Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guest Blogger Pam Crooks--Kindles and Nooks, oh my!

For years, I’ve been an e-book snob. From the day Romance Writers of America first broke the news (and I remember that day well) that one of our own had sold a book for a strange contraption called an e-reader, I’ve turned up my nose at the very idea.

I wasn’t alone. Legions of readers (and writers) declared they would never buy one. We were convinced the idea was too radical, too trendy and would never take off. We refused to give up that feel of holding a book in our hands, of smelling the ink on the paper and filling our shelves with scores (even hundreds!) of titles by well-loved authors. We believed those darn things were cold, impersonal, way too expensive and never, ever would we buy one.

Well, my friends, times are a-changin’.

In the past year, I’ve found myself growing more and more intrigued with them. Sales were picking up. Prices were going down. People were talking about them. Authors were selling for them. And then, lo and behold, it was Christmastime and hmmm, what could Santa bring me?

Yep, I found a Kindle under my tree, and I’m so hooked, it ain’t even funny.

The Kindle, the Nook, and all the other e-readers out there have literally changed the publishing world, and so fast, (once the notion took hold) our heads are spinning. We were shocked by the recent news that e-books have outsold print books - who could’ve known that would ever happen? - and brick and mortar stores are suffering.

But the news has translated into generous sales for authors, and it’s about time. Many of us who have been fortunate enough to have rights reverted on previous titles have made the savvy decision to publish our own books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other sites. We’re breathing new life into work that once languished in that black void of out-of-print books.

Now, if you have a manuscript or two out there that you haven’t been able to sell, (and we all do!) you’re probably asking yourself - should I self-publish my book and try to sell it on my own? Can I make as much money as the others who are converting their backlists into ebooks?

Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? My take is, you won’t know until you try. It’s not difficult, it’s not expensive, and if you have a dream to see your book in a sell-able format, go for it. You deserve it. Just keep your expectations reasonable. Maybe you’ll make some decent money, and maybe you won’t, but you have to be willing to let readers know your book(s) are out there. In other words, promote, promote, promote.

If you’ve already made the decision to self-publish, here’s a few tips:


Before you do anything, go to and download their Style Guide for formatting guidelines. I printed out my own copy and it was my bible in the formatting process. Once you get the formatting down, the rest is a piece of cake.

For example, they’ll give you guides on phrasing the front matter and suggestions on what information to include at the end of your book. They’ll show you keyboarding tricks, too. Be sure to steer away from quirky fonts and symbols, because they might not show up in the finished product. Stick with the basics, ie, Times New Roman.

If you still need help formatting, don’t have an electronic file anymore, only the physical book, or whatever, check out: 


You can’t use the ISBN on your original book. You weren’t the original publisher. But never fear . . ..
If you publish on Kindle, you don’t need an ISBN. Amazon assigns you an ASIN for free. But it’s only for Amazon.
If you publish on Smashwords, they will assign you an ISBN for $9.95 (taken out of your royalties) IF your book makes it to their Premium Catalog. (If it doesn’t make it into the Premium Catalog, Smashwords will have their own number for you.) But if your book is done properly, it should make into their Premium Catalog for distribution with no problem.
If you publish on B & N’s PubIt! for Nook, you don’t need an ISBN for that, either. They’ll have their own set-up to keep track of your sales.
Note: Some authors will use the Smashwords ISBN for Kindle and B & N.

Some authors will go to and buy one or more, but it’s very expensive.

You can’t use your old print book cover. You won’t have the rights to it. So you’ll have to get a new cover designed for you. In my case, my daughter did mine for me.

A popular site for cover design is: Smashwords can help you, too. Just check out their formatting guidelines.

Once your ebook is properly formatted and you have your new cover, you can start publishing. This is the fun and easy part. These are the sites I used: and their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

That’s it in a nutshell. Believe me, there’s a TON of information out there, and I’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg. Do your homework.

And that brings me to why I’m visiting you all at Seekerville today. (Thank you, Mary!) Here are my new ebooks:

Hannah’s Vow

She grew up on the wrong side of the law, daughter of a master thief and student to his trade. But when he dies at the hands of an angry mob, she flees to a monastery to escape the world and her sins.


He is betrayed by his brother and sentenced to a life in prison. Only the thirst for revenge keeps him alive. He will do anything to escape . . .

Together . . .

They must run for their lives to survive their pasts. And in the journey, they find truth . . . and an unlikely love in their hearts.

Lady Gypsy

She belonged to no world of her own.

Not the world of the Gypsy . . .

Liza was born to roam the land with her mother’s people, but she is shamed by the sin that made her forever different.

And not the world of the Gaje, the non-Gypsy . . .

Reese has set down roots deep in the Nebraska prairie. His dreams are sure to come true with a new railroad and a proper wife and child.

Until their worlds collide . . .

But Liza is accused unfairly by Reese’s people, and she is forced to flee the security of her world to see safety in his. When Reese’s careful plans for success are threatened, he must fight to save all he’s ever worked for.

Will it cost him the love he’s found with the beautiful, black-eyed woman with red-gold hair? His Lady Gypsy?

Broken Blossoms

Carleigh wants only to escape her father’s lies and find the mother she never knew.

Trig is determined to bring her back again.

