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Cross Border Moving is Never Fun

Moving our publishing business cross-border

Towards the end of 2021 it became more of a challenge for me to continue the daily running of Kima Global Publishers. I had suffered health issues in mid-2021 and the recovery process has taken much longer than expected. I set an intention to sell the company or merge with another so that some of that burden could be lifted. A valuable life lesson is a rule that you first set an intention with full intensity and emotion, then forget it and allow it to transpire in good time. My life partner Nadine was certainly not able to take on my work in addition to the many tasks she has already committed to.

There were, of course, other signs as well, such as my publishing program collapsing and becoming irreparable. I let it be known to friends that I was ready for a change and sure enough, one of my friends was able to introduce me to a friend of hers in Scandinavia who was looking to expand. Her previous employers had gone bankrupt and she lost her job, so she decided to start her own company ePublishify Hybrid Publishers. Her problem was that she only had a few titles, not enough to be financially viable. We were able to offer her more than 100 titles in print to become an imprint under their banner. It seemed like a win for both of us; she got more than 100 titles for free and I was relieved of all the admin duties in exchange for an equal partnership of of 50% of our joint business.

The move to Denmark has proven much more difficult than expected. Part of the trouble has been caused by differences in our publishing models. Kima Books was partially manual whereas ePublishify’s aim is to make a completely automated system. It does make sense because more than 100 titles takes quite a bit of effort to run manually. Denmark also has different rules regarding ISBNs. They require new Danish ISBNs to replace the South African ones we had and this is costing a whack of money. This task is not yet complete. We will add the remaining titles in due course. It also necessitated changing the barcodes and the imprint pages of every title. Quite a job!

All the companies we are dealing with staff shortages caused by retrenchments during the fake Covid scamdemic. The staff that remain are under huge pressure with big in-boxes. Patience becomes a virtue.

The new web shop is now up and running. Please have a look at the wide selection now on offer.

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Audio Books

Audiobooks are quite a trend these days. I just read a newsletter on the subject put out by B&N.

It is revealing that they now have more than 300,000 audiobook titles on offer at a retail price of around $12.00. They see it as a huge new market for authors and they could be correct on this.

You can reach people who either don’t have the time or would prefer to fill those boring moments like when you are doing housework or the laundry, or are going on a road trip with the family.

How do you make an audiobook?

A popular audiobook creator is Findaway Voices who will offer a choice of narrator at a cost of $25.00 / 1000 words, so if your book is 75 000 words that would set you back $1900.00. (estimated). That’s quite hefty.

I always like to work out a good estimate of how many book sales it would take to recover my potential investment and in this case, it would amount to around 400 books at the current royalty rate. That is quite a lot in view of the other up-front costs in producing a physical or an e-book which also have to be recovered.

My new partners ePublishify offer a complete package (includes a physical book, an e-book and an audiobook) for only $650.00 (estimate). This amounts to a very good deal.  You may also buy a promotion package for $350.00 and that should set you up properly.

These continuous changes are inevitable due to the times we live in, however, the gradual erosion of a reading culture is very sad. Treasured memories of reading to our kids or being stuck into a good book way past bedtime seem to have gone altogether. We have been reduced to tweets and sound bites and short video clips. We have lost a lot. Our grandchildren will grow up without the magic of Charles Dickens or even the illustrative genius of Arthur Rackham.

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e-Books

Should you consider publishing an e-book rather than a proper paper book?

It is worthwhile to have a look at this form of book because it is so prevalent these days.

Firstly an e-book is not the same as a printed book. The content is often much shorter with subheadings and active links to websites and supporting research. The word count can be as little as 30 000 words whereas a printed book usually requires 75 000 to 100 000 words.

Books with diagrams and illustrations are not suitable as e-books because they are ‘flowable’ documents. In other words, they shrink to fit a cell phone in which case diagrams become too small to see.

