eBook DRM – Cost Effective Solutions for Publishers

06 Mar
March 6, 2015

AdobeDRMThere is a lot of confusion about eBook DRM. But the truth is, if you are an eBook publisher, one of the most important considerations you have in selling eBooks is digital rights management (DRM). The problem has been traditionally that to have effective, customizable DRM, you have to be able to afford a significant investment in DRM software. This has made it impossible in the past for smaller or independent digital publishers to compete with larger publishers.

Advantages of eBook DRM

The biggest advantage of DRM is providing security that prevents unauthorized sharing of eBooks, protecting your authors from theft and loss of income. All of the major publishers integrate DRM into their eBooks, but smaller publishers who cannot afford to invest tens of thousands of dollars in licensing fees have been unable to offer the same security to authors.

EditionGuard offers a solution to help level the DRM playing field by offering independent and smaller publishers access to the same Adobe® DRM Content Server used by bigger publishers. You can now power your online eBook store with Adobe Content Server – the exact same DRM system used by industry giants, and the only DRM trusted by major publishers – for a cost-effective, easy selling.

And while you’re getting the most advanced security available, readers who purchase eBooks from you have enormous flexibility. They can download their eBooks and read them on almost any device and app without restriction. The process is immediate, the profits are yours to keep, and your costs are predictable.

Try EditionGuard free for 30 days now.

Serial eBooks: Bringing Back a Popular Format

05 Mar
March 5, 2015

Hardtimes_serial_coverThere’s something wonderful about the anticipation of the continutation of a story from week to week, and serial eBooks are surging in popularity. Serial eBooks take advantage of an old approach to publishing that gained popularity with Charles Dickens, who published The Pickwick Papers and Hard Times as serials. The trend was continued in Germany and France by authors like Alexandre Dumas, who published both The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo as serials. In America, Harriet Beecher Stowe first published Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a serial in the 1850s.

The Benefit of Serial eBooks for the Indie Author

Smashwords is anti-serial, citing lack of immediate gratification, risk, cost, and inconvenience as major reasons. But most of us are familiar with the thrill and anticipation of waiting week after week for a new installment of our favorite TV dramas, and serials fulfill the same purpose for avid readers. Popular serial author Samantha Warren explains the benefits of writing serial eBooks include not having to meet minimum word counts or deal with the gatekeepers of traditional publishing who reject authors who aren’t producing “massive tomes of literature.” Creating serial eBooks allows you to publish more frequently and develop characters and story arcs over time.

Many people who love to read don’t have the time to delve into a 400-500 page novel and serialize the reading themselves by reading small portions. Delivering them segmented, planned, serial stories is a great way to give readers what they want: immediate entertainment in short bursts that they can consume when they have some downtime.

Serial eBooks Are Different than Novels

Serial eBooks are different from novels and need to be marketed differently. As you write your serial installments, you should have at minimum a general idea of each subsequent serial when you publish so that you can tease readers with what’s coming. Clearly identify to your readers (before they buy) that it is an installment series so that they know what they are buying. Other than that, all of our eBook marketing tips will help you sell more serial eBooks. Once you have a few installments published, it can be useful to make the first installment permanently free to entice new readers to try the series.

Non-Fiction eBooks: The Anthology eBook

26 Feb
February 26, 2015

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As we wrap up our exploration of fiction eBook alternatives, one non-fiction eBook that can have you published in a relatively short period of time is the anthology eBook. Whether you obtain the rights to a collection of interviews that were conducted with your favorite musical artist, or collect a number of essays you previously wrote on related topics and tie them together, you can create and publish an anthology eBook rather quickly.

Collaborating on an Anthology eBook

Making an anthology can be even easier if you invite friends, colleagues, or fellow authors to contribute. Before you begin, however, you should determine how you will invite authors to contribute, how you will determine which contributions will make the final edit, and if you want an editorial partner to help you put the anthology together.

If you do want an editorial partner to help you, the two of you should decide together the genre and subgenres. You both should also discuss and put in writing how you will share the costs and profits from your endeavor, and clearly delineate who will be responsible for what tasks throughout the project.

Before You Publish Your Anthology eBook

Getting people to contribute, whether it’s for an anthology of political poetry or essays on motherhood, won’t be difficult, but you should be clear with contributors that submissions aren’t guaranteed to be included and that their only compensation is the visibility of being included. This will prevent you from having issues later when a contributor decides that he or she should earn money off the sales of your anthology. Be sure to have each accepted contributor sign a written contract releasing the rights to you for the appearance of their contribution. You may wish to consult an attorney to obtain the proper guidance.

As you can see from our series, there are a number of non-fiction eBook options to choose from that will have you published in no time. From How-To and Recipe eBooks to Travelogues and Memoirs, there is no limit to what you can write in the non-fiction arena.

What other non-fiction eBook genres would you suggest?

