Where can I download free ebooks from?

It's FREE!

Strangely, the best place is where you buy ebooks from. All of the big retailers who sell ebooks also offer free ebooks. Of course they don’t make money on those so you are unlikely to find them advertising them or even making them easy to find. For years I found doing a search on Amazon for ‘free ebooks‘ produced an impressive list of books with prices. The same was true for Apple, Barnes and Noble (Nook), Kobo and others. They’ve got a little better now and you can find some freebies with that search but not many among the millions which are there.

Amazon is the biggest ebook retailer and it has a free app which allows you to get books on non-Kindle devices. PCs, iOS computers, Android tablets and SmartPhones. You can even read on Linux and Ubantu using the Cloud Reader and read offline by using the Cloud Reader’s ‘Download and pin book’ option.

Where can you find free ebooks at Amazon?

Try going to one of these links which will take you to the lists of the top 100 free ebooks:
If this list doesn’t include the genre you want use the links at the left of the page to select the genre you want but make sure you select the ‘Top 100 free’ tab.
Of course if a book isn’t in the top 100, it won’t be shown. In that case you’ll have to get a link from one of the many book promotion websites. The best known is Bookbub. My personal favorite is Book Barbarian because I like Science Fiction books. Both of these sites will send you a daily email of the genres you like. There are many others. Try a Google search for ‘book promotion sites’.
Kindle books are in MOBI or AZW3 format.

What about free ebooks at iBooks?

On a Mac, launch iBooks (if you don’t have it, it’s a free download). Click on iBooks Store. On the right, you’ll see a list of ‘Quick Links’. Click on ‘Free Books’.

On an iOS device, tap ‘iBooks’, tap ‘Featured’. The ones marked ‘GET’ where the price is normally shown are free. Again, if a book is not ‘Featured’ you’ll need a link or the name of the book to search for it. Here’s two of our free ebooks at iBooks – Immortality Gene (a technothriller) and Raging Storm (a paranormal romance).

iBooks are in EPUB format.

Other free ebook sources

Barnes and Noble and Kobo also have free ebooks. Kobo supply ebooks to many other retailers. In the UK that includes TescoSainsburys and WH Smith.

Smashwords is a great site for ebooks.

Find Smashwords at smashwords.com
Its advantages are that:
  • You can pay via PayPal and for free ebooks you don’t have to provide any financial details.
  • It has a price section which includes a prominent FREE area.
  • It’s ebooks are available in multiple formats. MOBI, EPUB and others.
  • It’s also often a fraction cheaper than other retailers for paid books.
  • You can actually earn money by promoting ebooks there.
  • You may find an author will give away coupons which let you have free or reduced price ebooks there.
  • Unlike other retailers Smashwords ebooks don’t have DRM copy protection built in so you can move your ebooks onto other devices.

What about Google Play ebooks?

Project Gutenberg offers out of copyright books

Find it at gutenberg.org. It offers more than 53,000 free, out-of-copyright books in multiple formats.

What if I have a Kindle Fire and want to read an EPUB ebook?

It’s not surprising that Amazon don’t offer an EPUB reading app in their store but that doesn’t mean you can’t install one. You’ll need to ‘sideload’ the app. Get instructions here.

What if I have an e-ink Kindle and want to read an EPUB ebook?

You can’t do that. You’ll have to convert the ebook to MOBI format then email the ebook to your Kindle device email address. An open source (free) program called ‘calibre‘ can do that if the file is not protected with DRM (get it at Smashwords—their books don’t use DRM).

What if I want a PDF ebook?

Yes, it’s possible BUT you need to be aware of the risks.
  • PDF files are designed for printing not for e-reading. Although most e-reading devices will read them, it’s a clumsy process involving lots of scrolling since the text won’t flow as it’s enlarged.
  • PDF files are frequently infected with malware. Why do you think so many pirate sites are out there offering free ebooks? They want to infect your computer. If you MUST have a PDF file, get it from a non-pirate site which won’t infect you such as Smashwords.
  • PDF pirate copies of ebooks are stealing from the author. Are you OK with that?
Authors — do you know about Emotional Marketing Value?

