DESIGNERS. John Wiley & Sons has introduced the Fifth Edition of the best-selling textbook “Meggs’ History of Graphic Design” by Philip S. Meggs and Alston Purvis. The Fifth Edition not only contains new information on multimedia, interactive design, and private presses, but the book itself will be available in e-book formats for the Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad.
The interactive iPad edition from Inkling will bring the history of graphic design to life, with embedded video and audio and “guided tours” that let you learn the story behind each image. To tour an image, simply tap through sequential pop-tips to learn the details and info that make each image important. Interactive timelines include pop-tips with image samples. Other features will include slideshows of multiple images, flashcards, and quizzes that let you test your knowledge of the title of the work, the designer, and year of creation.
As with other e-books, you will be able to search the contents, highlight with ease, and save and share notes through social learning networks.
The first edition of “A History of Graphic Design” was published in 1983. It was heralded for it balanced insights and the thoroughness of its content. The book shows how graphic design has been a vital component of each culture and period in human history, with sections on topics such as the invention of writing and alphabets, the origins of printing and typography, and postmodern design.
The 624-page hardcover version lists for $85.00. The iPad version is expected to be released in January will sell for about 40% less.
Inkling is a San Francisco-based company that is seeking to redefine the textbook and the way people learn. The engineers and designers at Inkling work closely with content and education experts to take advantage of the fact that multi-touch devices such as the iPad allow publishers to move beyond the constraints of the printed book.
WRITERS. CD Baby, the largest online distributor of independent music, has launched a BookBaby division that offers e-book format conversion and distribution services to independent authors. Authors receive 100% of the net sales revenues generated through BookBaby’s network of retailers, which include Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony.
By opening worldwide distribution channels to unsigned artists, CD Baby helped level the playing field between do-it-yourself musicians and major record labels. Over the past decade CD Baby has paid out over $120 million to indie musicians worldwide. Through their new BookBaby division, they want to provide similar opportunities for independent authors.
BookBaby’s services are priced to be affordable to both new and established authors, as well as small-to-mid-sized imprints that want an easy solution for e-book distribution to all major retail outlets.
Since BookBaby doesn’t collect a royalty or commission on sales revenue from authors, it’s as if you went directly to the retailer to sell your e-books. However, BookBaby offers you the added convenience of getting a single consolidated sales report from all of the retailers as well as weekly payments.
With BookBaby’s format conversion services, you can be confident that your e-book can be read on range of e-reading devices, including the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Reader. BookBaby specializes in converting complex documents, including those that include graphs, tables, multiple images, and embedded video and audio clips.
Their HostBaby services makes it easy for authors to set up a website that can sync multiple blogs, Facebook and Twitter and produce and send e-mails to an unlimited number of mailing-list members.
Ebook cover-design services are also available, from a team of graphic designers who have years of experience creating art for authors, musicians, and filmmakers.
BookBaby recently published a “Blogging 101” guide for independent authors. You can also download a step-by-step guide to e-publishing entitled “Making Your eBook.” The book provides practical advice and a roadmap of steps involved in publishing, distributing, and marketing your e-book.
WRITERS. If you need an affordably priced custom cover designed for an e-book project, check out the services of book-cover designer James Junior. He can create designs for all sizes and formats, including (but not limited) to:
Any other e-reader (Nook, iPad, etc.)
Mobile screens (iPhone, etc.)
3D eBook covers and software boxes for website display
He prides himself in on offering excellent rates and is willing to work with you until you are satisfied with the design. Get a 25% discount by mentioning that you read about James Junior’s custom cover design services on Creatives at Work.
For authors who have never worked with a cover designer before, James Junior offers these tips:
Know what you are asking for. Prices vary depending on the type of format(s) you need.
Be open to the designer’s ideas. Knowing what you want is great, but give the designer some room to inject their own talent into the cover.
Be honest, not nice. If you don’t like something about your cover design, say so; after all, it is your book and your money.
Before you accept the finished cover design, make a thumbnail of it around the same size as Amazon’s thumbnails. Why? You want to make sure the text is legible at that size, and the image isn’t distorted. The thumbnail version will be the first image a reader sees. It must be clear and compelling enough to entice the reader to click on your thumbnail to see a larger version.
Ask the designer for the “layered version” or PSD version of your book cover. This will come in handy later if you want to add or change a detail on the cover and the designer isn’t available.
WRITERS. How do you price an e-book? That’s a hot topic now that more and more independent authors are competing with legacy publishers. Everyone is trying to find the correct price points for fiction and non-fiction e-books in a market that Forrester Research expects to grow from $169 million in 2009 to almost $3 billion by the middle of this decade.
In a recent press release, self-publishing coach and advocate Emily Hill shared her thoughts about e-book pricing for fiction and non-fiction e-books.
