Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Book distribution

#SelfPublishing Decisions . . .


There’s no way I could write a post (or, series of posts) that would capture all the decisions you could make in a self-publishing career… Notes from An Alien

Though you could delve into most of the important options by taking this Free Course

The reason you could never discover all the options? The selfpublishing landscape is always changing.

If you were to click on these links {from the Top-Tags widget in the left side-bar} for the archives of my posts about selfpublishing or self-publishing (even the word indicating its existence has two accepted forms…) and read them in chronological order, you’d see my changing coverage of the Whole enterprise.

I began my foray into self-publishing by availing myself of the services of FastPencil and had them help me publish my short novel Notes from An Alien (free to download) in print and e-book formats.

FastPencil distributed the books to Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and a few other places; then, more outlets than I’ve yet been able to determine joined the bandwagon (most of them charging more than I’d asked for from FastPencil {some day I just might figure out how they got away with that; though, I don’t much care if they make money off me as long as my book gets more coverage…}).

Over the last 6+ years since I first published it, I’ve:

Revised it…

Made it free to download here on the blog…

Published it, in serialization, on Wattpad.

Figured out how to make various e-book formats of it…

And, always had a link to it (plus all my other writings) in the left side-bar here…

Just over a week ago, I did something it took me around 4 years to finally accomplish.

I published the revised edition on Smashwords.

It would take a number of blog posts to explain why it took me so long to utilize Smashwords, since I’d blogged about them numerous times (check the Top-Tags widget, down a bit, in the left side-bar…).

Then, last week, I just Did It

Then… I discovered I had to get FastPencil to stop distributing it (they were ultra-nice about it and I’m hoping to get an interview with them here on the blog soon…).

It’ll take another week for the old versions to disappear; and, one of the things which it may surprise you to learn—I, in no way, bemoan not having it on Amazon (though, it will still be on all the other platforms Fastpencil was sending it to—PLUS, about 25,000 libraries…)

O.K….

There are more details about the why and how of this Self-Publishing Decision; but, since the book will no longer be on Amazon; and, since I want the reviews to be on my Review Page; but, since I have to have a post to link to in order to put the reviews on that page, here are the Amazon Reviews (there were more on Amazon; but, they were already included on my Review Page…):

By John Paul:

“Fantastic book that requires the reader to think and rationalize. If you like intellectual reads that inspire provocative discussion this book will not let you down.”

By Emmaleigh:

“Zoltai’s Notes from an Alien is a thought-provoking trip into alien worlds that makes the reader shudder with the close similarities that are often reflected on our own planet. The inhabitants of Zoltai’s worlds are bent on destruction of other worlds, over such things as greed, religion, and politics. Worlds are being lost, and civilizations are declining, all because one civilization assumes they are better than the other.

“This tale is an interesting and provocative leap into the realm of Sci-Fi. Using ties that reflect back on much of our own world history, the story is told by the view of a descendant of the first expedition to a new world. History unfolds rapidly, and the search for everlasting peace in the galaxy is profoundly written. The characters are finely crafted and the story unfolds with magnificent clarity, worthy of a movie. These characters, as they live and die, as they walk through time, leave a palpable change in their world.

“Notes from an Alien is a must read for fans of the Sci-Fi genre. In-depth, detailed, narrated by the fabulous Sena, the reader struggles along with each character, slipping into a world that mirrors our own. Well crafted and, if Sci-Fi novels are among the genres you like to read, definitely add this to your own TBR list.”

By Saran:

“Before reading, I knew very little of what this book was about beyond the title. But in nineteen chapters, each headed by an attribute of the Divine, Mr. Zoltai leads us through the struggles of a dual-planet civilization in achieving real and lasting peace. It is a deep rich read, a history, detailed with nobility and sacrifice, characters that I fell in love with, and mourned when they passed. There’s little humor, but what there is adds whimsy to the personalities of such as Rednaxela, Velu and the Artificial Intelligence Morna (btw, I would like an AI myself!). I also want to say that it’s the novel’s use of religion to create a united world, beyond the division and strife it’s blamed for on this, that appeals greatly to me. That is a subject very close to my heart – seeing the progression from one being and the resulting civilization to the next. I want that for us.”

