Monday, 21 January 2013

'Maranatha' - Our First Smashwords Freebie!

Effective immediately, the Smashwords.com edition of our first book, 'Maranatha', is now available for free until the end of January. I rather like the available options Smashwords provide to writers & publishers with their coupon system - allowing a book not just to be given away free, but for much longer than was possible under Amazon's KDP, and also grants the ability to discount a user-defined percentage price cut as well (although this only seems to be valid for books priced over $0.99 - and all of our books are currently priced at no more than one buck, US!).



Here's the freebie code you'll need to enter at checkout: KF62M. Give it a shot. If you like it, we plan to offer the prequel, 'Venus in Saturn', next month for a couple of weeks, too.

So far, we've found Smashwords to be far friendlier than the corresponding Amazonian equivalent. But then Amazon are out to turn huge profits and sell e-book readers, and aren't run by writers for the benefit of fellow writers. See the difference?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Amazon Enforced Exclusivity?

While reviewing our current list of Amazon KDP-enrolled books tonight, I came across the following interesting statement regarding one of our titles which was previously enrolled in the KDP programme, and then recently removed:

"As this book's enrollment in KDP Select was cancelled once before, you do not have the option to cancel once you enroll this book again."

So taking this at face value, it appears that if we do enroll this title again, it will become locked into the KDP system forever, until such times as we decide to remove it from sale entirely from Amazon. Perhaps I missed something in the Ts & Cs when I signed up to this service, but has anyone else come across this situation? I must say that I'm becoming less and less impressed with this service the more I see of it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lulu.com: DRM or not DRM?

So, this afternoon I received the following update email from Lulu.com, or sometime POD printers:

"Dear valued customer,
Lulu was founded on the philosophy of breaking down barriers that prevent talented authors from sharing their knowledge and telling their stories. Our goal is to help authors reach the broadest possible audience by providing tools to create, publish, market and sell their remarkable work. In an ongoing commitment to our founding philosophy, we continue to remove barriers when we see them, which brings us to the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

On January 15, 2013 we will remove the option to apply Adobe Digital Rights Management (DRM) to new and revised EPUB and PDF formatted eBooks.

On March 12, 2013 all remaining DRM-protected eBooks will be set to Private Access, removing them from the Lulu marketplace.

If you have a DRM-protected eBook, you must revise and re-publish the title at your earliest convenience, in order to continue offering it on Lulu.com after March 12, 2013. For more information, see this article: DRM & eBooks Published in the Lulu Marketplace.

Once this process completes, we believe your readers will enjoy a more integrated shopping, downloading, and reading experience. For more information about why Lulu will no longer offer DRM, please read this blog post by our COO, Tom Bright: Lulu Says Goodbye to DRM."

Now, while I'm no fan of DRM, and have never enabled it on any of our own e-books, it seems rather heavy-handed to completely remove even the option of protecting one's own copyrighted material. It could even be argued that far from helping to combat piracy, Lulu are helping to embrace it, although I would also venture that playing hardball with DRM limitations isn't the way to go either.

However, I am more and more coming to the conclusion that Lulu's services are based upon user vanity rather than any desire to further the concept of successful self-pubbing. Certainly, the last time I had anything to do with their customer services team, I had to resort to outright public humiliation on their own FB page to get action for a service I'd already paid for (documented painfully, I seem to recall, via the pages of this very blog).
We may continue to work with them in future for comics and graphic novels, but to be honest, having siphoned off half our prose works to Smashwords and removing Amazon exclusivity, it may also be time for a change to another Print-on-Demand comics outlet.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Smash 'n Grab

First of all, a belated Happy 2013 to everyone!

Proof that the Internet is a funny old thing, and that our content can turn up in the strangest places, recently surfaced. I was testing Smashwords' search algorithms when I managed to come up with a link to the Malaria 9 Youtube book trailer, via this rather serious news page.

Well at least it wasn't hosted on some bizarre porn site or something, but it's still hardly relevant content. Still, I'll never complain at a little extra exposure...

Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners

Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners
Because Chaz is a fan of these guys and their music. Help support the British metal music scene!

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1) on-topic posts only: i.e., articles relevant, and of interest, specifically to writers (especially self-published or indie authors) - ideally regarding the creative processes of producing fiction, editing, character, plotting, e-publishing, observations and opinions on the publishing industry generally, experiences of Kindle/Smashwords/Apple, traditional publishing, self-promo and marketing advice for authors (but see *2* below), inspiration & 'writers' block', cartoons/comic books, illustration & design, or creativity in general;

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'Sword and the Ring' Book 1

'Sword and the Ring' Book 1
Now Available...in print, or in Kindle format

'Sword and the Ring' Part 1 Book Trailer

'Malaria 9' Book Trailer

"Maranatha" video trailer - for the new 2nd edition

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