Non-Fiction eBooks: The Academic eBook

24 Feb
February 24, 2015

file000527564214As we explore the variety of options available to indie eBook authors, one form of non-fiction eBook that is quickly becoming more popular is the academic eBook. The growth in online e-learning tools for “Generation Z” is exploding, and theirs will be the first generation to be more comfortable in a digital environment. Academic eBooks open an entire world up to the indie author, because there are virtually unlimited numbers of topics one can pursue.

If you’re interested in academic writing, start with what you know. Did you complete a well-written thesis for your master’s degree or dissertation for your PhD? Transform your own academic reesearch into an eBook on your specialty topic. Are you knowledgable in certain academic subjects because of your own studies or passions on the topic? Share your knowledge.

What makes an eBook an academic eBook?

The biggest difference between traditional non-fiction eBooks and academic eBooks is that academic eBooks are designed for learning. Therefore, additional elements should be incorporated into your chapters, such as summary sections, questions, and possibly, defined vocabulary sections, depending on the target age of your student and the subject matter of your academic eBook.

Academic eBooks have the potential of being much more engaging than their print counterparts. To achieve this, consider adding:

  • Links to supporting sources, news articles, and videos that enhance the educational value of your topic
  • Links to offline supporting resources, such as PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, and exercises that make the eBook attractive to educators
  • Images, graphs, and other visual resources that help educate the reader

Not everyone who wants to be an author is capable of writing fiction, but non-fiction opportunities abound. What will you write now?

Write a Non-Fiction eBook: The Travelogue

20 Feb
February 20, 2015

travelogueNot everyone has the opportunity to travel to interesting and exotic places, but if you are a global traveler, your experiences can be turned into a fascinating non-fiction eBook in the form of a travelogue. This image-intensive non-fiction eBook format can take a variety of forms, from sharing stories about your own adventures to providing guidance for those who wish to follow in your footsteps.

Consider combining your travel writing with another non-fiction eBook genre, such as how-to or a recipe eBook. Catchy titles like “How to Travel Europe on a Shoestring Budget” or “The Food and Folklore of Chile” might attract an entire niche of readers. Ultimately, a travelogue provides readers with a good way to learn about a place they might want to visit or a place they want to enjoy but that someone else visited.

Elements of a Good Travelogue

When you’re writing about your travels, you should:

  • Clearly describe locations, buildings, and people important to your experience
  • Include research or background on the area you’re writing about
  • Share details of your experience while there
  • Provide tips or advice for those planning to visit the area
  • Include images wherever possible

Steps for Writing a Travelogue

AcademicHelp.net offers great advice to get you started. They suggest these steps:

1. Decide on the purpose of your travelogue.
2. While traveling, take notes.
3. Take as many pictures as possible.
4. When you return home, take time to review your recordings.
5. Create an outline of your travelogue.
6. After you’ve completed the outline, write the full travelogue.

Read their full guide here.

Getting Real: The Non-Fiction eBook Memoir

18 Feb
February 18, 2015

memoirAs we explore additional non-fiction eBook ideas that can help you get started as an indie author, one worth exploring is the memoir. Everyone has a story to tell, and the memoir lets you tell the one story you’re an expert at knowing: the story of you.

There are good memoirs and bad memoirs. Good memoirs pick out the interesting pieces of life and blow up the detail. Poorly written memoirs are monotonous, chronologically-driven, detailed-to-the-point-of-boring snoozers. If you want to write a memoir that will be interesting to readers, consider:

  • Picking a moment or period in your life in which you were experiencing a specific challenge or struggle
  • Focusing on an inspirational moment in your life where you learned some key piece of life knowledge worth sharing
  • Exotic experiences, such as international travel or unique experiences you had

Think of your reader as you write. The perfect memoir is a careful balance of detail and highlight – not so much minutiae that the reader is bogged down in unecessary detail and not so many broad strokes as to leave the reader wondering what really happened.

You can turn any life experience into a good memoir, even if the experience was not pleasant. It’s the story of your survival, adventure, or gained knowledge that keeps people swiping to the next page.

What’s your story?

Quick and Easy: The Non-Fiction Recipe eBook

13 Feb
February 13, 2015

recipe eBookWe’ve been talking about the types of non-fiction eBooks that might help a new indie author break into self-publishing. One area that has a lot of potential, a sort of sub-genre of the how-to eBook, is the non-fiction recipe eBook. Given the prediction that cookbooks will become extinct because of eBooks and apps, now may be the best time to publish your non-fiction recipe eBook.

Perhaps you’ve been gathering recipes for generations or you just love improvising in the kitchen. Recipe eBooks are extremely popular, helping would-be cooks not only fuel their inspiration but do so without cluttering their kitchens with a stack of print books.

If cooking and creating are in your blood, a recipe eBook can help you share your gift with the world. You can categorize recipes, and depending on how many you have to include, either create a series of non-fiction recipe eBooks, or create sections of one eBook for each category.

