How to Do an Automatic Tweet Campaign – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3-part series. Here are the links to the other articles in the series:

How to Schedule a Tweet with Hootsuite

Even though you can schedule messages for the other social networking platforms, I’m just going to cover how to work with tweets for the purposes of this article. Most of this will apply to the other social network accounts.

Why would you schedule a single tweet? Or perhaps just a small handful? Perhaps your readers are in a different time zone and they’re awaken when you’re sleeping or driving home in rush-hour traffic. Perhaps you want a few timely messages to go out while you’re at an event or at work. You could set up a small group of tweets to remind people of a seminar you’ll be teaching and you want to be sure they’re on time. Telling them to watch for a certain hashtag could alert them on their phones while you’re getting ready to teach. Be creative! Here’s how you would schedule a single message through Hootsuite:

  1. Login to your free Hootsuite account.
  2. In the top‐left corner of the home screen, there should be a text box containing the words “Compose message…”. Click inside that text box (see Figure 1).
    Figure 1
  3. When you do, it will expand to look like Figure 2. Go ahead and type the message you wish to tweet in the expanded text box.
    Figure 2
  4. Notice as you type, a counter appears at the bottom with the Twitter logo (See Figure 3). This lets you know how many characters you have remaining for your message. Also note there’s a text box that says “Add a link…” You guessed it! This is where you can put a link, should you wish to include one. The benefit of using their link option is 1) they’ll shrink it for you and 2) their “owl” links will create click statistics for you. Yes, you will be able to see how many people actually click on your links. GREAT for figuring out how to improve your marketing approach. Let’s go ahead and add a link to see how it works.
    Figure 3
  5. When you click into that text box, it will also expand and a new “SHRINK” button will appear (as you see in Figure 4).
    Figure 4
  6. Type or paste your link into the text box and click the SHRINK button (see Figure 5).
    Figure 5
  7. When you click the SHRINK button, it will not only make the link a shorter link, but it will also insert it at the end of your message (see Figure 6). At this point, you can just hit the “Send Now” button and it will be posted onto Twitter as if you’d posted it live at Twitter.com. This is how you use Hootsuite as a social media management tool. You can send live messages on all your accounts within a single application. However, for this tutorial, we want to schedule this tweet.
    Figure 6
  8. Just above and to the left of the “Send Now” button, there’s a little calendar icon (labeled with the dark-grey “Scheduling” balloon in Figure 7 below). When you click on that calendar or Scheduling icon, the window will expand and show a mini calendar with other options. Using the mini calendar, you can click through the months and click on a day and it will automatically update the date text box to the right of the calendar (see Figure 7, #1).
    Figure 7
  9. Set the time by clicking on the drop-down boxes (Figure 7, #2) and AM or PM by clicking on the corresponding buttons (Figure 7, #3). NOTE: If you’re scheduling a tweet/message and you want to be notified when it goes out so you can be online to answer questions, tick the “Email me when message is sent” check box.
  10. Once you’ve composed your message, shortened your link and scheduled a date/time, click on the “Schedule” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window (see bottom-right of Figure 7). The scheduling/message box should shrink back to the small text box we saw at the beginning and you should get a confirmation the message was scheduled (See Figure 8).
    Figure 8

