Getting Professional About Self-Publishing

“This chapter helps you avoid publishing a book that looks cheesy, vain, and amateurish. Steve Jobs taught me that little details separate the mediocre from the excellent.” – from Guy Kawasaki’s new title APE: How to Publish a Book, excerpted on Digital Book World.
If the devil’s in the details, self-publishers know the devil well. For years, since the rise of Smashwords, Kindle Direct and others, self-published authors have been sharing knowledge, conferencing and honing – crowd-sourcing? – their craft. We have two posts this week, one discussing the finer points of internal ebook formatting and the other the third in a three-part series about the Amazon recommendation algorithm – both written by and, to some degree, aimed at self-publishers.
But publishers will find these items useful, too. After all, isn’t that what some self-publishers have become? Smashwords CEO Mark Coker told us in May of last year that indie-authors needed to become great publishers – and that’s what some of them are setting out to do.
On a somewhat personal note, we’re now putting the finishing touches on the full report from our survey of nearly 5,000 authors, and can tell you from diving into the data that self-published authors, traditionally published authors and what we’re calling “hybrid” authors (those who have done both) are a lot savvier about publishing than perhaps any generation of authors before them. (Pre-order here.)
How to Avoid the Self-Published Look
My Online Date with the Almighty Amazon Algorithm (Part 3 of 3): Beauty Is Only Thumb(nail)-Deep

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Could iBooks Author Jumpstart the Illustrated Ebook Era? (DBW)
RosettaBooks has released its first illustrated digital title using iBooks Author. Founder and CEO Arthur Klebanoff thinks it’s a good solution for the company, the content-owner and perhaps the industry.

How (Dirt-Cheap) Cheap Ebooks in the UK Are Changing Things (Futurebook)
Sony is gutting rival Amazon by selling popular ebooks at £0.20 ($0.32) – a price its larger rival matches. The thing is, Amazon is moving way more of the cheap units than Sony is, and therefore paying the larger economic price. Who is gaining? Well, the consumer, for one. And publishers and authors – in the short term. Sony is reportedly not gaining market-share. How will this shape the UK ebook market over time?

Obama and Libraries (DBW)
With a call to revamp old programs, harnessing the power of technology, President Obama could have been talking about libraries. In fact, perhaps this direct quote (click through!) should be a mission statement for libraries in the future.

Americans Call on Libraries to Provide More Ebooks (DBW)
In its latest study on the state of U.S. libraries, the Pew Internet & American Life project found that a majority of Americans want libraries to provide more ebooks. More data show that ebooks are a double-edged sword for libraries.
Only OverDrive Supporting Kindle E-Readers…Still (The Digital Reader)
A year after hearing rumblings from 3M and Baker & Taylor (both providers of library ebook platforms), neither supports library ebook borrowing on Kindle e-readers. OverDrive has been doing so since Oct. 2011, giving it a huge advantage in the marketplace to attract more libraries.
Ebook Piracy in Spain (DBW)
According to a new report, ebook piracy took €350 million ($467.1 million) out of the €3 billion Spanish publishing industry in 2012 (13%-15%). It might be a bit more complicated than that, though. More: One commenter’s story of buying £100,000 ($158,410) worth of ebooks on a DVD from eBay for £2.99.

DBW2013: What We Didn’t Hear from Howey (Pub Perspectives)
A reading of his best-seller Wool. That’s about all we didn’t get from Howey at DBW13. He told some great stories in his journey from unknown to best-selling author, including why he didn’t sell he ebook rights to Simon & Schuster. And, besides, who in publishing hasn’t read Wool yet?

Diversion Partners With Vook (DBW)
Start-up publisher Diversion Books has inked a deal with Vook for “large scale” ebook production. 

The Millions Getting Into the Business (L.A. Times)
Like many non-book-publishing media companies before it (see the latest here), popular website The Millions is getting into the ebook game. Unlike the others, however, The Millions is a site focused on books. 

Don’t Make That Look (McSweeneys)
Open letter to “that look that slowly forms on your face when I tell you I am a librarian.” Librarians or anyone who knows librarians, read this.

Next-Gen Smartphone/E-Reader? (QZ)
Google is reportedly up to a secret project in which it revives Motorola smartphones from being garbage (we own one, so we can say this) to being great, packed with new, cutting-edge features and also (hopefully) basic functionality. With the largest adoption in the U.S. among all e-reading devices, smartphones could be the key to the next phase of growth for publishers. Related: Do You Read Ebooks on Your Phone?

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