Categories of recipes to consider putting in your non-fiction recipe eBook include:

  • Appetizers and party trays
  • Entrees
  • Soups and salads
  • Desserts
  • Crock pot recipes
  • Casserole dishes

You can also add a creative touch to your recipe eBook by including a story about the history of the recipe or giving credit to a relative or ancestor who first created the recipe. Include pictures of the foods you create and even of the people who created the recipes.

Non-Fiction eBooks: The How-To eBook

10 Feb
February 10, 2015

How To non-fiction eBookWe’ve been talking on the EditionGuard blog about the benefit of writing non-fiction eBooks for those indie authors who feel fiction is not their forte. One of the most popular forms of non-fiction eBooks – and one for which  indie authors can find it very easy to get published – is the how-to eBook. The how-to eBook does exactly what it says: It teaches the reader how to do something. That “something” can be anything from “How to Dry Flowers” to “How to Build Your Own Greenhouse.”

The great thing about the how-to eBook is that everyone knows how to do something that is worth teaching to others, so you can start with something you know. From introducing a special crochet pattern to teaching belly dancing, your unique skill is valuable when shared with others who want to know how to do the same thing.

If you want to publish an even more marketable how-to eBook, or if you want to write an entire series of eBooks even if they exceed your own knowledge and require research, you can select topics based on what people want to know. Using tools like Google, a variety of news websites, and even Pinterest for inspiration, you can discover what people want to know more about and tailor your eBooks to meet an existing need.

Even if you’re not the best writer in the world, a how-to eBook can be a great non-fiction eBook option, because it can be written to be image driven and include embedded video demonstrations.

What special knowledge do you have to share with the world?

 

Non-Fiction eBooks: The Writing Process

06 Feb
February 6, 2015

E-learning.  Tablet pc and textbooks. Education online. 3dBefore we begin exploring the specifics of each genre of non-fiction eBooks, there are some basics that apply to any non-fiction eBook project you undertake. The most important factor as a non-fiction indie author is voice. Instead of having characters to fill up scenes, your voice is going to be front and center and therefore critical to the process.

Finding Your Voice as a Non-Fiction eBook Author

Writing non-fiction can, in some ways, be a more restrictive playground, but it doesn’t have to be. Just because you have to stick to facts doesn’t mean those facts have to be presented in a boring manner. Personality – voice – plays a huge part in keeping your non-fiction from becoming naptime fodder.

If you’re just starting out as a non-fiction indie author, choose a topic you are passionate about. That will help you find your most authentic voice. Whether you’re trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, or if you simply have a great real-life story to tell, choose to write something you can put your heart and soul into.

Know Your Reader

As important as it is to have an authentic voice in your non-fiction, it’s equally important to know who might be reading your non-fiction eBook. Are you reaching out to potential leads for your business? Will your story resonate with the opposite gender? Will an older or younger audience be more likely to enjoy the eBook? Knowing who you’re writing for will also help inspire how you write. Picture the ideal reader as you’re writing, and you may find it’s easier to get the words out – like having a conversation.

Do the Research

If you want to be trusted, be sure you have your facts straight. Do the research. Double check details. Be accurate and clear – and if you can’t be, be honest about why. If you’re writing about your childhood, for instance, and the details are fuzzy, let them know that what you’re sharing is how you remember it, even if it’s not completely accurate.

Share Details

Readers prefer longer non-fiction to shorter. While you shouldn’t add unnecessary padding to your eBook (this is not a college paper) you should include as much detail (times, places, people, smells, colors, feelings) as you can to bring the experience to life for your readers. If you’re writing a recipe eBook and there’s an anecdote behind the recipe, share that story. If you’re writing a how-to eBook about repairing jet engines, still find a way to share relatable stories, history, or information that give the bones of your eBook some meat.

What other factors do you think authors should consider when writing non-fiction eBooks? What would you add?

Alternatives to the Fiction eBook

04 Feb
February 4, 2015

ebookYou may have a desire to become an author and truly feel you have an eBook inside you, but maybe fiction isn’t your forte. If you’ve tried to make your way through characters and story arcs and simply aren’t getting anywhere, maybe you’re destined for the non-fiction world.

Writing non-fiction can be a great way to establish yourself as an indie author, because you can publish eBooks on topics you either already know a lot about or have a deep desire to learn about. In this month’s blog series, we’ll explore some of the major types of non-fiction eBooks whose sales are performing extremely well.

Of the top 20 non-fiction eBooks on The New York Times Best Sellers list (as of the writing of this post), the majority were autobiographies and biographies, but non-fiction eBooks find success in a number of genres, from how-to eBooks to recipe eBooks. In fact, according to BookScan, the top five non-fiction genres are reference, general non-fiction, health/fitness/medicine/sports, religion/bibles, and biography/autobiography/memoir.

Non-fiction is underrepresented in eBooks, comprising less than 20% of sales versus more than 50% in their print counterparts. This doesn’t mean that non-fiction has no place in digital publishing; quite the contrary, we believe it means there is a huge opportunity for the non-fiction indie writer to break into digital publishing.

In the coming weeks we’ll explore different non-fiction eBook genres and how best to approach writing and marketing.