Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Kindle Unlimited - good for authors?

Will Kindle Unlimited, limit authors' earnings?
Last year Amazon announced the launch of a new subscription based service; Kindle Unlimited. It was originally only available for readers in the US, but it has recently been rolled out to other countries, including the UK. Subscribers are able to read as many books as they want from a selection of over 600,000 titles for a subscription of £9.99/$9.99 a month.

Participating authors get a share of a monthly fund. The actual amount they get depends on how many users read their books. 

However, will authors ultimately benefit from Kindle Unlimited? Amazon set the payment fund but many authors fear that they could find their incomes are dictated by how generous Amazon will be in allocating funds each month.

Another major concern that has surfaced among a significant number of authors, is that they suspect Amazon has introduced the service solely to squeeze out new kids on the block, Oyster and Scribd, who have been attracting thousands of new customers every month with their subscription based models - Scribd already offer over 400,000 titles to their subscribers; that's only a third less than Amazon's initial offering. Many are worried that once Amazon has market dominance in the subscription sector, they will drastically reduce the monthly author fund.  

Furthermore, authors can only put their titles into Kindle Unlimited if they have signed up to Amazon 's KDP Select program. To be eligible for KDP Select, they must not sell their digital books in other outlets. If Amazon do reduce payments, some might have to wait up to three months to get out of the KDP Select contract. So in effect, during this period, Amazon will have total control of the authors' pay packets. This aspect really rubs with indie authors - especially the full-time writers. Although Amazon is seeing authors enrolling new books into Select/Kindle Unlimited, a sizable number have left, or are intending to leave the program. However, it is too early to say whether enough will 'jump ship' to seriously impinge on Amazon's plans. 

Whatever happens, Kindle Unlimited is likely to have a huge effect on how people buy/read books, and how authors are rewarded for their work.

The next few months could prove quite interesting...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 starts here!

A Happy New Year to our authors and to our readers. Without readers there would be no authors... (Correction. There would probably be a few starving ones!)

Friday, 3 January 2014

Effective ebook cover design

Designed by The Electronic Book Company 
When buying an ebook, the cover image is the first thing a prospective reader will see of your title. This is true whether the person is browsing online for an ebook or whether they are browsing for books in a traditional high street bookshop. An eye-catching and well-designed book cover will create an initial interest and make the prospective buyer want to open the book to discover more.

If you are designing a cover image for an ebook, it is very important to bear in mind that in digital retailers like Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore, the image of the ebook's cover on the product page is displayed small. The ebook cover is in effect, an over-sized thumbnail image. With this in mind, the ebook’s title and the author’s name must be displayed as prominently as possible.

For exactly the same reason, the cover imagery used should be distinctive and not intricate or over-fussy. The cover image should also impart a strong indication of what is contained within the cover; the book's genre, topic, setting and mood.

Get all these elements right and you are well on the way to designing a cover that will make your ebook stand-out from the crowd.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Authors: Make the most of your KDP Select promotion days

Amazon's KDP Select program allows authors to reap benefits, such as earning a share of a monthly fund when readers borrow their ebooks from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and a promotional opportunity to offer their ebooks free to readers for up to five days every 90 days. 

These freebie days are a great way to get your books noticed, and they could result in a sales spike and some valuable reviews.

Let's say you've enrolled your book into KDP Select, and today is one of your chosen promotion days. This is an ideal opportunity to remind all your friends, family and other contacts that they can download the book for free.

It's certain that they’ll appreciate a chance to read your book for free, so this is a good time to ask them if they could return the favour by writing a short review after they’ve finished reading it. Although reviews don’t necessarily guarantee sales, books with few or no reviews rarely get purchased.

As long as someone has an Amazon account and has bought something 
on any Amazon website – not necessarily a book - it’s possible for customers to write reviews on Amazon.com. So when you ask people to write a review, make sure they do it on amazon.com. Why? Because reviews written on Amazon.com will be read by between 10 -20 times more people than reviews on smaller sites such as Amazon.co.uk.

