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How Do I Protect My Book From Pirates? Other Questions Answered By Orna Ross And Michael La Ronn In Our Member Q&A Podcast

How Do I Protect My Book From Pirates? Other Questions Answered by Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn in our Member Q&A Podcast

How do I protect my book from pirates? This is among the questions answered on our #AskALLi Members Q&A hosted by Michael La Ronn, author of science fiction and fantasy novels as well as author self-help books; and ALLi Director, author, and poet Orna Ross.

Other questions include:

  • What are recommended WordPress themes for my author website?
  • Who is the best self-publishing aggregator?
  • Does ALLi recommend BookBaby?
  • And a new scam that a member wants other ALLi members to be aware of.

And more!

Our Members Q&A Podcast is brought to you by specialist sponsor Kobo Writing Life, a global, independent ebook and audiobook publishing platform that empowers authors with a quick and easy publishing process and unique promotional opportunities. To reach a wide audience, create your account today! We’d like to thank Kobo for their support of this podcast.

Find more author advice, tips and tools at our Self-publishing Author Advice Center: https://selfpublishingadvice.org, with a huge archive of nearly 2,000 blog posts, and a handy search box to find key info on the topic you need.

And, if you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization and become a self-publishing ally. You can do that at http://allianceindependentauthors.org.

Now, go write and publish!

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Watch the Q&A: Protect My Book From Pirates and More

How do I protect my book from pirates? This is among the questions answered by @ornaross and @MichaelLaRonn on the #AskALLi Members Q&A #podcast. Click To Tweet

About the Hosts

Michael La Ronn is the author of over 30 books of science fiction & fantasy and authors self-help books. His books include the Galaxy Mavericks series and Modern Necromancy series. You can now find his new writing course on Teachable.

Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”. She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing. For more information about Orna, visit her website: http://www.ornaross.com

Read the Transcript: Protect My Book From Pirates and More

Orna Ross: Welcome everybody. You are very welcome to our Alliance of Independent Authors’ Member Q&A with me, Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn. Hello, Michael.

Michael La Ronn: Hi, Orna. It is great to see you. How are you?

Orna Ross: Yeah. Great to see you too. Very good, thank you. Yes, we’re in the middle of so-called summer here in England. All is good. And you? You’re just back from a nice trip away, I believe.

Michael La Ronn: Yes, I took my kids to Disneyland, or Disney world I should say, in Florida. I’m back and I’m ready to get back at it and start the grind again.

Orna Ross: Start the grind again, and begin by answering some ALLi member questions, what better way to start the working week?

Michael La Ronn: Yes, absolutely, and we have to remember to record this, because Howard is always asking us to record our audio and all that.

Orna Ross: Absolutely. We forgot to talk about that didn’t we before, and I forgot to do it, so thank you very much for the reminder. I’m going to just set up for that now.

Michael La Ronn: And while you’re doing that, we’ve got some great questions this month, and we’ve got, actually, a fair amount of questions in our backlog.

So, thank you to all of you who have submitted your questions. I promise that we will get to them. We’re doing our best to try to answer a lot of questions proactively before the show goes live, just in case we have a backlog, we try to get you an answer sooner than just having to wait for the show.

I am a little behind on that, so just wanted to let everybody know that your questions, we try not to let them go into a black hole. They will be answered one way or the other.

Orna Ross: That’s great. Thank you, Michael, for that. Shall we just get started on today’s questions? I am now recording.

How much of a published book can you change before you need a new edition?

Michael La Ronn: Okay. Vanessa Couchman asks, how much of a published book can you change before it is considered as a new edition?

Orna Ross: So, the general answer for that is about 10% or less. It varies. Other people say 5% or less. It really is about thinking about the reader, and if one person has bought the book and has had a certain experience, and then another reader is going to have quite a different experience, that’s what you need to think about.

