Self-Publishing In Italian, Tips For Translation And The Launch Of Profanazione

Continuing with my adventures in self-publishing translation series, today it’s the turn of Profanazione, my first novel in Italian.

ProfanazioneSmallI wasn’t intending to self-publish in Italy, mainly because the market is very small, but when experienced author and translator, Virginio B. Sala emailed me, I jumped at the opportunity.

Here’s an interview with Virginio, and if you read Italian, or know people who do, Profanazione is free on Kindle between 26 – 30 August, 2014. You can read the description and watch the trailer at the bottom of the post. You can also read the interview in Italian here.

Plus, there’s an interview with me about why I wanted the investigate the Italian market on SelfPublishingSchool.it here.

Virginio, tell us a bit about you and your writing/publishing background

virginiobsalaI’ve been working in the publishing field since I was 18. My first job was with a press agency – as a translator of sport news from German to Italian. There weren’t any personal computers then, only mechanical typewriters and teletypes… After three years, the agency closed but I went on working in the field, partly as a freelance and partly as an employee.

The most interesting experiences were as an editor with “Le Scienze”, the Italian edition of “Scientific American”, my first job as an editor in chief with Franco Muzzio Editore, then as responsible for the books division of Mondadori Informatica, and my last job as “editorial director” with Apogeo. I was with Apogeo for eleven years, then at the end of 2008 I quit and decided to go back freelancing. In 2013 I moved from Milan area to Tuscany, with my family – we now live in a small “borgo” in the hills of Lunigiana, near Pontremoli, a handful of houses with less than twenty regular residents.

I wrote about your work and your blog in a recently published book: my contribution is titled “La Galassia Gutenberg e la nebulosa Turing” (Gutenberg Galaxy and Turing Nebula), and is part of the volume “Digital Writing” edited by Alessandra Anichini and published in 2014 by Maggioli, Milano.

What is the book market like in Italy? What kind of books do Italians like?

Unfortunately, Italy is not a great market, it is virtually the only market for Italian language publications – and book reading is not one of the most widespread habits. It has to do with our history. There is a “hard core” of power readers, but for a large proportion of the Italians book reading is not on top of their interests. As for the taste of the Italian readers, it is not so different from the taste of the other European countries. Fiction and literary fiction are usually at the top of the bestsellers lists – many translations but also a few Italian authors: crime, thrillers, romance, fantasy, and also books about current affairs.

What do you see as the changes coming in the Italian publishing scene, in terms of the rise of ebooks and self-publishing?

Things are moving – slowly, but moving. Inertia is strong, and the crisis of these years doesn’t help. But there are a few interesting new realities, young (digital only) publishers, indie authors. It will be a challenge, given the limited size of the market for the Italian language, to find the right mix of elements for an economically sustainable activity – for publishers, authors, translators.

Why did you want to translate Desecration?

I became interested in The Creative Penn blog a few years ago, when you published the first version of your “Author 2.0”: it was an interesting work. I began following the blog regularly and followed the “making of” Pentecost and your first moves in the fiction world. I even used the blog as a case study, lecturing at the University in Florence.

The idea of translating one of your books came later, as an outcome of many reflections about the evolution of the book industry, the e-book, the world of indie authors. In my career, I have translated many books (mostly non-fiction), but always following the traditional chain of work. The idea of a different approach was tempting, and having a direct relationship with an author is interesting.

In Desecration, I was attracted by the context of the Royal College of Surgeons, the connections with the history of anatomy –history and philosophy of science are among my passions (I have a degree in Philosophy), as well as music.

What are some of the particular challenges around translating to Italian? Were there any surprises in the translation of Desecration?

I read Desecration before starting the translation, and it wasn’t the first of your books I read – so I knew fairly well what I was going to meet. Challenging, but not impossible.

Some of the most intriguing decisions were with the translation of the pronoun “you” – in Italian (as in French or in German) there are two possible choices, the more personal and intimate “tu” and the more respectful “lei”. Sometimes it is clear what the right solution is, but not always. I had the problem in a couple of cases – in particular for the relationship between Jamie and Blake: it begins as a relationship between two strangers, but then it gradually changes.

What are your tips for translators working with indie authors?

The same I would give for any translation. What makes the difference is the relationship with the author: not being mediated by a chain of publisher-agent-publisher or whatever, it is a personal relationship. No safety net, in a sense – but it can be more rewarding. But, as any other personal relationship, it has to be nurtured, first of all by trust.

What are your tips for authors who want to find a good Italian translator for their books? How do they evaluate the translator?