Authors — do you know about Emotional Marketing Value?

What is Emotional Marketing Value (EMV)?

Communication is the key of effective marketing. And the key to communication is being able to reach the reader at an emotional level. Involving them in your words and invoking their deeper thoughts.
While many authors ‘guess’ how people will react to their words,  researchers have determined a test which  gives an actual rating that can be used to judge how well received your copy will be to others.
Effectively, by using emotional words in your titles, subtitles and book description your book will have greater impact and you’ll get more sales.
 

So how do I do this?

Here’s the first draft of the cover of a book I’ve been working on for some time Let’s see how it can be improved:
There are four key areas of text here where EMV can have a dramatic effect:
  1. The title and subtitle
  2. The first line of the description on the back cover – ‘Author John Chapman shows what is involved in getting your book published.’
  3. The phrase ‘…the choice is yours and it’s not as difficult as you might think.’
  4. The section ‘Getting sales is not quite so simple though. John walks you through editing, cover design, book descriptions and book promotion.’

First we need to measure the impact of these areas

There are two free online tools for this. I find that titles and headlines are best measured with the CoSchedule headline analyzer tool at https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer. Entering the text of the heading and subheading there gives a score of 64. Not perfect but what I wanted here was a big impact made by the first three words and last three words. As CoSchedule point out—that’s what people tend to see first.
The description text on the back cover is best analysed for it’s EMV using the free tool provided by The Advanced Marketing Institute at http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm
This tool handles a maximum of 20 words at a time so the three sections of text were entered one at a time using ‘media and communications’ as the type.
‘Author John Chapman shows what is involved in getting your book published.’ got an EMV of 16.67%
‘the choice is yours and it’s not as difficult as you might think’ got an EMV of 15.38%
‘Getting sales is not quite so simple though. John walks you through editing, cover design, book descriptions and book promotion.’ got an EMV of 20%
Considering that average language has an EMV of 20% these are not good scores.

The results of tweaking the words

Phrase
EMV %
the choice is yours and it’s not as difficult as you might think

15.38

the choices are yours and it’s not as difficult as you might think

23.08
the choices are yours and it’s not as difficult as you might believe

30.77

the choices are yours, and it’s not as tricky as you might believe

38.46
the choices are up to you, and it’s not as tricky as you may believe

46.67
the choices are up to you and are not as tricky as you may believe

53.33

According to the Advanced Marketing Institute most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their text, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words. I’m happy with a score of 53.33%
In the same way I tweaked the other phrases and ended up with:

Author John Chapman leads you through the intricacies of getting your book to readers. – (EMV 50%)
      • Conventional publishing
      • Independent – Print on demand
      • Ebooks
…the choices are up to you, and are not as tricky as you may believe. – (EMV 53.33%)

John directs you through cover design, book descriptions, keywords and book promotion because, unfortunately, getting sales is not so obvious. – (EMV 55%)

As you can see changing a few words has left the meaning the same but the impact is far greater. A few minutes exploring these tools and your book descriptions can have a dramatic effect.

…and the book?

It’s still being checked and edited but if you sign up to my email list and mention ‘Illustrated Guide’ in the comment area, I’ll let you know when it’s available. That’s at http://bit.ly/avilist



If this post has helped you find free ebooks will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our books ‘Immortality Gene’ from http://smarturl.it/avi or/and Raging Storm http://smarturl.it/botr
Even if you never read them (but we hope you will) – it will help our rankings.
Look - a FREE e-book
Vertical page alignment in MS Word

Vertical page alignment in MS Word

Here’s three pages from the front of a book I’m writing (the image will expand if you click it):

I’ve turned on ‘Show/Hide’ so you can see where Return has been pressed to get a new line.Those of you with an eye for detail might notice that these pages used have three different layouts. The half title page on the left was vertically aligned at the top, the title page was vertically aligned at the center and the copyright page was vertically aligned at the bottom.
It’s not immediately obvious how to do this in Word. To achieve it each page must end with a section break.
First place your cursor on the page you wish to change.
Next from the layout tab (1) select the small icon (2) at the bottom right of the Page Setup section of the ribbon.
Select the Layout tab (3) in the window which opens.

