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Your eBook via Smashwords on a Friend's iPhone or Kindle — Free!

Discussion in 'General Scientology Discussion' started by Dulloldfart, Jun 18, 2009.

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  1. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Do you want to publish your story in an eBook? In formats that can be read on eBook readers like the Amazon Kindle, Sony's ones, others like the Foxit eSlick, the iPhone, and others even more strange? For free? Many people here have already spend dozens of hours writing their story, often in a single thread. All the hard work is done. It's just a matter of collecting all the bits together, editing it into something more coherent if you wish, doing some simple formatting in MS Word or Open Office Writer (it's like Word only it's not Microsoft and it's free), uploading it to a site, deciding on a price and a few more options, and you're done. Sell it for free or $200 or anything between. You get to keep 85% of what you can make (less regular PayPal fees). No hidden costs.

    The two sites at www.smashwords.com and www.feedbooks.com are similar. They are the main sites that do what I am talking about in this post. They may be the only two sites that do it right now. I am more familiar with Smashwords, so will talk about that one.

    You can set up an account for free. There is a Style guide explaining how to format your work, basically keep it very, very simple. No complicated fonts, spacing, columns etc. One astounding fact is that only 19% of three months' downloads from Smashwords were in PDF format. Which means if your eBooks are only available in that format then you are missing out on a lot of downloads. The exact figures are EPUB (iPhone) 28%, PDF 19%, TXT 17%, MOBI 16%, RTF 9%, LRF (Sony) 6%, PDB (Palm) 5%. You can also read the eBook online in HTML and Javascript or even plain text. You only need to upload it once and automated software converts it to all those different formats. If you later revise your eBook, you simply upload the latest version. No cost still. It's all free unless you sell copies, when the cost is a straight 15% plus normal PayPal fees.

    I told a friend about this yesterday. I see that today he has one of his 70,000 word fiction pieces already up there. Funnily enough right now it's the top book showing on the main Smashwords page ("It's Down to Earth" by Jim Cline) as they put the latest books on there. He's an engineer and also writes novels based on his technical papers, this one about a space elevator. He's finding it quite empowering to be able to get a lifetime of written work, previously ignored, online and available and being read and appreciated by others.

    So, ESMBers: If you have already spent dozens or hundreds of hours putting the raw story of your life online here, why not spend a few extra hours putting it into possibly a far more palatable format? Then you can include the URL in your signature here and anyone can grab your story easily without having to cope with Alanzo's comments too. Or you can email a friend the URL, they can download it quickly and easily and then read it at leisure on their iPhone or Palm or Kindle or Cool-er or....

    Paul
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  2. RogerB

    RogerB Crusader

    Well Done, Paul

    Well Done, Paul,

    Nice contribution!

    R
     
  3. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Thanks, Rog. You'd love Smashwords. You can change the font sizes there as well as colours and backgrounds etc. :)

    Paul
     
  4. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I got my first eBook online there. Not exactly my usual stuff, it's "Rubik's Cube: How to Solve the Shepherd Cube and the Tartan Cube." I figured I'd get something up there at least while I'm editing something else a bit meatier.

    The upload process works fine. You can easily upload a cover image separately to the main manuscript.

    Anyone need any help getting their story there? Post here or PM me.

    Paul
     
  5. Wisened One

    Wisened One Crusader

    Hey, Great info! Thanks, Paul!

    I'll refer to this whenever we get our Kindle one of these days....
     
  6. CornPie

    CornPie Patron Meritorious

    That's very cool Paul. I really like the fact that the author you provided the link for, can provide his own link to a direct sales page for his book, and they were ready to sell one on the spot, no beating around the bush. They looked like they actually "wanted" to sell his ebook, rather than something else (as so many web retailers do). I appreciate the financial terms for the independent author, and I like the fact that they accept PayPal, I like that they publish text into many formats; kindle, pdf, text, ms-word, and many more. This concept is clearly going to have an impact on publishing.

    A heads up though. I just visited both web sites that you spoke of; SmashWords.com and FeedBooks.com -- and did some searches:

    On both sites, searching for the major religions, religious leaders, etc. -- both returned results of numerous available books.

    Neither site returns any available books on the search word "scientology", though.

    I'm not sure why that is. Maybe nobody's uploaded any books yet on scientology, or maybe the scientology lawyer thugs have rattled the cages of these publishers. It merits some checking into, especially considering anything from an ESMB'er will likely have to do with scientology. Also, what's going to happen when somebody starts uploading controversial books -- which should get scientology all hot and bothered, with the religious bigotry they're always complaining about.

    So both of these web sites look pretty good to me, but let's keep our ears to the pavement for other similar publishing sites too, who take on more controversial topics. I would avoid sites that accept porn, as this will hurt you eventually. The cool thing about these two sites, is they publish in so many formats. Electronic publishing doesn't look like a business that has large entry barriers. I do not see how Amazon, or anyone else, will be able to gain a monopoly in this business.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  7. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I don't know. There aren't that many books written on Scn. But it is easy enough to find out. You can post a 1000 word article as a book if you want. That "book" I just published on Smashwords is only 2000 words.

