self-publishing

Now You Can Publish Kindle Ebooks as Paperbacks Through Kindle Direct Publishing

Now You Can Publish Kindle Ebooks as Paperbacks Through Kindle Direct Publishing

If you’re a Kindle author and haven’t logged into the KDP website recently, you may notice a new option on your Bookshelf.

There is now an option to publish your Kindle e-book as a print-on-demand (POD) paperback via the KDP site. This is quite separate from publishing on Amazon’s CreateSpace platform, incidentally.

I spent some time looking at what is on offer today, so here are my thoughts so far. To start with, it’s not just the case that you click a button and a paperback version is produced from the e-book. Some information is obviously carried over (book title, author name, publishing rights, and so on). However, the text and cover artwork have to be uploaded separately as new files. It does surprise me a bit that you can’t just import the existing text and format it for print, but there we are.

You can download various templates for your book from the KDP website info pages and edit these in Word or other software. Some guidance is provided for doing this, including a downloadable PDF manual. In my case KDP recommended that I use a 9 x 6 inch template. Both blank templates and templates with sample text are available via the KDP website.

Likewise, you can’t just automatically import your existing e-book cover. You have to either create and upload a print-ready PDF (you’ll need software such as Photo Shop to produce this) or use the KDP Cover Creator tool. The latter can produce cover designs suitable for paperback books (front, back and spine) and will import your existing e-book front cover if you wish (and it’s suitable). If you want a consistent look across both the e-book and print version of your book, however, you may face a few challenges.

You can set your own price for the paperback version of your book and receive 60% of the price paid once print costs have been deducted. This is obviously worth doing in order to reach the substantial audience of people who still prefer print books rather than electronic ones.

The KDP paperback creator is still in beta and additional features are promised in due course. One major thing lacking at the moment is any way of purchasing a sample print copy of your book so you can see for yourself what buyers will receive. This is clearly a drawback compared with CreateSpace. Neither do KDP published print books currently receive the extended distribution of CreateSpace titles.

If you currently publish on CreateSpace I can’t therefore see any compelling reason to switch to KDP at the moment. However, the likelihood is that once everything is working as it should KDP will become Amazon’s main hub for both e-book and print self-publishing. The future for CreateSpace after that is uncertain. For this reason if no other, it is a good idea to at least take a look at KDP’s paperback creator tool now.

I have made a start on converting one of my Kindle e-books using the KDP paperback creator, and will post here again once it is available. But I’d love to get your comments and feedback as well, especially if you have tried out the service yourself. Please leave any comments below as usual.

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Easy PD Profits

Review: Easy PD Profits by Amy Harrop

Easy PD Profits is the latest product launch by the ever-prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful self-published author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me pre-launch review access, so here’s what I found…

Easy PD Profits is about making money with the aid of public domain content. As you probably know, this is content available to edit, adapt and publish as you wish without any need to pay or credit the original creator. It comes typically from old sources that are now out of copyright (though some government-produced content also falls into this category). As well as books and articles, it includes photos, drawings, illustrations, films, and more.

Easy PD Profits has two main elements, a manual and a software tool.

The manual is a 71-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

In the manual, Amy describes a range of ways you can make money from public domain content. It is organized into five blueprints:

#1-Create a Website Using PD Material
#2 Sell Image-Based Content Collections
#3 Publish Books with Public Domain Content
#4-Tap into the Hot Vintage Marketplace
#5 Sell Image-Based Physical Products

Each of these methods is described in detail with real-life examples. Any could easily become the basis for a highly profitable business on its own.

In general, the emphasis is on using the PD content as a starting point, creating books and websites combining it with original content, or selling physical products such as posters, mugs and tee-shirts that incorporate it. This approach seems eminently sensible to me, as of course you can’t claim copyright over PD content and others are free to use it as well.

As well as the manual, you get Amy’s Public Domain Dashboard software (see screen capture below). This is a simple program that will run on any Windows PC. You don’t have to install it, just save it anywhere convenient on your PC (e.g. the desktop) and double-click to launch it.