In the Page Vertical alignment section (4) select the alignment you want. 
‘Justified’ incidentally will space out the paragraphs of a page to fill the entire page.

If this post has helped you will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our books ‘Immortality Gene’ from http://smarturl.it/avi or/and Raging Storm http://smarturl.it/botr
Even if you never read them (but we hope you will) – it will help our rankings.
Look - a FREE e-book
Checking for Fake Followers on Twitter

Checking for Fake Followers on Twitter

Don’t Buy Fake Followers

I’m sure you’ve seen those ‘Buy Twitter Followers’ posts. Perhaps some are tempted to use them. Don’t be! You would be wasting your money. The chances are these ‘followers’ are not real people. They will never read your tweets and never re-tweet anything. They may also send out spammy messages and suddenly disappear when Twitter realises that they are fake.
People who post these tweets are breaking Twitter’s terms and conditions also and when reported – they will disappear too.
Now—if you are tempted, how are you going to pay for these? Are you going to part with your credit card data? If so say goodbye to your bank account. I wouldn’t give my details to someone who is a crook!

Is it possible to get fake followers by accident?

Certainly. Just use an ‘autofollowback’. Anyone who follows you will automatically be followed back and that includes fake followers. Strangely, there are thousands of fake followers out there who look for ‘I follow back’ or ‘#followback’ in user bios and follow all they find. Since they include that autofollow statement in their own bio they are blindly following each other and growing their lists that way! If you follow them and you’ve got that ‘I follow back’ statement in your bio, you can be sure that you’ll become a person on their list even if you are real.

What’s the harm?

If you have a high number of fake followers you are going to look foolish. “Look at me I have 20,000 followers, I must know what I’m talking about!”. People may also see spammy posts and replies by the fake follower addressed to you. There are people on Twitter who offer their services promoting your tweets to fake followers. To call this dishonest would be putting it mildly.

How do I get rid of fake followers?

First you have to identify them. With a little experience you learn to spot them and avoid following them in the first place. Often you’ll find:
  • They don’t have a profile picture or have one of a scantily clad person.
  • The don’t tweet often or retweet the same thing many times
  • Many more people follow them than they follow
  • They never respond
  • They duplicate the tweets of another account (probably also fake.)
  • Their bio tells you little about them, may be missing or be a quote.
  • They have that ‘follow back’ statement in their bio.
BUT
If you were not aware of this, fortunately there is software available which will help you identify and remove them. There are several of them but you should remember none are perfect. They can only give you a guide.
I use ManageFlitter – a paid solution costing $12.00 per month. They have a tool which identifies likely fake followers and will allow you to remove them and block them. How to do this is detailed at http://blog.manageflitter.com/identify-remove-fake-twitter-accounts-3-simple-steps
Once you’ve done this, wait a few days and check your Twitter account by entering it at https://www.twitteraudit.com/ or at http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ These are  free services which can be used to check for the percentage of fake followers. When you are following someone and are doubtful if they are real try running their Twitter name through those. If they have more than 10% fake followers, you might want to give them a miss.
Incidentally you can use ManageFlitter to grow your twitter account but remember—don’t automatically follow everyone who follows you. Check them out first.
How To Boost Your Book Sales

How To Boost Your Book Sales

Sorry. This is just an image.

The sad truth is that there is no magic solution to promoting your book. No one course of action will get it to sell consistently but there are lots of individual actions you can take, both simple and complex, which will help.
You can spend a fortune on promotion and get nowhere.
There are expensive courses available to teach you how to be a ‘bestseller‘ but you’ll be lucky to make more money than you’ve spent even if you are a ‘bestseller’.
Strange as it may seem you don’t even need to write a good book! There have been many best-selling books which are full of mistakes, have a poor plot and will never be acclaimed as literary gems.
The most important factor in author success is one you can’t buy—Luck. Despite that there’s an old saying which applies—The more I practice, the luckier I get.

