Author Archives: brian

How to upload a new/revised version of your book to Amazon KDP

I know many of you will want to upload a new version of your book to Amazon Kindle on occasion after you’ve made some improvements, done some additional editing, or simply added new content.

Doing so is fairly simple. Below are three screen shots that provide a step-by-step walk through on how to upload a revision to an existing title via the Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform.

STEP 1: Login to your KDP account

STEP 2: Upload your new file

STEP 3: Set pricing, save & publish!

Hope that helps! If you do need our help fixing a file you’ve already created, we’d be happy to assist further. Simply submit the file you’ve been struggling with and we’ll get back to you with a price of what’ll take to fix it (in most cases, we’ve been able to provide fixes to the file for the most nagging issues for under a hundred bucks).

KindleExpert.com provides fast, high quality digital conversions for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and more to authors & publishers.  To date, we’ve helped more than a hundred authors publish their books to the digital marketplaces for a low one-time fee… allowing the author to retain 100% of their royalties.

Successful authors dive deeper to uncover reachable niches – 7 Tips

7 Tips to help you uncover a reachable niche

In order to stand out in the crowd, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond, so you must first find a small enough market to reach.  Picking a reachable niche is the most important thing you can before you begin writing & researching your book.

I can tell you first hand, the key to selling books, in addition to having good content, is visibility.  Uncovering a reachable niche can go a long way in boosting your visibility.

Here are some tips to find your niche:

1. Think about your own experiences first. What groups are you most familiar with, if you did a search for a topic on meetup.com, what would it be?  What is something nobody knows about you?  What is something you’ve always been drawn to?  Those things we did when we were 10 years old till about 25 years old likely point to some of our true passions in life.  What do you like to do when you aren’t getting paid to do it?  If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you likely spend your time doing?

2. Is it something others are searching for?  Use tools like Google Insights to find out.

3. Are there already tons of books on the topic same on Amazon? If there are less than a few hundred titles on the topic – then go for it! You can realistically rank towards the top utilizing some of the techniques we’ve learned.

4. Visit the library or your local bookstore. Browse the sections and spend time in the magazine isle. You see some things that will trigger an idea that you can evolve into your own niche.

5. Brainstorm yourself, and with others. It’s a magical process when others give their perspectives.  Be open to others suggestions, as they are indeed a microcosm of your the audience you will be exposed to.

6. Take a close look at advertisements.  Grab some free publications, magazines, and newspapers.  Take a look at who others are marketing to.  There’s a high likelihood that if someone is marketing to a specific audience, then there is already demand.

7. Test the niche for a few weeks.  A well defined niche can be described in one sentence. Having your niche described well will not only help you keep your content focused and relevant, but also rank you high in Google.

I learned this through first hand experience, the hard way, as my book 50 Entrepreneurs is a subject space that is already highly saturated (with over 12,000 titles listed on amazon for the search term entrepreneur.)  It’s a big ocean, and a small fish like us will always have a hard time getting noticed.  I have since learned I would have been better off if I had refined the topic of entrepreneurship a level or two deeper.

When you die, make sure your book doesn't die too. Your eBook will outlive you and never go 'out of print.'

I’ve been having some interesting conversations with a few of you lately, and I felt compelled to share.

Have you considered what happens when an author dies?  What happens to their book and who gets the royalties?  Is there a way for an author to insure that the royalties for his/her book will go to his heirs after he/she dies?

The issue with many authors who only have print versions of their book and handle the distribution directly is that sadly when they die, unless someone in the family steps in to pick up the ball, the book dies too.  There’s few things in this world as sad as the dreaded ‘out of print’ or ‘currently unavailable’ listing on Amazon (especially when the listing has positive reviews!):

The evolution and availability of eBooks change this scenario. In fact, eBooks will most definitely outlive the author, and likely every generation of that author that follows.  Unless there is some unforeseen catastrophic event that wipes out every server, every backup, and eliminates the marketplaces that makes your title available, consider that an ebook will quite literally never die!

Since you see now that your book in digital form will live on indefinitely, isn’t it important to you as the author make sure that it’s the absolute best representation of you, the author?  Take the time & make the investment to insure your ebook is set it correctly and that royalties flow directly to a bank account your survivors will have access to.

