Facebook ads are not a good investment, IMHO. They are expensive, campaigns take time to set up, and most people on FB are not on the site to browse books. Amazon Advertising is more effective and will be available to Amazon KDP users.
A note about ISBNs: You don't need one if you are just publishing a PDF on Gumroad or an ebook on KDP. If you are creating a print edition through KDP or a service like IngramSpark, you will need an ISBN, though.
For authors based in the states, a warning: The U.S. ISBN registry, Bowker, is a monopoly and prices accordingly so if you do want to go that route the outlay will be significant: $125 for a single ISBN in the registry and $250 for 10 (the last time I checked). Bowker will try to upsell overpriced and unnecessary services, like $25 barcodes and copyright assistance for $80 a pop not including Copyright Office fees. Bowker also left the barn door open on its CC page for six months earlier this year (https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/b...).
The other thing that bothers me is the shameless, mercenary upsells that are designed to trick newbies. $25 for a barcode? Many book designers throw it in for free or you can get a free one on your own at bookow.com/resources.php
When I first got started in book publishing, it was even worse. Bowker was selling website widgets for some ridiculous subscription fee - $120 to start and $60 every year thereafter (https://in30minutes.com/bowkers-isbn-markup-new-authors/). I wonder how many poor souls are still getting charged for that?
- There was no editor, or more precisely, I was the editor. What you are addressing is interesting. The two proofreaders, both grammatical and the technical work directly on the ".Rmd" (r markdown).
I had to explain -in the grammatical case- "what to change" and what "not to change" about the markdown syntaxes. Even more, if you are working with R package bookdown, you can correct some figure captions, text links, and so on... all of this is r markdown syntax; the proofreader had to change with caution all of this.
- You are right about you don't need an ISBN to publish on gumroad. Just for Amazon (or other publishers).
Compare that to selling music on bandcamp: They take 15%, the rest is yours to keep.
It is absolutely beyond me, how self-publishing authors put up with that.
I GUESS the difference between music and e-Books, to some extent, is how the channel influences perceptions of the quality of the product. People have got very used to low quality writing being available for free on the web. So if your ebook is just another piece of text on some website, many people will not be willing to pay for it, whereas being on amazon creates an expectation that the quality would be in line with properly published work (where, at least, there is a four-eyes principle at work, at shouldering financial risks around a book project etc.)
Someone should do something about that and create an ebook marketplace that enforces certain quality standards and pays decent royalties.
My figures (quoted elsewhere in a separate post). Sell my £24.95 book on lulu.com - I get ~£11. Same book on Amazon, ~£4. I did another book which I sold on both platforms, and firstly I had to raise the RRP to £7.95 so I'd make more than £1 on an Amazon sale, and secondly, I didn't sell the ~3x as many as I'd need to to make the same money as selling on lulu.com - so I now only sell the second-latest version of any of my main book on Amazon so that people will hopefully see that there's a newer version on Lulu and buy it from there.
There are many people who make $25k/month completely passive on Amazon. I'm not a big fan of Amazon, either, but you're not signing a bad deal with them. Most publishers are worse (and don't deliver the outreach).
edit: Another thing to consider: Don't limit yourself to selling books. Add value and place upsells in your books. And for fiction writers: Maybe add merch and other stuff. For non-fiction: Sell online courses or coaching for your expert topic. Usually the book is just the entry.
It's the definition of a money topic. But I know that there are people who make a fortune with small cook books.
I know some other very profitable niches, but I can't talk about them in detail - competition is already extreme. But trust me: There's a ton of money in most topics.
OT: About daytrading (most people think it's basically a scam) - I know people who do daytrading on a daily basis (what a pun) and who live relatively comfortable investing $25-40k. I know a guy who went from 12k to 80k with one investment (was a 2-year investment, though). He's not gambling, he is a trading nerd reading the news and all company reports constantly. But yes, 99% of daytraders lose money because they start to become greedy or have no discipline.
Maybe there's money in it, but it's probably not the kind of content I would either want to produce or consume.
For most authors, the point of departure is probably, more idealistically, some well written content, maybe with an audience that's a bit niche, and the desire to find a way to get remunerated fairly on the effort that went into producing the content. It sounds to me like that's not really what Amazon is offering.
