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Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Today we’re going explore the possibility of putting your chapter(s) on a CD.

As mentioned above, we already talked about how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. This process of putting your chapter(s) on a CD will call on the PDF aspect of the eBook formatting.

The necessary supplies are a little more complicated, but easy enough to come by:

  • CD face labels
  • Blank CD
  • 8-1/2 by 11  OR 8-1/2 by 14 paper
  • CD or DVD case
  • CD burner on your computer
  • Scissors or paper cutter

Now, I won’t lie to you. This one is easy if you’ve got some basic design skills; if not, you might want to enlist some help.

Step 1

Start by translating some aspect of your cover to a CD face label. It can be as simple as using a postage-stamp image of the cover with the title and adding the word “eBook,” but you’ve got to make sure all of your graphics and text will fit on the printable portion of the label.

The easiest thing is to use a design program like Photoshop or CorelDraw, but you can also do this in a Microsoft program like Word or Publisher.

CD labels come two to a page. Determine whether the brand of labels you purchases lines up centered or off centered. The easiest thing for printing the off-centered labels is to print one, then flip the sheet over and put it back in your printer to do the second one.

The size of a CD label is:

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Step 2

The next step is deciding whether you will use a CD jewel case or a DVD case. Although jewel cases are less expensive and easier to carry in your purse or backpack, a DVD case is a little more formal and may express a higher degree of professionalism.

If you use a CD jewel case with a solid back, you will only need to worry about transferring the front cover of your book. However, you can include a tray liner that gives you more room for branding and descriptive text.

You can print a jewel case cover and inlay card on 8-1/2 by 11  paper.

The dimensions for a jewel case are:

Bleed means that the image prints off the side of the page. Bleed dimensions allow a little extra for cutting.

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If you use a DVD cover, you will need to transfer/create a front, back, and spine.

You will need to use 8-1/2 by 14 paper to print a DVD cover.

The dimensions for a DVD cover are:

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Step 3

Once you’ve printed your cover, cut it to size and insert it into your jewel case or DVD case.

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Step 4

In order to save your PDF file(s) to a CD, you will need a CD burner. Most newer computers come with this software already installed. Roxio is a burner that is commonly included on a fully loaded computer.

If your computer does not have CD-burning capabilities, you will either need to purchase the software or find a free version online. There are some decent ones available, but it may take a little digging through the Google to find them.

Save your PDF file(s) to the CD, and affix the label to it. Put the CD/DVD in the case and you’re good to go.

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While the process is easy enough, it can be time-consuming, so I recommend you make a decent number of CDs at a time. By the way, this will also work as a way to sell/distribute your entire book. If you get to the point where you find yourself making a LOT of them, you might consider outsourcing this project to a company that will burn the CDs and make the covers for you. One benefit of  doing it that way is the option to have the CD label silk-screened onto the CD, which increases professionalism another degree.

One of the nicest things you can do with an eBook on CD is autograph it. Although there are interesting new technologies emerging to allow for digital autographs, with a physical product in hand, you can sign your John Hancock the old-fashioned way, with a Sharpie or a plain old ballpoint pen.

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Minibüks as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been talking about 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. Last time, we learned how to create a zine. Today we’re going to focus on the easiest, most common ways to make a chapter or selection from your book into an eBook that you can give away for free.

If you’ve already converted your book or published an eBook, you can probably skip this post, except to say that you might want consider cropping it to offer just one or two chapters as a free giveaway through your blog, website, or social media outlets.

All of these processes are done electronically, so the only equipment you’ll need is a computer and Internet access.

We’re going to discuss 4 of the most common methods of eBook conversion:

  1. PDF
  2. Mobipocket
  3. Smashwords
  4. Text files

The thing to keep in mind is that an eBook CAN be an exact electronic duplicate of a printed book, but it doesn’t have to be, and frequently is not. The popularity of eBooks is continuing to skyrocket, and with it a multitude of eReaders is becoming available. However, not all of them are equipped to handle graphics or fancy pagination, so a decent rule of thumb, at least for the time being, is that simpler is better when converting your writing into eBooks.

Before you begin any of these processes, make sure you:

  • Abbreviate your file to include only the chapter(s) you want to give away for free.
  • Double check that you have not inadvertently cut off any sections while you were creating your excerpt.
  • Give one last run-through for grammar and spelling errors you may previously have missed, especially if this is the first time you will be publishing your work.
  • Unless you will be using the PDF method to convert your chapter(s), make sure you’ve got it stripped down to a simplified file with few images and no fancy pagination.

