What Authors Should Know About Changes in Book Publishing

WRITERS. When leaders in the book publishing business gather at the DIgital Book World Conference + Expo (DBW) March 6-7, many of the topics they discuss will affect how publishers work with authors.

For a preview of trends that are re-shaping the book publishing industry, download the free white paper “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation.”  Contributors to the white paper include speakers from Digital Book World.

Digital Book World white paper

The white paper covers topics such as:

  • how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are affecting the publishing business:
  • what publishers need to know about copyright;
  • changes to global copyright law;
  • the state and future of audiobooks;
  • the elasticity of e-book pricing;
  • personalized content and other new revenue streams.

The Destructive Impact of Digital Monopoly Platforms

In the opening chapter of the white paper “Sleeping Through the Revolution,” Jonathan Taplin, of the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Southern California, says scientists who helped create the Internet in the 1960s had a utopian vision of decentralizing power and harmonizing people: “For creative artists, the prospects of a democratized distribution network indeed seemed to generate endless possibilities.”

But the reality of the Internet shifted as Google, Amazon, and Facebook began using deep customer surveillance to sell advertising and products.

Taplin writes that “For artists, the dreams of digital democracy have turned into nightmares: the music, movie, book, and journalism businesses have been decimated by the rise of digital monopoly platforms. A massive reallocation of revenue, on the order of $50 billion a year, has taken place, with economic value moving from creators and owners of content to monopoly platforms.”

Taplin notes that, “In Amazon’s view, as long as the customer gets lower prices, society should not care that writers cannot make a living, that independent book stores go out of business, and publishers die.”

About The Digital Book World Conference

The Digital Book World Conference is dedicated to the business of digital publishing. DBW focuses on digital content and digital book strategies, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing publishers and content providers of all sizes and business models.

The event is organized by the F+W Content + eCommerce Company in partnership with Publishers Launch Conference.

Although e-book sales seem to be at a plateau for big books and big publishers, the event organizers emphasize “That doesn’t mean that digital change has stopped.”

For example, publishers and authors must become more skilled at online marketing because consumers typically use online channels to learn about what books they want to read next.

The relationship between publishers and authors is also changing.

“On the one hand, authors are a more important component of a book’s marketing than they ever were before,” explains Mike Shatzkin, chair of the Digital Book World Conference. “At the same time, authors have more choices of ways to reach readers than they had in the past.”


BookBaby Helps Authors Sell E-Books Directly to Readers

BookBaby BookShopWRITERS. With the opening of BookShop, BookBaby is writing a whole new chapter in self publishing. BookBaby authors can now sell their e-books directly to readers through their own free BookShop e-commerce webpage. As an author, you can earn more money per sale and get paid faster than ever before.

If you are a BookBaby author, you can now sell ePub and .mobi versions of your e-books directly to readers and earn 85% of the gross selling price. You can still link fans to your e-book on popular retail sites such as iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others.

Plus, instead of holding onto e-book revenues for weeks or months, BookBaby pays its authors within one week of the sale.

“It’s very simple. BookShop pays more and pays fast. Faster than anyone else,” said BookBaby’s Chief Marketing Officer Steven Spatz, “That’s what every author is looking for. For example if you sell an e-book for ten bucks on a Friday, you’ll see $8.50 show up in your account the following Monday. No other company gets money back to its authors like BookBaby.”

BookShop is free to every BookBaby author, including writers who are now taking advantage of the company’s new free eBook publishing package. Authors can upload ePub files directly to BookBaby for worldwide eBook distribution without any upfront costs.

BookShop is the latest addition to BookBaby’s fast-growing list of products and services to help authors find success in the marketplace. “It used to be that writers were thrilled just to have their manuscripts turned into an eBook and listed for sale on Amazon,” said Spatz. “But for today’s independent author, literary success requires a lot more than just great file conversion and retail distribution.”

“BookBaby’s new motto is ‘publish, promote and sell.’ While we’ll always help our authors publish books, they also need the opportunity to promote and sell their books. We’ve given our BookBaby authors exactly that with BookPromoTM and now BookShop.”

BookPromo Services

Last year, BookBaby introduced BookPromo, a free promotionaBookBaby BookPromol service for all BookBaby authors, Users of BookBaby’s BookPromo services receive:

BookBaby and CD Baby

BookBaby is the sister company to CD Baby, the world’s largest online distributor of independent music. Founded as a garage start-up in 1998, CD Baby has grown to become a trusted name in the independent music business, paying over a quarter billion dollars to over 300,000 artists worldwide. BookBaby is following in the footsteps of its corporate sibling by helping independent authors realize their literary dreams. “With CD Baby we’ve brought musicians and fans directly together,” said Spatz. “BookBaby and BookShop are going to do exactly the same for authors and readers.”

BookBaby distributes e-books in more than 185 countries through 11+ online retail stores, including Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, BookBaby’s full array of services includes e-book formatting, cover design, and short-run book printing.


BookBaby BookShop

BookBaby BookPromo

About BookBaby


Kobo Writing Life Platform Streamlines Self-Publishing Process

KoboLogoWRITERS.To avoid the extra step of converting your manuscript from a Word or RTF document into an ePub file, you can now create and edit your book directly within the Kobo Writing Life self-publishing platform. Kobo’s WYSIWYG text editor helps ensure that the layout and formatting of the file will accurately translate the way you intend. If you do need to tweak or update ePub file that is automatically created from your text, you can do so without conversion tools and additional editing software.

“We built Kobo Writing Life by listening to what authors need and want in a self-publishing tool, and we continue to introduce improvements and updates based on their feedback,” said Mark Lefebvre, Kobo’s Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations. “Kobo is the only international eReading company to offer authors an open self-publishing service that is author-centric. We help them connect with a global community of readers by making it as easy as possible to create, edit, and publish their work.”

At no cost to the author, Kobo Writing Life titles are published using an intuitive self-service portal. The submission process takes mere minutes, with books published within 24 to 72 hours.

Authors receive royalties of 70 percent on e-books priced between $1.99 and $12.99 and 45 percent for items priced lower or higher than that range.

To help promote and market your work, you can set your book price to “free” at any time without restrictive exclusivity agreements or hidden transaction or download processing fees.

The Kobo Writing Life portal is currently available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Dutch.

Since Kobo launched the self-publishing platform a year ago, more than 17,600 authors have used KWL to publish more than 100,000 titles. The e-books are available in 184 countries and 54 languages. Kobo Writing Life titles represent more than 10 percent of the company’s unit sales.

Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services. It offers more than 3.5 million e-books, magazines, and newspapers to millions of customers in 190 countries.

Kobo’s family of e-readers includes the Kobo Touch, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura HD, and Kobo Arc. Kobe offers free e-reading applications for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows® products.


About Kobo

Kobo Writing Life


Word Templates Help Indie Authors Avoid Book Composition Errors

WRITERS. A new website, BookDesignTemplates.com, offers a selection of Microsoft Word templates for creating beautifully designed, industry-standard book designs. The templates can help you avoid rookie mistakes in formatting books for self-publishing.

The templates were created by book designer Joel Friedlander and independent author Tracy R. Atkins to help authors avoid common mistakes such as misplaced page numbers and running heads, no hyphenation, and inconsistent formatting.

“D-I-Y authors might think that their readers don’t care about such things, but think about all of the book professionals who might have something to say about your book,” says Friedlander. “I’m thinking of book buyers, reviewers, distributors, journalists, media bookers, and all the other people you may need for your promotion plans. They’ll see these kinds of errors right away.”


Some of the templates on the new website are well suited for fiction and memoirs. Other templates are meant for more complex non-fiction books that might include footnotes, tables, bullet points, and diagrams.. The site offers templates for books that will be printed in hard-copy form by print-on-demand services as well as specialized templates for e-book publishing.

With the template, you simply strip out the sample text that comes with the file, and replace it with your own manuscript.

Each template design is a fully formatted Word file with “master” pages for your text, chapter openers, title page, copyright page, and other front matter pages. In addition, you get a “Book Construction Blueprint” that tells you how the parts of a book go together, and the “Template Formatting Guide” to show you how to use the template. Also included are the fonts needed for the template, ready to install on your system, and access to a tutorial library that shows how to put your book together.

Three types of licensing are available, depending on whether you want to use the template for a single book, for multiple books, or to help multiple authors get their books ready to print.

For more information on book design and self-publishing, check out Joel’s blog, The Book Designer or online course The Self-Publishing Roadmap..



The Book Designer

The Self-Publishing Roadmap

BookBub Helps Readers Discover Discounted E-Books

BookbubLogoBookBub is a daily email service that notifies readers about sales on acclaimed e-books. Readers sign up for free at the site to get alerted to limited-time offers on best-selling e-books that match their interests. Publishers and authors partner with BookBub to advertise the price promotions they’ve made available at major ebook retailers.

Founded in 2012, BookBub has already surpassed one million subscribers. The company claims they are currently signing up between 5,000 and 10,000 new subscribers a day.

“The response to BookBub has been phenomenal,” said Josh Schanker, BookBub’s president and co-founder. “Readers love taking advantage of the great deals, and publishers have found us to be an effective way to gain exposure for their titles and authors.”

BookbubSampleEMailMuch of BookBub’s growth has been driven by word-of-mouth and social media recommendations from existing subscribers.

“Our subscribers are our best advocates,” said Nicholas Ciarelli, BookBub’s co-founder. “When BookBub helps readers discover a new author or book they love, they want to share the experience with their friends.”

When you register with BookBub, you create a profile that lists what you like to read. Then, BookBub will only alert you to discounts on e-books matching these interests. BookBub also employs an editorial team to select titles that are of the highest quality and best fit for its subscribers.

“At any time there are thousands of discounted ebooks available, and searching through them for something good can be tough for readers,” said Katie Donelan, BookBub’s Director of Editorial Operations. “We’re very selective about what we feature, so our subscribers know they’re only receiving great books at great prices.”

BookBub’s rapid growth has attracted partners from across the industry to feature e-books with the service. The company is currently working with five of the Big Six publishers, dozens of midsized and small publishing houses, and hundreds of bestselling independent authors.



A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Creating E-Book Covers

doItYourselfBookCoversWRITERS. Brian Jackson, a self-published author, has created an e-book that explains how to use free online tools and inexpensive images to create high-quality book covers. Entitled “Do It Yourself: Book Covers,” the 74-page e-book is available on Amazon for $0.99.

The guide is directed at users of Windows 7, but it has also been used successfully by Mac OS users. Jackson explains how to use a free program called GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) to combine text, colored boxes, and inexpensive images to produce your own book covers.

While an attractive cover is vital for all types of books, the ability to design your own cover gives you more control over how your finished book will look. It can also save money when publishing free or low-priced books for relatively limited audiences.

After explaining a few basic pointers for book-cover design, Jackson discusses the following topics:

  • Installing and running the GIMP
  • Creating a simple book cover
  • Working with layers and selections
  • Loading fonts and using font effects
  • Buying and manipulating inexpensive images
  • Creating colored boxes
  • Using layer masks
  • Stroking a path
  • Putting it all together

JacksonmanMade200To show the types of results that that can be achieved with the methods outlined in his book, Jackson has created a page showing sample covers that he has designed.

Brian Jackson is a self-published writer of fiction who originally began using GIMP while working for Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley. Now retired, he spends his time writing and publishing.


Do-It-Yourself: Book Covers

Samples of the Covers Brian Jackson Designed




Sullivan Street Press Can Help Re-Launch Out-of-Print Books

SullivanStPressLogoSullivan Street Press is offering authors with out-of-print books the opportunity to re-launch their books in e-book format. This new publishing program treats these books as new books, with a conversion to e-book format that re-imagines the books now as digital experiences. These “new” books will benefit from the new design as well as the full marketing and promotion that a new title deserves.

Traditional publishing was once the only way for an author to see their work in print. Publishers had a great deal of power over what was published, when it was published, and for how long.

Today, the balance of power in publishing is shifting, enabling talented authors to reclaim their place in the world of book lovers.  Publishing an e-book gives writers who once were only available in bound-book format the opportunity to flourish again by finding new audiences in the digital world of book publishing.

“There are so many amazing books that have been forced out-of-print, basically destroyed by the traditional publishing model,” says Deborah Emin, founder of Sullivan Street Press.  “It is our intention to bring new life to quality work through re-releasing out-of-print books in e-book format so that the book and author can have the readership they deserve.”

Founded three years ago, Sullivan Street Press is dedicated to changing the publishing paradigm. Sullivan Street Press is actively pursuing writers whose wonderful work got left behind and who want once again to work with a publisher interested in helping them to reach out to their new readers.  When an older title is re-launched, the authors will not only be able to increase their sales and profits, but also gain valuable insights into who is reading their books.


Sullivan Street Press