self-published books

Next Amazon KDP Release: "A Sign From Heaven Above"

I haven’t posted anything about my work with the Amazon KDP program in a while because I’ve been busy working on contracted books for publishers. But I’m getting close to releasing another KDP book very soon and I wanted to mention it.

This time it’s a story titled, “A Sign From Heaven Above.” It’s an original story that has never been published anywhere before, it’s gay erotic romance, and it runs about 8,000 words. It will also be priced at .99 just like my other KDP releases on Amazon.

Raw Blurb:

Although Ricky is starting to get his new life together in Los Angeles, he still misses his long time partner, Max, of Twenty years who died suddenly. The fact that there was a twenty year age difference between Ricky and his late partner makes things even worse, and Ricky finds himself trying to figure out how to begin his life all over again at the age of forty years old when most people are just beginning to sink into their lives.

The reason he moved to LA in the first place was because there were too many memories of Max in New York to start again. But things don’t seem to be getting better, at least not until Ricky meets his next foor neighbor, Grayson, for the first time. And although he’s not sure about Grayson at first, he is attracted to him and Grayson’s aggressive personality makes him smile more than he’s smiled since Max’s death. But in order to move forward with Grayson, and to know he’s doing the right thing, he needs a sign from heaven. Without that sign, he knows deep down he’ll never feel right about falling in love with another man.  

As I said, this is a raw blurb subject to change before publication…which usually happens at the last minute. But it is the basic storyline and that won’t change. I’m shooting for a release date next month sometime, which I’ll post more about as I get closer to a release date.

I don’t want to get all spiritual in fiction, but I think a lot of people are more superstitious than they would admit to being. When it comes to important life decisions it makes people feel more confident/comfortable if they get a small sign that they are making the right choices. It doesn’t have to be religious and doesn’t have to have anything to do with heaven. But I’ve been around long enough to know that certain things in life seem to fall into place when we least expect them to…as if there’s a pattern to our lives over which we have no control.

And we often find things out about our lives/destinies in the form of little signs from the universe that only we can know and understand. In my case, I’ve always lived in a place with the numbers 1, 4, 6, and 2 in the address. Not in that order; not always at the same time. The home Tony and I owned before this was a combination of two of those numbers…16. The home before that was a different combination of two more of those numbers…42. The home we’ve lived in for the past ten years is an arrangement of all those numbers. And I didn’t always realize it at the time, so it wasn’t a conscious decision to move to places with those numbers. We bought this house before we even knew the address…or cared about it. But these four numbers have been following me around for years.

Another Way for Libraries to Evolve That Involves Self-Publishing


I’ve been watching how libraries will change in the coming years because I’ve always been a library supporter. I’ve seen doom and gloom posts that say libraries are dead, and I’ve also seen posts that say libraries will evolve into something different…more like community learning centers.

I tend to agree with the latter. I don’t think libraries will ever disappear. And the article to which I’m linking might be an indication as to how they will evolve in the near future. Also take into account the mention of self-publishing, which seems to be making headlines everywhere I go these days.

Digital publishing company Smashwords and Califa, a consortium of 220 California libraries, have formed a partnership to distribute Smashwords eBooks in libraries and to give member libraries the ability to let patrons publish eBooks through Smashwords.

Library Journal explained the self-publishing process: “A patron will be able to use the Califa interface, being built with VuFind, to upload their manuscripts to Smashwords, which then will make the books available to its retail partners (such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony). But Smashwords will also notify Califa that a patron has uploaded a title and see if Califa wishes to purchase the title for its collection.”

Less than four years ago publishing professionals were not only laughing at e-publishing, but also self-publishing. You can read more by clicking the link below.

What in the world will happen next?

For Self-Published Authors? QED Seal of Approval


I’ve been running an ongoing series of blog posts, with guest bloggers, who have self-published. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of self-publishing…for many reasons I’ve already stated. This is also a seal of approval for publishers, too. But I’m focusing this post on self-published authors because I’m not sure whether or not any publishers will actually participate in something like this. Publishers…all of them…do what they want to do. And there’s a fee, check it out here.

I don’t know much about this seal of approval, but I will find out more. Mainly because I’m thinking about self-publishing a few things myself. Fiction that’s not erotica or erotic romance.

But if I had a self-published book out there right now, I’d be looking into this and finding out how I can get this seal of approval. Let’s face it, there are a few really bad self-pubbed e-books (not to mention e-books with publishers), which makes it even more difficult for those of you who have taken the time to produce a quality product. And readers only have to buy one bad book to feel slighted and cheated, self-pubbed or professionally pubbed. With something like this QED seal, it will give them a little more security. I know I’ll be looking for it when I’m shopping for books.

Again, I’ll post more when I find out more. The one thing that slightly bothers me is that is sounds a little gimmicky, in a promotional way, and I’m not sure if it’s a contest or an actual seal of approval you pay to get. But I’m really hoping this will be something self-published authors can do to prove they have quality products.

