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Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

D2D finally brought in the long-awaited print book option. I don’t know when. I haven’t even looked at it in two years.

Note that with their new print book option, you are allowed one print interior or cover change every 90 days. That includes your initial upload. So, if your first cover or interior have errors, your expected options are to wait 90 days to correct one, then another 90 days to correct the other, or pay $25 USD per upload correction. That means if you need to re-upload both your cover and interior file, that’s going to cost you 90 days in D2D jail for first one then the other, paying $50 USD to upload both a new cover and new interior ($25 each), or a variation of the two options.

If you are going with the free D2D provided ISBN, you need to NOT EXPECT TO PUT THE ISBN IN YOUR INTERNAL FILE! At least not right away. (But read on!)

Yeah, I know. You want it to look 110% professional and all the books in bookstores have the ISBN in the front matter.

You can re-load the file later with the ISBN ($25 USD cost to upload a change or wait 90 days!), but unlike others like Amazon, 2D2 won’t give you the ISBN until AFTER you have finalized and approved your book to print.

I was hoping they would have considered that and get a chance to at least re-upload the internal file with the correct ISBN before it goes to publication. Nope. No dice. You do not get the ISBN to include it in your internal file until after you hit the publish button, and then not even right away to try to trick it into letting you re-upload the interior in another internet window that’s still sitting open on that page.

Being me, I stubbornly pressed on, hoping for another chance while at the same time knowing the outcome will be exactly as I suspected it would be. The file I uploaded was already set up for the same trim size. All I needed was to change the ISBN and add that new anthology I have a short story in in the front matter. I guess I’ll wait to see if they reject it and hope I have a chance then to upload the file with the correct ISBN without paying the $25 USD fee. Either way, if it gets rejected or not and I have to pay, I’m going to try waiting the 90 days to upload the correct ISBN interior free.

At this point I feel like I’m yelling at them, “Don’t tell me what to do!”

To me, allowing you to include the ISBN in your front matter whether you have them convert your eBook file or upload your own interior should be an automatic thing. It should not be restricted to the converted eBook file only. My guess is they’re trying to cut their costs on buying ISBN’s by not assigning them until you are committed to publishing it and hit the publish button.

Auto Conversion of eBook to POD

You can, of course, opt to let them convert your eBook file to print, if you aren’t too fussy about how your interior looks.  And, providing you did not upload your own eBook interior with the ISBN embedded in so it can be consistent with your book published through other sources.

You see below my POD front matter, with the D2D eBook ISBN number.

And here, below is where D2D puts the front matter with the ISBN if you chose the file conversion and click the box for them to add it. Why does this look weird to me? I had to go back to the books on my bookshelf. It was a 50/50 shot whether the copyright page was centered or left aligned. They also pretty much filled that page, so it didn’t look as weird to me as this short little blurb in the top corner.

This is all you get with their option to include it with converting your eBook file to POD.

Here’s a closer look of what it looks like from the PDF preview download:

Allowing D2D to convert the eBook file to POD also added almost a hundred pages to the paperback book length of one book when I tried that. Just how big is that print they use?

This second book I’m using as an example is 353 pages printed elsewhere, but D2D’s conversion is 416 pages. That might be fine for a shorter word count, but this is an extra 63 pages you have to pay printing costs for. Printing costs generally are a base rate plus price per page.

Using D2D’s cost calculator, a 416-page 5.5 x 8.5 inch trim size book costs $6.30 to print. March 1, 2022, they have a price increase in effect, and it will cost $6.45 per book to print.

Comparing the 353-page count elsewhere to the D2D 416-page count converted eBook:

  • 353 pages at 5.5 x 8.5 trim = $5.66 with D2D after March 1, 2022
  • 416 pages at 5.5 x 8.5 trim = $6.45 with D2D after March 1, 2022

$0.79 USD doesn’t seem like a lot per book, but you generally are not working with a large markup margin, and this comes out of your royalties. Let’s assume a $15 list price. Your 45% royalties on a $15 list price book are $6.75.

  • 353 pages at 5.5 x 8.5 trim = $5.66 print cost = $1.09 royalty/per book
  • 416 pages at 5.5 x 8.5 trim = $6.45 print cost = $0.30 royalty/per book

You cannot sell a 416-page book for $0.30 royalties per book. This gives you 30 cents USD per book sold for marketing costs before you are losing money.

The higher your word count, the larger you can expect this page count disparity in uploading your own interior vs. allowing D2D to convert your eBook to be.

Interior File for Auto conversion of eBook to POD

If you are going with allowing D2D to convert your eBook file, I strongly recommend sticking strictly to the “D2D Simple” template style.

Most of the interior file options look very gimmicky with junk like magnifying glasses, birds, or whatever that interior style option has, everywhere you have an extra line return spacing out your paragraphs.

I might have liked this when I was eight. Maybe. Garbage.

I’ll stick to formatting and uploading my own interior files – but without the ISBN number in the front matter until the 90 days of upload jail or fine expires. Then I can upload a proper interior file with the D2D POD ISBN number included.

Using Your Own ISBN

You’re probably asking why I don’t just use my own ISBN. Cost, that’s why. Here is a quick Google search on the price of an ISBN for those of you who have to go through Bowker in the US:

Here in Canada ISBNs are free through the Library and Archives Canada. But there’s a catch. Once your book is published using a Library and Archives Canada ISBN, you are required to send them physical copies of your book. How many depends on the number of books produced. Assuming you want to sell more than 100 copies, it would be two physical book copies you need to send.

