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~~~~Author Resources~~~~

J.A. Laughlin, Cage-Den.com

The first site is for e-book publishing:
Smashwords.com is the PREMIER e-book publisher in the world - in my opinion. The founder (Mark Coker) has taken Smashwords.com from an idealistic little site to a major distrubution publisher that supplies indie ebooks to Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Amazon, Kobo and Diesel with apparently more to come.

Smashwords.com has an incredible amount of service to offer authors at an incredible price! To start up your account is free.
To convert your book into the most common ebook formats is free.
To get your book distributed to the top ebook retailers is FREE.
To use the Smashwords.com Style Guide to streamline your formatting to achieve the best conversion and distribution of your writing is FREE.
To contact customer support is not only easy, it's FREE!
To get an ISBN assigned to your book and submitted to Bowkers is FREE! (And let me tell you, that's a deal!)

I can tell you as a broke, independant author that went into this whole publishing world blind and spent alot of time searching for resources - FREE IS GOOD!
I could go on and on about Smashwords.com, and have nothing bad to say about them. Without Smashwords.com, just selling my ebooks through Amazon by myself, I sold maybe seven copies. Through my own website I sold another three copies. Through the other sites I listed on like e-library.net, I sold one copy. Since publishing through Smashwords.com I have sold HUNDREDS of copies without even doing any advertising! I came into this with ABSOLUTELY ZERO experience in the publishing world. I published Descendants: Vampire Chronicles: A New Species in print through PublishAmerica.com. I was smart enough to keep the electronic format distribution rights for myself, and I would advise all of you that write to do the same. Smashwords.com claims no rights over your work, you the author retain ALL rights. They charge no up front fees for anything at all and keep only a reasonable percentage of your sales for their income. You can't beat the deal you get there! Overall I believe the author keeps 81% of the sale price of the book if it sells through the sSmashwords.com direct website. The retailers of course keep a percentage of what they sell, but it still beets the lousy 3-15% the author gets if you have a publishing company take away all your rights to your own work and distribute your writing to the retail world at a pace they want to go at. For example, I sold a book through Smashwords.com for 3.99. Smashwords took .97, my part was 3.03. The same book sold through Apple for 3.99. Apple took 1.19, Smashwords took .39 and I get 2.41. That's a good cut for the author! Plus, later if you want to move your operation somewhere else, Smashwords.com has no right or desire to stop you. If you have something to publish and don't know where to start, I would strongly suggest Smashwords.com! Below is a little video I would advise you to watch.

Introduction to Smashwords - Ebook Publishing and Distribution Made Easy

J.A. Laughlin, Cage-Den.com

This next site is for advertising:
PRLog.org is a great place to get free advertising for your writing or website. PRLog.org is a press release service that is free. You write your own press releas and then submit it to PRLog.org. Once you submit it, it gets picked up by major services like Google and Yahoo. Instant advertising! Sometimes your press release may drive instant traffic to your site, but most often it will spread more slowly and build links to your book page. It's very important to read their instructions before posting your press release, because you only get a hyperlink for every thousand words in the body of the article you write. More importantly is that link must be AFTER the first thousand words or it will not be a link, just a URL printed in the body of your article. While a press release works well, it should not be your only advertising. Look for free classifieds (there are many) and see if you can, get friends or aquaintances to post a link or an ad on their website for you. If you would like me to post a link here, drop me an e-mail and I will try to get your link up within 24 hours on the links page. The better description you can give, the more attractive your link will be to readers. If you have published through Smashwords.com, don't forget to give them mention in your press release. The more your name is out there, the easier it is for the world to find you!

J.A. Laughlin, Cage-Den.com

The next resource is for paper publishing:
PublishAmerica is a free, traditional publisher. What that means is that they publish your manuscript in book format at no charge to you.
Now. Unlike most other traditional publishers, they do not send your work through editing (even though they may tell you they will before you sign the contract... ahem), they do not hold eternal rights to your work - their contracts are for seven years. If you are going to go through them, make sure your work is exactly how you want it before you submit it. Also, don't hold high expectations for your cover. They told me to design a cover (which is now on the eBook) and send it to them. I did and they not only didn't use it, but didn't tell me that they weren't going to use it. Another point in dealing with them is to keep your electronic distribution rights. Distribute your work through Smashwords.com and save yourself a lot of heartache. The last upfront warning I have about publishing through PublishAmerica is that they will not do anything to get your book out to the public. They will list it in their catalogs that go to major book retailers, but they will not promote it. That is up to you. I have yet to see any sales from them, though I have sold hundreds of eBooks through Smashwords.com and on my own before that. The main advantage to using them is having a professionally printed book with a publishing label and ISBN that tracks to them. You still do all the footwork. If you do get your books into the stores though, you will enjoy a very good royalties schedule from PublishAmerica.

J.A. Laughlin, Cage-Den.com

Next up is a website. It's very important to have one if you are going to be marketing your own books or even just to have a place that your readers can go to connect with you, who you are, the author, father, mother, grandparent, hobbyist, etc. Your readers want to know about you and that is how you build a fan base that lasts and grows. There are many free web hosts out there, I know. I've used many of them. I would suggest. www.000webhost.com. The reason I suggest them is that they have good uptime, great bandwidth, and 1500 megabites of space for free. Their c-panel and autoinstaller are easy to use, they have full php and sql for free members and you can count on your website to still be there the next day. That's important. Also, if you have no experience with building websites, the website builder is free here. That makes things much easier. Give it a try. If you don't like www.000webhost.com you can search for other free hosts. Like I said, there are many out there. This one is just the best that I have found.

J.A. Laughlin, Cage-Den.com