Public Domain Dashboard software

You can also use the software on a Mac, using Parallels or Wine. Video training on how to set up the software with Wine is included.

One important thing to note is that this is NOT a search engine for PD content. Rather, it is a spreadsheet-style database of sources. It is actually a collection of spreadsheets, listing sources of public domain photos, illustrations, books and other written content, and so forth. A short excerpt from the Books and Written Content list is shown below.

Public Domain Dashboard excerpt

The software is very easy and intuitive to use (help videos are provided but I doubt if most people will need them). It works online so you will need a live internet connection to use it. I guess that might be a problem for a few folk, but if you have a standard broadband connection it won’t be an issue. And it does have the big advantage that you can click on any link to open the web page in question (they open immediately in a new Internet Explorer window).

Even better, Amy promises to update the information regularly incorporating user feedback and suggestions, so the software will constantly grow in value. You may notice that there is a Suggest a Site button which you can use in a public-spirited way to upload any useful resources you discover yourself.

Other bonuses on offer with Easy PD Profits include guides to setting up an Etsy Store and how to profit from Shopify (see screen capture from the sales page below). I didn’t receive these with my preview copy, but they both look relevant and useful. As Amy says, public domain content can be a perfect starting place for creating physical products you can sell via these platforms.

In summary, Easy PD Profits is another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. It sets out an array of methods you can use to make money from public domain content.

It is currently on sale at a launch offer price of $27 (about £22), after which – as is Amy’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10 to $37. If you are an entrepreneurial writer looking to add more income streams to your portfolio, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Easy PD Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Card deck publishing profits

Review: Card Deck Publishing Profits

Card Deck Publishing Profits is the latest writing product to be launched by my entrepreneurial colleague Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful self-published author, and the creator of many guides and products for authors. Other products of hers I have reviewed include Puzzle Publishing Profits, 3 Minute Journals and Publisher’s Power Tool.

Amy was kind enough to allow me a review copy of Card Deck Publishing Profits, so here’s what I found…

This product is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 94-page PDF. This is well written (as with all of Amy’s guides) and illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

As you may gather from the name, Card Deck Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing your own decks of cards. These are not standard packs with spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds (though you could certainly produce those if you wish). They are actually much more varied than that, including:

  • Tarot cards
  • Oracle cards
  • Affirmation cards
  • Card and trading games
  • Flash cards / learning / education cards
  • Business / creativity / thinking / self-help

The manual goes on to look at where you can get ideas for card decks, and how to design and produce them. Amy covers a range of publishing options, including traditional self-publishing companies and online ‘drag and drop’ services. She provides detailed information about services she recommends in both these categories.

The final section of the manual includes advice on marketing and selling your card decks, including the use of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, as well as Amazon (FBA), eBay, Shopify stores, and so on.

There is also a separate ‘fast-start’ guide, which I understand will be available as an optional extra. This is a 45-page PDF. It goes into much more detail about the nuts and bolts of publishing a card deck, including design considerations, fonts to use, software, and so forth, again with plenty of useful free and low-cost resources described. This guide also contains valuable advice about using public domain and PLR (private label right) content, to avoid the cost of commissioning original artwork. If you plan to buy Card Deck Publishing Profits, I would definitely consider getting the fast-start guide as well.

In Conclusion

Overall, I thought Card Deck Publishing Profits was a high-quality guide to creating, publishing and marketing a print product I wouldn’t even have considered before. But certainly, even a swift search online shows that there is a big market for this type of product. There is also the attraction that card decks are ‘evergreen’ products with the potential to go on selling steadily for months or even years to come.

Of course, as with any printed product, there will be a learning curve. This is not as straightforward as publishing a Kindle e-book (although it must be said that this is becoming a very crowded market). On the plus side, however, there is much less competition, and once you have published one deck, there is no reason you couldn’t publish more quite quickly. It is definitely an opportunity any entrepreneurial writer should consider.

Finally, I should note that Card Deck Publishing Profits is on sale at a launch offer price of just $17 until 31 December 2016, after which the cost will rise to $27.