It’s fine if you’re correcting something, updating a cover, there are a few things that are okay on an eBook, but if it’s going to be substantially different, if you’ve got a whole new chapter, if you’re changing some information in a nonfiction book, if you’re adding a pivotal scene in a novel or something, then you’re getting into a situation where you’re probably looking at a new edition.

So, it’s like so many questions in self-publishing, there is no absolute straight answer. So, it could be that you’re going back in, and it really wasn’t edited properly first time out, so there’s a lot of proofreading in a lot of chapters, that arguably though could be okay to let it go again, because it is substantially still the same book. So, that’s the question you’ve got to ask yourself, is this substantially still the same book. Any thoughts on this, Michael?

Michael La Ronn: Yeah. You can never go wrong by letting people know that it is a new book. So, updating your copyright page to let people know that this book has been new and improved for your enjoyment. At the end of the day, don’t let something like that stop you from updating your book if you need to update your book.

Just be upfront and transparent, as Orna said, for the reader’s benefit so that they know what they’re getting.

Orna Ross: Exactly, and the other people to think about when we’re thinking about readers, is there are the reader influencers in the book ecosystem, so people like librarians and booksellers, they like to know a book has been updated. So, as an indie author, we can want to slip through changes and not necessarily let people know, but actually readers, librarians, booksellers, all of these people, they actually appreciate knowing.

So, the only downside to declaring it as a new edition is it does need a new ISBN, and all of that, maybe an updated cover with something to say that it is a new edition, and that can be the off putter; it’s the expense, but it’s not a huge expense, and for clarity, it can really help.

But certainly, if you’re doing more than 10%, I would say definitely it’s time to call it an updated edition.

Michael La Ronn: Yeah, and if we want to split hairs even more, if it’s just a typo or a bunch of typos, I would not slap a new edition on it. I think you just fix those. You don’t even need to tell anybody, just fix the typos. If it’s more than a few typos and you’re rearranging chapters, or you’ve rewritten chapters, that’s where you start getting into new edition territory. And if you’re writing fiction, you have to update your copyright page, let people know in your book description that it’s a new book, you’d go that route. If it’s non-fiction, that’s when we’re talking about new editions.

So, when Orna talks about updating your cover, maybe you’ve got a little sticker or something on the cover that says second edition or third edition, that sort of thing.

So, I just want to make sure we hit fiction and non-fiction, because I bet there’s probably some people thinking, wait a minute, I have to do a second edition of my novel? And no, that’s not necessarily true, but you do have to let people know that it is updated.

Orna Ross: Very good. Yeah, important distinction. Thank you for that, Michael.

And then finally, just before we leave that one to say, rather than thinking of it as a problem to think of it as a good thing. For example, I’ve just done an update on Creative Self-Publishing, and I have a little flag on it that says, ‘now with new creative business planning chapter’, so kind of making a virtue.

I’ve also updated other things along the way but making a virtue out of this new extra chapter. So, thinking about it in positive terms, I think, is the way to go with this.

Where do I find ALLi’s list of reputable book contests or awards?

Michael La Ronn: All right. Our next question is from Tamian Wood and Tamian asks, I thought I saw somewhere on your site a list of book contests that were either reputable or scams. What is the link to that?

Orna Ross: Do you happen to have that link conveniently there, Michael? Or I can quickly look it up.

Michael La Ronn: I do.

Orna Ross: You do. I thought you might.

Michael La Ronn: Yeah, and if you want that link, it’s our Author Awards and Contests directory. Just go to selfpublishingadvice.org and hover over the ratings tab, and then it’s the Author Awards and Contest Ratings. That’s the easiest way to get to it. The short link is escaping me.

Orna Ross: Me too. That’s what I was just going to jump over and get, but we will make sure to have it in the show notes for the podcast on Friday on the website. So, it will be there for you then. So, just take a look at the show notes on Friday and we’ll get it.

But as Michael said, that’s the way to get there, on our selfpublishingadvice.org site, which is our Self-Publishing Advice Center.

