Archive for the ‘formatting for kindle’ Category

Free guide: How to add covers/ logo’s/ pictures to your Kindle / smashwords file for your eBook

Adding your cover or a logo to your eBook file is not that difficult. For smashwords, adding the cover is automatic, but if you want to add extra images such as a logo to give your eBook that professional look, or a thumbnail book cover for other of your catalogue content at the end of your book, there are certain steps to follow. Although images on kindle show as black and white, it should be remembered that many people use them to download eBook to devices that use color. One thing to bear in mind, is that on kindle you can view the pages with a black background and white text, therefore any logo with stand alone black writing on a white background will be invisible. I have added the process to the end of my free ‘ Free: How to format for kindle guide.’

For full detail click this link


I keep asking myself this question and seem to be something of a lone wolf when I approach the subject on writers’ forums and hardly ever win the debate. When I first published my eBooks through Amazon Kindle, I thought it would be easy to publish both my American edited versions and UK and Commonwealth edited versions. Everything went smoothly when I started to fill in the details to upload my manuscripts to kindle. The process was quite simple. That is until I came to the question of language choice. ‘English,’ it said. I scrolled down to look for the different versions, but there were none.

It struck me as odd. How is the reader to know? Okay, you could say that the reader has the opportunity to sample first and that would be true, but many don’t. Of the ones that do sample, I just wonder how many decide not to buy because the read jars when not in their native English. After much head scratching, I decided to upload the American version to .com and the UK English version to … problem solved. Well that’s what I thought, but then I thought, what of the countries such as Canada and the other countries that can only buy from .com and use English spellings. Then what about expats?

When I contacted Amazon customer services, they sent me a nice email back, basically the only way round the problem was to maybe upload both version with world rights and to say put the Stars and Stripes on the front cover of one and the Union Jack on the other. Ughh.

The usual answer I receive from American authors when I bring up the subject seems to be. “There are 300 million potential customers in America and the UK market is small. Why should I care about the rest?” The answer from UK English authors seems to be “English is English, they’ll understand.” It’s no wonder to me that some American authors claim their sales are poor in the UK and vice versa with the British authors; although I admit there are exceptions. My answer to the authors who have a different opinion to me, I would ask them to trawl the Amazon readers’ forums and look at the debates where the posts mention poor spelling. Alternatively, maybe to read some of the one star reviews, where some readers assume that spellings are in error when they are in fact correct for the authors native English. Don’t think this situation just exists with just self-published authors; it is the same for traditionally published eBooks.

What am I doing about it, you may ask. In my own case, I have made a start by splitting my short stories into individual eBooks and including both versions with links for the reader to make the choice of language. I have already up loaded these to Smashwords for distribution to B&N Kobo and Apple, also to de, in Germany. This week I should have a German translation completed for The End, or a New Dawn, one of my short stories and I will upload it to Amazon with the German translation and the two English versions in one eBook, with links for the customer to make the choice. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but I intend to do this with all my short stories on all eBook platforms. As for my full-length books, I will be re formatting them to include both English versions.

For a more in-depth article and links for American v UK English words and an example of quotation mark differences, follow the link below

Translation page.

Declan Conner: Smashwords profile and books page.

Kindle eBook sales are going from strength to strength. More authors are joining the 1 million club. The upsurge in eBook sales has rocketed Michael Connolly in to the 1 million club, following news that Lee Child, a fellow thriller author and Charlaine Harris, the children’s author, have joined the club. One of the clubs’ authors’ is reputed to have said that eBooks now account for 45% of his sales.

Whilst this is good news for established, published authors, who is going to be the first indie author to join the club? My money is on Amanda Hocking, who although she has accepted a publishing contract, still continues to sell her self-published work on kindle by the cartload. Another guess is J A Konrath, the indie authors’ champion, who has just picked up an Amazon publishing contract and is no stranger to getting his books in the top 100 at release date. With the weight of Amazon behind him, watch him fly. However, there are many more hoping to join them and I am sorry if I have missed out any likely contenders. If I have missed someone out please feel free to leave a comment.

STOP PRESS. I’ve forgotten someone. Sooo Sorry to John Locke. Apparently he is ahead of Konrath. It will be interesting to see what happens with Amazon behind Konrath.

One dark horse I am crossing my fingers for the future, is former published thriller author turned indie, J Conran Black, who features on myBook Buzz page. Her sales figures are reported in a previous article and were at almost 75000 for 1 month in May this year. It doesn’t take a math genius to work out that if you add the growth she has experienced, then in 12 months time it could be champagne cork popping time.

Kindle eBooks: News . It’s all good news on the eBook front More authors have joined the  million club. Suzanne Collins and  Lee Child have joined the “Kindle Million Club, to become, the 5th and 6th authors to sell more than one million eBooks through Amazon.Amazon’s have announced that, Collins became the first children’s author to achieve this milestone. Other members of the “Kindle Million club” include  James Patterson, Stieg Larsson, Nora Roberts and Charlaine Harris.Thriller novelist  Lee Child added this comment: “I started writing at the same time Amazon first went live, back in 1995, and it has been a thrill to move forward together through the years and through the generations of new technology … I’m really delighted to have hit this current milestone, and I look forward to many more together.”


