wow: ebooks make great gifts! but how?

Giving ebooks is a little new… and has improved a lot for the 2011 holiday season. Open Road Media has made an excellent video tutorial on how to give the gift of ebooks for a variety of major ebook readers. It’s great! The videos are quick (<2 minutes apiece) and simple to follow.

Basically, you’ll need to know your lucky recipient’s email address and what kind of ereader they use. After that it’s a pretty standard online retail experience.

There are some limitations, however. There doesn’t appear to be a way to gift books through the Google eBookstore (which beyond Android is also bad news for local indie bookstores). But don’t fret – there’s a Barnes & Noble app for Android, so just follow the video tutorial for the Nook, and that should work just fine for your friends’ Android devices.

And, if you’re looking to buy The Rival – it is not available for Kobo or the Sony Reader. But it is available on the following platforms to give as a gift!

  • The Rival for your lucky recipient’s Kindle on Amazon
  • The Rival for your lucky recipient’s Nook (or Android device) on Barnes & Noble
  • The Rival for your lucky recipient’s iPhone or iPad on iTunes

Good luck with the holiday shopping! I know I enjoy it much more from the serenity of my home computer, cup of tea in hand.

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the rival: at indie bookstores today

Now you can support your favorite indie writer AND your favorite indie bookstore!

A few of the indie bookstores in my life where you can now buy The Rival:

  • Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery, in the cutest little downtown barn in Crozet, VA (just west of Charlottesville).
  • Queen Anne Books, strategically placed right next to a coffee shop at the crown of beautiful Queen Anne hill in Seattle, WA.
  • Books & Books, in a charming Spanish Villa style shop… and yes they do serve wine. In Coral Gables, FL (just west of Miami).

Check your own favorite indie bookstore’s website to see if they offer ebooks through the Google eBookstore. And if they don’t… feel welcome at one of mine!

Just a reminder that any eReader that reads epub files (iPhones, iPads, Nooks, anything Android, and many others) is compatible with indie bookstore ebook shops. (In other words, the Kindle is not.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…. Only five days left to vote! Please vote for The Rival as a 2011 YA Fiction Goodreads.com book of the year.

Just copy and paste the ISBN into the search box: 9780983819004

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Vote now for your favorite books!

o. m. g. prizes from modcloth!!!

Do you read books on your iPad / iPhone / iPod Touch? Do you want to win a super cool prize of your choice (<$50) from ModCloth? Then write the review of The Rival on iTunes that gets it past this hump: “We have not received enough ratings to display an average for this book.”

Haven’t read The Rival yet? Email me on bethanyjoycarlson@hotmail.com, tell me how you read ebooks, and I’ll send you a free copy.

Meanwhile, check out The Rival as a recommended read by Katie Klein!

an astonishing teleport into an imagined world

I’m so grateful for the reviews I’ve gotten for The Rival. Thank you, thank you reviewers. Here’s one that really knocked my socks off!

“The Rival, the first in a series, is an astonishing teleport into an imagined world.  Author Bethany Carlson has invented a plausibly magical alterna-reality in which the (mostly teenage) characters must be their best selves to vanquish evil. There are echoes of Narnia and other classics but the subject matter and narrative are entirely the author’s own creations.

Highlights:

  1. The martial art studied by the protagonist, Bex, is known as Apian Dance, a super-gymnastic-dance-combat form based on the kinetic language of bees.
  2. When the kids go out to the barn to put on a show, it involves advanced physics as well as personal sacrifice for the greater good.
  3. Girl power.
  4. Plenty of action, artfully dropped clues to the narrative, and well-developed main characters.

Downside: It’s a trilogy. I have to wait to find out what happened!

This is a young-adult book, but totally enjoyable for no-longer-young-adults as well.  Can’t wait for the sequel!

Highly recommended.”

-Not-Young-Adult, on iTunes

Wow! Would you like to read The Rival for free? Just drop me a line at bethanyjoycarlson@hotmail.com and tell me what kind of ereader of you have (if any). I would love to have a few more reviews before the official launch! And, if you have an iPhone or iPad, rating The Rival would be a big help for me. Unlike the other platforms, iTunes won’t show a rating until a (mysterious) number of ratings have been posted… and it looks like I need more.

i’ve met the middleman, and her name is lulu

lulu.com, that is. This may not be the straightest path to iBooks for the iPad, but at least it’s one that I can figure out. I have spent most of the afternoon fighting with lulu.com, but finally The Rival is in the magical epub format, it has a working table of contents, and reads properly on generic ereaders like Adobe Digital Editions. And the cover is there, and lookin’ good.

Basically, lulu.com is a website that converts files like Word docs into epub format. Lulu sells eBooks, and they are also an “approved aggregator” for iBooks. I guess they are also an approved aggregator for the Barnes & Noble Nook, but Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! website is actually really easy to use and will also do this for you, so I’ve turned the Nook feature off in lulu.com.

Meanwhile, I have made zero progress for making the book available for Android devices. I like reading books on my Android phone, but trying to figure out how to sell on there is really difficult! I think I have to turn my book into an App! I have no idea how to do this. I have emailed their help desk… expectations low.

tablet sales quadrupled last quarter; ereaders not so much

Such is the news reported by mediabistro’s ebook newser. This comes as no surprise to me! After my experience with reading books on my phone (Samsung Galaxy) and Amazon’s Kindle, I posted this back in July.

While it’s nice being right, the problem is that getting eBooks tablet-ready is hard compared to getting them eReader ready. Grrr. I feel like I need to be a tech genius to make this work!

the rival: locked and loaded

The Rival is now ready to be launched on Amazon and Barnes & Noble with just one click!  I am thinking a launch date of September 1 sounds just about right. I’m hoping that gives me enought time to figure out how to launch for the various tablets… that’s not as straightforward, although I feel like for the future it’s more important, so worth the work.

I’ve also got a small case of cold feet. Time to put some socks on.

market research: tammy blackwell

I am finding indie authors to be so open and kind! Due to the promptings of one of my many smarter-than-I friends, I reached out to another bestselling eBook author, Tammy Blackwell. She quickly got back to me with the following words of wisdom:

The first month my readers were all people I know. What I did do, though, was any time someone sent me a message saying they enjoyed the book I replied back with, “Would you mind posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads if you have time? That would really help me out!” And, really, I think that is what helped the most, having a 4 or 5 good reviews there in the beginning.

So, friends who have read The Rival, watch out! I will be asking you to post your reviews. Let me know what kind of bribes work best for you.

market research update: addison moore

I emailed Addison Moore to ask for some advice on launching an eBook. She very kindly provided a speedy reply. Thank you, Addison!

Here was a particularly good piece of advice, I thought: “Make sure if you go the indie route you really take your time and find a great cover. The cover of your book will sway readers long before they ever find out what your story is about.

To that end, I’ve been playing around with some cover ideas for The Rival. Here’s something I sketched up in PowerPoint, using art by the amazing Jenny Edmondson: