to earn royalties. Once we begin this process you’ll be unable to edit existing titles or create new titles on CreateSpace. To learn more about the move and review the latest, visit here.

If you have a release planned soon or you would like to start the move yourself, you can move your entire CreateSpace catalog to KDP in just a few steps. To get started on your move to KDP, log in to your CreateSpace Member Dashboard. During this transition, you can contact KDP customer support by email and access phone support in English.

There are a few payment and printing fee differences associated with the move. Any royalties earned while your books are on CreateSpace will be paid according the CreateSpace’s payment schedule, 30 days after the end of the month in which they were earned. After you move your books to KDP, new royalties earned will be paid on KDP’s payment schedule. KDP pays royalties on a monthly basis 60 days after the end of the month in which they were earned. As a result, you’ll be paid in October for any royalties earned in September on CreateSpace and be paid in November for any royalties earned on KDP. In addition, some low-page count books will see an increase in printing fees when they are printed in the UK and EU. We’ve already sent an email to the small number of accounts affected by this change. Learn more about KDP’s printing costs here.

We’ll be in touch with more updates in the coming weeks. It is still Day 1 for independent publishing. As Amazon’s recent shareholder letter noted, there are more than a 1,000 authors who earn more than a $100,000 a year from their work with us. We could not be more optimistic about the future of independent publishing and this change will allow us to innovate faster for you.

Best Regards,
The CreateSpace and KDP Team

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Draft2Digital Adds Discoverability for 2018

Draft2Digital has stepped up their game. Over the past year D2D has made nice additions that further their distinction from Smashwords, another longtime choice for self-publishing distributors. What was done in 2017 is substantial:

  • ebook style templates
  • paperback layout improvements (much needed)
  • automated end matter
  • Findaway Voices for audiobooks and narration
  • better email notifications and payment options
  • added distribution partners OverDrive (libraries), Playster, Kobo Plus
  • added distribution to Amazon

That last one is huge. Smashwords does not distribute to Amazon (except for special requests from authors with sales over $2,000/title)

D2D’s focus for 2018 is helping authors and readers connect even better. In their words;

Books2Read is all about Discoverability

In 2017, we focused all of our development power and energy on building as many new things for the indie author community as possible. The result was dozens of amazing tools and resources that help make it so much easier to build and grow your author career.

You can read all about those here!

Now, we’re turning all that attention and energy to tackling one of the biggest challenges an indie author can face: Discoverability.

The Idea is Simple, the Impact is Huge
Discoverability means making your books easy for readers to find. It’s one of the primary goals of marketing, and for authors it can be the difference between having a hobby and having a career.

After all, you can perfect your craft, invest in professional editing and covers, get your manuscript converted to a professional-looking eBook or print layout, and distribute it to some of the biggest online retailers on the planet—but if no one knows it’s there, the sales won’t come.

Solving the challenge of discoverability isn’t going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But we’re taking aim at it with the same problem-solving skills and expertise that have made Draft2Digital the best eBook distribution service on the planet.
In other words, we got this.

Enter Books2Read

If you’ve been with us for a while, you’re already familiar with Books2Read. It’s currently the home of one of our favorite tools: Universal Book Links (UBLs).

Since introducing them in 2016, we now have more than 200,000 UBLs out in the wild, generating millions of clicks. UBLs are used by authors to promote their books on websites, in social media, in podcasts and videos, even on printed materials. They’re evergreen links that take your readers to everywhere your book is sold online, with a single, customizable URL.
That was just the first step, though. Now, with 2018 ahead of us, we have bigger plans.

Books2Read will become our reader-centric source for indie author discoverability
We’re going to build a platform that helps promote your books to the readers who will love them!

Here’s what we have in store for the next year of development:
UBL Search Filtering—We’ve already started! As we wrapped up 2017, we added a new feature to our UBLs that authors have had on their wish list. Now you can quickly search through your UBLs to find just the one you need, to check data, add new storefronts, or make any other changes quickly.

Author Pages—Another in-demand feature, and one we’re very excited to offer! Author Pages will give you a single platform for directing readers to your work, complete with an author bio and photo, and a list of your books that will be updated as your catalog grows! This can be your home online, and a central place for readers to find you, without the cost and overhead of creating a website.

Book Tabs—You’ll never have to worry about manually creating book pages again. Book Tabs will let readers learn more about your book, and they’ll find a Universal Book Link that lets them pick it up anywhere they prefer to buy eBooks online! Your book will be beautifully presented, with a cover image and description, and with a UBL to make it fast and easy for readers to get their hands on it. Plus, you’ll have all of the data that UBLs provide, as well as their ability to include affiliate links from various retailers.