When she flees her San Francisco home in a frantic flight through the California wilderness, Trig is blackmailed by her unscrupulous father to chase after her. Though the blossoms of her innocence are crushed forever, revenge for the death of Trig’s younger brother leaves him no choice but to outwit her escape attempts time and time again.

Carleigh must untangle the web of deceit in her past. Trig knows the truth can destroy her. But as a special agent for the United States government, he is drawn into an opium smuggling ring only Carleigh and her mother can help expose, and he is forced to choose between two loves–Carleigh or his country.

Will it cost him the only family he has left in the world? Or will he find new life with the beautiful woman whose very blood marked her his enemy?

Wyoming Wildflower

One of her father’s daughters . . .

All Sonnie Mancuso wants is to be needed by her father. Unfortunately, he already has a daughter--six, to be exact--and all he needs is a son.

One of her father’s men . . .
Orphaned in the slums of New York, fifteen-year-old Lance Harmon needs a home. Sonnie’s father gives him one, on the cattle-rich Rocking M ranch. Through the years, Lance learns to love the land, the work . . . and Sonnie.
And their legacy . . .
But Vince Mancuso’s health is failing, and there’s trouble on the Wyoming range. Sonnie returns home to claim the legacy that’s rightfully hers . . . but learns Lance has already claimed it.
Do you have a Kindle, Nook or another e-reader? Do you like it? Tell us why. And if you hate it, tell us that, too!
Join in the discussion, and be eligible to win your choice of one of my newest e-books above!
For more information about my books:


  1. Pull up a seat and have a cuppa coffee. It'll be ready at 4 a.m.

    Nice little manual you've presented here.

    Nope, no e-reader of any kind. I'm always slow to adapt to major change.


  2. And here I was hoping for a Kindle giveaway ;).

    But books are good. Books are great actually. I love ebooks and will likely love them more once I have a Kindle [probably Kindle b/c that's where I get most of my free books ;)] but I also love actual books. In fact, I'll get both if it's a book I really love.

    That could change once I have an ereader, but for now, not as much.

    It's on my Mother's Day list ;). I'd love the chance to win a book.

    It's Saturday - so all the sugar cereal you can eat is set up over there by the coffee maker. Plus there's heart healthy stuff if you really really want it. You'll have to look under the table to find it though. ;)

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  3. EXCELLENT INFORMATION, PAM!! Thank you so much!!!

    I don't think anymore it is a matter of if you will self publish at some point in your career. It is definitely..WHEN that is the question.

    Gorgeous covers, btw.

    I just got my first e-Reader. Only 3 months old and handed down to me because the owner bought an iPad (I am so jealous). But really enjoying learning my way around the kindle (gee and it has a nice leather case and a light tucked inside!! Thanks, Tom)

    And my book is on it. So right away this is a plus!!!

  4. Welcome to Seekerville, Pam! Your stories sound fascinating (I like those titles too). ~ No, I'm one of those "old-fashioned" people who just isn't quite ready for an e-reader (LOVE actual books though!). Hmmmm....maybe by Christmas I'll be ready to try one, LOL. ~ I've brought blueberry muffins to go with Helen's wonderful coffee! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  5. Tina -

    That's an interesting supposition - that pretty much everyone will self epub at some point.

    I've thought about it. The MS [and it's sequels] that I spent today working on the query for is something that may not sell because of the format of it - HOW the story is told [we're going to pretend, for the moment, that the writing is good etc ;)]. I've thought that someday, if I manage to sell something else first and it still doesn't sell, then I could possibly self-pub that series.

    Do you mean just your own backlist after the rights revert? Pub Rants talked about this today [or yesterday? Not sure with the time zones and all ;)]. How just because your publisher may revert your rights, your agent/agency may not. That many agencies have 'in perpetuity' in the contracts so you'd still owe the agent money on self-e pubbed backlists.

    It's interesting. It'll continue to be interesting to see how it plays out...

  6. I have to say I didn't think I would love the ereader as much as I do. I actually did a report of the various readers and the availability in Australia for an assignment last year. I got a credit for the subject and taught the lecturer about them.
    In Australia its basically sony ereader at around $300+ or the international Kindle with postage etc about $170. I had money left over from my trip and bought a kindle for my birthday. I love it as I can read some pdfs on it (some are formated and the print is to small).
    I still love books and will miss not sharing them but I love the kindle for the weight and ease to take places. What I hate is there is no light on it like a laptop you can read in the dark. You cant with a kindle.

    Tina im jealous of your leather case and light I couldn't afford a case.

    For aussies we cant get all the titles here due to copyright issues so only about 25% of all titles available. like LI books we have to wait 2 years to buy ebook form. Even some others but we still can get lots and its a real bonus.

    I saw an ipad with the kindle app and it was so cool and has a back light. but Im happy with my kindle.

    now to pick a book to read as the one I am reading is one thats driving me mad, its to busy and conplicated but am told it improves (page 120 of 320 and I need improvement now)

  7. I think both avenues are in the future, Carole.

    Traditionally published authors are turning to self publishing and self published author and moving into traditional publishing. It's going to be interesting isn't it?

