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new-kindle-paperwhite-2.jpgIf you're thinking about splashing the cash on a Kindle Paperwhite eReader, you may want to hold fire. It seems that Amazon have accidentally outed its successor, with a post on Forum.HR providing the above landing page image revealing the device, apparently posted online too hastily by an eager Amazon employee.

Stating that the device will have a ship date of September 30, it's an evolutionary spec-bump for the reader with the built in light.

Improvements include a 25% faster processor to speed up page turns, a "next generation" built in light, better contrast levels and tighter touchscreen accuracy. On the software side of things, a new Vocabulary Builder will make a note of words that you look up in the built-in dictionary which can then be viewed as flashcards, integration with the recently-purchased Goodreads network, and something called Kindle FreeTime which will encourage younger readers to pick up the Paperwhite by dishing out awards and achievements as they progress through books.

With this being by all accounts an unintentional leak, there has yet to be official confirmation of the device from Amazon. We'll keep you posted.

We hailed the original Kindle Paperwhite as the best ereader on the market when it launched last year, so we'll definitely be paying close attention to whatever Amazon have in store for September 30. Read our review of the original by clicking here.

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REVIEW: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (3G + Wi-Fi)

kobo-aura-2013-thumb.jpgKobo is popping a whole slew of brand new devices onto shelves in the next month or so, with the company updating its line of e-readers and tablets.

The new Kobo Aura e-reader, with its front-lit, 6-inch display looks set to challenge Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite for eBook dominance. Offering a 2 month battery life, 4GB of onboard storage (with SD card support) and boasting a 212 dpi "edge-to-edge" display, it'll set you back £119, hitting stores on September 16th.

Top of the line is the new Kobo Arc 10HD, a 10-inch tablet powered by a 1.8GHz Tegra 4 chipset backed by 2GB of RAM. It's got an impressive-sounding 2,560 x 1,600 display, and has a price tag to match, being the most expensive of the new Kobo devices at £299.

Next up are two 7-inch tablets. The Kobo Arc 7HD is the more impressive of the two, powered by a Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAM and making use of a 1,920 x 1,200 display, setting you back £189. Bringing up the rear of the tablet assault is the Kobo Arc 7, making use of a quad-core MediaTek chipset for £119.

Expect to see them all in shops by September.

366955-barnes-noble-nook-hd.jpgNOOK Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, has announced new low prices to mark its partnership with the Evening Standard's Get Reading festival and to promote literacy across the UK.

For a limited time only, the 7-inch NOOK HD will start at just £99 (8GB) and £129 (16GB), while the 9-inch NOOK HD+ tablet is available starting at £149 (16GB) and £179 (32GB).

"To celebrate the free Get Reading festival and to help make digital reading more affordable across the UK, we have reduced prices on our award-winning NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets for a limited time," said Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble S.à r.l.

"We are committed to promoting the cause of literacy and we hope that families from all over the UK come to the Get Reading festival on 13th of July for a fantastic day of events featuring some top authors and celebrities."

The goal of the Get Reading campaign, a partnership between the London Evening Standard and NOOK, is to help struggling readers catch up with their peers and maximise the opportunities that reading brings.

The campaign works closely with the Beanstalk literacy charity to help fund the training of reading helpers who go into schools each week to help children with their reading. As part of its support of the campaign, NOOK donated 1,000 award-winning NOOK Simple Touch eReaders to Beanstalk, all fully-loaded with top children's books donated by leading UK publishers.

The campaign culminates with a free reading festival in London's Trafalgar Square on the 13th of July featuring TV favourite Peppa Pig, Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman, bestselling author Kathy Lette and actor Russell Tovey, alongside hip-hop Shakespeare star Akala, children's author Paul Stewart, children's illustrator Chris Riddle and comedy double act Dick and Dom.

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pete-smith.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Pete Smith Q&A

Pete Smith, native of Brixton in South London, worked for nearly ten years with charity Save The Children. His book 'Project Management: All You Need Is Love' details that period of his life and his time in the commercial world as a Project Manager, describing his travels around everywhere from Peru to Angola, from Ethiopia to Vietnam. Pete shares his experiences self publishing the book through the Kindle Direct Publishing platform in this Q&A.

What originally drew you towards the self-publishing route and have you any experience with major print publishers before finding success through Kindle?

My book Project Management: All You Need Is Love wasn't finding a road to publication within the traditional industry, despite considerable help from The Literary Consultancy, who opened the 'magic door' into the literary agent world for me so that my book wasn't gathering dust on the slush pile. The reason given for rejection was always the same, not 'Your book isn't good enough' which any writer has to be prepared to deal with, but 'Your book doesn't fit'.

'Doesn't fit to what?' I screamed a few dozen times. Preconceived ideas of what a book should be; this book is a memoir, that book is a business book; this book is filed under humour. I had written a book that was a little of all those things and it was being refused publication because it didn't fit a straightjacket. Self-publishing was the best way forward.

What do you consider the main benefit of Kindle Direct Publishing?

It enables you to publish, it is technical ridiculously easy, and the basic royalty split is much more reasonable that in the traditional world.

Are there any limitations to Kindle Direct Publishing and How would you like to see the Kindle Direct Publishing process improve or evolve in the future?

In terms of getting a traditional text based book or novel published, I'd say there are no obvious limitations. But going forward I do think technology will change the reading experience.

Short term we could see a lot more use of hyperlinks as 'better than footnotes', but in the near future I think the obvious area for development will be Voice. Perhaps a mixture of reading and listening that you, the reader, controlled. Perhaps dialogue in a voice/accent suggested by the author that you could override. Somehow you need to retain or ideally expand the balance between the author's imagination and the reader's interpretation.

Further ahead, more of a multi-media experience. So if you're describing something in an African rainforest, let's see one with just a flick of the hand. And not just a still picture.

What challenges face those looking to self-publish their first eBook?

There are two primary differences. Firstly you are responsible for the production process. The technical side of that is extremely straightforward with Kindle Direct Publishing, but you have to get the cover design right, and you have to get the content to a professional level of proofing. That is a genuine challenge without throwing money at it.

Secondly you are responsible for marketing. Perhaps this area isn't quite as different as in the traditional model where you still would have to do much of it yourself anyway. But just putting your book on Kindle Direct Publishing will sell zero copies. Social media, email, web sites, blogs, talk-radio, trade press, book reviewers...you have to do it all yourself and it takes time. Everything works but has tiny results; but you try to get all the tiny results to add up and hope that the trickle develops.

Can a successful author make a living solely through Kindle self-publishing?

Well there are some who are, so the obvious answer is yes, although they are a tiny minority. I think for a much larger group of writers it will represent one income stream, and you will need others. Some of those may well be related to Kindle Direct Publishing. Marketing is not simply a cost but opens up other doors too; speaking engagements, advice columns, new opportunities.

Is your eBook also in print? If so, how did the process of getting the book in print compare to your experiences with Kindle self publishing?

I use Amazon Createspace for printed books. I like the system and approach as much as Kindle Direct Publishing, but it is a step up in terms of technical difficulty as you are responsible for the look and feel of your book, which you aren't really with a Kindle as the device handles it.

Examples of challenges include font selection (find a true type, serif font that you like and then figure out how to pass that with your book to Createspace), kerning and orphaning - terms you are unlikely to be familiar with as a new writer but in which you will need to develop at least a basic competence.

It isn't rocket science but it isn't straightforward either. If you can Google around, read a few 'how to' blogs and deduce which ones are worth following then you are well on your way.

Do you see a future where brick-and-mortar book stores are replaced altogether with digital eBook stores?

With a very few exceptions such as mathematical and scientific textbooks in specialist university stores, I suspect the answer to that question is 'yes'. The cost model of b-and-m with printing costs, plus the cost of stock, together with the cost of a physical location is simply too unattractive. The love of physical books is a generational issue; I fell in love with paper books as a child and that has stayed with me and won't go. So, as well as both having Kindles, my wife Sarah and I have rooms stacked from floor to ceiling with paper books. But children today will learn to read on eBooks and stay with eBooks their whole life. They might become nostalgic about the eBook reader they learnt on, which doubtless by the time they are 40 will seem hopelessly quaint and old-fashioned, but they won't love physical books as I do.

Do you feel Kindle Direct Publishing is affecting the relationship between authors and traditional publishers?

