Friday, June 21, 2013

Alliance of Independent Authors

Somewhere on the interweb I recently stumbled across The Alliance of Indie Authors (ALLi). The name excited me--an alliance of indie writers! Visions of a horde of e-book-wielding authors storming the trad-pub castle danced in my head. Cool--where do I join?

Not so fast, young indie. Although ALLi represents itself as a "a nonprofit, professional association for self-publishing writers" it doesn't mean the club is not exclusive. Just because the organization is nonprofit doesn't mean you can waltz in for free. After all, nothing is really free (even free e-books; there's always a catch or hook or ulterior motive).

Okay, understood, a fee for any professional organization is reasonable and expected. So what will it cost to join ALLi? They offer four membership options, with varying degrees of benefits. The least expensive is $60 USD a year. Want to call yourself an ALLi author? That'll be $99, please. The professional membership goes for $139 annually (as does the partner package).

Whoa! My initial reaction was that this is a little steep for a penny-pinching indie like myself. But I didn't want to jump to conclusions, so I poked around to learn what benefits I would reap for my money. With all four membership options, you receive a membership badge and ALLi's Code of Standards, neither of which have actual monetary value (based on my return-on-investment analysis), so I moved on to the tangible perks.

The Member Benefits page of the ALLi website summarizes what you receive for your membership fee. The first benefit listed is world-class Self-Publishing Advice & Guidance via regular online sessions with key advisors addressing your self-publishing quandaries and queries. ALLi does boast an impressive stable of professionals on their team, and the ability to interact with these folks has value. However, my concerns are the actual availability of these obviously-busy professionals. How often will they be online and interacting? What will be the advisor-to-member ratio? What are the odds someone will answer my question with the information I couldn't find elsewhere? The website promises 'regular' online sessions, but I would prefer a more defined commitment. What does ALLi mean by regular? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? I don't know, but I would like to, because I think this membership benefit promises the most value.

The second benefit--Meetups & Contacts--includes perks such as a searchable member database, Offline MeetUps & Events, Closed Online Forums, Publishing Contacts (publishers, printers, booksellers, distributors, book fairs, self-publishing services and rights agencies), evaluation of self-publishing services and a few more. This also seems promising, however, assuming these contacts and services do not interact exclusively at ALLi, these resources should be available elsewhere on the web. Your searching of these resources appears limited to the pond of ALLi-allied professionals.

The remaining member benefits are categorized as Encouraging Excellence, Self-Publishing News & Information, Advocacy & Campaigns, and Member Discounts & Incentives. This last group of benefits aren't described in as much detail as the first two, and overall, seem a bit nebulous in regard to their cash value.

As a side-note, Grammarly found two typos in the text I copied from ALLi's website. Worldclass and quandries can be found on ALLi's Member Benefits page. I realize it's very nit-picky on my part to point this out, but I do find the presence of typos discouraging on a website that's promoting self-publishing excellence as part of its membership package.

In summary, I feel the urge to cough up the money and join, yet I question whether my motivations are driven by the value of the membership, or the draw of joining an exclusive organization where I may get a chance to hob-nob with some of the big fish in the self-publishing pond. For now, I'm staying on the fence. What about you?


June 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title June 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Alliance of Independent Authors
link : Alliance of Independent Authors

Read Also


June 2013

Somewhere on the interweb I recently stumbled across The Alliance of Indie Authors (ALLi). The name excited me--an alliance of indie writers! Visions of a horde of e-book-wielding authors storming the trad-pub castle danced in my head. Cool--where do I join?

Not so fast, young indie. Although ALLi represents itself as a "a nonprofit, professional association for self-publishing writers" it doesn't mean the club is not exclusive. Just because the organization is nonprofit doesn't mean you can waltz in for free. After all, nothing is really free (even free e-books; there's always a catch or hook or ulterior motive).

Okay, understood, a fee for any professional organization is reasonable and expected. So what will it cost to join ALLi? They offer four membership options, with varying degrees of benefits. The least expensive is $60 USD a year. Want to call yourself an ALLi author? That'll be $99, please. The professional membership goes for $139 annually (as does the partner package).

Whoa! My initial reaction was that this is a little steep for a penny-pinching indie like myself. But I didn't want to jump to conclusions, so I poked around to learn what benefits I would reap for my money. With all four membership options, you receive a membership badge and ALLi's Code of Standards, neither of which have actual monetary value (based on my return-on-investment analysis), so I moved on to the tangible perks.

The Member Benefits page of the ALLi website summarizes what you receive for your membership fee. The first benefit listed is world-class Self-Publishing Advice & Guidance via regular online sessions with key advisors addressing your self-publishing quandaries and queries. ALLi does boast an impressive stable of professionals on their team, and the ability to interact with these folks has value. However, my concerns are the actual availability of these obviously-busy professionals. How often will they be online and interacting? What will be the advisor-to-member ratio? What are the odds someone will answer my question with the information I couldn't find elsewhere? The website promises 'regular' online sessions, but I would prefer a more defined commitment. What does ALLi mean by regular? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? I don't know, but I would like to, because I think this membership benefit promises the most value.

