Written by on October 26th, 2013. Posted in Indie Writers News


Once upon a time, books did something called “going out of print.” The publisher decided to stop printing new copies and readers had to scour garage sales for a used copy. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Then the ebook came along. Not only would new books live forever, but old titles could be purchased as well. In no time at all there were millions of books available to readers … who soon developed headaches sifting through it all.

A few people tried to solve the problem but no one really figured it out – until now.

The Fussy Librarian is the first website to match readers not only with the genre of books they like but also their preferences about content. Do you only read mysteries without profanity, violence and sex? Then we’ll tell you only about cozy mysteries. Read just memoirs and gory horror novels? No problem.

We also only bother with the good stuff so you know you’ll see great reads every time you open our daily email. There’s a reason we’re called The Fussy Librarian, after all.

So sign up today and start enjoying great books. We’ll take care of the rest!

Author’s get in on the ground floor:

Smashwords Author/Publisher Alert – October 25, 2013

Written by on October 25th, 2013. Posted in Indie Writers News


Smashwords Author/Publisher Alert – October 25, 2013


1. Details of the Oyster relationship, distribution begins in 3 days
2. New Smashwords E-Publishing Workshops now on YouTube (share with friends)!
3. Coming next

Your Smashwords page:
Smashwords account login email:



Oyster Shipments to Begin in Three Days

On September 5, Smashwords announced a distribution agreement with Oyster, a new and innovative ebook subscription service.  Here’s a link to our original announcement:

Oyster offers consumers unlimited access to more than 100,000 ebooks for only $9.95 per month.

At the time we announced the deal, we also announced that we wouldn’t begin shipping to Oyster until at least 72 hours after we shared the financial terms with you.  The clock starts now.

I also stated at the time that I believed the terms were author-friendly, and that Smashwords authors would be pleased when they learned the details.  Today, via this email, I’m sharing the details.

If you’re not familiar with Oyster, here’s how it works.  A reader downloads the beautiful Oyster app, available for the iPhone and iPad (new!).  If they subscribe to the $9.95/month service, the customer gains access to a massive catalog of ebooks, of which Smashwords books will soon be included.  Readers can read as much as they want or as little as they want.  The books are contained within the Oyster app, and cannot be transferred or shared.  If the customer ends their subscription, they lose access to the book.  This is fair and reasonable.  The customer is subscribing to a service, and for as long as they maintain their subscription, they read whatever they want.  It’s a very similar offering to Spotify in music and Netflix for film and television entertainment.

A single Oyster user could conceivably read multiple books by the same Smashwords author in a single month, and the author will be paid for each book. As a Smashwords author or publisher, you’ll earn 60% of you book’s retail list price whenever an Oyster subscriber reads more than 10% of your book, starting from the beginning of the book forward.  It’s an author-friendly model.  That’s the same rate Smashwords authors earn when we sell ebooks through the major retailers such as Apple and Barnes and Noble.

Oyster’s subscription service will help you connect with a segment of the reading audience you’re not reaching anywhere else.  Oyster will also give authors yet another reason to steer clear of exclusivity and embrace full distribution with Smashwords.

Smashwords authors don’t need to do anything to enjoy Oyster distribution other than ensure their books are Premium Catalog-approved.  If you previously opted out of Oyster because you were awaiting the financial details, please click to your Channel Manager at to opt back in within the next 72 hours if you want to be included in our first shipments.

As a final note on Oyster, I want to encourage you to keep you sales expectations realistic.  Although Oyster represents a new, innovative and exciting distribution channel, they are still a new company and it could take them many months or years to establish a sizeable readership.  However, as we know from our experience opening up distribution in 2009 and 2010 to new channels such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Apple, authors who are in first have a fan-building advantage over authors who delay.  Even smaller retailers add to your bottom line.  Every sale you get at Oyster is a sale you would not have otherwise received.

Following our first delivery, I’m going to provide Oyster, per their request, a spreadsheet identifying the bestselling books that are opted in to the Smashwords/Oyster catalog.  Oyster plans to use this spreadsheet to identify popular books their merchandising team can promote in their app. As we do with the Smashwords bestseller list we supply to Publishers Weekly each month, the list will be based on sales of Smashwords-distributed titles aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network (here’s the latest bestseller list – ).  In the future, credited sales at Oyster will contribute to a book’s ranking in our Publishers Weekly list as well.

Good luck!



I enjoy doing workshops at writers conferences (greetings today from the NINC conference in Myrtle Beach, where I’m doing a workshop tomorrow on Apple merchandising).  If you’ve ever attended one of my workshops over the last five years, you know I try to impart best practices knowledge that will help you become a more successful, more professional publisher.

A couple weeks ago, I took five of my most recent workshop presentations and narrated them as web videos.

Although I’ve been posting many of my prior presentations over at Slideshare, this is the first time I narrated them. Also, unlike my live workshops where I’m usually rushed to cover the material in 60 minutes or less, for these Youtube presentations I took my time.  I explored each topic in greater detail that I normally would.  The five workshops comprise eight hours.  View or listen to them at your leisure!

You’ll find each of them listed here, at the Smashwords blog:

Here are the direct links to each video:

#1 – An Introduction to Ebook Publishing (a primer and e-publishing checklist)

#2 – The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices secrets for reaching more readers)

#3 – Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More Books (pricing strategy and fun metrics)

#4 – 10 Trends Driving the Future of Authorship (indie authors are the future of publishing!)

#5 – How to Reach More Readers at Apple iBooks (merchandising secrets to grow sales!)

The complete collection is at

Please share the videos with your writer friends!