When I priced this out years ago, between the print and shipping costs for the two books and the postage to ship them to Library and Archives Canada, it was not cheap. I don’t remember what the cost was, but it was close to the Bowker cost. I don’t have a budget for this. The day job that pays the bills, like so many others, pays the cost-of-living bills without wiggle room to invest in my own interests. Your spending money doesn’t go far when you use it for things like school fees for your kids and in-between payday grocery shopping food items. My writing costs have to pay for themselves and it’s not cheap to publish, get author copies and table stuff for book events, and all that. I’m already in the red on this. I just used money I’ve been saving for a few years for a replacement computer to buy a cheap filing cabinet because of the lack of budget for this.

I haven’t even ordered author copies of the new anthology from Dragon Soul Press, “All Dark Places 3” with my short story Dark Shadows yet because that’s also going to cost me money out of pocket, putting me further in the red. I will have to before I do any author events, once those things open up again.

Assuming $1.50 USD net royalty per book, more than the example above, you would have to sell 84 books just to pay the $125 USD ISBN cost. That’s assuming they don’t charge a tax on it. I didn’t look to see if they do.

If I sell that book for a list price of $17 USD: 45% royalty on $17 = $7.65 gross royalty per book less the printing costs.

  • 353 (my own interior upload) pages at 5.5 x 8.5 trim = $5.66 print cost = $1.99 royalty/per book
  • 416 (eBook conversion) pages at 5.5 x 8.5 trim = $6.45 print cost = $1.20 royalty/per book

At $1.99 net royalty per book for my own interior file upload, I still have to sell 63 books to cover a $125 ISBN cost before I make a penny off book sales, without spending any money on marketing.

But Bowker has their reduced price per ISBN deal for a 10-pack!

Let’s say you bough the $295 10-pack of ISBNs. You use two on Amazon, two on D2D, and two on IngramSpark. You’ve used six up on one book. But you want a hardcover version in addition to the eBook and paperback. That’s two more assuming two publishing platforms.

In three publishing platforms, you’ve used 8 of your 10 ISBN numbers for paperback, hardcover, and eBook versions of the same book, because each and every version on each platform requires a unique ISBN number. That’s an ISBN cost of $236 USD for one published book edition. At $1.99 net royalty, you have to sell 119 books across all versions and platforms just to cover the cost of the ISBNs, not including any money spent on advertising.

Also, if you are in Canada and taking advantage of the “free” (not free because you have to mail them copies of your books), you have to send them physical copies for each ISBN used for print books.

That’s why I opt for the free ISBN’s.

But You Aren’t the Publisher Unless You Use Your Own ISBN

I haven’t forgotten this. Yes, the ISBN code breaks down to numbers that identify the country, publisher, and book title. The first two are only included in the 13-digit number:

EAN – Bookland country code.

Group – Country identifier for national or geographic grouping of publishers. Basically, the country it’s being published in.

Publisher – You or the publisher/publishing platform.

Title – Unique number assigned to that particular edition or format of your book title.

Check digit – Exactly what it implies. It’s a check digit that validates the ISBN. An internal control verification digit in ISBN Book Land, which has no bearing on the country, publisher, title, etc.

How important is having this unique to you as a publisher? That depends on you and what you want.

This is what your buyers are going to see. It’s a series of digits catalog number. The only identifier that means anything to them is what you put in your front matter as your publisher identifier:

Interior front matter:

Back cover:

Apparently you can search the publisher name from an ISBN number here, but most people won’t know that and even fewer will care enough to bother.

Update: Results from D2D Review

Fast forward to days later…

D2D has reviewed the book upload and, as I would have been disappointed if they had not done so, rejected it because the ISBN in the front matter does not match.

The good news is that it allowed me to upload that interior file with the correct ISBN without having to pay $25 USD or be in D2D upload jail for 90 days.

I win!

Now, if you’ve thought to publish on D2D, IngramSpark, or anywhere else prior to putting up a paperback or hardcover on Amazon KDP, you’re going to run into a problem with Amazon KDP. Expect them to reject it as being already published by another publisher. Their list of approved correspondence “proof” specifically denies your own pledge of being the author and publisher and wants a third-party letter. Oops to all the self-published writers out there.

Keep writing my friends. Let’s make this world better one emotionally stirring book at a time.

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COMING OCTOBER 30, 2021

All Dark Places 3 anthology

published by Dragon Soul Press​

Includes:

Dark Shadows

by L. V. Gaudet

Manitoban author Lori Gaudet’s short story “Dark Shadows” is making its debut in Dragon Soul Press’s new horror anthology All Dark Places 3, released in print and eBook October 30, 2021.

Dark Shadows by L. V. Gaudet:

Grayson is introduced in this inaugural foray into his world. When a bus crashes on a desolate highway, the survivors are picked off one at a time by faceless ghouls in the night.  Except for Grayson. Grayson has a unique problem. Everywhere he goes, he sees monsters and witnesses their cold collection of the spirits of the dying. Called devourers of souls by some, he is certain they are after him for reasons he cannot begin to guess at. An artist by nature, his sketches are more than prophetic. They mirror the disturbing assaults of the soul takers.

Also includes stories by:

  • Barend Nieuwstraten III
  • Dylan Roche
  • Jacob Steven Mohr
  • Lincoln Reed
  • Victor Nandi
  • Warren Bendetto

​You can find Dragon Soul Press’s anthology All Dark Places 3 with Dark Shadows by L. V. Gaudet here http://books2read.com/ADP3.

