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Over the last couple of weeks, my blog posts have centered around marketing for writers. I'm straying from that topic for this post, because what I learned this week merits a post. I think it'll also be helpful to writers, and indirectly, does actually deal with the marketing of indie books.
Ebook Publishing 101...
I've worked in publishing a long time, in some capacity or another. Challenges in getting something to press, whether it be traditional or digital should come as no surprise. However, this week, as I was in the home stretch of one of the first big hurdles for my book project, I ran into some snares.
A Big Hurdle While Writing my Book Wasn't Book-Related...
The first one came when I found out that my application for a DBA was basically rejected. It wasn't that I didn't have a sound business. It's simpler than that. Turns out that because I'm calling my publishing/ design ventures Buffy Naillon Studios, no actual DBA is needed. That is, unless I want to add a "C" to the title, as in Buffy C. Naillon. I thought about this -- adding my middle initial -- but ultimately discarded it. I don't want people to be confused, and my website is already up, baring the name I normally go by, Buffy Naillon.
In one sense, I fulfilled my assignment. I have formed a company, as I said that I would on my syllabus for this independent project for EdTech. My website is the key indicator of that as is my official email address. However, I have no official DBA paperwork from the Secretary of State's office in Boise. I will get a nice rejection letter on state letterhead. I already talked to the gal at the SofS's office to see about that.
I probably should have thought of this. I got the advice to start a publishing company of some sort at a writer's conference earlier this year. Not the person's fault who gave the seminar. I didn't think to ask. And I didn't think it would be so easy just to keep on doing what I'm doing in some ways. After all, I was already a writer coming into the publishing project. I just thought that forming a company would take me to the next level somehow. I guess the lesson I drew from this certainly did.
Amazon Free Kindle Books: My Second Stop Sign
The other challenge that I faced this week also had a silver lining. On the 15th of October, I'm supposed to have a digital preview of my book up on Amazon. My idea stemmed from something that I see James Patterson do quite a bit with each new book. He releases some preview chapters so that people will get hooked on the book and buy it once the full version is out. You can see it here, with this digital preview of First Love.
This sample provides the reader with the first twelve chapter of Patterson's book. This option excited me because I felt like people might feel some ownership toward my books if they got to download a teaser first. Originally, I planned on releasing the first eleven chapters of my book. However, despite reading plenty of books about releasing free books on Amazon, I'm not sure the feature exists anymore. You can offer your book for free for a certain amount of time -- up to five days, if my understanding is correct -- if you sign up with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select. But to make your own free giveaway book seems to be a different story now.
KDP Select: Home of Free Books and Kindle Countdown Deals
If you're not familiar with KDP Select, you agree to only publish/ sell your books on Amazon. With this exclusive agreement comes two bonuses, including the right to give your book away for free for any five days during a 90-day period.
KDP Select also offers you a newer feature, called Kindle Countdown Deals. It basically gives your readers the chance to buy your book for a big discount. On your sales page shows a countdown clock of sorts indicates how much your book is discounted for and for how long. Amazon even has a special webpage dedicated to these discounted books.
Knowing these two facts about KDP Select doesn't help me with the short sample I wanted to publish. But running into this problem has served me, as problems always have throughout my publishing career. They point to what I don't yet know, but need to learn.
I'm going to follow up on this as well as on information I found out from reading the Create Space website. What I lost in marketing opportunities with the free Kindle book sample, I may gain through other means.