Fashion

12/28/2012

Do You Do Goodreads

I sometimes forget that I have a profile up on Goodreads. To be honest with you though, it's not a site I have frequented all that often, and am yet to really understand how it works best.


Are you on there? Feel free to hook up with me, or why not leave a comment here to explain how it works best for you?

My Goodreads profile is at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4663813.Barry_Maz

Would be great to see you there!

12/25/2012

New ukulele players!


Hope you had a great Christmas Day today. The music shops tell me that the ukulele has become one of the biggest selling instruments this year - did you get your first today?




If so, I hope you found this site and it gets you on your way! Up at the top you will find some navigation links to various pages such as the Chord Chart Page (essential!), the beginners tips page for answers to many questions and, (because you want to get playing) a big list of songs with chords, most of which are easy for beginners to play right here.

The uke is a great gift to receive and I sincerely hope you stick with it, join a club, play with others, or just yourself, but most of all, MAKE MUSIC!

I am always here to help!

If you want more information, either email me, or you may like my range of ukulele beginners guides that are available on Amazon. They are not tutor books - there are far better teachers than I, but they are intended to be read alongside them, filling in the blanks that most tutor books miss out. In other words - Got A Ukulele? - Have a read!

The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know


Available on Kindle, in paperback, and also on iTunes, Kobo, Nook and in other good booksellers!

Merry Christmas!

Baz

12/24/2012

A fabulous book review

I just had to share this review that my book The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know has picked up.


It really warmed my heart and made my day!  When I started blogging and writing my books the sole intention was to help beginners make a quick start - looks like it has done it's job for Glen.

Thank you!






5.0 out of 5 stars The first book and BEST book introducing you to the Ukulele December 22, 2012
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
The best way to explain this book might be to first explain where I'm coming from with regards to the review. I've played guitar for nearly 30 years. I've dabbled with other instruments here and there. I love blues of all kinds...from Heavy Metal Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth (I graduated in 1987...it's required!). To the classics of Pearl Jam, Floyd, Zep...to the blues of popular strains such as B.B. King, SRV, Clapton...to the jazz of Grant Green, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, and Ed Bickert...to lesser knowns such as Junior Watson ans Rick Holmstrom. Some Dylan and Ray Lamontagne too. So...that's my musical background in crib-notes form.

At this current day and age the ukulele has made an unprecedented resurgence in popularity. Or if you're around my age...it's first foray into the mainstream. The ukulele has permeated the pop culture and these little things are available in more places than guitars these days. One of the older gentleman I work with kept bringing his in. I played with it. I was hooked. I wanted to buy myself a uke. But dubious of all the current offerings, and knowing many companies like to just make something to sell...vs. make a quality instrument to play, I wanted to do my research before I purchased my first uke.

Not surprisingly, the sudden rush of popularity in ukuleles has produced a glut of mass produced instruments made to satisfy the casual purchaser. These should be avoided. In fact, like guitars, I'd say 50% of what's out there will be built for a quick sale and not for actual playability. with 40% more being made as genuine instruments. And 10% catering to the discerning collector or actual practicing musician. With costs for customs commonly in the thousands.

So with all this information you would think I was ready to buy. Well, all it did was give me more questions! lol

In a long quest for information I stumbled across this book (via the author's blog). I was skeptical that a relatively private publish book, for a 3.99 ebook price tag would have much to offer. I was so very happily wrong.

This book answered ALL of my questions. All those questions that anybody who already plays ukulele knows, and is bored to death answering are answered in candid and happy detail in this book. The author shares that he comes from a guitar background such as myself (and I suspect many, many others). He quickly dispels the myth that a ukulele is a cheap toy (unless you buy the cheap toy version), and in fact a serious instrument. The books explains what to look for and what to avoid in purchasing your first (few) ukes. I won't go into great detail of what the book covers, instead I'll say that it will answer your questions. Even the ones you would feel too basic to ask.

I will say the topics tend to be a little disjointed. I might have grouped the chapters differently. I found myself saying, "yeah, but what if?" and then the book would answer that question in a slightly non linear fashion in a later chapter. But this is a minor problem,

The book reads so easily you would think the author was writing an email to you. Very conversational. Very candid. His passion for the ukulele is transparent and genuine. And this actually enhances how fun and easy the book is to read.

So in conclusion, buy the book if you're new to the ukulele. All of the staples that apply to buying a guitar simply apply to ukuleles (construction, quality hardware and components, setup, etc.) The difference is the companies are all different than guitar. That's right, it's not dominated by Fender, Gibson, or PRS. The book does allude to who the Fenders, Gibsons, and PRSs of the ukulele world are though. Which is great as I was clueless when it came to ukues. I will say that as a guitar player, especially if you're at all good, the transition to ukulele is fairly seamless. What was nice about this book, even if you're familiar with guitar, is the differences betweem the two that you simply won't know unless you read it. Various constructions, different sizes and the pros and cons of each.