An e-book has a lower cost to produce and can thus be sold cheaper. Development costs remain the same, but there are no print and shipping costs involved. For the purchaser, it can be very satisfying to get instant delivery rather than having to wait for some days to get your book.

Other big differences are:

  • You do not ever own a Kindle or epub edition. You only have the right to read it.
  • If your device comes to the end of its life you will lose your e-books unless you buy a new device.
  • eBooks cannot be re-sold since you never own it
  • Work books are not suitable as e-books.

e-Books do require a certain expertise to get a professional result. Too often have I seen badly made e-books which present with large spaces between the paragraphs and even whole pages missing. In my experience the best guide to getting it right can be found in Smashwords Guide to creating .epub files. If you have written the content in MS Word it will end up with a lot of hidden junk coding which screws up your final result when converting to .epub or .mobi. Mark Coker’s Guide to cleaning out this hidden code is simply the best.

e-Books can be used as a kind of précis and introduction to your main work and could be sold to people who want just a taste of what you offer for a small sum of money.  In that way, it is a form of advertising with its own small income stream and none of the costs. That is kind of a sweet deal for everyone.

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Subsidy Publishers

Fair Exchange!

Small independent publishers cannot really afford the inherent risk in untested authors. My company Kima Global Publishers have burned our fingers in the past by taking on enthusiastic authors who maybe expect instant results from no effort or risk whatsoever. After the book has been published they lose interest and do not support their book. Subsidy publishers lessen that risk by asking the author for a small contribution to cover hard outlay costs. That way they only risk losing the many hours of work they put into the whole process of editing, design, typesetting, proofing and preparing print-ready files.

Subsidy publishers such as Kima Books (now an imprint of ePublishify) offer a clever mechanism whereby an author (with very little effort) may recover their investment. We offer a 40% discount on any book orders by the author with a minimum first order of twenty copies.

In the case of Kima Books and ePushify, all submissions go through a strict assessment process and many manuscripts get rejected.  In the case of Kima Books, they preferred mission-driven authors with a good online presence who gave workshops and lectured.  Back of the Room sales are a winner, and can lead to an ongoing income stream for the author as well.

The subsidy publisher’s role is to undertake all the many tasks needed to get a book out into the world that a writer simply cannot do. This includes descriptions placed on the BookSearch database used by bookshops. They also need to make sure that a book is available worldwide through good distribution.

It is the author’s job to support sales by drawing attention to their book through marketing and social media exposure, blogs etc. Over the years we have found that the author is by far the best ambassador for their book.

Subsidy and hybrid publishers are the best bet, because they offer huge advantages for very little cost and a good chance to recover your investment.

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Self-Publishing

This is a form of vanity publishing  It is much the same as vanity because, once again, there are no quality standards applied. In this case, the author does their own layout and typesetting in MS Word or similar and then uploads it to Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble or others. I will cover Amazon in a subsequent blog.

In this case, the author is possibly even worse off than she might be with a vanity press. This is because of a lack of skills and professional software programs such as Photoshop or InDesign and a general lack of skills. Their books can be poorly presented with boring pre-designed covers supplied by Amazon for example. I have in addition often seen books with sloppy grammar and generally untidy.

Presentation is important. You wouldn’t return to a restaurant that just slopped food onto a plate. Likewise, readers are unlikely to buy a book that looks amateurish in presentation.

These authors have none of the facilities that regular publishers offer such as:

  • No distribution to bookshops.
  • No listing on the BookSearch software. This means that they cannot be found.
  • A limited market. Some authors advertise on Amazon, but in general there is very little exposure in a hugely crowded market.

I have been told by some very proud authors that they have been ‘published’, where all they have done is take files to their local printer that has printed and bound a few copies.  They have performed none of the functions of a publisher.

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Traditional Publishers

What are the advantages?