If you cannot read the language, it’s not easy. If the translator already did other works, you can probably find some evaluation online, or you can try to go backwards, identify first a translated book (somehow comparable to yours) and then try to contact the translator. LinkedIn and Facebook are great for this kind of research.

But I wouldn’t discard the idea of a young translator at his first work: you could try to go through a school for translators, contact a teacher and ask for a newly graduated student who can be right for you. The teacher could also act as a reviewer… There are also master courses at university level, often linked to creative writing schools. It would be interesting if anybody would set up a specialized, international network directly connecting authors, translators, reviewers and so on, all the people involved. Probably something of this kind will be necessary, in the future, if self-publishing will grow. Or maybe somebody already did it – and simply I’m not aware of it.

How can people contact you?

My (occasional) blog is at www.viacartesio.eu

Twitter @viacartesio

and Facebook.com/virginio.b.sala

Profanazione – Free on Kindle 26 – 30 August, 2014 and then 2,99

ProfanazioneSmallNon sempre la morte è la fine.

LONDRA. Nei locali del Royal College of Surgeons viene trovato il corpo di una giovane donna, e le indagini sono affidate alla Detective Jamie Brooke. Un’antica, inquietante figurina d’avorio, lasciata accanto al cadavere, è l’unico indizio, e Jamie chiede aiuto a Blake Daniel, chiaroveggente riluttante, per scoprire quale sia il suo significato.

Quando una tragedia personale la colpisce, la vita della stessa Jamie finisce per intrecciarsi con la torbida vicenda: dovrà correre contro il tempo per impedire che ci sia una nuova vittima.

Jamie e Blake penetrano in un mondo macabro di profanatori di tombe, di modificazioni del corpo e di mostri creati con l’ingegneria genetica e devono lottare per non perdere la salute mentale e la vita.

˃˃˃ Autrice bestseller del New York Times e di USA Today, J.F.Penn

Autrice bestseller del New York Times e di Usa Today, nata in Inghilterra e laureata a Oxford, J.F. Penn ha viaggiato in tutto il mondo per studiare religione e psicologia. Queste sue ossessioni, l’amore per i thriller e l’interesse per il soprannaturale si fondono nelle storie che scrive.

Leggi un estratto o acquista su Amazon

amazon-icon

Prossimamente in stampa e altri formati di ebook.

Book Trailer

Ricerche e fonti di ispirazione alla base di Profanazione.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAQ8I-ZRTso

The Intricacies Of German Translation. Plus German Pentecost Print Giveaway And Ebook On Sale

It’s fantastic to hold your book in your hands … and it’s faintly fantastical to hold a book with your name on it when the interior is in a different language!

Pentecost German Banner 1In a continuation of the translation adventure, Pentecost, Ein ARKANE Thriller is now available in print as well as ebook formats and on special this week. Plus, my reclusive, literary translator finally comes on the blog to reveal some of her secrets …

Read German? Or please pass on to friends!

Pentecost is on sale at 99c 19 – 22 August for the ebook here on Amazon and here on iBooks

You can also join the Goodreads giveaway for a print edition, and I can always send it to a friend :)

You can also see Pentecost on LovelyBooks.de here.

Interview with Tina Tenneberg, experienced literary translator

You can also read the interview in German on Tina’s site here.

Tina, what’s your background in translation and language work?

Tina TennebergWhen I first started working, I was as a civil servant in my native country Germany, but this made me so unhappy that I decided to quit after a while. I studied linguistics and literature and I have now lived in London, England, for 13 years.

Apart from literature I have translated film subtitles, web sites and various material. Other work has included magazine writing and sub-editing, audio work and teaching German.

Can you explain how a translator actually translates the work?

How do they keep the ‘voice’ of the author as well as adapting to a new audience?

In an ideal scenario the translator should be a native speaker who is translating into their own language and can relate to the voice of the author, especially when it comes to fiction. The original should be converted into a book that reads like a work in its own right and the readers are not supposed to notice straight away that they are reading a translation.

There are hardly any publishing houses that let someone translate into a non-native language and it makes sense – not many translators can juggle the words in a foreign language in the same way as in their own, especially as you are dealing with another person‘s voice. Even though I have lived in the UK for a long time, I would never translate a novel into English.

When you are reading a translation, you will inevitably not just notice the author’s voice, but also the voice of the translator, and if you ask two people to translate the same text, there will always be two different results. You cannot just translate word by word and translators often have to come up with their own creative solutions.