All of this for a lousy 3.99. The book would be worth it at 29.99. If you have not bought your first ukulele yet, or if you purchased a cheapie and are looking to upgrade to a real actual instrument, this book is going to save you a LOT of money and time.

Barry, I don't know you but kudos for such a brilliant book. My first uke was a really nice acacia Kala...and I spent some pennies on a nice Pono based strongly on the information in this book.

12/12/2012

New Amazon channels

In their bid for Kindle world domination, it would appear that Amazon have launched some new Kindle channels of late.

Good news is that my books are now available on all of them.


So if you are in BRAZILCANADA or JAPAN and have a Kindle, you can now order the books direct!

And of course, they are still available on Amazon.com


Enjoy!

12/02/2012

The Perfect Stocking Filler this Christmas

Perhaps it is the pre-Christmas rush, but the paperback edition of my omnibus ukulele beginners book, The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know has been selling like hot cakes this last week!

The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

Normally my ebook sales (Kindle etc) outsell paperbacks by quite a margin, but perhaps the ebook honeymoon is over (or perhaps it is easier to slip a paperback into a Christmas Stocking!) as the paperback has now taken the lead.

If you know somebody hooked on the ukulele or are buying one for a loved one, then this might just be the perfect book for the stocking - contains the advice on owning and living with a ukulele that normally takes years to learn. It's not a tutor book, but a book to be read alongside lessons.

Check it out in paperback at Amazon.com , Amazon.co.ukBarnes and NobleTower and other good bookstores.

Enjoy!


12/01/2012

Christmas ukulele book sale!


It's Chrrriiiiiiistmaaaas!


Time for a holiday price cut right across the board on my ukulele beginners books. On Kindle and via Smashwords you can now get my titles for at least 25% off, and in the case of the Complete guide - for over a third off normal price.


And they will stay that way until after Christmas!

AND - the prices of my paperbacks - available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble  as well as other good retailers have also been trimmed for the holiday season!

All good stuff - if you know a friend getting a ukulele - tell them to check the books out - or if you are getting your first yourself, well, you know what to to do!

In Kindle and Paperback - Amazon UK

Kindle and Paperback - Amazon.com
(also on Amazon.DE, .JP, .IT, .ES and .FR!!)

Barnes and Noble - in Nook and Paperback

For Kobo readers

For Sony Readers

on iTunes

Merry Christmas!

11/22/2012

Book cover spruce up

Thought it was time for a change ahead of 2013. Bitten the bullet and re-designed covers for the ebook varieties of my four books. The covers are live on Smashwords, but, like most things, Amazon will want to play catch up..... Hurry up Amazon!

(You can see the covers live on Smashwords )

What do you think?





All are available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo, Nook etc


11/21/2012

BIG promo

Big promo time!  Until 30 November you can get my omnibus ukulele book, The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know for 50% off normal price!

 That prices it less than the first two books it comprises so a heck of a deal.

To get the discount just enter code VT73X at the checkout on Smashwords.

The book is available here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/175965 in all popular ebook formats.

Enjoy!

11/08/2012

Buy direct from Createspace

I haven't really shared the direct links to my paperbacks on Createspace before - but it turns out you can order from them directly!



The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

More Of What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

Special offer for next month

Am running a promotion on my chords book for ereaders!


If you buy through Smashwords between now and 8 December 2012 you can get a whopping 50% off the price! Bargain! That is just $1.75 for 300 chord charts on your mobile device! The Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know!


Just go to the book page on https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144054 and make sure you enter the following promo code at the checkout.  Feel free to share!

PROMO CODE - YF95U

Book is available in a range of e formats and works great on Kindles, iPhones and iPads etc.

And the rest of my ukulele books are also on Smashwords HERE


Enjoy!

10/31/2012

On iTunes at last..

Seemed to take forever, but pleased to note that my omnibus ukulele handbook, The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know is FINALLY on the iTunes Store.

Those of you with iPads, iPhones or iPod touches can now get the book direct from the iBookstore.

For now this book plus my chord book are available and hoping the others will appear soon. You can find the book here in the US https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/complete-what-ukulele-players/id542978443?mt=11

and here in the UK https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/complete-what-ukulele-players/id542978443?mt=11

10/30/2012

I have to agree - Mark Coker speaks ebooks

A little while ago I read this news article - a statement from Mark Coker of Smashwords, and I have to agree with him.

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/blog/amazon-plays-indie-authors-like-pawns/

Smashwords is another option for those with ebooks to get their titles out there to other ereader platforms in a single one stop shop way. It's not without it's issues and the interface can be a little clunky, but when you are on and approved I have nothing but good things to say.