So, at ALLi, we have two websites, and sometimes this causes a little confusion for people. We have our actual member site, which is all our benefits for members only, it has our discounts and deals pages, has our directory in a downloadable form, also a searchable database for all our partner members, and lots of other things that are member only.

But we also run, as an outreach to the wider community, for everybody, widely and freely available, we run the self-publishing advice center at selfpublishingadvice.org and that’s where you’ll find our ratings pages and more about our watchdog desk, because we do see the watchdog desk as being something that is necessary for the wider community, rather than just keeping it just for our members, because very often when people are coming into the space,  they haven’t made the commitment to join a professional organization, and it’s at the beginning that they need this information to not join up with self-publishing services that are, shall we say, less than optimal, or in some cases downright dreadful.

So, you’ll find that on selfpublishingadvice.org.

How do I protect my book from pirates?

Michael La Ronn: Okay. Our next question is from Lucy, and Lucy asks, I’m interested in making my book available as an eBook and would like to know any information on how to protect it from copyright abuse and illegal downloads, any advice?

Orna Ross: Well, the first thing is not to worry too much about copyright abuse and illegal downloads, because there is this whole sort of world that exists around digital content, a subterranean world, where there is piracy and there is plagiarism, and there are all sorts of things that can happen to your book. But you’ve got to understand that it is a completely separate world, and it’s a world where people who buy books don’t really tend to hang out very much.

So, we can give some advice and we will in a moment give you some advice about how to avoid problems, and what to do if you do have a piracy problem, but to recognize that a lot of the times when you think your book has been pirated, what’s actually happened is that the content is just being used by phishing sites who really are interested in gaining credit card details from people who might be interested in reading it, they don’t have your book and they’re not in any way somebody to worry about in terms of selling your book.

So, if you do see your book in what seems to be a pirated place, do not go there, do not click on that link, because very often just kicking on the link causes the problem.

So, that’s the first thing. The second thing to say is that a lot of our members just don’t go there at all, it’s too much trouble for very little return, it’s kind of whack-a-mole, you know, as soon as you get rid of one, another one pops up. There is even a school of thought that would say, having your book pirated is actually a way of getting word out there to potential readers, because the biggest problem for a new author isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.

It’s really about, how do I get my book known out there in the reading world, the place where people actually read books, rather than worrying about protecting it from pirates in this world where, you know, the people who hang out there aren’t going to buy your book anyway. So, putting a lot of your time, attention and limited to energy into that world can be counterproductive.

I’m sure you have more to say on this, Michael?

Michael La Ronn: Yeah. I mean, you covered it beautifully, Orna. I would just say, most people who are starting off writing, you have a thousand things to do, is chasing pirates one of those things that you want to be doing? And I think the answer that most people would give in principle is yes, but in practice would be no, because you have a thousand other things to do. It’s just not worth the time or energy. And it’s one of those things, it’s like almost like a blessing. Like you talked about in the last question, that people see it as a problem. I see it as potential opportunity. So, this is why you want to make sure that you take some time on your copyright page and in your calls to action, to make sure that those are good, because if someone does happen to pirate one of your books and they like it, well, then maybe they’ll read everything that you have to write, and maybe they’re not someone that’s going to give you money, people who pirate tend to pirate a lot, and so you may never see a dime from them, but what if they become one of your biggest fans? So, you see them for what they are, then I don’t necessarily see it as a huge problem.

Now, if your JK Rowling, or James Patterson, or John Grisham, and you’ve got some cash to throw around maybe, but I don’t necessarily know that I would be terribly concerned if I were them either. So, think of it as an opportunity and spend your time on other stuff.

Orna Ross: Yes, and some of the authors, like most famously, I think, Paulo Coelho has actually welcomed piracy and credits his status as a bestseller in Russia to the Russian pirates.

One thing that is very relevant here as you publish your eBook for the first time, is that you’re going to be asked about DRM, digital rights management, and this as the protection against piracy, and it is an ALLi recommendation that you do not choose DRM for your book.