  8. Jenny, the new Kindle debuted this week. Only 114 bucks!!

  9. I'm a bit conflicted about that one, Tina. It's not ads per se but like Groupon as the screensaver or something to that effect. Not sure how I feel about that [though that's more likely to fit in the Mother's Day/anniversary budget esp if I want a cover and/or light to go with it]. I know it's not supposed to interfere with books [only the screensaver and home screen] but still...

    Anyone else's thoughts?

  10. Tina you mean I should have waited! wonder if this one will be international as well. But Im happy with mine its only $25 cheaper when you add the international adapter and postage (and I saved $10 for the adapter) Although the aussie dollar is so good its on par when its converted with the USD.

  11. Welcome to Seekerville, Pam! And thanks so much for these tips for self-publishing an ebook! So helpful! I'm thinking I might want to self-publish an ebook at some point, so I'm saving this article!

  12. Helen - a woman after my own heart with coffee ready at 4AM!

    Pam - I belong to a local writers' group and our discussion for the last 2 meetings has been on epublishing. Your article couldn't be more timely. I don't own a Kindle or Nook, but I do have the free Kindle app downloaded on my notebook. Obviously, not quite as convenient or small as a Kindle, but it still works!

  13. Yes, I have a Nook and I absolutely love it. (The only thing about it that annoys me is that I sometimes see eBook prices that are same as regular book prices and I feel the publisher has lost their mind.)

    Considering self-publishing my nonfiction book on marriage. Eventually (unless the publisher who requested it a few months ago says "yes"), I'll likely take that route.


  14. I do like tech toys,so my friends will tell you its not surprising I love my Kindle. Recently went on a trip and took along 17 books--such luxury to have a choice on what I'm reading even though I'm out of town. Looking forward to the day when every book is available electronically. I don't pretend to know how things will settle out in the publishing world, but it seems to me ebooks will have an interesting place there.

  15. The jury's still out on my decision about ebooks. I love technology. I use it everyday in my classroom in more than one way. I'm addicted to my computer and the internet. I don't own a Kindle or Nook, but I have the apps on my laptop.

    I don't think I'll ever be able to give up "real" books. I love holding the book in my hands, the smell of a new book, the feel of a hardback especially. I can see the advantages of ebooks, but I also see the other side. For example, I just purchased the ebook format of an instructional book about writing. It has workbook pages that I can't print out so I'm copying the questions onto paper so I can answer them. A definite disadvantage.

    Congratulations on your ebook publishing! The covers are great. Thanks for the wealth of information too.

  16. Great article!

    I am on the indie wagon and plan to have a book up by the end of the month. I think e-publishing is a nifty outlet for writers to get their work out to the public. Some people argue that they don't feel validated unless a publisher signs them or that they don't want to give up reading paper, but honestly, you e-pubbing doesn't mean you can never hold a book in your hand again, and as JA Konrath puts it, "sells are a much better, and more realistic, form of validation."

    With so many readers holding e-reading devices, let's get our work onto their screens! :)

  17. PAM!!! Oh, man, what a GREAT and TIMELY article -- THANK YOU!! I actually have been giving this a lot of thought for down the road someday when my series go out of print. I had NO idea it was SO easy!!!

    I can see the handwriting on the wall with e-books -- my sales in e-books have skyrocketed, outdistancing the print books, so I know there will be an e-book in my future ...


  18. Pam,

    Thought provoking information.

    I don't have an e-reader....yet. I have two friends who love their Nook. And I'm thinking a color Nook my be in my future.

    Good luck with your e-releases.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  19. I have a Kindle and, for some reason, it took me until two weeks ago to realize I can download books in the middle of the night, get all the backlist Seeker category books I may have missed (even though that is a rare occurrence) and archive my books at Amazon's "cloud." Why did it take me this long?

    I bought a kindle because I could increase the font size and not have to pay extra for large print! I have astigmatism so would have had to have special prescription reading glasses. Saved a ton of money. At least that is what I tell my husband.

    I love it and am really glad you now can tell locations by pages. I don't like the prices of ebooks creeping up.

    Love moving forward but still have my faves in paperback!

    Peace, Julie

  20. Julie, I have "A Hope Undaunted" on my Nook. It's great.

    Another thing for Nooks is that you occassionally get free coffee or food, something which I've definitely made use of.

  21. Here's what's rattling around in my head. I'm no where near ready to do it....BUT....I have or eight books that I've written that don't fit my genre.
    If they never sell...and I'm not quite ready to give up yet....I've pondered self-publishing them on an ebook.
    They're fun romances but really different than romantic comedy with cowboys. I also think I have contractural limits on using my name on other books. I can't remember all the details right now, so I'd be very careful about that.
    I love this information, Pam. Thanks so much. The process of doing it seems really daunting. You've laid it out wonderfully.

  22. Walt, thanks for the reminder about Hope Undaunted. With the tornado watch, I can sit at home and download no worries.

    There is a Kindle now that is lower priced because they have "ads" in the book. It is only $25 less but spare me please.

    I really want to also get a color Nook so I can do the magazine thing as well as check out library books. I want to go through a generation or two first before I do that.

    Or I may just breakdown and get an iPad like the rest of the universe.

    I would buy everyone's ebooks and have noticed a lot of authors saying on Facebook they are now selfpublishing. My only worry there is making sure I am tapped into the market as a reader.

    Will the self-publishing market be glutted like the blogosphere has been filled to the max?