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Come under my umbrella, we all fit in here. Rain or shine, large or small, we all know what umbrellas are for.  In this case, we are looking to the other meaning for that which would otherwise protect us from the blazing sun or cool drenching rain, or perhaps raining grasshoppers. We are looking to something that encompasses in a different way. Something that includes different elements.

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Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

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What is an umbrella term in writing? It is like a main plot with a bunch of subplots under it. It is a category of writing that includes multiple other categories.

But sometimes (often) you may see them treated as though that once single term is self-explanatory and all you need to know.

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Cross Genre work (also called hybrid work): a genre umbrella term

When a submission call says they want “cross genre” work, it means exactly as it seems. They are looking for writing that blends elements and themes from two or more genres.

Perhaps you incorporated tragic comedy with science fiction and drama. Psychological realism with romance and a dash of horror.

What you are doing is, instead of focusing that science fiction on being only science fiction with elements exclusively of that genre, you are enhancing that story, creating more drama, investing the reader more in the story, building more intensity, and opening the world you created to more cliffhanging moments by upping the ante with more genres worked into it. Your main character has a sub-plot of a doomed romance the reader is rooting for them to resolve. This romance will invariably create tension as the lovers are pulled in different directions, perhaps forced to be pitted against each other, and your hero is forced to choose between the only seeming right choice or their love and happiness.

Just when your reader is thrown into that drama, there is another drama brewing. Your secondary character is ill and dying. Space sickness? Were they exposed to lethal levels of radiation? Or did that crew member who acts weird poison them? But wait, a billion years ago a massive asteroid slammed into a moon, shattering it, and sending a wave of debris hurtling through space and your crew is unknowingly about to find themselves in the midst of this moving debris field. The ship is damaged and one of the crew has to make the dangerous space-walk to repair something essential. They get out there to learn the debris that hit the ship is infested with terrifying creatures of a magnitude only found in horror. Like a parasite, they infest the whole ship and then the crew one by one. Their crippled ship is pulled into the gravity of a planet it passes too closely to and they crash on a planet to discover it inhabited by creatures and beings out of a fairy-tale storybook. Spellcasters with magical powers, dragons, and strange horses with a single horn like the narwhals.

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Fiction: a genre umbrella term

Fiction is a singular genre, but it is also an umbrella term for a wide range of genres and hybrid or cross genres that are creative made up stories.

Your story could be fiction. A straight up straight forward piece of middle of the road do not stray off that narrow path into territories of other fiction genres, fiction only.

Fiction also describes any and every story of every genre which is a work of fiction. Romance, fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, drama, thriller; they and others all fall under the fiction umbrella.

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Nonfiction: a genre umbrella term

Nonfiction is also an umbrella term for a wide range of genres and hybrid or cross genres. It is based on facts, real people, and real events.

The nonfiction umbrella includes academic texts; biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs; guides and how-to manuals, history, humor and commentary, journalism, philosophy and insight, self-help and instruction, and travel guides and travelogues.

And, my personal favorite, true crime.

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Speculative Fiction

Another umbrella term is speculative fiction. What is that? Exactly as it suggests, to speculate. Be it fantasy, horror, or any other genre or hybrid of genres, if the setting is other than the real world, it is speculative fiction. You are asking the question, what if the world was this instead of that. Journey To The Center Of the Earth is speculative fiction. The Walking Dead comic series is speculative. There are no zombies at present in our real world. Sending people to live out their lives in a mining operation on another world, while it may become reality some day, at present is speculative. We are not there yet in our real world. Speculative does not have to mean it’s impossible to ever be real.

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Writing is full of group terms.

If you are not sure what you have fits the definition, don’t be afraid to look for clarification. Never let yourself feel stupid or less than because you don’t think you fully understand something.

If a call wants speculative fiction, you best find out what kind of speculative fiction genres they look for. If they call for cross genre work, you can save yourself a lot of work formatting and submitting your story to something that isn’t a fit to the specific genre elements they prefer.

I’ve seen calls for submissions asking for speculative fiction with no other description. I’ve seen it referred to as if it’s a genre all in itself. That’s it. Speculative fiction. The same with cross genre work. That’s pretty broad.

I could submit any one of my stories to a call specifying just ‘speculative fiction’ in their callout. It won’t be a fit. My stories are speculative fiction, but they have a particular feel to them that doesn’t fit most publications. Even within the dark fiction genres, you need to know more about what speculative fiction genres they want.

Writing terminology is forever changing with the evolution of writing itself.

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Once upon a time fiction was fiction and all the genres fell in line with a simple list of who is who in a basic list of genres. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, textbooks, newspapers, it looked like a simpler time. That was well before my time and probably yours.

Now there seems to be an endless list of sub-genres and cross-genres and sub-genre-cross-genres.

Even the word length terms have evolved from a few simple terms for a few blocks of word lengths to a different name for word counts broken down, in some cases, to 500 words; 100 or 50 words, and even by character count.

Each term even has multiple names for it. Flash fiction, for example, is also called sudden fiction, micro fiction, immediate fiction,  and nano fiction, among other names.

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

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Even after all these years writing and being involved in the online writing world, I still come across the odd term that for me is a new variation of an old writing term, new to me, or just new.

It’s like there are so many people out there trying to be original that they feel the need to keep coming up with new ways to express every bit of writing in new names for the genres and word counts.