The reason for that is, it’s partly what we’ve been talking about here, and it’s also because choosing DRM is a big inconvenience for the reader. It means that they have to go with that proprietary system to read the book and it causes them all sorts of headaches, and any pirate worth their salt will have any DRM un-picked before lunchtime.

So, it’s not really a protection against those who are determined to pirate, and it gives readers a headache, so we recommend that you don’t go there with DRM.

If you find somebody, and we have had ALLi members who have found people who are actually trading in their content, and you don’t want that to happen. So, you’ve got people who have ripped off, and this is a slightly different, you know, who have taken your stuff. It’s not about free distribution. It’s about actually charging now for your book, or maybe even turning your book into a course; we’ve had this happen too. So, if this happens to you, the way you go about it is that you have to ask for a take down. So, it’s slightly technical and you’d need a bit of advice on it, but that advice is available in my Michael’s book, 150 questions, which will bring you through the process of exactly how you get your book taken down in such a situation, if you do want to chase it. There was a tool at one time called Blasty, and a lot of our members did join Blasty, and it made the take-down process a lot easier, and they liked that service, but unfortunately there is no equivalent surface at the moment.

We have been trying to work with the Publishers Association, they have a tool and that is also available, and if you would like to know more about that, if you just drop a line to [email protected] we can fill you in on that.

Michael, do you want to give the full title of your book so that those who want to chase up that particular question can do so? I know it’s 150 questions answered, but I can’t remember the subtitle.

Michael La Ronn: I can’t either, so let me look it up really quick.

Orna Ross: Sorry to put you on the sport there, I though you would remember. I should remember.

Michael La Ronn: No, it’s okay. In my defense, it’s like five o’clock in the morning here. So, the book is 150 Self-Publishing Questions Answered: ALLi’s Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing Tips for Authors and Poets. You can find that at selfpublishingadvice.org/150.

Orna Ross: That’s exactly right and thank you for that. Sorry for putting you on the spot there, but again, we will have all of this information on Friday on the website, on the show notes for the podcast. So, don’t think you have to remember everything in your head folks. Okay, next question.

Can I build my own author website and what platform should I use?

Michael La Ronn: Our next question is a question we haven’t gotten in a long time on the show and that is, Michael and Orna, this is from Ishanee, can you recommend the best WordPress theme for author websites, including one that allows direct selling?

Also, is it better to try to build a website yourself or hire a professional?

Orna Ross: Interesting. The answer to the second question is, it depends on your level of expertise. WordPress was started off, you know, it was supposed to be simple and so many themes have so many bells and whistles now that it isn’t necessarily simple at all. So, I certainly need help, I’ll put it that way, but I’m guessing Michael La Ronn, does his own?

Michael La Ronn: No, I’m close to that, but no, I use WordPress.

Orna Ross: Yeah, exactly. So, I use WordPress, but I need help to manage WordPress. You use WordPress and you do it yourself, right?

Michael La Ronn: Yes.

Orna Ross: So, would you recommend your theme? I would not recommend mine; it has given me nothing but headaches. So, do recommend your theme?

Michael La Ronn: Yeah, I would absolutely recommend my theme. My theme is Divi by Elegant Themes. I think I have Divi 3.0. You can go to elegantthemes.com and it’s right there on the homepage. They offer a bunch of different themes. They had a deal, probably eight years ago, where you could spend, I won’t even say what the amount is, it was a lot back then, but you can spend the money and you could get access to their entire theme library. So, the cool thing about Divi, and what makes divvy a little bit different than other sites is that it’s what you see is what you get.

So, you don’t have to worry about the backend of WordPress. It actually has the ability to where you can add content and delete content and edit content right on the webpage itself, instead of having to go in and use the WordPress dashboard and then preview it and see how it looks and then go back in, you do it all there on the webpage in real time, which is really nice and it saves you a lot of time, because you can drag and drop and rearrange stuff right there, and whatever you’re working on and whatever you see is ultimately what goes live.

So, I would highly recommend Divi.

