An ebook store by authors for authors

Ebook Orchard is an ebook store started by an author for the benefit of authors, and it is different than other retail outlets in that it doesn’t earn one cent from the sale of ebooks.

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I decided to create Ebook Orchard after trying to get an author co-operative started. Like many people, authors have little time left over from their jobs, family, and writing to volunteer additional time managing a co-operative of the size and type discussed.

There were many authors who loved the concept of a store by authors for authors and felt comfortable financing the site by a small monthly subscription rather than 30% to 40% or more per sale of an ebook. These authors viewed the co-op as an additional marketing tool for their ebooks, not just a store.

The additional benefits of numerous marketing and promotion opportunities being performed by the proposed store were important to authors.

Some authors shared their experiences with co-op book stores, both good and bad. These stories were most beneficial in understanding what worked and what didn’t work with the co-operative.

Ebook Orchard is in alpha stage of web site development right now as I add code and test ‘stuff’. With the holidays upon us the site will remain in alpha stage until perhaps mid-January, 2015. Beta stage hopefully by February so visitors can poke around Ebook Orchard as the final touches to the site and final testing take place.

There is an Ebook Orchard Facebook page, where I’ll post information about ebooks, reading and related topics. The posts will be sporadic during alpha and beta testing, but will become more frequent after Ebook Orchard goes live.

Will Ebook Orchard be perfect when it starts? No. There will be growing pains as unexpected events popup here and there with a new product, as Apple and Microsoft well know.

If you want to visit the site next year and see if Ebook Orchard is in alpha stage – password protected site – or beta testing stage and open for checking us out then just type ebookorchard.com in your URL address bar.

Hachette Book Group partners with Gumroad to sell books and ebooks direct

Hachette Book Group has partnered with Gumroad, the powerful platform that enables creators to sell products to their audience, on a new social media commerce initiative to enable book purchases natively within Twitter. The promotions will launch on December 11 with print books by Amanda Palmer, Chris Hadfield, and The Onion available for purchase for a limited time and in limited quantities, each accompanied by an exclusive bonus item. Since partnering with Twitter on a commerce pilot this fall, Gumroad has worked with major and independent musicians and charities on unique social commerce initiatives. Hachette is its first publishing partner.

Within the authors’ tweets, promotional buy buttons will appear for Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking, Chris Hadfield’s You Are Here, and The Onion’s The Onion Magazine: The Iconic Covers That Transformed an Undeserving World so readers can purchase their books without leaving the Twitter platform. Palmer’s book will kick off the promotion on December 11, and will be accompanied by an original manuscript page, with notes from the author and editor, as well as from Palmer’s husband, bestselling author Neil Gaiman. Ex-astronaut Chris Hadfield will launch a promotion on December 15, with the book plus a signed original photo, a stunning aerial image of the island of Corfu; and The Onion’s special Twitter promotion begins on December 18, with the new book accompanied by a set of note cards featuring twelve of the editors’ favorite magazine covers.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Hachette and their authors to Gumroad. We’ve been really impressed by Hachette’s commitment to exploring new opportunities for their authors to make money and engage directly with readers through social commerce. They don’t shy away from new technology—they’re genuinely committed to exploring what the future of publishing looks like,” says Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad.
(The above from Hachette Book Group press release)

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Hachette, tired of dealing with the likes of Amazon, is just the first of many traditional publishers seeking ways to bypass companies like Amazon and reach readers directly. I’ve always liked Gumroad and have been using them for a year or so. It is free to join and allows authors to keep about 95% of the retail price. Authors should explore Gumroad as an additional location for promotion and sales of your works.

Authors. Interested in forming a co-op for your own online retail store?

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If you are tired of giving 30-40% of the retail price of your book or ebook to somebody else then you may be interested in joining our author co-op and forming our own online retail store.

We want to keep most of the retail price to ourselves, because it’s tough out there and coughing up 30-40% on each sale adds up quickly.

We want a professionally looking and working site, one which satisfies both the visitor and ourselves. We want a professional site we are proud of owning. We want to still be able to offer our works anywhere we want.

If you are an author who is fed-up giving a sizable chunk of your money to somebody else and would rather keep most of it yourself, send me an email at the address at the end of this post.