PDFs

PDFs are the best way to ensure consistency between the printed
book and the ebook conversion
, but they’re limited to use on a computer,
tablet, or smartphone that can read them –
and they won’t translate
for many eReaders.

Depending on how your computer is configured, once you’ve got your file
saved the way you want for the conversion, you may be able to hit “Print”
and select “Adobe PDF” as your “printer” option.

A second possibility if you’re saving from a MS Word 2007 document is to choose
the “Save As” command and then select the PDF option.

If you do not appear to have a PDF conversion mechanism of any sort already
installed, you can download a free piece of conversion software called CutePDF
that works quite well.

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MOBIPOCKET

MobiPocket is the ebook technology employed by Amazon’s Kindle eReader.
Convert your MS Word files to .mobi files using the free Mobipocket eBook Creator. Download the software and follow the instructions and prompts.

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SMASHWORDS

Smashwords is a free online service you can use to convert your books
(or chapters) to eBooks. It’s quite a nice program because it will allow you
to upload to ALL of the major eReaders (including Kindle), but it requires
a VERY stripped down version of your text with next to no formatting.

The Smashwords.com site also gives you four pricing options:

  • FREE
  • Let the reader set the price
  • You set a fixed price for the book
  • You can specify that a portion of a book you have for sale is available
    for free
    .

Visit the site and follow the prompts to upload your book.

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TEXT FILES

The easiest way to convert a file that almost
anyone can read on almost any platform is simply
by saving it as a .TXT file.

1. In any version of MS Word, choose the
“Save As” command and select “Other Formats.”
2. Find the drop-down menu.
3. Choose RTF or Rich Text File, and hit
“Save.”

 

That’s it for our four simple ways to convert your sample chapter to an eBook. Once you’ve converted it, the next thing is to TELL PEOPLE it’s available. Announce it on Facebook. Send a couple Tweets. And, of course, let your mailing list know. You can even ask other authors, editors, marketers, literary types, and anyone who loves and supports you to help you get the word out.

Make it a personal mission to have 500 people read your free chapter(s) within a certain period of time. This means, of course, you’ll have to figure out how to know they’ve read it. One way might be to motivate your pre-readers to comment about your chapter on your blog by announcing that you’ll enter all commenters into a drawing for a copy of the finished book. This will do two things for you:

(1) Give you feedback on the book.

(2) Give you an idea of how many people the chapters are reaching.

Remember, these are just a few ideas. Put on that SBM* Thinking Cap and see what other wonderful ways you can dream up to get the word out about your free chapter(s). If anything awesome comes of this experience for you, please come back and share it in our comments section!

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

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*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

Thursday, August 4 A Savvy Book Marketer embraces the idea of giving freely

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5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

Last time, we discussed the importance of getting your work in front of prospective readers by giving away sample chapters and other writings for free. The most obvious way to do this is with a blog, and in future posts, we will explore some interesting ideas for the kinds of blog posts SBMs* can use to keep their readers interested and invested.

Today, we’re going to examine 5 other easy ways to give your readers and potential readers access to your work.

One-page Zine Seen more often in underground publishing than in general use by traditional authors, a zine is a single 8-1/2 by 11 sheet of paper, folded into 8 “pages.” These make great leave-behind materials for coffee shops and bookstores.
PDF Making a PDF from a Word or InDesign or almost any other kind of file is a simple process. Many eReaders will even read .TXT files, so you may be able to keep it simpler still. You can make these files available for download through your blog or Web site.
Amazon’s “Look Inside” Feature Check almost any topic on Amazon, and you may be amazed at how few authors take advantage of the “Look Inside” program that gives potential buyers a way to see your TOC, sample chapters, and a “surprise” page.
DVD Take that PDF from the earlier example, and load it onto a CD or DVD and put it in a DVD case. Reprint your cover, or design a new one for this purpose and slide it under the plastic protector. Now you can carry your ebook with you.
Minibük Literally a mini book, this tiny book is the size of an index card. Page counts can range from 8 pages to 200 pages, with either saddle stitch or perfect binding, depending on the page count.

Choose any of these methods that works for you – or develop your own idea! Regardless of how you get them out there, get those sample chapters out there into the wide, wide world. Embrace giving. We’re not all going to be the next Amanda Hawking, but our success is guaranteed to increase the more we give people a chance to see samples of our work.

For the next 5 posts, we’re going to look at the mechanics of each of these formats for book samples (with illustrations, where applicable), so come back and tell your friends!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 4 A Savvy Book Marketer embraces the idea of giving freely

Monday, August 1 Every Savvy Book Marketer has an attitude of GRATITUDE

Thursday, July 28 – Is your book a word-of-mouth worthy Purple Cow?


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