I'm currently helping an author who wants to write a book and make some money with it (she wrote books in the past and worked with publishers). I explained to her how the self-publishing business works and she also had the same reaction. It's possible to write high-quality content and get fairly compensated, but you should definitely know that most people seem to be content with sub-par books. The average quality is really bad and people seem to like it (e.g. another very profitable niche: erotic books, Shades of Grey is just one of many of them).
Amazon is very generic. If you want to build an audience, you should stick to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Slack/chat groups, write a blog, do vlogs and videos, organize local and offline groups, events and other methods. You can then build a whole community around a niche and sell way more than a book. This is also what I've recommended to her because this is how you build high-quality communities.
Leanpub doesn't enforce any quality standards (it's a self-service), but it does pay around 85% royalties.
I really like their model of being able to buy and sell unfinished drafts, and getting updates as they come along.
e.g. Smashwords does a much better rate, but nobody gets much sales.
Founding an ebook store is easy. The hard part is getting the readers who will pay money to come to it - Amazon's completely succeeded here.
The first I've heard of bandcamp - that's probably the difference.
Use a text to speech reader like Textaloud, balabolka and you'll catch more errors.
There's a setting in Microsoft word to check for grammar, run-ons, verb agreement... and readability rating of your text.
Write first, edit later to reduce writers' block in drafts - Turn off the spell checker or simply write in notepad.
Read it backward, last sentence to first.
The vast majority of mistakes you miss aren’t a product of reading your own writing—they’re missed because you’re reading in your flow of thought and you know what you’re trying to say.
This is what a third party offers—they don’t know what you’re trying to say until they read it. But even they can miss things when they’re in your flow. I read others’ work backward to this day, and still catch things I missed on my first forward read.
Edit: I just had to correct a silly autocorrect because I didn’t read my own writing backward. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Thanks for that, it has never occurred to me. I’m installing a reader now.
> There's a setting in Microsoft word
So… it isn’t in the same realm for quality or language support but diction¹ can be pretty useful for those of us who write in vim. diction(1) will will analyse your text for simple errors, and style(1) will generate some readability stats for you.
Upstream is pretty open to additions if you want more language support, or at least was when I submitted an en_GB support patch years ago.
I have been using Scrivener for a few years now and I couldn't go back to using a generic word processor for writing now.
I try not to recommend closed source software but there really isn't anything else that comes close to it.
I export sections/chapters to PDF, ePub, etc. to send to my editors and technical reviewers.
Actually you got me thinking about how I would need to approach this should a collaborative project come my way. I need to investigate this further as that is now an itch that needs to be scratched :)
I do like Sccrivener. I just don't really do the working on screenplay/novel/etc. over the course of months to years that is really it's sweet spot. The one time I used it which was really useful was assembling a book partly out of a series of previously written pieces. It was very good for moving parts around although I suppose outline mode on a standard word processor could have substituted.
It allows me to keep all my reference material, notes, documents, pictures, etc, etc. in a single, organised project in a nicely designed project management tool.
I guess I would say Scrivener is my Integrated Writing Environment :P
The only concern I have with both of them is that neither seem targeted towards technical authors so I'm left wondering how they handle things like code formatting/highlighting and such
They found hundreds of little errors (and some big!) that I probably never would have caught or thought about. Definitely worth finding a few volunteers. Lots of people looking to swap novels for feedback.
I cannot recommend getting an editor/typesetter highly enough. I paid mine something like $500 total and she absolutely saved my life.
I'd go the Gumroad + Stripe route (or maybe Kickstarter if you need some motivation) - Amazon sales have been negligible for me.
Why do you need Stripe? AFAIK Gumroad already handles payments. Something to do with free vs. paid Gumroad plans and features?
Wow, nice work!
Can I ask what field/topic your book is in?
Any tricks to drive sales that high?
Austen Allred is the co-founder of Lambda School .
- you should NOT let a third party print the book for you without any control over the quality of the final product. amazone print on demand does a decent enough job with paperback text books, but should probably not be used for printing anything else.
- unfortunately there is no real (OSS)alternative to CS software like illustrator and indesign when it comes to actually creating the book. yes, you CAN do it with other tools - but if you want to keep your sanity, DON'T. ( I tried and ultimately gave up on the idea of using anything but adobe software....)
- color management is a nightmare. prepare for some real headaches when the first test prints come back and everything that should be "100% black" comes back in different shades and color variations of dark grey.