If anyone has anymore info, please feel free to share. I did e-mail them and I’m waiting to hear more about self-pubbed authors and books.

The QED
“A well-crafted ebook is essential both from the reader’s perspective, as well as the publishers’—a reader will respond to a well-crafted, beautifully designed ebook. They will feel like they got their money’s worth when they interact with a professional-quality product. A quality ebook is going to be increasingly crucial as a component of a publisher’s brand going forward.”

—Pablo Defendini, Interactive Producer, Open Road Integrated Media

New to the Publishing Innovation Awards this year is the QED Seal, which stands for Quality, Excellence, Design. The QED is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval™” for ebooks – it signals to an ebook reader that the title will render well in whatever their preferred reading format and that they can buy with confidence. It is an emblem that publishers, authors, and content creators can affix to their ebook cover and metadata that assures readers they can read that title where they want, how they want.

Ebook titles entered into the Publishing Innovation Awards will go through a thorough, professional 13-point design review with an eye towards readability across multiple devices and in multiple formats. The QED is judged on the criteria established on the recommendation of the Publishing Innovation Awards advisory council, who are respected leaders in the digital production and design space.

QED consideration is included in the entry fee for all entries in the Ebook and Enhanced Ebook categories.

QED Inspection Check-List
1. Front matter: the title does not open on a blank page.
2. Information hierarchy: content is arranged in such a way that the relative importance of the content (heads, text, sidebars, etc) are visually presented clearly.
3. Order of content: check of the content to be sure that none of it is missing or rearranged.
4. Consistency of font treatment: consistent application of styles and white space.
5. Links: hyperlinks to the web, cross references to other sections in the book, and the table of contents all work and point to the right areas. If the title has an index, it should be linked.
6. Cover: The cover does not refer to any print edition only related content.
7. Consumable Content: The title does not contain any fill-in content, such as workbooks and puzzle books, unless the content has been re-crafted to direct the reader on how to approach using the fill-in content.
8. Print References: Content does not contain cross references to un-hyperlinked, static print page numbers (unless the ebook is intentionally mimicking its print counterpart for reference).
9. Breaks: New sections break and/or start at logical places.
10. Images: Art is appropriately sized, is in color where appropriate, loads relatively quickly, and if it contains text is legible. If images are removed for rights reasons, that portion is disclaimed or all references to that image are removed.
11. Tables: Table text fits the screen comfortably, and if rendered as art is legible.
12. Symbols: Text does not contain odd characters.
13. Metadata: Basic metadata for the title (author, title, etc.) is in place and accurate.

QED Judging Process
The QED supports a reader’s ability to access their ebooks how they want, when they want, and on the screen they want. To ensure that a title meets the demands of the ebook reader, each title will go through the above check-list on multiple devices and in multiple formats.

To ensure that an ebook title submitted for a QED will render well on the device a reader chooses, be reviewed on three devices: a small, mobile-sized screen, an eInk reader-sized screen, and a tablet-sized screen.

To confirm that the title looks good in the most widely adopted formats, each ebook will be reviewed in ePub in a Webkit-based ereader application (like Apple’s iBooks), in ePub in an Adobe SDK-based ereader (like Bluefire or Adobe Digital Editions), and in Mobi in Kindle Previewer.

Can Self-Published Books Be On the NYT Bestseller List?

I ran across an interesting comment today asking about whether or not self-published books are listed as NYT bestsellers. No one seemed to know the answer in the comment thread. And the blogger is one of those who is always above commenting on her own comment thread.

I’ve been reading about a few self-published authors selling .99 e-books who are getting on the NYT bestseller list, so I went checking around and found this piece. And this is what they said:

Both books sell for $.99. What’s interesting, and sort of odd, is that the list mimics Amazon’s bestseller list, but not entirely. Popular self-published writers Amanda Hocking and John Locke are missing from the Times. As the Times footnotes:

Rankings reflect weekly sales for books sold in both print and electronic formats as reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles.

So this is for print titles as well, except Diary of a Mad Fat Girl is not available for sale in print. So there’s a seeming arbitrariness to the Times list. They both do and don’t allow in self-published titles – it would seem that the books are self-selected, not based on actual sales.

Interesting. What does “self-selected” mean? And why aren’t all self-published books allowed on the list?

Then I read this:

“Among the categories not actively tracked at this time are: perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, comics, crossword puzzles and self-published books.”
Hmm….

The above is dated from February, so things could have changed by then. But I couldn’t find anymore information about it.

Now this is interesting, too:

Even though the New York Times indicated it would not count self-published books on its new ebook bestseller lists, one has made it to the top.

Not surprisingly, it’s a book that costs just 99 cents, which might have a lot to do with the high sales. I admit I’m often persuaded to buy an ebook that looks interesting at that price point. Nancy Johnson’s Her Last Letter is Number 31 on the “also selling” list of fiction ebooks.

So I’m guessing that if sales are high enough, self-published books can, indeed, be on the NYT bestseller list. If anyone has any knowledge about this, please comment. I’m curious now.