Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Future of Electronic Publishing?

As most of you know, between 1997 and 2011, I operated an ebook
publishing company called Ebookomatic.com. In October 2011 I
closed the doors because the industry had changed in so many
ways. Chief among these changes has been the move away from the
industry standard Adobe PDF ebook format in favor of other
wireless platforms like the Kindle from Amazon.com.

While Amazon and the Kindle have changed the face of book
publishing and distribution, I'm not so certain all of those
changes have been for the best. They have made it relatively easy
for anyone with an idea to publish an ebook and make it available
for wireless download to their device. The publishing service
itself is free to use, and the author can determine how much they
will charge, where the ebook will be sold, and how much of a
royalty they want to earn.

The problem, as I see it, is that now you have a lot of garbage
for sale -- stuff that normally would never get published is now
masquerading as a book. In other words, there is a lot of poorly
written stuff out there -- in fact, probably the majority of it
is quite bad. And as a result, all of this bad work adds noise to
the channel by giving you endless options for ebooks. You can
search on just about any topic and come up with hundreds of
titles you never heard of and probably don't want to read.

But there are other issues, too. While authors have control over
price, they really don't because the public doesn't believe they
should pay for quality information, fiction or entertainment. As
a result, ebooks for the Kindle and elsewhere routinely sell for
$2.99 and lower. And the lower the price, the less the author
earns. It's like iTunes apps or iPad games.

Sure, I know. It' a volume deal. Lower the price and millions
will purchase what you sell. That doesn't always work. If it
worked all the time, we'd all be able to sell our shopping list
for a dime and be millionaires.

So as an experiment, I decided to publish the four ebooks I
completed this year on Amazon's Kindle Publishing Direct. I
wanted to see what the experience was like compared to
EbookoMatic.com. My system enabled you to upload a Microsoft Word
file and it converted it into a password-protected Adobe PDF
file. You set the price, genre, added a bio, a cover and a
summary and your ebook was available for sale within 5 minutes or

I created my free Amazon KDP account within a few minutes, and
then started the learning process of using their system. What I
discovered is that the process of uploading your manuscript, your
cover image, and your ebook's "meta" information is quick and
easy. But there are a few issues ...

First, you really can not upload a Microsoft Word DOC file and
expect your ebook to look the same in Word or Adobe PDF as it
will on a Kindle. In fact, if you are like me and don't own a
Kindle, you need to download a Kindle emulation program and
separate conversion program to generate the ebook file before you
can upload it to Amazon KDP.

This is an iterative process. You'll convert the file on your PC,
view it on the Kindle emulator, make notes for layout changes,
and then start the process all over again. Some conversion tools
work better than others, and it takes a while to understand how
the choices you make in your settings of these tools control what
the final product will look like. I spent hours experimenting
until I got something that looked OK.

Second, once you upload your ebooks to their system, they do not
become available for sale for at least 12 hours or more. So much
for instant publishing. Apparently they are put through some
quality control process where humans actually get involved. One
of the ebooks I submitted was rejected on the grounds that it
duplicated an ebook already for sale in their system.

How could this be? I searched Amazon and found my ebook for sale
under someone else's account name. I informed Amazon they were
wrong, but they insisted I was wrong. I had to show them domain
ownership, manuscript info, a web site, and still they argued
with me. And because contact info was unavailable for the other
person reselling my original work, I had no alternative but to
threaten Amazon with a lawsuit for facilitating theft of
intellectual property and copyright infringement.

Eventually, Amazon saw the error of their ways and withdrew the
other person's work from their ebook catalog, and made my
original ebook live. They were very apologetic for their handling
of the situation.

Frankly, I think there is a huge class action lawsuit just
begging for an intellectual property attorney to attack. Could be
millions of dollars at stake here because I am certain I am not
the only author to have his work ripped off by Amazon's system.

In fact, anyone who has created and sold an ebook with reseller
rights, could find their work for sale by others on Amazon unless
they deliberately stated their work can not be converted or sold
in other formats or on other publishing platforms. In other
words, if you publish a PDF ebook, make sure you state it can only be
resold as a PDF file.

So if you want to see the ebooks available on Amazon for the
Kindle, go here:


You'll notice there are authors with similar names listed along
with me. The titles are presently selling for 66% off normal
retail prices, for only $9.99 each, so buy yourself a present and
download one of my ebooks today at a bargain price!

Until next time,


P.S.: If you are an author and are looking for assistance with
publishing and promoting your ebook online, I can create a killer
web site, sales letter, ebook cover and much more for you. Drop
me a line to discuss your needs at info@schneiderman.net.

Schneiderman Marketing, LLC, 1811 S. Baltimore, Suite 203, Tulsa, OK 74119, United States

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Almost Free Software for the Holidays

Howdy. Hope your day is going great. Over the next few weeks I will be sending you some free gifts and some links to some really inexpensive tools and ebooks that are absolute bargains.

Today I want to point you in the direction of Serif Software. This is a British software company that has developed a great reputation for creating powerful, easy-to-use and very inexpensive software for personal and business use.

In the old days, when I needed to design some type of marketing collateral like a brochure, I would use PageMaker. That was an investment of several hundred dollars, took lots of time to learn, and frequently was more trouble than it was worth.