As far as whether you hire a professional to build one for you or not, there are a lot of people right now in the WordPress space who specialize in Divi. So, that’s certainly a possibility, but the selling point of Divi is that it’s easy for beginners.

It’s really intuitive and easy to get started and it makes WordPress less scary. I know when I first started WordPress, it was horrible just trying to figure out how to get it to work. It’s got a weird structure and nomenclature, that it takes a minute to get used to if you’ve never handled a content management system before.

So, personally, I would recommend that you either do WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix, if you’re going to do a website, because those are the main three, and when you’re first starting off, you’re only going to have a couple of books anyway. So, you’re not going to have a whole lot to update, there’s probably not going to be a whole lot on your website. But as you get further down the road like where I am right now, where I’ve got like 63 books, it’s kind of a pain to update everything. So, once you get further down the road, that’s when you can look into hiring professionals. When your books are making money, you’ve got the ability to hire someone who can help you develop either a proprietary solution or something that is WordPress, but is a little bit more sophisticated. That’s what you can look forward to down the road, but if you’re just beginning, I would recommend WordPress, for sure. I would not recommend wordpress.com. I would go to the self-hosted wordpress.org site, that way you own everything that’s on your website. Pay for a domain name, it’s about 12 bucks a year. Pick a good hosting service. That’s half the battle too is a good hosting service. So, I use Bluehost, but there’s a lot of people out there that use different companies, and there’s a lot of good ones out there, and I would start there.

Orna Ross: Yeah, that’s all really good advice. And it sounds like your theme, Divi, is the best of both worlds, best of the WordPress site, because I think why people go for Wix and Squarespace is because you have that manipulation on the front-end that you don’t typically have with a WordPress theme. So, I’m going to have a look at that one, because I really need to get off my theme, which is a child theme of another theme, and this is how complicated it can get.

So, my advice with WordPress is to keep it as simple as you possibly can. Developers can get very excited; this is the downside of working with a developer. If you can do it yourself, do it yourself. I do lots on my WordPress site myself, but I did not do the original development, and developers can get very excited about, you know, you give them a brief of what you want, and then they come up with this very shiny object with lots of bells and whistles, but actually that creates big headaches for you as you go further on, as Michael was talking about, as books start to build, and that’s what’s happened to me. And you resist the idea of having to change a theme, because it’s just a headache, but I am coming to the point where I have to think about that. So, yeah, keep it simple. I recommend WordPress highly. I would say 90% of our membership should use WordPress, people who are using active sites and where they’re selling direct, because WordPress works very well with WooCommerce and other platforms to do direct selling.

So, yeah, I really would recommend it, and keep it simple.

Michael La Ronn: Yep. Oh, and that was another part of the question too, is that you’re typically not going to find a theme that helps you direct sell. I know that there are themes that have content templates for stores and things like that, but typically if you want to sell something, you’re going to have to do that through a third party or through a WooCommerce. So, I use Payhip. I love Payhip, Payhip is great. Some people use Gumroad, other people use WooCommerce, like I said, there’s lots of different services out there. So just know that most of the time, you’re going to have to integrate something into your website. Now that sounds more complicated than it actually is. It’s usually as simple as downloading a plugin or following the instructions that a website offers in order to get that onto your website, but I wouldn’t make that a big selling criteria for a theme. I would make the user experience the selling criteria, and then just know that there are integrations that you can put on top of that where you can sell your bookstore directly.

Orna Ross: Fantastic. That’s really good advice, and Payhip comes highly recommended, partner member, and just fantastic feedback about Payhip. I use WooCommerce, and I like it too, but it isn’t as user friendly. Payhip just does the selling solution, that’s all it does, whereas WooCommerce is used by huge companies to sell physical products, and it’s a more complex beast.

Michael La Ronn: And more expensive.

Orna Ross: Lots to think about, and more expensive, yeah. Lots to think about. So, if you have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to come through with those.

Should I publish my book with BookBaby or Outskirts Press?