I put each of my titles on to Smashwords for one very simple reason - they gave me the opportunity to sell my books to people who don't have a Kindle but another electronic device. Why? Because, contrary to what Amazon would like you to believe, not everybody owns a Kindle!

So why should I as an author effectively slap potential readers in the face by saying "don't have a Kindle? Then don't bother me - if you want my books it is Kindle or nothing". That would be completely crazy. As such, I am pleased that my Smashwords listings appear on the likes of Nooks and Kobo's and Sony readers.

Now I am not being naive here - Kindle IS the biggest selling ereader and as such, my Kindle copies of my uke books in circulation are the greatest number, but to me, even if I sold only one copy of my books to an interested reader in another format, then that to me makes Smashwords worth it. I don't want to alienate. Of course, Amazon are a business and they want market share, and they think they have found that with a way to strong arm their readers. KDP Select.

I never joined KDP select ( a service which allows authors to have their books loaned in return for a payment and allows authors to run short term promos offering books for free) for one very good reason. To do so means I would have to take down all books on other non-Kindle sites. That's right - in return for these 'toys' Amazon want to own me.

For me, those delights of loaning and freebies were of no interest. In fact the huge surge in freebies on Kindle is now leading to drops in sales of books as Kindles around the world groan under the weight of readers just clicking on every book they saw that was priced ZERO. No thanks - my books are specialist - you either want them or you don't. So I thought that was that. Then something else happened.

At the moment Kindle authors get a competitive 70% royalty for books over a certain price point. Then Amazon started to offer it's Kindle service in India (huge potential market), but with a catch. To get 70% in India, you have to join KDP select otherwise it's 35%. Hang on Amazon - isn't that bullying tactics? And isn't this the thin end of the wedge?

Authors all over are flooding discussion boards with concern about the way Amazon is treating it's authors - the very people that make the Kindle so popular.  As such I totally agree with what Mark Coker is saying - we want a healthy market not one that bullies it's authors into submission. For me, with Nooks and Kobos gaining new users everyday, I am sitting tight, but will guarantee one thing - I will always make my books available to whatever device my readers use. The only way that would change is if Amazon continue to tighten the screw, then it may be Kindle that loses my trade.


If you want to support Smashwords - my books are here and sales through there give them a cut of the proceeds.

They also take something from sales direct, such as my books on Barnes and NobleKobo and Sony



10/21/2012

My neglected title!

I get surprised all the time by my second book. In particular, I get comments from readers who have loved the first book (What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know) but tell me they didn't even know there was a second one!


Now, whether that is down to me not mentioning it to people or Amazon etc not recommending it to buyers of the other book I don't know - but either way it is feeling neglected....

You can grab a copy HERE. And if any readers want to share a review on Amazon, I'd appreciate that too - it's looking lonely on that front also!


10/07/2012

Special offer on my omnibus ukulele book!

For the next two weeks you can grab a copy of my omnibus - The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know for 33% off list price.




Sadly, Amazon don't let me create discount vouchers, but thankfully Smashwords do! You can grab a copy in a range of ebook formats there (including Kindle)!

Just visit Smashwords to see the book HERE and apply the discount code MP69R at checkout. Offer ends on 20 October 2012.

And of course you can check my range of books on Amazon by clicking the book covers down the left hand side of this site, or going HERE

Enjoy!

10/04/2012

Are you a Like button clicker?

Facebook introduced it, and now it seems that everyone the world over has found themselves automatically clicking Like on so many things they see online. (Sorry Google, yes, I know yours says +1, but 'Like' has become the de facto way of telling the world you dig something.)




So in a shameless plug - are you aware that Amazon have the same system on their products? Up near the top of a product page, near the review stars - yes, you guessed it, another Like button. Have you read my books? Why not give them a like!

And for authors we are still trying to work out whether that Like button count can actually assist in exposure for a book? Rumours abound suggesting that the more likes there are, the more likely a book will appear on an Amazon newsletter or perhaps even (joy of joys) the Kindle homepage. I don't know whether any of that is true or not, but its an interesting thought.

So for an author - there are three things they  crave when they have a book on Amazon.

1. Likes - a like of the page as above.

2. Tags - tags appear a little further down the product page (either above or below reviews depending on the site) and represent words or snippets that relate to the book. For example, an obvious tag for my books would be be 'ukulele'. Tag the book ukulele and it goes into a sub page along with all other books tagged ukulele. That of course helps the Amazon search system become more reliable. I have a range of relevant tags on all my books and would be delighted if you added to them!

3. Reviews - the holy grail - the one thing all authors crave. (In fact some authors crave them so much, as you may have read in recent news, that they have faked them or paid for them... not good form at all.). But if you can get an honest review from a real reader, then that is just a wonderful sight for any author.

You can find Amazon links to all my books on the tabs above, and would be delighted for likes, tags, or even better, reviews! I know what a lovely bunch the ukulele community are so share a little love!

