Writing An eBook To Benefit Cats

By Elisa Black-Taylor

This is a beginner’s guide to eBook publication. It may encourage some visitors to consider writing an eBook which benefits cats.Those of you who have actually published an eBook, please leave any tips you may have on the subject under the comment section following this article.

A lot of writers now publish their work as an eBook. There are quite a few advantages to this method. These include the ability to go back in and edit your book. You can’t do that once a hard copy has been printed and distributed.

My Inspirations For This Article

I recently wrote an article about the new release of Love Saves The Day by Gwen Cooper. Gwen’s novel is available as both a hard copy as well as an eBook. It can be purchased online instantly at the Kindle store at Amazon.com. Most famous authors offer both formats of their novels to cover different types of readers.

After I published links to Love Saves The Day, my friend Elizabeth Ann Scarborough emailed me about her newest novel titled Father Christmas: Spam the Cat’s First Christmas. Elizabeth has written many books in the past and made a name for herself in the writer’s world. Father Christmas is available in both book form and as an eBook.

I believe Elizabeth knows what a fascination we Americans have with vampires (as well as zombies and werewolves). First from the old and scary vampire movies of the 1960’s to the sexy vampires of Twilight. Last year things took a strange turn with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (saw it-recommend it). Now we have Spam-a feline vampire hunter.

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s Newest Ebook Benefits Cats

Elisabeth Anne Scarborough

Spam the cat is the hero of Elizabeth’s latest novel. He’s a nine month old vampire slayer. Spam made his debut awhile back in Spam vs The Vampire, where he hunts the creatures in Port Deception, Washington. Spam has lots of adventures in his latest novel. He’s the sole protection for a new mother and her child, and also has a reunion with his feral father. That’s a lot of responsibility for such a young cat.

Elizabeth has an announcement in the book description on Amazon.com and on Smashwords that all sales from any form of this novel will be donated to the Humane Society of Jefferson County (located in Washington state – home of Spam the vampire hunting cat). This will encourage cat lovers to buy the book, and also benefit the cats of Jefferson with the sale of Father Christmas.

This is an idea that benefits everyone concerned. Ebook publishers sell more downloads and readers know they are helping cats by purchasing the book. And the writer is gaining a lot of positive exposure in donating proceeds to a worthy cause. A writer doesn’t have to do this for every book. That could defeat the purpose of a career as a writer. Not making a profit tends to do that. But to offer the earning from just one book is a very noble thing for an author to do.

Ebook Advantages

Electronic books , known as eBooks, have been around for several years now. Amazon has made them popular with the invention of the Kindle readers. Kindles are available in different styles and different price ranges. The least expensive is under $100.

A lot of readers haven’t been easily converted to an electronic format for reading pleasure. I have to admit I’ve only become a fan of eBooks in the past year. It became more of a matter of convenience for me than any other reason. The price is also much lower. Sometime as much as 85% lower than printed books. While I don’t have a Kindle, I do have a Kindle application on my Android smart phone. I LOVE it. Now at night I no longer have to turn on a bedside lamp to read. I can lay in my bed and get comfortable and read from my phone. There’s also no more worry as to what page I left off at. The application automatically takes me to the last page I read. This comes in handy should I drift off to sleep with my cell phone still in my hand.

Advice On Self Publishing Your Ebook

I like the idea of self-publishing an eBook. There are many authors out there who lack the business expertise of finding an editor and a publisher. Plus there’s the expense involved with printing, distribution, and the paying of anyone who has to be paid for a regular book to get into printed form. Anything free gets my attention, and uploading an eBook doesn’t cost the author. I write a LOT of articles, but I’m clueless on how to publish a book in hard copy form. Plus in today’s economy, I tend to run low on money.

That’s where eBooks come in. There are two giant sites that I know of who accept uploads to turn into eBooks. They are Amazon (Kindle) and Smashwords. The new writer doesn’t have nearly as many complications to worry about when publishing their work to one of these sites. To learn more about how to publish an eBook, Google “how to publish an eBook” and several will come up.

There are rules and regulations depending on the vendor you choose to market your book. Some companies want to be the sole publisher. Others don’t care if you upload your ebook to several sites at once to cover more territory. Ebook publishers have their own fan bases the same as authors do. Personally, I’m hooked on Amazon, with Smashwords being a close second. I receive weekly emails on new releases or sales events from their respective websites.

There are also formats and file types and how-to’s on uploading a successful eBook that can be learned by doing a little research. Paragraphs have to be typed a certain way. Photographs must be minimized to prevent the eBook from being too large. I believe 50MB is the max on Smashwords. Don’t despair-Microsoft Word is set up to do most of the work for you. Instructions on this are included when you research how to upload your work.