Inevitably the eBook revolution led by the Amazon Kindle is changing the industry. At the most transparent, anyone can see that you can go on to Kindle Direct Publishing and publish your eBook under a very few conditions, and keep 70% of the royalties. That is quite unheard of in the traditional world. If you are being offered 60% less, you are bound to ask 'what exactly do you do for the money?' in a way which I don't think many authors did historically; they were so grateful to get any deal. And if you break that 60% down into production (author support, drafting, copyediting, cover design etc) and marketing, there are still some fairly large questions out there.

There are some that still feel self-published eBooks are not of the same literary quality as those published by major publishing houses. How would you respond to those remarks?

I'd break that into two - technical and literary quality. In terms of technical quality, the basic process of copyediting is too often skipped especially at the lower end of the eBook market. You can see why because with a sale price of 99p or less, investing well over £1,000 is going to be problematic for some authors. I expect to see an alternative model evolve in the flexible freelance copyediting market where some editors offer a proof service on a declining royalty split basis.

In terms of literary quality, I think it is true that eBooks enable a wider range of writing to be published, and that is broadly a good thing. Some of that work will have great merit, other parts rather less. Critics and the public can decide which is which with more choice than they had in the past.

Would you ever go back down the traditional publishing route?

Never say never. The traditional publishing industry will evolve; it has to in order to survive. Personally I look at music and films, and see how those industries have both successfully adopted a 'label' approach rather than the mega studios in the face of comparable challenges. If you go to see a 'Working Title' movie you have a fair idea what to expect before the opening scene. The same with record labels; they each have a 'sound'. I can see benefits to promotion being marketed under the right banner. But the publishing label would need to be a lot leaner and smarter, more agile and 'in tune' than the publishing industry today. That's just one model and maybe there are other approaches, but we are too new into ePublishing to think all the answers are here already.

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

ibooks-author.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - How to self-publish an eBook with Apple iBooks

Tablets and smartphones make for great reading devices, and you don't get better tablets or smartphones than Apple's iPad and iPhone. Through Apple's iBooks store, self publishing authors have a great market through which to tout their wares, and this guide will walk you through how to get your work onto the platform.

Note: This guide assumes that you've already written your book, at least as a draft. We won't be giving you advice on how to tie up that plot hole or name your main wizard character!

What is Apple iBooks?

iBooks is Apple's own eReader platform, and the name of its associated digital storefront. Available exclusively to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users, it offers a slick touch based interface for readers to use and an easily navigable eBook store to browse. Thanks to the quality of the Apple devices' colour screens and processors, books published to the iBook store can take full advantage of multimedia features including colour images and videos.

Why publish through Apple iBooks?

It's incredibly easy for a writer to get their work onto iBooks, without ever having to deal with agents or publishers, while retaining 100% of the rights to the contents of their eBooks. In terms of royalties, Apple take a standard 30% cut of all profits. You claim all the rest, though you need to use an aggregating service to help with the publishing process, as Apple don't accept submissions from individuals. They too will take a cut of the 70% you're left with. It's by far the simplest way of getting your work on the store though as otherwise you'll need the backing of a traditional publisher, even if the aggregators take a cut of the profits too.

A new area of the iBooks store dedicated to promoting self published authors has also recently been introduced to Apple's iBooks. Called Breakout Books, it's an editorially curated section of the store picking out the very best from up-and-coming self published authors. Get your book on there and sales quickly go through the roof.

Apple also offer the iBooks Author publishing tool. It's a free piece of software for Mac that lets you make rich, multimedia-filled eBooks, complete with multi-touch touchscreen controls. It's as simple as dragging and dropping content onto a page, allowing you to easily make interactive texts. It's particularly useful for those looking to self-publish educational text books, and even has built-in tools for getting the books on sale in the Apple iBooks store.

Also, unlike Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform, you can offer your books for free through iBooks without limitations. This can be an incredibly valuable marketing tool, especially for authors working on an ongoing series - lure readers in with a gripping first novel, then charge them for the subsequent adventures in the franchise.

Limitations of publishing through Apple iBooks

There's an obvious one to begin with - publishing to the iBooks store only puts your novel in front of iPad, iPhone or iPod touch owners, as iBooks is exclusive to iOS devices. That's a user base far smaller than publishing to Kindle, seeing as Kindle eBooks are available across Android and iOS devices through the Kindle apps, alongside PC and Mac versions, as well as on Kindle eReaders. For the most part that shouldn't be a problem though, as Apple are pretty liberal in allowing self-publishing authors to sell their wares through other stores too.

However, there's also the fact that, if you make a book using iBooks Author that is sold through the iBooks store as a .ibooks file rather than given away for free, you will be unable to sell it elsewhere. That's obviously not a problem if you're not using the powerful iBooks Author tool, or using it to output in .pdf or .epub rather than the proprietary .ibooks format, but should definitely be taken into consideration if you do. What you gain in ease of creation through it you may lose in potential sales elsewhere.

Getting Started

First of all, you'll need to have that mind-blowing book written.

Finished? Great! That's the hard part done!

Before your would-be bestseller can be published, you'll need to make sure it's well edited and properly formatted. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow:


  • Make sure you've added a Table of Contents for the document, which is easily done using Word's and Page's built-in tools.

  • Insert page breaks after every chapter. It'll avoid inserting unnecessary stretches of white space when your final eBook is ready.

  • Make sure your cover image is added as a .JPG file, or it won't work properly. It'll need to be rectangular in shape and at least 600 pixels tall, and cannot contain hyperlinks or website addresses, nor any nudity.

  • Keep a check on your spelling and grammar if you don't have an editor. Have multiple grammar pedants read and re-read your text if possible to scan it for errors.

  • There's an upload limit of 2GB for the iBooks store, so make sure your eBook is smaller than that. That may be tough if you're using lots of multimedia content, so consider either cutting some, shortening some, or lowering the quality of audio, video and image files.

  • Apple will not publish materials that include erotica involving underage people, nor any texts that promote intolerance or discrimination. And rightly so.

Make sure your finished manuscript is in ePub format. There are plenty of free apps that will do this for you. We recommend Calibre, which is free and can output in a number of formats, and doubles up as an excellent eBook management application.

Aggregators

There are a number of companies that will go through the hassle of putting your book together in a form that Apple finds acceptable for submission. Which is great, as Apple won't accept submissions from individuals regardless. Either way, it's very useful to employ one of the aggregators - they'll go through the hassle of putting your book together in an attractive form, assign your book an ISBN number (as is required by Apple - a service that can cost a pretty penny even separately), and many will also help push your book out onto the Kindle, Nook and other digital stores alongside Apple's iBooks too. Pricing of the aggregators varies - some will take a cut of the sale price of every eBook sold, others will accept an up-front fee that covers lifetime sales of the book (which usually works out cheaper providing your books sells in reasonably significant numbers).

Click here for a list of services that can help.

Finding a Cover

Can you judge a book by its cover? Totally! The importance of great cover design is perhaps even greater for eBooks than traditional printed books, as they have to be attractive in a number of sizes, sometimes appearing tiny on mobile device store browsing lists. With just the image to work with, you can't employ any of the eye catching tricks that different materials provide to designers of physical books either.

Our advice? Make sure your cover communicates clearly what your book is about, and do it in an obvious rather than evocative way. If your book is about vampires, pop a good-looking blood sucker drooling the red stuff on the front, and then those looking for the latest Twilight rip-off will get all swoony. Hire a designer if possible - it's their natural habitat, and they'll know all the tricks to make your book leap out to a potential buyer.

And with all that, you should now be done! With much of the Apple iBooks submission process taken out of your hands by aggregators as a mandatory requirement, it's arguably even simpler than publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing.

Congratulations!

Click here for more from Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

dark-fate-ipad.pngOur self publishing season continues today with a quick look at Dark Fate: The Treasure Island Chronicles, by Oxfordshire-based startup Whooc Publishing Ltd. under their Freed Fiction Imprint. So far we've looked at how to solo DIY publish Kindle eBooks, but what of stand-alone apps, and alternative ways to fund your project?

Dark Fate: The Treasure Island Chronicles explores both, being a novel in app form for iPad and iPhone, seeking funding through the Kickstarter crowd-funding community.

Fronted by Bea Longworth and Bill Cole, the pair founded Whooc Publishing themselves back in October 2012. Dark Fate: The Treasure Island Chronicles is set to be their young-adult orientated Freed Fiction imprint's first title. And it's an ambitious one.

