So by now you’ve heard of the new update to iBooks and the new iBooks Author. There has been a lot of hand-wringing and complaining on both sides. As I’ve recently published a iBooks formatting guide, here are my thoughts. Now, as of this writing, I’m still trying to download the iBooks Author app so I can’t do a direct comparison (I’m sure it will be easier than using iTunes Connect but your level of control over the look of the document will be the deciding factor). Things you should know – iBooks Author is for Macs running Lion only. No PCs, no Macs with Snow Leopard. This is a bit limiting. Plus, the tool is really designed to create textbooks for the iPad. While it says you export your book to the regular iBookstore, it seems that the final destination for most of these books will be the new iTunes U (a textbook version of the iBookstore). For those of you that have asked me about how to deal with pictures in books, this seems to be the answer for you. A few more thoughts: Continue reading
This Self Publishing Guide will focus on Smashwords. Smashwords is a third party aggregator that will send your books to Barnes & Noble (Nook), iBooks (iPad/iPod/iPhone), Sony, Kobo, and Diesel. They are a one-stop-shop for self publishing and have a lot of fans. As I explained in my Barnes & Noble Nook Self Publishing Guide, the B&N process is so simple, there is little reason to have Smashwords do it for you (and take a cut of your profits – currently 15% or less of the net or about 10% of the asking price). When I published my first book, Bob Moore: No Hero, Smashwords didn’t have a deal with Amazon so I had to put it up there myself. Currently, they have penned a deal but they’ve yet to distribute a book. Since Amazon’s process, as I explain in my Amazon Kindle Self Publishing Guide, is fairly easy, there is little reason not to distribute it there yourself as well.
iBooks, on the other hand, is a different story. See my iBookstore Self Publishing Guide (out soon) for more info. Continue reading
If you were waiting for Barnes and Nobles or Smashwords to get your copy of Bob Moore: Desperate Times, wait no longer. Barnes and Nobles has actually had the book up for a most of a week but I didn’t want to announce it until I was sure they had the right edition. I’m still not sure but I’m going with it. I uploaded to Smashwords this morning and it was available right away. I’ve checked the PDF, ePub, and MOBI versions and they all look fine (except the ePub version looks a little weird on the iPad using the iBooks app but not the Kobo app – a problem that I think is based on Smashwords’ conversion process). My problem with Smashwords has always been the wait for inclusion into other libraries and their terrible stat reporting process. For those reasons, I’ve decided to self-publish to Amazon (link), Barnes and Nobles (link), and iBooks (link to come).
So far, I’ve completed one of the possible three Self Publishing Guides. The Amazon one is up and will be (as least so far) the most detailed. It will be the bedrock upon which I build the rest of the guides. If you follow the formatting suggestions there, you’ll be 90% of the way to Nook and Smashwords. Yep, not bad for one guide. Working on the other two now and will hopefully have them done in the next week or so.
This is the first of my publishing guides for how to self-publish your book. For those with specific questions about how to do X or Y or deal with problem Z, I’m not your guy (though, you can ask in the comments below). I can only report what I’ve done and how it has worked for me. I’m starting with Amazon because, basically, when I self-published Bob Moore: Desperate Times, it was the first one I used. I’ll also be reporting on how to publish to Nook, iBooks, Smashwords, and possibly others. I’ve already had some thoughts on Smashwords in the past as well as how they report (or don’t) statistics which is why I’m doing so much of my publishing manually. Scroll down to for links to my other guides (I’ll make them active when they are available).
If you are intimidated by self-publishing, Amazon is the place to start. Out of all the outlets, it is very nearly the easiest and certainly has the largest audience. So relax, sit back, and don’t worry. It may take you an hour or two to get all the formatting figured out, but, after that, it’ll be easy as pie. As long as you take a few elementary precautions, all the rest of your books will be as easy as running your manuscript through a conversion program (it will take seconds), going to the Amazon website, hitting the button “Add a title,” and uploading the file. So exhale, this isn’t rocket science. We’ll be covering three main areas: Formatting, Converting, and Uploading Continue reading
If you read my review of Smashwords, you might want to check it again. I made a couple of edits. One thing I discovered was that, according to Smashwords, I’ve had zero downloads at the Apple iBookstore. This is patently false as I have 39 real ratings/eviews (meaning I didn’t ask friends to post them) plus I’ve downloaded the book at least twice (once to the iPad, once to the iPod). According to Smashwords, their data is accurate through May 28th. I’m not sure where the problem lies. It could be that Apple isn’t reporting correctly, or that there is a disconnect on Smashwords end. What I do know is that I’ll probably never know. I sent an email to Smashwords to inquire about it a week ago, but I doubt I’ll hear anything from them. Certainly, a week is enough time to send a cursory, “We’ll look into it,” response.
I find this whole situation troubling and, if you are planning on using Smashwords, you should too.