Michael La Ronn: Okay, and this is one, Orna, we’ll put you on the spot and see if you know here (inaudible) asks, do you recommend publishing with BookBaby or Outskirts Press?

Orna Ross: Avoid Outskirts. Outskirts are connected to Author Solutions, and Author Solutions runs a variety of companies that we don’t recommend. So, if that’s your choice, BookBaby every time. BookBaby is a partner member of ALLi and if you are choosing that sort of self-publishing service, then they are one of the few in the world that are recommended.

I will say, just going to ask you back a question, which is, are you choosing a service like that because you think that’s the only way to get into publication, and to say to you that I, and Michael, and most of our members, DIY it, so we don’t necessarily choose a company like back to support the publishing. We will actually use our own skills and competencies, hire our own editors and our own designers, and bring a book out in that way. That’s the most cost-effective way and it’s the way that you can most guarantee a profit. Once you start bringing in full-service companies, they absolutely have their value if time is more precious to you than money, for example, which is the case for a lot of people who are doing maybe a non-fiction business book or something like that, then it can make a lot of sense to hire a service.

But if you’re hiring a service because you think that’s the only way, I know BookBaby won’t mind at all if I say to you, stop and think, and make sure that’s the way you want to go. Again, we have members who have used services like BookBaby, and other recommended services, and have consciously done that for their first book because they have said, if I have to DIY it, I wouldn’t do it, I just would be too overwhelmed, too scared to whatever, I would never see it through, and so I’ll use the service  first time out, and then maybe second or third time out they’ve covered over to DIY. And that’s a very acceptable at choice, but my point is to make sure you’re making an informed choice.

What is the best self-publishing aggregator to publish a novel with?

Michael La Ronn: Agree. All right, {inaudible} has another question and that is, I think maybe he asked the question and then was coming around to your answer Orna, what is the best self-publishing aggregator to publish a novel with?

So, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, PublishDrive, StreetLib. Which one should we use?

Orna Ross: They all do slightly different things, so it depends on what you want to do. So, for a novel, you won’t go far wrong if you use any of the people that Michael has just named, and indeed you can use a number of them. You can actually use them in conjunction with each other because, so for example, StreetLib reaches far more outlets than, for example, Draft2Digital. Draft2Digital has lots of add-on bells and whistles, like all sorts of really good, useful tools for indie authors, and so you might want to use them. We have, very often, a situation where somebody uses Draft2Digital for some outlets, and then also uses StreetLib for the outlets that are not covered by Draft2Digital, but, you know, you only get into the app when you really are beginning to market your books overseas, and you’re putting some energy into that.

So, it depends whether you’re looking for simplicity, or you’re trying to cover the entire range. So again, as so often with self-publishing, a lot depends on the outcomes that you want, you know, your definition of success here.

If you just want to get off the ground, cover yourself as widely, say cover 80% of the market, which is a huge number of outlets all over the world, then maybe just pick one aggregator on top of going directly to Amazon yourself, and in print going directly to IngramSpark for print, that would be our recommendation. And then choose one of the aggregators, you won’t go wrong with Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, or StreetLib. PublishDrive now has a different sort of financial model, which may or may not work for you. So, there’s a little bit of work to be done there to work out what it is you want to achieve and then which one of them is best for you. So, we can’t give you a straight answer, I’m afraid.

Michael La Ronn: Yeah. The only straight answer I would give is, a lot of people want to just use an eBook aggregator service in place of publishing directly at places like Amazon and Kobo.

Our stance has always been, publish directly in the places where you can publish directly, because you will get more benefits and often more visibility by publishing directly, with say Amazon, because you can take advantage of the different tools that they have, and it’s just less of a hassle to get that in.

Usually with Amazon, a lot of that data is on a delay anyway, and so you want that direct ability to be able to make changes and things. And then use an eBook aggregator to get to the places that you can’t go directly to. That’s, to me, always been the best strategy. Instead of just saying, I only want one dashboard, I’m going to upload everything to one dashboard and not have to worry about it. That’s a very legitimate concern, because I don’t know about you Orna, but I have probably 10 different dashboards. When I have a new book, I have to go to all 10 different dashboards. It takes me a long time to publish a book, but you make more in royalties at the end of the day, because your eBook aggregators, as good services as they are, they are going to take a commission from every sale.

