Killing two birds with one stone

I blogged previously about how long everything seems to take in the business world.  Here’s another example, still related to the Second Edition of Sell Your Book on Amazon.

While we are using my book as the “guinea pig” to improve the efficiency of indexing so we can lower the price so more of our authors can add an index to their books, we are also working on adding Apple iPad editions for our authors. Ever since the new device was launched early this month, our authors have been clamoring for an option that allows their book to be available on this new digital platform.  Who can blame them?  The iPad is cool!

So, it stands to reason that I would use Sell Your Book on Amazon to test this new option, too, right.  Right, and that’s causing even more delays. Not because of Sell Your Book on Amazon, but because I want to combine these efforts for our conversion specialists, which means giving them more than one title to test at a time.   It’s true that Sell Your Book on Amazon is a good test for an ePub format conversion, with its tables and graphics and double margins, etc.  And when it is “done” we will use it for a test.  But in the meantime, I want to get our specialists on a color book test, also.  So, that’s where Adventures in Publishing comes into play, which is my full-color children’s book about how to publish a children’s book.

That sounds easy — it’s just a matter of having them work on the Adventures in Publishing files.  But, since we’re about to move this book to new formats, it makes sense to bring it up to date.  A few things have changed with our full-color Pearl package since that edition of Adventures in Publishing was written and published.  Specifically, the number of color paperback sizes we offer grew from 2 to 5.  Additionally, the number of royalty-free illustration packages we offer grew from 15 to 24.

So, right in the middle of trying to wrap up the second edition of Sell Your Book on Amazon, I find myself forced to revise Adventures in Publishing, too, just so we can faciliate some testing for new options while the iron is still hot. 

And of course, since we’re exploring other digital formats, its the time to look into making the following platforms available for our authors, too: the Sony Reader, the Barnes & Noble Nook, the iPhone via Stanza, etc…

And all these complexities add more delay. The problem with trying to kill two birds with one stone is that sometimes you miss the bird completely…

Self Publishing Simplified – Kindle Edition

We are relaunching our Kindle Edition option this month. Actually, we are “relaunching” a number of our author services options this month, because we’ve added more benefits to each of them while retaining the same retail price.  The CD Media Kit and Enhanced Audio Excerpt each come with an included 30 minute phone consultation with a Marketing Assistant, while the relaunched Book Video Trailers are now cooler than ever, and feature improved social distribution, including links on twitter and Facebook.

One of these relaunched options is the Kindle, and this is a perfect time to announce it, with the release of the new Amazon Kindle app version 1.3  for the Iphone and Ipod Touch.  This new app makes all Kindle books available for download and reading on the iPhone! This is big news for self-publishing authors, so while we announce this new benefit (and incentive to create a Kindle edition) we will also emphasize our improvements in formatting Kindle editions that actually look — you know — good.  Forums and blogs are filled to the brim with this topic — the complexity and “pain” associated with converting a heavily formatted document — particularly one designed in inDesign, as nearly all Outskirts Press books are– into a Kindle edition that is aesthetically pleasing.

And to kick it all off, the Kindle edition of Self-Publishing Simplified was made available this week, at the lowest price I could set it, 99 cents.   The whole point of this book (both the paperback and now the Kindle) is to demonstrate the pricing flexibility available to Outskirts Press authors.  I would have sold the paperback edition on Amazon for less than $5.95 if I could, but that price represents not only the true power of the pricing we offer — where else can you find a 108 page paperback on Amazon, new, for $5.95?– but also an accurate representation of what IS possible. There’s no wizard behind the curtain — that price IS the price listed on Amazon for a 108 page book.   Our authors have the exact same pricing flexibility I do. Granted, I’m only making 7 cents each time it sells, but that’s not the point. My goal was to demonstrate that POD books don’t have to have astronomical retail prices — at least, not if you publish with us. <smile>

The 99 cent Kindle edition doesn’t exhibit that pricing flexibility to the same degree, because it appears that Amazon allows authors to set a 99 cent price whenever they want. I couldn’t set a price lower than 99 cents, though — I tried to make it free, but Amazon wouldn’t let me.