    Peace, Julie
    Peace, Julie

  23. I got a kindle for Christmas and I love it! I mostly got it because when I travel, I'll bring 6 or 7 trade paperbacks for a 1 week trip. I'm getting old enough that my back is unable to take it anymore. I downloaded an app for my computer and started downloading the free ones each week in October and by the time Christmas came, I had nearly 50 books all ready to go. I also like that the free offerings change almost every week. I've discovered a few new authors that I like that way. One of them my Nany (mom's mom) also reads, so I've been calling her a couple times a week to chat about the book, and of course other things as well.

    I had a feeling I would like my kindle but what I didn't know is how much I would love it. Also, for those who are saying they can't afford the cover with the light that attaches to it. I bought a regular book light that clips and it works just fine.



  24. Hey, Pam! Thanks for the "how to" summary. It's a great opportunity for authors. Your new covers are beautiful, even prettier than the originals.

  25. This was such an interesting article, Pam! I'm glad to know authors can do this with their back list and with books they haven't sold. I love my Kindle and the free and inexpensive books I'm able to download for it. I have read authors I'd never have picked up because of a freebie and then gone on to purchase other books from them.

    Right now, publishers often offer a free back list book of an author who's about to release a new one. And I've seen some authors releasing free novellas or other teasers on ebook to create interest in a new release. The LI books are perfect to market for Kindle because of their length and price. I think epublishing has an exciting future!

  26. Pam,

    Good to see you at Seekerville! Once again, this is great information and something to keep in mind while trying to get into the published world.

    Please don't enter me in the drawing. I have all the books in my Kindle, and loved each one!


  27. WALT, you sweetheart, you -- THANK YOU for kicking my e-book sales up, my friend!! I hope to return the favor someday. :)

    And, JULIE, thank YOU for even considering downloading AHU -- MUCH appreciated!!


  28. Hi Pam:) Thanks for all the advice on publishing an ebook. Sounds like a great way to get out there. I have an ipad on I haven't tried it yet:( I'm sure I'll like being able to have lots of books at my fingertips, however, I still love to hold a book in my hands:)

    Please enter my name for a chance to win one of your ebooks...they sound like great stories:)

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  29. Great article, Pam--a topic all of us who write need to stay on top of.

    I have a nook and an Ipad(my husband thought I'd love it for Christmas,) and I've got to say--I LOVE MY NOOK MORE! It's easy to load and does all the things I need to make reading enjoyable.


  30. Good morning, everyone! I'm just back from an early hair appointment, and it's been great eating my yogurt and reading all your comments. Thank you!

  31. Tina, your comment about it being only a matter of time WHEN an author self-publishes made me stop and think.

    Print books will always be there, but maybe as a niche. A smaller piece of the pie. My 3 year-old grandson came over and needed some quiet time while his baby brother napped. I pulled out a VHS of Toy Story. He'd never seen a VHS cassette. He'd never seen a VCR. Already, technology has advanced so far to DVDs and sleek players that will accomodate them. Netflix and computer streaming . . .

    But books? I hope they'll always be around, but obviously, it'll be in lesser numbers.

  32. On another note, do we need to leave a note about wanting to be included in a critique?


  33. CarolM, I hopped over and read the Pub Rants article. Excellent point, and one I'll add to my article if I ever use it again.

    In my case, I sold 3 of these ebooks originally myself with no agent. But BROKEN BLOSSOMS was agented, and when I checked my contract awhile back, it was clear I'll owe my agent her usual 15% of these ebook sales. Her agency at the time was very forward thinking about electronic sales, though NO ONE had any idea they would soar to the heights of popularity they are today.

    I'll have to send her a check soon--how odd is that? :-)

  34. Regarding the new Kindle just coming out - one must ask herself if the savings is worth the hassle (is that the right word?) of seeing those ads rotating all the time. Yet what a fab new source of income for Amazon! Brilliant marketing, I say. And it's predicted it'll be a new way in the near future for authors to buy advertising for their new releases. Wow.

  35. Edwina, *everyone* is talking about epublishing these days. A very apropos topic for any writers group.

    I encourage everyone to stay on top of the discussions. Not only are they fascinating, but they're crucial to any author's career, no matter what level.

    It truly gives hope to those writers who can't find a traditional publisher--or don't want to.

  36. Christine, if there's one thing I have to dislike about the Kindle, it's not being able to prop open several books at a time when I'm writing - specifically, my research books. I mean - you CAN bookmark in the Kindle, you can highlight and so on, but it's just easier to spread them out on the floor for a quick grab to fine-tune that historical detail, you know?

    But maybe that's just me. :-)

  37. The Kindle ads are only on the front page-on your screen saver. So really not much different than going to check your email.


    Patty, you like your Nook better than an iPad. OMG the new iPad is so cool and you can connect it to your puter and hook up a keyboard to it and it has a touch screen.So can travel and read and work on your book


    And the new Kindle

  38. Did any of you happen to catch this article on thriller writer Barry Eisler's decision about e-books????

    *Read it!* Your eyes will pop out from amazement!

  39. oops EDITOR PLEASE...extra line in my last post!!

