Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: FastPencil

Soon, #Smashwords Will Be an Even Nicer Place for #Publishing…


I’ve been publishing for nearly 13 years; however, almost 7 years ago, I got very serious about it—I used FastPencil to publish a novel that I now give away on Smashwords… Smashwords Publishing

The weird thing is that I’ve known Smashwords is a very cool place to publish for all those nearly 7 years; but then, I am getting fairly old, so nearly everything looks like too much work; still, Smashwords is the easiest publishing I’ve ever done…

So, why will Smashwords soon be even nicer?

A recent email from them had this:

Heads up. This Friday October 27 we’re kicking off the Smart Author Podcast!

It will be a FREE podcast and will feature the Founder of Smashwords, Mark Coker—a man who just might know more about e-publishing than anyone else on the planet…

Here are some scheduling notes from Mark:

These first four episodes launch this Friday [Oct. 27th]:

Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Authorship
Introduction to Ebook Publishing
Bestseller Secrets
How to Sell More Ebooks with Pre-orders

And then these episodes release each week through November:

11/3 – Working with Beta Readers
11/10 – Marketing to Libraries
11/17 – Smashwords Survey 2017
11/24 – The Art of Delusion (How to keep writing despite inevitable challenges)

More episodes are planned for December…

You can listen to an Introductory Trailer right HERE

And, that page also has the following offer [which will disappear Oct. 25th around Noon Pacific time, USA]:

Click Here to apply to join our launch team.  Launch team members gain early access to the first eight episodes along with other exclusive perks.

Finally, you can Subscribe at these locations:

Apple Podcasts

Google Play

SoundCloud

TuneIn

Or, you can always Listen Online

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FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

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Ten Publishing Predictions for 2017


2017 Book Industry Predictions I’ve been published by Lulu and FastPencil and Amazon and Wattpad… 

One of these days, I want to get around to being published by Smashwords

Perhaps (whenever I decide it’s “complete”), I’ll put my Story Bazaar there…

Nevertheless, if you put “Mark Coker(the Founder of Smashwords) into the search box at the upper right, you’ll find around 23 informative posts (including this one) about the BookWorld.

His article, 2017 Book Industry Predictions: Intrigue and Angst amid Boundless Opportunity, begins with these thoughts:

“If you could see into the future, what would you do to change it?

“Each year I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and attempt to divine how the boiling crosscurrents of technology, competitive intrigue, author aspirations, and reader tastes will shape the opportunities facing authors, publishers and retailers for the year ahead.

“As I caution each year, the prediction game is fraught with folly.  No one really knows what will happen tomorrow, though there are plenty of clues.

“Book publishing is in the grip of multiple long-term macro trends.  Like strong trade winds, these forces will fill the sails of those who can harness them while swamping those who don’t.

“2017 will mark a special milestone for the ebook industry.  It marks the ten year anniversary of the Kindle.  It’s also the ten year anniversary of Smashwords’ incorporation.  In early 2007, after three years of crafting our business plan, I hired our first programmer and began active development on the Smashwords platform which we launched in early 2008.”

He then has a fascinating section entitled, Ten Years of Indie Publishing in Review

Then follow his ten predictions (do take the link to the full article for Mark’s enlightening commentary on each of these predictions):

1.  Indie authors will continue to capture greater ebook market share in 2017 

2.  The glut [of books] will grow more pronounced

3.  Ebooks will face greater commoditization pressures in 2017

4.  The publishing industry will begin to recognize KDP Select as the cancer that it is

#5 is “missing” or it’s called Boiling Frogs

6.   Large ebook retailers pushed to the brink

7.  Kindle Unlimited will continue to harm single copy ebook sales in 2017

8.  Many indies will quit or scale back production

9.  Industry consolidation will hit self-publishing

10.   Amazon to face anti-trust scrutiny for unfair business practices

And, here are some of Mark’s closing remarks (directed straight at self-publishing writers — if you aren’t one, share this post with any you may know...):

“Okay, so I’ve painted a stark picture for 2017.  What are you going to do about it?

“First, remember that you are not powerless, despite the efforts of those who seek to beat you down and take your power.

“Recognize that the collective actions of authors and publishers like you will determine the course of this industry.  If you have strong feelings about a particular future you’d like to see realized, it’s incumbent upon you and everyone you know to take a stand, organize with fellow authors and put words to action.

