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Self Publishing

BookBaby Adds POD to Their Self-Pub Service

The eBook distributor BookBaby announced yesterday that they’ve gone analog. In addition to distributing your eBook to iBooks, B&N, Amazon, and other eBookstores, BookBaby can also now provide short production runs for paper books.

The new service is intended to offer authors an option to print between 50 and 100 copies at a time. That’s not really enough to compete directly with POD, but it does give authors a chance to print a enough copies to have them on hand at conventions and book signings.

BookBaby set itself apart when it launched back in 2010. Rather than take a cut of your eBook sales, BookBaby distributes eBooks for an upfront change and a small annual fee. It was launched by the folks behind CDBaby, the CD production service.


Smashwords Style Guide Translated into Italian

It’s only been a couple weeks since the release of the German and French translations of the Style Guide, and today Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords, announced that the Smashwords Style Guide was now available in its 4th language. Thanks to the generous volunteer effort of Giuseppe Meligrana, authors now have a chance to make molto bene eBooks.

Joking aside, this translation is part of Smashwords efforts to expand to support more countries and more languages. Smashwords supplies ebooks to iBooks and Kobo (among several other eBookstores). iBooks recently expanded to include 26 more countries in Europe, including Italy. Kobo is also planning to launch in Italy in the near future.

With the growing market and the growing need for authors to self-publish, Smashwords plans to get ahead of the curve. They’re also going to release translations in more languages, and they have translations are in process for Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Bengali.

J.A. Konrath Criticizes Penguin’s Book Country

Earlier this week, Penguin announced that its social networking site for writers has added a self-publishing feature, but not everyone is recommending it.

Best selling self-published author J.A. Konrath has written a blog post warning new writers who are considering self-publishing to consider other routes. In the post, he warns writers about Book Country’s fees for formatting eBooks and the cost for uploading these eBooks to retail stores.

He writes: “Why would you pay Penguin to upload your titles? That’s the easiest part of the self-publishing process. But wait, there’s more. Penguin also keeps 30% of your royalties. So not only do you pay them, you also keep paying them.”

In the post he advises young writers of less expensive or flat out free ways to get your eBook formatted and submitted to eBook retailers. Konrath punctuates his point with dollars and cents. He goes on: “These people charge a flat fee and you keep all of your rights. Which means that when you upload to and sell an ebook for $2.99, you keep $2.05, not the $1.47 Book Country gives you. And trust me. That adds up.
I’ve sold 500,000 ebooks. If I’d published with Book Country, they would have taken $290,000 in royalties from me. That’s just awful.”

Smashwords Style Guide Now Available in French and German

The self-pub service Smashwords has just released a couple new editions of its guide for formatting ebooks.

The Smashwords Style Guide is primarily focused on prepping an eBook for Smashwords, but it also contains a number of useful tips on general eBook formatting. It’s well worth a read for the beginning eBook maker.

The original English language guide has been downloaded over 130 thousand times by Smashwords’ more than 85 thousand authors. The new editions of the style guide were translated by volunteer writers, and Guide des Styles Smashwords and Der Smashwords Formatierungleitfaden are now available for free download at Smashwords. They will also soon be available at Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Amazon. I’m also told that translations for Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Bengali, and Portuguese are in the works.

Smashwords to Start Accepting More eBook Formats in 2012

Mark Coker, founder and CEO of the Smashwords self-pub service, announced earlier this week that Smashwords would soon offer authors a new submission option.

Smashwords is well known for Meatgrinder, its automated conversion platform. Meatgrinder is the reason why Smashwords can sell ebooks in many formats, including everyhting from HTML, RTF, and DOC to Epub and Kindle.

But one problem with Meatgrinder is that it doesn’t offer  output that satisfies ebook design pros, many of whom think that (compared to making an eBook from scratch) it’s not easy to control the quality of the output. A lot of the pickier eBook creators (like myself) don’t like it for just that reason.

