Can we still rely on Facebook marketing?

On November 2, 2012, in Blog, by Shivdeep

Many authors and publishers, as well as other (small) business owners use Facebook as part of their Internet Presence and Marketing Strategy. Previously, Facebook seemed like a great way to connect with fans and potential customers, without having to invest a lot except time and social aptitude.

If you could convince someone to like your Facebook page, any updates or news you would post on your page, would be visible in their Newsfeed.  This was brilliant, and free. And then Facebook decided to monetise.

Lately, a lot of Page Admins are noticing drastic decreases in traffic from Facebook, and the reason for that is that fewer people get to see your page updates. You may be wondering ; “But I’ve actually increased my number of likes on Facebook recently, howcome fewer people are getting my updates?”. That may be so, but Facebook has stopped showing your posts to everyone who liked your page. According to the latest statistics, posts from Facebook pages are only shown to 16% of people who liked the page.

According to Facebook, the solution is the “Promote” feature, perhaps you’ve come across it when posting on your page. Perhaps you’ve wondered if it’s worth trying out. Well, unless every single thing you used to post would bring in measurable income, no. – it’s not worth it at all!

If you have a marketing budget currently, and spend on things like Google Adwords for example, you’ll be used to the idea of paying for traffic. But with Facebook, you don’t pay when someone visits your site or buys your product. You simply pay for the chance of being seen by someone in their Newsfeed, even if that person doesn’t even bother to read your post.

Understandably this change has gotten a lot of small business owners, authors and publishers riled up. No longer can you rely on Facebook for free social media marketing. It’s time perhaps to give Google + another chance, or focus your marketing efforts on Twitter and other outlets such as Tumblr or Pinterest.

If you’re determined to keep making use of the following you’ve built up on Facebook, currently there are means of getting around the problem – stop using Facebook pages and instead create a Group and try to get your following to join. Alternatively, if you’re an author rather than running a business and you’re looking to connect with fans, use your personal Facebook Profile instead. Either encourage your fans to friend you, or subscribe to any public updates you post. It’s uncertain though whether these workarounds will continue to be effective, or if it’s time to write off Facebook alltogether.



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Are you on Author Central?

On September 26, 2012, in Blog, by Laura

If you’ve got any books published on Amazon Kindle, whether uploaded by yourself or through a publishing company, you may be aware of Amazon’s Author Central service.

Author Central allows authors to maintain a page for themselves with an overview of all of their books currently for sale. Your own Author Central page is a great way to provide your readers with more information; for example you can add a picture of yourself, a bio, and I’ve even seen authors link up their Twitter accounts to their Author Central page.

But of course the main point of the Author Central page is to allow your readers to discover more of your books, or to be discovered by people who have never heard of you before.

This ultimate feature of Author Central is set to become even more important now though! Amazon is introducing a new feature on their brand new Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch devices called “About the Author”. Every one of your kindle books when viewed on these new devices will have an “About the author section that shows your profile information from Author Central, including your photo, bio, and other titles for sale as clickable links so the reader can purchase them immediately and conveniently.

As we all know, marketing our books can be hard work. So when offered something free like this, it would be silly not to make use of it! Go on, check that you’re on Author Central so you can make use of the new “About the Author” feature as well!


Brilliant news for Indian Kindle Publishers!

On September 19, 2012, in Blog, by Laura

After the recent announcement that Kindle Direct Publishing has launched in India, yesterday there was even more good news for Indian Ebook publishers! Amazon has included Indian Ebook sales in the list of markets that qualify for 70% royalty, subject to some extra requirements.

If you’re familiar with selling on Amazon Kindle, you will already know that there are two levels of royalty depending on the circumstances of the sale. In simple terms: books priced below $2.99 will earn you 35% royalty. Books priced higher than that AND sold in a select number of countries could earn you 70% royalty.

The countries that qualify for this used to be only :

• Andorra
• Austria
• Belgium
• Canada
• France
• Great Britain
• Guernsey
• Germany
• Italy
• Isle of Man
• Jersey
• Lichtenstein
• Luxembourg
• Monaco
• San Marino
• Switzerland
• Spain
• United States
• Vatican City

But now India has been added to the list provided you have enrolled the book in KDP Select (meaning you’ve agreed to only sell your book via Amazon Kindle, and none of the other ebook marketplaces). Although this isn’t a perfect arrangement because not everyone wishes to opt for KDP Select, it is still a step up from how the situation used to be. Add that to the recent launch of KDP India (meaning you can set pricing as well as receive royalty payments in INR if you wish), it is a promising move in the right direction.