- if you want any layout-heavy book to be easily translatable into different languages, plan for it from the get go. text like small info-boxes underneath images tend to vary in length a lot from language to language. some languages produce much longer texts than english, others are more compact. this can become a significant problem if all your layouts rely on character-perfect text placement and fixed lengths.
- binding techniques vary from one printing company to the next. it is advisable to choose a company early on, so that you can adjust your layout process accordingly. a simple change to color management, paper format or line characteristics can become a huge problem, when you have to change dozens or hundreds of embedded illustrations.
- you dont need amazons print on demand at all: most printing companies let you put in a small initial order (like 200 books). sell those first, then use the money to order more. margins are great if you actually publish yourself, so you can easily scale up your orders without risk of financial overextension. if you do it with the same company this should not take longer than 2 weeks. that kind of response time is totally acceptable.
Edit: I should add that this only works for books with a high retail price (like 50+ dollar)
If it sold on Amazon, I would get about £4. I guess I should have gone via Amazon direct? (given that the author mentions 40%?)
Lulu makes about £4-5 on a sale (going on the printing costs that I pay, and me factoring in a bit that I would pay even on a copy that I'm buying myself), whereas Amazon would be taking more like £12-13 going on those numbers.
So, that's why my book isn't available on Amazon - I'd have to sell 3 times as many to make the same money, and that seems unlikely to me. If it was more even, I would sell it on Amazon as well as Lulu as I'm sure I'd get -some- more sales, but not drastically more.
The book is a reasonable seller and a useful source of side income for me, but it's certainly not an 'earner' - I've spend about 3 weeks of very full time work updating it for the latest version, and that will be in print for a year before the next x.5 version comes out (and usually this means changing a large amount of content as lots of little things change). Dividing the year's earnings over the time taken to update it means I get a reasonable rate for that time, but certainly not a good one.
I've thought about writing another book (going into more depth on the same subject, and being a Cubase 'expert'), but I remember that it took about a year of spare time to write the first one, and while it's been a reasonable proposition over that time, it was only because it got picked up by the software company's education rep that it went anywhere and reached any kind of 'critical mass' - for about a year it sat and literally sold only copies to students I was teaching (which was the initial reason for writing the book as there was no text book of worth available). Just to be clear, I didn't enforce purchase by the students, I'd say under 10% of them bought the book.
 - http://www.lulu.com/shop/darren-jones/the-complete-guide-to-... (latest version of the book, until Cubase 10 gets released, then it will be superseded)
I wrote Scrivenvar because I wanted the ability to use interpolated variables while writing, so as to create documents free from duplicated content (e.g., character names, locations, and timeline calculations in a novel). (My favourite part of the book's R code is integration of a GIS API to compute driving distance based on the lat/long coordinates of two places in the novel, falling back to the Haversine formula if the website is unavailable; the number is then converted to English text using a Chicago Manual of Style function call. Effectively, if I change the lat/long of either location, the value of the book is updated without having to remember where in the text that that particular number was referenced.)
Once a YAML document is loaded, inserting a variable is quick: type a few letters from a value followed by Control+Space to insert the corresponding variable name. This is handy if for deeply nested variable hierarchies.
The software is open-source and very much beta:
Ping me on GitHub if you like the concept and have comments or questions.
I want to print a large book but want to have it not be too thick.
If you work with an offset printing service you can do a short run on whatever kind of paper you like but the cost will be more for smaller orders of 250. At 500 you start to see economies of scale that rival POD costs but you have to take shipment of hundreds of books and store them somewhere.
For the most part, I think this article is full of excellent advice. I do disagree with three of the author's tips on how to write well though.
1. There is no need to avoid alliteration. You shouldn't drown your work in it, of course, but skillfully employing alliteration in your text can help your sentences flow and can make certain aspects of your content more memorable. I'd say it is better to learn to use alliteration, and use it to good effect, than to eschew it altogether.
2. Comparisons are not bad, especially in technical writing. When teaching, it is helpful to tie new concepts to existing knowledge and comparisons are one way to create these mental connections.
3. Generalizations aren't bad in technical writing either, especially in code samples. For example, telling a programmer how to print "Hello, World!" to the screen is a helpful generalization. With that knowledge, the developer can now use that same print statement for console output, messages, debugging, logging, and other tasks. Developers can take this deceptively simple generalization and use it for all kinds of specialized needs.