“I realize some authors are unable take a public stand.  I’ve spoken with many of them – including many big name NY Times bestsellers – who’ve privately thanked me for speaking out for them, and they’ve encouraging me to continue speaking out.  Some of these authors have confided to me they’re unable to speak publicly for themselves.  They’re afraid of recrimination from Amazon; they’re afraid of recrimination from their friends; or they’re afraid of seeing their books carpet-bombed with one-star reviews from Amazon partisans.  If you must remain silent, I respect that.  But if you have the ability to share your concerns with your readers and author friends, whether publicly or privately, please do.  Do it for you.

“Despite the challenges writers and publishers face, I continue to believe as I’ve believed for the last decade that there’s never been a better time to be a writer.  There’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in publishing.”

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Two Publishing Options ~ Two Editing Options . . .


This is the 35th post on this blog that will mention FastPencil publishing-aid company.

editing and publishing

Image Courtesy of Ivan Soares Ferrer ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ivanferrer-35808

In the past post, FastPencil ~ Funny Name, Dynamite Publishing-Aid Company. I shared this info:

I’ve 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 $9.99.

I’ve used FastPencil and I’m very happy with their services; speaking of which, if you don’t have an editor and can’t self-edit, you can pay them more money for that and other services

Or, you could consider other editing options (always making sure you receive samples of the editing anyone does...).

One option is the editing and publishing consultancy, Prosevue Edición.

You can check out their Terms, Conditions, and Policies.

They have Editing Services for Self-Published Books and Articles, Academic and Professional Documents, and International University Applications.

Just to give you an idea of their fees, Fiction Manuscripts of 50,000 words cost $500; but, 100,000 words are only $600

And, if you want another option for publishing, you can consider submitting to  Coffee House Press.

From their Site:

“The mission of Coffee House Press is to publish exciting, vital, and enduring authors of our time; to delight and inspire readers; to contribute to the cultural life of our community; and to enrich our literary heritage. By building on the best traditions of publishing and the book arts, we produce books that celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience.”

Coffee House Press is also a good place to look for books that “celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience.”; and, if you feel you’ve written such a book, you can contact them:

For general inquiries, you can reach us by email at info@coffeehousepress.org, by phone at (612) 338-0125, or by mail at the following address:

Coffee House Press
79 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 110
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Naturally, there are a huge number of options for editing and publishing (I just thought my readers might find these three interesting…); and, you can begin exploring other options right here

Edit after publication:

Received this tweet from Prosevue Edición:

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What’s The Real Cost of #SelfPublishing?


More and more writers are looking at self-publishing as a viable alternative to the aging and unresponsive traditional path.

And, if you really want to go deep into this new way of getting books to readers (and its many ways of being described) you could visit the 142 articles I’ve written about self-publishing

I’ll be tagging this post with “self-publishing”, too; so, taking that link will, first, show you this post again; then, all the others

But, the title up there asks about cost.

Not just money—cost.

I’ll be comparing two different companies soon—companies that I would call Publishing-Aid Corporations—and you can begin to sense the wide range of monetary costs.

But, then there are the emotional costs, and the social costs, and the time costs

Naturally, traditional publishing has costs, too.

In spite of the advances offered to the lucky few writers accepted for publication by traditional companies, there are still emotional, social, and time costs—costs which can often be severe

So, in my estimation, the basic difference between self- and traditional publishing (after all cost considerations) is who owns the rights of the book:

Traditional—they own the rights.

Self—you own them.

And, rights mean you decide what happens to your book

I can hear a few readers thinking, “But, so what if I own the rights if nobody buys the book?”.

I’ll direct you to the thousands of authors who were accepted by a traditional house, had the book placed on the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores, and, in about two months, had them removed from the shelves, never to return

Either major method of book publishing has no iron-clad guarantees for sales and no magic formulas for success.

If you doubt my last sentence, please refer to my article, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

Here’s one quote from that article:

“The average U.S. book is now [2011] selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.”

And, the last five years haven’t made things better

Plus, focusing on self-publishing, I offer a quote (from a man who knows what he’s talking about) from my article, Author Earnings:

“The forces that determine a book’s sales performance are often multi-dimensional, synergistic, opaque, delayed or simply not apparent.”

And, that same man (who’s the Founder of Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks) also says:

“We cannot promise you your book will sell well, even if you follow all the tips in this guide. In fact, most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

So, why publish?

If it’s to make money, the odds are slim to none.

Sure, you can study Amazon’s bestsellers, work really hard to copy the style of writing in some of that genre fiction, pay $1,000 for a remarkable cover, and upload it.

Still, no guarantees of any earnings

If you want to assure yourself that a book you’ve written from your heart and soul (something that might be very hard to stick in a genre…) reaches readers who care about it, and you aren’t looking to make money from it, you just might satisfy that goal; but, you’ll have to work your tail off self-promoting (even if a traditional publisher happens to take the book…).

