BookBrewer Blog

The Forever War Makes NPR's Top 100

We're always on the lookout for success stories, so when we heard this news from a BookBrewer customer we just had to let loose.

Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, a book first published in 1976 and republished as an eBook through BookBrewer customer Ridan Publishing, was just named one NPR's top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books of all time!

According to Ridan, more than 5,000 people nominated their choices, and a finalist list of 237 went to a vote. After 60,000 votes, the top 100 were chosen and Haldeman's book came out at 56. Congratulations to Joe, as well as Robin Sullivan of Ridan Publishing! See the full list here.

Want to see what all the fuss is about? You can grab a copy of The Forever War from Kobo and iBooks for under $5.

Amazon Signs Timothy Ferriss

Self-publishing is riding a wave of popularity among writers who previously may have found themselves on the outside looking in when it came to getting their works out to the masses.

The trend has not gone unnoticed by the big boys -- last week, no less than Amazon snapped up Timothy Ferriss, the self-help guru for young men, to add to its stable of authors as Amazon moves from enabling publishing to being a publisher.

Of course, not all of us can be as notable as Ferriss, but everyone has to start somewhere. And here at BookBrewer we're making it easy for aspiring writers to have their works noticed by more than just family or friends, be it to publish a book in print, or an ebook.

And while many folks may think of self-publishing simply in terms of getting their book in front of the public, others are looking for ways to turn their photos or documents into ebook content that can be easily accessed across a number of devices.

That, perhaps, is where self-publishing offers its greatest promise -- no more fiddling with clunky software programs in order to get your vacation photos to Grandma. Instead, use our simple publishing tools to create an ePub in minutes and distribute it to six retailers.

A self-help guru? Sure, that can be nice. But when it comes to help with your words and pictures -- or your next great novel -- it's good to have a solid self-publisher in your corner.

Welcome, Borders Customers!

This week we welcomed users of Borders Get Published into BookBrewer. This separately branded service has been in operation since 2010, and in 8 short months it helped a lot of new authors get discovered. It also helped well-known authors like Bella Andre find new audiences.

As a former partner of Borders we're saddened by the direction things went, but there is a silver lining: YOU, the authors! The story that never got play in the media is that even in the midst of Borders declaring bankruptcy and entering liquidation, thousands of new authors were empowered, discovered and featured through our co-branded publishing service, Borders' eBook site and Kobo (which, by the way, is still going and growing!)

We're honored to be able to continue to carry the self-publishing torch and serve the authors who first came to us through Borders. And like many of you, we also bid one last heartfelt adieu to Borders. We will continue to work diligently to help authors get published through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and more. And don't worry, there's a lot more ahead. Here's a hint of what's to come.

E-books: No Longer the Stepchild

Walk into an airport or board a commuter bus almost anywhere in the country and you will notice that suddenly everyone had a Kindle, Sony, ipad or other version of the e-reader. A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times reported that “for the last three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, outnumbered sales of hardcover books. In that time, Amazon said, it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, including hard covers for which there is no Kindle edition.” Even light and inexpensive paperbacks are fast being supplemented by electronic versions of books. According the Association of American Publishers, e-books (ranked #2 sellers after paperbacks) sales rose 160% in the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010. Those numbers are particularly jaw-dropping when compared to adult hard covers, which were down by 23% over the same period.  

It’s always hard to know – at least for a while – if a trend will stick around or go the way of the Hammer Pant. But all signs seem to be indicating that readers are fully accepting and loving e-books.

Due in large part to widespread use of electronic books, data is stacking up to support a kind of democratization of the publishing industry. Previously unknown authors are being read and people are reading what they want to read, not just what the large publishing houses put their name and dollars behind.

 This is especially good for writers that might have a hard time getting through the door at a major publishing house. As mentioned here, BookBrewer's own Barbara Freethy recently rose to #1 on the NYT Best Seller list.  And, for the first time, self-published authors like John Locke are selling over a million eBooks (and that’s just on Kindle). Kobo (in Canada) helped to make Giller Prize winner The Sentimentalists popular even though it was almost impossible to get a hold of a paper copy.  

BookBrewer.com unaffected by Borders' liquidation

Hello, BookBrewers!

You may have seen the news that Borders, one of our retail partners and the marketing partner for the separately-managed Borders Get Published service, is entering liquidation and will be out of business by September.

While Borders Get Published is separate from BookBrewer.com, this news has sparked questions from some authors who have used either BookBrewer and Borders Get Published to create and distribute eBooks. We want to assure authors of both services that your books are safe and will not be affected by Borders' liquidation, whether they are created on BookBrewer or Borders Get Published.