The Rules of Bulk Scheduling in Hootsuite

In general, a tweet campaign can be anywhere from 10-100 tweets sent out in one day, or thousands spread over several days. Due to the limits of Hootsuite, you can only schedule up to 350 tweets in your queue at once. If you took advantage of that max number, to have several campaigns scheduled over a few weeks (a couple of days here and there, let’s say), you can imagine how long it would take to schedule each and every tweet for a campaign if you followed the above instructions. What a nightmare! Remember, to best utilize your valuable time, use the above method for those one/few messages you need to schedule. If you need/want to schedule more than 10, I recommend the Bulk Scheduler.
Bulk scheduling does take some time to initially set up, but once you’ve created your first campaign, you can repeat that campaign just by making some subtle changes. Hootsuite has a list of rules and formatting restrictions that aren’t really necessary to go over here because the spreadsheet I’ve provided here will handle most of the formatting and some of the other things are “fixed” automatically in the scheduler. However, those rules are in the Bulk Schedule Updates window, so the first time you go through this, you might was to read them to educate yourself.
However, there are a few rules the should be addressed or you’ll get errors when you try to upload your spreadsheet:
  1. Duplicate Messages Not Allowed – You cannot use the same exact wording, character for character, in more than one tweet in your campaign. Not sure if Twitter/Hootsuite has some kind of timer (perhaps 24 hours), but this doesn’t mean you can’t send the same exact message tomorrow. The purpose of this rule is to prevent people from spamming the same message multiple times. However, you can change your message by at least one character (even a space) and the tweet will not be rejected (e.g., using “&” instead of “and” will change the tweet; even “Click here!” and “Click here!!” are different just because of the extra exclamation point).
  2. 10-Minute Restriction – You cannot schedule the first tweet in your campaign within 10 minutes of uploading your spreadsheet. So if it’s 7:00 am and my spreadsheet has my first tweet firing off at 7:10 am, by the time I login to Hootsuite and upload my spreadsheet I’ll have run into that 10-minute window. I don’t recommend doing a last-minute campaign, but I’ve woken up many-a-morning, gasping into an upright position in my bed, exclaiming, “@#$%?*@! I forgot to schedule my campaign last night!” and staggering bleary-eyed to my computer in my pajamas. NOTE: Although it isn’t a rule, I don’t recommend scheduling your tweets less than 10 minutes apart, either. It’s just plain obnoxious.
  3. 115 Characters ONLY – Hootsuite has a CSV template you can download, but they don’t tell you that even though you are allowed 140 characters in a tweet, you actually cannot have more than 115 characters in your message PLUS your link. The spreadsheet I’ve included here will solve that problem.
Okay, we’re getting really long here again for a single post, so I’m going to take this over to Part 3!
CLICK HERE to read the next post.
Cheers!
Self-Publishing Earns Authors More Money

How to Do an Automatic Tweet Campaign – Part 1

Sorry! Taking a quick break from converting eBooks to multiple formats in favor of the upcoming Black Friday shopping event. Marketing is timing and I thought this would give people enough time to get their Tweet Campaigns ready for the biggest shopping day of the year! GO TEAM!

This is part 1 of a 3-part series. Here are the links to the other articles in the series:

twitter-128Twitter Works!

There is no doubt about it! Twitter is a great tool to help market your books by word of mouth. My friend Catherine Bybee SWEARS by Twitter because that’s how her books gained recognition. Go check out her Amazon rankings and see how ultra successful she is!

She stated in a recent Twitter workshop, “People need to see your name 7 – 10 times before they’ll buy your stuff!” And Twitter will help you do that! (*Arial clears her throat…* “Arial Burnz…Arial Burnz…”)

I would also recommend you get Kristen Lamb’s book Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World where she shows authors how to leverage social media as a whole. What I show you here is only a part of what she touches upon in her bestselling book.

I hear some of you protesting, “I’ve already tried Twitter and it didn’t work!” (Or you know a few authors who have and failed.)

Well, it depends on how you measure success. Read Kristen’s book and she’ll tell you how to do it right. But also take a closer look at what you/your author friends did. First, let’s look at who is following you. Most authors have authors following them. We want READERS following us. Authors are great emotional and professional support, but let’s face it…the vast majority of us don’t buy or read other authors’ books. We can’t! We have our own books to write and we have TONS of author friends. Just how many books can we buy to support our multitude of friends before we go broke? Authors are not the pond in which you should be fishing. (More on finding and properly fishing in the Readers ponds in another article.)

Secondly, did you have a constant stream of BUY MY BOOK tweets? That can be a sure-fire way to cause many eye-rolling gestures with massive unfollows in your wake or many people ignoring you. It’s just annoying, and you’ll know what I mean if you watch the Twitter feeds.

In this series of articles, I’ll not only show you how Tweet a little more personally, but do it more effectively without spending all day at the computer or on your smart phone. You’ll be too busy checking your stats!

