What’s In The Works

Happy Monday. Time for a quick update on the plans brewing away in the background.

To make a long…thing very short, I’m focused on helping authors increase their exposure.

One targeted — and grossly underutilized — asset will be the promotional content (free reads) many authors have on their sites. Generally, these are not presented as ebooks for potential readers to download, rather a regular webpage laid out in not-so-reader-friendly ways. Meanwhile, there is Smashwords, a site that can convert these promotional reads to ebook formats, host the files, and distribute to a respectable, e’er-growing network for free.

I know, right? Why aren’t more authors taking advantage of this? Probably because when it comes to creating a source file for said free ebook that won’t look horrible as an ebook, things start to get hairy. eBook production is a dark and scary place for the uninitiated, and can turn into a major time sink no one can afford. Since I’ve spent a lot of time in that dark and scary production cave, one service I plan to offer is creating those source files for authors.

The other service I plan to focus on is helping authors monetize their de-listed backlists. Once a digital publishing contract has run out (or analog, for that matter) an author has precious few ways to get that title released for readers again. No availability = No earnings. Meanwhile, we have Smashwords, Amazon, PubIt (Barnes and Noble) and Google Books out there, willing and able to convert,  list and host paid-content ebooks. But once again, those source files can be an epic battle, and once again, that’s where I (plan to) come in.

What I don’t plan on doing is listing/uploading these books for authors. Authors can do that themselves easily enough. I would charge only a flat fee per source file. No royalties are involved, at least where I’m concerned. Smashwords, at least, follows the agency model and keeps only a very reasonable percentage of earnings.

The other three (Amazon, PubIt and Google) take a larger chunk. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d even recommend listing with any of those sites, as Smashwords offers the Kindle- and Nook-appropriate file types, but since exposure is half the battle, they’re still probably worth it. (Smashwords is also in negotiation with Amazon to list titles there; boy I hope Mr. Coker pulls it off in an author-friendly fashion.)

Currently, I’m playing chicken with each site’s conversion scripts, optimizing and breaking their output with images and other speedbumps. I’m also looking into what can be done about cover art and copy, since all rights to promotional addons revert to the original publisher once a contract lapses. I’m also debating whether to offer editing services for the free reads. (Yeah, no, it’s not looking good).

Also on the table is publisher services, flat fee per title conversion. I’m not at liberty to say more about that yet.

Anyway, that’s what’s keeping me busy at this point.

Questions, inquiries, comments?

email Flip My eBook