Thursday, 29 March 2012

Facebook Changes For TIPM

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Over the next week or two, The Independent Publishing Magazine's Facebook page will be retired and deleted. In truth, the vast majority of readers of the magazine have been incredibly supportive and engaged in a great deal of comment and debate on all the news, issues and reviews brought to you. But you have all stuck steadfast to the home where much of it all began - here at home of The Independent Publishing Magazine, and also my Facebook Profile page. I understand that, and for that reason I see no real need to have a specific fan page for the magazine, which in reality became nothing more than an aggregation site on Facebook.

In light of this, my Facebook Profile page has grown and grown over the past two years - in particular - since I introduced The Independent Magazine content feeds to it three years ago. After some discussions with FB's Developer Support Team today, I've taken the decision to convert my FB profile over to an author and editor fan page for TIPM and my books. That 'porting' took place just before midnight, March 28th, and 95% of my 'Friends' list has transferred successfully across to the new author fan page. I'm told by FB Developers that the loss of 'Friends' during conversion is usually down to users who have discontinued or deleted their FB profiles. The conversion was always something I was going to have to deal with as my FB Profile was quickly reaching the limit allowed (5000). I'd rather act early with some discomfort and background work to do to re-install the aggregation, carry out some redesign, than have to face it eventually six months down the line.

Yes, the biggest lost tonight with the FB Profile converting to a fan page is the loss of archive material and photo material. All of this was backed up earlier today, but too many man hours would be required to reload to the new page.

Bear with me over the next two weeks while we get the new timeline page up and going with a great deal more flexibility. If you fell between the cracks for whatever reason, accept my apologies, and 'like' the new page.

Onward and upward... 
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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

FastPencil Next Up To Open Cloud Publishing Platform

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It must be something in the air this week. First Vook, now FastPencil has announced that its proprietary exclusive publishing platform will now be open to all authors and publishers.

FastPencil today announced that it is opening up its proprietary, exclusive and highly lauded next-generation publishing platform to authors, publishers and enterprises, enabling them to write, design, publish and sell books in print and digital formats. FastPencil provides these customers with solutions to publish quality books in any quantity with ease and control, higher margins and speed to market.
Enterprise Licenses Now Available
"FastPencil is proud to offer a customizable platform to create books, manage content and develop imprints with unique branding," said Steve Wilson, CEO and co-founder of FastPencil. "In addition to our do-it-yourself author services, we have created a licensable platform that is customizable, making it easy to build a business, whether you are a publisher looking to publish a series of books on your own imprint or an enterprise looking to deploy a publishing solution company-wide."
Companies can now license the FastPencil publishing engine to convert content to ebook and print formats instantly by using FastPencil's proprietary book-building software, including secure version control and pre-established distribution and sales channels. By using FastPencil's powerful technology, companies can cut costs, decrease time-to-market and publish books and ebooks with just a few clicks.
FastPencil Platform for Authors, Publishers and Enterprises
For Authors:
  • Create books and ebooks with complete control quickly and easily
  • Publish books under your own imprint for a more personalized look and feel
  • Leverage affordable author services to help you get the job done
For Publishers:
  • Small-publisher accounts offer secure and flexible, custom branded publishing
  • Cloud publishing platform means no software to download or manage
  • Affordable licensing opportunities available on a platform that is scalable no matter the size of the publisher or level of customization
For Enterprises:
  • Enterprise platform licensing now available for the first time
  • Co-brand or white-label to publish under company's branded imprint
  • Freedom to deploy a customized FastPencil platform in the cloud or within their own data center
"With the new generation of publishing technology that is becoming available, many authors and content creators are demanding speed-to-market, instant ebook creation and higher margins, which can really only be achieved through technology streamlining the process," said Michael Ashley, CTO and co-founder of FastPencil. "When we decided to open up our platform to publishers and enterprises, we instantly knew we had engineered something special. Publishers are telling us they have been looking for an efficient and simple way to publish and couldn't be more excited with FastPencil's platform."
AvailabilityFor a demo or inquiries around FastPencil's platform call 1-866-960-9401 or email
About FastPencilFastPencil powers publishing by enabling authors, publishers and enterprise customers to write, design, publish and sell books in print and digital formats through three publishing imprints: PREMIERE, Wavecrest and FastPencil's next-generation collaboration and distribution solutions produce quality books at any volume with simplicity, control, speed to market and higher margins. FastPencil offers enterprises and publishers a customizable platform to create books, manage content and develop imprints for unique branding. FastPencil PREMIERE houses a world-class, exclusive line of general interest titles by best-selling authors. The Wavecrest imprint offers packaged services and bookstore exposure to professional writers who have a strong community following and is optimized for all do-it-yourself authors.
For regular FastPencil updates follow us at
And Like us on Facebook at
FastPencil is a registered trademark of FastPencil, Inc. All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

Media Contact:
Sara Johnson
FortyThree, Inc.

