Monday, December 05, 2011

eBook FAQs - Jules Older

SKIING THE EDGE: Humor, Humiliation, Holiness and Heart is my first eBook, and the learning curve has been as steep as a double-black-diamond run at Vail.
If you're thinking about publishing an eBook of your own, here's what I've learned so far.

I'm no nerd, and I'm not digital savvy. Can I do this?
Yes. You've just described me, and I have.
I've heard that when you publish online, people can steal your stuff.
I've heard the same thing. Don’t let that stop you from doing it.
If I'm working with other writers, do they have to sign a contract with me?
Yes. That’s one piece of advice everybody agrees on.
Is it enough to offer the ebook for sale on Amazon’s Kindle?
No. That’s the biggest player, but don’t neglect Apple, Sony and Barnes & Noble. Or home computers.
How do I reach them?
Through either SmashWords or BookBaby. Both companies reformat your Word document so it uploads to Kindle, iPad, Sony Reader and Nook.
Which one is best?
They're both good, and since they both have clarifying websites, see which one works best for you. In my case, partly because I thought the process would go faster and I'd get the book out by the opening of the ski season, I went with BookBaby. I'm happy with the choice.
How much should I charge for my travel ebook?
God, I wish I knew. I wish anybody knew. I went for $3.99, but only time will tell if that was smart or cripplingly wrong. We’re in the arena of mystery and magic. Ebook prices range from free to every bit as expensive as old-fashioned dead-tree books.
What's the quality of eBooks?
The full range, from despicable to “I wish I'd written that.”
How bad is the e-competition?
It’s your worst nightmare. There are, by actual count, 34.5 gazillion eBooks already out there, all raising their hands and shouting, “Choose me! Choose me!” That’s your competition.
What can I do about it?
Write well. Edit well.  Use a strong and appealing cover. Publicize the bejeezus out of your book. Tell everyone you know about it — and get them to tell everyone they know.
Are there other ways to publicize?
Your local radio and TV stations. Hometown paper. Alumni magazine. Websites, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, the works. Use ‘em all.
How about publicity opportunities to avoid?
Rule of thumb: If it costs more than $20, it’s more than likely a scam. Unless you're shelling out big bucks for a publicist you know and trust, stick to the free stuff.
What about giving books away free to get the buzz going?
The practice has its advocates, but I'm not one of them. Long before the Digital Age, publishers were saying, “I can't give you any, you know, money, but the exposure will be great for your career.” Didn’t believe it then; still don’t.
Anything else?
A little luck is always a good thing. Skill and persistence are even better.

Jules Older hangs out at He opines about San Francisco restaurants and New Zealand life on the apps, San Francisco Restaurants and Auckland Insider. SKIING THE EDGE is available on every electronic and mobile platform, including computers.

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