Every Book is a Startup


As a “computer guy” coming to the world of publishing, I read a lot about the world of high technology and startups, so I couldn’t help but notice this book/experiment: Every Book is a Startup

He describes the project in more detail here: http://toddsattersten.com/2011/07/my-summer-project-every-book-is-a-startup.html

Briefly, he’s going to write the book a bit at a time, and people who have purchased it will get updates “free”.  He will also change direction depending on the feedback he gets.

So far, it’s pretty brief, and seems a bit more geared to the author’s area of expertise in business books than, say, fiction. However, for $5, I’m willing to give it a shot and see how it grows with time.

In particular, I think it’s an interesting way of taking advantage of the fact that eBooks are much more flexible than paper books.  With a paper book, it would be extremely expensive to ship an update every month or two (although of course you could simply call it a “magazine”!), but an eBook is a much more fluid vehicle for publishing.  Perhaps one negative aspect we may see with this in the future is that it’s harder to declare something “done” if it’s very easy to update.  In practice, this doesn’t seem to be an issue with books we’ve published at LiberWriter so far.

Looking For A Few Good Editors


At LiberWriter, we try and get the most from computers, letting them automate boring tasks as much as possible.  However, some things need to be done by people who know what they’re doing.

One of those tasks, that’s just as important for a self-published eBook as it is for a traditionally published paper book is editing.  That can range anywhere from simply having someone look through the book for errors in spelling and grammar to someone able to work with you on your writing style.

Know anyone who is a good editor and is interested in the eBook market?  We’re looking for a few good people to collaborate with.  Interested?  Get in touch via our contact page: http://www.liberwriter.com/contact


John Locke’s “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!”


Beyond thinking about how to make formatting books for Kindle quicker, easier and more efficient, I’ve also been reading up about marketing books a lot, lately.  I started off with some books about the more traditional process, and lately read this one:


It’s pretty good, especially if you’re new to marketing things on line.  If using Twitter, Facebook, mailing lists and so on on-line is old hat to you, this book may not be for you.

In case you hadn’t heard of him, John Locke managed to sell more than a million of his books through the Amazon KDP, which are impressive numbers.

Here are a few of the ideas that struck me as important:

First of all, target a niche with your writing.  That means that you should have in mind who you are writing for, and market to this profile.  In other words, you and your writing can’t be all things to all people.  Instead, you should have a firm vision of who your target audience is, and then find how to reach them.

Step one: know your audience. Step two: write to them, which means, give them what they want!

The book also encourages authors to create memorable scenes and characters that will help create ‘buzz’ for their books.

Locke also discusses his “system” of using twitter and his blog to drive people to his web site, and to his books, with the caveat that you shouldn’t just flog your books continually on twitter, or no one will be interested in following you.  Be yourself, but be unique too – don’t just blather on about the mundane details of your life – say something that could only come from you.

This takes time. Lots of time. But every meaningful, worthwhile relationship takes time to build. It’s important that you sincerely like Jane and consider her contributions valuable to the Twitter community. If not, it will show, and she and the Twitter community will think of you as a suck up, and you’ll lose credibility.

He also discusses at length how by personally responding to email correspondence, he creates fans that are willing to write positive reviews for his books, and “spread the word”.  And of course, he also has a mailing list that’s easy to sign up for, so that when he has a new book, sale, or something else of interest to his readers, he can send out an email.

I’ve changed the default LiberWriter template to help encourage people to include some of the recommended information in their books, and am working on a brief marketing guide of my own, as well as a system within LiberWriter to help people get in touch with potential readers before their books are even finished.

In summary, here’s the laundry list of tools you’ll need.  These can all be had very inexpensively:

  • A web site (get a domain name to go with it, don’t just use blahblah.wordpress.com)
  • A twitter account
  • A mailing list

It’s not a lengthly book, and if you’re interested in cheap, effective ways of marketing your book(s), it’s probably worth reading: for just a few dollars, if it helps you sell 10 more books, then it will probably pay for itself.

Tech Support at 2000 Meters


Rollin’ a smoke in the high country, while my horse grazes, and gazing on nature’s majesty?

Not exactly – first of all I don’t smoke, don’t ride horses, and you can’t see it in the picture, but I’m actually typing away on my phone.  That hat, if nothing else, is a Stetson though.

My wife and I needed a weekend away, so we drove up to go camping up in Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the middle of the Italian Dolomites, which is of course a splendid place to spend a long weekend.   I was, however, a bit nervous being away from my fast internet connection – I like being able to deal with anything that comes up with LiberWriter in a hurry.

Thanks, however, to the people at Google who created the Android phone system, and my new Samsung phone, I was able to “take my email with me” and respond to a help request that came up while we were out for a walk above the Passo Giau.  My wife thought it was pretty funny (I’m lucky that way, I suppose some people might have been irritated!) that I was sitting there staring at my phone in the middle of the gorgeous high alpine meadow where we stopped to have a picnic, and took a picture.

My customer, on the other hand, was quite pleased that I got back to her so quickly, even though I wasn’t able to solve the problem right away.  I did fix the problem that evening, as soon as I got back to my laptop.

I work hard to make LiberWriter function without help, but given that people are paying us money to make sure their books look good, I feel the ability to respond with helpful, friendly support is always going to be a really important part of the service.