Here’s what I consider you can do to get lucky as an author:

  • Get a remarkable cover which attracts the attention of readers browsing for books. Few can do this themselves so it is worth spending money on this. A good cover will give a book browser the interest to check out the book.
  • Spend a huge amount of time and effort getting a book description which makes the reader think “Wow! This is a book I have to read.” Your description should use emotive language and use your keywords. Try running the sentences through a headline analyser.
  • Use the right keywords/tags. If you have problems here, steal them from the top selling books in your genre. To do that create a blank book in calibre and in the meta tag ID section paste in the ASIN number of a top ranking book in your genre. Then download the meta data. You’ll get the tags and the book description.
  • Make sure your book starts with a powerful hook to keep the book browser reading. Your book’s first three pages should be gripping.
  • Create promotion pages for your book which get high rankings on Google. If you are not discovered on the first three pages of search results when you enter a keyword and your book’s title, you never will be discovered. Use an incognito browser window when doing this. (See http://freefromtheauthor.com/2017/01/24/author-how-easy-is-it-to-find-your-books/)
  • Video, pictures, headlines and subheadings are effective in promotions in that order. Run headlines and sub headings through checkers for emotive language such as http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm and https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer. This works for Tweets and Facebook posts too.
  • Make sure promotion pages have a clear ‘call to action‘.
  • Get the price right. If you’ve already published your book at Amazon, try Amazon’s book pricing beta service. To get to that select your book from the Amazon KDP bookshelf. Find the book you want to modify and in the “Book Actions” column, click “Edit book pricing.” Next scroll to the ‘Royalty and Pricing’ header and under KDP Pricing Support (Beta), click “View Service.”
  • Recognise that a promotion at best will produce a spike in your sales but you need to sustain that spike for at least a month for it to produce a rise in your sales rank at Amazon. You’ll need to stagger effective promotions.
  • Know that not all promotions are effective and some are downright scams. There is no point in tweeting to fake accounts or putting book links on sites with no visitors. See this post. Learn how to recognise the fakes and how to use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes to spot those sites which work.
  • Facebook adverts work but NOT ‘Buy my book’ adverts. Instead make an attractive offer which people can get if they add their email address to your mailing list. Email lists are effective at selling books.
  • Twitter posts work but not until you have 10,000 real, active followers. Few will see your posts. People will unfollow if your posts are solely ‘Buy my book’ posts. These should never make up more than 10 – 15% of your feed. DON’T auto follow-back because you’ll end up with fake followers; vet your followers. Never send out ‘Thanks for following me’ direct messages. Aim to get 100 new followers per day. Remember people are only on Twitter for short periods of time so the vast majority of your tweets will be unseen. Make sure you have a pinned post there.
  • Twitter and Facebook are NOT the only social media platforms. Get a presence on Tumblr, LinkedIn (if you write nonfiction), Google+, YouTube also. There are also vital forums such as Kboards.
  • Although I dislike Goodreads, it’s an essential platform for an author to be on if you want recognition as an author. Be careful what you say—lots of Trolls there.
  • Amazon paid advertising appears to work.
  • Preorders work for new books, especially if you follow them with promotion during the release week.
  • If you are not using affiliate accounts you are wasting an opportunity to earn at least 4% extra at Amazon and much more elsewhere. You can use this as a sales tool too.
  • Remember there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t do all of this at once. Some can be automated though.
  • Ask people to help you promote! Hey if you have not already downloaded one of my free ebooks (Immortality Gene and Raging Storm) please do so. Even if you don’t read them it will help my sales rank.
Darn that all sounds complicated. Maybe there should be a magic promotion button. I’m working on it but it’s not quite finished yet. Take a look here.
Author—Should you be Using Social Media?

Author—Should you be Using Social Media?

The answer is a simple—Yes—but which social media sites? Come to think of it, what exactly is meant by an author social media website?
Social media is defined as ‘websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.’ That means any site which authors will find useful in getting information, sharing information, displaying their books and marketing. That will include sites such as Facebook but also sites such as Goodreads and forums such as Kboards

Let’s take a look at various author social media sites and see what they have to offer.

