Wherein I Roll My Own in the Publishing House Line

Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Catrin Lewis, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    why did you upload the epub file to ingram spark - they are rubbish as an agregator.. I'd say just use them for print wide distribution

    if you want to use an agregator for wide ebook distro either draft 2 digital or publish drive is the way to go ( I'd say go direct with kobo since is really easy and opens up using their promo tool)
     
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  2. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    That's an idea.

    Why did I? Because they had a free-for-both paperback and ebook offer going post-Nanowrimo. I missed it partly due to a website screwup on Ingram's part, but they gave me my own freebie code to make up for it.

    So. You're saying that Draft2Digital will do exactly the same for ebook distribution that IS will, but with less hassle?

    I had a less-than-satisfactory online chat with Chris at IS, Thursday afternoon. He tells me they use a different and more strict epub validator than Amazon does, and that it's up to me to make sure my file passes it.

    I was planning to set a timer and give myself exactly 3 hours to investigate how to clean up my file. If I'm making progress and seeing daylight by then, I'll keep going with the dual distribution plan with IS.

    If not, print only with them.

    But now you've reminded me of Plan C--- Print only with IS, and explore epub with the other distributors.

    (From what I'm picking up in other forums, I'm not the only one who's had issues uploading ebooks to Ingram.)
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    For epub draft to digital or publish drive is the way forward as an agregator ... I'd say go direct with amazon KDP and kobo writing life so you can access their marketting tools and use an aggregator for ibooks, googleplay, B&N and the smaller markets (unless you want to go into KDP select in which case just upload to KDP directly)
     
  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    This is a great idea, but turns out Draft2Digital uses the exact same strict EPUB checker IngramSpark does. I'm putting off going wide on the ebook until I can explore some alternatives. It's possible I'd have fewer problems converting with Sigil than I am with Calibre. We'll see.
     
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  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I've never had a problem with the upload to draft to digital, but i'm using vellum.

    I'd offer to use my copy of vellum to convert for you but if i remember correctly your master file is html not word and vellum needs a docx as the source file
     
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  6. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    We had a massive headache with IS on transferring paperbacks from KDP to IS, and more than a few unsatisfactory chats, e-mails and telephone calls with their tech support team. Had a hard time getting the same answer twice.
     
  7. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Well, as of this evening (22 August) I'm officially Going Wide. Here's the message I receive a few minutes ago from our friends at IngramSpark:

    Title Submission Received - Your 'Titles' Section Has Been Updated​

    Congratulations! Your title submission was successful. Here’s what will happen next:​

    For all file uploads: Please allow 1-2 business days for technical file review. Please note that even though your title has passed initial validation, there may be additional errors that can only be detected through a visual inspection. If this is the case, you will be notified by email.​

    Proofing process: Following visual inspection, an electronic proof will be provided for your review automatically. Hardcopy proofs are only provided where requested.
    Being on vacation has given me the time to make the last little correction needed--- I restored the barcode with the retail price on it--- and completed the upload. :supersmile:

    Not that it was successful on the first go. I picked up someplace that I should convert my cover file to PDF/X-3 because it would preserve the colors better. Or something. But apparently it doesn't get rid of ICC color profiles, which IS for some reason doesn't like. Use PDF/X-1a instead, they said. So I went back into Adobe Acrobat, reconverted, and voila! both text and cover were accepted.

    And happily, it took the "GETPUBLISHED" promo code, so I didn't have to pay anything for setup.

    As I mentioned previously, I'm not doing the ebook through IngramSpark, not at the moment anyway. I've got too much other stuff to do, like write the next book.

    Which makes me wonder if I should stick the ebook back into Kindle Unlimited.

    I'll think about it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
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  8. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The biggest problems, I would imagine, are that

    a) KDP and IS use different cover templates, and the IS spine width is less. Is their paper thinner? Whatever, the spine width has to be altered.

    b) KDP will allow you to have total ink coverage of up to 300% (400% is max for CMYK), whereas IS restricts you to 240% max. I managed it courtesy of a free color profile download I found online, at www.newselfpublishing.com/TotalInkLimit.zip. (This will take you straight to the download, but it's safe. If you're wondering about it, read this post first: http://www.newselfpublishing.com/TotalInkLimit.html)

    c) IS doesn't like a cover file with any vestige of ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles latent in them, while KDP doesn't care one way or the other. Converting to PDF/X-1a (SWOP) solved the problem.