Pricing Fiction E-Books
“Except for the insatiable demand for paranormal/action stories, the fiction market is totally and completely glutted. This includes romance, westerns, young adult, and historical fiction,” states Hill. She believes e-book pricing for fiction comes down to three factors: (1) market demand; (2) the author’s emotional comfort zone; and (3) trial and error.
As fiction authors have flooded the market, Hill notes that readers must now do the job that used to belong exclusively to agents—separate the well-written manuscripts from the ones that just aren’t very good.
To get the attention of book buyers in today’s crowded marketplace, some first-time authors have resorted to giving their e-books for free—hoping to lay the foundation for future book sales.
Hill believes offering free fiction books can be a mistake: “Authors who give away their e-books and then loudly tout their ratings are frauds in my opinion. They either lack confidence in their work, don’t want to devise a marketing plan, or haven’t made friends with their fan base.” She emphasizes that, “If you are doing commercial writing (writing to make money), you should be writing to your fan base, and writing what they want to read.”
When she recently examined how the ten best-selling fiction titles for Kindle were priced, Hill found prices ranging from $0.99 to $12.99. Six of the best-selling titles were from one of the “Big Six” legacy publishers, and four were from independent publishers. The average price of e-books published by legacy publishers was $9.09, compared to either $0.99 or $2.99 for the fiction from independent publishers.
Because this sample of ten was so small, Hill consulted authors she regards as mentors for her own publishing efforts. Dean Wesley Smith advises charging $2.99 for short novels, $4.99 for a short-story collection, and $4.99 for standard-length novels. Tony Elridge suggests pricing e-books at $2.99, then using ‘book bundling’ to sell sets of titles at a higher price.
Nathan Bransford has noticed that the price of e-books have dropped dramatically over the period from June 2010 to June 2011. He has observed that when presented with two titles in the reader’s preferred genre, a reader will hit “Buy Now!” on the cheaper title, even if that title has been written by a lesser-known author, or even an unknown author or bad writer.
Best-selling independent author John Locke prices all of his e-book fiction titles at $0.99.His non-fiction book, “How I Sold 1 Million Books in Five Months,” is priced at $4.99.
Pricing Non-Fiction Books
When Hill scanned the list of 100 best-selling non-fiction titles in the Kindle Store earlier this month, the most expensive non-fiction title was priced at $7.00 and six of the top sellers were sex-related. But the Kindle Store list changes often. The top-ten best-sellers listed today (Aug. 30) range in price from $7.16 for “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young to $13.17 for “Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0” by Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.
While it’s important to price your e-book competitively, Hill urges authors not to overlook the other vital elements of book publishing and promotion. Success still requires good writing, a unique story, impeccable grammar and sentence structure, and sharp marketing. She advises writing the best book possible, and marketing it to a fan base you have already established.
Why Independent Publishing Is Growing
Emily Hill is an outspoken advocate of self-publishing and isn’t surprised that the IndiePub movement is exploding. Considering that less than 1% of emerging author’s manuscripts are selected for publication, she wonders “Why would those in the 99% agent-rejected category put themselves through the dreaded query process in the first place?” Hill believes the tough economy and diminished bookstore space caused by the closure of bookstores has made independent publishing the only alternative for most authors.
In addition to offering coaching and consulting services to independent authors, Emily Hill has written two e-books on self-publishing.
“All Smart Cookies Can Self Publish” details the current landscape of the publishing industry and outlines steps necessary to publish and market books on your own. Priced at $3.95, the e-book provides practical advice such as how to insert linked-live Tables of Contents in your e-books and how to push the marketing of your e-books by embedding links to your Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages.
Hill just announced a new addition to her “All Smart Cookies” series, entitled “Making Money on eBooks: Smart Promoting.” The book features insights Hill has gained from teaching self-publishing workshops over the past two years: “You’ll learn how easy—and fun—it can be to make money by self-publishing your tips, insights, memoirs, and how-to guides.”
“Making Money on eBooks: Smart Promoting” sells for $2.99 and includes tips on marketing, promoting, and connecting your titles to the correct audience.
WRITERS. “Kindle Gold Rush: Auto Pilot Income for Writers” is a package of three guides that explain how to write e-books for Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. The guides were developed by Angela Booth, who has been writing successfully since the 1970s. She offers training in copywriting, blogging, and writing for the Web.
The Kindle Direct Publishing program makes it easy for writers to become self-publishers.
According to Booth, once you understand the Kindle process, you can make money by writing and formatting e-books for others, or publish and sell works of your own. Angela has spoken with several writers who are busy retrieving and revising unpublished books from their desk drawers and uploading them. One writer uploaded eight e-books in a single day
In a recent issue of her Fab Freelance Writing Ezine, Angela made these predictions about Kindle publishing in 2012 and beyond:
Most freelance writers will add Kindle publishing services to those writing services they already provide to their clients. Writers will find opportunities in editing, proofreading and converting text to Kindle format.
Writers will be going through their archives and repurposing material for the Kindle
Writers will find more writing jobs on Kindle-related outsourcing sites. Some businesses are already seeing the promotional benefits of Kindle publishing.