Facebook

The largest social networking site in the world and widely used. Using it you can network with ‘friends’ and relatives, and also access various writer’s groups where you can ask questions. You can even market or promote your books by using paid Facebook ads. As of September 2016 Facebook had approximately 1.71 billion active users. It is estimated that more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses use the platform to advertise their business.
Get as many Facebook friends as possible – interact with them. People you don’t interact with are unlikely to see many of your posts. That’s the way Facebook works – it won’t show you what it thinks you won’t be interested in.
Facebook can be an author’s friend when it comes to making contacts. Create a page for your books and periodically write about your progress. Facebook is the place for announcing your successes.

  • Have you won an award? Use Facebook to tell everyone.
  • Got a new book coming out? Tell everyone about it on Facebook.
  • Got a problem? Ask for advice on Facebook
  • Need to make a decision such as which cover is best? Post the choices on Facebook and ask reader’s opinions
Facebook is NOT the place for posting repeated ‘Buy my book’ adverts. People will quickly de-friend/un-like you.
Facebook adverts work for collecting new readers and subscribers to your email lists. Make an attractive offer and exchange it for an email address. I’ve yet to meet any fiction author who has earned more than their advertising cost when direct selling fiction.

 

Tumblr

Tumblr was created in 2007 and has been owned by Yahoo since 2013, It’s a social media site on which you can post anything, including quote posts, chat posts, video and photo posts as well as audio posts and short blogs. Like Twitter you can re-post the items of others. The big difference is you are not limited to 140 characters. Unlimited text, images, animated gifs, photosets, audio files, videos, and more are possible. It gives you the flexibility to customize almost everything. Tumbler has about 555 million active users.

Pinterest

Pinterest is primarily for images and video. Of course as an author, you will be posting images of your book covers and possibly of images relevant to it. More than half of its visitors are women; could that mean it’s a good site to promote romance? I post the pictures which I use in advertising, especially those using humour. People seem to like those.

Twitter

A site which limits your text to 140 characters to which you can add a URL and image. It has more than 320 million active monthly users who make use of the 140 character limit to pass on information. Authors can use Twitter to interact with readers, answer questions, release latest news and advertise books.  The one thing you must NOT do is to post a constant stream of ‘Buy my book’ posts. You will quickly be unfollowed if you do. Post a mixture of  video, images, how to…, quotes, interest items, and mix in no more than 15% of promotions. Re-tweet interesting posts by others and comment. DON’T follow everyone who follows you—vet them first. Don’t expect miracles; Twitter will have little effect until you have at least 10,000 followers. NEVER buy followers—these are useless. Learn how to create the perfect Twitter profile.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for professional networking and has over 400 million registered users. LinkedIn is great for people looking to connect with other authors and people in the publishing industry. You’ll frequently be bugged with job offers though. This is a great place for support groups and works for non-fiction authors.
 

Google+

Great for articles and short posts. For authors Its SEO value alone makes it a must-use tool. It had 418 active million users as of December 2015. Blogs using Blogspot will be added to Google+ accounts and it’s a great place to announce Google Play books.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest and most popular video-based social media website. It is owned by Google and as such has great SEO value. YouTube has over 1 billion website visitors per month and is the second most popular search engine behind Google. Every author should produce a short video introducing their book and link from it to their website. Consider using MS Powerpoint to do this.
YouTube videos get a high priority at Facebook which likes video.

Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform. It has more than 400 million active users and is owned by Facebook. Many of its users use it to post information about travel, fashion, food, art and, of course, books. Almost 95 percent of Instagram users also use Facebook.

Users can submit content such as direct links and text posts. Users can vote submissions up or down. Submissions with the most positive votes appear in the top category or main page. Reddit had more than 36 million registered accounts and 231 million monthly visitors.

BuzzFeed

At first glance this seems an annoying clickbait site using compelling headlines to attract readers, but look at this post – ‘Students Were Forced to Write BuzzFeed Click-bait For Grades. What Happened Next Will Rock Your World!
Think author’s can’t make use of this?

Quora

A site reminding me of the old Yahoo Answers. It’s a place where you can ask questions and provide answers. It’s proving very popular and seems a place where you can get information and provide answers. NOT a place to promote but you can link to blogs and of course you have control of what appears at the side of blogs. If you fit Isaac Asimov’s statement “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do,” then you’ll do well at Quora. Find me there.