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Monday, 26 March 2012

Vook Launch eBook Creation Platform

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The good news today is that the Vook ebook creation platform came out of beta and went fully live. The cloud-based publishing platform will allow both authors and publishers to distribute ebooks through Vook to Amazon, Apple's iBookstore and Barnes & Noble. Certainly the strengths of the new Vook platform is the facility to distribute to more than one online bookstore combined with easy-to-use creation tools. So, will this put it ahead of the reach and popularity of the Kindle, the iBookstore or even Smashwords? Well, in a word... No! That's the bad news.

Whatever about a publishing utilising and uploading multiple book files, I can't see most self-published authors paying the large fees charged by Vook for this new creation tool and distribution network. There is an annual account fee starting at $79 per month (or $849 per year) moving up to an advanced subscription fee of $299 ($3199 per year), and add to that a separate distribution fee of $99 per distribution credit. Vook will offer discounts to members of CLMP (Council For Literary Magazines), which includes three ebooks at $199 before distribution credits!

The Vook platform looks like a great tool, but I just can't see the ordinary mortal author signing up. In short, a false dawn. Great tool - shame about the large fees.
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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Lightning Source Expand Print Operations With EPAC Print Agreement

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Lightning Source is to expand its global print operations with the announcement of a licensing agreement between Ingram Content Group and EPAC Print.

Ingram Content Group licenses EPAC Technologies book manufacturing technology and expands Lightning Source operations NASHVILLE, TN – Ingram Content Group today announced a licensing agreement with EPAC Technologies Inc. and the acquisition of assets of two EPAC print facilities in the U.S. plus a technology development and support group in Germany to expand its Lightning Source worldwide print-on-demand operation.

“By combining EPAC’s groundbreaking digital book manufacturing technologies with our years of print experience, Ingram will take the promise of print-on-demand to the next level,” said John R. Ingram, Chairman of the Board, Ingram Content Group. “We believe that print on demand is a growing part of the future of the physical book. As more publishers invest in new ways to get content to readers, this transaction will allow Ingram to serve more publishers with the digital print solutions they need today and tomorrow.”

Through the licensing of these technologies and the acquisition of two print facilities, one in Ohio and one in New Jersey, Ingram gains new capabilities to enhance its current proprietary print-on-demand solution. In addition, it will grow the universe of publisher titles and print volume eligible for digital manufacturing.

“Through Ingram, publishers can access the only globally networked print and digital distribution solution directly linked to market channels,” said David “Skip” Prichard, President and CEO, Ingram Content Group. “This expansion of our leading print-on-demand solution will ultimately help bring more books to more readers around the world by manufacturing content closer to the end user. This is a major advantage for publishers today as they navigate the shifting p and e market.”

Today, Ingram Lightning Source North American facilities include its headquarters in La Vergne, Tennessee, and a plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Worldwide locations include an operation central to London in Milton Keynes, UK; Melbourne, Australia; and a joint-venture facility in Maurepas, France, with Hachette Book Group. In addition, Lightning Source has alliances with leading print-on-demand providers in both Brazil and Germany.

Ingram Content Group Inc. provides a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry. Ingram’s operating units are Ingram Book Company, Lightning Source Inc., Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Periodicals Inc., Ingram International Inc., Ingram Library Services Inc., Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., Ingram Publisher Services Inc., Tennessee Book Company LLC, and Coutts Information Services. For more information, visit
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Friday, 23 March 2012

Venture Press - Overview

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Readers of The Independent Publishing Magazine will be aware that from time to time I carry out short overviews of author solutions services. Usually the overviews feature companies recently launched or those operating with a very low output of published titles. I've even featured several independent presses (non-charging), but generally I don't as a rule carry out substantial 2000-3000 thousand word reviews of companies and services not in existence for less than a year. Companies come and go in the author solutions field, and even the good quality service providers take a year or two to find their feet in a ever-changing book industry.

Thanks to Henry Baum's Self-Publishing Review and the LA Times Book section for pointing me in the direction of recently established author solutions service, Venture Press. At the outset, let me add, I don't like the name. It puts me in mind of a Wall Street stockbroker or equity/investment company, not a publisher! According to yesterday's LA Times, Venture Press launched officially on March 9th. Hogwash!! Alison Berry in Time NewsFeed beat the LA Times to Venture Press by four whole months. On December 5th, Berry listed Venture Press as one of her '11 Most Extravagant Gifts money Can Buy'. No, Venture Press were not selling precious diamonds from South Africa or rare antiques. Nope, just good old fashion self-publishing services, pitched at the higher echelon of social movers and shakers with a book in them, if you don't mind!