Described as "first person fiction", it borrows heavily from the Choose Your Own Adventure books of old, but brought bang up to date as an iPad app. A prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Dark Fate will let readers pick their own path through the tale, with the choices they make not only shaping the story, but defining the character the reader eventually becomes - Treasure Island stars Long John Silver, Blind Pew or Billy Bones, using an interface and coding Bea describes as similar in principle to that of console game Mass Effect.bea-and-bill-dark-fate.jpegWith touch controls and glitzy animations, it's far removed from the pen and pencil book-based role players of generations passed, making great use of the technology at hand. However, it's a more complex undertaking than a standard eBook, requiring a team of people to complete. Dark Fate will also have to face Apple's somewhat-draconian App Store approval process - a submission system far more involved than, say, the KDP approach.

"It's been really interesting coming from tech to the book publishing industry as a relative outsider," says Bea.

"Many publishers seem to view anything 'digital' as borderline witchcraft, but also know they need to find a way to use technology effectively if they're going to grow their audience. At the same time, interactive fiction and other genre-busting book/game crossovers are having a resurgence - The Numinous Place by Brandwidth was recently successful on Kickstarter, The Story Mechanics just released their first 'digital feature' The 39 Steps on Steam and Random House is experimenting with Black Crown, a 'narrative experience' designed to launch a new author. "

Kickstarter is full of potential for authors looking to fund their writing, but it's no walk in the park. Project backers can be demanding, requiring constant updates on the project that may distract from an authors work. Stretch goals for novelists can be great fun though: if a backer pops an extra £1,000 into the project, for instance, they could be immortalised as a main character in the tale.

However, with Kickstarter's profile rising rapidly, it's becoming an increasingly competitive area, with hundreds of projects all vying for backer's cash. Fail to hit your funding goal, and any money pledged by backers returns to them, potentially derailing your project.

"Kickstarter is becoming quite mainstream, which means a wider audience of potential
backers but also that Kickstarter fatigue is setting in," explains Bea.

"We don't have any celebrity supporters or cult following, so we decided to try and stand out by creating a video which would be entertaining as well as informative. We've mixed up our favourite movies, games and young adult novels - it's kind of like an episode of Spaced crossed with an infomercial!"

For more on Dark Fate: Treasure Island Chronicles, click here. The project is seeking £25,000 of funding, and has 23 days to achieve that goal.

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

Claire L Brown.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Claire L Brown Q&A

Sunderland-born Claire L Brown is a BA Hons Graduate in Media with American History from Sunderland University. After attending Western Washington State University and spending several years working for the Fire and Rescue service in her native North East Claire now writes fantasy and thriller novels, with her first eBook 'Draco; Homecoming' releasing in December 2013.

What originally drew you towards the self-publishing route?

I lost my father in 2011 after a long illness and it changed a lot of things for me.  I took a look at my life and decided it was time to start really working on what I wanted to do because I don't want to have any regrets. 

I had previously tried traditional publishing roots but these weren't working for me so I wanted to find a way that suited my needs.   That's when I saw the link on Amazon to Kindle Direct Publishing, reading the site made me think this was a great route for me to take. 

I've used the web since early 2000 to get feedback on my writing as I worked on my style and worked out the genres I work best in.  I would use writers groups and websites to circulate my work for free and get feedback from other writers and readers.  I always thought this was one of the best ways to go as you got more in depth feedback from your audience directly. 

As the web has grown in terms of social media and blogging it's become easier to access your audience and promote your work if you have the time and the drive to do it. 
 
Had you any experience with major print publishers before finding success through Kindle?

I have applied to publishing houses across the UK and US a number of times with different works over a number of years. 

This method has traditionally been the only way in to the industry, but to me it relies a great deal on luck, you have to find the right agent or publisher who represents similar material to your, who lists are open to taking on new material and who likes your work.  Getting all these four elements in one go is extremely hard.  Sometimes the knock backs can be disheartening but if you strongly believe that this is what you want to do, you take on board any feedback and move on. 

Taking the self-publishing route allows you more control over your work and its marketing. You're going directly to the audience and giving them the opportunity to decide whether they want to read your work, if they choose to buy or download after reading a sample that's all the affirmation you need instead of relying on one person who gets bombarded with thousands of manuscripts to choose from. 
 
What do you consider the main benefit of Kindle Direct Publishing?

I find Kindle Direct Publishing has opened up the world of publishing to me. I'm in control of my work, how it looks, how's it's marketed and it offers me the feedback from readers that you wouldn't usually get through traditional routes 

My connection with the readers is also well established through the author's page so they can find out about me, about what projects are coming up and can even follow me on Twitter if they want to.  It makes me accessible to them and them to me which creates a great marketing opportunity and a great way to get feedback.  The author doesn't have to be anonymous if someone likes my work they can tell me directly and if they don't they can tell me what they don't like which in turn assists me in producing better work. 

It also allows me to make my novels available worldwide if I choose so my potential isn't limited to a locally based audience. 
 
Are there any limitations to Kindle Direct Publishing?

I don't think of them as limitations, I think it's more about the learning curve.  With this being a new way of publishing you are bound to come across hurdles in the first instance as you would with anything new.  It takes time to understand the system and how to use it. 

I think as more writers start self-publishing the more advice will be out there and the more the system will improve over time.  As a new writer coming in to using the Kindle Direct Publishing programme it's about learning how to use it to your own best advantage, that might take a while but you can still have your work out there as you are learning.
 
What challenges face those looking to self-publish their first eBook?

It's all about firsts which can be very daunting.  You have to be your own editor, publisher and marketing.  You have to prepare well, make sure your book is ready and is the best it can be.  Unless you employ an editor you're on your own in getting the words and the layout right.  You have to have your synopsis ready for the site and you have to remember this is what will sell your book, you need to consider the artwork as this will be a major attraction to the reader, if you're not artistic you need to find a cover artist.  

I found that using the advice on the Kindle Direct Publishing site and also using writing support groups steered me in the right direction.  Also, I was able to find a great cover artist through Twitter and even though we are in completely different countries we were able to work really well together on developing a cover that was suitable for Kindle. 

The biggest challenge for me is marketing yourself you have to be the promoter of your own work, if you want to be a success you can't just sit back and expect people to find your work you have to get out there and find ways to tell them it's there. 
 
Can a successful author make a living solely through Kindle self-publishing?

As a new writer probably not in the initial stages, it takes a while to promote your book and start building a reputation.  If you plan to publish more than one book then in time if you can build up a strong following you could possibly earn enough from Kindle sales solely.

For myself right now, I still work a 'day' job to support myself as I build my reputation and sales through marketing using social media but I hope in the future this will change so that I can work solely on my writing career. 
 
Is your eBook also in print? If so, how did the process of getting the book in print compare to your experiences with Kindle self-publishing?

Currently due to the cost of publishing a hard copy book I haven't gone down that route yet but hopefully in the future I will be able to have both an eBook and a hard copy available.
 
I know other writers who've gone down both roots, and have sought funding through sites like Createspace which has worked really well for them and it's definitely something to consider in the future.

As this is my first novel release I've been really happy with the Kindle process it was a lot easier than I first imagined and there is a lot of advice and support out there if you need it. 
 
Do you see a future where brick-and-mortar book stores are replaced altogether with digital eBook stores?

I think the way in which people purchase goods in general is changing and this has an impact on book stores. There has already in my home town been a reduction of dedicated book stores on the high street and in talking to people I know I can see a shift from buying hard copy books to e-books. 

As tablets and smart phones become more widely used and with the growth in the App market where you can download programmes like Kindle it's becoming  easier and quicker to access books from where ever you are without having to go in to a book store. 

I think there will always be a place in the market for hard copy books but I think the number of dedicated book stores and even libraries will continue to reduce if the current economic climate remains the same. 
 
Do you feel Kindle Direct Publishing is affecting the relationship between authors and traditional publishers?

I think it's changing the way the relationship can work.  Everything has to grow and change what worked twenty years ago in the industry might not be as relevant today or work as well.

I would hope that publishers see this as an opportunity to see what new writers can do.  It gives an idea of what the consumer likes and if that author is popular maybe in they would want to work with a publisher in the future. 

Also for writers I think it gives them a great grounding to find out which is the best way for them to work be it as a solely self-publishing writer or if they find they need the support of a publisher. 
 
