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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

Reviving Your Backlist Titles – Manuscript Preparation

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 18, 2016

Once you get the rights back to your earlier titles, what do you do with them? Try to resell these books to a new publisher? Put them online as ebooks for sale? Offer them in a new trade paperback print edition? Go through an intermediary such as Draft2Digital or publish them yourself directly to vendors? And should you revise and update the stories first?

When I got my rights back from Kensington for my earlier Bad Hair Day Mysteries, I decided to tighten the writing, update the technology, and add back materials to the books. Now was my chance to hire a cover artist and get the design I’d always envisioned.

Here are four versions of Permed to Death, the first book in my mystery series. From the left to right: Kensington, Ereads, Open Road Media, and my new AUTHOR’S EDITION (Cover design by Patty G. Henderson at Boulevard Photografica).

coverPTD  PTD  Cohen_PermedDeath  PERMED TO DEATHeBook

So what should you do first if you’re interested in reviving your old titles?

Obtain a File

First you’ll need a digital copy of your book in one entire file. I wrote my early books in the days when we copied the manuscript and snail mailed it to our publisher. Each file was a separate chapter. I didn’t have a single intact file for the book. Nor did I have the edits that were done by my publishing house. In other words, my original files didn’t match the finished product.

What to do? These books came out in hardcover and then in mass market paperback. I decided to have the paperbacks scanned in since they held the most recent edition.

The Scanning Process

If you’re lucky enough to find a digital copy of your book online, you could buy it, download the file and work from there. You can use the free Calibre program to convert between formats. Otherwise, choose a scanning company. I used Blue Leaf. You’ll have to sacrifice the book you send because it’ll be destroyed in the process.

Once you get the files back from the scanner, make sure you have an editable Word document, if this is the software you use. Then you have to review the text WORD FOR WORD to look for scanning errors. You may see a strange squiggle mark. Note this excerpt from Died Blonde:

Shutting off the blow-dryer, Marla plunked it on the counter. “Did you see how Claudia looked away when I mentioned a power blackout? She knew about it Pro­bably Carolyn went to the meter room to turn off my electricity.”

You have to turn on the paragraph reveal mark in Word to see the irregular mark in “probably.” It looks like a hyphen with a bar hanging off the end. You’ll have to go through the entire document looking for this weird symbol. It’s intense, eye-straining work.

Notice the period is missing after She knew about it. Missing punctuation is another problem. Or quotes pointing the wrong way, use of an apostrophe instead of a quote mark, or an extra space after a hyphen.

In revising and updating your work, one of the things to look for are “ing” sentences like that first one. More about that when we talk about revisions.

Here’s another example with a misspelling for Sun-Sentinel. That weird mark is also present in “released.”

“The medical examiner’s report hasn’t been re­leased yet, but the SunSenlinel reporter is saying Carolyn died under mysterious circumstances.”

Here’s a guide on what to look for after having your book scanned:

· Weird symbols when you turn on the paragraph symbol in Word
· Missing or wrong punctuation
· A number “1” instead of an “I”
· Misinterpretations, such as comer instead of corner. Watch for words like this with “rn” coming out as an “m” instead.
· Misspelled words such as for away instead of far away; “die” instead of “the”
· The letter “d” instead of “tl”: Words like abrupdy. Or see this example:

Marla setded a cape around her mother’s slim shoul­ders.

· Check the spacing for italics that it’s normal and not expanded or condensed (Highlight the word, hit Font, then Advanced).
· Make sure italics don’t come out as bold.
· Replace two spaces between sentences with one space if necessary.
· Format chapter headings properly with a page break and remove any section breaks.
· Look for run-on paragraphs or paragraph marks too soon that split a sentence onto the next line. Example:

“Carolyn promised Linda she would inherit her collectibles, but we couldn’t find any items of value.” “Jewelry? If a collection exists, it makes sense 

they were gifts from her private benefactor. I don’t see how Carolyn could afford anything else. Did she have a safety deposit box?”

This should read:

“Carolyn promised Linda she would inherit her collectibles, but we couldn’t find any items of value.”

“Jewelry? If a collection exists, it makes sense they were gifts from her private benefactor. I don’t see how Carolyn could afford anything else. Did she have a safety deposit box?”