Barry Maz Amazon books - UK

Barry Maz Amazon books - USA

Thanks!

9/09/2012

Kobo on the rise?

Been noticing something interesting lately. My books, which usually do their best on Amazon have started to slow a little on that format, and sales have suddenly started to rocket on a format that I hadn't really paid much attention to before - Kobo.




Not sure what the reason is, and sure, Kindle still remains by far the most popular ereader, but something is certainly happening with Kobo. Perhaps it's to do with their deal with the American Booksellers Association, or perhaps their New line of ereaders is doing well, but whatever it is, it is certainly boosting popularity of my books. A check this morning saw three of my books in the top 5 chart for music instruction and study, which was a hugely leasing surprise!

So is the ereader battleground shifting slightly? Let me know if you use Kobo in the poll on the left side of this blog!

And my range of books in Kobo format can be found Here (US) and Here (UK)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

9/05/2012

What's Your E-Reader of choice?

Thought it was time for a poll on this book site. Strikes me that despite what Amazon think, not everyone owns a Kindle. So, what is your e-reader of choice?


You will see on the side of the blog I have added a poll - let me know what you prefer - and you can pick more than one, if, like me, you use a couple!


8/27/2012

Thank you!

Delighted to see my very first book is still proving popular! Earlier today it creeped back into the top ten of music reference books on Amazon - thrilled! A huge thank you to my supporters.





You can get it here!


And the full collection of ukulele handbooks for beginners can be found HERE

Baz

8/25/2012

Kindle India

In an announcement last week, it was pleasing for those of us who have books on Kindle to note that Amazon.com have extended its kindle store to those in India!





Now that is a pretty huge reader base, but it has left me wondering - are there any ukulele players in India? (surely there must be?? - if you are one - get in touch!). Checking my blog stats for Got A Ukulele I do see some visits from India, though not many. Who knows, perhaps we can get India on board the worldwide boom in ukulele popularity?

You can find my books on Amazon.com



8/19/2012

Chart watching

It's always fun to watch how ones books do in the charts. Sure, I suppose it's a bit vain, but it's the only measure of whether the books are actually doing anything for people.




Therefore delighted this morn to see all of my ukulele books are in the top 100 Music Reference on Amazon UK, with may latest omnibus edition at number 20!

A huge vote of thanks to supporters! It means a lot, and reviews of the books always welcomed!

The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

8/12/2012

Competition time!

Over on my ukulele website I am running a competition to win a brilliant Uke Leash ukulele strap (courtesy of Lori at Uke Leash). And you can also win a couple of my books!

Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To KnowThe Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know


First place winner gets the strap, plus an ebook copy of The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know and my chord book - Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know in an ebook format of their choice. Second place wins the two ebooks.

So, what are you waiting for? Get over to Got A Ukulele to enter

Good luck!

8/11/2012

Amazon glitch!

Oh no! An Amazon glitch means my first ukulele book is temporarily unavailable in Kindle format!


My apologies for the inconvenience. I hope this is rectified soon. For the time being though it can be bought in paperback on Amazon HERE and in a variety of e formats, including the Kindle format HERE.

All the other books (see tabs across top of this site) are unaffected.


Grrrrrrr!


8/05/2012

Tips for publishing on Smashwords

Despite what Amazon would like you to believe - not everyone on the world has a Kindle... As such, if you are just in the throes of putting out your first book, whilst Kindle may be the obvious first choice for publication, what about readers with other devices, Nooks, Kobo's etc? Well there is another option. Smashwords.


smashwords logo

Smashwords is an independent bookseller that allows authors to self publish. It's small, and it must be said, not without its niggles and issues, but I think it's very important to authors. When I first saw my books appear on Kindle, I was immediately met with questions like "but what about me, I have a Nook - will your book be on that?". Smashwords sorts that.

Some authors I have spoken to don't speak to highly of Smashwords for the fact that sales generated are far less than Kindle. That is certainly the case with me too - however I don't use Smashwords as an attempt to try to 'beat' Amazon - I use it to ensure my readership have an alternative choice. As I say - not everyone has a Kindle, and the Smashwords service allows you to make your books available in a dizzying array of file types to suit all readers. The basic setup means that people can buy your books in all those formats direct from the Smashwords site with a PayPal payment. They have their own (hard to navigate) charts, bookshelves for 'liking' books, and review system. But where Smashwords really shines I think is the Premium Catalog, which means that your books will be listed directly with Sony, Kobo, Nook, iTunes amongst others - direct on those sites. By doing that, as word spreads about your book you can get to the point where the e version of your title is available on pretty much every device. Small sales or not, that is a convenience to your readership that should not be overlooked.

All of that said, whilst listing on Smashwords is straightforward, the Premium side of things is not without it's issues. I thought I would therefore share my tips having had four books go on that site.

