Category: ebooks

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My Books are Now Exclusive to Amazon

I have removed my ebooks from Google Play and all stores but one. Amazon. The decision wasn’t easy, but as an author I believe it is the right one. The retailer just launched Kindle Unlimited, which some social sharers call the “Netflix for books”. Subscribers pay $9.99 per month for whatever written or audio books participate in the program, and Amazon claims 600,000 titles.

To join the Kindle Unlimited program, independent publishers must put their books into KDP Select and give exclusivity for 90-day intervals (or longer). As a writer and reader, I love the “Netflix for books” concept, but as an independent publisher my participation means commitment to Amazon.

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Hello, Responsible Reporting

Today, the ebook formally known as Be a Better Blogger published to Amazon, Google, and Smashwords ebook stores. Title—drum roll, please—Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers.

As explained in post “Bye, Bye, Be a Better Blogger“, I launched a 28-day crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to spend two months researching and writing the book. But the campaign lost money and wasted valuable time. You can always get more money, but time is a commodity never regained.

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Bye, Bye, Be a Better Blogger

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which ended at 11:59:59 p.m. PT on February 28. I set a $7,500 goal and raised $135—disastrous, disappointing end to the 28-day effort.

Be a Better Blogger is my fifth non-fiction title, none exceptionally long, published since August 2013. Sales disappoint; being an independent publisher is much more difficult than expected. By crowdfunding, I set two goals: To receive the equivalent of a publisher’s advance and to earn something from my writing efforts. I failed. The only contributors are people I know, while the campaign lost money and wasted valuable time. You can always get more money, but time is a commodity never recovered.

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A Tale of Two Press Releases

As my Be a Better Blogger book crowfdunding campaign winds down, I will document steps taken to achieve the goal, which with eight days to go looks less likely by the hour.

On February 17, I hired a consultant, to offer guidance, do social media shoutouts, and reach out to bloggers and journalists, which includes distributing a press release. I rewrote the PR, nearly 80 percent. I present both versions for your review.

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Be a Better Crowdfunder

To date, my Indiegogo campaign for book Be a Better Blogger is a money loser. Costs exceed the pittance of contributions, and I appreciate every one made. Make no mistake, if you contributed—thank you! But with 11 days to go, and  the campaign about 1.8 percent funded, absolute failure looms large.

So with little to lose, but more money, I hired one of several crowdfunders that emailed or commented soon after the campaign’s launch. I don’t expect much from the $149 fee, which gets me one hour consultation, press release, PR distribution, journalist outreach, and feed submission (whatever that means). But I did receive important insight, which is more a lesson about interacting with others rather than working alone.

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Lesson Learned about PR Pitches

For my Be a Better Blogger crowdfunding campaign, roles are reversed. I am accustomed to public relations professionals—what many of my peers call flaks (I don’t)—sending me cold pitches about something related to technology. They range from product announcements to corporate news. Now I’m the cold pitcher promoting my money-grubbing requests to support the project. I don’t like how it all feels, but…

I actually archive most of the PR email received, and these messages go back to the 1990s. So my pool of marketing professional return mail addresses is quite sizable. The day after the campaign started (February 1), I pitched back. About 150 of the PR folks got my cold pitch. I kept the outreach to those with whom there had been interaction within 18 months. Their responses exceeded expectations.

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'Comic-Con Heroes' Weekend Sale

To celebrate the opening of San Diego Comic-Con 2014 pre-registration, I discount my book Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth. Go to Smashwords and use coupon code “SZ79R” to get the book for $1.49 instead of $3.99. The coupon expires tomorrow, so grab the ebook today.

Comic-Con Heroes also is available from other major ebookstores, like Amazon Kindle and Google Play. I offer the deal through Smashwords because the store lets me generate coupon codes and offers readers a wider selection of format options, with ePub and Mobi being the most important.

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Anatomy of a Bad Crowdfunding Pitch

Five days ago, I launched a crowdfunding campaign, at Indiegogo, for my forthcoming book Be a Better Blogger. Learning by doing is sometimes a painful exercise, and my progress, or lack of it, is a textbook case of what not to do.

My campaign is off to a much slower start than anticipated, generating just two donations for $60 in contributions. Thank you, both. You’re my heroes. I had hoped the book’s topic would generate interest among bloggers, journalists, and PR professionals at the least. I sent out mass emails to them and contacted family and friends, but too few of the latter.

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Chromebook Matters

My fourth ebook, Chromebook Matters, published over the holiday, and this one is available from Kindle Store, Google Play, and Smashwords. I’m done with Amazon exclusives.

Chromebook Matters is not a how-to book. It’s all “why” and “what”—why Chromebook matters and what it can do for you. I write an introduction for anyone—businesses, consumers, government agencies, or schools—considering buying Chromebook. I also address anti-Chromebook propaganda. Some claims are valid. Most are not.