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Genre Tags Are In Overkill

How many books have you seen listed online with a string of genre tags and how many of those did you think actually matched the story?

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it exhausting and impossible to keep up with all the new variations of genre tags. I find the listing of a few genre tags better gives a feel of what the story is about than the old basics of single genre fiction, horror, fantasy, and science fiction; but also find too many genre tags are overkill.

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Please, Don’t Call It What It’s Not.

It also leaves the question: If a story is flagged as action, apocalyptic, crime, drama, fantasy, fiction, historical, horror, romance, science fiction, thriller,… how much of the story is relevant to each genre and how relevant are each of these tags?

I totally get it. When you put your books up on places like Amazon, you want to maximize your reach to potential readers by plugging as many genres as you can to make it come up in as many search criteria as possible. There are endless articles out there recommending doing this as a means of spreading your reach. At the same time, don’t lie about what your book is about. Lying about your product is not cool and will turn off readers from trusting you again.

This is, in my opinion, likely the reason why when I do a search on a genre I often get an endless list of what appears to be books that are not that genre at all.

Do yourself and your potential readers a favor and don’t lie about your genre. If a secondary or lower level thread of the story involves a crime or something bad happening, don’t tag it as crime or thriller. Every story involves drama to keep the reader involved, but that does not make it a drama by genre definition.

Readers tend to be particular in their genres and are not going to be fooled. When someone tells me at a book event they only like true crime nonfiction, I know I’m wasting my time and theirs if I try to sell them a fictional crime serial killer thriller or a small town mystery with a paranormal twist.

When I do a search for horror, thriller, or apocalypse and am paging through screens of 80% of covers looking like they are probably romance or erotica, I stop looking. I am not going to buy something I don’t want just because it showed up in my search. This has actually happened to me, by the way. The two genres I have zero interest in reading, and for some reason seemed to glut the search for something I would actually read in a genre they definitely are not.

It’s almost comical considering the romance genre is probably the best selling genre on its own without tagging it in others it does not fall into.

I like a variety of genres, and have even read in the war genre, although I found most of those too focused on spending pages describing the technical details of guns (boring).

I tend on the obsessive side when I want to find something. So, if I give up after four or six or twelve pages of irrelevant books, many others give up much sooner.

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Simplicity is Sometimes Best.

To break it down, simplify your genres to the two or three main threads of your story maximum.

If your story is an Elizabethan era romance encompassing your main characters that happens to have a crime drama as a subplot between two characters, then you have a historical romance. If it’s primarily an Elizabethan era crime drama as the main focus that just happens to have a romance as one of the lower sub-plots, it is a historical crime drama, and don’t tag romance.

Tagging every subplot and minor storyline is more likely to make a reader question the validity of your tags than to make them embrace them. If you tag it as ‘Crime, Drama, Historical, Romance”, then every one of those should be the main focuses of the story plot.

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Definitions and Genres Abound.

There are too many genre tags and other literary definitions for a single blog post. So we will leave it at this introduction for now.

Where will this lead? Let’s see what the next blog post hits. Genres, word count definitions, it’s all devolved into a confusing mass of constantly evolving terms we can’t all keep up on.

Besides, It’s been a busy work week and I’m out of time.

Keep writing my friends. And remember, there are no stories without at least one genre and the stories don’t always follow the rules you want them to.

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If you look inside the front matter of any published book you will find an ISBN number. If you don’t know, ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number.

 

The ISBN has nothing to do with copyrights. It simply is a catalogue number. If you are looking for a particular book, you can search it by its ISBN (catalogue) number.

 

An ISSN – International Standard Serial Number is the same thing as the ISBN, but is for periodical publications (ongoing series), such as magazines or a book series. You didn’t know you needed that for your book series? That’s okay. Not all books start with the intent of making them a series. With the wonders of technology, some sites will still link your series as belonging together. Just fill out that “series” box.

 

Now, if you’ve self-published with Amazon KDP, you might find they assigned you an ASIN instead of an ISBN. Oh, the horror. What have they done?

 

The ASIN (Amazon standard Identification Number) is the same thing as an ISBN, a catalogue number, only it is specific to Amazon. So, it only shows up in Amazon’s market. If you are publishing both a print and eBook at the same time, they will likely give the eBook an ASIN that is the same as the ISBN. Still, only the print book version with the ISBN will show up in ISBN searches outside of Amazon’s marketplace.

 

The EAN (European Article Number) should not be confused with an ISBN, ISSN, or ISIN. The EAN is a barcode. Think of it as the same thing as the others, but for products that are not books.

 

 

 

Breaking Down An ISBN – International Standard Book Number

The ISBN is broken down into parts.

 

  • EAN – Bookland country code. Apparently books live in a world of their own separate from ours called “Bookland”.  In the land of books, this identifies what country the book comes from.  Luckily for us non-book beings, the numbers also coincide with the countries of our own world.

 

  • Group – identifies the language the book is written in

 

  • Publisher – identifies the publisher of the book (aka the person or business who filed the ISBN number for the book)

 

* oddly enough, it seems that when a publisher exhausts its block of ISBNs, instead of receiving an additional block with the same publisher identifying number, they are given a new identifying number for the new block of ISBNs.

 

  • Title – identifies the book title

 

  • Check Digit – this is akin to a spell check for the people assigning ISBNs. If this number is not what they are looking for, then an error was made.