StumbleUpon

Stumble upon is a place where you can discover new pages to post on Twitter and other social media sites. You can vote pages up or down and you can discover pages and add them to StumbleUpon. Of course you can Stumble your own blog posts can’t you?

Beware the word ‘Bestseller’

Beware the word ‘Bestseller’

Every day my mailbox is bombarded with marketing emails from people who want to help me become a ‘bestseller’ but what exactly is a ‘bestseller’?

“He’s launched 3 books in the last 12 months and each of ‘em were NO.1 bestsellers.”  was today’s claim – Yeah right. Let’s take a look at today’s ‘bestsellers.’

The overall #1 bestseller in Amazon paid e-books at the time of researching this was ‘Grey’ (Shame on you readers!)

It’s selling 4,000+ copies a day and is #1 Paid in Kindle Store. It’s
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Romance
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance
#1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Romantic

Now if the promoter was able to say he’d got 3 books in the top 100 paid sales rank I would be very impressed and he would undoubtedly be a stellar bestseller. He didn’t say that though and if his book genre was Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Foreign Languages > Other Languages > Hungarian he could be a ‘#1 bestseller with an overall rank of 1,287,139. That would mean he’s selling about one book every 1-2 months. There a lot of these obscure categories so when you see these ‘#1 bestseller’ claims – take it with a pinch of salt. If the promoter’s system really works well they would quote the Amazon overall sales rank.

You’ll find many authors claim to be a ‘bestselling’ author if they have ever had a book in the top 100 of any category, Look for #100 in some genres at Amazon and you may find they stop at #18. That probably means the book in that rank has sold just a few copies.

Here’s a few of today’s #1 bestsellers chosen from random genres with estimates of their sales:

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Arts & Photography > Architecture > Architects, A-Z #11,301 Paid in Kindle Store (about 430 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Lawyers & Judges #3,744 Paid in Kindle Store (about 2,100 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Taxation > Small Business #32,983 Paid in Kindle Store (about 140 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Interior Design > Upholstery & Fabrics #182,406 Paid in Kindle Store (about 4 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Education & Teaching > Higher & Continuing Education > College Guides #23,812 Paid in Kindle Store (about 245 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Foreign Languages > Other Languages > Hungarian #1,287,139 Paid in Kindle Store (Probably no sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Engineering & Transportation > Transportation > Ships > Pictorial #219,700 Paid in Kindle Store (about 2 sales in the last 30 days)

As to me I’ve been #1 bestseller in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Technothrillers with a best ever overall rank of #540 in paid. I’ve also been #1 in Science fiction > Genetic engineering and #1 in Science fiction adventure. I don’t claim to be a bestselling author even though there are 50,000 of my books in circulation.

Beware the ‘bestseller’; it’s a word which can mean little and for an author to use it smacks of desperation.

E-books or print – which do you prefer?

E-books or print – which do you prefer?

I’ll choose e-readers – no contest.

 

  • Whilst I too love the smell and feel of a book, we buy them for their content not their smell and feel. If the lack of ‘paper smell’ bothers you you can buy a ‘book smell‘ perfume to spray on your e-reader.
  • “I prefer real books” is a phrase I often hear. Usually I hear it from those who have not yet got an e-reader, Every time I hear it I imagine those people who first came across bound books. Did they think “Nice, but I prefer scrolls.”?
  • My mother has just had her 92nd birthday and spends a lot of time reading. She finds it easier to read large print and prefers thinner books since she finds these easier to hold. You can change the text size in an e-book and they are much lighter.
  • I’d much rather carry an e-reader than the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica. I think my library of 3,000+ paper books probably weighs about a ton. Most of them could fit on my ancient Kindle Keyboard e-reader.
  • About a year ago I finished reading a hardback book I’ve had since 2009. Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome.’ I had not read it because it weighs 1.3 kilograms (2.3 pounds) – too heavy to read unsupported. (Enjoyable book if you want to read it) I’d looked for it as an e-book but due to the Amazon/Hachette dispute couldn’t find it. In the end I read it in bed before sleeping with it supported on my knees.
  • Putting another book on the bookshelf may satisfy some people but I have trouble finding a space for an extra book on my shelves. I’ve used up all the normal space (two books deep) and have run out of space between the book tops and the next shelf!
  • I like to read relaxing in a bath. I may fall asleep and a soggy book is not easy to salvage. Your e-reader may not like water either but you can read it inside a ziplock plastic bag far easier than a paper copy!
  • My e-readers play music and can read my book to me. The only paper book I have that does that was bought years ago for my children.
  • Can you get Internet on a paper book? Maybe this will be possible in the future when flexible screens become available. My Nexus 7 has full Internet, plays movies, makes video calls and takes pictures also. (OK – not very good ones)
  • Do you feel the author needs rewarding for the time they spent writing your book? If you do then be aware that authors earn more money from e-books than from paper books.
  • Price? In general e-books cost less than a new book. Second-hand paper books may cost even less but your choice may be limited.
  • When you buy an e-book you buy a licence to read it. Most people are not keen on this but if you face a disaster which destroys your library – a fire,  your ebooks will still be there in the cloud whereas your paper books will be in the smoke.
  • The ‘wicked bible’ error.