1. Prepare your manuscript as if you are going for Premium right away. Even if you think that you will never list it on Premium, I would recommend this in case you change your mind. The Premium application is now automatic anyway I think, but the system is VERY fussy about the formatting of your book. In my case, with my first book, I created huge headaches for myself in formatting that meant literally going through my book line for line in order for it to pass muster on submissions. My advice - start with a clean copy of your manuscript with zero formatting, and only add minimal formatting after that. Mark Coker - the founder of Smashwords has produced an excellent and free Style Guide that runs you through all the do's and don'ts of formatting. I highly recommend you get it and read it to avoid headaches!  You can grab that HERE. The most common pitfalls include things like not including a 'Published by Smashwords' line at the beginning of the book, double carriage returns adding  unnecessary lines in the text, and paragraph styles. The system is fussy as I say, but I think it's worth it.

2. Once your book is ready, the upload process is simple and very similar to Amazon. You can just upload a Word Document if you wish. You will also be given the same sort of boxes to fill - description, keywords, price etc. The pricing section is nice in that you get a clear pie chart that shows how your book price is distributed between you and Smashwords (their royalties are pretty good as it happens)

3. One difference from Kindle is the Sample feature. Smashwords allow you to choose your own percentage that readers can read for free, unlike the fixed percentage on Amazon. This will require some thought - clearly, you don't wish to give away too much. Smashwords actually suggest 50% which for a novel I can understand - someone may read the first half then pay to finish it. For a non-fiction book though, like mine, this doesn't seem to make much sense, and I would suggest setting a lower figure.

4. Once you are up and going, you need to check your progress in the Premium submission. If you fail, you will helpfully receive a notice telling you what elements failed. This is a good feature and should help you out with the obvious formatting issues. If you kept things simple you should sail through (it takes about a week by the way). My first book was a nightmare, but I learned from my mistakes. Book two went through first time, book three had a minor error that failed only once, and book four went through first time.

5. As part of the publishing processyou can choose which file formats you wish Smashwords to make available on their own site - I would recommend you let all versions go out there with the exception of the plain text options (which to me reads like a nice easy way for someone to steal your work). Don't worry about leaving the Kindle format box ticked even if you are on Amazon - it will do no harm. You can also change these options at any time after it is published.

6. When you are in the Premium Catalog - you also get the option of which stores to ship to and which to not. Again I would leave all of these ticked - it will do no harm, but I would certainly untick Kindle if you already have a copy on Kindle to avoid duplication.

7. Smashwords submissions I have found are a little hit and miss. Some of my books are on some sites, all are on others. In some cases and email to Smashwords asking them to re-submit them has worked, on others it hasn't done a thing. I still don't have all my four books on iTunes for example - and even stranger, book one and three are available, but two and four are not. Smashwords have been no help at all in sorting that issue. Just bear that in mind - the system is not as foolproof as it looks, and their customer support is less than speedy.

8. When you are up and running you get a handy dashboard in which you can make changes to things like price etc. Bear in mind if you change anything more serious, like your title, cover or manuscript, then you will need to resubmit to the premium catalog! Within the dashboard are some other handy features that I so wish were available on Kindle. You can view graphs that show page views, sample downloads and full downloads for your books. When you get a sale you are emailed, and you also get an completely up to date sales listing for all your books. Sales for stores that Smashwords have submitted to don't update live however, or appear on your tally of sales graph. Rather, those sales are aggregated and tend to update at the end of each month or quarter depending on the store. That is a bit of a pain, but it also provides a nice surprise when you see a sudden leap in sales data because one of the stores has reported back!

9. Payments from Smashwords are made quarterly, and are paid via PayPal (are you listening Amazon??!!). If you are in the UK and have no tax forms set up, like Amazon they will be subject to 30% withholding for tax purposes.

10. Make sure you let your readers know you have an alternative format available. Start by sharing the Smashwords address for your books. Keep an eye on sites like Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo etc for your books appearing (they can take anything from weeks to months to appear) and when you have links for those make sure you share them too.


And that's it - it's very simple to get going on Smashwords, though can be a headache for some fighting through the Premium Catalog rules. Support isn't great but as I said in the introduction to this post - I think if you have a book that you hope with be popular, you owe it to your audience to recognise that they may not actually have a Kindle!

Good luck!

8/04/2012

Obsessed by charts

Some authors will tell you that they don't check the chart positions of their books. They are lying.

It's impossible to avoid them, and it becomes addictive.

My new book - The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know went top 10 in Music Reference books on Amazon UK earlier this week, and I don't mind admitting being chuffed. It hasn't (yet) beaten the record of my first book which actually topped the Kindle music book chart late 2011, but it's getting there.

Also very very nice when more than one of your books are in the chart - I've currently got a couple in the top 20 in Music Reference which is rather pleasing!