 

 

If you are being published with a publisher, they will look after your ISBN needs. However, if you are self-publishing, you need to do this yourself. And, you will probably need multiple ISBNs for each book.

 

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why do you need multiple ISBNs for one book?

Because each format is a separate catalogue item. Every place you upload your book to sell, every print on demand printer, every eBook distribution, is a separate catalogue listing. Every ‘version’, i.e. trim size, paperback vs. hardcover vs. eBook, vs. audio book, is a separate catalogue listing. Every change that affects the description and quality of the product, like trim size or doing revisions to the book beyond fixing a few typos, creates a new catalogue item.

 

Think of it this way, each of these is a different catalogue item:

  • Print book on Amazon KDP
  • eBook on Amazon Kindle
  • Print book on Lulu
  • McNally Robinson pod printer
  • IngramSpark/Lightning Source
  • Kobo books

 

Also, each of these is a different format; therefore each is also a different catalogue item:

  • Paperback book
  • Hard cover book
  • Audio book
  • eBook mobi
  • eBook epub
  • Other eBook formats
  • Large print book
  • You uploaded your book in a new trim size
  • You uploaded a new edition (2nd edition, 3rd, etc)

 

 

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Getting an ISBN is not difficult. And, depending where you live, you might have to pay for it.

 

If you live in the United States, you have to buy your ISBN. ISBN’s are sold by a commercial company.  (They are cheaper in bulk!) After getting your ISBN, it is up to you to have it registered with RR Bowker, the US database for the ISBN agency.  www.bowkerlink.com

 

One of the things many large US based self-publishing companies like Draft 2 Digital, Smashwords, and Amazon KDP does to encourage authors to publish with them is they buy up mass volumes of bulk ISBNs and provide them free to authors and publishers publishing with them. Of course, that only applies to the book listed on their service. You still need ISBNs for anywhere else you upload your book to.

 

Photo by Ryan on Unsplash

The wonderful thing about being in Canada is that FREE ISBNs is one of the little ways the Canadian government supports the arts.

 

To get your ISBN visit the Library and Archives Canada website and create an ISBN Canada Account.

Once you have your ISBN Canada Account you simply login to request and update ISBNs. There is no cost for this service.

 

Once you have your ISBN and have published your book, it is recommended you submit copies of your books to the Legal deposit program with Library and Archives Canada (read the article on that for more information).

 

L. V. Gaudet Books:

Do you know #WhereTheBodiesAre?
Disturbing psychological thriller

Learn the secret behind the bodies.
Take a step back in time to meet the boy who will create the killer.

Everyone is looking for Michael Underwood. HMU picks up where the Bodies left off, bringing in the characters from The McAllister Farm.

Sometimes the only way to stop a monster is to kill it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Garden Grove project is a hotbed for trouble. Who wants to stop the development?

They should have let her sleep. 1952: the end of the paddlewheel riverboat era. Two men decided to rebuild The Gypsy Queen.

12 years ago four kids found something in the woods up the old Mill Road. Now someone found it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivian Munnoch Books (and Roxy the photobomb):

 

They heard noises in the basement.

They thought it was over. Then Willie Gordon disappeared.

It started with a walk in the woods … on a stupid boring no electronics and thank you very much for ruining my life camping trip. Madelaine’s life will never be the same.

Roxy aka The Big Dumb Bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Registration Deadline: 1 May 2020

Sign up for the program or register new titles and editions. Registration runs Feb 15th to May 1st.

 

The Public Lending Right (PLR) Program sends payments annually to creators whose works are in Canada’s public libraries. Check out their website for more information on eligibility, payments, and to register: https://publiclendingright.ca/

 

 

The Dry on the PLR:

The PLR (Public Lending Right) Commission was established under the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) in 1986 to oversee the PLR program.

 

The PLR Commission is an elected body of writers, translators, librarians and publishers working together with non-voting representatives from the Canada Council for the Arts, Department of Canadian Heritage, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and Library and Archives Canada. (Read the article on ISBNs to learn more about what Library and Archives Canada does).

 

‘Public Lending Right’ is your right as an author to be paid for free public use of your works in libraries. The basis of payment varies, but more than 30 countries around the world have PLR programs. In Canada, an annual survey is done one titles in public library catalogues. Payments to authors are based on the presence of their title(s) in the survey results.

 

 

Photo by Chris Spiegl on Unsplash

The Juicy News on the PLR:

As a writer, you worked hard on what you’ve had published. It’s only right to want fair compensation for that work. Libraries that stock your writing, whether it is in print or eBook, are lending it out free to multiple users who don’t need to buy it to read it. That translates to lost sales for you in the name of providing free public access to hundreds of potential readers.

 

 

This is what is behind the US libraries’ boycott of Macmillan Publisher’s new eBook releases. Basically, because more library lending equals more readers who do not have to buy the book to read it, Macmillan sought to boost initial sales of new eBook releases by limiting the number of copies libraries can buy and lend out in the first 8 weeks after a new eBook is released. Now that was a mouthful. Macmillan has been trolled and vilified for what boils down to an economic business decision. The nerve of them wanting to make sales revenue on their investment to the detriment of faster access to that new release to all those readers not paying for it.