Starting in 2012, Smashwords is going to allow everyone to submit other eBook files instead of the DOC file that is used as the source for Meatgrinder. This new service will be called Smashwords Direct, and it means that an author can make a beautiful Epub and offer that as the preferred format.

New Self-Pub Platform Launched – BiblioCrunch

I got an email yesterday from Miral Sattar, the developer behind BiblioCrunch. She’s taking her new self-pub platform out of stealth mode and into public beta.

BiblioCrunch is similar to Feedbooks, with a few elements of GoodReads thrown in.

The main purpose of the site is to help authors create eBooks, but it is also intended to help share them. You can sell your eBook via the BiblioCrunch eBookstore, yes, but you can just as easily give them away. the site is designed to help you share your work via social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc.

There’s one key way that BiblioCrunch beats Feedbooks, Smashwords, and most other self-pub platforms; it offers more than just converting your source files into eBooks. You can also use BiblioCrunch to connect with cover designers, book editors, and you can even find some publishers keeping an eye on the site. Who knows, they might be interested in signing a new author.


John Locke Scores Print Book Deal

Self-published author John Locke, known for his Donovan Creed crime novels, has inked a print book deal with Simon & Schuster. The self-published author, who has sold more than a million eBooks on his own, will continue to publish the eBooks and will produce the print books under the his imprint John Locke Books

Under the terms of the deal, Simon & Schuster will handle sales and distribution of the physical editions of the Donovan Creed novels.  The titles will go on sale in February 2012. Literary agent Jane Dystel of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management handled the deal.

Locke released this statement: “There are many paths from author to reader and any path that puts the reader first will be successful. This agreement represents an exciting departure from the norm, and I applaud Simon & Schuster’s incredible vision, and their willingness to provide a vehicle that allows all readers traditional access to my books. I’m proud to be associated with this outstanding company.”


Barnes & Noble’s PubIt Hosts Review Day Via Facebook

Do you have a self-published PubIt! book that you’d like to get some attention for? Today is the day. Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing service PubIt! is hosting its first Review Day from 9 a.m. EDT until 8 p.m. EDT today on its Facebook page. You can present your PubIt! book to a curated list of book bloggers who may in turn blog about your book.

Here is more from the PubIt! Facebook page: “Under each blogger that’s a good fit for your work, post 2 sentences describing your book. Be sure to include your genre, length of work, and your pen name if it is different from your Facebook identity. Please note that you can only pitch books already published through PubIt! Please include the link to your product page.”

GalleyCat has tips to help you create your pitch: “If you need help crafting a great pitch, follow this link and this link. Once you’ve posted your pitch, stop by GalleyCat’s New Books page and share your new or upcoming book with our readers as well.”

BookBaby Launches HostBaby for Authors

The self publishing platform Bookbaby has just announced a new program for authors.

HostBaby for Authors, launched in partnership with HostBaby, provides an easy-to-use website templating system. It offers writers complete design control, including drag-and-drop widgets, customizable backgrounds, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media integration, as well as basic blogging.

For writers who aren’t tech-savvy, HostBaby offers a free one-hour design consultation to help you make tweaks and adjustments. Also, HostBaby services are free for the first month, so there is no risk in simply trying it out.

This is an interesting program, but it’s probably not going to turn out well. Designing the visual appearance of a website requires a certain minimum of artistic talent. Most people don’t have it.


Smashwords Increases Conversion Capacity by 300%

Mark Coker, head of the indie eBook distributor Smashwords, has just announced that Smashwords has updated conversion servers (popularly known as Meatgrinder). Gone is the 30 hours it used to take to upload and convert an eBook; you should now be able to upload nearly instantaneously.

Just to put the 30 hours into perspective, back when Meatgrinder was first launched (a couple years ago), conversion was running  around 5 minutes. Smashwords is doing a vastly increased amount of business now.

via Smashwords