BookBrewer Blog

Second Quarter Payments are Out

Good news! We just remitted payment for all eBook sales made from April to June, and Print on Demand sales through August 2011.

As long as you were due more than $25 for this period and you have provided the payment and tax information as outlined in your author agreement (and repeated here), you should have a notification of payment from PayPal. Follow the instructions from PayPal to receive the payment into your bank account. You can get full reports for payments from that period by logging in and clicking the Sales button next to each book (read this for more help).

If you don't see sales data yet, don't worry. It means that your sales were less than $25 for this period, but your reports will appear soon. The sales you accrued during this period will be added to your next quarterly sales report and you will be paid the total when it surpasses $25.

The next payments will be made in December, 2011 for eBook sales that occurred July-September, and Print on Demand sales through November.

If you didn't see any sales it may be because, well, nobody knows about your book. But thankfully there are a lot of things you can do about that.

Now that we have some high sellers in our community, we're learning a lot about what the self-publishing pro's do to get discovered. They can be summarized as:

  1. Focus on Quality: Make sure you're ready to be published. Before building your book in BookBrewer, make sure you get it copy-edited, and find someone to read it who isn't friends or family. Listen carefully to what they say, because they're more like your eventual readers than anyone in your inner circle. Following these standards from Apple can also help.
  2. Get your book reviewed: If you've done a good job with #1, consider having a professional service review your book (we'll share suggestions soon), or send your book to some blogs or news sites and ask them if they'll review it. It's always free to ask. But be warned that if you're book isn't ready for prime time, sending it to get reviewed can be a big mistake (which takes us back to focusing on quality).
  3. Market through blogs and social media: All of our top sellers have blogs and Facebook pages dedicated to their books. A few even tweet about what they're writing. A lot of writers are shy about promoting themselves in this way, or feel that they don't have time to market their books. They just want to write them. But the alternative is to spend months or years on a book that nobody reads.

There are a lot more tricks than that, but if you aren't doing at least these three basic things, you should not expect your book to break out of obscurity. But we know most of you aren't like that. We firmly believe that every focused, dedicated writer can write AND market a book that sells, and we're looking forward to seeing more high-sellers in the months ahead.

Good luck with your future writing, marketing and selling!

- The BookBrewer Team

Congratulations to Kayla Deacon!

Every new author gets a start somewhere, and we're always excited to see new authors emerge through BookBrewer. Today, we're sending a shout-out to 14-year-old Kayla Deacon, whose BookBrewer-published novel "How to Reverse Vampirism" was featured in her hometown newspaper. Read her story in Chicago's Southtown Star (Teen sinks teeth into vampires), or buy her book as a paperback or Kindle eBook through Amazon.

Deacon started working on her novel through Nickelodian's teen site Quizilla, created her ePub through BookBrewer and used a Gift of Publishing certificate purchased by her parents last Christmas to distribute it. (So congrats to mom and dad, too!)

She told us in an e-mail, "Thank you so much for creating, because I really wouldn't have been able to get this far without it ... It's a user friendly site, and it honestly doesn't cost that much for self publish -- which is very convenient."



Is a Book Still Just a Book? Self Publishing Redefined Through Mellencamp.

The other day we heard John Cougar Mellencamp on the radio singing that old classic, "That's when a smoke was a smoke, and groovin' was groovin.'" The modern equivalent just might be this headline from Gigaom: "What's a book? It's whatever you want it to be."

If Mellencamp wrote a song today, he might sing, "That's when a book was a book."

Many things from the not-so-distant past have the same names, but radically different meanings. For example, we still call our cellphones "phones" even though we now use them far more often to play games, read news, and yes -- even read eBooks.

A phone is no longer just a phone, and the same thing is now happening to books. Just a few short years ago, a book was defined almost exclusively as ink on paper, bound up and displayed on a shelf in a book store or a library. Then Amazon launched the Kindle, Apple debuted the iPad -- and books will never be the same.

To show how quickly things are changing, Taiwan's Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) just reported that 12.3 million eReaders and tablets were shipped in 2010. By the end of 2011 they expect that to have grown to 38 million, and 50 million by 2012. Most of these will be sold in the U.S., which means one out of every 6 Americans will be toting a brand new eReader or tablet next year, not to mention all of the older models that will be passed down to kids and friends or sold on eBay.