Custom Bookshelves—You’ll be able to group your books together any way you like! Segment them into series, genre, co-author, preferred reading order, even the color of the covers if you want—it’s all up to you!

Improved UBL Analytics—More data means more control, and UBLs will be getting an overhaul to provide you with better analytics. Get a deeper insight into your readers, their habits, and their preferences!

More. So much more. Both in the spotlight and behind the scenes, Books2Read is evolving, with new features and resources that will make it much easier for readers to discover your work.

Over the next year, we’ll be turning out these features and more, as rapidly as we can make them ready, with an eye toward making your author life easier and your author career more successful.

We’re gearing up for 2018 to be the Year of Discoverability. And we can’t wait to see what it means for the indie author community.

Keep watching your inbox for more to come!

Happy publishing,
The Draft2Digital Team

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Author Marketing Challenge: Online vs Real World (part 1)

Lynne M. Spreen headshot 2016Guest post written by Lynne M. Spreen (pictured right). Lynne writes coming-of-age stories about people who are age 50 and over, including her award-winning novel, Dakota Blues. Look for subsequent posts to follow as real world vs online marketing is a great idea for an author marketing challenge.

A month ago a friend and I decided to challenge ourselves to an amped-up marketing plan. She was going to implement certain strategies in real life, like looking for opportunities to speak and sell her books in person, and I was going to use Twitter and blog more vigorously. To make it fun, we decided to compete with each other, but the real goal was to see if any of our techniques were effective.

Now it’s September and the results are in. None of our methods were overwhelmingly effective, but they did boost our sales a bit and we learned something from all of it.

What we did

Judy HowardIRL (in real life): Judy Howard basically threw herself into selling and speaking. She got a few extra speaking gigs and book signings over what would normally happen. Every time she left her house, she brought books and was “on.” She also handed out postcards and bookmarks with her author page URL on them.

Online: I increased my use of Twitter and blogging. I would assume most of the increase in sales was from Twitter.

What we sold

It was quite a bit more than usual, but that’s relative. Also, my KENPC (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) went way up (again, relatively speaking). And I got about 700 more Twitter followers, up from 3,350.

Here’s what we learned

Middle Aged Crazy by Lynne M. SpreenIt was easier and more fun to market if you set up a challenge with a friend.

You get good at what you focus on: The more we thought about marketing, the more we did it. More ideas bubbled up, and it got easier. It became more like fishing than working.

I used Hootsuite to schedule over 400 Tweets, about a dozen a day. Of that, half were pushing my three books, and half were RTs (retweets). Would definitely recommend Hootsuite. This took me about 16 hours to set up because I made mistakes. Otherwise, I’d think it might take half that long.

I discovered it was better to make up marketing tweets on Canva than just uploading my book’s cover image, because the graphic wasn’t always uniform. Plus, with Canva, I could invent some come-on (like quoting a great review) to augment the book cover. It was a good skill to learn.

COAST TO COAST WITH A CAT AND A GHOST by Judy HowardYou get good at what you focus on, part 2: I found myself enjoying going on Twitter and finding out what was trending, and following new people. And since my sales increase was due to Twitter, it made sense. But was it the most effective way to increase sales? I don’t think so. Right after August ended, a friend told me she got many times the results I did from an Amazon ad.

You get good at…Part 3: because I was focusing on building up my blog frequency and using MailChimp better and more frequently, I learned more about that and improved the look of my website, my links, my newsletter (appearance and also I attached it to my RSS feed). I started thinking of more blog topics and writing them became easier. My blog subscriber numbers are going up, although it’s still miniscule.

So my bottom line is this: although improvements were good enough to make me think Twitter and more frequent blogging are good ideas, I think there must be more effective ways to sell. While this was useful and fun, it’s more of a baseline by which to measure other tools. And I think that’s good in itself.

Draft2Digital now distributes to OverDrive

draft2digitalFor authors using Draft2Digital to distribute ebooks to retailers, the outlets just got better. OverDrive has been added to their list of partners. OverDrive currently serves more than 38,000 libraries and schools in over 70 countries, including public, college, and corporate libraries.

If you already have ebooks listed with Draft2Digital, you’ll need to opt-in to get your books sent to OverDrive. Very simple to do, just follow the prompts at Draft2Digital.

The update list of partners looks like this:

  • iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kobo (including Kobo Plus)
  • Inktera (formally Page Foundry)
  • Scribd
  • 24Symbols
  • Tolino
  • Playster
  • OverDrive

It’s smaller than the list of partners for Smashwords, a common choice for essentially the same service, but the major players are there.

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