If you have additional questions we encourage you to read FeedBrewer's statement about the future of Borders Get Published on the FeedBrewer corporate site.

BookBrewer 2.0 offers a simpler interface, direct ePub upload and more

We're happy to announce the launch of BookBrewer 2.0! Here's a quick overview of what's new.

A New Look: The first thing you'll notice is a lighter, brighter, less cluttered design. We opt for white whenever possible, and surface prominent buttons in the My Books page and Book Builder that make it easier to get around.

Direct ePub Upload: Next, there's a feature that many of you have been asking for since we launched: the ability to upload ePub files that you create elsewhere. Our dirt-simple eBook creation tools are still available, but when creating a new book you have the option of uploading an ePub. As long as your ePub passes ePubCheck, you can upload it and then ask us to do any of the following:

  • Distribute the eBook to retailers.
  • Republish an eBook you distributed elsewhere through us as a way to keep 95% of your post-retail royalties. (But if you do this, make sure you first have your other service un-publish the eBook in the same retailer).
  • Turn the eBook into a Print on Demand title.

New RSS Import Feature: We've also changed the RSS import option so that it automatically turns every blog post into a chapter in your book. The "My Available Content" area has been removed. Rather than adding individual posts from the Available Content block, you simply remove the imported posts that you don't want in your book, then edit and arrange the posts you want to keep. In our tests we discovered that this reduces confusion and saves a lot of time for people who are building eBooks from blogs.

Simplified Book Building: Finally, the Book Builder itself is less cluttered and more task-oriented. You can still edit chapter names right within the hierarchy, but when you edit a chapter's content you do it from a separate page. This provides more space to edit each chapter while also eliminating the confusion that can arise from having multiple chapters open at the same time.

We hope you enjoy the new features. And don't worry -- there's more to come!

- The BookBrewer Team

Outage tonight beginning 7 p.m. MST

Hello authors,

Please note that BookBrewer.com will be unavailable tonight, Friday June 24, from approximately 7-11 p.m. MST for maintenance and improvements. During this time, you will not be able to use the service to create or publish new eBooks, or access eBooks you have created before.

Note that any eBooks you have published to retailers will be unaffected (people will still be able to buy your eBooks). Also, other BookBrewer-branded services such as Borders Get Published will be unaffected.

We're excited about the new features we'll be able to offer you after this upgrade, so thank you for your patience and understanding!

- The BookBrewer Team

UPDATED 9:36 P.M. -- The upgrade is complete. We'll be posting more about the features soon, but poke around and let us know if you see any bugs.

June Newsletter: Father's Day Special, eBooks as Apps and More

Happy June! It's time for another edition of the BookBrewer newsletter.

1. Set Dad's Inner Author Free!

Have the kind of dad who's always writing? Help him finally Get Published with an all-inclusive eBook publishing package -- now only $29.99, a $10 savings through Father's Day only! With the Gift of Publishing, your dad can ...

Sell his eBook through Major Retailers.
Our easy drag-and-drop tools make it easy create an eBook, then make it available for sale through Borders and Kobo .. and also Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Google eBooks. He'll have all the bases covered no matter how readers choose to buy and read his eBook. An ISBN valued at $125 is included, making this package pay for itself from day one.

 

Send it to Family and Friends or Post it Online.
An eBook can also be used privately, or e-mailed to friends to view on their own eReaders, smart phones or tablets such as the iPad. It can even be sent in e-mail to be opened in the reader's app of choice from most mobile devices, as well as desktop apps.

Want the package for yourself? No problem. Just be sure to buy it before Father's Day, after which it goes back to $39.99.

GIFT IT NOW!

And After Your eBook ...
An eBook is just the first step. After you've published an eBook, you can turn it into a Print on Demand book for a one-time $60 setup fee, then order copies for as little as $4 plus $6 shipping. You can even get your Print on Demand title listed on Amazon, with more print retail distribution partners on the way. Learn more about our eBook to Print program.

2. Sales Reports and Royalties Updated

We've updated your eBook sales through March and Print on Demand title sales through May. You can find a full report at the bottom of the book profile for each of your titles. (How to find your sales report? Read this.) If you're due more than $25 you should have received a payment to your PayPal address. If you're due a payment and don't see it in your PayPal account, first make sure you have provided all the information we need to pay you, then contact us.

3. Congratulations to Barbara Freethy!

The face of book publishing is rapidly changing, with authors like Barbara Freethy moving into bestseller's lists through self-publishing. Her BookBrewer-published Summer Secrets is now the #1 bestselling eBook on the New York Times Bestseller List, and she talks about how she did it on her Web site.