No Kindle, no problem

What if your contacts say, “I can’t download your book, because I don’t own a Kindle?” Easy,  tell them that Amazon offer free software for their computers which allows them to download and read ebooks without the need to buy a Kindle. All they have to do is visit Google and search for “Kindle for PC" or “Kindle for Mac” (in quotes) and they’ll find the free download page. They also have apps that allow people to read Kindle books on iPads, Android devices, Blackberrys and iPhones. 

Finally, if you have a Facebook page or Twitter account, don't forget to announce your freebie book to all your friends and followers.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Should ebook publishers use Digital Rights Management?

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a way to protect ebooks – and other media – from being copied by the end user. Some people think DRM is curse and others, a blessing. The anti DRM brigade thinks that by applying copy protection, authors are implying that their readers are all potential thieves. Whereas the pro DRM fans insist that it’s a legitimate form of protection.

DRM: For or against?
I can appreciate both sides of the argument, and although I'm generally an advocate of DRM protection, I can understand that it's not everyone's cup of Darjeeling. Publishing ebooks without DRM clearly has its upsides, but if authors want to use this admittedly imperfect method of copying protection, it should be their prerogative. And by opting for DRM, authors are no more treating readers as potential thieves than a storekeeper would be by locking his shop at night. But if there are some sensitive souls out there who are repulsed by the actions of the nasty storekeeper, they can always elect to shop elsewhere.

A non DRM book could be a very useful promotional tool for some authors.

For instance, If an author had a number of books and decided to have one published without DRM protection, he or she could throw it to the pirates (who would no doubt relish not having to squander valuable micro-seconds stripping out the DRM coding) and stand back watch as tens of thousands of copies are downloaded from the illegal torrent sites across the web. This would be, in effect, a kind of un-time limited and anarchic version of Amazon's KDP Select promo program. By sacrificing just one book to the Long John Silvers of the e-publishing world, the author might stimulate an interest in his or her other ebooks. So it could turn out be an effective marketing tool. My only concern would be that are those who download ebooks from pirate websites the kind of folk who would consider paying actual cash for a book?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The best fonts to use when formatting eBooks...

Keep it simple
It's amazing how often we see submitted manuscripts from would-be authors that contain a plethora of exotic fonts. In theory, it is possible to format and convert an eBook using virtually any style of font. However, experienced eBook publishers know that theory doesn't always match reality when it comes to converting an eBook.

When book manuscripts containing unusual fonts are converted into the various electronic publishing formats, many of the less well-known fonts are not recognized by the conversion software and end up being displayed as weird symbols, squiggles or even solid black blocks.

The best way to ensure a smooth conversion is to use mainstream fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Garamond. Our particular font of choice is good old Times New Roman. This classic typeface is also the choice of many traditional book publishers.

Right, now that we've decided on the style font to use, it's time to consider what size of font is most suitable when formatting eBooks. 

This is fairly simple, for the main body text,  sizes 11 -12 fonts are most commonly accepted as the norm. The book's title and chapter headings are best kept reasonably small because on compact hand-held devices, over-large lettering tends to fill up the small screen and look overpowering. For this reason we recommend that you should not use a font size larger than 18.

TOP TIP: Click HERE to see the Amazon 'Look Inside' sample of one our enhanced ebooks. The sample will give you a great idea of how you can maximize sales through creative presentation of your book. A well-presented interior sample will help convince prospective readers to make a purchase!

Great promotional 3-D ebook covers now available

click images to enlarge

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Kindle is 2011 bestseller...

It has just been announced that for the second year in a row, Amazon's iconic Kindle has become the biggest selling product of the year on Amazon.co.uk. News that the popular ebook reader has once again topped Amazon's annual bestseller list, has hardly come as a surprise to most industry insiders.
Christopher North, who is managing director of Amazon.co.uk Ltd. said: "Millions of Amazon.co.uk customers are enjoying Kindle, and sales of Kindle ebooks in the 3 months following the launch of the new Kindle ereader were nearly 5 times higher than the same period last year."
In other news, the UK's first book festival dedicated to the digital format, the Kidwell-e Festival (Kidwelly ebook Festival) is planned for August  2012 and will be only the second ebook festival anywhere in the world. 

Visit: www.theelectronicbookcompany.com We can prepare, format and publish your book for just £170.