Barry Maz ukulele books in chart

But just as books go up the charts, they are sure to also go down them - and we just have to live with that.

If you would like to check my books out you can find links on the tabs at the top of this blog, and on Amazon UK , Amazon.comBarnes and Noble and many other places.

If you have already read them and enjoyed them - can I be cheeky and ask for a review on the site you bought them from - reviews really do help us budding authors!

Thanks!

8/01/2012

Price drop on my omnibus

What the heck, it's summertime, the Olympics are on, and Bradley Wiggins won gold for Team GB. Time for a ukulele book deal!


The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know



I have cut the price of my omnibus edition in Kindle format for a short while - The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know. It was already cheaper buying this than buying my first two books, but you now save over a third on the total price.

Amazon UK
Amazon.com


Grab it while it's hot!

7/28/2012

My tips for publishing on Createspace

As a budding Kindle author, if your book starts to have some success you will probably find yourself thinking about getting into print. There are a variety of services out there that offer pretty much similar deals, but I went with Createspace as they are an Amazon company and they offered the easiest solution to getting paper versions linked on my kindle pages.



createspace version of The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know


The process is pretty straightforward, and you shouldn't be put off. That said, there are some things to note, so thought I would share my tips from having put four books through them.

1. Start with your manuscript in a suitable word processor. The upload Createspace prefers is a PDF file, and you can save to that format easily in Word.  You will, however, want to consider some different formatting to your kindle books. Firstly, work out what book size you are going to print on Createspace - they have lots of options, and all of mine are in the smallest size as this allows the cheapest price to be offered to the customer. Now set your manuscript document to the same paper size! Also, unlike Kindle, you will probably want to add page numbers, and make them more professional by starting them on page one of your book, not the intro blurb. Another top tip before uploading - think about how the document is going to look in print. You really don't want chapters starting on the left hand page, so work out how it will look and add blank pages if necessary to ensure all chapters start on the proper facing page!

2. More on paper sizes - bigger means more expensive, but also can throw up other issues. The bigger the book, the fewer the pages. End up with your book too thin and not only will it look and feel like a magazine, but the spine will be too thin to put a title on! I would stick to the first couple of sizes.

3. The upload system is a breeze. Don't worry about the ISBN - take the one they offer you. So long as your only other books are ebooks, it is valid to have a separate ISBN for a paper format. Just upload your PDF saved at the right size and you are good to go. You get similar options as with Kindle publishing to add some blurb, categories, keywords etc.

4. You can use your own cover if you wish, so long as it is set up with back, spine and front (ie you will need to expand your Kindle cover which is, obviously, only a front cover. Actually though, I think their cover designer is great, easy to use and gives good results. I used it on all my books. Bear in mind that once you have published your book, changing the cover is much more of a process than with Kindle as you will have to go through the whole review and proofing (see below) all over again.

5. The standard service puts the books available to buy both from Createspace and Amazon, but you can opt for a premium service for $25. I would urge you to consider this. It only amounts to a few book sales, but gets your book in a much wider range of shops and libraries - in fact I am finding new stockists of my book all the time. The royalties are lower for these sales, but it's better than no sales! I made back the $25 very quickly on all my books.

6. Pricing is an area I can't really advise you on, it's a personal thing. That said - do experiment. Remember that the paper version is always going to be more costly than the Kindle and the Createspace service sets a minimum you can charge. Don't choose this one as you will get no royalties!  Mine are roughly double the cost of the Kindle equivalents.

7. Once the book is with them, and all your boxes are ticked, there is a further step to take - you need to review your proof. A while back, this meant you had to order a paper proof copy of the book to check and then go online to give them the OK to publish it. I did this with my first two books. Today, they offer you the ability to do an online proof with a virtual book. I would now actually do this as a matter of course because I know the quality of the finished product is great, and the online proofer works. Do not skimp on this step - check every page, make sure no text is in the gutter, that your page numbers work etc. When you are happy, accept the proof and there you go - within days it will be up on Amazon!

8. In time, Amazon will link your paper book with your Kindle versions on their site. You can speed this up by adding your paper books to your Author Central profile, or speed it up even more by emailing CS at Amazon and asking them to do it. Make sure this happens, as this then shows all the formats available on one book listing rather than having multiples floating around on Amazon.

9. As the author, you also have the right to buy copies of your own books at cost price (which is really quite cheap) - enabling you to sell them privately, give away copies as prizes or tout them at local bookshops - worth thinking about.

10. Sit back and wait - with some success your royalties will start flowing!


I really like the service, and have had no issues with it at all. It's not complicated (I had my last book formatted and up on Createspace in less than an hour) and well worth it for widening your works distribution.


Give it a go!


7/27/2012

Hallo!,¡Hola!, Salut! and Ciao!

Something I don't mention to often, but the Amazon Kindle store has a range of other European stores that also carry my books in ebook format.


