AMAZON OR BOOKSTORE? ASK THIS NEW APP
Independent bookstores, though loved by readers, are hard-pressed to compete with the easy convenience of ordering books through Amazon. But now a new app, Bookindy, is providing a way to combine the ease of browsing through Amazon while, at the same time, supporting your local bookstores.
Bookindy entrepreneur Will Cookson explains: “I wanted to build something that doesn’t compete head-on with the Amazon machine, but embraces it, augments it and nudges you towards the local option to buy.” The app allows you to browse Amazon, then gives you the price of the book you’re viewing in your local bookstore, as well as informing you how far away that bookstore is. Though some usage of the app reveals that you’ll save more on Amazon after all, it has also lead to many more users buying from their local bookstores.
For those who love local bookstores but don’t want to leave their own bedroom to browse them, Bookindy looks like a perfect solution.
STREAMLINING THE WRITING PROCESS WITH THE “SCAFFOLDING METHOD”
“Are you stuck staring at a blank word processor?” asks writer Emlyn Chand in a recent blog post. “Do you find yourself playing on Facebook or Twitter during your precious writing time?” All of us have related to those experiences at one time or another, and Chand suggests a solution: The “Scaffolding Method”.
The “Scaffolding Method” is Chand’s invention, involving nine steps. The gist of it is: create a bullet-pointed outline, write the major plot scenes in the same document as the outline, and then go back and add exposition and details later. “My scaffolding method allowed me to focus on both the art and the storytelling separately rather than lumping them together,” Chand says. Additionally, she suggests joining writing sprints, for example with #SprintWithUs on Twitter. These methods sped up her writing process and made finishing a novel in four weeks an easy task. Not sure if most writers would be able to manage that, but the “Scaffolding Method” is an interesting piece of advice.
EUROPEAN VAT CHANGES: “NIGHTMARE FOR INDIES”
Self-published authors have always had several options for how to sell and market their books online, meaning that they could choose options where they could keep all the profits from their book sales. Now, a change in the taxing process threatens to change that.
In response to Amazon taking advantage of Luxembourg’s 3% VAT rate, versus the 20% VAT rate for UK retailers, the European commission has changed the law, requiring that “retailers of digital goods had to pay VAT in the country where the product was bought, not where it was sold.” Although this new law seems to be trying to make things fair between big businesses and small retailers, it’s actually working in favor of the big publishers. Small businesses that used to be exempt from VAT are now required to apply it to all sales outside of the UK, and the new laws present an administrative and technological mess to any self-publishers trying to market outside of Amazon. For some, going to Amazon or another large retailer is the best option. A small nuisance for large retailers is turning out to be a nightmare for self-publishers.
IS INKSHARES IDEAS “TINDER” FOR INDIE AUTHORS?
Ever had a great idea for a new book, but no idea whether anyone would actually want to read it? Now you can get instant feedback on your book ideas by using publisher Inkshares’ recently launched feature, Inkshares Ideas.
The process is simple: in 20 words or less, sum up your book idea. Then tweet it to @inkshares with the hashtag #idea or enter it on their homepage at inkshares.com. Inkshares readers can browse through the ideas and follow the ones they like. Ideas with the most followers become “trending” on Inkshares, letting you discover your potential audience.
“The Inkshares mission is to directly connect readers and writers with the goal of producing incredible books,” says Inkshares CEO Jeremy Thomas. Inkshares Ideas looks like a great way to create that connection.
DRAFT2DIGITAL: AN EASIER ALTERNATIVE TO SMASHWORDS?
If you’re looking for an easier alternative to Smashwords, Draft2Digital may be your answer. A new tool for authors, D2D provides, “a suite of author tools that assists authors in formatting, converting, and distributing their ebooks.” Authors can add features such as About the Author and About the Publisher pages with merely the check of a box; there is no coding required.
Draft2Digital distributes to a wide variety of digital retailers, including iBooks, Nook, Kobo, CreateSpace, and more. Authors that use D2D can choose in which stores they’d like their books distributed. Additionally, D2D provides excellent customer service and opportunities for promotion. Authors are also paid monthly after the first few months.
Have a great weekend, Indie Readers!