  40. I did. Barry is who I was referring to with the traditional to e. And Amanda Hocking on the e to traditional.

  41. Great, great article. Thank you so much. Now I just have to do a re-write of that first book of mine, since the POVs are wrong (How was I to know? I wasn't the swiftest back then). AND I DO LOVE MY KINDLE. Will be glad when the prices continue to drop.
    Thanks again. I've promoted you over at my author page on Facebook too.

  42. I suspect those ads would be more interesting than the sketches of those classic literary authors, Tina. Some are downright homely. :-)

  43. Totally agree on the several books at one time. I think of ebooks as being a fiction treat. I know you can bookmark on Kindle but I like several books open and spread on the desk when I am researching.(and papers and chocolate everywhere)

  44. Thanks for discussing this topic!
    I just released my first self-published Ebook this week! I used Smashwords and Amazon-Kindle Direct. There is a learning curve, but it's possible.

    Like Pam, I hired an artist to create a beautiful cover, and I also hired a freelance editor. But those were the only costs, and the royalties are about 70% for the author. Yes!

    Stop by my website for info and links.
    Blessings and happy reading,

  45. Rose, before Christmas, I thought long and hard about getting a Nook. I really love the idea of seeing color on my e-reader, and I miss not not being able to see beautiful, colorful bookcovers on the Kindle. I'm hoping Kindle will upgrade very soon.

    In the end, I thought Nook was a little too heavy and not quite as easy to maneuver as the Kindle. I like being able to read outside without glare, too.

    But again, that's just me.

    Freebies on your Nook, Walt? Dang! That's cool.

  46. Hi, Mary and Vicki, my sister Fillies from Petticoats & Pistols. Thank you for stopping by this morning!

    Mary, you are so-o prolific. I thought you'd pretty much sold every book you'd ever written. And you still have more? Wow!

    Vicki, thank you for your comments on my covers. I wanted something less traditional than the usual historical western. My daughter gave me a whole new perspective. I love them, too.

  47. Hi, Julie Hilton-Steele,

    You know, I haven't seen pages show up on my Kindle yet. I keep hoping they'll be there . . .

    You bring up a ver-ry good point about the self-publishing market being glutted one day. Yes, it will be, just like with everything else. Already, some of the Free and Bargain book sites like Pixels of Ink and DailyCheapReads are inundated and have to shut down submissions for awhile to catch up.

    Lots of writers jumping on the bandwagon . . .

  48. And with everything, too, some ebooks will not be of the quality you might expect . . .

    I've heard predictions that Amazon and B & N's Pubit! will be the new slush pile. Ugh.

    The best key to success is--Write The Best Book That You Can!!

  49. I figured you were thinking of Barry and Amanda, Tina.

    Makes you wonder what Barry's wife had to say about his decision, eh? :-)

    I shake my head in amazement from it all.

  50. Wow, Pam - such great information! As well as everyone's comments.

    I have a Sony eReader 700 which I bought at a discount for 'test driving it'. I love the mobility and the built-in light feature, but my next purchase will definitely be an iPad, especially since I have so many compatible apps already.

    One question... if you're self-publishing a book that was previously released by another publisher, do you mention it on your new released version? Otherwise, what's to stop a reader for paying twice for the same story?

    Anita Mae.

    Please enter me for Pam's draw as well as the First Five Pages Critique. :)

    anitamaedraper (at) hotmail (dot) com

  51. Kirsten Arnold, so great to see you again, as always, and thank you for your sweet words!

    Shirley Kiger Connolly, thanks for the mention on your Facebook page. So kind of you!!

    CONGRATS Carrie Turansky on your debut e-book publishing. Yee-haw! I'm off to check it out!!

  52. Oops - I should add that I also have an iPhone with the Kindle app as well as many other ebook apps.

    However, I like the size of the eReader 700 better as it 'feels' more like a print book. So, I'll usually download the free ebooks to my desktop then upload to my Sony eReader.

    Anita Mae.

  53. Hi, Anita! My brother actually switched to a Sony after first having a Kindle.

    To answer your question about mentioning your new ebook was previously released by another publisher . . . no, I don't mention it, as a rule. No reason to. The title is the same, the story is the same. Only the cover and the publisher has changed. (Publisher being me.)

    There's no more risk to the reader paying twice for the same story than if she would go to a bookstore and buy the book again. I would hope she'd remember the author and the title. :-)

    Besides, publishers are releasing print books and ebooks almost simultaneously these days. Same thing, right?

    Does that answer your question?

  54. I gotta get me an IPad. It's next on my list.

    And maybe an IPhone, too.

  55. Oh yeah, that answers my question... especially when I started thinking of those couple ... ahem ... few books I've bought with the scenario you've just given.

    Thanks, Pam.

    Anita Mae.

  56. Wonderful, informative post. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Wishing you all the best in e-book sales!

  57. Julie - As I understand it Pam and Tina are right. It's not ads in the books. That would be a no brainer 'no'. Though it seems lots of people think we're headed that way. Or at least cheaper book with ads v. more expensive without.

    I may be okay with a groupon style ad as a screensaver type thing since it's cheaper. I'll wait till they're actually out [May 3?] and see what the reviews say...

  58. I don't read as many books on the Kindle as I thought I would. It's perfect to take to the doctor's office or similar place, where I don't like to beat up a book in my purse (I'm persnickety about keeping my books pristine). And those I do read are the ones I've gotten for free and there are SO MANY free books.