The second benefit--Meetups & Contacts--includes perks such as a searchable member database, Offline MeetUps & Events, Closed Online Forums, Publishing Contacts (publishers, printers, booksellers, distributors, book fairs, self-publishing services and rights agencies), evaluation of self-publishing services and a few more. This also seems promising, however, assuming these contacts and services do not interact exclusively at ALLi, these resources should be available elsewhere on the web. Your searching of these resources appears limited to the pond of ALLi-allied professionals.

The remaining member benefits are categorized as Encouraging Excellence, Self-Publishing News & Information, Advocacy & Campaigns, and Member Discounts & Incentives. This last group of benefits aren't described in as much detail as the first two, and overall, seem a bit nebulous in regard to their cash value.

As a side-note, Grammarly found two typos in the text I copied from ALLi's website. Worldclass and quandries can be found on ALLi's Member Benefits page. I realize it's very nit-picky on my part to point this out, but I do find the presence of typos discouraging on a website that's promoting self-publishing excellence as part of its membership package.

In summary, I feel the urge to cough up the money and join, yet I question whether my motivations are driven by the value of the membership, or the draw of joining an exclusive organization where I may get a chance to hob-nob with some of the big fish in the self-publishing pond. For now, I'm staying on the fence. What about you?


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Data Crunching, Converting, Counting, and More

This week I'll present some free online utilities that can help you analyze, count, data crunch, and convert your text.  Although the tools I'll discuss don't address grammar, spelling, etc., these handy utilities are still useful to a self-publisher.

Character and Word Counter with Frequency Statistics Calculator

This webpage offers a clever tool for calculating the number individual words in your writing (not just total words--a total for each word). It allowed me to paste my entire first draft of Mirrors & Mist into it (73,000 words), and found I used the word "was" 589 times! Ouch! It also has sort functions and some other data-crunching tools that let you analyze your writing based on the words you've written.

EPUB Validator

If you're self-publishing through a service like Smashwords, et al, you may not need EPUB Validator; however, it's a good quality control tool to have at your disposal, especially if you create your own EPUB files, or are having problems with one of your EPUBs.  The tool is simple to use--just choose your EPUB file from your hard drive and click validate (and hope for no errors)!

Readability Index Calculator

This website allows you to paste your text and then provides you a readability score (Flesch-Kincaid) for English text (Spanish, French, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish language versions are also available via a drop-down menu).  Why would you want to do this?  A readability score can give you an indication of how complex (or simple) your writing is to read based on a standardized scale.

Convert Number of Words to Number of Pages

This website may not be relevant to eBook publishers, but it's a handy little tool if you're looking for a quick answer.  This utility allows you to specify the font, font size, and line spacing for a given quantity of words and then calculates how many text pages this amount of words is equivalent to.

Cute PDF Editor

If you don't have pdf editing software (aka Adobe Acrobat) on your computer, this is a great free online utility that lets you edit pdf files.  No need to download and install a program, the cloud-based Cute PDF Editor lets you  re-size, rotate, crop, delete, duplicate, extract, reorder, insert, merge, add headers & footers, and more.

Hopefully some of these websites are new to you and come in handy at some point in the future.

Author Update:  The first draft of Mirrors & Mist has now morphed into the second draft and I'm working on the text daily.  I still have much to do, but progress is being made toward a late 2013 release.  I also bit the bullet and signed up for a Twitter account.  If you can't get enough of me here, you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cmskiera.



June 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title June 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Data Crunching, Converting, Counting, and More
link : Data Crunching, Converting, Counting, and More

Read Also


June 2013

This week I'll present some free online utilities that can help you analyze, count, data crunch, and convert your text.  Although the tools I'll discuss don't address grammar, spelling, etc., these handy utilities are still useful to a self-publisher.

Character and Word Counter with Frequency Statistics Calculator

This webpage offers a clever tool for calculating the number individual words in your writing (not just total words--a total for each word). It allowed me to paste my entire first draft of Mirrors & Mist into it (73,000 words), and found I used the word "was" 589 times! Ouch! It also has sort functions and some other data-crunching tools that let you analyze your writing based on the words you've written.

EPUB Validator

If you're self-publishing through a service like Smashwords, et al, you may not need EPUB Validator; however, it's a good quality control tool to have at your disposal, especially if you create your own EPUB files, or are having problems with one of your EPUBs.  The tool is simple to use--just choose your EPUB file from your hard drive and click validate (and hope for no errors)!

Readability Index Calculator

This website allows you to paste your text and then provides you a readability score (Flesch-Kincaid) for English text (Spanish, French, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish language versions are also available via a drop-down menu).  Why would you want to do this?  A readability score can give you an indication of how complex (or simple) your writing is to read based on a standardized scale.

Convert Number of Words to Number of Pages

This website may not be relevant to eBook publishers, but it's a handy little tool if you're looking for a quick answer.  This utility allows you to specify the font, font size, and line spacing for a given quantity of words and then calculates how many text pages this amount of words is equivalent to.