Expect the definition of a book to change even more over the next few years. As our friends at AuthorApps show, a collection of books can now be shipped in their own app, giving authors and publishers a more direct connection with their readers.

So how does self-publishing fit in? Traditional publishing houses were necessary when distributing a book meant shipping it to bookstores all over the country. With eReaders, the device itself is the distribution system. Thus, the post by Gigaom blog is spot on. Says Mathew Ingram: "The evolution of the book-publishing business has been accelerating recently, with more authors doing an end run around the traditional industry by self-publishing..."

Of course, that's what we're all about. BookBrewer is a self publishing platform. If you've never published before, we have a great platform that helps you create and publish an eBook for as little as $19.99, or under $60 for a print on demand title. And if your books are already selling well elsewhere, our new Red Carpet Plans can help you grow your revenue through other retailers that are harder to get into. In both cases you keep 95% of every dollar we receive from retailers after they take their share.

But don't worry -- technology doesn't change everything. While a book isn't just a book anymore, groovin' is still JUST groovin'.


BookBrewer on Colorado Public Radio

BookBrewer co-founder and CEO Dan Pacheco is on Colorado Public Radio's "Colorado Matters" with Ryan Warner today. You can listen to the full interview on the web site, or via this iTunes Podcast (see the segment, "Boulder Man Sees Huge Shifts in Publishing.") And if you live in Colorado you can hear it on the air at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. MST on Monday, September 19. We want to thank Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner and the CPR staff for doing a great job with the story.

Traditional Publishing's Loss is Self-Publishers' Gain

Electronic book sales are rising dramatically as many readers embrace the convenience and lower cost of digital books. The tendency in the media is to focus on the negative impact this has on the traditional publishing industry, but for you -- the self-publisher -- it's an enormous plus. With the publishing business morphing at an unprecedented pace, this just might be the perfect time to publish your ebook.

If you always dreamed of getting published traditionally, you may want to reconsider that route. Publishers are struggling to keep up with the rapid economic changes brought on by eBooks, and as a result they're reducing advances, decreasing print runs and cutting fixed costs.

In this Wall Street Journal story, Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg says the traditional book business is changing so rapidly that the publishing industry barely looks like it did just six months ago.

Traditional in-store distribution is also on the decline. As Borders closes its doors for good, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., is closing two of its four warehouses in the U.S., and Random House Inc., the country's largest consumer-book publisher, is looking to sublease about 40% of its office space in midtown Manhattan. From the Journal article:

"Jed Lyons, chief executive of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc. in Lanham, Md., says he won't be building a new warehouse anytime soon. His digital sales this year are up threefold compared with a year earlier. Although his biggest retail customer is Amazon, Mr. Lyons now sells his books—primarily academic and reference works—to about 50 e-retailers around the world, including those serving the library markets. Major publishers will almost certainly need to do more. "

The key there is not that Lyons won't build a new warehouse, but that his digital sales are up threefold in just one year.

So to self-publishers, we say embrace the change. Publish and distribute your ebook yourself with BookBrewer. You can play around with our intuitive tools for free, including the ability to download sample ePub files that you can copy to your device of choice. You don't pay a penny until you decide to download your ePub file or distribute it to retailers.

And if you have readers who still want a printed copy, forget about getting your printed book distributed to bookstores across the country. Use our easy, affordable Print on Demand process to get a printed book that readers can find on and get shipped right to the front door. If you ever do find a store that wants to carry your book you, or they, can order the copies they want for as little as $6 per copy and $3.99 shipping.

Through our new partnership with AuthorApps, you can even get your eBooks into your own iPad andiPhone app.

Learn more about how you can publish an ebook and distribute it to all major online retailers while keeping 95 percent of post-retailer royalties and retaining all rights to your work.

Welcome, Courtney Milan!

We're excited to have the opportunity to work with historical romance writer Courtney Milan -- our second New York Times bestseller (the first was Barbara Freethy) and the newest member of BookBrewer's Red Carpet Club.

Courtney Milan is part of a growing trend of popular writers going out on their own to self-publish. In June, she hit the New York Times Bestselling eBook list for her novel, Unlocked -- a true victory for a self-published author. You can read her first-person account about it on her blog.

We're now pleased to bring Unlocked to a wider audience through Kobo eBooks can be read on the Kobo Touch Reader, as well as other eReaders that use Adobe DRM. And if you have an iPhone, iPad or Android you can read your Kobo books on the free Kobo apps.