As always, if you have any comments or queries about Card Deck Publishing Profits, please do post them below.

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Publisher's Power Tool

Review: Publisher’s Power Tool

Publisher’s Power Tool is the latest writing product to be launched by my colleague Amy Harrop and her business partner Debbie Drum. Amy and Debbie were kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Publisher’s Power Tool is a guide to publishing picture books for children and adults using the presentation software MIcrosoft PowerPoint (other software options are also discussed). The guide then reveals how to publish them as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle platform and/or as print books using Amazon CreateSpace.

Publisher’s Power Tool is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 69-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy and Debbie’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen-captures where relevant.

The manual explains how you can capitalize on the huge market for picture books. Although children are the obvious target audience, the authors make the point that there is a sizeable market for adult picture books as well, including how-to books, humour books, and inspirational books.

The main part of the manual walks you through creating a picture book yourself with the aid of the PowerPoint software. It sets out the advantages of using PowerPoint for this purpose, including the ease with which you can create a template for publishing a series of such books. You can also easily insert pictures in bulk, which is a great time-saver. And it is also very easy to edit and rearrange the pages in a PowerPoint file, until you have your book looking exactly the way you want it.

The latter part of the manual then discusses how readers can publish and market the books themselves. Eight pages are devoted to Kindle publishing and ten pages to print publishing using CreateSpace. Clearly, covering how to do all this in detail would require a much longer book, so what Amy and Debbie have done is link to useful resources throughout the manual. Some of these are resources they have produced themselves, while others are from external websites. I understand that there may also be some extra reports and/or training videos with the finished product, although my pre-publication access only included the main manual.

The one thing that isn’t discussed in any depth is marketing your picture book (although the manual does discuss how to make the most of categories, keywords, and so on when listing your book on Amazon). Still, there is of course plenty of information about this available elsewhere on the internet, both free and paid for.

Overall, I think Publisher’s Power Tool is another excellent addition to the growing roster of writing resources published by Amy and Debbie. If you are already a confident PowerPoint user you may find some of the advice on using the software familiar, but it is still enlightening to see how the authors adapt it to this particular purpose.

Publisher’s Power Tool is currently on a launch special offer after which – as is Amy and Debbie’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10. If you want to broaden your publishing portfolio with something that is fun and not too time-consuming, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Publisher’s Power Tool, as always, please do post them below.

 

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Puzzle Publishing Profits

Review: Puzzle Publishing Profits by Amy Harrop

Puzzle Publishing Profits is the latest writing product to be launched by my prolific colleague Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful self-published author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Puzzle Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing puzzle books of all types, probably using Amazon’s CreateSpace print publishing platform. It is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 60-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

In the manual, Amy explains how you can capitalize on the huge market for puzzle books. She starts by discussing the wide range of such books and reveals the various target audiences for them, from children to the elderly. She also discusses current trends in the puzzle books field. The manual covers crossword puzzles, Sudoku, logic puzzles, maze puzzles, word-search, graphic puzzles, math (or maths) puzzles, brainteasers, and many more.

The latter part of the manual then discusses how readers can write, publish and market these books themselves. Amy recommends publishing in print rather than Kindle e-book form, as in general people like to complete puzzles using a pen and paper, not on a tablet or e-reader. As mentioned above, she recommends using Amazon’s CreateSpace POD (print on demand) self-publishing platform.

Clearly covering how to do all this in detail would require a much longer book, so what Amy has done is link to useful resources throughout the manual. Some of these resources she has produced herself, while others are from external websites. An example of the former is a six-page spreadsheet listing sources of online puzzle-making software (free and paid for), puzzle-making resources, forums, Facebook Groups, Yahoo Groups, and Pinterest pages. The forum, groups and Pinterest pages strike me as being more relevant for puzzle aficionados than for puzzle-book makers,. but the software and resources websites are certainly worth knowing about.

There is some good advice on publishing your puzzle book using CreateSpace, again with links to other resources for finding out more. The manual closes with an 8-page discussion of how to promote your puzzle book. This focuses especially on writing a good description of your book for the Amazon store, and using social media to build your following and help spread the word. I thought there were some very good tips here.