A few years ago, I purchased Serif PagePlus which is an incredible clone of PageMaker, only it's a fraction of the price, much easier to use, comes with incredible bonuses, and is well supported. I spent about $100 for the my copy, and now they are up to PagePlus Version 5.

Well, here's the deal ... they discovered excess inventory of Version 4 of their entire suite of products and for a limited time for this holiday season, you can purchase any of their titles for only $19.99. Yeah, that's a no-brainer decision, for sure!

WebPlus helps you create great looking web sites. DrawPlus helps you create killer graphics. MoviePlus helps you edit and create dynamic videos. All of these products are usually $99 but you can get all of them for only $19.99 each. Is this a great deal or what? The links below are long and may not work in your email client, so be sure to copy and paste the entire link into your browser.

WebPlus X4 for $19.99

PagePlus X4 for $19.99

DrawPlus X4 for $19.99

MoviePlus X3 for $19.99

Talk to you soon,


P.S.: Feel free to share this with your friends or tweet or post it via social media. These are really good deals for the holidays!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

2011 Reflections

As the winter weather begins to rear its ugly head here in Tulsa, it seems like a good time to kick back, pull the covers back up over my head, and stay in bed. It's Saturday, I don't have anything too pressing to do, I dropped my daughter at pom practice, my wife's preparing to venture to the OSU/OU Bedlam football game in Stillwater, and my son is still sleeping. There is a 60% chance of significant snow Monday, and I'm not ready for winter. What about you?

It's been a few weeks since my last newsletter. Since that time I have begun to sew up my major projects for the year, and to reflect on what's worked and what hasn't. This is always a time of learning and readjusting for the coming year.

2011 was a choppy year for me. Revenues are down about 50%, but through God's good graces, we made it through. Lots of anxiety and worries along the way, but the mere fact that we made it gives me reassurance that He will always provide for me and my
family. And to think of all the years I used to worry about things like that. A lot of wasted energy over things I can not control.

2011 was also a year of simplification. For over a decade I managed multiple online businesses in addition to over 100 web site domains. Trying to keep all of those sites current was a bear, and as my consulting took up more and more time, it became virtually impossible to keep up with it all. Finally, this year I decided to close up shop on my electronic publishing business, Ebookomatic, and shut down dozens of web sites. I've kept less than a dozen and focused my energies on improving their design
and content.

One of the many projects still in limbo is Very Cool Tools. I wanted to create my own membership site for reseller products. I've grown so weary with the poor quality of most reseller membership sites, and wanted to do something good for people.

What I learned along the way about setting up membership sites was worth its weight in gold. There's money to be made there for sure, but developing new products every month is time consuming. Coming up with the product idea is easy; bringing that idea to fruition is difficult.

This year I wrote four new ebooks and created one new software product. Our goal was to launch the membership site with the first 12 month's of products in place, so we would be one year ahead. What I didn't count on was the economy affecting my development team in Pakistan. My counterpart there has moved to Dubai to escape the political unrest, and he has started a new company. So while he still is available to me and wants to continue our 6 years of collaboration, he has different priorities and responsibilities to deal with. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men.

I also shut down my own web server which I have run for more than a decade. I moved all my remaining web sites to a hosted server at Host Gator. While it was technically easy to do so, I am still learning about the fine differences between managing a Windows and Linux server. Chief difference that impacted my business until recently was that Linux links are case sensitive. Thus almost all of my links between pages and sites and download pages were broken.

I didn't realize how big a problem this was for over a month until I saw my sales and revenue plummet to zero. Once I realized what the issue was I quickly started to correct all broken links, and now sales are beginning to trickle in again. I probably lost $2K in revenue over those broken links. Ugh. Hard lesson to learn.

>From a consulting perspective, this year I began to change my sales and marketing approach. For instance, I used to provide a free web site analysis with a free 10 page review in order to prove my value to a new prospect. They loved my analysis and
frequently implemented my fixes on their own or with the help of someone less expensive. So now I charge for my time up front, and I deduct the cost of the analysis if the prospect awards me the project.

I'm also getting more serious about offering coaching services. After a recent introductory engagement with 13 new companies in the same industry, it became very clear that company owners and founders really appreciate my broad background and my ability to speak to them about just about anything. They appreciated my honesty, my
empathy, my faith, and my positive attitude. So I've added a coaching page to my web site and we'll see what happens.

I see much greater opportunity in serving clusters of companies in associations rather than individual clients, and will be looking for more of these opportunities in the future. If you or someone you know belongs to either a professional association or
an informal collection of companies, and you want to do some projects together, contact me to learn how I can assist you. Having a project manager or administrator to assist you with project planning and implementation is essential to long term

This year has also been a year of growth for me on the performance side. Most of my subscribers know I have a fun side to my life which involves my second profession as a magician. This year I stopped performing at one public venue and started doing more private shows. This December I have seven shows and will be busy right up to the holidays. I am excited and very grateful and excited to be performing again. I love doing magic for people because it brings smiles to their faces, and it also generates additional income. It's great. I love it.

And so now it is time to plan for 2012 and to prayerfully implement a new business strategy which will hopefully bring me back into more fruitful territories. I hope the economy hasn't impacted you too badly, but if it has, I urge you to remain strong in your faith, and to begin to analyze the past year. Look for ways to change your strategy, drop what isn't working or drains your time, and to focus on the core things you do best and that brings you the most joy. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Until next time,