Another advantage of Kobo is its international footprint. Kobo books can be purchased in multiple countries, including Canada, the UK and Australia. And the Kobo Reader is now available in multiple languages.

Welcome, Courtney!

Policy Change for Apple iBooks Submissions

Dear BookBrewer authors,

We have recently been in communication with Apple to determine why some books submitted by our authors are rejected for inclusion into Apple iBooks -- something they and every retailer reserve the right to do. We know it is frustrating waiting for a book to be available for sale, and we want to make things easier for you.

Apple has made it clear to us that they will not accept books that do not pass basic quality standards outlined here. For this reason, we have decided that it's in the best interests of our author community to no longer distribute eBooks to Apple that fail these basic quality standards (although we will continue to distribute such books elsewhere).

We agree with the intention of these basic quality standards and believe that your books will sell better if you follow them. While it's easier than ever to get a book published, it's even harder to sell if a book isn't ready. The worst thing an author can do is publish a book that's not ready and watch it fall to the bottom of the rankings.


What This Means for Previous Submissions

If you previously submitted a book that was rejected for one of the reasons in the quality standards, you most likely have already been informed. If you have not been informed, please e-mail and include the following information for the book you are inquiring about:

  • The full title
  • The full ISBN number (which should be in your publishing confirmation e-mail)

We will then forward the reason Apple provided for your book's rejection if we received one. If we did not, we're sorry, but we will not be able to give you a specific reason (because we have not received one from Apple). However you may be able to figure it out by reviewing Apple's standards.

Please note that if you do not provide us with a title and ISBN, we will be unable to respond to your request.

If your book was rejected you are invited to edit your book in the BookBrewer interface and submit one (1) improved version for submission to Apple. Any books received by or before September 30, 2011 will be reviewed for iBook's quality standards, and those that pass will be resubmitted in early October. Those that do not pass will not be submitted, but we will give you a digital copy of the ePub file in case you want to try submitting it yourself in your own iTunes Connect account. Just be aware that Apple will apply the same standards if you self-submit.


What This Means for Future Submissions

After September 30, we will no longer submit books to iBooks that fail these basic checks. In addition, any books submitted after September 30 that fail the quality checks, or which we have good reason to believe Apple will not accept, will not be sent to iBooks.

Because we are a publishing distribution service and not a publisher, we are not able to directly assist you in improving the quality of your eBook. However, we are more than happy to connect you with a conversion shop that can help you for a reasonable fee. (Are you the type of person who helps authors bring their books up to par? Drop us a line and let us know what you do. We're always looking for more service providers.)

On that note, here are the latest Apple iBooks Quality Standards.

BookBrewer's Latest Publisher: The Huffington Post

We're honored to serve as a partner to The Huffington Post as it enters the eBook market for the first time.

Their first title, "A People's History of the Great Recession" by Arthur Delaney, was created and published through BookBrewer and is available through major eBook stores now. Their next title, "How We Won" by Aaron Belkin, publishes on September 20. You can stay up to date on upcoming HuffPost eBooks on their site here.


     BUY IT FOR:


We're particularly excited to see journalists use BookBrewer to curate collections of stories and interviews into well-written books. As our CEO Dan Pacheco (a former journalist himself) discussed recently on PBS Idea Lab, BookBrewer has its roots in journalistic publishing through a Knight Foundation-funded project called Printcasting. Pacheco and media blogger Amy Gahran chatted about the possibility of journalists creating eBooks back in May. Now a major news organization is doing just that.

Delaney's book is a perfect example of how a journalist covering a specific topic over a long period of time can combine articles into a compelling narrative. As Arianna Huffington says in the book's forward, she hired Delaney in 2009 as their "Economic Impact Correspondent."

"His job was to find families and individuals dealing with the consequences of the economic devastation and tell their stories in ways that captured the public imagination and touched people’s hearts," writes Huffington. "Arthur’s reporting, collected in this e-book, will, I hope, help bring that much-needed sense of urgency to the public debate and our leaders’ priorities."

The Huffington Post, along with many other news organizations, are sitting on thousands of such stories. Most journalists now blog or use content management systems of some type. Since BookBrewer is built on the Drupal blogging platform the interface couldn't be more familiar to them. We can't write the book for you, but if you can copy and paste -- you can publish an eBook.