An example from Pentecost: it is not as straightforward as you might think to translate the word “power” into German – there can be several different solutions or none will really fit in certain contexts. That’s why I chose to translate “power” as “mysteriöse Kräfte” in the Pentecost marketing text, which would be “mysterious powers” if you translate it back into English.

Why did you want to do a royalty split deal with an indie author? What are your tips for translators who want to do this kind of thing?

I used to translate fiction for German publishing houses, but I don’t do it anymore because it doesn’t pay my bills in an expensive city like London. In general, publishing houses pay very little for literary translations if you translate not into English but into another language. There is of course no guarantee how a royalty split will work out in the end, but I was interested in self publishing anyway and knew I could learn a lot from Joanna, who has so much experience. I met her at one of her own self publishing workshops and at first I did not even plan to do another book translation, but I decided to give it a go again, when Joanna told me she was looking for a German translator.

My advice for translators who are interested in the split-royalty model is to choose books that are successful in the original and think about whether they would also appeal to another audience.

It is also best if you like the content enough to do it even if the translation won’t be successful – there is no guarantee. And it will help if you have some knowledge of the self publishing market in the target language market or be interested in learning about it.

You should be willing to do some marketing as well, which can be in various forms, for example blogging, social media, contacting book bloggers and anything else that helps selling the book. I believe the split-royalty model could be quite interesting for translators who are authors at the same time. It is said the more books you have out there the easier they will be found by readers – why not go for a hybrid model with your own as well as translated books? I am planning to do this myself.

How should indie authors find a good translator for their book? How do they evaluate it when they don’t speak the language?

I would only consider translations if your book does already have many readers in your own language. Then you could look out for translators who have some experience with book translations, even better if it is in a similar area to the one of your book, but in my opinion the same area is not strictly necessary if the translators have a passion for what they are doing.

One place to find translators would be proz.com and translatorscafe.com. And then there is the platform Babelcube.com that works with the split-royalty model, which some authors are now trying. None of the experienced German literary translators I talked to are that interested in Babelcube, mainly because the more successful the book gets, the less the translator‘s share as it decreases with sales.

I suspect the majority of authors are not aware of the fact that the most important thing is not how well the translator speaks English, but above all they need to be really good at their own language and interpret the work well, although it is usually easier to translate non-fiction, unless it is a very specialized book, in which case the translator should have knowledge in this particular field.

People can lose part of their language skills when living abroad and therefore it helps if translators make an effort to keep up to date with their language in that situation. It‘s easy for me, as there are many Germans in London to socialize with (you can actually find the whole world here, which is one of the reasons why I like this place so much).

How do translators work with authors during the translation process? (e.g. the questions that come up)

Translators who work for publishing houses often do not even have access to their authors, which means they are not able to work with them at all! I heard about an extreme case recently: when a literary translator friend of mine had no success in contacting an author via the publishing house, she left him a message on his website, but he still didn’t answer. This author possibly had no idea how much can go wrong if he doesn’t answer questions.

Here is an example of a simple question I asked Joanna: in the book “Pentecost” the heroine has an assistant at Oxford University and unlike in English you have to make a decision in German whether it is a man or a woman (“Assistent” or “Assistentin”). If it is a series, as in this case, and the assistant is going to appear again in a future book, it doesn’t look good if the translator gets the gender wrong.

Unlike in traditional publishing, I am sure problems with questions will rather not happen in self publishing – translators and authors are probably in touch with each other anyway.

What are some of the issues we have come up against?

One of the issues we faced was the German hyphenation for the print book, which is different from English. You cannot just ignore this, as there are some incredibly long words in German. If you are planning a print edition, make sure you are using a formatting software that allows you to switch to German. Doing the hyphenation manually would be a real pain. And leave the hyphenation till the very end – any proofreading stages should be done before this – I made a mistake here myself.

If both the translator and the author are using Scrivener, don‘t send Scrivener files back and forth. We had a real formatting mess with two different language settings and it probably didn‘t help that I am using a PC and Joanna a Mac. Therefore I would only exchange Word files and just one person, either the translator or the author, should convert everything from Scrivener to ebook formats in the end.

Then there was the question which title to choose. Nowadays you will find a lot of book titles on the German market that contain both the original and the translation, although in this case the cover would have needed a complete reformatting with the longer title. The direct translation “Pfingsten” would have sounded a bit awkward in German, although at the end of the day this is all a matter of taste. You can of course argue against keeping just the English, but it‘s a mysterious thriller after all and the additional “an ARKANE Thriller” was translated into “ein ARKANE Thriller.” Some readers have even been excited to figure out that “Pentecost”means “Pfingsten” in German.