You need an eagle eye and several read-throughs to catch all these errors. Regardless of which route to publication you take, you’ll want to present a professional product. So gear up to begin the next stage, which is revisions and/or formatting.(Coming Next!)

LAST DAY FOR CONTEST ENTRIES!!!

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Enter to win 35 cozy mysteries and a Kindle Fire in Storytellers Unlimited Spring into Mystery Giveaway. My contribution is an ebook copy of Permed to Death. http://bit.ly/CozySpring

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Craft, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

iBooks Tips for Writers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 10, 2014

Working with iBooks
Novelists, Inc. Conference St. Pete Beach Oct. 2014

iBooks

Representatives from iBooks spoke at the Ninc conference. They said their readers like free ebooks, so Apple offers the first free in series promotion. Their readers are also willing to pay more for a book so don’t be afraid to price higher.

Pre-orders count double toward your sales ranking—when a pre-order comes in and when the book releases. You can do pre-orders up to one year before the book’s release. You can offer a sample of the story when the book is in pre-order. So Step One is to set the pre-order date, which is when the book is available for ordering. Step Two is to set the sales start date, when the book can be sent out.

iBook sales count on the USA Today list. iBooks are only allowed on five devices for one person. You should put your iBook links on your websites, Twitter, newsletter and elsewhere. For Twitter, use the hash tag #iBooks, not #iTunes.

It takes time to build readers on this platform. They recommend you have three books minimum in your series when you offer the first one free. In the back material, make sure you include links along with covers for your other books.

Make sure your name is readable on a thumb-sized cover. For the URL, take out the specific country, and the URL will redirect to the country of the buyer.

i.e. Take out the U.S. part from this link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/nancy-j.-cohen/id411505950?mt=11&uo=4&at=1l3vsrx

And it becomes this link that redirects to the buyer’s country. See if this works for you:
https://itunes.apple.com/artist/nancy-j.-cohen/id411505950?mt=11&uo=4&at=1l3vsrx

They can only link your series titles if the books are uploaded by the same publisher. So if the books come from different sources, they won’t be able to link the titles in a series.

You might want to join their Affiliate program so you can share in some of the revenue from sales.

iBooks is in 51 territories. The German market is huge. We need to think more globally. Apple has a strong worldwide presence. India will be an emerging market for ebooks.

Note: Any errors in this article are due to my interpretation.

Contest Alert!

Win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card or free ebooks from Booklover’s Bench authors, including a copy of my cruise ship mystery, Killer Knots, in our December contest: http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Marketing, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

E-Book ABC’s at SleuthFest

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 6, 2014

SleuthFest 2014, Orlando

Third Degree Thursday opened the SleuthFest 2014 festivities at the beautiful Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort. I gave a presentation on “Writing is Revising” first thing in the morning, and then I listened to Neil S. Plakcy’s workshop on e-books. Workshops and panels follow. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Go there, Like my page if you haven’t already done so, then click on Photos. Next click on Albums and then SleuthFest 2014.

Revising Panel

E-book ABC’s with Neil S. Plakcy

Neil said to learn your Word basics in terms of styles, formatting and headers. Understand the difference between a hard return and a soft return (shift-enter). In e-books, don’t use tabs or headings. “Write the best book you can if you intend to self-publish.” Take classes and workshops; join a critique group; get a manuscript critique; employ beta readers; do multiple revisions; join the Sinc Guppies; hire a professional editor.

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To prepare your manuscript, proofread thoroughly. Check for page breaks and section breaks. A print version will need page numbers and headers. Don’t forget your copyright, acknowledgments, and dedication. The cover should be professional and eye-catching. Use royalty-free photos, and make sure the cover is readable at a small size. Hire an artist if you can’t do it yourself.

The jacket copy is the sales copy for online retailers. It is similar to the back cover copy on paperbacks. Marketing copy is to attract buyers. This may include endorsements. What is the hook for this book to get someone to want to buy it?

Metadata are keywords that readers use to search for your book. It may include terms relevant to the subgenre, location, subject matter, or theme. Go to Amazon and start typing in a keyword to see what pops up. This will tell you the most popular keywords.