Ebooks are becoming bigger business all the time and it is very encouraging to see Amazon take the lead in recognising India as an emerging market when most other Ebook platforms don’t acknowledge it at all.

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Google Books Payment Settings Changes

On September 7, 2012, in Blog, by Laura

Those (self) publishers out there who are signed up as a Google Books partner and trying to sell their books on the Google Play store will have received an email from Google yesterday announcing changes to the payment settings for those who wish to sell on the US Google Play market.

Now most people in this business will already know about the challenges of selling on US Markets when based abroad – the US Tax laws require the likes of Amazon, Smashwords and now Google to withhold some Income Tax for every royalty you earn. But there is a way to avoid or reduce this tax deduction, depending on any double taxation agreements your country of residence has made with the US Government.  Upon successful completion of some paperwork formalities, publishers in the UK or Ireland can get full exemption from these deductions, whereas Indian publishers will halve their deducted tax; from 30% to 15%.

You basically have to register yourself as a foreign entity or foreign person with the US Tax authorities (IRS) and they will give you an identification number of some kind. We at WriteHit did this before even listing any books for sale because it just doesn’t make business sense to forgo 30% of your hard earned money due to taxes which should not be applicable to you.

For more information on the process, this blog post has been invaluable to us: http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/02/24/non-us-self-publisher-tax-issues-dont-need-to-be-taxing/

So in short: This is nothing new at all. Most people will have done this (or plan to do this) for the likes of Amazon already and now they just need to fill out another form with the tax identifier that the IRS has provided them.

Google’s email states that publishers will be paid as normal until 31 December 2012 so you do have quite a bit of time to comply before you’re directly affected by these changes.

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Why won’t they pay for my e-book?

On August 7, 2012, in Blog, by Shivdeep

Throughout my carrier as a freelance writer and an owner of a web development company I have always struggled with one problem. The intrinsic worth of digital content. People in India, where I am from and indeed many other places often discount digital content because of the notion that it less amount of money to create. However does it really matter if the book comes in a paper version or an electronic one? A book at the end of the day is just that–a book! When we look at a traditional book we are looking at a product that takes physical space thus it does need shipping, storing and distributing. However many of the costs that are attached to traditional publishing like author’s fee, marketing and even distribution expenses also apply to e-books.

 However the sad truth is that it is difficult to explain to the buyers that digital products like e-books also cost a pretty penny because of preconceived mindsets. Changing those perceptions can be hard and even a daunting task, but that does not mean there is no money to be made by publishing your own e-book or taking the e-self publishing route. So does it make sense to fight the market or does it make sense to actually meet consumer expectations? The truth is e-books are intangible commodities in some ways and the customers understand that better than publishers or even authors. Readers know that when an e-book rests on their device, it is not theirs to pass on or to lend but it is just a lent copy from the e-book distributor. It makes sense therefore to price e-books reasonably and appreciate the intelligence of your readers. We at writehit.com work with writers constantly and always guide them towards fair pricing that works for both the reader and the author. While the readers can derive maximum satisfaction from our competitive price points, the authors at writehit.com always get a fair deal.

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The Expat Kitchen

On July 31, 2012, in News, by Shivdeep

Cooking abroad is a challenge, sometimes the ingredients are just not on the store shelves and other times its just impossible to find proper tools to cook a home cooked meal in your host country. Takaaki Kagawa is a Japanese expat in India, he missed home cooked meals but he also found good western food hard to come by. So taking matters in to our own hands we wrote this book for all the expats in South and South-East Asia. However anyone can use the recipes in this book, especially people who live in these countries or even abroad.When we planned this book we kept simplicity in mind, we took ingredients that were commonly available at farmers markets, import stores and even Asian shops to create recipes that span across continents. The book has three sections which allow you to cook spectacular Asian and Western themed mains, some tasty side dishes and a special section just for tea time snacks.

So order your copy today and you are likely to fall in love with this handy e-book. Not only does the e-book come right down to your Kindle, iPad or Android device but you can also just download a copy for your computer and use Amazon’s cloud reader to read. We hope that these recipes will resolve your home sickness or at least make you forget your food woes and enjoy your new home.

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My first impressions of mountain lion

On July 27, 2012, in Blog, by Shivdeep

Well I must admit as a self-confessed apple fan that I was looking forward to the new Mountain Lion operating system. It was released on the 25th and I did wait for about one day before I downloaded my copy. For those of you that have still not taken the leap the operating system does almost look like the previous version OS X lion Lion. Although there are a few changes present in the OS that are apparent on first look. Some of the more noticeable changes are the appeareance of the notes application and the reminders application in the new operating system.