Amazon Kindle

So .....

You can get the books direct in GermanySpainFrance and Italy!

All that leaves is for me to say vielen dank!, gracias, merci and grazie!



7/25/2012

It's not all Kindle Kindle Kindle you know...

Whilst anyone with a passing interest in the publishing of ebooks will automatically think Kindle, that isn't the only option out there, and my books have had real success on some other formats too.

Take Barnes and Noble for instance and their Nook reader - if you are in the US you can upload to that service directly, and for the rest of us, you can get listed via Smashwords, as I did. It is handy because I have had many emails from people spotting the Kindle version of my books and asking if they can get it for Nook.

nook logo
My Barnes and Noble books can be found HERE, and having seen them running on a Nook, they look great.

Another popular ereader is the Kobo, which over here in the UK has been taken on by WH Smith. My first three books are on the Kobo store (fourth one due soon) and delighted to see that they are all top ten in music instruction category, and my Chords book number one in general music reference!  I must also say, that as a Brit, where WH Smith is a high street institution, it was very exciting to see my books available on their site!

My first three books are also available for the very popular (and one of the original ereaders) the Sony Reader - and can be found on the Sony bookstore.

There are others too, including the ever popular iTunes for iPad and iPhone users.

In summary, I think the choice out there is great, and if you are an author with an ebook available on the Kindle store - don't overlook the fact that not everyone Kindles (despite what they tell you...).  Choice is a good thing, and the wider you can distribute your work, the better.




7/23/2012

Facebook homes for my books

Up to a couple of years ago, it must be said that I had never used Facebook. I use it today, but must admit that I still don't like everything it stands for. That said, for getting your content out into the big wide world it really has become the de-facto place people go to look.  In fact, I have people ask me whether my books have a Facebook 'Page'. Well, actually they do.


So, if you go in for Facebook - take a look at my pages, and, of course - clicking that all important "Like" Button is what it is all about!

What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know









 Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know











More Of What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know













The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know













Oh, and of course, I am on there too - as me - https://www.facebook.com/barry.maz

7/22/2012

Paperbacks now direct from Europe

For those in Europe who looked at my paperbacks some months ago, you may have be put off by the fact that orders came from the USA.

This meant that the postage was expensive and delivery could be many weeks. Not very good! Thankfully a few weeks ago Createspace, the publishers of my paperback changed their supply set up meaning that if you are in the UK or other European Country you can now order the book locally. That means lower postage on Amazon, (and the ability to go for free post) and much quicker delivery times. Good news all round!





Not everyone likes ereaders, so I am pleased with this traditional option!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

7/21/2012

On Self Publishing

The question I get asked a lot by writers looking to get their work out there - what route did I choose for getting my books out there?



Well it wasn't really a planned thing, and my first book, What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know was put out as a bit of an experiment. I finished writing the book about the time that the Kindle Publishing platform launched in the UK and I thought I would give it a go.

The Kindle publishing system really is a joy to use, and doesn't really require any extra formatting if you don't want to. In fact you can simply upload a Word document and it will publish. For me though, as my book is a reference manual, I wanted to have a table of contents for my chapter headings and therefore needed some free software (MobiPocket Creator) to do that for me. Other than that though it is a case of just uploading the file, a cover image and some back cover blurb and you are online and available to buy in just a couple of days!

That system only allows for Kindle sales though, so what about the other eReaders on the market such as Nooks and Kobos? For me the free Smashwords service was then a godsend. Smashwords also accept a Word file as your manuscript and, provided you pass their test on formatting, will then put you in their premium catalogue which puts the book on sale at (amongst other places) Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Nook, Sony and iTunes. But.... about that formatting. Beware - Word is a funny piece of software and leaves all sorts of hidden formatting in a straight document. You can't see it, but it is there and Smashwords will reject it. In fact, my first book took a couple of weeks of fiddling to get it to pass the entry requirements. My tip - start with an absolutely clean manuscript and minimal formatting unless you want a headache. Acceptance into their premium catalogue is worth it though.

Having published in ebook format, (and the books going on to do rather well!) the common question I was then asked was "do you do a paperback"? There are several options for authors in this area, but I chose the print on demand service called Createspace (an Amazon subsidiary). Their system is very easy to use and comes with a very handy cover creator - the results of which I went on to use on all my books, whether ebooks or paper.  The standard Createspace submission gets your paperback on Amazon (and recently, on Amazon EU sites too) which is great. For a small fee though you can take out  something called "Enhanced Distribution" which gets your book on a whole raft of other booksellers such as Barnes and Noble, Tower, Sears as well as into lending libraries. This is also well worth it in my opinion and allows bookstores to buy your title direct, in bulk, and at cost. The royalties are lower, but I think it's worth it for a wider spread of your work.