For those readers still with me, I must reveal an Important Self-Publishing Decision—I began this blog (on January 1st, 2011) as a means to promote my novel; and, it’s probably the most important decision I’ve made; since, constantly shouting about one’s book will not draw folks to reading it—it, most obviously, repels them…

I chose to make this blog an Exploration of Reading, Writing, and Publishing; while, sitting patiently in that handy left side-bar is a link to the novel…

As the broadcasters say: “Today’s Important Take-Away Is…”:

If you plan to self-publish, find a way to be of service to others that carries within it a path toward your book; but, always, Service First………

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Something Any Aspiring (or, other kind of) Writer Should Consider . . .


Writers have more ways to publish then ever before.

FastPencil Publishing

Image courtesy of Tracy Olson ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/designkryt

Not that long ago, I wrote a post called, Are There Too Many Ways To Self-Publish?

It can get complicated, quickly, when a writer begins considering how they want to publish.

If you’re a writer who wants to stay away from the traditional route, I recommend checking out the company I use—FastPencil.

In just a bit, I’ll give you all the basics about what this Publishing-Aid company can do for writers; but, I first have to add two factors that my past posts about them didn’t cover, because they hadn’t yet happened.

FastPencil Receives 2014 Innovation Award from the International Digital Publishing Forum at BookExpo America

And

On Demand Books Launches SelfEspress

That last link is about FastPencil teaming-up with the folks that make the Espresso Book Machine technology, which is well-explored in my past post—Self-Publishing from A Drug Store?

Now, in order to give you all the important facts about why I think all writers should consider working with FastPencil, I’m going to reproduce the post I did May 6, 2013:

FP

Check out all my posts about FastPencil

FastPencil is Software in the Cloud – so you don’t have to download anything to your computer. It’s the fastest and easiest way to write, publish and sell books and ebooks—anywhere!

In one past post, I summarized the FastPencil experience this way:

*Write a book on their site,
while inviting BetaReaders or editors to work with you
—> Free

*Revise, edit, check multiple proofs,
upload a cover, work-out front and back matter, etc.
—> Free

*Publish and have the book distributed to
Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Ingram

(Print & E-book editions)
—> $300

As a matter of fact, if you want to sell your book only on the FastPencil Site (with a very cool sales widget you can use on your own WebSite or Blog) it costs just the printing price of one book, before you add your own royalty—In my case that would have been around $5

But, I went for the $300 package :-)

If you’ve decided to go the Indie route but want a company behind you that can help you distribute your book, FastPencil is, imho, the BEST!

Watch these videos for a complete introduction to their services:

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Publisher Helps Local Libraries Become Community Publishers !


Should We All Self-Publish A Book? was a previous post that featured libraries’ new capability to be Print-On-Demand publishers.

Now we have a further development:

Authors Can Now Design, Publish and Distribute Books in Print and Digital Formats Through Libraries !

It’s one thing to walk into a library with your book on a flash-drive and be able to walk out with a printed edition.

It’s something else again to use the library to Design, Publish, and Distribute that book!

In Print and Digital Format!!

Auto-Graphics has partnered with FastPencil to let local libraries offer these services to You:

  • Connect: Collaborate easily and securely within the content management system and directly connect to publishing and retail industry leaders as well as social networking platforms.
  • Write: Write, edit and manage projects on the web or from any device. Track revisions and version history and work with multiple editors and contributors.
  • Convert: Using the Publishing Setup wizard, convert files into multiple formats for both print books and e-books to prepare for distribution into a variety of channels.
  • Publish: Through the publishing module, directly upload files as a new project or write, convert and publish directly through the content management system. This module provides a unique ISBN number and distributes to hundreds of book retailers.
  • Sell: Access an independent e-commerce and order fulfillment system through FastPencil’s Marketplace. Custom URLs and BookBuy widgets are automatically generated upon publishing to assist with marketing campaigns. Royalty reporting is captured and displayed on a dashboard.

Nifty, eh?

The only thing that could be better is if it weren’t, for now, restricted to the U.S.A.

Another angle from a press release:

“Auto-Graphics, Inc., a leading provider of tools, technologies and services that enable libraries to create, manage and provide personalized access to print and digital collections, and FastPencil today announced a partnership that provides library patrons with access to FastPencil’s book publishing engine through its Library Management Platform™. Library members will have the ability to use FastPencil’s next-generation publishing platform to write, design, publish and sell books in print and digital formats directly through their local libraries.”

Naturally, doing all this through your local library is phenomenal but you can, right now, access all of FastPencil’s Services from your own home.