 There are some that still feel self-published eBooks are not of the same literary quality as those published by major publishing houses. How would you respond to those remarks?

I think each book has its own value and should be judged on its own merit.  There may be some e-books that are not of the highest quality but I think you can also say the same of some published by major publishing house and vice versa.

Just because the path taken has been different is doesn't mean the work is better or worse. As a writer I want to put the best work I can out there and have my target audience enjoy it, I also want them to come back and read my next novel so I have to have this in mind when I'm publishing.  I want my work to be the best reflection of me, if it's not there is no incentive for a reader to come back and try your next novel.

We have also seen recently books that have started on line become massive sellers in hard copy and I would also say that books that have been converted in to eBook format also do well. I think in the end it comes down to the readers, if there is an audience out there as a writer you want to tap in to it any way you can. 
 
How would you like to see the Kindle Direct Publishing process improve or evolve in the future?

I think the system will become more streamlined as it grows and there will be more guidance and advice available for those using it for the first time. 

I also think the side of the system which deals with book sales figures and reporting will improve and expand over time which will give writers even more control over the way they manage and market their work.

Would you ever go back down the traditional publishing route?

I think I would always leave the door open but since I'm a self-published author now I'm not sure it would be the same as before. There is no longer that pressure that success can only come from having a publisher backing me.   I know I can get my work out there myself and market it myself while I might need advice and guidance in the future I know you don't have to always follow the traditional path to get what you want. 

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

Ben Galley.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Ben Galley Q&A

Chichester-based Ben (25) is one of the youngest self-published authors in the UK. He has published two fast-paced fantasy books through Kindle Direct Publishing including The Written and Pale Kings and plans to release his third and fourth books simultaneously in May this year.

In addition to being passionate about writing his own books, he is also incredibly zealous about inspiring other authors and writers. He regularly gives lectures and workshops on the subject of self-publishing, and runs the popular advice site SHELF HELP. His aim is to help others turn their passion into their profession and to follow their wildest dreams.

What originally drew you towards the self-publishing route?

Passion and frustration. Whilst writing my debut novel, I was completely unaware of any other way of publishing other than the traditional route. It daunted me however, in regards to its lengthy process, the relinquishing of rights and control, and of course, the practically unavoidable rejection. Imagine how thrilled I was when I started researching self-publishing. After seeing how much quicker I could publish, how much control I could hold onto, and the levels of professionalism I could still attain, I never glanced at the traditional path again.

Had you any experience with major print publishers before finding success through Kindle?

Not at all, though I have had some conversations since, thanks to my reasonable success. None of which have resulted in a change of direction for me.

The ease and the fact it comes in all shapes and sizes. When I say ease I mean, the ease with which I can publish; the ease of making changes at any point; but primarily, the ease with which I can go global and be part of the world's biggest online store with a click of a few buttons!

Are there any limitations to Kindle Direct Publishing?

Until recently, the limit for me was formatting. It was acceptable at one point for an eReader not to be able to handle the same lofty level of formatting that a paperback exhibits, and for an eBook layout to be very basic and plain. Now, with the Fire HD, and the introduction of tools like Kindle Comic Creator, we're seeing a market that wants, and can now have, top-notch formatting for their eBooks.
 
What challenges face those looking to self-publish their first eBook?

A range! There are a number of things that an indie author should not attempt unless they are a professional. These are: Cover Design, Editing, and Formatting. The bar has been raised too high for semi-professionals and amateurs. The market is too competitive and busy to accept poor quality. A good book and a good product is the first step of marketing, so my advice would be to source affordable professional designers, editors, and formatters, and make sure that book is the best it can be. That's the challenge.

Can a successful author make a living solely through Kindle self-publishing?

Yes, I believe they can.

Is your eBook also in print? If so, how did the process of getting the book in print compare to your experiences with Kindle self publishing?

Yes my books are also available in paperback and hardback. The process isn't too far removed from publishing eBooks, and that's why I don't understand why many authors aren't doing it. I'm a great advocate of keeping print alive, and encourage authors to release paperbacks or hardbacks. The physical market, despite what people believe, is still a healthy one, and we shouldn't ignore it.

The process of physical publishing differs in terms of different formatting, needing a larger cover, and finding a printing and distribution provider. Very simply, it's a slightly longer process. And, as you can't make changes to print books as easily as you can to eBooks, you need to get it right first time. Therefore it's more intricate too.

Do you see a future where brick-and-mortar book stores are replaced altogether with digital eBook stores?

Absolutely not. Just in the way that vinyl is still extremely popular, print books will never truly disappear. No matter how convenient an eBook is, people still love books. They love the smell, the feel, the stores themselves. They love them too much to give up.

I believe that the shift to digital threatens the idea of a brick-and-mortar chain, more than an individual store. I believe physical chains are less resilient to change than a digital store and that there will be a shift to local, rather than to national, that will save such stores and help book survive.

Do you feel Kindle Direct Publishing is affecting the relationship between authors and traditional publishers?

Yes.  For the better and for the worse. It all depends on what relationship an author has, or wants, with a publisher. The self-publishing revolution has affected many people in many ways. Some publishers feel that indie publishers have flooded the market with low-quality books. Others see self-publishing as a way to harvest new talent, rather than combing through manuscripts. Others are being bolder, entering into hybrid contracts with authors in a way that's never been done before. It depends on the publisher and on what side of the fence they sit. One thing's for sure, we're not going away.

There are some that still feel self-published eBooks are not of the same literary quality as those published by major publishing houses. How would you respond to those remarks?

By saying they are not reading the right indie books, and that poor quality isn't reserved for the self-publishing industry. Indie publishers cannot and should not be tarred with the same brush. We're all different, just like every traditional house and author is.

How would you like to see the Kindle Direct Publishing process improve or evolve in the future?

I want data. Anybody who dabbles in web analytics, PPC, or SEO knows that with today's technology it is possible to track nearly everything. Page views, duration, journey, bounce and exit rates, traffic sources, click-through-rates, open rates... If we can see it for a website, why can't we see it for our eBooks, for our readers? Imagine the possibilities of knowing which page that your readers lost interest on, or the page they just couldn't stop going back to. Imagine knowing who shared, who re-tweeted, or who's viewed your author page. That sort of information is beyond valuable for our marketing and success.

Would you ever go back down the traditional publishing route?

I automatically say no, but I've learnt to never say never. The publishing industry is changing at an incredible rate. Maybe one day a traditional publisher will suit me, and I them. Until then, it's indie all the way.

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

gossip-girl.jpgWriting fanfiction can be a legally murky business. Are you allowed to use Han Solo in one of your own stories published online, let alone have him engage in a saucy meet up with Indiana Jones? It's a bit of a grey area, but one that Amazon hope to help clear up with their new service, Kindle Worlds. It'll allow you to not only write and publish fanfiction stories to the Kindle store, but even make money from them.

So how does it work? So far, Kindle Worlds only accepts fanfiction based around three existing properties - Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries - all belonging to Warner Bros.' Alloy Entertainment, with whom Amazon have inked the deal. Both the rights holder and the fanfiction author will make royalties from the published works, with the fanfiction author getting 35% of net revenue for works over 10,000 words. Shorter stories between 5,000 and 10,000 words will be priced at under a dollar, with authors getting 20% of net revenue.

A sweet deal, right? So whats the catch?

Basically, in exchange for profiting from existing characters, you're also signing over the rights to any original elements in your stories. Though the Terms and Conditions state that you in fact do retain the copyright, it gives Amazon an exclusive license to your original work, a license that Amazon can trade with all manner of third parties at their discretion - say, for instance, TV or film optioners.

On top of that, it's unlikely that you'll be unable to profit from any original characters you introduce in your fanfiction in other non-fanfiction related works. And taboo subjects like pornography are out the window too.

Keep in mind that the now-massively-popular Fifty Shades of Grey series began life as Twilight fanfiction. Had author E L James had the opportunity to use Kindle Worlds back when she began writing her stories, she may well have passed over the rights to her original characters, now worth millions of dollars and courting Hollywood.

Proceed with caution!

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

TJ Cooke.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Tim J Cooke Q&A

Devon-based Tim was formerly a legal executive and adviser to the BBC's Eastenders. Since then he has dovetailed his career between advertising copywriting, freelance journalism, screenwriting and novels. He always wanted to publish a book, however learnt firsthand how competitive the industry is having been dropped by his publisher at the final stage. He therefore turned to Kindle Direct Publishing to self publish and has seen great success with his two novels 'Defending Elton' and 'Kiss and Tell'.