    As to text (interior) files, the same one was fine with both.

    But maybe your experience was different, and something else came up? Did the two of you get your books onto IS at last?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  9. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Checked my local Books-a-Million store last Sunday, and the Barnes & Noble website this afternoon: Yay! the paperback is available for order in bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

    Meaning I have to update my website.

    In other news, I found out just today that if I want to hand sell any of my books-- any-- I have to have a sales tax license from my state and collect the appropriate sales tax. The form is online, it's free to apply, but damn! that form is long!

    The joys of business . . .

    EDIT--- In case anybody was wondering, I'd read on some forum or other that you weren't required to collect sales tax if your sales were under a certain amount, $400 or so. That'll teach me to not go to the actual authority on these things, right?
     
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  10. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    After five days of thinking about other things, I checked my email and the Commonwealth has kindly granted me the privilege(!) of collecting sales tax for them. All righty, then.

    It's all part of doing business, and I'm glad I checked my own state's rules. It varies widely. The $400 threshold I mentioned above applies in some states. Not in mine.
     
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  11. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The past few days I've discovered a wrinkle I have to iron out: How to transport the paperback copies I'm using for samples or small-scale hand-selling so they don't get damaged or dirty.

    You'd think I'd be looking out for that from the start. But Sunday afternoon I threw three copies into a canvas tote bag to see if I could flog them to my fellow-choir members at the event where we were singing.

    Yeah, I sold one, and it was fine. But I bent the corner of the back cover of a second copy as I was putting it away. And the last couple of days, I've brought a sample copy to school with me to show my fellow-teachers. It was in my briefcase, spine up because it's been raining for a change. And guess what, a few minutes ago I saw I'd gotten crumbled yellow chalk on the outside edge of the pages.

    And no, that wasn't the one with the bent corner.

    I need something I can slip the book into and then put it into whatever tote I'm carrying. Maybe a padded envelope is all I need.

    Whatever works, I feel silly not thinking of this before.
     
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  12. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Live and learn :) If it helps, check out how the books you buy online are transported. They use bubble wrap inside a thick brown envelope in Europe. Bubble wrap and cardboard box outside should do the trick.
     
  13. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I've come to the point where I'm hand-selling paperbacks to friends and associates, and I'm glad I opened a bank account strictly for the writing/publishing business. Otherwise the cash they give me would disappear off into the aether and I'd lose track of how many books I've sold and what I'm making off of them.
     
  14. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    At some point, you'll need to get a good sales management application, or an accounting package - you can't manage a business just by looking at money in and out of a bank account. I don't know the laws in the US, but when it comes time for taxes, you may need to ascribe other costs to your business such as rent and utilities, if you're working from home.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I use a simple spreadsheet - if its too complicated for that the best thing to use is an accountant
     
  16. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    I think it depends on how much marketing activity you're doing. Keeping track of receipts and expenses is a pain when you're doing conventions, plus advertising and all that.
     
  17. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm doing it in Quicken Home & Business so far. This last April I finally edited my categories to correspond to the line items on Schedule C.

    I'm already deducting a portion of mortgage interest and utilities for another freelance business I run, but thus far I haven't complicated things by doing it for the publishing income as well. It's the same office space.
     
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  18. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Great news! Karen's and my experience with IS was less than positive. I successfully transferred E&D to IS, required for book sales at the Historical Novel Society, after EXTENSIVE tech support and many wrong steers, but after two months we were unable to transfer hers, and she gave up in disgust. At the last minute, HNS allowed consignment sales anyway, so it didn't matter. I have sold a few books through IS, I guess via B&N, but the royalties have been very small @$1, and it takes 90 days, vs. 60 with KDP. Oddly enough, E&D is still up and selling on KDP as a paperback also, with about a $6 royalty. If IS carries through to BAM, I may check the local store and see if they will carry on the shelf as a local author, and maybe host a book signing there.

    For care of books in transit, Karen and I keep several copies of all our books in boxes in the cars, so they don't get dog-eared. We also have a "crash kit" for book signings, with wooden boxes pre-stocked with books, ready to set up on decorative cloth on the table, cash box with Square swipe readers so we can take credit cards, decorations and plastic holders for the book and author blurbs. We can load up the crash kit in about five minutes, and set up/tear down at location in about 15 minutes. Also a canopy for outdoor signings. Also battery-powered chargers for cell phones!