Cute PDF Editor

If you don't have pdf editing software (aka Adobe Acrobat) on your computer, this is a great free online utility that lets you edit pdf files.  No need to download and install a program, the cloud-based Cute PDF Editor lets you  re-size, rotate, crop, delete, duplicate, extract, reorder, insert, merge, add headers & footers, and more.

Hopefully some of these websites are new to you and come in handy at some point in the future.

Author Update:  The first draft of Mirrors & Mist has now morphed into the second draft and I'm working on the text daily.  I still have much to do, but progress is being made toward a late 2013 release.  I also bit the bullet and signed up for a Twitter account.  If you can't get enough of me here, you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cmskiera.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Draft 2 Digital for Self-Publishers & Indie Authors

Last week I posted about FastPencil, a self-publishing platform. Thanks to +Shah Wharton, I learned about Draft 2 Digital, yet another platform for self-publishing authors.

Whereas FastPencil appeared somewhat overwhelming with all its options, Draft 2 Digital is nearly the opposite. A clean, uncluttered interface with just five tabs, the Draft 2 Digital website is simple and easy to navigate. Draft 2 Digital doesn't have its own ebook storefront (like Smashwords) and it currently doesn't distribute to quite as many retailers, however, it current sales channels include:
Speaking of CreateSpace, which is a rather unique option for an ebook publishing platform, Draft 2 Digital states: "We can create paperbacks for any books generated through our conversion service (that is, everything except pre-formatted epub uploads). Simply choose CreateSpace as one of your sales channels at the publishing stage, and we'll begin the process."

According to their FAQ, Draft 2 Digital is currently pursuing distribution agreements with:
Saving the best for last, let's look at pricing. For books sold, see this chart detailing Draft 2 Digital's pricing.  How does this compare with the competitors? For a 'preferred status' book (more that $0.99 list price), Draft 2 Digital and their distributors take roughly a 40% cut. FastPencil and their distributors take a 44% cut, while Smashwords averages about 40% and BookBaby ranges from 30%-50% depending on the distributor, so Draft 2 Digital looks competitive in this area.

So what's the final word? Draft 2 Digital looks like a competitive option for self-publishers, and as its distribution network expands, combined with its CreateSpace printed book support, it has the potential to move to the front of the pack. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Author Update:  As Mirrors & Mist inches closer to self-publication, I'm also planning on re-releasing an updated version of Crimson & Cream, which will include minor text revisions based on another round of editing (with a new editor), and some extra content goodies, such as maps and a glossary. Below is the draft of one of the maps to be included, which covers the setting in which all three Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy books will take place. And I'd like to give a special shout-out to thank the folks at the G+ Community Map-Making in Games, who provided loads of good advice to this novice cartographer.  Thanks again for your support!


June 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title June 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Draft 2 Digital for Self-Publishers & Indie Authors
link : Draft 2 Digital for Self-Publishers & Indie Authors

Read Also


June 2013

Last week I posted about FastPencil, a self-publishing platform. Thanks to +Shah Wharton, I learned about Draft 2 Digital, yet another platform for self-publishing authors.

Whereas FastPencil appeared somewhat overwhelming with all its options, Draft 2 Digital is nearly the opposite. A clean, uncluttered interface with just five tabs, the Draft 2 Digital website is simple and easy to navigate. Draft 2 Digital doesn't have its own ebook storefront (like Smashwords) and it currently doesn't distribute to quite as many retailers, however, it current sales channels include:

Speaking of CreateSpace, which is a rather unique option for an ebook publishing platform, Draft 2 Digital states: "We can create paperbacks for any books generated through our conversion service (that is, everything except pre-formatted epub uploads). Simply choose CreateSpace as one of your sales channels at the publishing stage, and we'll begin the process."

According to their FAQ, Draft 2 Digital is currently pursuing distribution agreements with:
Saving the best for last, let's look at pricing. For books sold, see this chart detailing Draft 2 Digital's pricing.  How does this compare with the competitors? For a 'preferred status' book (more that $0.99 list price), Draft 2 Digital and their distributors take roughly a 40% cut. FastPencil and their distributors take a 44% cut, while Smashwords averages about 40% and BookBaby ranges from 30%-50% depending on the distributor, so Draft 2 Digital looks competitive in this area.

So what's the final word? Draft 2 Digital looks like a competitive option for self-publishers, and as its distribution network expands, combined with its CreateSpace printed book support, it has the potential to move to the front of the pack. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Author Update:  As Mirrors & Mist inches closer to self-publication, I'm also planning on re-releasing an updated version of Crimson & Cream, which will include minor text revisions based on another round of editing (with a new editor), and some extra content goodies, such as maps and a glossary. Below is the draft of one of the maps to be included, which covers the setting in which all three Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy books will take place. And I'd like to give a special shout-out to thank the folks at the G+ Community Map-Making in Games, who provided loads of good advice to this novice cartographer.  Thanks again for your support!