Fast Five: Outstanding ebook posts

If you’re thinking of creating an ebook, you’re in luck. There is an enormous amount of discussion and insight shared online about ebooks, as ebook readers and creators are usually very tech-savvy and understand the power of social media to share their stories and promote their books.

With so much content out there, it can be overwhelming to start sorting through. Especially when a Google search can spew up rants from either side of the ebook debate. Here are our favourite five posts about ebooks from the last month or so.

Four years into the ebook revolution: Things we know and things we don’t know
This blog post is a summary of findings by US publishing veteran Mike Shazkin, ploughing through the ebook-inspired confusion and explaining how the ebook revolution has changed traditional publishing. He draws on a range of findings, sales totals and his own experience to identify what we know for sure, and what’s still myth.
For example:

We know that consumers will pay paperback prices and more for plain vanilla ebooks, or “verbatim” ebooks.

We don’t know what the loss of brick store merchandising will mean to the ability of publishers and authors to introduce new talent to readers, or even just to introduce a new work by established talent.

You can read the full post here.

32 Authors share their Smashwords epublishing experience and advice
There is nothing quite like getting advice from those who have already successfully epublished. This blog post is a list of authors with links to their specific blog posts on epublishing. While the content is all about the Smashwords site, there are a lot of great insights shared about the process, challenges and opportunities of epublishing.

3.  Don’t post your ebook, walk away and hope to sell millions of copies. Realistically, there is too much competition for people to just keep randomly stumbling over your ebook and actually want to buy it. Do some promotional work, even if it is only on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. If you can get your friends to review your book, that helps a lot too.
4.  Edit, edit, edit! I love Smashwords and have found some great stories there, but far too many authors publish mediocre or downright painful prose. If you don’t know how to edit yourself, find a friend who will help or consider hiring someone. Even picking up a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and studying it would help many authors to avoid common grammar, punctuation and style errors. Check your spelling too!

Click here for the full list of posts, or here for the rest of the blog post this quote comes from.

A checklist for marketing your ebook
Marketing any book is important, but for a self-published ebook it’s essential, as there are so many thousands of ebooks on Amazon and other sales platform. As your future readers probably won’t stumble across your book, it’s critical you do everything you can to let everyone know your book exists, where to buy it and why it’s a valuable read. This blog post is a comprehensive checklist for marketing your ebook. A snippet:

Develop a marketing plan by listing all the concrete channels you have available to you for marketing: e-mail addresses, your website/blog, your e-mail newsletter, social networks, online communities, organization/business affiliations, important relationships with influencers, teaching or speaking opportunities, and any other ways you touch potential readers. Create a timeline of action steps or tactics for each channel.

Have you taken full advantage of your book’s Amazon page as well as your Amazon Author page? Have you written the most compelling copy possible? Have you optimized your book for search/discovery on Amazon? See this series of articles by Carolyn McCray at Digital Book World.

Click here for the full article.

100 questions to help you write, sell and publish an ebook
This blog post lists 100 questions to ask yourself as you think your way into publishing an ebook. While a few of the questions are no-brainers, it’s a thorough list that raises most of the questions, topics and issues that you’ll need to think through as an ebook author.
Here is an example of the questions:

  1. Is your subject too broad? Do you need to narrow it down?
  2. As you read each chapter, think of someone who has just had a meal. Are your readers still hungry; meaning that you didn’t answer their most important questions or you didn’t explain things clearly? Are your readers satisfied; meaning that you did a good job and your readers are happy with the amount of information that you provided? Are your readers uncomfortably full; meaning that the chapter is too long and complex?
  3. Do you have a title and subtitle in mind for your ebook?
  4. Have you put together a focus group to test your ebook’s title and subtitle.

You can read the full list here.

Ebooks made territorial rights obsolete?
This blog post explores one of the more complicated and still evolving impacts of ebooks. Do ebooks (which can be sold instantly all over the world) make territorial rights obsolete? This post looks at the development of the industry so far, and how British publishers are adapting to stay on top.

Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury, said the publisher had moved to a global alignment and now tried to buy world English rights in all cases, adding that the ability provided by digital to publish globally meant territorial restrictions based on countries were “obsolete”. He said the restrictions were one of the reasons publishers struggled to be more profitable. “Our problem as an industry is not reach, it is margin, and one of the problems about our margins is that our overheads are very high, and the complexity that we have built into the system, which is partially down to territoriality, makes things much harder.”

You can read the full post here.

Did I miss one of your favourite recent posts on ebooks? What questions do you have about writing and publishing ebooks?