Updated ePublishing Figures and Tips

Everything that was discussed in our earlier post about ePublishing tips remains true, but I thought I would post some updated figures and a new site.

On January 24th Damian’s Oracle hit the front page of getfreeebooks.com – that was nice! 🙂  It stayed on page one for five days and brought well over 100 visitors a day to our site. Our total visitors were over 200 every day during that five day period. Once Damian’s Oracle slid off of the front page the traffic slowed down, but even several weeks later, we’re still getting 30-40 visitors a day from the site.

I’ve realized that a good percentage of our sites traffic will be cyclical correlating to new book releases. I’m ok with that fact as long as the post peak plateau is higher than the pre-release bench mark. So far this model is holding true. Before getting on getfreeebooks, we were getting 40-60 visitors a day.  After the spike our slow days are still over 100. With all of the positive reviews and feedback from Damian’s Oracle, I can’t wait to see the traffic generated from the sequel. We have been getting visits to our site daily from readers searching for the sequel.

The one drawback to getfreeebooks.com was the length of time (several weeks) from the time we submitted Damian’s Oracle until the time it appeared on this site. Upon further review, this may not be a bad thing, as it was posted to that site right as the others were coming off of their high points.  As I stated earlier, the traffic will ebb and flow, but I have no doubt that each baseline will surpass the previous mark.

Another source of steady traffic has been free-online-novels.com . I said in the original post that it was a small site run by an extremely friendly owner. While the site has a cozy small town feel, it gets big city traffic! The owner is one of the friendliest people I’ve met in my short ePublishing experience and the site is sending me between 30-50 visitors a day.

While I’m sure these traffic figures would make many web site owners cringe, I find them encouraging. For a small, start up site with an advertising budget of zero dollars and zero cents that is reliant upon word of mouth and sites which list free books, I’m happy with the slow but steady growth we’re experiencing early on. The growth isn’t fueled by purchased traffic, banner ads or forum spam; it’s fueled by people downloading quality books and coming here to say thanks or find more. If there is a better demographic than that I’m not sure what it is.

Resources for indie writers

In the spirit of Guerrilla Wordfare and helping others venture into the epublishing world, I’ve listed a few more resources below.  Most of these I’ve found on Twitter, which is another recommendation: if you don’t have a Twitter account, get one!  They’re free, and it’s a free marketing tool!  Ok, here’s the list.  It does include fantasy genre specific info, since it’s one of my fav genres.

  • Galley Cat, “The First Word in the Book Publishing Industry.”  News, reviews, RSS feeds from multiple sources, resources.
  • Daily writing tips. Short articles on grammar and style
  • Fantasy Faction. Fantasy book reviews (includes indie books!), podcasts, newsletter, forums
  • Ranting Dragon. Fantasy book reviews and news
  • Publisher’s Lunch. Publishing industry insider gossip, includes forums; “Track Deals, Sales, Reviews, Agents, Editors, News”
  • Publishers Weekly. Mainstream publishing industry news

Two awesome blogs with tons of free tips:

  • Write2Publish offers free marketing tips for indie writers/publishers
  • Newbies guide to publishing is an extremely active, useful site with tons of free tips, information, and epublishing success stories

Early Results and Lessons Learned from our e Publishing

We started GuerrillaWordfare.com a few weeks ago with one main goal: discover the best practices for independent authors to expose their talent to the world via self-publishing and e-publishing, then share these best practices throughout the indie community. We’re figuring out these methods while self-publishing the works of indie author Lizzy Ford.

While we’ve only been at it a few weeks now, we thought it was time to post some early returns on the results we’ve gotten from posting Lizzy’s work on different sites.

Smashwords.com

Overall, a dream to work with. Smashwords lets you upload your work and type in a short description for the site as well as a longer synopsis for external sites.  Smashwords does a great job converting your story to several formats in a matter of seconds. Smashwords also submits your book to sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Ipod and Ipad as well. Smashwords is a great service overall.

The downside of Smashwords is speed in getting your ebooks added to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Apple ebook store. As we write, it’s been two weeks since we submitted the free full length novel “Damian’s Oracle” to Smashwords and it still hasn’t been accepted on those sites.  Smashwords and Amazon are still working out the kinks for delivery, and others indie authors have said it can take up to 8 weeks for your ebook to appear in the Kindle store.

The Apple ebook store only accepts ebooks from a small handful of sources, of which Smashwords is one.  If you want to get your book on the Ipod, Smashwords is the way to go. Just submit and wait. For the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble you can upload your ebooks on your own and have them available in 24-48 hours.   The downside of uploading your own to these two sites is that you can’t designate your book as free.

If you’re going to charge for your ebook, you’re probably better off opting out of those two distribution channels on Smashwords and uploading your book straight to Amazon yourself via Amazon DTP and to Barnes and Noble via Pubit. If, however, you want to make your book available for free in an attempt to build a fan base (as we’re doing with Damian’s Oracle), Amazon and Barnes and Noble force you to set a minimum price of 99 cents. Publishers (to include Smashwords) are allowed to price books for free, which is an extremely good way for new indie authors to maximize their exposure.

As soon as “Damian’s Oracle” navigates the Smashwords distribution channels and makes it to Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, we’ll post our thoughts and results. So far, we’ve had over 1000 downloads on Smashwords in 3 weeks and we couldn’t be happier!!

Obooko.com

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The Smashwords Experience – Day 3

Thus far, Smashwords – a free epublishing and ebook distribution service – has been the ideal tool for converting ebooks to multiple ereader formats as well as creating an instant presence on the web for a newly published ebook.  The service is fast and simple – provided you follow the formatting instructions provided.  The formatting is truly the only heavy lift here, and the initial formatting for my first ebook (11 page short story) took me over an hour.

However, the second book took only a few minutes.  I was trying to follow the instructions letter-by-letter and by doing so, created a ‘normalized’ template in MSWord that I could go back and use for follow on ebooks.  The whole process of epublishing took under 5 minutes, from uploading a word doc and cover to completing the required form to waiting for the ‘meatgrinder’ to convert to multiple formats to seeing the ebook on the front page of Smashwords.com.  AS LONG AS EVERYTHING IS PROPERTY FORMATTED!

We also found that – by downloading the .MOBI formatted version of my ebook created by Smashwords – we can save time by submitting that version to Amazon’s Kindle rather than try to re-format a word doc to Amazon standards.  We’re going to look at advanced Amazon Kindle formatting (which allows page breaks and some other functions that aren’t recommended in Smashwords formatting) – stay tuned for a future post once we figure it out.  Smashwords formats the books to PDF, web, RTF,  and basically all known ereader formats: Kindle, KOBO, Sony, Palm Doc, Stanza, and iPad/Apple devices, which is awesome.

As the author, you can pick how much you want to charge for the book.  We opted for free ebook listings at this point.  We want to compare what the free ebook experience is like vs. the ebook with a price.  I’ve published three free ebooks, and the first one has over 110 downloads in about 36 hours.

We also posted free ebooks so we could maybe create a fan club early on, or at least, offer a free sample of my work so people can decide if they’re interested in future ebooks, even those with a price.  Those who like it will hopefully follow me on this site, Twitter, Facebook, and so on, as I slowly build my library during the 12-12 Challenge!