Monday, April 16, 2012

Advice about distributor sites -- writing tip

Question: Does anyone know how to get books listed for Amazon's Kindle? If so, please contact Elaine at the Writers Bloc and let her know.

Answer: Dear Elaine,

The Secretary asked that we pass along e-book venue and Kindle sales info to you.

All the books I have personally written are available on Kindle. Amazon also offers a free author's page that is an excellent tool for self-promotion.

Most of the books my company publishes are available on Kindle as well. The exceptions are books with lots of illustrations and/or color pix, as pictures do not convert well to Kindle format. Yes, it's possible to convert files with pix, but it is far from easy.

If an author has a publisher, even a small publisher like Write Words, Inc., it is the publisher's duty to get the book files available not only at Kindle, but at as many other e-book sales venues as they believe prudent. It is also the publisher's business to supply an ISBN (they are publisher-specific) and to list the title with Bowker's Books in Print.

If an author is self-published through Create-Space, the book will automatically be listed at Bowker and at Kindle with a CS ISBN, but not at any of the other e-book sites, like Nook. You can choose their wide-distribution package and it will also be listed at the wider range of sites, but that service costs money.

Any self-published author can contact Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Fictionwise through their Authors & Publishers sign-up links to list their books for sale on the site.

Amazon and FW require an ISBN. (Available for sale to any publisher from Bowker.) Nook doesn't even require that. Some people complain that they never get paid, because most of the sales venues won't do a fund transfer until the amount is $25 or more. SOME European sites require a $200 or more to accumulate before transfer.

You DO have to give them your bank account number so they can deposit the royalty money directly into your account. SOME people are reluctant to do that and pass along harrowing tales about Internet INsecurity, but we've been doing it for 10 years and never had a problem with bank information security at sales venues (Knock Wood). OR with on-time payment due to us.

Watch out for the new Amazon KDP SELECT sales promotional plan. They require an exclusive listing of titles for the first three months. THAT MEANS YOU CAN'T LIST IT FOR SALE ANYWHERE ELSE for 90 days. I have heard folks advice others to ignor this, but please, they really, really mean it! I always choose not to use that option, and just list my books everywhere all at one time.

Amazon can, AND WILL, remove all your listed titles from sale on if you sign up for KDP SELECT and then make the books available elsewhere during the initial 90 days. So it's important not to sign up for this option unless you follow the rules and keep track of the time.

There are other sites that will "distribute" or list your book for sale at "all the big venues" as well as their own and collect your money for you. They advertise themselves as a "one-stop" distribution plan for the self-published," BUT they require money from you to opt into the plan and will charge you a listing fees for every title they handle, whether you sell any copies to readers or not.

My company has no direct experience with any of them, but I know one author who received a bill for $72 for listing her six books there for one year, when she had not sold ONE copy of any title anywhere.

To me, charging a listing fee, indicates that a site is in business to make money from authors, not from e-book sales. My company does not do business with any site that asks for up-front payment from publishers or authors.

MOST e-book readers will buy regularly from the site that sells the format they need. Kindle owners buy from Nook owners buy from Barnes & Noble. Being listed at one site or from your own web-site, will not reach those people who shop only at the site where files for their brand of device are sold.

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