From the Venture Press website:

"Before making any decision, Venture Press will arrange for you to meet or talk to four different ghostwriters. Why? Because every author has a different voice, a different personality and a different need. Every writer will have knowledge and experience in your particular area of interest and their professionalism will be reflected in the books they’ve previously written: all published by a major publishing house.
Venture Press will guide you through the process. But the story will be yours. The voice will be yours. The book -- in paper or ebook format, from a single copy to large quantities -- will be yours. We can help you make it happen."

And while I don't disagree with the above, most, if not 95% of authors don't have the investment Venture Press require to take on a book project. According to Alison Berry in Time NewsFeed, the self-publishing fee started at $75,000. Jacket Copy on the LA Times now cites the fee at $100,000. Maybe there was a strategy revision at Venture over the Christmas period. For that fee, whichever, you get the following (Venture Press website):

  • Consultation
  • Obtain ISBN
  • Obtain copyright
  • Secure Bar Code
  • Printer selection
  • Print and/or Ebook formatting
  • Interior design/typesetting
  • Front and Back Cover Design
  • book review
  • Inclusion on the IR site with link to online sales venue(s)
  • Bound proof copy of the book for verification prior to first printing
  • Registration with Bowkers Books in Print and Library of Congress
  • Inclusion in IndieReader Selects (our distribution program to independent bookstores)
  • Distribution via Amazon, B&N and other online bookstores

...and, take note of that 'Additional'...

Additional services are available:
  • In-depth marketing and publicity services, including social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc)
  • Securing book reviews
  • Creating an author website and Amazon sales page

Now, blow me down the street with a summer hose, but that all looks very familiar to me. I could be looking at any author solutions service package from AuthorHouse to Infinity, to BookLocker; choose many other services for self-published authors that comes to mind. Most of them offer services from $300-$3000. I'd hazard BookLocker might even argue they offer more for their minuscule fee, in light of the above Venture fee. I also can't see any author willing to pay these fees and settling for sales to  'independent bookstores'.

The IndieReader references on the Venture Press website caught my eye, and I instantly wondered why on earth would a community and service resource like IndieReader get involved with Venture Press. Then I clicked the 'Who Are We?' page on Venture's website...


Madeleine Morel,

2MCommunications Ltd.

2MCommunications Ltd. was founded in 1982 by British born Madeleine Morel, a former literary agent. 2M works exclusively with other leading literary agents and editors at the major publishing houses whose high profile authors, celebrities and public figures require confidential associations and talented professionals to turn their spoken words into books.

2M is the only literary talent agency that solely represents professional ghostwriters, collaborators and editors and has been behind fifteen confidentially written New York Times Bestseller titles, four of which were at No. 1.


Amy Edelman,

IndieReader Publishing Services

IndieReader, the essential consumer guide to self published books and the people who write them, was founded by Amy Edelman, an author and long-time PR professional. Edelman created the site with the goal of making the category of indie books both "sexy" and more legitimate. IndieReader Publishing Services (IRPS), a sister business, was launched shortly thereafter.

Working with a select group of professionals—from interior and cover designers to printers and publicists— IRPS produces titles in all categories and formats, helping independent authors turn their words into books they can be proud of.

I had a lot of time for what IndieReader was set up to do for self-published authors as a support, platform and resource, but I'm a bit perplexed at this venture - excuse the pun. This is like trying to sell a Ferrari to someone (95%) of authors looking for a Toyota Prius. But that's not all that concerns me about the Venture Press strategy.

"Venture Press assists authors who want to retain control of their work and independently publish in the smartest, most creative and cost-effective way possible.

Venture Press's writers -- many whom have had books on The New York Times bestseller list -- have all been published by major houses including Avon, Ballantine, Chronicle, Clarkson Potter, Crown, Doubleday, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Free Press, Grand Central Publishing, HarperCollins, Penguin Putnam, Perseus, Random House, Rodale, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, and Wiley."

I think it is important to point out that Venture above is referring to 'writers', not their authors, rather their ghostwriters who will take on rewriting a work submitted to Venture Press. According to the LA Times piece, Venture Press has not signed a client yet:

"No one knows exactly who might pay the $100,000-plus cost of a book with Venture Press. As yet, the company, launched March 9, has not signed up any clients." 