Of course, there are also other options - writers in the US can upload direct to Barnes and Noble, and Kobo has launched a similar service.  Just make sure that if you do have a choice, to compare and contrast the terms and conditions!

So how do they all fare? Well it may come as no surprise, but the Kindle store represents by far the most successful channel for all of my books. Smashwords direct sales are pretty limp, but the sales from their premium catalogue partners are just great too!  What really surprised me though was the success of the paperback version - that is to say a MORE EXPENSIVE version than the ebooks - they have sold bucket loads around the world from a variety of shops and I know that some of my books are now on shelves in libraries which is a nice feeling!  In fact I have now had some music shops get in touch asking to buy some direct and in bulk for their shelves.

And for that success of course, as an independent author you need to put in a lot of hard work beyond just writing the thing. Amazon will do minimal promotion of your title and you cannot just assume that because it is there along side the hundreds of thousands of other books on the store that anyone will even find it. Make sure you tell people it is there!

So if you have some work that you have been meaning to try to get published, my advice is to give it a try. The services above are pretty painless really and it has been a great ride over the last year or so too.

My thanks must also go out to the friends I have met on the Facebook Writing Kindle Books group who have been totally fantastic and supportive, offering plenty of tips and opinions.

Give it a go, and if I can be of any help,  just get in touch!

7/19/2012

Pleasing chart positions

Many authors will tell you they don't bother looking at the charts - they are lying. It's a natural instinct, and at the end of the day, it's also your measure of whether people are actually bothering or not.

It's also really nice to see a new book doing well. My first book - What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know went on to be the number one selling music book on Amazon UK (and top three in the US). OK, OK, that is no Fifty Shades Of Grey, but for a book about the humble ukulele, extremely specialist in nature, I thought that was a good achievement. I remember looking at the chart page with me sat above Ozzy Osbourne / Cheryl Cole / whoever!

Anyway - really nice this morning to see my latest book go into the top 40 of the same chart in the UK for Kindle books. Onwards and upwards!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Ukulele-Players-Really-ebook/dp/B008EWOATS/ref=ntt_at_ep_edition_2_3



Thanks so much to anyone who supported me - it means a lot!


7/16/2012

Online book samples added

Pleased to report that I have added online Kindle version samples for all of my books on this site.

Simply click the book name on the menu at the top and scroll down for a sample you can read in your web browser (looks even better if you hit the full page button too)

Whether you are a Kindle owner or not you can now check out the books, and if you like go for the paperback!

Enjoy!

Baz


Book reviews that make me smile.

It is so nice to read a book review that makes it clear to you that the reader really took something from what you wrote.

Here are a couple of my favourites from my first book What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know



5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Uke reference--GREAT Kindle editionDecember 26, 2011
First, thanks to the author Barry Maz for making this book available for the Kindle and at an attractive price. If you have a Kindle and a uke, you should have this book.

This is NOT a "how to play" method book. There are plenty of books for that, plus video tutorials available for free and for pay all over the Web. (check out Ukulele Underground.) This is a reference book on how ukuleles are made, the sizes they come in, the variations, the woods used to make them and other subjects, such as stringing.

The string section was in particular very helpful for me. The types of material (nylon, fluorocarbon) are discussed, how they affect the sound, and when you might want to employ them. For example, if your ukulele has a naturally bright (loud) sound, you may want to put on the Worth brand brown fluorocarbon strings which will mellow out the tone. If you have a ukulele and you are not fond of the sound, try restringing it first.

There is a section on electronics (pickups, mics) a section on training your fingertips to harden against blisters and pain and a section on common notation for ukulele transcriptions. There is much more. It really is "what you want to know."

I think this book is a must-have for any player.








5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for!October 13, 2011
By 
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know (Kindle Edition)
This is a complete, thorough, and yet concise description of how ukuleles are made, the most common woods they are made from, and the history of the ukulele. There are tutorial chapters on basic techniques used for playing and maintaining the ukulele along with internet links for key ukulele websites. The writer discusses his own experience encountering the ukulele for the first time, buying his first ukulele, and learning from his mistakes. A few of the brands he refers to are no longer available, but by and large his desciptions of the nature of the different ukulele makers is clear, concise, and accurate. An excellent introduction to a thoroughly modern, largely misunderstood, and frequently underestimated musical instrument.






5.0 out of 5 stars Uke Players Bible25 July 2011
By 
C. Canty "Shimmy" (Uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent book well written by and expert in his field. Baz guides you through the different aspects of the ukulele in a very helpful way.I suggest anyone considering buying a ukulele buys this book first.Another plus point is that it fits in the storage pocket of my gig bag!

7/15/2012

Can't beat a paperback

As much as I love my Kindle, and the convenience of the Kindle store - I still don't think you can beat a paperback.

Even better, I don't think that for an author there is anything quite like getting your own hands on your own book in print.

Take a look at my stable!


To grab a copy - see the links on the right.