What originally drew you towards the self-publishing route?

 It was the frustration of waiting, seemingly forever, for replies from publishers via my agent. After a while I decided to publish both books direct via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing [for ebooks] and Createspace [for paperbacks].
 
Had you any experience with major print publishers before finding success through Kindle?

Not directly. My experiences had all been with literary agents, who were approaching publishers on my behalf. I was fortunate to be taken on by two of London's top agents, who both thought they could secure me a deal. Unfortunately though, it didn't look like it was going to happen. What made it particularly tricky was that the credit crunch and financial crash had not long hit and in my agent's words 'it left publishers jittery'. Advances were being savagely cut or even totally withdrawn and this hit new authors more than most.
 
What do you consider the main benefit of Kindle Direct Publishing?

It gives you an opportunity to get your work 'out there' and to find an audience. I had two literary agents telling me my writing was worthy of publication and that I had excellent market potential. The trouble was the publishers weren't prepared to take a risk. Like many other authors I'm sure Kindle Direct Publishing was the next logical step.
 
Are there any limitations to Kindle Direct Publishing?

Well I guess there's the exclusivity issue, but when you weigh it all up many including myself think Kindle Direct Publishing is the right way forward. Other than that it's one of those services where you tend to reap what you sow. The more effort you put in yourself the more you are likely to get out of it.
 
What challenges face those looking to self-publish their first eBook?

Very similar to those faced by authors who have been invited down the traditional publishing route - edit, edit, edit! The difference of course is that you have to either do that editing yourself or invest in a professional to help, which I strongly recommend. I guess many of the challenges stem from the fact that you don't have a publisher helping you with editing, redrafts, cover designs etc. You have to take that on yourself, so that in a way you are taking the risks when they are not prepared to.  
 
Can a successful author make a living solely through Kindle self-publishing?

Clearly some authors do. eBook sales are increasing all the time so the opportunity is there.
 
Is your eBook also in print? If so, how did the process of getting the book in print compare to your experiences with Kindle self publishing?

Both 'Defending Elton' and 'Kiss and Tell' are also available in paperback. The basics are the same, for example, make sure your work is as good as it can be before you publish. The only real difference is in formatting etc, but the Create Space site is really helpful and should guide you through. Having a good cover also helps, as poor covers tend to show up more on paperbacks than in Kindle thumbnails.
 
Do you see a future where brick-and-mortar book stores are replaced altogether with digital eBook stores?

I doubt that will happen. I think the two will find their own markets and settle down happily side by side. I expect digital sales will increase and take a further share of the market but like many I hope that book stores will remain.  
 
Do you feel Kindle Direct Publishing is affecting the relationship between authors and traditional publishers?

I was asked this question at The London Book Fair on one of the Author lounge panels. The best way I could describe it is by imagining a juggler, with authors, agents and publishers all thrown up in the air, and nobody quite sure how they would balance and land.
 
I think the key to change now will be how literary agents adapt, both in their relationship with authors and publishers. Some agents are now backing their clients all the way, whether they get a traditional deal or not. Some authors are having success without literary agents or a traditional publisher, and other authors are being approached directly by publishers and are then finding an agent to help them negotiate a deal. A few years ago none of these things were happening.
 
The more success independent authors have the more things are likely to change. One of the ironies of the direct publishing revolution is that some authors, who were once turned down by traditional publishing houses, are now being approached because of their successful presence on KDP. Some really good novels which didn't get noticed before have come to attention this way.
 
There are some that still feel self-published eBooks are not of the same literary quality as those published by major publishing houses. How would you respond to those remarks?

I would say it's best not to generalise. Of course some self-published books are of poor quality, but equally some are excellent. Most of the traditionally published books we read should reach a certain standard, but some pretty poor efforts do seem to slip the net from time to time. The only fair thing to do now is judge each book on its merits; however it has reached the market. After all, we often support the premise of equality of opportunity in life, and we should apply that to books too. No matter what its origin, each individual book should be judged on its content and not its background or route to publication.
 
How would you like to see the Kindle Direct Publishing process improve or evolve in the future?

 I think we have to look at this from a reader's perspective. At the moment they have a mass of material, some good, some bad, and some probably rather ugly. It would really help I think if Amazon could assign each book one or two totally independent reviews, so that the first two reviews were always impartial. That way everyone can still publish, and equality of opportunity remains, but we must try and get rid of that stigma where people think early reviews are the ones done by mum and dad, or husband/wife etc. They could also add a bit of their own blurb about the author or their experience. I'm not exactly sure how they would work this but something is needed... something about the book which is independent of the author, to help readers sift out the nuggets from the fool's gold. It's surely in Amazon's own interest to promote the highest quality work. It's a common gripe with the buying public, that all they have to go on sometimes is the author's own hype... which can, on occasion, veer towards the overblown.

Would you ever go back down the traditional publishing route?

 Ask me that in a couple of years time and my answer might be different, but right now the honest answer is yes. For all the reasons outlined above we haven't quite got there yet with independent or direct publishing. However, things are changing so fast I suspect the balance will continue to shift. If it does, and if it gives independent authors a fair and level playing field then all that should matter is the quality of the books.

What might lie ahead is a 'battle for hearts and minds'. Once the public feel satisfied that there is no inherent difference in the quality of the books available then the seesaw should come down on the side of direct publishing. I feel that if Amazon, as the leading player in this arena, addresses the issue of giving the public the sort of assurance that traditional publishers used to then things will really change. It will mean using a system that is open and fair, and that we can all have faith in, but it could make all the difference to the future for independent authors.

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

kdp-paperwhite-publishing-guide.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - How to self-publish an eBook with Kindle Direct Publishing

The go-to online book retailer, Amazon has (with the advent of its Kindle eReader devices and app line) also become the premier destination for grabbing digital editions of your most-loved tomes. And through the company's Kindle Direct Publishing platform, it's also one of the easiest digital storefronts to get your book published to. This guide will hopefully give you all the info you need to get your book on sale and in front of millions of readers through Amazon's Kindle store.

Note: This guide assumes that you've already written your book, at least in a manuscript form. We won't be giving you tips on how to plan out a plot or conjure memorable characters!

What is Kindle Direct Publishing?

Kindle Direct Publishing (or KDP for short), is Amazon's platform for letting authors publish their books directly to the company's Kindle eBook store. It deals only in digital eBooks, so if you're looking to get your book printed and on brick-and-mortar store shelves, you're going to have to look elsewhere. However, there are many, many benefits to publishing through KDP.

Why publish through Kindle Direct Publishing?

For starters, KDP allows authors to retain complete control of their work. So long as it's an original work, you'll retain all the rights to all characters and other unique aspects of your work, and will also retain the ability to update and make changes to your book at any time, a particularly useful feature if you're writing a non-fiction text that needs to stay relevant over time. KDP will let you distribute your book globally in several languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese, and your book can be available in all of Amazon's markets across the world within 24 hours of submission. Kindle eBooks can also support images and, for versions intended to be read on smartphone or tablet apps, video and audio too.

Though Amazon sell a number of tablet and dedicated eReading devices, their Kindle audience is vast thanks to the availability of apps for all major mobile platforms, and even for PC and Mac too. The Kindle store is visited by millions of people every day, and the Kindle charts have become very influential, allowing self-published authors to make a healthy living off their books.

Authors can retain as much as 70% of the royalties from Kindle book sales and, if you're willing to jump through some hoops for Amazon's KDP Select option, there are some very helpful marketing tools and techniques on offer that can help push your book to the top of the charts.

Getting Started

To begin with, you'll have to have your book written.

Done that? Good! That was quick!

Now you're going to have to set-up an Amazon account if you don't already have one (they're set up when you first make a purchase from Amazon, and can be set up for free if you haven't got one already). Then you're going to need to sign up for Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which you can do by clicking here.

BE SURE TO READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS! We'll go over the main points over the course of this guide, but the devil is in the details, so make sure you've carefully studied exactly what your signing up for before submitting your book.

Formatting

Before your would-be bestseller can be published, it'll have to be correctly formatted. You've got two options here: either do it yourself, or pay someone else to do it for you.