Regarding file conversion, you could use the free Calibre software to save a Word doc as HTML. You want to use an Epub validator online to test before posting. Again, if you can’t do it for yourself, hire someone. Once your book is set, you upload it to the various sites. You may have to provide direct deposit information for your bank account. Often your book will be on sale within 24 hours. There is no cost to upload.

IMG_0600

Amazon has several programs available, such as their KDP Select, Matchbook, Createspace, ACX, and Countdown. Royalties are often paid monthly after a 90 day delay. You can check your dashboard for up-to-date sales figures. Neil discussed royalties for the various e-book distributors. To determine the price for your book, see how much other books like yours are selling for. Determine your purpose. Is it to make money, to promote your work, or to provide information? What are the prevalent rates on the market today?

Promotion is important. You want to get reviews from other bloggers, Amazon customers, and Goodreads members. “Bloggers are the new reviewers these days.” Keep up with social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Utilize photo sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Promote your work at conferences, festivals, bookstores, and libraries when possible.

If you’re with an e-book publisher, they will likely have a list of reviewers, and this gives them an edge over self-published authors.

If you can, promote your work on sites like Book Bub and The Fussy Librarian. You need a minimum number of Amazon reviews for these sites.

Why give away free books? It helps gain readers. Use the sites above or run contests.

Neil uses Untreed Reads for distribution to various sites like Overdrive. You can opt out of the sites you don’t want them to do. They also sell through overseas vendors.

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Neil is the author of several mystery series including his latest title, Genie for Hire–a fun, magical mystery with a genie detective.

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Tomorrow, check out my post on “Writing the Cozy Mystery” at the How To Write Shop. Then stay tuned for a recap of Joanna Campbell Slan’s talk on “Seriously Series.”

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Valentine’s Day Contest

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day Contest

Get in the mood for romance by entering my Valentine’s Day Contest on Feb. 13-17. You can win a free ebook copy of Warrior Prince and a $10 Amazon gift card. Click on the Contest tab on my Facebook Author Page to enter. Please “Like” my page while you are there. Rafflecopter will choose a winner.

Valentine's Day Contest

And if you haven’t already downloaded your free Kindle copy of Warrior Rogue, Click Here!

You don’t even need a Kindle. With Amazon’s free Kindle app, you can read the book on your computer, laptop, or Apple device.

So obtain your free download of Warrior Rogue (The Drift Lords Series #2) and then Enter my Contest to win a free copy of Warrior Prince (The Drift Lords Series #1) and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Kindly share this post with your friends!

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FREE Kindle Book!

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 13, 2013

FREE KINDLE BOOK!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for romance. How better to get in the mood than with a fast-paced romantic adventure?

Warrior Rogue will sweep you away on a thrill-packed ride with legendary villains, Norse myths, and ancient prophesies. The spellbinding action swings across the globe, but you don’t have to leave your armchair. Just CLICK HERE to download the Kindle book for FREE!Warrior Rogue

Yes, Warrior Rogue is FREE on Kindle from Feb. 13-17. Get your copy now and please tweet, share, and spread the news to your friends.

(And if you don’t have a Kindle, never fear! You can download the free Kindle app from Amazon and read the book on your computer, laptop, or Apple device.)

Warrior Rogue (The Drift Lords Series #2)

When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both.

Excerpt:

Jen tilted her head, taking the plunge. “I’m just wondering where we’re going with us.”

“Are you embarrassed because of my job, is that it?”

“I brought you home to meet my parents, didn’t I?”

“That’s not a proper answer.”

She folded her arms across her chest. “All right, I really like you. I want to be with you. But what happens when your mission is over?”

His eyes hardened. “I go back to my job.”

“Exactly. You leave me. You leave Earth.”

“Why, would you come with me?” For a moment, something flickered behind his expression.

“Not if you’re a space jockey hopping from one port to another. I want to settle down and have a family.”

“Well, then I guess you’ll have to look for someone more stable and suitable to your goals.”

Hurt and disappointment slashed through her. “I guess so. Someone like you can never understand drive and ambition. You just know how to kiss women or kill people.” She regretted the angry words as soon as she flung them at him, but his refusal to consider her feelings wounded her.

He grinned, but his eyes were two cold ice chips. “I’m very good at killing, Jen. It’s my best trait. Too bad you don’t count that among your requirements for a mate.”