It’s unlikely that big 5 marketplaces for eBooks (Amazon, BN, Apple, Sony, & Google) are going out of business anytime soon. Considering that many of my clients are generating $40-50/month in profit from their book sales, the return over the long haul from these marketplaces is significant.  Wouldn’t you like to be sure those monthly payments are getting paid to those you love the most after you pass on?

You can hire KindleExpert.com to assist you with your digital layout & conversion.  Our value extends far beyond just providing you with properly formatted files. We stand behind every conversion until the author is pleased with the result. You get step-by-step tutorials that show you how to publish directly to each marketplace. Every client also receives a personalized marketing map that reveals proven strategies to help gain you greater visibility and sell more ebooks.  They are the same strategies we are using at 50 Interviews to generate over $500/month in profit from our Kindle sales alone.

CIPA College 2011

For those of you who live in Colorado, I wanted to let you know that CIPA College 2011 begins this month, and I will be teaching 2 courses on digital publishing on Feb. 26 in Lonetree, Colorado and again on April 2 in Loveland, Colorado. CIPA is the Colorado Independent Publishers Association and one of the longest running associations of it’s kind in Colorado for self-published authors and small independent publishers.  I’ve been a member for over 2 years and it’s one of the best organizations to learn how the publishing business works and to find some excellent resources.

I created a short video this morning and posted it to youtube to provide some pretty compelling evidence (you’ll get to see our own ebook sales #’s) of why you may want to attend!

In case you do miss the class on Feb. 26, I will be following it up with a 3 hour deep dive on the same topics on March 5 in Northglenn, CO. & will post more details on the deeper dive workshop shortly.

Hope to see you there!

Video tutorial: How to transfer your Epub files to your iPad

I know many of you got iPads for Christmas.  Lucky you!  Here’s how you can read the ePub files I converted for you on your iPad to show your friends and family how your books looks in digital!

Important to note! If you are trying to load a new version of an existing book, you must first delete the old version & sync it with iTunes before you add the new file. Otherwise, it will keep loading your old file.  Here’s how you delete an old version BEFORE you load a new version of an existing title:

  1. Be sure to close the book on the ipad (click on library button towards the top left after you click on the spine (assumes Ipad is in horizontal mode).
  2. Go into itunes and click on books. Delete your book from the library (in iTunes).
  3. Sync the ipad to the computer.
  4. Confirm in iBooks (on the ipad) that book has been removed.
  5. Add the new file (attached) into iTunes.
  6. Sync the iPad and the computer.

Kindle Singles have arrived… and here’s what you need to know!

Did you know there are currently over 22 million books in print that you can order from Amazon.com? It seems like virtually every book that has ever been written is now in the Amazon catalog. Thus, it’s more difficult than ever to stand out as a self-published author given the shear number of books we are up against! But Kindle has created an opening for us to standout, and reach a new audience. Why? Because there’s currently only 790,000 titles available on Kindle. Thus, when someone searches for your topic, you stand a better chance to be closer to the top of the search results (do a search for ‘entrepreneur’ in the Kindle store and you’ll see my book ranked among the top 5). But that 790,000 # is increasing at a rate of about 1,000 new titles/day, thus the sooner you get your book on Kindle, the sooner you’ll benefit from the smaller market.

The good news is that you can capture a new even smaller market that Amazon will be putting a lot of marketing muscle into very soon. It’s called Kindle Singles. And although no launch date has been set, but they’ve been releasing more information to publishers lately which leads me to believe the launch will be sometime in early 2011. Here’s what you need to know about Kindle Singles:

  • Singles will be it’s own category in the Kindle Store.
  • A Singles book must be between 5,000-30,000 words (~ 30-90 pages).
  • You will have to submit your title for consideration to be included – while Amazon seems to allow pretty much anyone to publish anything to the Kindle store, Singles will be a highly curated group of content they feel is valuable to their readers.
  • Books in the public domain are not eligible.
  • You still earn a 70% royalty on every sales per their guidelines.
  • The content you submit is not exclusive to Amazon, so you can sell it on other marketplaces as well.