There are big advantages to getting an agreement with a traditional publisher. Here are some of them (not listed in any particular order):

  • Very wide distribution to book stores, libraries and online markets worldwide.
  • A huge boost in credibility. Suddenly you will find that radio and TV hosts are keen to have you, whereas without a book you stand no chance.
  • Searchability on all the BookFind systems worldwide. This allows your book to be found by the clerk at the book store counter, for instance.
  • No risk to yourself, although we do of course recommend that everyone should read the fine print on any contract before they sign. Traditional publishers take on all the risk involved in publishing your book. Publishing is a complex business and mistakes can easily be made, some of them quite costly!
  • You get a professional product without risk which is widely distributed throughout the world. Very often traditional publishers can keep the retail price low, qhich will help the sales of your book

Right now (March 2022) the book market is very tough due to the challenges that the last two years have presented.  A tough market like this, results in wafer-thin profit margins, so traditional publishers have become more and more risk-averse. They are especially resistant to taking on debut authors, preferring to stick with existing Names who are sure winners. However, they remain open to offers by independent publishers who can prove good sales.

To sum up: .getting a contract with a traditional publisher is the number one prize, but that is not likely for a debut author.  I will be covering the roles of other publishing models such as vanity, self-publishing and subsidy publishers in upcoming blogs. I will be setting out the pitfalls and advantages to them so that you may make an informed choice.

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Publishing advice

Free assessment of your manuscript

Why not submit your work to me for a free assessment? I have thirty years of experience in publishing and am thus very qualified to guide you to get the best for your book. This is my way of giving back to authors who have been so supportive over the years. During that time my partner and I have also come across many Tragic Tales of authors who have sometimes spent a lot of money to get a box of books that remain just that. Their title gets no exposure whatsoever.

The whole world of publishing has changed dramatically in the last ten years as you can imagine. I will be publishing a series of blogs in the coming weeks about the world of modern publishing, how to avoid pitfalls and give your book the best chance of success in its life. Your writing is your creation, your baby if you will, so you do want it to succeed don’t you?

Check out my website

Please keep an eye out for upcoming posts. I can assure you that you will learn a lot. Getting informed about the many options out there will be most helpful.

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Kima Books are Moving!

We are thrilled to tell you that we have now merged with ePublishify and Kima Global will become an imprint on their list. We will still be handling all the author contact and communications, while ePublishify will handle all the administration, sales, distribution and marketing.

Recent illness has necessitated that I curtail my publishing activities and this new arrangement will allow me to maintain contact with you all, to continue to offer my extensive experience in publishing to address any questions you may have and to assess new manuscripts as and when they get submitted.

We are excited about this development. It will mean good results for all of us.

The Kima Global titles will migrate to ePublishify gradually over the next few months and we expect the titles to be fully migrated by January 2022. If you have any questions please contact me or Nadine. – Robin

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New Life

New Life

In our part of the world here at the very foot of Africa, spring has sprung, with new life everywhere. The spring flowers are in bloom and the temperatures are gradually getting warmer.

There is new life for Kima Global books as well. The migration of our titles is going well with the first ten titles now live. More will be added every week.

We invite you to visit https://www.epublishify.com/kimabooks to check out what we are doing to give you, as customer, even better service.

We are open to considering your manuscript for publication under the Kima Global imprint. We will give you a fair and considered assessment. Moreover, we promise to be kind!

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The Multi Dimensional Universe

New title

We are thrilled to announce or new title by Colin Joe Byrne whom so many of you have been following, especially on his weekly shows with Kerry K Samadhi. As you know, Colin’s material can be profound, so it is helpful to have it in a form you can see.

Please click on this link to buy.

This is the first in a series so you can look forward to some more treats in the months to come. The next one will be “Human Potential” followed by “Soul Evolution”, “Attitudes of Mastery”, “Energy Fields and Ley Lines”, “Fallen Angels”, “Soul Warriors” and “The Construct of the Soul” in no particular order. If you have a particular interest pleas let us know and we can then prioritise accordingly.

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