Blogging writers will be developing Kindle ebooks from their blogs, as well as creating blogs that live both on the Web and the Kindle.
The “Kindle Gold Rush” package includes the following guides:
Publish Your E-Book with Amazon Kindle (PDF, 41 pages)
Write Genre Novels for Fun and Profit (PDF, 33 pages)
Write and Sell an E-Book: Every Writer’s Quick-Action Guide to Writing E-Books (PDF, 35 pages)
The package also includes a 14-page case study about John Locke, who is making over $100,000 a month writing digital novels. He is the first self-published author to sell a million e-books on Amazon.
“The Freelancer’s Online Marketing Blueprint.” is the newest e-book from PhotoShelter, a leading provider of portfolio websites and sales and marketing tools for photographers. The free 53-page guide explains how creative freelancers can use online marketing to generate more clients and increase revenue. It can be downloaded from the PhotoShelter website.
“When you’re a freelancer, it can be a real challenge to balance self-promotion with client demands,” says Allen Murabayashi, CEO of PhotoShelter. “This e-book is meant to coach freelancers on effective marketing strategies that will help optimize their online exposure and reach a larger pool of prospective clients.”
The Freelancer’s Online Marketing Blueprint includes practical, step-by-step tips on how to generate inbound website traffic, build a successful leads list for email marketing, and optimize your website to increase the conversion of visitors to paying clients.
For example, the guide includes a checklist of 23 ways to grow your online footprint. In addition to increasing the likelihood that prospects can find you, creating multiple online destinations also helps you manage your brand by suppressing any negative commentary that might show up about you on the first page of a Google search.
The guide also discusses how to efficiently manage your time, allocate scarce marketing budgets, and benefit from pay-per-click advertising. Also included are contributions from internet marketing and creative business-management experts at companies such as Conversion Rate Experts, SEO software developer SEOmoz, Marketing Mentor, and email-marketing service Emma.
The Freelancer’s Online Marketing Blueprint complements PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business and marketing e-books for photographers. Other e-books in the PhotoShelter library provide detailed advice on email marketing, Facebook pages, search engine optimization, and starting a photography business.
Two separate reports from InfoTrends and the Association of American Publishers indicate that people are quickly adapting to new ways of reading. Although the market for reading books and publications on screen is still small, it’s expected to grow rapidly as better devices and content continue to be introduced.
Paying attention to trends in e-reading and e-book-publishing can help you determine whether it makes more sense for you to self-publish and promote your own works or continue to seek a traditional publisher for your work.
InfoTrends E-Media Report
InfoTrends recently captured survey responses from 700 users of e-reading devices, including dedicated devices (such as the Kindle and Nook) and multi-purposes devices such as iPads, laptops, notebooks, and smartphones. The results from this survey suggest that e-reading is here to stay and poised for growth. InfoTrends analysts believe that within five years, one-third to one-half of all readers will be using electronic devices.
According to the study, the amount each survey participant spends on e-media is growing at 4.3% a year among those who use dedicated e-readers and 6.9% among those who use multi-purpose devices.
The report was conducted to help technology providers and publishers understand some of challenges and opportunities related to e-media hardware and content. For example, while there will be an expanding base of customers for companies that want to publish electronically, one of the challenges will be to determine which formats will most likely to be favored by the largest groups of readers.
Data and analysis in the report can help publishers understand how the rise of e-media will affect the purchase of hard-copy publications, what types of media are read most frequently on e-readers, the perceived shortcomings of the e-reading devices, and plans for new purchases of e-readers and multi-purpose devices.
In the February 2011 sales report issued by The Association of American Publishers (AAP), e-books ranked as the number-one format among all categories of trade publishing (adult hardcover, adult paperback, adult mass market, children’s/young adult hardcover, children’s/young adult paperback).
Sales of e-books in February 2011 were $90.3 million, which is 202% higher than in Febuary 2010. The association attributes this surge primarily to a high level of buying by consumers who had received e-readers as gifts. Other factors contributing to the growth include the expanded selection of e-readers introduced for the holidays and the availability of more titles as e-books.
Some publishers who contributed to the study said e-books are generating fresh consumer interest in “backlist” titles (e.g. books that have been in print for at least a year). Many publishers noted that e-book readers who enjoy a newly released book will frequently buy an author’s full backlist.
According to Tom Allen, president and CEO of AAP, “The February results reflect two core facts: People love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are. The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print-format books.”
The AAP monthly sales data represents data provided by 84 U.S. publishing houses representing major commercial, education, professional, scholarly, and independents. Data on e-books comes from 16 houses.
For the months of January and February, 2011, the sales of print books fell to $441.7 million, down 24.8% from the amount of print books sold in January and February, 2010. By comparison, the sale of e-books for January and February 2011 totaled $164.1 million, up 169% over the same two-month period in 2010.
Press Release: E-Books Ranks as No. 1 Format Among All Trade Categories for February 2011