Expert Publishing Blog

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How to Best Use Facebook as an Author

Whether indie or traditionally published, most authors today can agree on one thing: social media has helped redefine the way books are promoted and discovered. And perhaps just as important, it has allowed authors to further create and strengthen ties with their audience. But what’s the best way to get started with social media?...

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Social Media Marketing Must Be Manageable

Social media marketing can be a big time suck for many authors. Making it manageable, though, is about learning how to take inventory of your time, resources and skill and then planning accordingly. None of us can control how much time is in a day, but we can certainly control how we use it....

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How to Add a page-list to an EPUB

Navigation is an important part of every ebook file, and one navigation option that many publishers often forget when creating their ebooks is page numbers. “Wait… There are page numbers in ebooks?” you might ask. Yes! Page numbers are actually very useful for ebook files and can be a helpful addition to navigating the...

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Chinese Market Holds a Key to Publishing Growth

As I flew out this week for the Beijing International Book Fair, China was dominating the international news—first, by showcasing its growing global sporting profile through the World Athletic Championships, and second, by illustrating its importance to the global economy with a stock market fall that sent shockwaves through international markets. For businesses, China...

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Why Smart Publishers Build Bad Websites

When you compare the online traffic of a news website against that of a publisher’s website, who do you think gets the most visitors? Think the New York Times or Fox News versus HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster. To almost no one’s surprise, it’s not even close: the news sites get much more traffic....

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Social Media Marketing Must Be Sustainable

In How to Market a Book, Joanna Penn writes, “The first job of an author is, of course, to write great books, but these days, their second job is to market them.” Penn goes on to address the misunderstanding many authors have about marketing: I know the very word can be off-putting, but marketing...

The Fear of Data

Change leads to anxiety, and there has been a lot of change in publishing in recent years. There is one trend, though, that is striking more fears in publishers’ minds than any other. And that is the fear of data. While sales data has been with us for a long time and is used...

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Your Biggest Weapon: Managing Expectations

Skills development, well-thought-through workflows, decent transactional websites, careful integrations of software using APIs, and thoughtful planning are all valuable strategies. And if you adopt a considered, strategic approach to building a publisher, you increase the likelihood that your company will still be around, relevant and thriving next year, in five years and in 10...

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Stop Grading an Author’s Social Media Presence

When I was in college, my initial major was landscape design and architecture. For some strange reason, I had visions of designing golf courses with fancy clubhouses around the world. But my dream was crushed as a sophomore when I was graded on our biggest project of the year. I was given the task...

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The Ebook Developer in the Corner

Finding community as an ebook developer is a weird challenge. Most small- and medium-sized publishers have only one or two in-house people who do this kind of work (if that), and the in-house web specialist might be around to talk HTML and CSS, but really, that person mostly just laughs at the quirks and...

The Future Is Freelance

Here’s a good game to play in an idle moment. Imagine you are starting a new publishing company, with your own money, from scratch today. Whom would you choose to employ on fixed-term contracts, and which external services would you hire in? Focuses the mind, doesn’t it? In response to Emma Barnes’s well-intentioned post...

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What Code Is Revealing About Readers

There’s a brave new world in book publishing, and it’s being shaped by and around audience insights. Not only are publishers becoming more adept at using data to work smarter, but code and algorithms are also getting better at gathering information and executing tasks without the help of humans. At Jellybooks, we recently developed...

Don’t Outsource Your Publishing Business Away

In the debate over whether to rely on outsourcing or develop skills in-house, I come down firmly on the side of learning skills yourself. A major reason for this is personal satisfaction: competence and capability make you feel good about yourself. And by extension, a happy, motivated workforce makes for better publishing. Another motivation...

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The Benefits of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Publishers

Imagine the pressure of trying to walk on a tightrope. It’s scary enough just attempting to keep your balance. But, what if maintaining your balance isn’t your biggest worry? What if you’re afraid that the tightrope itself might break? This anxiety represents how many of my publisher clients can feel in today’s economy. Not...

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How to Win at Publishing

As founder and CEO at Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In my first two posts in this three-part series, I discussed changing customer expectations then turned to examine the corporate culture challenges many publishers face. In this third and final post, I’ll explore the strategies that...

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Do Amazon’s Book Review Policies Meet Authors’ Needs?

A self-published author says a review she posted on Amazon for a fellow writer’s book was removed because, according to the e-tailer, she knows the author personally. The author, Imy Santiago, has challenged that assertion with Amazon’s customer review moderators, which she says Amazon told her it determined based on her “account activity.” Reviewing...