    Sales tax depends on the state. Karen and I formed an LLC with Maryland, which it turns out costs us $300 a year in fees. We keep a spread sheet for filing our biannual sales tax, which typically isn't much, maybe $100. The advantage is that as an LLC, you have some legitimacy to file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, with your income tax, and writing off the LLC filing fees, memberships, travel to book signing, costs with IS, research and other costs of doing business, with no threshold for deductions. This can save significantly on your federal taxes.

    Anyway, congratulations!
     
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  19. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Sorry, I should have come over here and found this.

    Your crash cart idea is brilliant. I've heard about Square, and seen it in action, too. I can see myself working this towards the next county book fair in Septembrer 2020. (If I have any sense I'll finish up the sequel to The Single Eye and have it available in paperback by then.)

    That's frustrating about Karen's books and IngramSpark. Don't know if it's the teacher in me or if I'm just a meddling fool, but I'd love to know what you tried and if I might have any ideas to make it go better. But maybe the point is moot, if HNS is all that matters, and they've relaxed their rules.

    I priced my paperback so I get a little over $2 if I sell though a bookstore via IS. (Took Kris Rusch's advice). I get rather more than that through KDP (no bookstore discount), and even more if I hand-sell.

    Of which more anon.
     
  20. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I can't boast that the sales of my first novel have been anything spectacular. I'll see what happens once I start paying for advertising, but that must wait till I get at least one more novel out.

    One interesting thing now is that I seem to be doing better with the paperback, and particularly with handselling it. Day before yesterday I sold one to an English teacher at one of my schools. He dipped in and liked the writing, so there you go.

    Only trouble is, he has time during the school year to read only classwork-related ficition. So, he says, he's going to save my novel to read over the summer vacation.

    And I just wanted to scream and cry and say, "No! At least start it at Christmas! Finish it by New Year's! Tell everyone around here how good it is, and recommend they buy it! I need word of mouth, and I need it now!

    Oh, well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  21. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    Have you signed up with Google advertising? If you do so as a new company, you can get a credit for Google ads. In the UK it's £75, I imagine it will be about $100.
     
  22. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I am beginning to get some benefits with IS, a few sales via BAM and B&N. And, since the book is in IS, I requested that it be carried on the shelves of BAM, and will do so also for B&N. Hopefully, the local stores will then carry it. That said, I get all of 88 cents for each IS sale of $19.99 book, far less than the $6 I get for each Amazon sale.

    As to Square, I recommend you get just the free swipe reader, rather than the $50 chip reader. I have both but if the chip reader is not connected, the swipe reader works on both types. Then just download the app to your phone, set up your account and go. Try a few trial purchases, say $1, on your own credit card, to learn how to use it, then take it to any book signing. Works great, looks professional.
     
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  23. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Facebook is powerful and relatively economic advertising medium, Catrin. These are my pages, managed from my personal profile page Lew McIntyre. You can see some of my boosted posts, and I just started breaking even on advertising this year, which is a good thing: accumulating readers is more important to me than accumulating money. The boost just ended on 30 September reached 146,000, generated 200 comments, 468 likes and 80 shares. Interesting for an advertising medium, you can engage in two-way conversations with the reader of the ad, if they comment on it. And viewers can see the likes and comments, which after a while becomes, I think, a more powerful selling point than my blurb. I ended this to start a Christmas boost, which has started slow, but is selling.

    https://www.facebook.com/LewisMcIntyreAuthor/?ref=bookmarks
    https://www.facebook.com/TheEagleAndTheDragon/?ref=bookmarks
    https://www.facebook.com/ComeFollowMePilateAndJesus/?ref=bookmarks
    https://www.facebook.com/TrueBelieversFoundingFathersOfTACAMO/?ref=bookmarks
     
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  24. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Nope, haven't yet, on the principle that I want more than one product in the shop. :unsure:
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    google ads are a complete waste of time for self pub authors - I'm yet to find one who has made them work - paul teague tried quite hard after getting locked out of his FB ads account but even he found they didnt work economically

    The triumvirate for self pub authotrs are amazon ads, fb ads (not boosts) and book bub ads (not the featured deal although that can work too if you want to spend that much)
     
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