The Personal Touch

Using Twitter with a genuine flair is the best approach to an organic response. What does that mean for us authors? Be yourself and stop sounding like a ticker-tape stream of adverts.

Here’s a general rule I learned from an author friend (Thanks, Heather Lyons!) and her publicist: For every 1 BUY MY BOOK (BMB) tweet you send, send 5 that are more personal or reflect who you are as a person/author. I call it the 1:5 TMR (Tweet Marketing Ratio). We’re not recommending ultra personal information, like posting pictures of your unmentionables or stalker-worthy details. Instead, let your personality come through. Here are some ideas for personal filler tweets:

  • Favorite and inspirational quotes by other authors, public figures or people you admire.
  • Jokes or humorous quotes. People LOVE to laugh and it’s a great way to win favor with others.
  • Share information about OTHER authors and help them promote their books by exchanging tweets. And swapping tweets with authors of the same genre is great cross-promotion, too. IDEA: Get a group of authors together to exchange tweets and you can save some time in composing about 50% of those personal filler tweets by promoting your friends using their tweets.
  • Share links to useful, funny or tear-jerking articles, videos or pictures. And it’s even better if they’re related to what you write. For example: My main character is a hot Scottish vampire named Broderick MacDougal, so I retweeted this picture with the tweet, “Broderick MacDougal needs 2 get one of these!” and mentioned several of my rabid fans…
Get creative and see what you can come up with! Even adding humor, drama or teasers to your buy-my-book tweets can be personal. These are some of the tweets on which I’ve received favorable comments or they’re retweeted often:
  • Woo hoo! My book MIDNIGHT CONQUEST is perma #FREE on #Amazon now!! *Does the Snoopy dance* http://ow.ly/qNOX4
  • Want a hunky Scottish #vampire in your hands? Download MIDNIGHT CONQUEST #FREE at #Amazon! http://ow.ly/qNOX4
  • “I want the taste of you on my soul.” Favorite #quote by #vampire Broderick MacDougal in MIDNIGHT CAPTIVE *sigh* http://ow.ly/qNTiN
  • OMG! I got an AMAZING #5Star review at #Amazon!! *falls off office chair* http://ow.ly/qNTGh #vampires #witches #werewolves Oh yeah!!
I wrote an article about Twitter Hashtags & How To Use Them, where I cover #hashtags and how to leverage Twitter. Be sure to check that post out if some of the above tweets looked strange to you OR if you haven’t quite figured out how to use Twitter.

What’s a Tweet Campaign?

In short, a tweet campaign is a stream of tweets you send out over a period of time for a promotional purpose, like a book release day, a free book day, spreading the news for a blog tour stops, or the like. You can do a campaign that spans an hour or even days.

“How the HECK am I supposed to do a campaign for DAYS?? My books aren’t going to write themselves!” I hear many of you screeching out there.

No worries!! Remember, at the beginning of this article when I said you won’t have to be sitting at the computer all day? Well, I meant it!

Hootsuite is Your Friend!

I’m a gal who likes to share a good thing, ergo why I have this blog. Now I can say to all my author friends, “Go to this article I posted!” And one great tool I discovered earlier this year (I know…I’m slow) is HOOTSUITE!

Hootsuite is a web-based social media interface that allows you to post on various social media networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, foursquare, WordPress and mixi. AND you can even connect with multiple accounts (e.g., I’ve connected my Arial Burnz Twitter and Facebook accounts and my Mystical Press Twitter account). Very convenient, as you can literally post one message and have it posted to all those networks with one click! I kid you not! LOVE this tool! There is a free account and a premium account. More on that later.

What I like BEST about Hootsuite is you can schedule your tweets (or whatever other messages you’d like to blast). And I don’t just mean typing in your tweet, scheduling it on the calendar for a date and time in the future and then rinse and repeat fifty times, like you have to do with TweetDeck. I mean BULK SCHEDULE!! Like up to 350 tweets at once! No joke!