 

I get both sides of that argument. If I want it, if I’m excited about it, I want it now. I don’t want to wait 8 weeks to get on a waiting list to get it. And if I don’t have to pay for it, I win. Heck, most of my adult life I couldn’t afford to buy books new. I still can’t afford to fill my reading needs with the prices publishers charge. I live on books I can read free (leaving a review is an excellent way to give back to the author for that!), reduced price books, and used books. At the same time, taking a risk on that book, on that author, and publishing a book is a substantial investment for publishers. Just because it’s an eBook does not make their costs inconsequential. And it is a business. They are not producing books out of the kindness of their hearts. They have overhead and staff wages to pay. And their investors want to earn money on their investment. And, that’s not even including compensation for the author’s time. Okay, let’s get back on topic…

 

 

This is where the Public Lending Right (PLR) Program comes in.

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

You write the book. Whatever means you take, it gets published. Libraries buy it, or maybe you donate it to a library. All those people borrowing it from the library, reading it without paying for it, are sales that won’t happen. They probably wouldn’t have bought it anyway, but they are getting to enjoy your book and you get no compensation for that.

 

Wrong. The PLR is another small way our government supports the arts. You sign up, and if your book(s) comes back in their annual library survey, you get paid compensation for the potential loss of sales from those library books.

 

Registering is not a guarantee. And they need to verify your book(s) eligibility. Libraries need to actually stock it and then it has to be picked up in the annual survey. Then you get paid.

 

It might not be enough to cover all potential lost sales earnings, but it’s something. And in today’s book market, there are no guarantees on how those sales will go.

 

 

 

 

L. V. Gaudet Books:

Do you know #WhereTheBodiesAre?
Disturbing psychological thriller

Learn the secret behind the bodies.
Take a step back in time to meet the boy who will create the killer.

Everyone is looking for Michael Underwood. HMU picks up where the Bodies left off, bringing in the characters from The McAllister Farm.

Sometimes the only way to stop a monster is to kill it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Garden Grove project is a hotbed for trouble. Who wants to stop the development?

They should have let her sleep. 1952: the end of the paddlewheel riverboat era. Two men decided to rebuild The Gypsy Queen.

12 years ago four kids found something in the woods up the old Mill Road. Now someone found it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivian Munnoch Books (and Roxy the photobomb):

 

They heard noises in the basement.

They thought it was over. Then Willie Gordon disappeared.

It started with a walk in the woods … on a stupid boring no electronics and thank you very much for ruining my life camping trip. Madelaine’s life will never be the same.

Roxy aka The Big Dumb Bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is Lulu?

Lulu Press, Inc. (Lulu.com) is a U.S. based print on demand printer and book distributor for electronic books, print books, and calendars. It is used by self-published authors and small presses.

 

Is it a ‘vanity press’? No. Lulu press, Inc. is a legitimate provider of services to small presses and self-published authors.

 

Is it cost effective to publish with Lulu? That depends. Their pricing model is based on the size of the book and volume of the order. Like other PODs, the printing cost per book is calculated on a minimum base rate plus a cost per page. So, with equal trim sizes, a 325 page book will cost more to print than a 300 page book. As the author/publisher, you can order copies for yourself to slog around stores and book events with to sell face-to-face. Like Amazon KDP, they charge a reduced publisher rate to you. You are not paying the retail rate you set for copies of your own book. Lulu does have bulk order discounts. They are more expensive than Amazon KDP for your printing cost per book if you are ordering smaller  print runs, but the good news is a search of those fabulous online click-bait coupon sites will probably produce a coupon code to reduce the cost. Comparing costs of Amazon KDP to Lulu, I only order books through Lulu if I have a coupon code. Otherwise, with shipping, the higher cost would eat up most of my small profit margin on face-to-face sales. (I use Couponfollow.com).

 

What does it cost to upload my book to Lulu?  Nothing. Like other POD and distribution companies, they do have service packages you can buy if you want someone to do the work for you. I’ve seen mixed reviews on these. But if you do the work yourself, there is no cost to upload your books to Lulu.

 

But I want to buy Canadian and/or publish Canadian. Lulu is a U.S. company. However, being in Canada you would be going through the Lulu Canada store. Those books are printed in a facility in Ontario, Canada.

 

Does Lulu distribute the books to brick and mortar stores? Yes and no. Your book (eBook or POD print) must meet all of the distribution requirements in order to be available for sale beyond the Lulu online marketplace. This includes being one of the eligible trim sizes. If it’s available only on the Lulu marketplace then people can buy your book only through the Lulu site.

 

Why is my Lulu book only available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and not in any brick and mortar book stores? Because, under Lulu’s globalREACH program, you met the distribution requirements for those two online stores. Maybe you did not meet all the requirements for the global distribution program, leaving you with limited distribution. Also, globalREACH creates a listing with the Ingram Book Company, making it available to book stores to order it. But then it’s up to the book stores to actually order it. There is no guarantee they will and Ingram’s catalog is massive.

 

Photo by Webaroo.com.au on Unsplash

Photo by Webaroo.com.au on Unsplash

Do I need an ISBN to publish with Lulu? Yes. Lucky for us, ISBNs are free in Canada and easy to get. You also need a different ISBN for each copy of your book. I.e.) you need a different ISBN for the book published through Lulu from the book uploaded and published through Amazon KDP (Amazon will provide ISBNs, Lulu does not).

 

Can I just upload my Amazon KDP book and cover files to Lulu?  No. While your trim size and page count don’t change, the dimensions of your book spine will. You will need to redo the cover. This is because Lulu uses a lighter weight gauge of paper (thinner paper), so trim and page count being the same, your book will be thinner.