To submit your book for consideration to Kindle Singles, you first upload your book to the Digital Text Platform (The Kindle publishing back-end for authors/publishers), after your kindle book has been approved, you must send an email to: kindle-singles@amazon.com requesting inclusion in the program. Your request should come from the email address in which your DTP account is setup & you must provide the ASIN # of your book. Amazon will notify you once your title has been accepted. It’s important that your title exists on the kindle as high quality conversion, meaning all the navigation (ie. start, cover, table of contents, etc.) is functioning, your table of contents is correclty hyperlinked, your pictures are aligned & formatted correctly, you don’t have lingering irrelevant characters (like page #’s), chapter & titles are correctly structured, etc…   If you need help getting your book cleaned up and properly formatted for the Kindle or any other eReader, we can help. Visit us at www.KindleExpert.com to learn more or contact me at: Brian@KindleExpert.com or call 970-215-1078 (Colorado).

UPDATE: Amazon now has a web page with additional information on publishing to Kindle Singles.

Roundup of recent conversions by KindleExpert.com

I wanted to share the exciting news of several authors who recently launched their books on Amazon Kindle, all of whom I grateful to for trusting me to do their conversions.  Check out a few of them out and let us know what you think! Here’s some of our most recent conversions:

Here’s what one of the authors had to share about the process of working with KindleExpert:

“When I bought Brian’s digital conversion service, I got a lot more than just digital conversion. Brian worked with me to get my book just right, and provided valuable advice regarding the self-publishing process and marketing my book. The time I saved was worth three times the price for the conversion.” -Carl Forest (Caribou Creek)

I’m grateful this year to have worked with some many incredible authors. Happy Holidays!

The 'Freemium' model for authors

Often the topic of giving away your book for free comes up in conversation. You might heard about the book from Chris Anderson that talked about this relatively new paradigm in depth (you can still download the entire 7 hour unabridged audio book here).

The question is (or the argument presented), that you can sell more books by giving your book away (online, perhaps as a free download).

Let me make this clear: I do believe the freemium model can be good for authors. But you need to have some strategy behind it, and it’s going to take more effort than just providing a link to download your book for free (which I don’t recommend you do). Unless you are a high paid speaker (like Chris Anderson), giving away your entire book for free may make you famous, but I know a lot of poor famous people.

Take note to what they refer to in the app world as the ‘freemium model.’ Over 1/3 of all downloads from the iTunes app store are free. But I don’t suggest you just give away your entire book for free, because doing so devalues the book itself, and people generally don’t pay attention to something they perceive as little value.

GigaOM posted an insightful post about how the iTunes app developers are leveraging the free apps. I do want you to pay particular notice however that GigaOm itself is using the freemium model themselves: That post I just referred you to is free, but in it, there’s a teaser to read an article that is available by subscription only.

So how can authors adopt the freemium model to sell more books?

  • Create mini-versions of your book and post them to several of the 3rd party aggregator sites for free (ie. Scribd, Smashwords, Feedbooks, etc.).
  • Strategically implant hyperlinks throughout your free book to your own *website (or directly to your listing on Amazon (Amazon will appreciate that) – offer a relevant compelling download in return for their email address.
  • You might try to us an auto-responder that send your prospects a series of carefully planned emails, each of with more reasons to buy your book.
  • Create .99 mini versions of your book and put them on Kindle. Amazon will be rolling out ‘Amazon Singles’ soon which are mini-versions of popular books to give readers a taste (a step towards a ‘pay-to-preview’ strategy which Amazon already has patents on).
  • Give your readers some ‘exclusive’ content in return for joining your facebook page. Facebook is great because it allows you to interact more and more with your readers.

One of the fears an author/publisher has is the ease file sharing technology allows to share content, which in fact, GigaOM also reported that ebooks (pdfs) are one of the most pirated items. To prevent this from potentially stealing your profits, take a tip from What Color is My Parachute, and Dan Poytner (now up to his 16th edition): release new editions of your book annually… nobody will want last years copy when the find out a new edition is available. The changes each of those title usually makes are minor, but buyers still don’t want the older editions.

*Be sure your site is ‘Kindle Friendly’ website by tailoring it to mobile browsers (use the plug-in for wordpress) or build your site using Google Sites (which incidentally looks really good on the Kindle web browser).