When preparing puzzle books, Amy advises strongly against referring to actual product and brand names. While I understand her caution, personally I think it’s a bit excessive. While I would agree that producing a Frozen puzzle book is a bad idea and would likely attract the attention of the Disney company lawyers, simply mentioning the name of a movie or TV show in a broader-based book is unlikely to cause problems. If that were not the case, most trivia quiz books (such as the one pictured below that I wrote a while ago for my clients at Lagoon Games) would never see the light of day. The key thing is to be sensible and only refer to high-profile, trademarked productions in a broader context. In a themed puzzle book about movies, for example, you could (in my view) have a wordsearch puzzle featuring the names of well-known characters from children’s films.

TV trivia quiz book by Nick Daws

As well as the main manual, buyers of Puzzle Publishing Profits get two bonus items. I didn’t actually receive these with my pre-launch review copy, but here are the descriptions from the sales page:

Amy Puzzle Book Bonusese

It sounds as though these will add value to the main manual, especially the CreateSpace publishing guide.

In summary, Puzzle Publishing Profits is an eye-opening guide to a field that appears crammed with potential right now, and it has definitely inspired me to think about trying it myself. It is currently on a launch special offer for $17 (about £14), after which – as is Amy’s usual practice – the price will be rising to $27. If you want to broaden your publishing portfolio with something that is fun and not too time-consuming, it is definitely worth a look.

If you have any comments or questions about Puzzle Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Remain Tee-shirt

Lessons Learned from My First Teespring Publishing Project

In this post a few weeks ago I revealed that I had tried publishing a tee-shirt design on the popular Teespring platform.

The campaign is over, so I thought I would take this opportunity to reveal how it went and some of the lessons I learned from it.

Of course, the main aim of the campaign was to make some sort of profit. Unfortunately, the profit I made barely covered the money I spent advertising the shirt on Facebook. Still, at least I didn’t make an overall loss!

So one thing I learned straightaway is that making money on Teespring isn’t as easy as you might think. I thought I had a witty, topical idea and a snazzy design, but the great British online public (whom I targeted) thought otherwise.

Here are a few more lessons I learned along the way as well, in the hope they might help anyone else who is considering trying their hand at this…

1. In many ways Teespring is a great platform for designing tee-shirts, but some aspects of the way it works aren’t especially intuitive. For example, initially I assumed that with any design potential customers would be able to choose from the whole range of shirt colours. That is not actually the case. You have to specify what colours you want your shirt to be made available in, and there is a maximum to the number you can choose.

2. Just because your design generates interest and “likes”, it doesn’t automatically mean people will want to buy it. As you will see from the image above, my shirt had a political message, on a topic that in the UK is still generating a lot of controversy. One comment I received was that even people who sympathized with the message might feel uncomfortable going out wearing a shirt that others could find provocative.

3. You must expect and be prepared for some negative comments and even trolling. I got my fair share of this on Facebook from people on the other side of the Brexit argument. There were also some people who appeared outraged that I was attempting to make money in this way.

4. If you advertise your tee-shirt on Facebook, bear in mind that people will comment in ways you can’t control. Neither can you delete negative comments made in response to the ads. Of course I am not against freedom of speech, but it is somewhat frustrating when your carefully prepared Facebook ad on which you have spent good money is effectively defaced by abuse and obscenities.

5. if you hope to make money selling tee-shirts on Teespring, you need to have a way of targeting potential buyers as precisely as possible. Facebook can be your friend here, as you can select by interest, age-group, geographical location, and so forth. In my case I selected an audience of young people (age 20 to 30) in the UK. It quickly became apparent that this was far too broad, and my advertisement was being shown to a lot of people who disagreed with the message, to whom it came across as a red rag to a bull (see points 3 and 4, above).

So would I try tee-shirt marketing on Teespring again? The answer is yes, absolutely, but I would probably steer clear of political slogans! A lot of people who have succeeded in this field target a very precise niche market, e.g. dachshund owners. Come up with something that appeals to these people and you should have a much better chance of making a profit while avoiding a torrent of personal abuse.