See the article below for details. Great news for eBook published authors, or click the link. As Ilyria Moon commented on my facebook post. “Not only is it good from a writer perspective, but I like seeing people are reading.”

Authors: Setting the price of eBooks. The debate.

I have followed a number of interesting author blog’s and forum discussions on the subject of pricing eBooks. Points of view seem to be fairly entrenched, leading to heated debate at times.

Some of the blogs opinions seem to be motivated by self-interest, which of course drives most of us. One blog likens the 99c price tag to monkeys feeding at a banana tree until there are none left. Another infers that anything lower than her price, or free, is generally crap. Very few of the blogs seem to discuss the opinions of purchasers of e-reading platforms, or the views of readers that are available for all to see on readers’ discussion only forums.

So how does a new author set the price of their eBooks?

Here are some of the factors that drifted through my mind.

  1. What is my work worth to me as a new author?
  2. What is the price customers are prepared to pay for unknown author with a first book?
  3. Will the price I set be cast in stone?
  4. What is happening in the market place regarding price.
  5. If I set a low price, how will potential readers’ perceive my work?
  6. What factors could change my pricing strategy?
  7. Is there an advantage to putting my work out free?


1. I think it is fair to say that authors of whatever standing would not be self-publishing, unless they thought they had a potential bestseller on their hands, or unless their book is for a niche market. But what is my work worth to me in terms of blood, sweat and tears? Everyone will be different and it will depend on many factors. The time it can take for a new author to produce a work can take considerably more time than for an experienced author. Then there is the question of the associated costs in preparing for publication. For those inexperienced, it can mean many late nights over periods of weeks, of them head scratching, to work out how to design book covers, format the publication and in self-editing and proofing a book. For those who can pay for these services then the costs are easy to identify. I came to the conclusion, that however many hours I had worked , or however much money I had spent, my book could not realistically be worth the same as a traditionally published book in terms of retail price. Whilst I had undoubtedly learned many new skill sets, I am of the opinion that these cannot match fully those skills available to the publishers professionals with any certainty and whose expertise is honed to a particular skill. Further as a new author, whilst I had a marketing plan in place, the structure could not begin to kick in until the book was published and it would not be possible to match the marketing departments efforts of traditional publishers, or fellow self-published authors’, who were ahead of me in the game. This led me to the conclusion that my price would have to be lower than a traditionally published book, but at what price point.

2. It would be foolish to think that a reader would be prepared to pay for the time it takes a new self-published author to learn the skill sets leading to publication. The readers prime concern is to purchase a product, where there is an understanding between author, publisher, reader, that the product should be of a quality that will entertain them throughout the read to a satisfactory conclusion, regardless of price. With new authors’, quality is the unknown part of the equation and therefore the readers perception of the likely quality of your work, is a serious obstacle to overcome.

3. Whatever price is set, it is not cast in stone. The facility is there at any time to increase, or decrease a retail price. However, the danger is that an author will become known for his or her price point making the decision to change pricing strategy upward difficult, but not impossible.

4. Pricing strategies have changed rapidly in the eBook market. From looking at blog posts of other more established authors who joined the eBook revolution early, there are rumblings that where they could price just under the price point of a traditionally published book and make decent sales, this  no longer seems to be the case. Some of them in the past experienced reasonable numbers of sales, helped by being carried along with the initial growth of e-reader devices; the trend to lower pricing for indie authors has now dented their sales. Last year when Amazon announced the change of their commission structures, many authors reduced, or increased their price point to the minimum $2.99 to give them the 70% commission ($2.00 royalty). Others stayed at, or reduced their prices to $0.99, which would only give them 35% commission ($0.35 royalty.) On the face of it, the $2.99 price looked to be set to be the norm, but a number of things happened. (a) Many who increased their price saw a dramatic drop in sales.(but not necessarily income.) and( b) those who chose $0.99, saw their sales take off (but not necessarily their income). The experience will not have been the same for everyone, but generally, the 0.99’s brigade seemed to win out as their books gained that all-important traction, gaining rankings, which can escalate the sales of a book. The inevitable happened and many reverted to a $0.99 price, together with the new authors joining and setting this price to gain a reader base. The current quandary is that the $0.99 price no longer has the same effect. For traditional publishers, the reverse seems to be happening, with quite a few of their new releases priced the same as their printed books. Some posts on the e-reader forums are complaining about this and feel their initial reasons to buy their device was to save money over time to get a return on their investment.

5. Looking at some reader only forum discussions regarding Indies, reveals wide opinions as to the quality they encounter and they are quite vocal about it. “You get what you pay for.” comes into conversation quite a lot, perpetuating the problem for Indies to overcome. Some say they will never buy books at $0.99 after a bad experience. If you think that you can get away with publishing an inferior product, you are deluded, as word of mouth in the forums and reviews will out you. Fortunately, many readers will purchase at this price point to give the author a chance.  From what I understand, readers will generally pay up to $4.99 for an indie book, but only after looking at every aspect of what is on offer, to include reading a sample.

