Web Sites You Need To Know
Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers and readers. They offer multi-format, DRM-free ebooks, ready for immediate sampling and purchase, and readable on any e-reading device. It’s free to publish and distribute with Smashwords. – http://www.smashwords.com/about
Visit http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords. Read the free Smashwords Style Guide for instructions on formatting Microsoft Word manuscripts for best performance.
Amazon.com: Digital Text Platform (Kindle Publishing)
With Digital Text Platform (DTP) you can publish your books on the Amazon Kindle Store. It’s free, fast, and easy. Books published through DTP can participate in the 70% royalty program and are available for purchase on Kindle devices and Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices. With DTP, you can publish books in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian and specify pricing in US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. – https://dtp.amazon.com/
- Book Rights: You will have to consult your contract for each book you want to upload. Just because it’s no longer in print doesn’t mean the ebook rights have returned to you. Older contracts may not mention ebook rights at all so unless there is all-inclusive language, you never gave them away. For those contracts that do include ebook rights, you will have to follow the contract specifications to get those rights returned and this may involve a lengthy request process. Rights are not necessarily returned automatically once the conditions for them have been met. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer so have a real one review the contracts and explain this to you so you can move forward.
- Manuscripts: Hopefully, you still have copies of the final manuscript for each book you want to upload. Your authors should always keep copies of these things post editing. That said, if you do not there are other options including sending a copy of the physical book off to have it turned into an electronic document. Refer to the Smashwords guide for formatting.
- Cover Art: Remember that cover art is copyrighted too. You may have to design new covers or get the rights to your old covers. To participate in the premium Smashwords catalog which is delivered to all the electronic retailers, you will need a cover. Refer to the Smashwords guide for acceptable sizes.
- Markets: Amazon is by far the biggest publishing platform. Smashwords will convert your manuscript to many formats available to basically every other market. So you will still have to publish to Amazon to get on Kindle. I recommend using both to maximize your exposure to the online market.
- Pricing: Apple requires a price ending in $.99 and Amazon has their 70% royalty program. Essentially, amazon will pay authors a 70% royalty rate so long as they price their books between $2.99 and $9.99. There is also an option for $.99. Read up on the program for details. That said, the sweet spot for novels (60,000+ words) seems to be $2.99. There is an author named Joe Konrath (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/) who has been sharing his sales numbers and breaking those down for his blog readers. Essentially, he has found that pricing books higher as the publishers tend to do is too high and will sell far fewer copies. Pricing lower sells more copies and authors actually make more money by pricing lower. You can read all about this on his blog. Bottom line: Pricing at $2.99 meets the Apple requirement, the Amazon 70% royalty program (which, again, is by far the market leader), and maximizes both exposure and profit. If this prices seems too low to you read Joe’s blog. He explains where the price for a hardback comes from and why $2.99 is quite reasonable given the digital nature of publishing which eliminates the need for many, many middle jobs in the process.
- Royalties: Traditional publishing pays an author every 6 months. At least with amazon, you can be paid monthly I believe.