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Fonts and Nonsense: What Bookerly and Literata Get Wrong

There’s been a lot of hoopla lately about two recent typographic improvements to major e-reading environments, Kindle’s new Bookerly typeface and the Literata font for Google Play Books. Commentators have tossed around celebratory remarks like, “the Kindle finally gets typography that doesn’t suck” and “e-readers rejoice!” But many of us in the cheap seats—that is to...

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Tipping the Editorial Apple Cart

As founder and CEO at Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In my first post in this three-part series, I discussed a few key ways the market has changed. In this second post, I’ll share my tech-centric perspective on the challenges publishers face in transforming themselves. In...

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Publishers Can Learn a Few Things from Programmers

As both a publisher and a programmer, I’m a member of a very select club. It consists of both those who started out as coders and went into publishing and those who did the reverse. I’m in the latter group, having co-founded a little indie press called Snowbooks in 2003. When I needed a system...

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Seven Ways to Get Ebook Production Training

My colleague and fellow ebook developer Laura Brady wrote recently about the challenging job prospects facing would-be ebook production professionals. As she pointed out, learning how to create ebooks is neither an easy process nor a cheap one. But Brady also noted that there’s still a range of ways to acquire production training—to which...

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How to Work with Influencers to Drive Book Discovery

Ask authors and publishers about the biggest challenge they face, and chances are the top answer you’ll get is book discovery. Yes, it’s been the No. 1 issue in the industry for years, but it’s getting increasingly difficult. Millions of books are now published every year. Mass media, already the preserve of the rarified...

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How to Survive the Death of the Book

As founder and CEO of Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In this three-part series, I’ll share my tech-centric perspective on the industry. This first post addresses the changes I’ve seen in the book market and the key trends driving them. Second, I’ll discuss the challenges I’ve observed...

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Four Digital Publishing Questions for Gareth Cuddy

BookExpo America 2015, held in New York City last month, served as focal point for questions about digital discovery, authors’ roles and outcomes in the publishing ecosystem, publishers’ relationships with readers and the speed of innovation. Conversations on those and other issues are ongoing within the industry, but which ones are publishers most in need of...

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Are Good Jobs for Good Ebook Developers Drying up?

Lately there have been rumors within the profession that it’s becoming harder and harder to hire a good ebook developer. Is this true? In my personal experience, it is. But I also think there are broader issues at play than just a shortage of talent. A conversation on the subject during a recent #eprdctn...

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No Computer System Can Fix a Broken Publisher

With stability taking hold of the hybrid print-digital market after years of rapid ebook growth, many publishers are turning to evaluate how workflow automation and other IT solutions can streamline their businesses and make them more efficient. That’s undeniably a good thing, but as I’ve written before, the allure of a new digital system...

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Not All Publishers Need Mobile Apps

Back in 2010, at the European Tools of Change Conference in Frankfurt, I took part in a research group evaluating the pros and cons of mobile apps for book publishers. I remember one of the speakers saying something along these lines: “Before you put $10,000 aside to make an app, have a look at...

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Getting Past Genre in Digital Acquisitions

The growth of ebook publishing has heralded the growth of genre publishing—and it’s no wonder: Readers gravitate toward online communities that mirror their interests. By publishing genre-oriented ebooks, publishers and authors can cater to established communities of readers. And since ebooks can often be produced inexpensively and sold at lower prices than many of...

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Why Proprietary Ebook Formats Work

As someone who has been creating ebooks for more than a decade, I am often asked whether I think Amazon will someday let go of its proprietary Kindle format and switch to EPUB. My response has been the same since the question was first posed to me in 2009: I don’t see any reason...

Happenings on the Library Ebook Front

I’m pleased to bring you some news today from the American Library Association (ALA). First, I’d like to announce the release of Digital Futures, our fifth supplement to American Libraries magazine, focused on digital content issues. Two members of the publishing community are contributors, both to the report itself and to our guiding theme...

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Customer as King: How to Get an Audience

I often stress in my posts here that the consumer runs the publishing business. It’s always sad when you hear those in the industry patronizing or criticizing the customer, even if it’s just a defensive response to readers failing to show enough interest in publishers’ own output. That the customer holds all of the power is clearer...

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Why ‘Easy’ Publishing Solutions Hardly Ever Are

Almost every week, a new technological innovation comes to market, promising to save publishers money, streamline workflow, reduce administrative burdens or reach more readers. These innovations are diverse, but they share one thing in common: each promises to make our lives easier. The unique selling propositions vary. Some offer easy enhancement of ebooks (CircularFlo,...