Of course, if you’re exceeding wealthy and/or fantastically famous, you can forget everything I’m saying

So, for the rest of us mere mortals, we can suffer the years of rejections from the big houses and still sell very few books or we can self-publish and still sell very few books

So, why publish?

I guess we’re down to faith—faith in the writing you must do—faith in your ability to find readers—faith that humanity holds together long enough for someone to buy your book

O.K., I’ve tried to scare you away from publishing but you’re still reading

Monetary Cost

Traditional publishing—apparently none

Self-Publishing?

It varies, depending on many factors

I’ll give you two very different situations that characterize some of the more rational options.

In an article on Publishing PerspectivesWhat Does Self-Publishing Cost? The UK’s Reedsy Reads the Receipts—you can see what the services offered through one Publishing-Aid Corporation cost; but their reason for the costs are interesting…

Here are just a few excerpts from that article:

“Debates have raged for years in the charred channels of indie-author blog-and-gossip sites about what one should be prepared to pay in order to have a book professionally edited and designed for the marketplace.”

““A full edit on an 80,000-word manuscript,” Reedsy’s article tells us, “is likely going to cost you US$3,300.”

“Cover design, Reedsy’s research on its transactions tells us, runs an average $700, with 66 percent of the designers’ quotes running between $200 and $800.”

“Book interior design can be costlier, at an average $840, and up to $1,000.”

Reedsy is a “broker” of services for writers and, before any considerations of distribution or what it will cost to promote a book, they say you need to spend around $5,000 dollars for “…a book professionally edited and designed for the marketplace.”

I beg to differ

My self-published novel, Notes from An Alien, was released (in both print and e-book and distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Ingram) for $300.

Yes, the company I worked with had services similar to Reedsy; but, I didn’t have and couldn’t save more than what I spent

I must say that I learned a few things about book preparation without “professional” help

The book was edited by an English graduate student—no cost—she only wanted credit in the book.

Over about the first three years of the book’s life, various folk found a total of 8 typos and I found 4 errors-of-author-judgement.

I created the cover.

Yet, still, a reputable author, who was traditionally published, read my book (noticed no typos) and says it looks, feels, and reads like a professionally produced book

Here comes that wisdom that begins with “If I could do it all over…”:

I still would have self-published the way I did; I still would have had the editing done by the same woman; but, first, I would have passed the manuscript around more to help catch typos and errors-of-author-judgement, then uploaded the chapters to Wattpad to generate reader interest pre-publication.

As it is, I’ve uploaded it to Wattpad (the fully corrected version) and I’m promoting it by reading other folks and commenting and voting on their works—they, in turn, might read my book

I also work my tail off on this blog and have a link to the book in the left side-bar.

Yep, it says Free Novel and, even though the link will take you to places the book is for sale, I hope before you think I’m crazy for giving it away, you read my past post, Free = Sales ~ Give It Away & Sell More…

But, please don’t forget that “sell more” doesn’t automatically mean hundreds or thousands

So, who published and is distributing my novel?

FastPencil

I recommend that you (and I’m assuming you have the faith and enterprise it takes to bring a book into the world) go read FastPencil’s article, Author Worry: “How Much Does It REALLY Cost To Publish?”.
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Even Small Town Libraries Can Afford to Self-Publish


Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA—population just over 100,000.

Self-publish at the Library

Image Courtesy of Sara Haj-Hassan ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/hhsara-57694

According to a recent newspaper story, the library in Las Cruces will soon be offering self-publishing services:

“We chose FastPencil for Libraries because it’s easy to use and the end result can be published and sold as a printed book or distributed onto OneClickdigital and be made available to thousands of libraries around the world,” said Renée Payne Frankel, library administrator.”

So, a small town library in the USA is offering print and e-book self-publishing services

I also found a United Kingdom site offering the same services

One more excerpt from the Las Cruces story:

“FastPencil for Libraries is a self-publishing platform for new or established authors to develop and edit works, along with the tools needed to publish.

“Authors can share progress with and get feedback from the FastPencil for Libraries community, friends and relatives.”

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I’ve published two books using FastPencil

In fact, I wrote a post back in 2012 called Publisher Helps Local Libraries Become Community Publishers !

I’ll excerpt myself:

“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. {author’s note: this is with the Espresso Book Machine}

“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.”

But, that U.K. link seems to mean this self-publishing-at-your-local-library is leaking out to the rest of the world :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com