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/cjV-PRVGoVs

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/njcohen/warrior-rogue/

Get your copy now FREE on Kindle from Feb. 13-17. Download your copy and please tweet, share, and spread the news to your friends.

Posted in Contest, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Booklover’s Bench

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 7, 2013

I am excited to announce that I’ve joined with a group of other writers, and we’ve started a new website for readers called Booklover’s Bench. We’ll be holding contests and giveaways so we hope you’ll visit often.

Booklover's Bench

Our first contest runs from Feb. 7-14. Enter now to win a Nook Simple Touch and an ebook from each of our authors!

Please bookmark our site while you are there so you can return and celebrate with us our love for books. We’ll be having more opportunities for you to win exciting prizes.

Participating authors include Terry Ambrose, Nancy J. Cohen, Karla Darcy, Terry Odell, and Maggie Toussaint.

Share this post with your friends!

Posted in Business of Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

November Contests

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 2, 2011

To celebrate the release of Wicked Women Whodunit and to gear up for the holidays, I’m offering numerous chances this month for you to win exciting prizes.

1.  Check out my Giveaways on Goodreads (deadline: Dec. 18) and on LibraryThing (deadline: Nov. 27) for a chance to win a free signed ARC of Shear Murder.

2.  Enter my November Website Contest

HOW TO ENTER: Send an email to contest@nancyjcohen.com

In the Subject line, put Contest
In the Message, put your first and last name and email address, and your answer to this question. Watch the Shear Murder book trailer on YouTube: What is the bride holding in her hand? (CLUE: Check the 8th slide)

ONE ENTRY PER PERSON, PLEASE.

PRIZE: A signed ARC of Shear Murder and a Diamonds International charm bracelet.

Newsletter Subscriber Bonus Drawing: A signed copy of Killer Knots and a deck of tropical drink Playing Cards. (Sign up for newsletter on my Website)Shear Murder

Note: If not a U.S. Resident, an equivalent value online gift card will be offered instead.

DEADLINE: Contest will run from Nov. 1 through Nov. 22.

3.  Leave a comment on my Blog between now and Thanksgiving and enter for a chance to win a signed copy of “Wicked” Women Whodunit.

4.  Join the YES! Party at The Romance Reviews for a chance to win more prizes from over 200 authors. Register on site to play. See my Q&A on November 17 for a chance to win an ebook copy of Keeper of the Rings.

The Romance Reviews YES! Party

No purchase is necessary. By your entry, you certify that you are at least 18 years of age and agree to the conditions of this contest. You will hold the Author harmless for any misdirected emails and release her from any liability claim that may arise from your entry.

For more details, visit my Contest Page .

Posted in Business of Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wired

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 31, 2011

As I approach another trip to Disney World for Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, plus an upcoming cruise on Allure of the Seas, I am contemplating the various electronic devices to bring along. Considering that each one has a charger and perhaps other accessories, I’ll need a special case just for these items. Here’s a potential list:

  • Camera: Take charger but leave home USB cable. Will transfer photos to computer later.
  • Alphasmart: For working on blogs. Can only type ahead, not go back and revise. Uses batteries. Leave home USB cable. Will transfer data to computer later.
  • Cell phone: Take charger.
  • Kindle: Take charger.
  • iPad: Take charger. Leave home cable for connecting to computer.

Okay, do I really need both an iPad and an Alphasmart? Probably not, but I’m new to the iPad and haven’t really typed anything on it yet. Other authors recommend the Pages app where you can save your file in Word. I should install that before we leave.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned bringing a laptop. My notebook computer is too heavy and the battery is dead. Besides, with all these other gizmos, I don’t need it. I do not plan to do much writing on vacation, but I like to have the capacity to scribble down blog topics and to keep up with online activities.

What about you? What do you lug along these days when you go away for the weekend or longer trips?

LAST DAY to “Like” my Facebook Fan Page and be entered for a chance to win a free copy of Dead Roots, my seventh Bad Hair Day mystery.

Posted in Florida Musings, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Turning Books Into Apps

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 2, 2011

An app can be a useful tool for writers. Why create an app for your reader community? Several reasons may prompt an author to consider doing an app and offering it to readers. In a recent symposium in the Author’s Guild Bulletin, titled “Books, Apps & Multimedia: The New Digital Landscape”, these reasons are discussed in detail.