    I emailed the site owner, Mark Coker, yesterday with some comments about his Style article, and got a nice helpful reply a few hours later, so he seems to be generally available.

    Paul
     
  8. CornPie

    CornPie Patron Meritorious

    Great idea, especially since it's free to publish. Submit a 1000 word book, then buy one from yourself, then zap your cookies, close and reopen your web browser, login as the author, to see how quickly a sale shows up.

    Another thought, this concept of self publishing really puts individual authors in the driver's seat -- IF they are driving traffic FROM their own web site.

    For example if an author's revenue from publisher A drys up, and IF the author is driving their own traffic to the publisher from their own web site, or Google ads -- it should be straight forward for the author to swap out Publisher-A with Publisher-B on their web site, to see if their revenue improves. I am assuming (correctly I hope) that an author isn't expected to agree to an exclusive relationship with any particular publisher. One way to overcome that is to continue updating the book, then Publisher A will only have an out-of-date book -- in which case the author could say, if you want the latest book, you now need to go to Publisher B (presumably where the author receives more revenue.) Also, assuming an exclusive is not required, there should be no reason not to set up relationships with multiple publishers. Then if individual publishers make sales for you via their own search engine, it should help your business.

    Also, my experience with electronic "anything", is it's just a matter of time; if there is a way to game the system, then it absolutely will be gamed eventually. Either the publisher will start skimming sales off the top, or distant hackers will circumvent the system, in order to gain your revenue, perhaps in collusion with, or with the knowledge of the publisher. Or they may pull an Amazon, and redefine what a hit is. (Sorry, they had that coming, they're fine if you're a customer, otherwise they will invent ways to jerk you out of revenue, significantly.)

    To overcome this, and assuming a publisher isn't going to provide personally identifiable information of the buyer -- try to find publishers who at least provide the date, city, or the buyer's initials of each sale. That way an author can keep an eye on the publisher by occasionally purchasing their own book, or having somebody else buy their book, and they should see the city or initials of the buyer on the list of sales, hopefully in real time. This do-it-yourself double-check means authors don't have to "trust" the system or depend on an auditor who's accountable to someone else, and you can bet that large companies like Amazon would never agree to anything so concrete, who'd will want to keep it "just" a little bit fuzzy.

    Also publish updates to the book from time to time, in order to disrupt fraud. This way fraudsters would need to continue purchasing the book from a valid publisher of the author's choosing, in order to continue providing the latest content -- which would thwart their ability to "pirate" the author's latest content. You may think this is all a bunch of hype -- but I've been around. When your revenue is going great every day for a month -- but it nearly disappears overnight -- having alternate publisher(s) may be just what you need to keep fraud in check.

    Ultimately I think, the most important issue an author may face is how much revenue they earn per book. But if a publisher lumps multiple books into one payment with no breakdown per book. Or if they lump multiple sales of a book into one figure, with no breakdown per date/customer (e.g. city/initials) -- it's un-auditable, it's fuzzy. Golly it's just too much work for them to provide all that detail (book/date/buyer-city-or-initials for each sale), don't you trust me? But hopefully there will be numerous publishers willing to be "kept honest". Either way, why not deal with multiple publishers anyway?

    Nonetheless, more un-auditable revenue from publisher A, seems more desirable to me than less auditable revenue from publisher B. But in any event, I don't like exclusives. I'd also keep an eye out for any regular monthly fees, that would soak up your sales, which I would not agree to.

    PS: Xenu and the invisible OT3 body thetans are BS that hubbard-Ass made up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  9. nexus100

    nexus100 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Sure. Now that I went to endless trouble with Blurb you come out with the easy way to help the competition.
     
  10. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    That's hard copy, right? What about the digital versions? You didn't sign away those rights, surely?

    Paul
     
  11. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I'll just trust the guy for the time being, and then if there's a problem later I'll deal with it. No exclusive rights are being granted. One can pull out at any time and spray one's literary seed elsewhere. :)

    Paul
     
  12. CornPie

    CornPie Patron Meritorious

    Great, no exclusives, a good thing.

    Has anybody had experience with LuLu.com, they've been around a long time.

    They provide Electronic, and Print-on-Demand versions, with set your own prices.
     
  13. nexus100

    nexus100 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Yes hard copy, I have full rights and can delete it anytime I want.
     
  14. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I bought a copy of Clearbird's Level 0 pack from lulu.com in early 2005. It was fine, no problems.

    What I especially like about Smashwords is the instant no-hassle conversion to all those other formats.

    Paul
     
  15. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

  16. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Time for another Smashwords plug. This is for you guys — I'm not on some affiliate kick-back deal and the only eBook I currently have there is free anyway.

    They just set up a deal to distribute your Smashwords eBooks via Amazon.com:

    *1.* Amazon to distribute Smashwords ebooks

    This morning we announced a distribution agreement with Amazon that will put Smashwords ebooks directly in the Kindle store.

    Like B&N and Sony, you'll earn 42.5 percent of the digital list price you set.

    Since it generally costs the author/user nothing, literally, I think it's a great deal.

    Paul