I will build a list of authors interested in keeping more of their money in their own pocket and will contact each sometime in the new year.

Is there a cost involved? Yes, there are the ever-present credit card fees. There should be a small fee to cover expenses. What are those expenses? There are monthly fees for hosting, monthly fees for all the bells and whistles needed to make the site professional and meeting the needs of authors. There will be accounting fees, legal fees, federal and local taxes, and other expenses involved in running a business.

Gee, that sounds expensive. I don’t think I want to join.

What if I told you it would be about the cost of a Starbucks coffee a month if enough authors agree to get together and start their own online retail store. Would you be willing to exchange one coffee for the 30-40% on each book you now give somebody else? And still be able to sell you ebook/books anywhere else?

Okay, that is reasonable.

But what’s the catch? There is always a catch.

In the beginning the site will be for authors who have published works and have the skills to upload a mobi or epub file to the site, although there is a suggestion of a way around this which is being considered. There won’t be any conversion service nor any adult material permitted until the site is capable of hiring sufficient staff to review adult works.

That being said, if enough authors agree to join the group then things could change.

It doesn’t cost you anything to send me an email saying you’re interested. Let’s make 2015 the year authors give back to themselves.

UPDATE: There was lots of interest in forming a co-operative but no volunteers for forming a board of directors, or assist in forming bylaws, and only one person offering to assist in site creation and design.

I believe the concept of authors having their own retail store operated on a small subscription fee with authors keeping 100% of the retail price, minus transaction fees, currency exchange fees and other costs/taxes involved in sale of an ebook, is still something worth pursuing.

In that regard, I’ve taken it upon myself to create such a site for authors. I’ve named the site Ebook Orchard and during the next several weeks will be alpha/beta testing the site before Ebook Orchard is officially launched.

In the beginning of the New Year the site will be in beta testing stage but should be ready enough for authors to view it and read more about it.

Here is the link to Ebook Orchard. It may be open for previewing if you’re reading this sometime in January, 2015.

Delightful Christmas story picture ebook for children

 

Adapted from a script I wrote for a puppet show, and updated September 2013 with more pictures, A Christmas Tree for Santa tells the story of a forest ranger named ‘Ranger Rick’ and his adventures one Christmas season taking a Christmas tree to Santa who lives in the treeless North Pole.

On the way, Ranger Rick runs into a thieving moose, a friendly polar bear, a vacationing penguin, Santa’s helpers, and jolly old Santa himself.

This colorful 51-page picture book for children 2-7 also has lots of large, black and white pictures in the Appendix for printing & coloring.

Only $0.99 and available at these fine retailers:

Barnes & Noble for Nook devices;

Apple devices (please note Apple iTunes displays very low number of pages for all my ebooks. There are 51 pages in this ebook, Apple says 9.);

Kobo devices;

Amazon devices; (Kindle)

PDF best for printing and viewing on desktops and tablets.

In PDF, mobi, and ePub format at Smashwords; and

In PDF and personalized for you at Gumroad.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Christmas season filled with joy and love.

Ted

Only 18 authors to go

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Only 18 authors to go before the Smashwords Forum reaches 1,000 authors helping each other with questions about publishing or formatting or editing, promoting their works on the Smashwords Forum and other sites, and having fun chatting with one another.

The Smashwords Forum began life in 2011 and very slowly gathered members. I started the forum because Smashwords had no way for authors to meet and discuss problems they were having, other than using the Smashwords Support system on their Dashboard – a system often overwhelmed by new users asking the same questions and overwhelming the support staff. Many Smashwords Forum members wrote they were surprised to find a forum for Smashwords authors, and why isn’t this mentioned on the Smashwords site. I asked Smashwords the same question many times.

In 2013 the Smashwords Forum had an upgrade. New tools and enhancements made it easier for our members to use the forum in a more secure environment. This week some Smashword Forum members are now discussing publishing multi-author ebooks, which I find exciting for readers and authors.

Growing membership is akin to growing sales; both take time. Membership in the Smashwords Forum is free, so if you’re an author on Smashwords or are considering publishing a work through Smashwords then why not join our Smashwords Forum?