There are a number of companies that will go through the hassle of putting your book together in a form that Amazon's Kindle apps and eReaders can read, and while all will pay a varying charge (usually based on the length of the book and its content), some will also help you on the first steps to marketing it too. It's particularly worth enlisting the help of another company if your book is full of complex tables and images. Click here for a list of services that can help.

If you're ready to endure some tedium, here's how to get going with the DIY approach.


  • Make sure your finished manuscript is in a Word file, or .doc to use its proper name. It'll make later stages much, much simpler.

  • Next, make sure you've added a Table of Contents for the document, which is easily done using Word's and Page's built-in tools.

  • Insert page breaks after every chapter. It'll avoid inserting unnecessary stretches of white space when your final Kindle eBook is ready.

  • Headers and footers, along with bullet points, don't work all that well with the conversion process, so try using bold and italic texts along with headings to demarcate your text's sections.

  • Make sure any images are added as .JPG files, or they won't work properly either. Keep them centrally alligned, and remember that Kindle eReaders only present images in greyscale.

  • Keep a check on your spelling and grammar if you dont have an editor. Have multiple grammar pedants read and re-read your text if possible to scan it for errors.

Once all that's done you need to save the document again, this time in Filtered HTML format. File, Save as, Web Page, Filtered (*HTM &*HTML). Sorted.

Finding a Cover

Forget everything you've ever been told about not being able to judge a book by its cover. YOU TOTALLY CAN. And nailing an attractive cover, one that will represent your book well in a number of sizes and in both greyscale and colour, can make all the difference when it comes to attracting potential readers.

Our advice? Make sure your cover communicates clearly what your book is about, and do it in a clear rather than evocative way. If your book is about zombies, pop a zombie on the front, and then those looking for a good gore-soaked zombie book will know they've come to the right place. But make it the best looking zombie you can muster from the depths of hell. Hire a designer if possible - it's their natural habitat, and they'll know all the tricks to make things stand out from the crowd.

Turn it all into a .prc file

Before submission, you're going to need to make .prc, which is the format Amazon accepts for KDP submissions, and you're also going to want to preview exactly how your book will look when it's put together. To do those two things you're going to need to download two apps: Mobipocket Creator and Kindle Previewer. First we'll look at Mobipocket Creator, which sadly is only available on PC with few OS X alternatives available, so you'll have to find a friend with a PC for this stage if you're a Mac user.

  • Fire up Mobipocket Creator and select "HTML Document", then hit "Import from an Existing File"
  • Next, you're going to need to find the HTML file we created earlier, and hit "Import"
  • Now we're going to add your eBooks cover. Exciting! Click on "Cover Image", then click "Add a Cover Image" and browse to select the book cover you've created. Select it, and hit "Update" to save it.
  • Hit "Build" from the Menu, and on the Build page hit..."Build"...surprisingly. This will compile everything into your near-complete eBook!

You've just made the .prc file! Pat on the back. You'll find it in the My Documents/My Publications folder if you've left everything as the default values. You're now going to open the file using Kindle Previewer to check how it will look as a finished product. And now here's the real tough bit - if you've found a problem or a mistake, you're going to need to go right back to the start, tweak your document and the HTML file and make a new .prc file until everything's perfect.

It'll be worth it though! Gloss over a mistake now and in 30 years time you'll be tearing your hair out that you allowed that weird blank page to slip in, and that you spelt your mum's name wrong on the dedication page.

Submitting your eBook

With all the above completed, it's now time to get your book onto the Kindle Store. Head over to the Kindle Direct Publishing page that you visited earlier.

You're going to have to set pricing and royalty rate information now, and things get a bit more complex here, and you're going to have to think very hard about how best to price your book in order to make money from it. We encourage you to read Amazon's pricing and royalty rate pages for more details, but there are a few key things to consider. To get the maximum royalty rate of 70% of sales price, you're going to need to set a price between £1.49 and £7.81 (GBP). If that doesn't suit your needs, the 35% royalty rate is for books priced at a minimum of £0.75 and £120 (GBP), and slightly higher minimum prices if your eBook weighs in at more than 3MB.

Of course, the lower the price, the more books you're going to sell. But note how there was no free book option here, an option that can obviously be massively useful in spreading awareness of your eBook?

Amazon don't allow for free eBooks to be distributed through Kindle Direct Publishing. However, you can sign up for the Kindle Select scheme that offers a 5 day promotional period, determined by you, in which your book can be downloaded for free. It also pops your book onto Amazon's Kindle Owners Library for 90 days, letting Amazon Prime customers borrow the book for free. They're two very important tools if you want to maximise sales and visibility (free eBooks regularly sit high in the charts), but Kindle Select comes with a few important caveats. The one, basically all-encompassing Kindle Select rule is that you're giving the Kindle Store a 90-day period of exclusivity on your eBook - it cannot also be distributed as a PDF through your website, or be available through Apple's iBooks store or the Nook store during that time. You can't even give it away. Print versions of the book don't affect this though, and once that 90-day period is up, you can distribute the book as you please.

Kindle Select is great if you're a new author, but its restrictions may be limiting if you've already built an audience, especially if that's an audience that extends beyonds the confines of the Kindle platform.

Once you've considered all your options, upload your completed .prc file, hit "Save and Publish" on the Kindle Direct Publishing page and, if you've followed all that correctly, you should now be done! Within 24 hours your eBook will be available for purchase on the Kindle store in your local territory, and within 48 hours it'll be available worldwide, along with any blurb details you've submitted and any reader reviews that may well be already trickling through.

Congratulations, you can now count yourself among the same published, esteemed literary giants as James Joyce, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf and...er...Katie Price.

Click here for more from Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

Mel-Sherratt-2.jpgTech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Mel Sherratt Q&A

Stoke based Mel Sherratt, always had a passion for writing but worked full time as housing officer for the local authority so was unable to find the time to pursue this further. It was only when she was made redundant after 9 years that she decided to give writing a real go and self published her first crime novel 'Taunting the Dead' via Kindle Direct Publishing which went straight to number three in the Kindle best seller chart - a huge achievement! Since then, she has gone from strength to strength and has published a further three novels. She was recently chosen to speak about her experiences at the London Book Fair. We grabbed her thoughts on the Kindle Direct Publishing process.

What originally drew you towards the self-publishing route?

I tried for over a decade to get a traditional deal. When Taunting the Dead was rejected by the publishers it was sent to, often with some good feedback, I began to study the Kindle market to see what was selling. It seemed crime thrillers were doing well so I decided to self-publish it with the hope of getting a sales figure to tempt a publisher for any future books.

Had you any experience with major print publishers before finding success through Kindle?

No.

What do you consider the main benefit of Kindle Direct Publishing?

It's a fast, efficient and easy to use system. So if you have a well-written, copyedited book with an eye-catching cover, something that shows you take pride in your work, it has more chance of being seen and read. For authors like me, it was a great opportunity to get their books to market.

Are there any limitations to Kindle Direct Publishing?

I'm not sure - I haven't come across any yet. I suppose one thing could be competition in stocking printed books in shops, yet more and more I hear that's the case with the traditional route too. And as things are moving more towards digital for quickness and ease now, it's not too relevant. I would love to see my paperback in a shop though.

What challenges face those looking to self-publish their first eBook?

Although it's getting better, there is still a stigma around self-publishing, but thankfully as time goes on, more self-published books are being read and enjoyed. I still think the main challenge is to get a book noticed. The notion that every self-published book is only self-published because it was rejected by a mainstream publisher isn't the case anymore. There are lots of books out there too, far too many to be published in the traditional way. Self-publishing is another option now.

Can a successful author make a living solely through Kindle self-publishing?

Yes, I think so. It's all about working on the next book to help keep interest in the others going. Once a new book goes out, sales of the others should increase too - as they should for any author who has built up a following on any platform.

Is your eBook also in print? If so, how did the process of getting the book in print compare to your experiences with Kindle self publishing?

One of my ebooks, Somewhere to Hide, is in print. I used Createspace and, once the files were created to upload, found it as easy at Kindle Direct Publishing. Whether you create the cover and the interior yourself or get someone to do it for you, the system is really easy to use.

Do you see a future where brick-and-mortar book stores are replaced altogether with digital eBook stores?

Not at all - I think it's about choice. And what could be better than going into a local bookshop where you can browse for books already on their shelves, but also, with the press of a few buttons on a machine, print out a book that isn't in stock, on demand. Combine it with a coffee shop, and cake, and I think that would be heaven for me.