I also realise that to succeed in this field you need to hone your skills in targeting people who are likely to buy your design. With my anti-Brexit shirt, I realise now that my targeting was hopelessly broad. While I could have narrowed it down a bit by targeting people interested in Europe (for example), precision targeting buyers for this shirt would still have been difficult – at any rate using Facebook advertising.

So that was my experience of setting up a tee-shirt marketing campaign on Teespring. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below. I would also be interested to hear from anyone who has tried out this sideline moneymaking method for themselves.

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Pokemon Go

How Can Writers Make Money from Pokémon Go?

In case you hadn’t noticed, the world is in the throes of a Pokémon Go craze. People everywhere are holding their smartphones in front of their faces and scouring their neighbourhoods for Pokémon monsters!

Pokémon Go is a so-called “augmented reality” game. Players can download the app to their phones for free, and then look around their area (and even their home) for these cartoon creatures, which are superimposed on the image in their phone cameras.

CC BY by mugwumpian

Although I haven’t felt any particular urge to try the game myself, its sudden and massive popularity has intrigued me – and of course any trend like this presents golden opportunities for entrepreneurial writers.

Some possibilities would be to write and publish a Kindle e-book on some aspect of the game – here’s one example – or to create a blog or Facebook page devoted to it. This could then be monetized with affiliate links and so on.

But what if you’re like me and haven’t even played the game? No problem! Just do a search for “Pokémon Go PLR”. Already there is no shortage of private label right content you can buy for just a few dollars, then polish and edit to make it your own.

One example is Pokémon Go 101 PLR from Jenn Elizabeth. This is a well produced report that covers everything people need to know about playing Pokémon Go. As it is PLR, you can use it in any way you wish, including breaking it down into blog posts, or editing it and publishing it as a Kindle e-book.

If you want a lot more ideas for profiting from Pokémon Go, my colleague, authority marketing innovator Barb Ling, has just released a quick one-page cheatsheet on how to make the most from this trend. It’s currently on dimesale, but at the time of writing still available for under four dollars. As well as ideas for content you could produce, it also includes multiple ways to make money from your content.

Barb also offers a number of optional upgrades, including:

  • 17 additional techniques for profiting from Pokémon Go.
  • her trademark Pokémon Go Product Solution Templates
  • 75 customized Pokeball viral social media images (blank, FB Live templates and Periscope templates)
  • resources to become a top Pokémon Go authority
  • and you’ll also be offered $200 and $250 off her popular bootcamps

For more information on Barb’s Pokémon Go cheatsheet, please click here.

BaPokemonGoLogorb has been making a living online for many years, and is a prolific producer of money-making content and reports. I always keep a close eye on what she says, and I think she is bang on the money with this. If you’re an entrepreneurial writer, this is definitely something you should be checking out.

Good luck if you take action to profit from the Pokémon Go craze. If you have any questions or comments, do feel free to leave them below. And if you go ahead and produce a PG-related product, you are very welcome to leave a link to it in the comments on this post as well!

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working together

Should Writers Work With a Collaborator?

Periodically I get asked my opinion about writers working collaboratively.

It’s a topic that interests me, so I thought I’d set out some of my views here.

In principle, I like the idea of working with a collaborator. Writing can be a lonely business, so the prospect of working with someone else is attractive for the human contact aspect alone.

Plus you have someone else to bounce ideas off (many of the most successful comedy writers work in duos and I’m sure this is part of the reason). And, not least, having a collaborator means that they will do some of the work instead of you!

Of course, there are drawbacks to working with collaborators too. If you don’t get on with your partner or constantly disagree with them, the savings in time and effort may evaporate. Instead of being entirely free to pursue your own artistic vision, you may sometimes have to compromise. And any payments resulting from your labours will have to be shared with your partner instead of all going into your own pocket.

I have worked with writing partners on various occasions over the years (and am still open to the idea if the right project comes up!). The person I’ve worked with most often is my old friend, the poet and performer Simon Pitt.