    I have received one book I really wanted as a thank you gift - what a super cool gift, just purchase and send off to the person in cyberspace!

    I confess I have only purchased one ebook in my entire life. I love Alexis Harrington and the only place you can get a new book is at Smashwords.

    Great manual on how to epub, Pam! About how much time would you say you invested? Where did your daughter get the artwork? They are gorgeous photos. I know one of your daughters is a photographer. Am so impressed if they are originals.

    Cher :-)

  59. Forgot to add that my daughter reads her Kindle books on her ipod touch. She loves the convenience of always having it with her.

  60. Pam I just read that article you linked us to.

    Whoa, go read it everyone. It's LONG but really interesting.

    Love the peasant/royalty section. Funny and fascinating.

  61. Pam, I checked on Amazon and you're really selling your books inexpensively. And yet, you'll be getting MORE money because you don't have to split it with a publisher.

    I'm fascinated by this. I'd love to be kept up on how you're doing.
    I'm really rooting for you to sell a lot of books and at that price I think a LOT of people will think, "Why not give it a try."
    And you might really draw in new readers.

  62. My daughter just got an iPad. They are in love with it. She and her husband got it for a mutual birthday present since their birthdays are close.

    It turns on INSTANTLY. I logs online INSTANTLY.
    It's really amazing.

    And, they own one maybe three or four year old laptop that's getting to be on it's last legs. They said if I use a laptop to write, then it makes sense to have the full sized keyboard. But they don't write, they check email and read news and visit blogs. The iPad works great for that.

  63. This was such an interesting post. My dad has a few published books that are out of print and I have been wondering how to go about getting them into ebooks. This gives me a place to start! Thank you!

    And your book covers are beautiful. Kudos to you!

  64. I still see a distinct advantage to a physical book in the ability to find a previous place in a book. I know about how far back or forwards in a book a part might be that I want to refer back to, and with a physical book I can go to it, but on an ereader, I would have to know the exact page to find it again. I can have multiple physical books open at once. If I'm reasearching, like one commenter on this blog said, that's a huge disadvantage for the ereaders. I don't see how they can ever overcome this.
    I do love my Kindle, but I was also really excited to physically hold a new book in my hands last week, one that I'd anticipated for months. I don't want paper books to go away, even though I enjoy the convenience of ebooks.

  65. Hey, Cheryl, the birthday girl! Sounds like you had a lovely day. :-)

    Great question about how much time it took, because it lets me mention OCR scanning, which I didn't get into in the article.

    In a nutshell, OCR scanning--Optical Character Recognition--gives you the ability to transfer your book or galleys into a Word Document. However, the end result ain't always pretty. Some parts won't even be readable, so you still have to work with it.

    In my case, I had to use OCR on 3 of the 4 books. And so that Blogger won't throw me out again, I'll tell you all why in the next post......

  66. Pam C, enjoyed your post, and your daughter's cover designs are fantastic!

    I was just like you, couldn't believe I'd ever want to own an ereader, but I received one as a gift last year and I love it.

    Waiting rooms, extended car trips, air travel, always had me trying to figure out which 3-5 books I wanted to take along. Now I can grab my Kindle on the fly and I have a Bible (2 actually), and about 60+ fiction and non-fiction books in one neat little package that fits in my purse.

    I even have a game called Shuffled Row... Kinda like a timed Scrabble game. My 22 yo son and I had to wait in the doctor's office about 2 hours the other day and we passed the time playing Shuffled Row. Our best word was deploy (which he came up with) which was fitting because he is NOT being deployed because he had to have a plate put in his broken clavicle.

    PS... his shoulder is doing great, but pray for him... he has radial nerve palsy from the surgery and the feeling and movement is not coming back as quickly as we would like. It's slowly returning, but looks like he's going to be out of work much longer than we expected.

  67. I've always been a saver. I have every manuscript, every galley, every fan letter for every book I ever wrote. But danged if I could find disks for those 3 books! It made me crazy.

    Luckily, Amy, daughter #4, was between college classes and broke, so I paid her to re-type the first book. It didn't take long for her to get really crabby and refuse to type another book for me ever again. :-/

    That forced me to take another look at OCR scanning. Since I stil had my galleys, I'd tried earlier to scan them in, but they were such a mess, I'd figured it'd be just as easy to re-type the whole book.

    To make a long story short, I was able to make OCR work. All my daughters pitched in to clean up the scans and that took maybe 6 or 7 weeks.

    Then I went through the books again for the final edit. Believe me, with OCR, you need a second set of eyes to catch errors.

    Even without OCR, go through the books with a fine-toothed comb. You want a professional-looking product for your readers.

  68. Oh, and I meant to say that your post made me realize that some of my all-time-favorite OOP (Out of Print) books might now be available as ebooks.

    Going to see right now!!! lol

  69. Broken Blossoms was a breeze to convert. I still had the disk, so it was just a matter of converting the Word files into one long ebook file formatted according to Smashwords. But I still went through and proofread every line.

    Then I had to make sure the front matter matched the publishing venue--ie, Kindle, Smashwords, and B&N.

    Once the books were formatted properly, the hard part was done. It took maybe 15-20 minutes to upload each one onto Kindle, B&N and Smashwords sites.

