Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Selfpublish

#Smashwords 2017 #Survey


Smashwords If you’re not familiar with Smashwords, it’s a space for authors to self-publish, with no upfront fees (and, with distribution to the most important retailers); plus, of course, a space for readers to find a wealth of books…

And, comparing it with Amazon is simple—Smashwords actually goes to great effort to help authors sell books…

And, even though it was published three years ago, their Indie Author Manifesto is worth a read…

Something else worth reading are the Surveys that Founder Mark Coker writes…

Here’s a bit of his intro to this year’s survey:

“Each year for the Smashwords Survey, I analyze ebook sales aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network.

“We’re looking to identify potential data driven insights that can help authors and publishers make their books more accessible, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers.”

You can read more of Mark’s intro to the survey; but, I’ll put the questions it seeks to answer here:

What are the top fiction and non-fiction categories?

What romance categories perform the best?

How do box sets perform, and which types of box set perform the best?

Do authors who release ebooks as preorders sell more books overall?

How do preorder adoption rates differ across genres (New!!)

What percentage of overall sales in each genre for new titles go to books released as preorders (New!)

What are the pricing sweet spots for full-length fiction to maximize both readership and author earnings?

Do longer books still sell better?

Does FREE still work, and what about free series starters?

Do series books sell better than standalone books, and if so, by how much?

And, here’s this year’s Smashwords Survey:


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Need Some ENERGY To Get Busy On Book Promotion? ~ Meet Jonah Berger :-)


On April 3rd I published a post called, How Can An Author Make Their Book Go Viral?

It had a 40 minute video of Jonah Berger, Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. jonah

He has a new book out that gives the simple yet powerful results of his years of research on exactly why things catch on.

When I introduced the video in that post, I said:

“Watch the video, not to learn the techniques but to have some of Jonah’s ENERGY galvanize you to, at least, begin to think differently about how to promote your writing, and, hopefully, get the book and the free application-guide and  learn the techniques :-)”

I’ve started reading the book and I’m hooked.

The 30 posts I’ve published about book promotion are good, solid information, but Jonah’s stuff is Way Better :-)

If 40 minutes of video seems a bit long for you, I’m sharing two more videos of Jonah that are 7 and 4 minutes long

The first will let you get to know Jonah and what he’s up to and the second explores why certain things go viral.

ENJOY :-)


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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Self-Published Books & Bookstores


Traditional publishers have established methods of dealing with bookstores.

Of course, many authors have issues with the whole procedure but are still locked into the legacy model of publishing.

First, traditional publishers offer the bookstores (the few they deal with) steep discounts then permit them to return unsold books.

Next comes the way books are placed in bookstores—some publishers pay to have books well-displayed.

But, traditional publishers are having their problems and it’s affecting the whole supply chain

So, what’s up with self-published books and Indie bookstores?

First, two sites that are dedicated to the Indie:

IndieBound—dealing with the bookstore side of the equation.

IndieReader—dealing with the books and authors.

Next, two posts that explore getting self-published books into bookstores:

Terri Giuliano Long’s Why You Can’t Find Indies In Bookstores points up many of the core issues.

Jo Ann Kairys’ 5 Guaranteed Ways to Get Your Book into Bookstores shares some practical tactics.

One of Jo Ann’s methods is so direct and seemingly simple I have to excerpt it here:

Cold Calls

Once your book is in Ingram and Baker and Taylor distribution, cold calls to bookstores really work. Here’s the way my script goes:

Me: Hi, I’m an author! Could you check my ISBN?

Store: Let me connect you with the right department.

Me: Hi there, I’m an author! Could you check my ISBN?

Store: Sure, What is it? (Checks the computer) Okay, I have it.

Me: Great! Could I ask you to order a few for your store?

Store: Yes, that’s fine.

Me: Thank you so much!

This short conversation has worked for every call I’ve made—literally hundreds!

And, a related challenge for self-published authors is explored in a previous post on this blog—Getting Self-Published Books Into Libraries.

Of course, many Indie authors are quite happy to bypass bookstores and libraries while focusing their efforts on the unlimited shelf-space of the Internet
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com