Minefields in digital publishing (Part 1)

I am not a fan of 3rd party aggregators.  These are sites that make it all too easy to upload your book to them.  The majority of the ones I’ve come across have you accept T&Cs that essentially make them your e-book distributor. The idea of an ebook distributor is pretty ridiculous when you consider they really aren’t distributing anything, once it’s setup, it is delivered to the buyer without anyone’s involvement (there’s nothing to ship).  Also, most of the ones I’ve seen have no way of providing DRM (Digital Rights Management) on your title, which means there’s nothing to prevent the buyer of your ebook to post it online or send it to all their friends.

I’ve been hearing alarming stories from fellow authors… And it’s a reminder why I need to get out more and expose the truth about digital publishing.  There are companies offering digital conversions for a low fee, but then retaining as much as 80% of all the proceeds from each sale of the digital versions.  Whoa! That’s exploitation of technologically naive authors.  The price of ebooks will inevitably fall, and likely fast once the market gets saturated.  There’s simply no room for a middleman.  They might say they are going to do a bunch of marketing for your tile, but really, unless they are setting up a facebook page for you, doing article marketing, and have your title on an SEO optimized site, I’d advise you to ask to see examples. Besides, the work that will likely take them a few hours to complete (the digital book layout), and is nowhere near the amount of time and energy you put in as an author. So why in a million years would you be so willing to give up 50% of every sale?

Spend the 20 minutes it’ll take to upload your own title, with your own bank account, directly to the various marketplaces – you need to have direct access to your own sales data so you can see if your marketing efforts are working.

What else do you need to watch out for?

Vanity publishers who retain a % of every book, despite the fact the author pays to publish. Xilbris, iUniverse, and Morgan James all keep 50%, Tate keeps 60%, on every ebook sale. How often do they pay the author?  It varies, but in some cases, only 2x/year.  This bothers me because these are pay-to-publish companies… you’ve already paid all the production costs associated with your book, so why are they entitled to a hefty % of every digital book sale?  Set your own titles up and you’ll get 100% of your digital profit monthly.

In summary, here’s my advice:

  • Don’t ever accept the assignment of an ISBN (or eISBN) unless you’ve purchased it yourself through certified reseller of ISBN #’s (ie. Bowker).  The person/company Bowker assigns the ISBN to is the publisher on record for the title.
  • Only use the 3rd party aggregators to distribute excerpts of your book, or create specifically branded content so it’s not competing with your own.
  • If you do sign an agreement with a vanity/hybrid publisher (where you pay to publish), be sure you retain full rights to your digital editions.

About KindleExpert.com – We provide high quality and affordable digital conversion services.  You receive all the file formats you need with tutorials that walk-through how to publish your books to Amazon, BN, Apple, Google Editions, etc.. Unlike the high volume conversion shops, we guarantee that you will be happy with the result.

Kindle titles to double again in 2010

Number of Kindle titles on track to break 800,000 by end of 2010

I’ve been tracking the number of titles available on the Kindle, and the number of kindle books available has been doubling every year since 2007.  Back in November of 2007, there were only 91,626 titles available.  As of today, there are 765,000 titles you can download for the Amazon Kindle and the number is increasing about 1000 new titles/day… Thus, I predict the # of titles will break 800,000 before year end.

Because there are over 20 million titles available in print on Amazon, you can see why it’s much easier to stand out as an author when your book is on Kindle. For the foreseeable future, it’ll be a much smaller ocean to be in.

The Christmas season will no doubt drive a lot of new Kindle owners.  Thus, I predict that our December #’s will be the highest to date for our small publishing company, 50 Interviews.  For the last 30 days, the profit alone from just a handful of of titles has been close to $400… I’m predicting we’ll break the $500 mark in December.

If you want to get your book on Kindle fast – we can help.  Typically within 72 hours, you’ll have your converted files back and can still capture the explosion of new buyers this Christmas season.

I personally guarantee that you will be pleased with your conversion.  You receive all the formats you need to upload your own titles to the various marketplaces (ie. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, etc..) as well as walk-through tutorials on how to do it. Also, beginning next month, we’ll be rolling out a set of tutorials to help you optimize your book listing and leverage techniques we’ve found to work well when it comes to successfully marketing your ebooks.  These modules will be included with the cost of conversion.

We’ve completed over 50 conversions to date, and they range from non-fiction to novels, and we just completed our first Children’s book.

If you have any questions whatsoever, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to answer your question.