    I'm not including the time I needed to LEARN all this. If I would've had the information I've given you all this morning before I started, it would've saved me HOURS.

    Trust me.

  70. Thank you for your compliments on the covers, Cheryl. Yes, Katie is a photographer, but not on this scale. She knows PhotoShop, though, so she tweaked stock images, cropped and fiddled and added new colors. She knew a few tricks to get me 3 cover images for free. The other one I paid $60for. Believe me, a bargain in the long-run.

  71. Mary, you bring up another good point--and that's how much to charge.

    We could talk about this for days.

    But let me say, some authors really stress over it. I was one of them. There are two schools of thought.

    Since Hannah's Vow is probably my favorite book of any I've written, I tackled that one first. After a great deal of thought, I decided to offer it for a limited time for 99 cents.

    Yes, I saw a spike in sales, but it really made me grimace to see only 35 cents royalty. You have to sell alot of books to make any money that way.

    Note: You'll see many books offered for free. Amazon won't let you do free. 99 cents is the cheapest. I still haven't figured out how to do free, but I haven't pursued it because I, um, don't want to give my work away. That's my school of thought.

    They say any book under $5 falls in the category of an impulse buy. If you don't like the book, then you haven't wasted too much money.

    Books from $5.01 to $9.99 makes you stop and think, but it's still affordable.

    Anything over $10 is serious consideration. Only the big name authors will probably get many sales that way.

    So in the end, I chose $2.99 (I'd researched many other authors and this is a popular price.) With a 70% royalty on Amazon, that's $2.01 per book. Smashwords and B&N are slightly lower.

    Thankfully, I'm selling way more books on Kindle than I am on Nook.

    I'm in the Premium catalog for Smashwords, but they're much slower to 'ship' their books to the various outlets; ie, Apple, Sony, etc.

  72. The other school of thought is to give your book away to drive readers to discover your work and hopefully buy your other books.

    I'm not quite a believer in that just yet.

    To me, a bird in the hand . . .

  73. But MARRRRYYYYY, you can get a full size keyboard for iPad. My husband has one.

  74. Sherrinda, I'm glad to give you some info to get started. Your dad would love to breathe new life into his books again. :-)

    Sara, Amen. I know exactly what you mean!

    Pam H.--thanks for mentioning the games! So true. I played Sodoku for the first time over Christmas.

    And prayers for your son's shoulder recovery.

  75. Hi Pam;

    I love your covers. They look totally professional. That’s very important.

    BTW: I have posted “Self Publishing eBook Marketing Maxims” on my website today.


    Vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  76. Hi Tina:

    Have you listened to “The Rancher’s Reunion” on your Kindle? Both male and female voices?

    My barber told me yesterday that she only listens to books on her Kindle! Imagine: each book you write becomes an audio book, too.

    How do your books sound? Has anyone asked you that before?

    BTW: I won’t get to hear your books on my Kindle because that would make me have to wait an extra 30 days past the eHarlequin release date. That’s just something I don’t have the power to do. So your books are on my Sony.


  77. I'm so glad you chimed in, Vince. Everyone considering e-publishing needs to read your maxims. Excellent advice!

    I love your site, especially your tips to create conflict. Great ideas to get the brainstorming juices going. :-)

  78. LOL, Vince, you are the cheerleader of the romance writer. We love you.

    It's a guys voice on the Kindle.

    Pretty darn cool.

  79. Good post Pam!

    I'm very happy with my Kobo. I love its aqua colored leather case. And the dictionary feature is handy, although I wish it held more of the old English words and could be used as a historic research tool. Maybe in the future :)

    The only time I don't like it is when buying the ebook is more expensive than purchasing the actual physical book.

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  80. I have Kindle on my PC and I LOVE it. There are lots of thigns I can't get at my local library (even through the system of linked libraries) so I can get them by e-book. Also, on a limited budget, if I've ever heard of a book, I can download a relatively cheap version to check it out.
    I've also got the ireader download system on my computer because my kids love recorded books and again somtimes the library can't get it for us. We found thr fourth in a series that they loved- but I hated how they monopolized my computer with the listening book. PAINFUL. I tried to burn it to a CD but it didn't work. Hours a day the hovered over my workspce, instead of their own audio player. :P
    So, e-readers- yes, for convenience. But I always buy the paper copy for my shelf if I love it. I certaintly can't lug my computer into bed with me for a late nigh reading session.

  81. Nice to meet you, Eva. Thanks for stopping by!

    I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen an ebook more expensive than a print book . . . but regardless, it doesn't seem right, does it? There's not nearly as much cost involved like there is with a print book. The overhead is almost minimal.

    Yeah, that would annoy me, too.

  82. Virginia, I'm glad you popped in to share your thoughts on e-readers.

    I had to smile at your experiences with your little ones monopolizing your computer. I can just see them glued to the monitor while their books played. Just like a DVD, eh?

    And no room for Mom to do her thing. :-)

  83. It has been a long time since that fateful day, hasn't it Pam. :-) Welcome to the wonderful world of E-publishing. There's plenty of room for both e-books and print books,and who knows what else will come down the pike. Can you believe it's been 15 years? Your new covers are great. Best of Luck.