So, that’s another thing you have to think about. I just always recommend you go direct, but to me, I see no reason why not to use all of them, as Orna said. I publish my books on Draft2Digital, I publish my books on PublishDrive, I also do Smashwords, because each of them has a unique list of different places they can go to.

As Orna said, Draft2Digital has a different list than PublishDrive, and vice versa. So, you’re really not losing anything other than a little bit of your time by uploading to all of these places, and if you sell a book, then it’s worth it.

Orna Ross: Absolutely, and that is the classic line. If your end game is profit, that is definitely the way to go.

If you’re going directly to Amazon, to Apple, to Google Play, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, have I forgotten anybody? I feel like I’ve forgotten one, yeah, anyway, that’s the main lot. And then you use the aggregators to reach each one separately, to reach the ones that the other ones don’t reach. That way you’ve got a hundred percent distribution.

You are available now the world over. Everywhere where people buy eBooks, they can buy your book. It doesn’t guarantee they will buy your book, but you have the confidence of knowing that you’ve got maximum coverage.

So yes, as Michael says, it’s a bit of a pain in the neck when it comes to uploading a new book or updating an old book, because you’ve got to do all these, but actually how much time is it? When you get used to it, it’s not a lot of time. To do the whole lot, we’re talking about a couple of hours, and it can make a real difference to your bottom line and, as Michael said, to your control.

So, Apple Books and Kobo dealing directly with you is a completely different experience than when they’re dealing with you through one of the aggregators, you just don’t have the same level of control or input into promotions, into even conversations that you have when you go direct. So, if you have the time, and profit is your motive, then that’s the way to go.

Michael La Ronn: Agree. Well, that concludes our questions.

Orna Ross: Good, because we’re all out of time. Perfect. Thank you, Michael, and thank you everybody for sending through your questions.

In this format we answer your questions publicly, but of course we also answer any question you may have privately.

So, if you want to write to us directly at [email protected], we can answer your questions there. If you would like to submit a question for this public forum, then please do, and we will get to your questions.

We won’t be meeting in August. We take downtime to rearrange, and next season when we come back in September, we’re going to be meeting on a Tuesday instead of a Monday.

So, it will be the third Tuesday of every month and we will be here to publicly answer your questions, and it’s really useful for other members, and for non-members.

Non-members can tune in and hear the answers, but only members can submit the questions. It’s really useful to other authors, if you’re up for it, to have your question answered in this public forum, every time. It really helps other people. So, thank you for sending them in.

Until we see you next time in September, happy writing and happy publishing. Bye, bye.

Michael La Ronn: Take care.

 

Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and now amplifies the voices of independent author-publishers and works with authors as a developmental editor. Howard is also a freelance writer specializing in Jewish issues whose work appears regularly in Publishers Weekly, the Jewish Daily Forward, and Longreads.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Thank you for all the good information we receive from Alli. There is so much to learn for not having been in the book publishing business. My first book seemed easy by publishing with Tate, but when they went south, I lost everything. I now have a second book to publish (and I’d like to republish the first as a second edition), however, now I’m considering the self-publishing route. I write religious non-fiction and have little time left to get my work out there (I’m 86), as well as, little money to spend for others to do what I may be able to do adequately well. There is still work to be done on the first book to remove the extraneous elements, thereby shortening the page count by a third. Otherwise, book two is ready for publication, which begs the question: To whom shall I send it? How do you rank IngramSpark and BookBaby as printing sources for Indie authors trying to self-publish for the first time? (Include other sources you feel should be considered as well.) All my experience has been bad and I don’t have time for trial and error solutions. I think I’m a member of Alli and have been reading your comments for some time and trust your judgment.
    Very sincerely,
    Arnold Wafer

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