The longer title “Pentecost – ein Arkane Thriller” also made it safer in terms of copyright, as titles are copyrighted in Germany once they are published.

We have marketing help as part of our agreement – is that important for a royalty split deal?

I do not think it is essential, but if the author doesn’t speak the language I would advise to have at least someone who can read your reviews and tell you what is going on in self publishing in the market of the translation – things are changing so incredibly fast!

There might also be differences in the other culture that are hard to grasp for someone who does not know the mentality. Here is an example: I was convinced that the latest cover of Pentecost in English (woman with a gun) that worked so well in the US would not be well received in Germany. My opinion was confirmed when early German readers had a chance to vote and choose between two covers before publication – hardly anyone liked the one with the armed woman. It was nice to be consulted on this, as normally the translator has no say at all when it comes to covers.

If you are looking for help with marketing, there are other options than translators and the platform Authorbuddies.com aims to bring authors from different countries together to help each other. It was set up by German self publishing expert Matthias Matting and I am sure you will find German authors there (and maybe authors of other nationalities as well) who can help you out with specific marketing questions.

Example of marketing – I made the trailer below in English and Tina translated the text.

What are you enjoying about the process? And what is difficult?

Learning a lot about self publishing and ebooks is the thing that I am enjoying most and it is also fun to work with Joanna.

I found it a bit difficult to juggle my short term paid work with the long term self publishing projects, as I need to make a living, and unfortunately I was not able to finish the translation as fast as I would have liked to. But we still managed it all within a year.

Another thing that I found tricky was to set up blogs and social media – which language should I choose for which angle? Even though many people in Germany can speak English nowadays – at least up to a certain level – being able to order a pizza and a beer doesn’t mean readers are able or willing to read a book or blog in English. I think it may help to have at least one platform in the book’s language.

I have enjoyed the self publishing process and look forward to more exciting learning experiences :-)

PentecostGermanBanner2Where can people find you online?

I have two blogs now, one in English: www.internationalselfpublishing.com

and another one in German: www.londonundmehr.com

Read German? Or please pass on to friends!

Pentecost is on sale at 99c 19 – 22 August for the ebook here on Amazon and here on iBooks

You can also join the Goodreads giveaway for a print edition, and I can always send it to a friend :)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Pentecost. Ein Arkane Thriller by J.F. Penn

Pentecost. Ein Arkane Thriller

by J.F. Penn

Giveaway ends August 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

If you have any questions about self-publishing in translation, or anything about the German market, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

 

 

Writing Non Fiction As A Side Hustle With Nick Loper. Podcast Episode 192.

Writing books can be a way of life as well as a full-time living, but it can also be a side-hustle, something you do on the side to make some extra income.

Today’s guest, Nick Loper, juggles a number of side hustle jobs stitched together to make a full-time entrepreneurial career, only one of which is writing non-fiction.

In the intro I mention the escalation of the Hachette/Amazon dispute with the launch of ReadersUnited and my own reaction to it, an update on the business book for authors, and if you’d like to support the show by funding my time, you can now do so on Patreon.

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors. Kobo’s financial support pays for the hosting and transcription.

Nick-LoperNick Loper is an entrepreneur, non-fiction author and podcaster at SideHustleNation.com. His non-fiction books include Work Smarter: 350+ online resources today’s top entrepreneurs use to increase productivity and achieve their goals, as well as books on using virtual assistants and working on treadmill desks.

You can watch the interview on YouTube here, listen above or on the podcast feed on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcription below. We discuss:

  • What a side hustle is and how Nick juggles 8 different ones to make up his full-time income
  • work smarterThe empowerment of earning money outside the day job, spreading the risk and diversification
  • The hurdles and learning on the route to full-time entrepreneurship
  • How Nick came up with the topics for his non-fiction books
  • Process of writing – from idea to using outsourced resources to editing, cover design and publishing
  • Nick’s brilliant personalized marketing play that led to the success of Work Smarter. Check out his post all about his launch on Steve Scott’s site.
  • On standing desks and other health things for authors
  • Evaluating non-fiction writing as a side hustle
  • Various marketing strategies

You can find Nick at SideHustleNation.com and on twitter @nloper as well as his books on Amazon.

Continue Reading

Author Entrepreneur. Go Direct And Sell To Your Customers With Jim Kukral

Multiple sales channels are a way to prevent being dependent on one source of revenue, and authors need to be aware of all ways to make income from their books. I recently wrote about my options to sell direct to customers, and today, I discuss this further with Jim Kukral, a veteran of the online business world.