    Few books are perfect. They contain typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, timeline errors, sentences which could be phrased better. Once you’ve bought a paper book – you’re stuck with the errors but ebooks can be updated.

That’s my choice. What about you?

Have you pinned a tweet to your Twitter profile?

I’m grateful to those people who re-tweet my tweets. I like to respond in kind but many ‘tweeps’ make this difficult. I’d often scroll through many pages of their Twitter profile before I find something of theirs to re-tweet. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a tweet at the top of their profile which they would like re-tweeting?
Twitter obviously thinks that and has made it easy for us to do this if you are using a browser based version of Twitter  – not an app on a mobile device.

Using Twitter on a Desktop/Laptop

The tweep needs to set up an embedded tweet. All authors should do that as a matter of priority. Here’s how to do that.

    1. Go to your Twitter Profile. If you are using your PC click your profile icon at the top right of your Twitter screen to view your recent tweets.

 

  1. In your Twitter profile find the tweet you wish to embed and click the ellipsis icon under it. From the menu select ‘Embed tweet’. It’s as simple as that.

    Your tweet is now pinned to the top of your profile. Anyone viewing it using a browser will see it first and find something to re-tweet. Change it often to keep it fresh.

Unfortunately the mobile version of Twitter doesn’t show embedded tweets or allow you to set them up – yet. Something we should request @Twitter to implement in the app?

. @Twitter Please implement ’embedded tweets’ in the mobile version of Twitter.
— John Chapman (@JChapmanAuthor) February 26, 2015

What can publishers do next?

Imagine you walk into your local bookshop and start browsing. You look at several titles but nothing catches your eye. You look at your watch – almost time for your train home. The book you have in your hand looks interesting. You look at your watch again.

The store owner sees you are pressed for time. He takes the book from your hands and tears off the front cover and the first fifty pages. “Here. Take it with you and read it. If you like it,  come back and I’ll sell you a full copy.”

Stunned, a little horrified at the concept of ripping up books, and  at the unusual sales technique you read the part book on your way home and decide that you will buy a full copy tomorrow.

A month or two later, after you’ve purchased a few books in a similar way from this bookripper, he grins and hands you a full paperback with a difference. It’s free, made up of the first fifty pages and front cover of a number of different books – ten of them. After each book section there’s a page with what would normally be on the back cover and a QR code. Scanning the QR code with your smartphone allows you to buy the e-book version or you are offered a discount paper book at the bookshop.

The bookstore manager tells you the story behind this unusual book. “I get a lot of books on sale or return. I have limited shelf space so most of the books which are delivered end up being returned. The publisher usually ends up pulping them. Rather than pulping the entire book I asked the sales rep if I could return just part of the book and give the rest out as a promotion. He asked his boss and he agreed.  I’ve been doing this for a while and my booksales are up quite a bit. The end result is this new book of samples. If you decide to buy an ebook version – just enter the code on the sticker from the back cover and I’ll get sales commission on that too. Enjoy”

Now wouldn’t that be nice?