I used FastPencil to publish my book Notes from An Alien and will use it to publish the two follow-up volumes in the series.

They also provide Wide-Distribution to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iPad, and Ingram for around $300.

By the way, having a book distributed to Ingram instantly opens it up to being offered by many other WebRetailers.

And, last nice fact: FastPencil collects all the royalties and pays you directly

Sound interesting to you?

Let me pique your interest further

You can, for Free, use FastPencil’s Site to write, edit, and proof your book; along with inviting others into the process (each person given permission to only make valuable comments or make changes to your Work-In-Progress—you decide—plus, all this power of production is free until you feel completely ready to hit the Publish button :-)

Do check out FastPencil’s Opportunities; then, come on back and let us know what you think in the Comments
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Self-Publishing Book Distribution ~ A Little Less Confusing :-)


In our last post I detailed the confusing landscape of how Notes from An Alien is being distributed.

One of the nicest things was that my POD (print on demand) publishing company was working behind my back [read that as I hadn’t made myself sufficiently aware of their methods] to make sure more than the original four companies have my book for sale.

One of the strangest things was the wide difference in the price of the book at different outlets.

Both the nice and the strange had light shone on them with the usual speedy reply from FastPencil support:

“Ingram is a wholesaler who has contracts with lots of retailers… actually most retailers use Ingram. That’s how your book is available to anyone who has access to Ingram. We also use Ingram Digital so your book will get into lots of online ebook channels as well as the standard Amazon, B&N and Apple—with whom we have direct channels. The reason you see so many different prices is because each retailer gets the standard 40% discount (print or 30% ebook) and they decide how much of that they want to keep and how much they pass on to the customer as a price discount. You still get the same royalty no matter what they charge. FastPencil keeps track of all the purchases and they filter through to your reports and quarterly check.”

So, even though this explains why some are lower than the $12.33 retail price I put on the book, it doesn’t explain why a few are more expensive.

I’m not going to trouble FastPencil with another email because, basically, I think the answer is that some outlets are looking to make a killing.

It still seems very odd that someone thinks a 126-page paperback should cost $28.00 but, since I never have had an overabundance of respect for money, and, since I still get my royalty, they can have their ill-won profit, if some readers really think the price is fair

On a slightly different note

I’m currently at page 87 of yet another read-through of the book and, so far, I’ve spotted five small mistakes. While this bothers me, a friend who’s a former publisher said that’s actually not so bad.

Not so bad? When an editor and about six authors and a small multitude of readers never caught those mistakes??

I word to the wise:

Get absolutely as many eyes on a manuscript as humanly possible. Then, get a bunch more!

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Self-Publishing Book Distribution ~ The Weirding Way…


So, my book got published through FastPencil on the second of May. The wide-distribution deal I made had me published on the FastPencil site and getting the highest royalties there. I set my own prices on the book.

They have also distributed the book to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and soon, the iPad. My understanding is that folks can order the book at any of those places and FastPencil fulfills the orders and collects the royalties. I get paid quarterly.

The link to the iPad is to a search page. The book, as of this writing, is still “pending” there.

Ingram is a special case. They themselves are a major book distributor and having a book listed with them is critical if you want bookstores and libraries to be able to order the book.

What I’ve learned, though, is that those places are not the only places my book is available.

Because of the Ingram listing ( I think, but I need to do more research…), my book is also available through other vendors.

I set a print price on the book of $12.33 and Amazon followed suit while Barnes & Noble immediately listed it at $9.54. Both places stayed with the $.99 I set on the ebook.

BooKnackrh has the print edition at $10.42, The Book Depository has it at $12.36, and brandnewgoodsus has it at $13.86. All three of those places are listed on the Amazon page

IndieBound’s site had me enter my Zip Code and a bookstore near me lists it at $12.33.

Powell’s Books has it at $13.75 <<( This store feeds in comments and reviews from the GoodReads site :-)

AbeBooks has listings for Books Express at $18.18 and Stratford Books at $9.71.

Alibris has the same two retailers: Books Express at $27.40 and Stratford Books at $28.55!!

I may never find out how Alibris and AbeBooks can list the same outlets carrying the book at such different prices

In fact, I need to send a link to this post to FastPencil and ask them to explain how so many places not in our contract are carrying the book and why the prices vary so much and whether I can expect royalties from all of them.

I’ll let you know what FastPencil says :-)
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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