As you know, most of the new developments at Smashwords over the last few years have been author-centric, as part of our mission to provide you more and better tools to help you publish, distribute and market your books.

Recent exciting author-centric developments over the last few months include preorder distribution, Series Manager and Smashwords Interviews.

Next week we’ll launch a new feature for Smashwords customers – the people who buy your books.  And in the weeks ahead, you’ll see the first signs of our long-awaited user interface refresh.



Frequently asked questions:
Smashwords Site Updates:
Smashwords blog (subscribe today via the email option!):
Smashwords Video Workshops:
Create a Smashwords Interview (self-interviews):
Smashwords Series Manager (Manage series metadata):
Smashwords Coupon Manager (Create custom coupon codes):
How to publish and distribute ebooks with Smashwords:
Connect with fellow Smashwords readers and authors at Facebook:
Mark’s List – Low cost cover designers and ebook formatters. Now online at

Thank you for your continued support, trust and partnership.

Thank you also for distributing with Smashwords.  When you distribute with Smashwords, you’re directly supporting our ability to create new opportunities for you.

Do you know authors not yet at Smashwords? Please invite them to join our 70,000+ strong worldwide community.

Together, we’re changing the world of publishing one indie ebook at a time.

Best wishes,


Mark Coker

Important Update For Google Books

Written by on September 13th, 2013. Posted in Indie Writers News


Improving the publishing experience is a top priority for Google Books. The Partner Program has evolved over the last few years, so we decided to build a brand new Google Play Books Partner Centre – a new tool that’s faster and easier to use. Starting today, you’ll be able to use the new interface to manage your titles across Google Books and Google Play.

Highlights of the new Partner Centre include:

  • Speed: Pages load more quickly, regardless of the size of your book catalogue.
  • Convenience: Add and remove additional users, and convert prices into foreign currencies directly from your account.
  • Simplicity: Both preview and sales settings for your books can now be found in the same place, whether in the interface or in spreadsheets. Manage your account more easily with updated navigation and search.
  • Control: View and edit book descriptions, subjects/categories and other bibliographic information right within the interface. Remove titles from your account with a few clicks.

These changes and many more new features are available to you immediately. We’ve prepared an overview to help you discover all of the new features in your account and help you along the way:

To get started, visit Thank you for partnering with us to make your books available on Google Books. We’re excited to provide an improved experience for you, and we hope you enjoy your new account interface.

If you have any questions or comments, contact us at

Yours sincerely,

The Google Play Team

© 2013 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

Need Help Selecting The Right Category For Your Book?

Written by on July 27th, 2013. Posted in Indie Writers News


Do you want better book sales? Getting your book into the right categories is key. Here are some helpful hints straight from KDP themselves!

Selecting Browse Categories

Selecting a browse category for your book is a lot like deciding where your book should be shelved in a library.

When customers browse through the Amazon Kindle Store for books that might interest them, they are presented with genres and subgenres. By selecting browse categories, you decide which genres feature your book. KDP uses BISAC Subject Codes, an industry standard system, to help determine where your book should show up for browsing and searching customers. You can read more about the BISAC Subject Code system and see the most current list of codes here:

When creating a new title in KDP, you may choose up to 2 categories for your book. To help determine which categories best fit your book, you may consider searching for other titles in the Amazon catalog that are similar to yours. You can then find the browse categories that are assigned to those titles by scrolling down the book’s detail page to the “Look for Similar Items by Category” section located at the bottom of the page. The categories you select for your book will be used to filter it into the most relevant customer searches and browse sections on Amazon.

Choosing the Best Browse Categories

There are three main criteria that will help you choose the best browse categories.

• Picking the most accurate categories. Make sure the categories you’ve picked correctly describe the subject matter of your book.
• Selecting the most specific categories. It’s better to choose more specific categories instead of more general categories. Customers looking for very specific topics will more easily find your book, and your book will be displayed in more general categories as well (for example, a book in the “FICTION > Fantasy > Historical” category will also show up in searches for general fiction and general fantasy books). You should only select a “General” category if your book is actually a general book about a broad topic.
• Ensuring the categories you choose are not redundant. Since your book will be displayed in a variety of searches by choosing even a single category, you shouldn’t place it in both a category and any of that category’s sub-categories (for example, selecting both “FICTION > Fantasy > Historical” and “FICTION > Fantasy”). Even selecting just one specific, accurate category is preferable to selecting an inaccurate category just to have a second category listed.

Categories With Keyword Requirements

In order to list your title in certain sub-categories, you’ll need to add Search Keywords in addition to the categories you choose for your title. Click a category in the list below to see the keyword requirements.


Science Fiction & Fantasy


Teen & Young Adult

Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense

Series Categories

We’re regularly adding to the list of Series categories, but we aren’t able to accept requests for new Series categories at this time. Please check back later to see if the Series you’re looking for has been added to the list.

News From The Romance Writer’s America Conference

Written by on July 26th, 2013. Posted in Indie Writers News

Joanna Penn, author, internet entrepreneur and international speaker is simply fantastic when it comes to sharing marketing information for the Indie writer. I’m a huge fan so I wanted to share a little something she shared with me.
“Also encouraging is this report out of the Romance Writer’s America
conference, where it seems self-publishing is now the dominant force
and agents/publishers are now pitching authors
How times have changed … and I’m hoping the enthusiasm will make it
to England before 2015!”

Very interesting information here and encouraging for Indie writers as a whole!
You can find more on Joanna Penn at:

Concept Art

Concept Art

Gallery quality print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom trimmed with 1" border for framing.