If you're a journalist or editor at a news organization, we invite you to try BookBrewer now to create a free sample ePub file. When you're ready to publish, our fees are as low as they can get -- starting at just $19.99 -- but if you're the kind of organization that can drive high sales you may be eligible for one of our new Red Carpet Plans that waive setup fees.

Authors and publishers who distribute through BookBrewer also keep 95% of all royalties paid out by retailers. You can find more details on pricing and royalty shares on the Pricing page. Have questions? Please drop us a line and let us know what you would like to do. We'd love to see more journalists and news organizations join the eBook revolution and get paid for their hard work.

- Dan Pacheco, CEO,

Have High Sales? Sign Up for a Red Carpet Plan.

Last fall we launched BookBrewer as an easy way for anyone to publish an eBook or Print on Demand title. We're committed to continuing to serve everyone who can follow our simple cut-and-paste publishing process and pay our low setup fees. We're proud to now serve an audience of nearly 6,000 authors and publishers, many of whom are publishing their first books.

But as with every new medium, the eBook space has evolved and expanded, and the definition of what it means to self publish is broader. Now authors who already have a large number of books and a following are leaving the comfort zone of traditional publishing and starting to self publish -- effectively filling the role of "publishing house" on their own. These high sellers are keeping more of the resulting sales than ever before thanks to author-friendly royalty terms. And after taking control of their own marketing they're selling more copies in a few months than they sold in an entire year with traditional publishers.

We've worked closely with a few of these types of authors, including Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Ridan Publishing and The Huffington Post and have crafted new plans that meet their specific needs. We call these Red Carpet Author Plans. We're now making these plans available to any author who has a demonstrated history of high eBook sales or whose brand recognition means they have that potential.

A Red Carpet Plan has several benefits not available to everyone else, including:

  • Low or no setup fees for new titles.
  • Waived redistribution fees for existing titles as long as sales pass a minimum threshold.
  • More regular sales reports, including daily reports from some retailers.
  • Monthly royalty payments.
  • Discounts on other services, such as manual eBook creation, cover designs and AuthorApps (TM).
  • And finally, strong advocacy for promotion from retailers who are always looking for suggestions on books with high sales potential.

In addition to all these great benefits, Red Carpet authors still keep 95% of royalties -- among the highest available for value-priced self-publishing services. We also now allow your to upload your own ePub files, so you can say goodbye to the "plug and pray" method of uploading Word documents into buggy automated conversion scripts. Finally, if you need help creating a good ePub file, you can copy and paste your chapters into forms to have BookBrewer build your eBook, or we can connect you with an affordable conversion shop to do that part for you.

Interested in moving to a Red Carpet Author Plan? If you're an author with high sales, or represent such authors, please answer the questions on this short form and someone will be in touch.

But we're not stopping there. Every successful author started out with a first book, and we want to see as many new authors as possible work their way into Red Carpet status. If we notice your overall sales increase to more than 500 copies per month and they stay there for two consecutive months, we will proactively reach out to you about moving to a Red Carpet Plan. And we'll also continue to share tips with you about how to do your own marketing, and connect you with other professional service providers who can help you improve your content.


Don't Buy the Doom and Gloom. Publishing Revenue is Up!

And the survey says ... people still like their books. They really, really do.

We all lament the demise of neighborhood bookstores and what it means for curling up with a favorite printed book, but the reality is that new eBook formats are giving readers more choices. And that's leading to an overall increase in book sales.

The advent of ebooks and the ease of self publishing through services like BookBrewer is increasing available content across a host of genres, from academic and professional titles to childrens' books.

Last month's BookStats Survey, which comes out every year from the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. The survey includes data from just under 2,000 publishers covering five categories: trade, higher education, K-12, scholarly and professional. It shows that in 2010 publishers had net revenues of $27.9 billion -- an increase of 5.6 percent from 2008. Some 2.57 billion books in all formats were sold in 2010, a 4.1 percent jump since 2008.

The most growth was seen in adult fiction, young adult offerings, trade books and higher education. That last category was apparently helped from the economic downturn, as many people have gone back to school to learn new skills, thus creating more demand from the student sector.

And the star of the show? eBooks. The report said 114 million eBooks were sold in 2010. The trend is moving higher in 2011 as more folks self publish eBooks.

So while hardcovers and paperbacks may see less space on store shelves, don't miss the bigger picture: eBooks are showing that people still crave well-written stories. And thanks to eReaders and tablets they now have more, not fewer, ways to get them.

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