  84. Hi Mary & Pam:

    With thousands of backlisted published books becoming available each month and thousands of new self-published authors offering their products, the marketing key in the future will be having a loyal base of auto-buy fans.

    This means getting those fans into your orbit. For example, I just bought Pam’s “Broken Blossoms” because the price was not even a consideration. If the book was paper only and cost $13.99, as many trade paperbacks, I would not have bought it today.

    It is true it might help to give books away but I think it is far better to charge at least $1. Politicians have found that if they can get a voter to contribute even a dollar, that person feels invested in the race and is far more likely to vote. A reader who paid something for a book is much more likely to at least begin reading the book.

    Here’s an important consideration: if someone has one of your free books on the Kindle and they have not gotten around to reading it for the last six months, do you really think they will buy your next book? I don’t think it is as likely.

    That’s a second point. It’s not enough to sell a book. You need the reader to actually read it to get them into your marketing orbit.

    Pam’s book, “Broken Blossoms” has a fantastic opening. It’s great. And I chose it because I like the cover art so much.

    I will say this if you do a Kindle eBook.

    1. Include a linked table of contents. I often have to go to a given chapter when I change computers from work to home.

    2. I would strongly recommend that at the end of each eBook you put a list of all your other available eBooks with a blurb on each book and perhaps some good review quotes.

    Remember: you do not have to pay for the printing. After a fan has just finished your book, and they really liked it, that’s the time to sell the next one. This is the time for a, “If you liked this book, check these out:” listing.


  85. I'm thinking of the priced thing especially for Christian books. A lot of the Christian Fiction I love is quite a bit higher priced than the secular fiction I used to read. Even at my favorite store Christian Publisher's Outlet, the sale prices are higher than what I would spend on secular books at say Wal-Mart.

    An exception to this is Love Inspired lines. Their prices are right in line with their secular counterparts, but that might be because the imprints are all owned by the same company. I don't know.

    I said all that to say this. If I can purchase a quality Christian novel for 2.99, that's less than I would pay for the secular novel at Wal-Mart. And it's probably comparable to the same secular novel in e-format.

    I could be blowing smoke, because I've never bought an ebook. Could someone tell me if I'm right/wrong here?

    I don't have a reader or an app on anything, so don't enter me for the giveaway.

  86. I don't have an electronic reader of anykind. It was hard enough to convince my mother to let a computer in our home! Pam, your books sound great! Maybe someday I'll read them on a electronic reader!

  87. Andrea, could it be that many of the Christian books are more expensive because they're trade-sized rather than mass market so much?

  88. love these new book covers, pam! your daughter did a great job.

    my favorite reason for having a kindle is being able to read while drying/curling my hair or while eating and not having pages flip back...heck, i don't even have to hold it! can't do that with a print book. :)

    the character therapist
    charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com

  89. I was trying to come up with a graduation gift for my son. I wanted something useful for college, and he overheard me talking to my husband about an e-book. He said if he was going to read he wanted a book where he could turn pages. It gives him a feel for where he is in the book. I thought that was surprising because he loves computer gadgets/games/phones etc.
    Your stories sound very interesting, thanks for sharing today!

  90. Pam~ I think the size is probably part of it. But if I can get a digital book for $2-$5 that would cost me $15 in a trade size paperback, well then I can buy a lot more books.

    More books is always a good thing.

    Hopefully someday I'll have a reader and be able to read yours.

  91. THANK YOU, everyone, for making me feel so welcome at Seekerville!

    I had a blast being with you and am honored that you took part of your weekend to talk about e-readers.

    Best wishes to you all! Stay tuned for my winner . . .

  92. I'm so late to the party today, but I just have to say I never thought I could love my nook as much as I do. It's so much easier for me to read in bed, and I'm never without a book. :-)

    I'm on the fence about self-pubbing, but only because I'd be afraid of people saying, "oh, she couldn't sell a book, so she's self-publishing." I guess I'd have to get a good measure of self-confidence and probably have several people critique or edit my book.

    Great topic, Pam.

  93. Your books look really exciting -- not to mention those gorgeous covers!

    I do not have an e-reader yet, but the idea is growing on me!

    Thanks for sharing.


  94. >>that person feels invested in the race

    YES, Vince! I agree 100% with you. You explained it perfectly.

    There are so many free ebooks out there, readers are bragging about how many they download a day. They get greedy without really wanting to READ the book. It's almost a competition. And when they're used to getting something for free, why pay?

    Thank you SO much for buying BB. Very sweet of you. And no, no Table of Contents in there because, frankly, I didn't know how, and I chose not to put more time into learning. Converting four books had been rather overwhelming at that point. :-)

    Excellent point about listing the books at the very end. I put my website address, but a listing is definitely a better way to intrigue the reader when they're at the end.

    Wow. You really know your stuff. THANK YOU for sharing with us!

  95. Beautiful covers!

  96. Thanks for the information. I've done a Kindle e-book, but haven't tried Smashwords yet. I like the idea that you can get an ISBN for $9.95. I guess that'll e my next try out.

  97. Great info and congrats on your new publishing ventures, Pam. The Christian market has been slow to jump on the ebook self-publishing bandwagon, I think, at least in terms of established authors. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, especially since Christian book readers seem to love ebooks (at least those who are digitally connected).