 

How is the quality of Lulu print books?  I’ve heard mixed reviews. As with any POD printer, there can be variations from batch to batch. After all, they are completely resetting the printer for every print batch run for every customer. Some swear by their quality. Some have reported issues with the spine glue in the heat. I found covers that are lighter with more colors work better, but mostly black glossy covers did not hold up to minimal handling. The cover finish on black glossy covers rubbed off, marked easily, and chipped just transporting them carefully packed to and from book events, leaving the books unsellable. Amazon KDP books stand up better to transporting them to sales with the dark glossy covers.

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Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

It’s the start of the new calendar year. Are you going into it wondering if you are ready to publish? Convinced you are definitely ready? On the fence?

 

Wherever you are sitting on that question, moving from writing and editing to publishing is a big step. So, what if you are ready? What do you do now?

 

First, is to make sure you really are ready to take that next big leap.

 

 

 

If you are writing shorter projects: articles, short or flash fiction/nonfiction, poetry, etc.; you will likely find the rules on readiness for publishing less strict for some publications. Check their requirements before sending your piece in. And if it does not say otherwise, assume they want articles that are complete and edited to perfection, although that does not mean they won’t ask for revisions. Fiction submissions usually need to be completed work.

 

 

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

If you are writing a full length book, it’s going to take more work to make it ready for publication.

 

Pitching to a publisher with a book idea in the expectation of getting an advance to then write the book is almost certainly going to leave you lying flat in the depths of rejection. Unless you are Paul Sheldon (author of the Misery series in Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery, made into a movie of the same name), or some other movie or book character, this is unlikely to result in a contract.  Big name authors with a track record of best sellers may score that advance based on an idea they haven’t written yet, but for the rest of us this is not how it’s going to work.

 

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, your best option is to send that advance-seeking pitch to an agent, not a publisher. A small publisher may indulge you with a smile and nod, but they are unlikely to sign a contract for an unseen unwritten manuscript by an author whose work they don’t know. And, if you want to get in with the big publishers, you need an agent.

 

As an unknown or little known talent, your best option is to write the book first, perfect it, get it edited, and then pitch it. This way potential publishers and agents can see the quality of your writing.

 

 

Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

You wrote a book, but is it ready to publish? The answer to that is the answer to this question: is it edited to perfection? It is not enough to write a book. It needs to be written well, to hook and pull the reader in, make them yearn for more with the ending of each page. Editing and developmental errors can ruin this and your chance of being signed on with the publisher.

 

The book market is rife with editing mistakes from the big name authors at biggest publishing houses down to the smallest self-published author. They happen. People edit and people are fallible and let’s be real here, writing and editing a book are huge undertakings. You also don’t really know how much that publisher is actually investing in paid editing, so you want your book as perfect as you can make it before you submit it. Heck, I was published with a small press who claimed to have a paid editor. I suspect their editor was more fictitious than my characters; at least they have some form of life breathed into them through the pages of the books.

 

What kind of editing do you need?  All of them.

 

Photo by Makarios Tang on Unsplash

Photo by Makarios Tang on Unsplash

The four main types of book editing are (in the order they should be done):

 

1) Developmental Editing: This is a structural and developmental edit of . . . everything; including a critique of the essential elements of the story: plot, story structure, setting, timeline, characterization, pacing, and of course, presentation and marketability. You may have already rewritten your manuscript in whole or parts before this, but be prepared to have it stripped down to basics. You may do so again after the beta readers have read it and given you feedback. This is where you might find yourself re-ordering or rewriting events and chapters, reimagining characters, tweaking your story arc, and other major revisions. This will include line editing, copy editing, and proofreading, but does not replace those necessary steps afterwards. With the revisions that will be done, you will still need the following editing steps.

 

Note: at this point you should have or be enlisting beta readers to give you feedback on your story. You may have to go back to the developmental editing on parts or all of your book after their input.

 

2) Line Editing: Line by line edit focusing on the flow, tone, and style of writing. The goal is to clean up unnecessary verbosity, tighten sentences, and fix awkward sentences and paragraphs for readability.

 

3) Copy Editing: Essentially it is text editing. This is a word by word edit to find and correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, language, syntax, typos, etc. This should be done after you are satisfied with the story structure, plot, settings, characterization, and so forth, and have no further changes to the story.

 

4) Proofreading:  The final editing of the book ‘proof’. This is the last look at the print ready book proof before publication to catch any missed typos and formatting gaffes.

 

 

Photo by Ivars Krutainis on Unsplash

Photo by Ivars Krutainis on Unsplash

Your book is perfect. Now what? Now that you have let beta readers at your book and have done further revisions and had all the forms of editing done and maybe done again, your book is ready to publish. Now you need to decide how you want to publish. For some, the old school large publishing house is the only way they want to go. Others prefer the total control of self-publishing. There are also the in-betweens; small publishers, Indy presses, and hybrid options.

 

1) Large publishers. These are the ‘you need an agent’ publishers. They typically do not take unsolicited manuscripts, and by solicited that means coming from an agent who has already vetted the author and their book as something that publisher might be interested in looking at. They also are more likely to expect an instant best seller and less likely to settle for anything less. You write the book, and they put in all the expenses to publish it and take the risks of whether or not it will make money.

 

2) Independent presses are publishing companies that operate solo. They are not part of or operating under the umbrella of a large multinational or conglomerate corporation. These can be large or small publishing companies.