I think the key here is to learn to use alliteration, comparisons, and generalizations in a way that strengthens your writing, rather than detracting from it.
Also, I'm with you with the recommendations :P It was just a funny image I found on the internet and shared to produce some laughs...
I use a lot of comparisons alongside the book, especially from the "technical to the real world".
Generalizations are also important, otherwise, it is impossible to get to the point. They shape ideas.
It is a fascinating lesson. Some names or terms are understood and should be there. Sometimes a more uncommon word is still clear AND more precise, so it stays. Other times I find complete sentences that I can just remove and my points are more visible.
I try to anticipate counter-arguments and head them off with detail, and/or add qualifiers to statements at the cost of my main point. This technique makes it clear when that happens so I can pull such out entirely or move to a distinct section. Do it a few times and you benefit even when not using the tool, though I need to refresh my brain monthlyish.
I removed "tend to", "most", "some", "often" and three sentences from the above. I also broke my second paragraph into two, just from habits I've learned this way.
Publish on Kindle by Joel Dare
Explains how to format and publish a book using Libre Office. The book is short, getting strait to the point quickly. I don't see a lot of sales but readers that have reviewed it seem to like it.
I figured I'd just start with content and work my way into the logistics of the actual publishing process. This, and the comments in this thread, are a huge help on the logistics side. Thank you!
=:) Have you seen Superbooks on web with https://bubblin.io?
Disclosure: I'm one of its developer.
Yes, the transition is shaky when the curl is near the horizontal axis. We'll fix or remove it on our next iteration of Bookiza.JS 
Then I uploaded these to my gumroad account, created a product and setup a payment widget on my website.
Smooth and simple process.
2) Kindle ePub demands a different set of outcomes. Do your print hardcopy first, then modify it to make the inputs to upload. I used calibre to do all the mods, but people swear by sigil. How you index makes a huge difference. Remember ePub is flow text. All those pagerefs have to be re-calculated into logical offsets and marks, not literal paper counts.
Again, the submission system can be a bit opaque.
If you want PoD hardcopy in Australia.. Avoid kindle. The amazon trade war with Australian taxation has hit hard and they have no local printery.
I recommend Ingramspark, who can do PoD, and manage epublishing into kobo and nook and the like, and who have an agency status in amazon to sell your hardcopy. The PoD rates look competitive with the KDP ones, once you factor US delivery costs in.
(Amazon are pretty cool for worldwide rights)
Ingram demand really tight conformance on the PDF ISO specs for final output. Adobe, craptacular code though it is, will emit the legal form. Sigil and (yay!) libreoffice seem to also do this, but ymmv. Again, the DPI of your images make a huge difference to submission here. Some stuff demands 300, some demands 72 (for eprint covers)
Employ a professional editor/proofreader. They make a huge difference. Seriously, its money well spent. Some of them index too.
For e-books, too. One of my books was mysteriously blocked without justification, and after several months and attempts at escalation was just as mysteriously re-instated.
Casas's Data Science Live Book looks nice with its basic LaTeX style, I think.
Bookdown provides a template to produce the pdf, and you can modify later on (for example customizing the table of contents, image positions, etc)
You write the book once, and it can be exported to html, pdf, epub (and kindle)...
You're familiar with it if you've been through Michael Hartl's Rails tutorial.
I used Softcover to self-publish my own book, releasing it in paperback on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1980891419/ref=dbs_a_def_r...
Let me know if I can help you, I see a lot of interest here :)
I've done all my books through Lulu - including doing a couple of projects for clients (schools) who did a 'make a book' project with the kids writing the stories, etc... their service has always been pretty good. The site is a bit clunky, but works. I've done a couple of one-offs for my own use as well.
And looks like they do hardcover (although I've never tried it).
The book is over 700 pages. It's very nicely done. The front and back covers are just the right thickness. The book is not bound in signatures, it's edge glued ("perfect bound") like a paperback. But, the spine is extremely flexible and not attached to the casing. I was very careful to open it properly by gently creasing down sections of pages starting at the front and the back. If this is not done, there is risk of breaking the spine. I can open the book at any page and it lies flat on the table. The paper is medium weight, light ivory, and non-glossy. The casing is printed nicely with the title, and the dust jacket is first rate. Altogether, I'm quite pleased.
You also get access to more finishing and cover options, etc.