One of our first collaborations was a sketch show called The Naked Apricot (a satire of the then-famous book by Dr Desmond Morris, “The Naked Ape”). This was performed by a local amateur theatre company, and in financial terms anyway was their most successful show ever (admittedly, it probably helped that we didn’t get paid a fee for it!).

More recently I collaborated with Simon on a couple of non-fiction books: Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching and How to Invite Any Writer, Artist or Performer Into Your School (currently out of print).

The way Simon and I work is to take a project, divide it into chapters or sections, and then allocate each of these to one of us or the other. When we have completed our assigned chapters, we pass them over to the other one to read, edit and add his own input. In addition, I tend to handle the IT-related aspects, as I’m sure Simon would agree that this is not his strongest suit.

One thing we don’t do (or at least hardly ever) is sit down together and go through our draft manuscripts line by line, word by word. Apart from being horribly time consuming, I could imagine this putting our friendship under strain. In my experience anyway, it’s easier to accept (and give) criticism in the form of a quick note rather than face to face.

My number one advice to anyone thinking of working with a collaborator is to agree how you will work together first. If your collaborator expects you to sit down and write together while you prefer to work alone and just meet for planning, marketing and so on, it’s doubtful whether the partnership will succeed.

Likewise, it’s important to discuss the proposed topic of your book, screenplay or whatever in detail, to ensure you don’t have totally different perspectives on it. That’s not to say you have to agree in advance on every point, but unless you have certain basic assumptions in common, the writing process is likely to become a test of endurance. This applies especially in fiction-writing projects.

One other important consideration is how much each person can contribute to the project. This is partly a matter of time, and partly one of skills and expertise.

Clearly, if one person has more time available for the project than the other, this could be a problem if the ultimate rewards are to be divided 50:50. You could, of course, agree a different division of the returns, but this really needs to be discussed beforehand and agreed by both partners. Attempting to negotiate a change mid-project if you think your partner isn’t pulling their weight is not an attractive prospect for either party.

As regards skills/expertise, I’ve sometimes turned down offers of collaboration when I couldn’t see what particular contribution I would be able to make to the project – how I could “add value” to it, in other words.

I think it’s important to know how your skills and expertise are going to mesh with your writing partner, and what input each of you expects from the other. Ideally there will be a synergy when you have complementary skills and expertise. But if one partner doesn’t have any distinctive contribution they can make, the project is unlikely to survive through to completion.

Finally, if you do decide to go ahead, it’s worth looking into the growing range of online resources that can facilitate working collaboratively.

One tool I have used quite a bit is Google Drive. This free platform lets you publish documents on the web where they can be viewed and, if you allow it, edited by other selected individuals (i.e. your writing partner/s).

This means it is feasible to work collaboratively with people in other countries and even other continents. I used Google Drive when planning and writing The Wealthy Writer, the downloadable course on making money writing for online markets I co-wrote with Ruth Barringham, who lives in Australia. The Wealthy Writer is a little outdated now, by the way, which is why I don’t actively promote it any more.

So what are your thoughts on collaboration? Do you actively seek out writing partners, or does the idea fill you with horror? I’d love to hear your views and experiences! Please post your thoughts below as usual.

Note: This post is an updated version of one first published a few years ago on my old blog at www.mywritingblog.com. 

Nick Daws Course

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Pop Culture Publishing Profits

Review: Pop Culture Publishing Profits

Pop Culture Publishing Profits is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful Kindle author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Pop Culture Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing e-books (or books) that leverage the popularity of high-profile movies, TV shows, video games, and so on. The main guide is a 41-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures (mainly of Amazon reviews) where relevant.

In the manual, Amy explains how you can capitalize on the huge interest in popular culture. She reveals how you can create books and e-books that will appeal to people interested in the shows and products concerned. One example she gives is a Kindle e-book on the subject of The Vikings, which appeared to have been written to cash in on the popularity of the TV show of the same name.

The big advantage of writing and publishing books related to popular culture is that there is a large group of people interested in these matters, who in many cases are actively seeking more information about them. If you can publish a book that comes up high in the results when they are searching (either online or on Amazon), you could potentially generate a lot of sales.