 

3) Small press. The title basically describes what they are. These are smaller independent publishing businesses. They don’t have the large finances behind them, which also increases the risk of them going out of business in the tough world of book publishing. They are unlikely to offer an advance and that’s okay, because an advance is borrowing against future royalties you have not yet earned. It also means they don’t have the same corporate weight in getting your books into bookstores as the larger presses do. The good news is that you don’t generally need an agent to query them on your behalf. Small presses are usually quite happy to discuss publishing contracts directly with the author and are more likely to take a chance on an unknown author or book that does not fall neatly into the mainstream popular market. Like the bigger publishers, they pay the expenses and take the risks, but you are likely to sell fewer books.

 

4) Hybrid publishing occupies the space between traditional publishing and self-publishing. It runs in various models and is called by different names. Hybrid publishing is a newer variation on the publishing business and can involve a larger publisher, independent or not, or smaller publisher. Whatever you want to call it, the premise is that it is a hybrid of traditional and self-publishing; a cooperative agreement between the author and publisher that involves some financial investment from the author. The author has to pay for some of the services to get their book published, generally in exchange for a higher percent of the royalties. The author will also have more control over their book than under a traditional publishing model. This should not be confused with a ‘vanity press’, a term for a predatory company preying on the author’s need to be published (considered ‘vanity’ long before modern marvels like computers and typewriters made being a writer easier).

 

5) Self-publishing is the do-it-yourself of publishing. This is all on you. The author is solely responsible for all the costs and risks of getting that book published. You are your own publisher. There are a lot of services out there available for everything from the four types of editing to typesetting and formatting your files for uploading both to print book and eBook. There are artists and stock photos, and the cover designers to make them into your book cover for you. You are also on your own to market your book or hire a company to market your book for you. Self-publishing authors often utilize POD (print on demand) tools and/or eBook publishing. Self-publishing is your most costly option as far as monetary investments go. It is also probably the hardest to find success at, since you don’t have the name of a known publishing house behind you.

 

 

Whatever publishing route you choose, make sure your manuscript is one hundred percent perfect and do your homework. Research the publisher or service you are planning to use. Look for reviews, Better Business Bureau complaints, and anything good or bad online. Check out the covers of their other books to make sure they look like professional quality covers. How easily found are their books? Are they professional in their dealings with you? And above all, never sign a contract without being one hundred and ten percent sure of it. If you are unsure of the publisher or the wording or a contract in general, the online writing community is an invaluable source of help. So is hiring a publishing contract lawyer.

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Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

Co-owners of ChiZine Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory have stepped down as publisher and managing editor of ChiZine. The new interim publisher is Christie Harkin.  From what I can tell her primary function will be to attempt to pay as much money that is due where it is due, to the best of her ability to sort that out. Where ChiZine will go from here is yet to be seen.

 

Chizine is (was) a Canadian press (quote direct from their about page):

“World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Award-winning ChiZine Publications publishes the same kind of weird, subtle, surreal, disturbing horror, science fiction, and fantasy that ChiZine.com (the webzine) had become known for since 1997, only in longer form—novels, novellas, and short story collections.”

 

I have read varying views on what actually happened to ChiZine. Not being on the inside of this controversy, I am refraining from making assumptions. (I have had my own experience with failed small presses). Google at the moment is filled with a lot of angry posts from ChiZine contributors, attempts by the owners of the publication to explain, as well as both those in support of and against them. I will leave that to you to make your own judgements.

 

The literary world is rife with publications that fail for varying reasons. It’s a tough and fickle business and, reasons for ChiZine’s downfall aside, High Fever Books is only one of those walking away from doing business with ChiZine.

 

The controversy tearing ChiZine apart, and you can easily find and read for yourself the many views on its source causes, boils down to contributors and others (editors, cover designers, etc) who are not only unhappy, but are absolutely furious, with not so recent developments involving the publication’s communications and inability to pay them, among other claims.

 

Whether someone will be able to pick up the pieces and successfully rebirth ChiZine is open to speculation. As some have said, it may be better they go quietly to sleep while another publication takes up the reigns of weird, subtle, surreal, and disturbing story publication in Canada. We certainly could use more Canadian markets for these stories.

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Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash

Starting November 1st a number of large libraries in the US have begun boycotting Macmillan Publishers, suspending all electronic book purchases from them. The same day was the start of Macmillan’s library embargo, the limitation of public libraries and consortium to the purchase of a single copy of new e-book releases for eight weeks from the date of publication.

 

Libraries, in collaboration with partners in the Digital Downloads Collaboration, are fighting back against this limiting of access to a segment of society that may rely on libraries for access to literature in all its forms.

 

In an open letter, Macmillan’s CEO John Sargent said that a surge in e-book borrowing circumvents the assumed obstacles to free access to library books, ie transportation to and from the library and the requirement to physically return the book. Apparently he feels the digital age of e-borrows threatens the economic value of the books they invest in by making them more easily available to those who borrow them at no charge. In what could perhaps be categorized as an attempt to offset this restriction, Macmillan sells libraries perpetual access to the e-books they purchase and cut the price to libraries.

 

Publishing a book is not a costless undertaking by any means, so minimizing losses will be on every publisher’s to-do list. Meanwhile, libraries and their like are in the business of making books accessible at no or minimal cost to their members. Two sides with opposite takes on the situation who have not yet come to an agreement both are happy with.

 

Looking from the outside in are the writers, who naturally want to be paid for their blood, sweat, tears, and very souls they put into writing those books, and those who do rely on libraries for access to literary enrichment they cannot afford to buy at retail prices.

 

We are yet to see how this standoff will play out.

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