App developers can work two ways. One may charge up-front costs. Another company might charge nothing in advance but split the revenue with you. You’ll need to find the one that’s right for you. Check out the apps of a developer and decide which functions you want your app to do. Also, carefully check which rights you’ll retain. You want to be able to make film or audio deals later on aside from the app. Also, will the developer link to different retailers? How do they promote their apps?

Don’t confuse apps with enhanced e-books. Apps are software, while an enhanced e-book is a book with audio and/or video content. For example, the former is sold on iTunes, while the latter is sold in the iBookstore.

Here are some of the pointers from this article to help you determine if creating an app might be a useful tool in your promotional arsenal.

  • Various kinds of content can be included in an app, such as photos, video, audio recordings, and links to other sites.
  • You can keep track of reader interactions with the app to see what interests them.
  • The app can serve as a companion to your series, offering new exclusive content.
  • Including share options to social networks on the app will help spread the word.
  • An author can send messages to app subscribers alerting them of upcoming events, new releases, etc.
  • A community discussion group on the app can stimulate readers to share opinions.
  • An app can be constantly updated with new material. You can add interviews and reviews, excerpts from works in progress or the next book in a series, short stories or articles written just for the app.
  • Make sure the app has a buy link to your book.

Once you’ve created your app, you’ll need to decide on pricing. Will the app be free as an enticement to buy your book? Or will it cost a small amount and act as a companion to the series? You’ll also want to have a marketing plan in place for getting the app noticed once it’s available. Consider getting a sponsor, as in a company who compliments something in your story (i.e. a dog mystery writer partners with a pet food company). Creating the app is one task. Marketing it is the other.

And while we’re on the subject of new technology, do you know about Kindlegraph for readers, who want a signed copy of their e-book? Or have you heard about how a reader who has a question while reading your Kindle book can send you a message via Twitter? Read about it here (http://yhoo.it/pBj3Bn) and here (http://amzn.to/pG9gSx).

With all these great new technologies out there and new ones arriving every day, it gets harder to keep up. Just remember this motto: The Writing Comes First.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Posted in Business of Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Ebook Conversion Tips

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 27, 2011

I’ve just successfully converted a backlist title and uploaded it to Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. How did I manage the formatting? I’ll share my insights with you, with credit due to other authors along the way whose advice helped me and is incorporated here.

I’m assuming you know how to do basic operations in Word.

When you write your initial document, do not use Tabs. Instead, use Paragraph, Special, indent first line 0.5. This will make things a lot simpler. Otherwise, you’ll have to go through and indent the first line as above and then eliminate all tabs (I think it’s Find ^t and Replace with nothing).

Save your file under different names, one for Kindle and Nook conversions, and another one for Smashwords. Save these as a Word Doc. If you have Office 10, save them as a doc file, not docx.

Working with each of these two files, Single Space the entire document.

Use a Times New Roman 12pt font. I tried it with a 14 pt font and it came out too large on my Kindle.

Remove section breaks (Look for paragraph symbol to reveal codes in Word and also eliminate any odd spaces before paragraph symbols)

Remove headers and footers and page numbering.

For space breaks, use 3 lines. On the center line, do this: <><><> (look on your keyboard; it’s shift key-comma; shift key-period, repeat two more times)

Chapter breaks with Kindle and Nook: Do two returns at the end of a chapter then a page break. My chapter heading begins 6 lines down on the next page and is centered. Space down two more returns from chapter title to begin text.

Chapter breaks with Smashwords: Do two returns at the end of a chapter then a page break. Do not space down the chapter title; center it at the top. Again, do two returns between the chapter title and the text.

Prepare front matter excerpt if desired, copyright page, and any additional material, i.e. About the Author, Glossary, Author’s Note, etc. For a backlist title, the copyright date is the date of original publication.

Smashwords requires special wording on the copyright page. Please read their Style Guide.

For Smashwords, don’t have more than 4 empty lines at a time. You can, however, use page breaks despite what you might have read elsewhere.

In a nutshell, that’s how I did it. Do you have more tips to add?

Posted in Business of Writing, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

 
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