Amy discusses a variety of niches in which this could work. As well as the movies, TV shows and video games mentioned above, she includes politics, sport, music and books. Unfortunately (from an author’s perspective!) the latter is not as big a niche as the others mentioned, but it is certainly possible to write books/e-books that capitalize on the popularity of current or forthcoming titles.

Speaking of which, one thing that impressed me about Pop Culture Publishing Profits was how Amy reveals ways to find out about forthcoming productions likely to have lots of people talking about them. Certainly, if you can write a book that ties in with the next blockbusting movie (for example), you could be on the way to generating large numbers of sales.

Although the guide is fairly concise, it includes links to other resources – some by Amy, some by other people – covering specific issues and questions. There is a link to some additional training by Amy herself on how to get reviews for your books, for example.

The manual also covers the tricky subject of avoiding copyright and trademark infringement. Amy advises writers to use public domain content as much as possible, e.g. if a forthcoming movie is based on an old fairytale which is out of copyright, you could publish your own version of the tale by adapting a public domain version. Note that Amazon won’t allow you to simply republish public domain content, so you will need to rewrite/adapt it in some way to make it original.

As well as the main guide, there are various bonuses. These include a publishing guide, writing outlines for a variety of books, and a research and writing guide to help you publish quickly.

In summary, Pop Culture Publishing Profits contains some eye-opening ideas and information, and has definitely inspired me to think about trying this approach myself. It is currently on a launch special offer, after which the price will be rising to $27. If you are interested in this opportunity, it is well worth a look. It doesn’t go into the actual mechanics of publishing a book or e-book, but there is plenty of good advice about this available elsewhere (Geoff Shaw’s Kindling, my number one recommended resource for Kindle e-book authors, for example).

If you have any comments or questions about Pop Culture Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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readers favorite

Get Your Book or Ebook Reviewed for Free at Readers Favorite

All self-publishing authors know that getting reviews for their books or e-books is an essential requirement for getting sales.

So I thought today I’d bring to your attention a website that promises to review your book free of charge through a network of volunteer readers.

The website is called Readers’ Favorite. It’s been around for a while, and is used by top authors and publishing houses as well as self publishers. It’s a site that any entrepreneurial author should definitely check out.

And yes, they do genuinely offer to review your book for free. The way it works is that once you have registered your book or ebook, it goes on a list that is circulated to their volunteer reviewers. If one of these people likes the sound of your book they can claim it, and promise to provide a genuine review once they have read it.

Obviously, this does mean that there is an element of chance about how quickly your book gets reviewed, although you can improve its prospects by creating a compelling description. If you want to guarantee a quick review, however, you can also pay for a guaranteed “express review” in two weeks or less. They review both print books and ebooks, and even audio books.

Readers’ Favorite posts reviews on their own site, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest. You can also post their reviews on your Amazon page.

In addition, they say that their reviewers will often post reviews of your book on their own websites and blogs, and on popular review and social media sites.

You might wonder what if the reviewer gives your book a bad review? Readers’ Favorite say they only post 4 and 5 star reviews. If a book receives a poor review, they provide constructive criticism direct to the author instead. As they say, they are in the business of helping authors, not hurting them.

There are certain other advantages to submitting your work to Readers’ Favorite. For example, if their reviewer gives your book a five-star rating, they allow you to use the Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review Seal on any of your marketing materials (website, book cover, etc.).

Readers’ Favorite also run their own Book Award Contest, which is quite heavily promoted on the site. There are substantial cash prizes for the winners, but of course you do have to pay a fee to enter.

The Awards are run separately from the reviews service, and you don’t have to submit your book for review to enter it for an award (or vice versa).

There is quite a bit more to the site than I have been able to mention here, so I strongly recommend visiting Readers’ Favorite and spending a little time exploring it. There is nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain, by submitting your book for a free review at least.

Lastly, I should also mention that they are always on the lookout for more volunteer reviewers – so if you fancy getting your hands on some extra reading matter, it’s worth checking out the site as well!

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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