Do you feel Kindle Direct Publishing is affecting the relationship between authors and traditional publishers?

No. Publishers will always want good books, as will readers. A lot of successful self-published authors are approached by and offered book deals by traditional publishers; some approached by agents too. Some authors also choose to only self-publish; some only want a traditional deal. I think self-publishing has given authors a lot more choice and freedom.

There are some that still feel self-published eBooks are not of the same literary quality as those published by major publishing houses. How would you respond to those remarks?

Writing for anyone is a business - there are lots of people doing just as well as the major publishing houses. But there will always be good and bad in everything. I would say that most self-published writers have covers designed by professionals, employ copyeditors to ensure their work is the best they can put out, learn how to market and interact with readers, and then go on to write their next book.

How would you like to see the Kindle Direct Publishing process improve or evolve in the future?

I'm happy with Kindle Direct Publishing because there is always something new, something being worked on in the future, that will improve things for all authors. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to self-publish with them and to get my words out there at last.

Would you ever go back down the traditional publishing route?

Yes, I make it no secret that I would like a traditional publishing deal. As to how that deal will look now though, who knows? It's very different to what it might have been two years ago. Publishing has changed so much, so quickly, and it's exciting to, hopefully, be part of something new.

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

Kindle-Paperwhite-KDP.jpgGot a smartphone in your pocket? An eReader in your bag? An iPad on your bedside table, or even simply a computer at work? Then through the wonders of digital publishing you've got access to a library of millions upon millions of eBooks to read.

And your book could be among them!

The eReader/digital publishing revolution has made it easier than ever before for budding Tolstoys to get their work in front of the masses, taking control away from picky publishing houses and putting it into the hands of the very people who write the books you read.

Thanks to services like Kindle Direct Publishing from Amazon and iBooks Author from Apple, you can easily get your novel onto digital storefronts worldwide and selling across the globe within a couple of hours. In some cases, you can even take as much as 70% of the eBook selling price as royalties.

It can be hard work, but anyone with perseverance can pull it off, and we're here to help! Over the next couple of days, Tech Digest will be pulling together how-to guides, interviews and comparison features on many aspects of the self publishing process, helping you gain insight into this exciting, growing world of publishing. We'll be posting new eBook publishing stories every day this week, and this page will become a landing page for all of them, so keep checking back for more self-publishing posts. Check out the season so far below!

HOW TO: Self-publish an eBook with Kindle Direct Publishing - formatting, pricing, royalties and more!

Q&A: Mel Sherratt, author of 'Taunting The Dead', on Kindle Direct Publishing

Q&A: Tim J Cooke, author of 'Defending Elton', on self publishing and the changing relationship between authors and publishers

Profit from your fanfiction with 'Kindle Worlds', but watch the T's and C's

Q&A: Ben Galley, author of the 'Emaneska' series, on the challenges of self publishing eBooks

10 essential applications for authors: software and tools to banish writer's block for good

Q&A: Claire L Brown, author of 'Draco; Homecoming', on self publishing her first novel as an eBook

Dark Fate "First Person Fiction" iPad novel takes to the high seas of the Kickstarter self publishing route

REVIEW: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi and 3G)

HOW TO: Self-publish an eBook with Apple iBooks - formatting, aggregators, royalties and more!

Wingo eReader and tablet cases ease carpal tunnel pain with ergonomic design

Q&A: Pete Smith, author of 'Project Management: All You Need Is Love', on self publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing

REVIEW: Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD FrontLight eReader

kindle-colour.jpgAmazon have got the eReader market all sewn up with the popularity of their E-Ink Kindle line, and with the continued success of the company's LCD screen Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablet line, many thought that the rumoured colour Kindle eReaders had died the death. However, Amazon's latest purchase of display technologies company Liquavista has ignited those rumours once again.

Liquavista (a Samsung subsidiary once owned by Philips) create screens that, despite being full colour, are far more readable in bright light than LCD displays, which suffer from excessive glare in direct sunlight, making them all but unusable. Liquavista screens come far closer to the matte visibility of E-Ink displays, using a technique called electrowetting.

Electowetting uses different voltages to push liquid "pixels" around a display, a similar technique to that seen in LCD. But whereas with an LCD the voltage changes the opacity of the liquid crystal, electrowetting system have beads of black oil that replaces the crystals. Light to shines through with red, blue, and green subpixels used in tandem to create the required colour.

Beyond the clarity of the displays, they've got an added benefit of greatly reduced power consumption over LCD.

It is thought that Samsung's interest in the Liquavista displays waned as its own AMOLED technology grew in popularity and usability.

Liquavista have also been able to make the displays in such a way that introducing them to existing products would be fairly straightforward, with a simple process for manufacturing plants to swap out E-Ink or LCD components.

Amazon's purchase certainly suggests they haven't given up on the idea of a colour eReader device, one that bridges the gap between the flexibility of the Kindle Fire line and the readability and battery life of their eReader line-up. Though Amazon haven't yet revealed how or even if the technology will be implemented in their devices, it's looking as though colour eReaders could indeed soon be on the way.

NookHD+-top.jpgMicrosoft may be looking to bolster their tablet business by buying out the Nook line of slates and eReaders, in an attempt to rival Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iBooks offerings.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft are looking to double down on the £200 million that they've already invested in the Nook tablets, aiming to buy the company out outright. Microsoft already have a 16.8% stake in the company.

The report claims that Microsoft are looking to spend £640 million to acquire the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the separate Nook spin-off company that spread out from Barnes & Noble last year.

"In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college textbook division, leaving it with the digital operation -- e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets," reads the report.

Though Nook devices would live on, internal documents show that the Android arm of the business is set to be discontinued by 2014 in favour of a "third party partner". The obvious partner here then would be Microsoft with a Windows-based Nook, a theory that would be certainly strengthened were Microsoft to complete the buyout of the company.

NookSimpleTouch-glowtouch.jpgBarnes & Noble have slashed the prices of their eReader and tablet ranges in the UK.

The headline-stealing price cut is that of the Nook Simple Touch eReader, dropping to a pocket-money price of £29, down from £79, making it the cheapest eReader with any pedigree on the market.

That's followed by the backlit Nook Simple Touch GlowLight (pictured), now priced at just £69 and considerable cheaper than its £109 Kindle Paperwhite rival.

Tablets also get a price cut, with the Nook HD and Nook HD+ now sitting at £129 and £179 respectively, seriously bringing the fight to their Amazon competitors.

"Literacy is at the heart of everything we do," said Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble.

"We have a passion for everyone to experience digital reading affordably, anytime and anywhere. It was a perfect fit when we had the opportunity to partner on the 'Get London Reading' campaign. We hope to further enrich the minds of readers of all ages across the UK and give them affordable access to the books they love."

Limited time offers to coincide with the "Get London Reading" campaign, now is definitely the time to dive in if you've been holding out grabbing an eReader before now. No word yet on how long the promotion lasts, but we'll keep you posted.

Click here to check out the Nook range.

color-lux-ereader.jpgColour E Ink, once the presumed Holy Grail of digital eReader display technology, has been more or less pushed under the carpet as LCD tablets have grown in popularity. But that hasn't stopped Russia's PocketBook from putting out a new colour eReader, the PocketBook Color Lux.

An 8-inch eReader with a 600 x 800 resolution Triton 2 E Ink display, the Colour Lux can display colours and many more shades of grey than a standard E Ink eReader, such as those available from Amazon and Sony.

Backlit, turning off the light still leaves you with a greyish screen, but turning on the built in light-source makes colours come to the fore of the device, making it a much better match for magazine and comic book files, or any books that feature illustrations or photography.

There's also the regular benefits of an E Ink screen, which are far easier on the eye for reading over prolonged periods than laptop or tablet LCD screens.

Also offering built in Wi-Fi, the Color Lux has 4GB of space for your eBook files, and a microSD slot for expansion should you fill it up.

Currently only available in Russia (priced roughly around £205), it's likely set to be one of a dying breed - despite the battery and eye-strain avoiding advantages of a colour eReader, the added functionality of tablet devices has so far made them more attractive than products like the Color Lux.

kobo-aura-hd-reader-top.jpgWith the London Book Fair in full swing, Kobo have revealed an all-new, limited edition eReader called the Kobo Aura HD.

It's headlining feature is its sharp screen, with a 265ppi - a fair sight sharper than even Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite and its 212ppi screen. There's also a Paperwhite-style backlight.