More screeches echo across cyberspace. “OMG! Who would send out 350 tweets in a day!?” Well, very obnoxious people, to be sure. But I am not advocating you do that. That’s just how many messages can be queued/scheduled at once in Hootsuite.

How to Bulk Schedule a Tweet Campaign Using Hootsuite

I can almost hear those wheels turning and tumblers clicking into place. I think you know where I’m going with this. If you spend a little time up front planning and preparing, you can schedule several days’ worth of social networking posts – days and even weeks ahead of the event!

Here’s our 50,000-foot view:

  1. Create a Hootsuite account (WAIT! Don’t do it now! I have some money-saving tips for you, so keep your shirt on and stay here!)
  2. Populate an MS Excel spreadsheet with your tweets (template provided)
  3. Upload the spreadsheet into Hootsuite’s Bulk Scheduler
  4. Sit back and relax, feeling accomplished *sigh*

Create a Hootsuite Account

Hootsuite is free to join and it allows you to set up to 5 social networking accounts. However, there are several wonderful features that are only available to paid, premium subscribers – and the Bulk Scheduler is one of those delightful features. The fee is only $9.99 a month if you pay monthly and you can cancel anytime. $8.99/mo if you pay for the year at once – but that’ll be to the tune of just under $108. Ouch! Click here to see what each of their plans has to offer and all the nifty features.

But don’t fret too much about the money right now! Hootsuite gives you the chance to try their services for free in two ways, giving you 37 FREE days you can do campaigns! And I recommend taking advantage of both:

  1. 7 Days FREE – Join for free and, when you’re ready to use the Bulk Scheduler, they’ll tell you it’s a premium feature. But at the bottom of the window that pops up, it has a link to try it free for 7 days. I would recommend you plan a couple of campaigns first before you start your 7-day free trial.
    Note the link UNDER the big, green button!
  2. 30 Days FREE – Did you like your 7-day trial? GREAT! After your 7 days are over, you can plan your next few campaigns and then sign up for the premium account. You’ll automatically get get the first 30 days for free.

You will have to enter a credit card, though, but they won’t charge you during that 30-day trial. You cancel anytime before the 30 days is up, so if you can’t afford the $9.99 per month…put a reminder on your calendar. If I remember correctly, Hootsuite will send you several e-mails reminding you…but it doesn’t hurt to have your own reminder as a back-up.

I am confident, though, once you try the Bulk Scheduler, you’ll see how valuable this tool can be for your marketing campaign and forego that one night a month you go to a movie or take a sack lunch to work instead of going out to lunch. And remember, that $9.99 per month (which is the plan I use) is a tax write-off because it’s business related. 😉
So…visit www.hootsuite.com and sign up for your free account. But don’t trigger that 7-day trial until you’re ready to do a campaign! Right now, I encourage you to explore and set up your accounts and feeds. Hootsuite has a lot of useful walk-through steps that will show you how to add a social networking account and other functions in the web application. I encourage you to explore everything to see some of the amazing free features and what the premium account has to offer – like click reports, retweet statistics, Google Analytics, Facebook and LinkedIn Insights, Twitter and Facebook Aggregates and more! You can even see all your followers AND who they follow in a single glance by look at your contacts. Obviously, I’m in love with this tool.

To be continued…

This post is getting a little long, so I’m going to split this up. I’ll cover how to schedule a tweet and then show you how to bulk schedule a campaign in the next article. However, if you’re too impatient, I give a smaller version of using Hootsuite in that article I linked above to my reader blog, which I’ll probably be moving to this blog once I’ve finished this series. Here’s the link again: Twitter Hashtags & How To Use Them
In the meantime, go create your free Hootsuite account and do some exploring.
CLICK HERE to read the next post.
That’s my two pence…
Arial 😉

How to Convert Your Novel into Multiple eBook Formats – Part 1

Now that I’ve addressed the issue of To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish in the previous article, I’ll tackle how to convert a novel to multiple eBook formats.