Another reader’s gripe that has recently surfaced seems to be value for money regarding the length of a book on offer. Most readers think in terms of number of pages in a book and despite trying to fight the corner from the perspective that it is like trying to explain how long is a piece of string because of different book sizes and printed book formatting, they don’t buy it. The problem seems to be where someone say uploads a short story, not listing at such and however good it is, they feel cheated buying a five thousand-word story for $0.99, when they could have purchased a full book for the same price. Because of this discussion, I have now put both the word count and the approximate page count in my blurb and await Amazon making the changes. That is not to say there are not readers who appreciate the short story medium and will gladly pay for it, but not stating what your product is, runs the risk of one star reviews from others not so appreciative of the short story art.

There are many things you can do to overcome the quality question, for example, why not put you have had your book professionally edited at the beginning of your book blurb, if that is the case. For now, I have only placed this information on my copyright page, but it is something I intend to do. Maybe you could list any other credits you may have. It could be the difference between making a sale or not.

6. Indies are at the mercy of the eBook distributors. As a new industry, distributors have their own motivations for allowing other than traditionally published books into their catalogue. They are quite happy at the moment to allow indies to publish their eBooks at low prices and sometimes to offer books for free. For some readers new to buying devices, it makes the offering tempting against buying printed books when they see the low prices of eBooks. This situation will not last forever as the market matures. There is nothing for the distributors to be gained by offering books free in terms of revenue and it would be easy for them to alter commission structures, or have minimum prices to generate additional revenue when the market becomes stale. They could also alter the algorithms of their system to favor the visibility of higher priced books, or newly released books, so although now you can build your own back catalogue over time, the benefits may not be as they are now in terms of providing income. The notion that makes me shudder is if they insist on you using their editing services to have some sort of quality stamp on your work as a means of increasing their revenue, although some sort of quality stamp that you have had your work professionally edited from any source would be welcome. If it is the case that you have used an editor, or maybe won an award, then it could be one aspect of you deciding on a higher price. However, all this is looking into the crystal ball, for now all we have to work with is the current situation. I think it is worth experimenting with price. There is nothing wrong with trying a higher price first, or moving the price upward once a book gains momentum by achieving a rank.

7. Free can be a useful marketing tool, it can be used to give away short samples of your work, in the hope of convincing readers that your longer work is worth buying. In some circumstances, it can propel you into the limelight and gain you considerable downloads to build a large reader base. Before you embark on offering your work free, there are a number of factors to consider. Some people will only ever download free books and will not buy your other works. Some will download everything in sight, to the extent that they will never get round to reading it. It is the same for other price points. Many readers have a range of prices they will pay for books. The numbers seem to diminish the higher the price you set.

I can’t tell you what is the best pricing strategy for your own particular circumstances. All I hope you take away from this article is for you to see different aspects of arriving at a decision.

Good luck to all.

Following debate on my writers’ author site, I am adding this footnote.

If we go back to last year, Amazon decide it wanted to negotiate prices for books and eBooks with traditional publishers to retail at no more than $9.99. McMillan and others fought this. The result was that Mc Millan’s catalogue was pulled. At the same time, Apple introduced their own eBook platform and together with Barnes and Noble, they saw no reason to stop publishers setting their own prices. The loss of the McMillan catalogue meant that Amazon no longer had the number one best seller, other than through third parties. As the largest retailer of books, for Amazon, this situation would have given consumers a reason to buy other that the kindle platform. This year they caved in to McMillan. This is the reason customers are now complaining as new releases are coming through at prices in some cases of dearer than the paper book.

Traditional publishers see the future as flexible pricing for their products. e.g., starting at say$15.99 at release and reducing over time to $5.99. This situation gives the indie a price point to work with at between $0.99 and the magic $4.99, to remain competitive and to overcome to some extent the notion of quality to price for indie books. The problem for indies is to decide where to set their price point within this margin.

It also give the indie a price point to work toward when formatting for POD to remain competitive  and to be able to retail a paper book at $9.99. Hence, the reason I posted my free guide on how to format for POD on my site to enable you to retail a 100,000-word paper book at$9.99.

Wie formatieren Ihr Buch für eine Kindle eBook Veröffentlichung – FREI

Seit Amazon Deutschland die Türen zum Kindle Katalog öffneten, gab es nie eine bessere Zeit um Ihr Manuskript in ein eBook zu konvertieren. Die Unterweisungen sind in Englisch, aber mit dem Google Übersetzer sollte es einfach sein.

How to format your book for kindle eBook publication: FREE.

With Amazon de opening their doors to a kindle catalogue, there has never been a better time to convert your book manuscript into an eBook. The guide is in English, but with Google translator it should be easy.      Kindle eBook formatieran/ formatting