Sure, five to ten clients a year would bring in upwards of a million dollars, but when you are pitching to - in the words of the LA Times - 1% of self-published authors, then you've got your work cut out to get those ten authors. In substance, there is actually little real meat in the LA Times piece, and, as usual, reference is made to author Amanda Hocking as an example of self-publishing success with ebooks, an entirely different proposition.

I'm bemused, nay, I said earlier, perplexed, where Venture Press and IndieReader really think this is going. Did someone care to put together a business plan, study a potential client list, and actually project where they might be in two years?

I just hope Edelman and Morel didn't bankroll this themselves, but truthfully, the Venture Press website looks like it was put together using a $10 monthly subscription to an ISP - bland, uninspiring, and trying to appeal to an innovative entrepreneur with a book and high profile, willing to spend thousands and thousands of dollars. Entrepreneurs, who decide to become authors, actually have an innate (by default) understanding of doing it on their own, have a business structure already in place (media platform), and I can't see why they would look to a service provided by Venture Press, albeit for ghostwriting, perhaps. It makes me believe that Venture Press is simply providing a service to it's in-house field of writers, rather than having any pretensions to being a true author solutions service.

Tomorrow, I'll give James Patterson, Katie Price, Carolyn Keene and Tom Clancy a bell to let them know Venture Press can do it all-in for a $100k, and they get to keep all the profits. Yeehaaa!!

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Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Next Self-Publishing Frontier: E-Books In Translation | paidContent

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The Next Self-Publishing Frontier: E-Books In Translation | paidContent

While ebooks are very much a part of the self-publishing landscape, Simon & Schuster author, Barbara Freethy, has gone one step further than just publishing her out of print books. In a piece on paidContent, she explains how she has moved to the next frontier - translation. I suspect in the next two to three years, translation will become a fundamental part of the self-publisher's arsenal.

Now Freethy is creating her own foreign-language editions. “I’ve translated three titles into foreign languages,” she told me. “Don’t Say A Word has a German edition (Sag kein Wort), Daniel’s Gift has a Spanish edition (El Regalo de Daniel) and Just The Way You Are has a French edition (Exactement Comme Tu Es). They are for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) and Apple.
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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Forrester's James McQuivey on Amazon vs Apple | DBW 2012

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James McQuivey of Forrester talks during the recent DBW 2012 about Amazon vs Apple.
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Purehaven Press - Son of Raider!

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About a year and a half ago, Raider International Publishing became the first self-publishing service reviewed by The Independent Publishing Magazine to be listed as 'not recommended' and that decision came from a long list of author complaints I received about this publishing service over the past two years. Sad, because buried in Raider some years back was the inspiration and will to be a strong publishing service. I'm not going to go back over much coverage of Raider again here, but a browse using the links or site search feature will fill you in on Raider's development from it's launch in 2005.

A web ad link caught my attention a couple of days ago. 

Purehaven Press
A Publisher Founded By Writers
For Writers! Seeking New Authors

The language of the text alerted me straight away. I'd seen that tag line a long time back. It was no surprise to be taken to The Purehaven Press - run by parent company Raider International Publishing. Sometimes it makes sense for a publisher - or subsidy publisher - to start another imprint. The company may be considering a completely new business strategy, or new line of services. But when that new imprint looks to be a mirror of what has gone before, you wonder...

From the Raider Bronze, Silver and Gold....we now have the newest collection of nugget-titled services... Amber, Quartz, Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald, priced from $499 to $4499. From Purehaven Press...

Here at the Purehaven Press, we provide several services found nowhere else on the Subsidy Publishing market today. Everything that we offer is designed to give you and your book the greatest chance of success.
We at Purehaven do things differently and we offer more than any other publisher on the market will, in order to produce and promote your book effectively. Below, we’ve listed three things that set us apart from all the rest… they are also three good reasons why you should publish your book with us…

Funny, I used to know another publisher who claimed the same thing! I think their name began with R something or other.

The moral of the story is fix what doesn't work before moving on to any new imprint. This latest move by Raider just looks cynical and an attempt to start all over again with a clean slate. 
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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Coates' To Include 'Quality' Self-Published Titles in Rollout | Publishers Weekly

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", the international e-bookstore launched by former Waterstones head Tom Coates, went live with a beta test this morning with 340,000 titles from about 2,300 publishers. Coates told PW he expects to add approximately 100,000 titles from agency publishers in the next two to three weeks. By the end of April the plan is to add a further 150,000 titles from publishers outside of the U.S., but for which the publishers hold world rights. The final phase of the early rollout will be to add between 60,000 to 80,000 “quality” self-published titles and a selection of out-of-print books." 
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