This is part 1 in a series where I give step-by-step instructions on how to convert your novel into multiple eBook formats. Here are the other parts to the series:

This series will cover how to convert an MS Word document to a PRC file, which is used by the Kindle. I will then show you how to convert that into multiple eBook formats, and even provide a few suggestions on how to use those files for promotion. For the author who already has an eBook file, skip to Part 2.

The article below is for the author who wishes to convert their MS Word Document to an eBook format for self-publishing purposes. OR how to convert any file to an eBook format. Click here to read a tip for promoting a series.

Here are the four “big picture” steps I take to convert an MS Word document to multiple eBook formats.

  1. Prep your MS Word Document for eBook consumption
  2. Convert the MS Word Document to a PRC file
  3. Import the PRC or other file into Calibre (actually pronounced cal-i-ber)
  4. Convert to any eBook format using Calibre

Disclaimer

I am absolutely not advocating piracy or a method to take advantage of your publisher. You are responsible for the agreement you have with your publisher, so know this doesn’t give you carte blanche to make as many formats of your book as you want and give them out free to the world if your publisher has specifically stated you can only give out 10 or whatever your contract says. Nor is this permission to take what eBooks you have written by other authors, convert them and e-mail them to your friends and family. PLEASE respect the rights and hard work of the authors and publishers who produce these eBooks for your reading pleasure. Piracy SUCKS!

Step 1: Prep your MS Word Document for eBook Consumption

I will not be going into great detail on this step for a few reasons. First, I’m assuming every author has a working knowledge of MS Word and since there are so many versions of MS Word out there, I can’t possibly illustrate every step for every version. If you’re writing a book fresh (meaning starting a new document), I recommend writing your novel in the Smashwords template (either theirs or the one I modified – links to both are below). If you have a book already written, then you can copy and paste your book into the template…but you’ll have quite a mess to clean up. This is why it is to important to know how to use Styles in MS Word.

There are three resources I’ll provide to help you achieve the goal of formatting your own book for eBook:

  1. Smashwords – Smashwords is how I learned to self-publish. They already have a slew of advice, templates and information that will teach you about what you need to know to self-publish your book – including giving you a distribution platform. I know it’s a lot of reading, but if you want self-publish your own novels OR learn to do everything yourself instead of hiring out, thereby saving money, then you must read it all. This is part of being a self-published author. Also, try some of these YouTube.com tutorials.
  2. Modified Smashwords Template – Because I’m not crazy about the way they did their template – meaning, they didn’t have enough guides and placeholder text for my taste – I decided to modify the template for my own use. It also has a Table of Content (TOC) included, with instructions on how to update it. Clicking on the heading for this topic will download a zip file with the template I use, and this template, so far, has never been rejected when it goes through the Smashwords “meat grinder” as they so affectionately call it. You can also use this same template for uploading your MS Word Document to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). The comments I’ve included will guide you how to change the document for those purposes and the content is that Latin filler text.
  3. Styles in MS Word – To properly use the templates, one should have a familiarity with Styles in MS Word, as I mentioned in my previous article. The heading link for this topic should take you to the search results for “How to Use Styles in MS Word” on YouTube.com. Lynda.com has a lot of very useful and informative tutorials. You can also search YouTube.com for tutorials on “how to format your MS Word document for ebook” and explore those videos.
We have some prep work to do before you can create your PRC file, so let’s go onto that post – How to Convert Your Novel into Multiple eBook Formats – Part 2.
That’s my two pence…
Self-Publishing Earns Authors More Money

To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish

I said I was going to post an article on how to convert your MS Word Document to any eBook format. However, as I started writing it, I thought some self-publishing topics deserved some facetime. “Should I self-publish?” is a question authors should answered first. If you’re only here to learn how to convert a file your publisher gave you, then go ahead and skip to the next article: How to Convert Your Novel into Multiple eBook Formats

What it Takes to Self-Publish

Self-publishing is NOT easy and anyone who has done it can testify how much hard work goes into publishing your own book. If you have all the technical skills and resources to do it, you can publish your book with little-to-no upfront costs. However, keep in mind that the less you know technically, the more it will cost you because you’ll have to pay someone to do what you cannot. If you’re really good at bartering and have other skills to trade, you might work this in your favor to save money.