In the intro I discuss my recent trip to Toronto where I spoke at the Kobo HQ, as well as the launch of Delirium and an update on the business book for authors.

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

jim-kukralJim Kukral is the author of Go Direct: The Content Creator’s Guide to Eliminating The Middleman and Avoiding the Gatekeepers.

He runs Author Marketing Club, where you can get useful free services to help get your book noticed, as well as premium tools like the Review Grabber and HTML formatter (which I use personally.) Jim also co-hosts the Sell More Books Show with Bryan Cohen.

Go DirectYou can watch the interview on YouTube here, listen above or on the podcast feed on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcription below. We discuss:

  • Whether you can learn to be entrepreneurial
  • What selling direct is
  • Amazon ranking vs. building relationships with readers
  • The power of building a platform of true fans
  • The services available for selling direct
  • Crowdfunding and Pay What You Want strategies
  • Artistic patronage
  • Creating community and connection with readers

You can find Jim and his books at JimKukral.com and on twitter @jimkukral, and check out the book at GoDirectBook.com

Continue Reading

Author Entrepreneur. How To Sell Books And Products Direct To Customers

An important consideration for your business is diversity of income streams.

moneyYou don’t want to be over-dependent on one source for your money, because if it dries up, you will suffer immediately and your business may fail.

You will end up with no power in that relationship, and no choice but to do what that company wants in order to continue working with them.

The Amazon/Hachette dispute has been the catalyst for my own move into direct sales of books, even though I have been selling courses online for a number of years now. Amazon represents 60% of Hachette’s ebook sales in the US, and 78% in the UK, according to GoodeReader in June 2014. Once another company/platform has that much control over your business, negotiations are always going to be difficult.

Where do you receive your revenue from?

How many different sources does it come from? Is your business sustainable if any channel disappears or changes terms?

Indie authors love Amazon, because they pioneered self-publishing for ebooks and enabled authors to make a living online. But we’re also aware of our dependency, and Amazon is a business, not a charity.

Jeff Bezos himself, in an interview on Charlie Rose, said that one day Amazon will be disrupted. It’s also their business, so they get to change the rules when they want. So do Kobo, Nook, Apple and any other companies that sit between the author and the customer. I’m not talking about exclusivity here – I publish on all these platforms and plan to continue doing so, but I can still build my own channel on the side.

Building a direct channel for sales is one option to grow an income stream that has no intermediary except a buy button. It also enables the author a way to learn more about their customers and create a direct relationship through email.

craft fairSome customers are now actively looking to buy directly from artists, wanting to support creativity on the personal level rather than through a global conglomerate. I’ve had emails from people who refuse to buy from the big stores for ethical reasons, and the rise of indie movements in craft, farmer’s markets and start-up culture have made consumers more aware of the little guys and more ready to support them.

So here are your options for direct sales. This is a chapter excerpted from my book on business for authors.

Sell ebooks/audiobooks/courses or other digital files from your website

Customers can manually transfer digital files onto e-reader or mobile devices in order to read them. This means you can sell .mobi files for Kindle and .ePub files for other devices, as well as PDF or any other formatted files directly from your site, and use a shopping cart through PayPal or other services to process the payments. Customers can purchase directly on your site, receive the download and you receive the money. There are a number of services you can use.

I’ve been using e-Junkie.com for a number of years, and the $10 fixed monthly payment/no transaction fee as well as affiliate options are great for selling online. However, it is Paypal or Clickbank only payments and the customer’s experience is not that intuitive.

You can also just use a Paypal Buy button on your site, but again, it’s not very sophisticated and nowadays, there are options that include email and social integration, as well as analytics. When I decided to sell my books directly from my website, I evaluated the following options:

GumroadGumroad

  • Great customer interface. Supports creators in 40 countries. It’s quick to integrate Gumroad onto your website, sell on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud, and through your own email newsletter. You can set up discount codes. Detailed analytics.
  • 5% + 25¢ per transaction with no additional monthly, hosting, or setup fees. Everything is covered–file hosting, file downloads, payment processing, payout deposits, customer support, analytics and dispute fees. Consideration for sales tax, including US rules
  • Specifically doesn’t accept Paypal – explained in detail here – but it’s about control of the interface and customer experience
  • Can be used for physical items as well as digital. Includes subscription content – great for serials, or for recurring delivery of content
  • Used by Jim Kukral for his GoDirect book (all about direct sales!)

