Sunday, June 5, 2011

Butts Mean Business

This week’s picture has absolutely nothing to do with the blog post topic. It has everything to do with the fact that last week we had twice the visitors to this site. While we would love to believe this is due to our incisive descriptions and our sterling wit, we’re pretty sure this isn’t the case. In the last post we highlighted our eBook cover which featured a comely rear end with a butterfly mark. In order to keep your interest, we’ve included a few more bikini clad butts while we discuss eBook publishing. Hopefully the accompanying photograph will keep you awake long enough to finish reading the post.

All major online eBook sales channels (Amazon, Apple, Google, Barnes & Nobel, etc.) accept independent authors. If you have the time and patience to deal with all the unique formatting and uploading rules, you can get your eBook out to everywhere someone is likely to find it. Since there is a pretty steep learning curve to figure out how to meet all the requirements, it’s natural that third party eBook publishers and distributors have started to provide a “one stop shop” for the independent author to get their eBook on the web.

We definitely knew we were going to go with an independent eBook publisher rather than do it all ourselves. We just needed to decide which company to go with. We initially looked at because we really like their business model. There is no upfront cost. Smashwords makes all its money on a percentage of the revenues coming back from the book distributors.  Unfortunately, “smashwords” is an all too literal description of the eBook formatting results. They rely on a software program they lovingly refer to as the “meat grinder” to turn an MS Word document into multiple eBook files. The results aren’t uniformly consistent and they frequently turn out truly ugly products. Smashwords is also abysmally slow. This is no doubt due to their popularity. Smashwords does seem to have good business relationships with a large number of eBook distributors including all of the major players. Still, with their “anything goes” philosophy it looks to us that it is becoming the home to the “great unwashed” and it is now frustratingly hard to find a well written and edited eBook worth reading from their collection.

After experimenting with Smashwords we decided to find an eBook preparer and publisher with a more hands on approach. We looked at eBookit, Publish Green, and Book Baby. We eventually decided on eBookit because they seemed to have all of the bases covered. They brag about their attention to quality and are reasonably priced. Publish Green looks like it offers more and they maintain a very professional site, but they cost six times as much to get the eBook out the door. Book Baby is a spinoff of the famous CD Baby music distribution business and it looks like it has potential. The terms are more favorable to the author than eBookit, but they don’t distribute to as many places and don’t offer as many services yet. Still, the company seems to understand digital distribution so we will definitely check them out again when it’s time to release book number two.

So this morning we uploaded Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kane to eBookit. They say we’ll have a proof to review in two to five days. After that, they’ll distribute our book to all the major eBook outlets. This means there aren’t going to be too many more posts before the one asking you to buy our eBook. Maybe we better start hunting for the perfect butt picture to accompany that announcement now.

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