This article ONLY covers the technical aspect of publishing a book. Whether or not you sell your self-published novel depends on writing a good book to begin with, writing MORE books (never stop writing) and then marketing those books.

But how do you know if you CAN do at least do the technical part? I ask you the following questions:

eBook Publishing Questions

  1. Do you have the money to pay for an editor OR the ability to trade services? Is it necessary to have an editor? In my professional opinion, ABSOLUTELY! So many authors are putting their work out their without being edited and it is the primary reason why many readers/reviewers/bloggers won’t touch a self-published book with a ten-meter cattle prod. If you want to be successful at publishing your book AND stand out in the sea of bad self-published novels, an editor is the first step to producing a quality product. NO author can edit their own book. We’re just too close to the material. Even Stephen King said, “To edit is divine.” At a later date, I will publish a list of editors that are recommended by authors who are also inexpensive/affordable.
  2. Do you know how to use MS Word? Most authors will answer “yes” to this question, and I know it seems like a no-brainer. This is the most common word processor used by authors for writing their manuscripts. Though OpenOffice.org does indeed create a free word processing tool, you still have to save your files in the *.doc file format. However, you should probably feel very comfortable enough with your word processor to know how to use Track Changes, page breaks and section breaks, modify page layout options, and change the metadata of your file.
  3. Do you know how to use Styles in MS Word? Styles will not only save you time, but they’ll help you keep your document free of clutter, from a technical perspective. In short, any formatting you apply to your words (e.g., italics, centering, bolding, font size, etc.) has a default MS Word Style attached to it. Styles will help keep that formatting uniform and if you need to make changes to the font, for example, ALL of your text will reflect that change if you do so in Styles instead of having to comb through the document to change all those instances. If you’re still submitting to publishers, editors will LOVE you if you know how to use MS Styles. A lot of this might sound like Greek, so I recommend visiting the YouTube.com tutorials to learn how to work with Styles in MS Word. If your file has a lot of clutter in the background (technically speaking), it will be rejected by KDP, Lulu and Smashwords and you can’t publish your book.
  4. Do you know how to create a professional looking eBook and/or Print Cover? All books have to have a cover and, whether we like it or not, readers usually buy your book based on the appeal of your cover. Good content is not enough. Your cover should look like your genre, be professional and capsulize your story. Gimp.org has a Photoshop-like graphic editing application for FREE. If you have some experience at graphics but don’t have the money to buy Photoshop, you should try Gimp. Incidentally, Adobe has a new service called Adobe Creative Cloud. For $49.99 per month, you can get MOST of the Adobe products. If you just need a graphics editor and PDF converter/printer, it’s probably not worth it. However, if you’re like me and use many of the Adobe tools (e.g., Photoshop for graphics, Acrobat XI Pro to create PDFs, Audition to create audiobooks, Premier to create trailers, Dreamweaver for web design), then the fifty bucks a month is a steal! (More on producing your own audiobooks and your cover in other posts.)
  5. Are you familiar enough with the Internet to upload files and fill out forms? One would think most people are, but one would be surprised to learn how many people are not. As an ex-software instructor, I’ve come to understand that most people actually know just enough to get by and do their daily tasks. If I ask the question, “What browser do you use to get on the the Internet?” MOST people answer, “Google.” Google is not a browser…it’s a search engine. My experience has taught me that the people who don’t know the difference will probably have a difficult time self-publishing their books due to a lack of familiarity with the Internet and understanding programs as a whole.

