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Get those e-books sold

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BY KEVIN RHOADES

This is the final installment of a three-part series about e-books. The first, “Make money on the e-book gravy train,” appeared in the December issue of Outdoors Unlimited; the second, “E-books can be much more than a pdf file,” was published in January.
Now that you’ve created e-book files to upload to Amazon.com’s Author Central, Barnes & Noble’s PubIt and Apple’s iBookstore, the next step is to create author accounts and upload content to all three booksellers. It’s crucial that you provide comprehensive promotional details and the book file itself; preferred formats include mobi or prc files for Amazon.com’s Kindle; epub for Barnes & Noble’s Nook; and epub for Apple’s iPad and other devices.
Creating an author account on Amazon.com is simple and straightforward. Doing so on B&N is a bit more cumbersome, and on Apple’s iTunes Connect the process is challenging unless you own a Macintosh computer. Of the three booksellers, Amazon.com’s application process is the most expedited. Apple’s e-book creation tools are expected to overtake the textbook market, but for now, Amazon.com has the largest and most diverse buying audience and by far the finest advertising campaign to publicize you and your book.
Initiating your account with each bookseller entails completing contact and tax information including your checking account’s routing and account numbers. Do so — and promote your e-book well — and the dollars will automatically accumulate in your checking each month.
Assemble your billboard by typing or copying your book’s author and promo information into the correct fields. Include the book’s description, author biography and photos, the cover photo, a sample chapter or two, and editorial and customer reviews. Usually, the book’s cover and sample chapters appear automatically when the book’s file is uploaded, but you may have to do it yourself.
“Editorial reviews” are one- or two-line promotional blurbs that the author places there himself; copy author recommendations and endorsements from your book’s back cover or press release here, attributing the endorser. The more blurbs that entice prospective customers to buy the book, the better. “Customer reviews” are written by those who have read your book. Nudge colleagues, reviewers and patrons to post customer reviews. The more, the better. Shoot for a minimum of 10, and keep asking.
Increase viewer interest by adding multimedia to your billboard. Amazon.com has the capacity for you to add video, blog and Twitter feeds. If your book is as good as you think, take advantage of the full gamut of possibilities so viewers can decide to pony-up the cash.
While working through booksellers’ menus, you’ll see opt-in and opt-out check boxes that might puzzle you. One choice is whether to choose digital rights management. Do you want people to borrow or share your intellectual property? Research this beforehand so you don’t have to choose on the fly.
Another choice: Do you want to opt-in to Amazon.com’s KDP Select Program, making your e-book exclusive to one bookseller? The enticement is a chance to earn a pile of cash whether or not your book sells a single copy. Amazon.com pledged 6 million to the program in 2012, but your share is calculated by the number of qualified borrows. The catch: exclusivity. Agree to the terms and you cannot sell your e-book on your website or anywhere else.
Apple has its enticements, too, via its new, fantastic e-book creation tool iBooks Author, which, if used to create your e-book, limits where you can sell books created with their application. This restriction takes away much of the luster of what could be a game-changing tool. Let’s hope Apple changes its mind.
Tricky choices aside, there’s little doubt that the e-book explosion is upon us. The time is right. The cost is low. No printing to pay for. No more book stacks in the garage taking away space reserved for decoys and fishing garb. No bubble mailers to purchase. No stamps to buy. No more standing in line at the post office.
With your good book and excellent online promotion, much of which is free and nowadays can be done from a dark cubby hole from behind a computer in a spider-infested basement — you’ll count the e-dollars stacking up in your checking account at the end of each month. ♦
—Kevin Rhoades, www.KevinRhoades.com, specializes in producing quality print books, e-books and websites for outdoor communicators. His first book, “Stalker of the Wild – Days in the Life of Wildlife Filmmaker Bob Landis,” was dually published last year as a print- and e-book by www.FiveValleysPress.com.
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