eBook Aggregators – A fun guide

best-news-aggregator-apps-700pxWhat a fun weekend I’ve had, trying to ‘Purge hidden corruption’ in my book files using the ‘Nuclear method’ to avoid any AutoVetter errors.  If you have no idea what I’ve just said, then you’ve not had the pleasure of uploading your book to an aggregator.  You haven’t lived.

Why am I doing this?  I blame Joanna Penn, the queen of self-publishing, who made such a convincing argument for making your eBooks available on Google Play.  After all, it’s the app that comes pre-loaded on most android phones these days, and, like it or not, more and more people are now reading on their phones, so it’s a market we’d be foolish to ignore.  Moreover, I don’t know if you know this, but Google is like, a really big search engine, so having your books on their app is probably going to give you a bit of an edge in that regard.  Having said that, this could go the same way as my Wattpad experiment, i.e. a complete anticlimax, but isn’t it better to have a ‘presence’ (or rather, an omnipresence!) than restricting yourself to Amazon?  The biggest cost is my time and the thrill of finding out how much patience I have with with filling out forms and thinking up new passwords.

Up until now, I didn’t know how to get my books on Google Play.  And this is where the aggregators come into it.  Most indie authors are familiar with the most popular aggregator, Smashwords, which distributes your eBook to stores like Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Apple, to name a few.  And anyone who has tried to upload their book file will be aware of how frustrating it is when the conversion results fall foul of the style guide and come back with a list of illegible offences, written in obscure computer speak.  I made the mistake of updating a perfectly good book that I had for sale on Smashwords and I haven’t been able to pass the conversion tests since.  Until today my friends, when I ‘went nuclear’ and cleared my files of all formatting, before re-formatting them and basically doing the equivalent of clearing out a tool shed and putting everything back in again.  And it worked!  But guess what?  Smashwords don’t deal with Google.  Would I have the patience to continue with this crazy dream?!


According to Joanna Penn, Publish Drive, a relatively new company based in Hungary, is the best option for reaching the most markets.  Prounoun also deal with Google Play, but I decided to copy Joanna, because she’s probably done all the research and why inflict more pain on myself!  However, I’ve recently come across quite a few articles claiming that Google Books is awash with pirated books.  So, yep.  But, the irony there is that people often claim piracy can be reduced by making your book available across more platforms and on various formats (Nook, Kobo etc.)  Not all readers have Kindles, so it seems like common sense to make your book available as widely as possible.  In my own case, I’ve kept my first novel exclusive with Amazon on KDP and so it’s available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited (Amazon’s subscription service).  My second novel and my free short story are available everywhere (or at least they will be once Smashword’s affiliates get my shiney new version in the next few days).

As Joanna pointed out, there are huge markets globally like India and China, and with a little effort, your books can be available for download across the world, rather than just focusing on America and the UK.  There are other aggregators too, like Draft2Digital, so it’s really up to you who you choose which one is right for you.  Yet, as we all know, there’s a lot more to it than just hitting publish and waiting for the money to roll in.  It’s not always easy or viable to promote in all of these markets, but I guess a good place to start is by setting up links on your website and varying your links on social media to include stores other than Amazon.   Since producing paperback versions of my book with CreateSpace, I see how important it is to give your readers the opportunity to buy your books in whatever format suits them.  Just make yourself a strong cup bucket of coffee before trying any of this yourself at home.

My books are now available at the following stores:

Apple ~ Kobo ~ Nook ~ OverDrive ~ Scribd 

The Joy Of E-reading

I read a great article recently in my local Galway Advertiser newspaper written by Des Kenny, a long-respected book shop proprietor in Galway City about the advent of the E-Reader.  You can read it here.  As a writer, the opportunities arising from the growth in popularity of E-books has opened a whole new world of self-publishing, that gives the author a direct route to the reader.  E-books have changed the face of publishing, but what does this mean for the reader?

While the E-book has been around for a quite a few years already, many people are still getting to grips with E-readers such as Kindle and Kobo.  Being of a certain vintage myself, my love of print books is also deep-rooted and I doubted whether that connection would ever be swayed by advances in technology.  However I quickly became hooked and I now see E-readers not as a threat to books, but as just another tool to make reading more convenient.  As Mr. Kenny writes, most people catch up on their reading lists while on holidays, so the most convenient way to travel with your books is to load them onto your E-reader.

However that is just the tip of the iceberg.  E-books are significantly cheaper to buy and instantly available to download.  Also, there are hundreds of thousands of E-books out there that just aren’t available in traditional bookshops.  You still can’t beat a trip to the local bookshop for a mooch, because that’s the kind of sensory experience you just can’t get in an online bookstore.  (Especially in Kenny’s!)  So again, it’s a matter of choice.

But then I watch my niece (who has a voracious appetite for books) switch seamlessly from her worn old paperback favourites like Enid Blyton to her beloved Louisa May Alcott on her Kindle.  For her, there is no distinction between page and screen, just a story to be discovered and rediscovered.  So it seems to me that one does not replace the other, but as with most modern conveniences, the E-reader simply offers us more choice.

Speaking of choice, it’s worth doing some research into which brand of E-reader you would like to buy, as you will be purchasing all of your E-books through that distributor.  Irish author David Gaughran’s article Amazon Holds Back The Growth Of E-Books Around The World makes for very interesting reading in this regard.  But whatever your device, The Cross Of Santiago is available to buy in all formats – the choice is yours!

5 days left to win a copy of The Cross Of Santiago

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let all my loyal followers know that you have 5 more days to enter the competition to win a free copy of my novel.  Entry numbers are low, so you have a pretty excellent chance of winning!  Just enter here, it’s quite painless 😉

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has bought a copy of the book and to let you know that The Cross Of Santiago is available for download on every kind of e-reader known to man!  Here are some new links:

Sony Reader

iPhone, iPad or iTouch


Of course it is also available on Kindle and don’t forget you can download Kindle for PC here, so you can read Kindle books on your laptop or computer.  So happy reading and let me know your thoughts 🙂

Smashwords Pre-Order

Fancy pre-ordering my exciting début novel?  Well now you can!  If you’re not tying yourself into the whole Kindle Select Program, you can go ahead and upload your book to Smashwords, weeks before your launch and make it available to pre-order.  I think this is a fantastic idea, because in the lead up to the launch of The Cross Of Santiago, people keep asking me where they can get my book, but I don’t have any link to give them.  This makes me look silly.

Me:  Hey, I’ve got a new book coming out.

Random Acquaintance:  Good for you Evie, where can I get a copy?

Me:  Well, it’s an e-book, so you can download it off Amazon.

RA:  Great, I’ll do it right now.

Me:  Um, well no, you see it hasn’t launched yet, so if you log on to Amazon, it eh… well it won’t be there yet.

RA:  Right, right.

Me:  But it will be in two weeks, I mean you could just keep checking my blog until then and I’ll give you the links??

RA:  Oh, here’s my bus, gotta go, I’ll call you though…

Gone.  You won’t get that opportunity back.  And you sound like you’re launching your novel in a makey-uppy land… far, far away.  But with Smashwords, you can upload everything weeks ahead of your actual launch, so people not only have a link to view your novel (with a cheeky sample to boot), but they can also pre-order it.  This could mean a head-start when it comes to your sales rankings and all that algorithm jazz, so for me it’s a no-brainer.  So publish pre-order books to Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and according to Smashwords ” Accumulated sales during the pre-order period can cause your book to rise in the best-seller lists”.  Let me know your views.

To pre-order your copy of The Cross Of Santiago with Smashwords, click here.