Print Publishing Questions

You should answer “yes” to all the above questions in order to delve into print publishing (e.g., CreateSpace or Lulu). Although you might not sell any print books, I highly recommend having your novella or larger in print so you have something to sign at conventions and book signings and for giveaways. Here are some additional questions pertaining to print:
  1. Do you have the ability to convert your book to PDF format? Let me clarify this question by asking, “Do you know how to format your eBook to print?” CreateSpace and Lulu have templates, but there is a slew of information to learn regarding how to get your book ready for print. Just visit this CreatSpace.com page as an example of the choices you need to make (e.g., trim size, full bleed, how many pages, the type of paper, glossy or matte for your cover, etc.).
  2. Do you know how to convert a PDF template into a working graphics file to create your cover? As an example, CreateSpace has an online tool to help you create a template for your book cover. You specify the type of interior, your trim size, how many pages and the color of your paper, and it spits out a ZIP file for you to download so you can create a cover that will have the proper trim size and spine width for your book. You then have to take one of the templates in the ZIP file and convert that in your graphics program to use it as a guide. You have to answer “yes” to question 1 in order to get the information to create your template. THEN you need to convert that graphic back into a flattened PDF file to be uploaded for publication. Whew!
If you answered “no” to most of the questions above, then you should ask yourself one more question to determine if self-publishing is right for you: Do you have the money to pay someone to do all the above? This can get very expensive.
 
Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. It takes technical skills, patience, resources and/or money to accomplish the goal of getting your baby into print. It’s one of the reasons why publishers were created. Everyone self-published prior to the eBook age.

What if Self-Publishing isn’t for Me?

If you still want to get your book published, you still have the wonderful option of going independent with small presses, ebook and independent publishers. And there is a plethora of publishers to choose from. This Directory of ePublishers is a great place to start looking for the right publisher for you. In another post, I’ll cover some guidelines on what to look for in a publisher and why you can afford to be picky. I’ll also provide links to some publishers with whom I’m familiar.
The small and independent publishers are easier to approach than the Big Six. Though they may not offer an advance, you will have an editor and they will format your book, give it a cover and distribute the book for you. But you’ll have less creative control. Not only will you NOT have to pay up front for their services as you would for self-publishing (more on that in a second), but you’ll have the invaluable experience of being edited. THAT is an education in your craft all by itself without having to pay for it up front.
By the way, ALL publishers charge you to publish your novels and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Even the Big Six charge you. Of course, they’ve been telling us for decades that they publish your book for free. NOTHING in the publishing world is for free!
The publisher does all the work to get your book produced. Then they sell your book. You get royalties. They get the rest. The money they get minus your royalties is how they get paid. Your royalties are only a small portion of the money your publisher receives for doing all the work, so don’t let anyone tell you publishers don’t charge you to publish your books. ALL publishers charge authors to publish a book, although they do take the chance that your book won’t sell. But then neither of you will be paid.
Self-publishing venues do the same. For example: If you publish through KDP, they pay you 35% if you price your book from 99 cents to $2.98 or $10.00 or more. If you price your book at $2.99 – $9.99, then you’ll get 70%. What happens to the difference? Obviously, it goes into Amazon’s pockets. Ergo, ALL publishing costs money…you just don’t feel it because it doesn’t drain your bank account.
I know this was a long article, so thanks for hanging in there and reading to the end. I hope this was helpful and put self-publishing in perspective. PLEASE let me know if you have questions by leaving a comment below.
That’s my two pence…
Self-Publishing Earns Authors More Money

How to Send Your eBook to the Kindle

How to Send Your eBook to the KindleDid you know that an eBook can be sent directly to the Kindle via e-mail? I know, right???? OMG what a convenience! *Arial grumbles at B&N for not getting with the program*

If you’re an author and have a few beta readers who help you test out your novel before it gets published OR if you’re a blogger and would love to receive ARCs and beta books from authors for reviews, this is a great option! It takes just a little bit of time to set up, but once you’ve done it, not only is it a breeze to do again, you only have to do it once per author/sender.

The instructions below are addressed to the person who owns the Kindle, so…

  • Authors – You can send your readers here for these instructions OR copy and paste them into an e-mail to send to your beta readers/bloggers who will be reviewing your book. And please Click to Tweet this page with your author friends to spread the word!
  • Book Reviewers/Beta Readers – Just follow the instructions and refer authors to this page or Click to Tweet and spread the word!

Don’t Have a Kindle?

No prahhhhblem!!! (<—Chicago accent coming out) Amazon provides a FREE application you can download on your iPad, iPhone, Android phone, PC or Mac! Click here to get yours!