PayhipPayhip

  • Everything you need to promote and sell your ebooks to your social network. Specifically aimed at easily shareable. Customizable sales page – which is already very attractive with the default options. Ebooks only.
  • Pay what you want pricing + discount coupons. PayPal only payment. You are paid directly after purchase. 5% per transaction, taken after PayPal fees.
  • Google analytics integration
  • Used by Chuck Wendig on his book pages

SelzSelz

  • Fantastically easy to set up and great design with a pop up within your website so the customer doesn’t leave
  • 5% + 25c per transaction. Can use both credit cards AND Paypal
  • Easy social integration, as well as integration with Aweber mailing list. Responsive design means ability to buy on mobile devices
  • Audio and video previews
  • Can be used for physical, digital and services
  • Used by CJ Lyons on her book pages

You should investigate all these as well as any other more recent developments in order to find what fits your business the best.

Personally, I am now using Selz for my ebook and (coming soon) non-fiction audiobook sales direct from my website. You can see examples on TheCreativePenn.com/Books and also JFPenn.com book pages. My main reason was that, as a customer, I like to be able to pay by Paypal or bank card, so I wanted both options. I also like the audio and video extras as I think multimedia will become every more crucial in sales. It also integrates with my Aweber email lists so I can develop a list of buying customers, separate to the list of people who download my free stuff. I’m still using e-Junkie for my courses as that is all set up and works well.

Sell print books/physical product from your website/online

Many authors buy and hold their own stock so they can sell signed copies of books from their websites. Other authors have DVDs, physical products like microadventuresT-shirts or other merchandise, like my friend Alastair Humphreys. Again, you can use Paypal Buy buttons on your site for physical sales as well, but for extended functionality, check out:

  • Gumroad, Selz, e-Junkie all have physical sales options
  • Woocommerce has specific WordPress themes and customization for physical products and catalogues
  • Shopify

I don’t focus on physical sales in my business model so I can’t share my experience. But if you’re going to go ahead with physical sales, please do your research and consider print on demand or drop-shipping, where the product is made and delivered straight to the customer without you having to hold stock. Otherwise, you will need to pay for stock upfront, hold it or warehouse it, as well as shipping it. Lines at the post office are no fun, and neither is a pile of unsold stock in your house. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake and made a business decision to focus on digital products primarily because of it.

Sell physical products in person

The rise of the indie movement across all industries has seen a renaissance in craft fairs, local markets and people interested in buying directly from the creator. You may also be a public speaker wanting to sell books at the back of the room.

square paymentsIn the past, you need to register for expensive swipe machines for various banks in order to process credit/debit card payments in person as a small business. But there are technologies emerging now to suit the small business. These are mainly available in the US and Canada right now, but are spreading globally.

  • Square – a small plugin card reader for your phone or iPad. Accepts all major credit cards. Deposits next day into your bank account. 2.75% price per swipe.
  • Paypal Here – a separate card reader that works with your mobile. One off fee for the reader and then 2.75% for chip and pin cards or Paypal
  • Intuit’s Go Payment – Plug in swipe device with signature that works with your Apple or Android mobile and all major credit cards. Works with QuickBooks accounting software. Has pay-as-you-go or monthly rate charging with swipe rates 1.75% – 2.40%

Asking your customers for support

There are also a couple of other models that come under the ‘sell direct’ umbrella.

  • Crowd-funding. Sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or PubSlush for books allow fans to contribute to costs upfront so special projects can be made. It generally works best for original ideas, rather than asking for readers to pay for editing a book by a first time author.
  • patreonPatronage or support. Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on the art of asking as well as her incredible Kickstarter campaign encouraged people to think more widely about how creative work can be funded. If you produce great work and your readers want your books, then they want to pay you for your time and your work. Patreon is a site that allows subscription payments to continue as long as the artist continues to produce work e.g. $5 per comic produced. Some creators and podcasters are now asking for ‘support’ of their work through purchase of books, products or by giving money directly, rather than receiving advertising revenue from corporates. [I'm actually considering this for my own podcast, which costs time and money every month. I'd love to know what you think about this in the comments if you listen to the show.]

All of these require an author platform

If you want to sell directly, or if you want to explore crowdfunding or patronage, you will need an author platform and people who know who you are and are keen to buy. You will need traffic to your website, and you need an email list so you can tell people when there are books ready to buy. I’ve covered all these topics in ‘How to market a book‘ or you can check out the articles on marketing here.

Images: Top – Flickr Creative Commons money by Epsos; craft fair by Malisia;