It's also quite large for an eReader, stretching 6.8-inches across, making for a screen a little larger than your average paperback. Whether this is a blow or a boon is up for debate - we've always liked our eReaders compact enough to fit inside a jacket pocket, but there will be plenty who appreciate a bit more screen real estate to accommodate larger fonts.

Speaking of fonts, the Aura HD offers 10 different text styles in 24 different sizes, as part of a revamped Kobo interface that includes a new homescreen tuned to make the most of the high-definition screen.

Under the hood sits a 1GHz processor and 4GB of storage, which should be more than enough to hold a sizeable eBook library. If you're hankering after more space, up to 32GB can be added through microSD.

All Kobo's is an open eReading platform too, allowing you to easily transfer existing eBook purchases and DRM-protected epub documents to the reader.

"To us, the Kobo Aura HD is the Porsche of eReaders and is designed for those in the driver's seat of their eReading adventures," said Wayne White, EVP and General Manager of Devices, Kobo.

"It's fast, powerful, and sleek and pushes the boundaries of eReading the same way our Readers do - together, they'll know no bounds as they find their next great read."

Working against the Kobo Aura HD however will be its price. Selling for £139.99, that's £20 more expensive than the Wi-Fi Kindle Paperwhite, though Amazon's eReader is considerably smaller.

Hitting stores in the UK and Canada from 25 April 2013, you can pre-order the Kobo Aura HD online now.


cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-02.JPGreview-line.JPGName: Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD FrontLight

Type: Touchscreen E-Ink eReader with backlight

Specifications: Click here for full specs

Price as reviewed: 166.66CHF (£115.96) direct from Bookeen

review-line.JPG
The Cybook Odyssey HD FrontLight sees Bookeen add a backlight and an improved screen resolution to the Cybook Odyssey eReader. But has the company fixed the issues that dragged down the last model, and can the HD FrontLight prove itself to be anything more than a knee-jerk reaction to Amazon's Paperwhite? Read on to find out.

review-line.JPGWe reviewed Bookeen's Cybook Odyssey last winter, and while we praised its design and touchscreen, we also felt some of its software features were a little bit lacking. The Cybook Odyssey HD FrontLight smartly keeps much of their previous eReader model's design sensibilities, but adds a backlight for reading in darker settings, pitching itself as a rival to Amazon's superb Kindle Paperwhite.

Again with a black casing, Bookeen have managed to shave a few grams off the weight of last year's model, with the HD FrontLight weighing just 180g, thanks to less metals used in its construction. Despite that, the HD FrontLight still feels solid in the hand.cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-17.JPGMeasuring 160x120x9.4mm, the HD FrontLight pops in a 6-inch E-Ink touchscreen up front. At a 1024x758 resolution, it's considerably sharper than last year's Odyssey, putting it just a fraction behind the Kindle Paperwhite's resolution (though any difference would be invisible to the naked eye). As a result, the HD FrontLight's screen is incredibly readable, with an anti-glare treatment making it comfortable to read even in direct lighting.cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-10.JPGHowever, even if you're not in a well-lit room, a backlighting system built into the edge of the eReader means you can carry on reading through the night. Accessed from a menu option available throughout the eReader's interface, it offers 20 degrees of backlight intensity. And it can be quite intense at the highest levels; the lighting system in the HD FrontLight feels a lot harsher than the glow given off from the Paperwhite, though reining the intensity in a bit makes it useful for low-light reading. Unlike the Paperwhite however, you probably won't feel comfortable with it on constantly unless low ambient lighting really necessitates it. Thankfully, battery life remains superb; excessive use of the backlight will drain it within a few days, but it's easy to squeeze near to a fortnight out of a full charge.cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-07.JPGAs well as offering touchscreen swipe, tap and pinch-to-zoom controls (of the capacitive rather than infra-red kind, meaning gloves will have to be off), the HD FrontLight also has page turn buttons on either side of its casing, with a "back-page" on the left and "next-page" on the right. The lack of additional "back" and "forward" page turn buttons on either side means wont be able to use these physical buttons to navigate a book in one hand as you would with a keyboard Kindle, as you'll have to reach to the other side of the device to go either back a page or forward one depending on your stronger hand. But with a simple tap on either edge of the screen doing the same job, that's not too big a deal. Below the screen is a single physical button that's used to enter menus (the same can be done by tapping in the centre of the screen) and a power button sits on the lower edge, alongside a microUSB port, charging indicator and microSD slot. 2GB of storage is built in, and that'll give you enough room for over 600 eBooks on the device at once.

There are a few omissions though now. Firstly, and most importantly, there's no longer a 3.5mm headphone jack. This was a real boon for those who like listening to audiobooks along with their texts, and was a key advantage over later-day Kindles which have also removed the port. It seems tablets and smartphones are now the primary home for audiobooks. Also gone is the accelerometer which allowed you to easily switch between landscape and portrait orientations. Though some found its activation erratic, we found it worked fine before, and miss it here.cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-18.JPGPacking in an 800Mhz Cortex A8 Texas Instruments OMAP processor, the device is zippy to use, registering touchscreen keyboard presses at speed and, if you're willing to forego a full screen refresh and put up with some "last page ghosting", can turn pages at an incredible rate. Any lag suffered when using the device here seems to be a limitation of the E Ink screen technology, not the processor.cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-15.JPGBut where the HD FrontLight falls over is with its software, which shares identical problems to its Odyssey predecessor. There's still a nice selection of font size and style options, responsive pinch-to-zoom text resizing and handy note and annotation options. BUT STILL NO ENGLISH DICTIONARY?! It's a basic standard of eReaders, and though Bookeen are a French company if you're going to market to an English speaking audience it's a much-needed feature. When compared to the Kindle's X-Ray feature, which also scans books for themes and characters as well as pulling in data from Wikipedia alongside dictionary definitions, the device seems sorely lacking.cybook-odyssey-hd-frontlight-13.JPGThe 100 pre-installed books are also mostly in French, as is much of the content on the Bookeen eBook store, with prices listed in Euros. Not only is this an alienating experience for UK users, the catalogue pales in comparison to what's on offer from Amazon's built in store. You'll also need to sign up for Adobe's Digital Editions DRM service before grabbing any purchases, another barrier, but at least the Wi-Fi connectivity remained consistently strong. In order to get books onto the HD FrontLight your best bet then is to check out online stores such WH Smith or Waterstones. A simple drag-and-drop interface makes transferring eBooks easy, though we'd recommend a management client like the superb (and free) Calibre. With support for a reasonable amount of file formats, including EPUB, PDF, Adobe DRM, HTML, TXT, FB2, and picture files including JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, ICO, TIF, PSD, you shouldn't have any compatibility problems when using thrid-party stores.review-line.JPGVerdict:

The Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD FrontLight was a great opportunity for Bookeen to right the mistakes made with preceding eReader, the Cybook Odyssey. However, it's sadly pretty much the same eReader as last time with a light built-in instead. Like the earlier model, it's still a worthy device thanks to its great screen and attractive design, but be aware that you're still lacking standard features such as an English dictionary or a store well-stocked with English language books, while the removal of the headphone jack hurts too. Priced a few quid more expensively than the Kindle Paperwhite, we can't recommend the Cybook Odyssey HD FrontLight over its Amazon rival.review-line.JPG

3/5

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ipad-kindle-650x414.jpgeReader sales are beginning to decline following the rise of inexpensive, high quality tablet devices.

Research by iSuppli suggests that the eReader market peaked back in 2011, when 20 million devices were shipped, with their findings leading to the prediction that sales of eReader devices will drop to just 7 million by 2015/2016. By comparison, the tablet market will swell to an anticipated 340 million sales in 2016.

While the iPad retains its dominance as the single most popular tablet device, the rise of cheaper Android tablets, inclduing the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD, have expanded the reach of the tablet market to those who cannot afford Apple's premium prices.

It's a shame really. There's no competition when it comes to reading a book on an E-Ink screen like a Kindle when compared to a tablet like an iPad; the E-Ink screen, thanks to its lack of glare and backlight is far easier on the eye for prolonged sessions. But when it comes to value, there's just so much more you can do with a tablet for not a massive amount of money more than you'd spend on an eReader. In a perfect world we'd all have one of each, but its understandable why people are putting up the cash for tablets instead.

Via: iSuppli

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