Once you’ve downloaded your app and registered it with your Amazon account, you can receive books via e-mail just like a regular Kindle device. Here’s how!

Basic Steps

  1. You need the e-mail address to your Kindle
  2. You’ll need to approve the author’s (or your) e-mail address (the address that will be sending the eBooks) as a sender of documents
  3. The file sent to the Kindle must be either a MOBI or PRC file.
  4. The file is e-mailed to the Kindle e-mail address and the book will then be automatically loaded onto the Kindle the next time it connects to Wi-fi/3G.

How to Find the Email Address to Your Kindle

  1. Go to Amazon.com
  2. Toward the top right of the Amazon.com home page, you should see a button/section that says “Hello, [your name or “sign in”] Your Account”. Hover your mouse over (don’t click on) the Your Account button/section.
  3. From the menu that appears, click on “Manage Your Content and Devices” (formerly “Manage Your Kindle”)
  4. It will probably ask you to login to your Amazon account – go ahead and do that and you will be forwarded to the Manage Your Content and Devices page.
  5. When you arrive at the Manage Your Content and Devices page, there are some tabs at the top. Click on the “Your Devices” tab.
  6. Your Kindle device and any devices that have the Kindle application (e.g., smartphone, iPad, computer, etc.) will be listed here with picture icons. Click on the device where you want to receive documents or eBooks.
  7. Clicking on the icon for the device of your choice should display, just below the icons, an e-mail address that ends in @kindle.com. THAT’S the e-mail address of that Kindle device/app. Put that information aside for now.

How to Approve an Email Address to Receive Documents

  1. If you did the above steps, you’ll already be at the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page. If not, please follow steps 1-4 above before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Click on the “Settings” tab at the top (just right of the “Your Devices” tab)
  3. At that new page, scroll down (it’s a long scroll, so keep going) to the section titled “Personal Document Settings” and there is a sub-category titled “Approved Personal Document E-mail List” and click on the link “Add a new approved e-mail address.”
  4. In the box that appears, type in @arialburnz.com (or your e-mail address or the e-mail address of the author/person sending the eBook).
  5. Click the “Add Address” button.

And there you have it! Your Kindle is now prepared to receive documents and eBooks from that e-mail address. Of course, you can follow the same instructions if you’d like to remove an address. Just click on the DELETE link to the right of the e-mail address on your approved list. (Click on above image – look under “Actions”)

How to Email an eBook to the Kindle

  1. Be sure you follow all the steps above for both sets of instructions, or this won’t work.
  2. If an author or friend is going to send the eBook to your Kindle, then you need to send them the e-mail address of your Kindl, which you grabbed and put aside back in Step 7 above. (Remember, they needed to be the e-mail address you added in Step 4 of “How to Approve an E-mail Address to Receive Documents” above.
  3. If you are sending the eBook to your Kindle (or an author is), then compose an e-mail addressed to the @kindle.com address for your Kindle.
  4. Attach the MOBI or PRC file of the eBook to the e-mail you’re composing.
  5. Do not put anything in the body of the e-mail. It won’t be seen by the Kindle anyway. The only thing that matters is the attachment(s). Yes, you can send more than one eBook file in the same e-mail.
  6. Click send and off it goes!!
  7. On the device/application, you must sync the device, so it must have a wireless connection.
  8. Once it’s synced, you should find the eBook in the “Docs” section of your Kindle device or app. Sadly, you might not see the cover of the book, but you should see the name of the file.
For those of you who have a Nook and aren’t sure how to load a file onto your device, go to this link for detailed instructions:  How To Transfer Files from Computer to Nook Tablet.

Tips for Authors

Do this for your own device! Just set your Kindle up as instructed above, then e-mail the eBook to your own Kindle. You’ll not only see how the process works, but you’ll get to test the book on your reader and see if you need to make any fine-tuned adjustments.
Authors, in my next article, I’ll show you how you convert your MS Word document into the various eBook file formats for any eReader!
Until then…
That’s my two pence…
Arial 😉
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