We want to see as many of you as possible move into the upper ranks, but we know that it's hard to know where to get started. This summer you can look forward to marketing tips, special deals and more on the BookBrewer Blog.

4. Keep More Money from Borders & Kobo Book Sales

We're excited to tell all of our authors about a new plan for eBooks sold through Borders and Kobo. If your eBooks are priced between$0.99 and $12.99 and 20% below the suggested retail price of the physical edition of the same book, we can now pass 60% of the royalties back to you (and even more for authors with higher sales). In addition, your books won't be discounted unless they're for sale cheaper elsewhere.

Because of the special conditions required, you must sign a separate author agreement to qualify for this plan. E-mail contracts@bookbrewer.com for more information, and be sure to provide the following information: 1) Your user name on Borders Get Published; and 2) The title(s) of your books published through us. We will review the books in your account and follow up on a first-come, first-come basis.

5. Your Book -- Is There an App for That?

Thanks to our new relationship with AuthorApps, we can now turn eBooks into apps that people can download as free samples for iPhone and iOS, then pay for using Apple's in-app purchasing system. And for authors who have many books in a series, AuthorApps can provide a branded bookshelf that displays all of their books. Want to be one of the first authors to have an app through AuthorApps? Sign up for the AuthorApps newsletter and you'll be at the top of their list.

It's a great time to be an author! Thanks for choosing to publish through BookBrewer!

How to View an ePub File

BookBrewer is one of the few eBook publishing services that gives authors the option to download an ePub file for their own personal use, to send to family and friends, or even sell directly from their own Web sites without having to worry about Digital Rights Management (DRM).

We're not against DRM. It's what allows you, the author, to distribute your eBook to retail channels in a way that makes it extremely difficult for the average purchaser to make your eBook available to millions of people via e-mail or file sharing networks. But on the flip side, when an ePub file is DRM protected, it also prevents you -- the author -- from choosing how and where you want your book to be used.

We strongly recommend that every author have a copy of the ePub files for their own books, and for a simple reason. When you get the full ePub file, YOU, the author, get to choose how you want your content to be used.

Once you have a DRM-free ePub file, you must have software on your computer or mobile device that can read it. Fortunately you have many choices. This is just a partial list that grows out of date by the month as new options are available. Run a Google search for "ePub Reader" along with your device type, and chances are that something new will show up that will be better than any of these options. We'll do our best to update this list with the best and most recent software, but things are changing so quickly that whatever is good today will be out of date tomorrow.

 

EPub Reading Apps and Software

Apple iPad and iPhone (iOS)
There are many different ePub reading apps for iOS users. These are our favorites:

Android Phones and Tablets:
Search for one of these apps from the Android marketplace: 

  • FBReader
  • Google EBooks
  • Nook
  • Kobo
  • Borders

PC or Mac:

Amazon Kindle Device:
Download the Mobipocket file, then connect your Kindle to your computer with its cable and copy the Mobipocket file to your device.

Improved shipping, features for Print on Demand books

In February we announced our new eBook to Print program which automatically lays out, prints and delivers your eBook as a Print on Demand title. The program is now fully integrated into the ordering process so that anyone can take advantage of it -- and not just those who purchased a pre-order package.

As with any new product, we didn't get things perfect out the gate, but we listened intently to the feedback of early adopters and made the following changes:

1) Better shipping rates: Shipping of your first book is included in the initial $60 setup fee (no change there). But the shipping for additional orders is now flat-rate. The first copy in an order costs $6, and each additional copy in the same order is just $1 after that.

2) Full-bleed covers: Covers now bleed all the way to the edge and do not include a white border. This was actually always the plan, but the very first prototypes included the border due to some additional setup work our printing partner, Consolidated Graphics, needed to do.

3) Back cover and spine: You can now send us a separate image for your back cover, in addition to a spine.

4) PDF proof with ability to make changes: Our printing partner now sends you a PDF proof which you can change with payment of a $20 fee. And we also will now accept PDFs created from other layout programs as long as they fit a 6x9 aspect ratio.

5) Prefer your own layout? No problem! We now can offer you a Word template that has margins and fonts set up to work with our 6x9 format. Set up your content in Word, save it as a PDF and send it to us and we'll put it on the presses.

We also plan to offer additional features such as different sizes, different types of bindings, high-gloss covers and more in the coming months.

Thanks to those of you who tried the system in the early days, and for providing your feedback to make it even better. If you have other ideas, questions or feedback please don't hesitate to let us know.

 

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