Smashwords is the largest independent eBook publisher out there. Not only can you upload your first book there, you can upload reports, short fiction, essays and poetry. There’s a lot more flexibility with Smashwords. Plus consumers can download your novel in many formats, including Kindle, iPhone, iPod, Sony Reader or Barnes & Noble. I’m not sure about the pay rate using Amazon, but Smashwords allows it’s authors to keep 85% of income earned through the sale of an eBook.

Ebook Search Engines And Feedback Forums

Amazon has a search feature that allows the reader to type in the type of book they’re searching for. I tend to type in “time travel horror” a lot. Once the titles pop up and are clicked on, Amazon lists the sales ranking for the Amazon site. They also tend to send out more personalized emails to recommend future purchases based on what the reader likes to purchase. The Kindle app on my smart phone also throws recommended books onto the actual app page based on my past purchases.

Smashwords breaks the subjects down into more categories on a sidebar, as well as subcategories on their home page. I like the options being right there to look through a list of recent best sellers as well as freebies. It also allows the buyer to purchase a book according to word count. I’d recommend it over Amazon for a first time author.

One thing I find great about eBooks is the request made by the publishers to encourage those who purchase the book to rate the book after reading. This usually comes in the form of an email a week or so after I purchase a book. Feedback is very helpful in convincing potential customers to buy the book. It can also be it’s downfall should the eBook be uninteresting or full of mistakes.

I’ve learned how important editing an eBook before uploading is as far as sales are concerned. I see a lot of comments from readers stating the book would have been great had it not been for sloppy editing.

Many new authors make their first book into a free download. Then they “hook” their readers by providing a paid sequel in a series. I’ve download many free eBooks and later purchased every book by that author.

I feel lucky that many eBooks are available for under $4, or else I’d be bankrupt by now.

Promoting An Ebook

I would love to deal with Amazon or Smashwords as a vendor for the Sealy book I’m still working on. Both companies do all they can to help promote the book, since they make their money by the number of book sales. The philosophy is simple. The more books sold, the higher the rankings on the publishing website and the more money earned by the author.

In Conclusion…

Thank you Elizabeth, for giving me an idea of how publishing and promoting an eBook can raise money to benefit cats. I feel sure a lot of us amateur writers can benefit from this idea. We all tend to have a bestselling story in our head. It’s the act of getting it organized and into a publishable format that’s difficult. Using a part of the proceeds to help cats is a great idea.

Have any of the readers here published an independent eBook? Any advice you can give on which publisher is best to work with? I welcome any help I can get in my effort to publish Sealy’s Journey sometime this year.

Elisa

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Comments

Writing An eBook To Benefit Cats — 5 Comments

  1. I quite like the idea of getting an eBook published and having it available to Kindle users. In fact PoC could convert some of the pages to an eBook. It is something worth thinking about.

    All the words and information is already here. Thanks for the tips Elisa.

  2. Spam is a vampire slayer, but in the new book Father Christmas he isn’t slaying any vampires.

    Also not that Father Christmas is the only book donating proceeds to the shelter. Elizabeth has written quite a few books. Wish I knew her secret…I keep getting writers block on Sealys.

  3. Interesting, thanks for the info. I hear more and more about people writing ebooks. Elisa you might know Robyn Anderson from Love and Hisses – her husband writes ebooks, some you might like I think if you like horror. His name is Fred Anderson. This is another example of why the internet is extremely good for equal opportunity and creativity. Before there was no way you could get your story read without a publisher. There are many bad things about the internet but the good things such as this are priceless. I used to make music and play in bars and clubs in Toronto and was able to make it all myself compiling the tracks on my computer and me and my friend could then produce some great live sets. The more you talk about your ebook the more people will think of reading it obviously but its so important to remind people the material is there if they feel like readng it. As a person who reads usually only factual or theoretical stuff on the internet I don’t often think about the existence of ebooks. But many people like fiction so I guess when I sit down and read POC and the suchlike for the evening somebody else reads an ebook.

    Anyhow I totally agree with your notion of it being important to promote ebooks that you or others have written. I have a list I want to read already. So when the day comes that I want to sit down for a lonng read – like on a long haul flight or a summer by the sea, then I have tons of great stuff to look forward to 🙂

  4. Thanks for the nice comments, Elisa. Just to clarify–there are three books about Spam the cat. The first one is SPAM VS THE VAMPIRE, and the title is kind of self-explanatory. It’s the second one, FATHER CHRISTMAS, Spam the Cat’s First Christmas which is actually more of a novelette (and therefore less expensive in e-book form at least) that is the one whose proceeds I’m donating to my local shelter (the alma mater of KB Dundee, Cisco and Pancho). It is a softer story sort of about a critter’s take on all of the myth and magic surrounding Christmas. The third book in the series, THE TOUR BUS OF DOOM, Spam and the Zombie Apocalyps-o, is about Spam trying to save his town from a zombie invasion that has had the nerve to take over his favorite fish’n’chips cafe. But only the middle story, the Christmas one, is solely for the benefit of the shelter. Thanks!

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