In fact I’m writing this blog on the new notes application, this application is something that the people have been using iOS are familiar with. The reminders application also seems to have been lifted out of iOS and object of the new operating system seems to be to bring mobile and desktop OS’s closer to each other. Another noticeable iOS feature that is noticeable is the notification centre which is a bit difficult to find, it rests in the extreme upper right hand corner of the screen. When you hit the icon of the notification centre which looks like a horizontally inclined bar graph you will find that the screen’s opens up just a bit and the notifications are revealed.

There are some other changes as well in the new operating system which are noticeable especially the new Safari web browser which has search inside of the address bar. Previously this was a feature that was mostly available in Google’s chrome browser and for those of us will have been using chrome for a while shifting to Safari was often frustrating because people would often type in search terms inside the address bar instead of putting it in the separate search bar that was previously present in the Safari browser. Safari also seems to have integrated iCloud and now it is possible for users of the browser across various Apple devices to be able to see what they had been doing on other devices and across devices that they own. It is also possible now to directly share with your friends links and such from the browser without having to copy and paste links to social networking sites like Twitter, it is speculated that Facebook would be arriving in autumn.

As for me the best feature in the new operating system is ‘dictation’ which is how this post was written. It is for the first time that I have been able to write a considerable amount of text using dictation. I own an iPad but I have somehow never been able to make myself understood properly to that device. I’m guessing that is because the settings on the iPad are set to English US and the computer that I’m using has been set to English UK and with my Indian accent perhaps it may be easier if I were to change the iPad as well to English UK. With dictation getting better all the time, the day is not far when we authors would be able to get by with a lot less typing than we do now. All in all with 200 new features and $20 for upgrade it is quite a reasonable upgrade and recommended if you have a newer computer which would definitely benefit from it.

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Living with plants

On July 25, 2012, in News, by Shivdeep

Are you a novice gardner? Someone who is struggling to maintain a green patch or just trying to learn a bit about plants. We are happy to release Living with Plants by Takaaki Kagawa. This book was written with a view to make it easier for the lay person to understand how plants function. It is just not your elementary botany book though, Living with plants also covers garden designs and loads of other interesting topics like caring for various plants and gardening tips.

 With our launch of the book on Amazon we are excited and happy that our readers will be able to enjoy months of handwork that Takaaki has put in to this book. We are also happy to announce that we are making efforts to try to bring this book on other platforms by the end of this month. So all of you amazon and amazon UK users head over there right now and grab your copy.

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Ebooks outsell hardcover books in USA!

On July 24, 2012, in News, by Laura

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For many years I have been involved in various web design projects. I never believed in fancy WYSIWYG (“What you see is what you get”) editors such as Dreamweaver and instead preferred to control the look of the web page fully myself by using HTML and CSS. Actually, when I started out, CSS was not very well supported so the only way of making complicated layouts look good was to use tables within tables within tables…. But that’s another story entirely…

1.  Ebooks are less complex

I don’t have to think about making 5 buttons show up exactly in the right place over an image and sort out gaps between various background images to make it look flawless. All I have to worry about is how the text looks and how to fit in some illustrations and other fairly simple items.

2.  Ebooks use XHTML and very limited CSS

XHTML is great – it’s totally logical and easy to write. And because only so many tags and codes are recognised by most Ereaders, I don’t have to remember a whole encyclopedia of code to create a good looking Ebook.

3.  The Ebook cover is the only complex graphic (usually)

Due to restrictions imposed by most Ereaders, the cover – although potentially complex with images and superimposed text – should just be one simple image. Once the hard work of designing it in a graphics program is done, you don’t have to then try and convert it into HTML code that makes sense to all different devices which are going to display it. Design the image and that’s it!

4. The content should be supplied in advance.

The biggest delay in putting a website live is that usually the designer or developer does just that – design and develop. Usually for a company within a totally different industry. The client supplies the content but usually that aspect is treated like an afterthought and holds up the completion of the website. Without knowing what content there is meant to be on the website, it’s difficult to build it in a way that makes sense. But when creating an Ebook, the text is written in full first, and then the formatting is done. So such problems are completely eliminated!

5. Cross browser compatibility is much harder than cross Ereader compatibility

If you look at the stats for any random website, you’ll see that visitors use a vast number of different browsers as well as devices and screen resolutions. Some can display certain complicated formatting better than others. Some will have to scroll endlessly to the right and bottom of the page (especially nowadays where a lot of people browse on mobile phones and other smaller devices) or may not be able to use the site at all. Although of course there are a vast number of devices capable of reading Ebooks, the big online Ebook stores use only a limited number of formats. Basically if your book looks good as an .epub or .mobi file, you just have to consider what size to make the cover and you’re set.


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