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eBooks and Digital Publishing

Humanus Publishing, Inc.

Peggy Richardson: a Geek with a difference.

Humanus Publishing, Inc.

Specializing in formatting your book for Amazon's Kindle format.

Are you struggling trying to convert your previously-printed book to Amazon's Kindle format? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by confusing technology, or a failed attempt to upload your eBook yourself?

With a 20-year background in IT, Peggy loves the techy aspects of eBooks and marketing, and offers Kindle eBook formatting and coaching services.

Let's work together! eMail me at

5 Ways To Market Your Kindle eBook Off Amazon

October 9th, 2015 . by Peggy

ID-100263606While there may be 100 ways to market your Kindle eBook off Amazon, here are my 5 faves.

1. Put a “buy now” link on your website or blog.

Using Amazon’s Associates program, you can link to any item in the Amazon catalogue and make a commission when people buy. Using it on your own eBook makes double the sense. Sign up here: and create beautiful links using their automatic system, or create something awesome on your own, using Photoshop and your imagination.

2. Create a free QR code to link to your eBook, and put it on your business card.

I prefer to use, which has a number of cool extra features that make it really valuable as a tracking tool. A QR code is extremely handy, and gives you a chance to extend the conversation with someone, perhaps walking them through the process. Any smartphone is now your cash register.

3. Register a domain name and point the domain directly to your eBook on Amazon.

Imagine that you are having lunch with your potential new client. Your eBook explains your value, but you can’t go to a computer while you’re eating. A memorable domain name that links directly to your eBook will stick with them when they get back to the office. They go to the domain, and voila, there is your eBook. To double the power of this, use the Amazon Associates link or the tracking mentioned in number 4. To make it work, simply point the domain you purchase using the “destination” or “target” feature wherever you buy your domain. (Tip: this is why I’ve always suggested that you buy the domain of the name of your book as soon as you think of it. Point it direct. Useful in so many situations!)

4. Put a trackable link out on social media.

Pointing someone to your eBook on social media is excellent, but wouldn’t you like to know how many people click on that link, even those that don’t buy? This is easy to track using Google Analytics. Analytics can be confusing and complicated, but there are some little cheats that are worth learning. Click to to enroll in their free online training system. You can create a link to your eBook, and then when you circulate that link, watch beautiful graphs and charts show you how many people clicked on that, where those people came from, and a whole lot more. Really great for learning about your marketing and whether or not it’s working.

5. Offer a preview as a free download to your mailing list.

Duh moment. I’m sure you’ve already done this, right? I mean, c’mon. There are also 100 ways to do this, but building your list by offering a free download is still important to your marketing foundation. Nothing fancy – a PDF is perfect. Everyone can read it, on tablets, phones, and computers. At the bottom, put that link we just talked about, so you can see how many people have clicked through to the sales page.

And there you have it! Even if you only circulated your link one place, you’d see a difference, and it’s also trackable. Worth the time!

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Copyright and Quoting Others

October 6th, 2015 . by Peggy

Copyright and Quoting OthersA number of years ago, I worked with a client who was quoting others for inspiration in her book, and as a matter of professionalism, we investigated what the legal impact of this might be. Here’s a brief summary of what was discovered on our trip down Copyright Alley.

Now, let me pause here for the part where I remind you, once again, that nothing you read in my blog (or any other blog) is a substitute for quality legal advice. What you are about to read is meant as a series of interesting (dare I suggest entertaining?) observations, and nothing more. I can’t be held responsible for anything anyone may or may not do with stuff they read here. In fact, let us say that this post is meant to encourage Authors in a similar situation to seek legal advice, and avoid any sleepless nights.

 The good news is that almost all of what we discovered worked in the author’s favour, and not against her. But you may find some of this surprising.

– An American lawyer friend that I asked agreed that anybody who bothers to spend the time and money to sue for using snippets of their wisdom is generally considered to be lacking in foresight. (I believe his exact word was “Dork”.) Most people are happy to be quoted, because it helps to raise their media profile.

– If you use less than 300 words in the total work, and less than 150 words in a stream, you’re covered under “Fair Use“.

– Fair Use mostly applies to teaching and other non-profit situations, but can be used for writing that is done for profit if the amount of text quoted is small.

– If you are using material prior to 1923, you’re after copyright expiration, which is much safer but still not foolproof.

– In the case of my client, the author was quoting small amounts from a large number of people, so this ratio helped to augment her Fair Use argument, as she’s not selectively targeting any one person.

– Song lyrics and music are a very dangerous and convoluted area, and it’s just best to just not go there. (Don’t quote Lennon!)

– Quoting someone for their cleverness or wisdom is not the same as quoting their theories or other intellectual property. My client was just using uplifting quotes about life philosophy, which any bright person might also know,  and not quoting their scientific observations or commenting on their technology. Big difference.

– To be on the safe side, always credit the speaker immediately after you quote their words, not in an appendix or other reference later in the book.

– Writers quoting “wise words” rather than technology or statistics still generally seem to be more concerned with being attacked for accuracy in their wording and attributions than permissions. This was unexpected, but observed in each place that we sought a precedent.

– You can’t copyright your spoken words, and a variety of other items related to titles or marketing, but you can copyright complete sections of a book or other written work, as in a chapter or explanation of a theory. In other words, it’s been put out there by another person, clearly crediting them in the public eye, so you can’t copy that.

– There’s a surprising lack of precedents out there for this sort of thing. I referred to three books chock full of quotes from a variety of people, and there were no permissions published or other items to address copyright whatsoever. They are all rightly more concerned with protecting their copyright on their own books and layout with the quotes in them than with the quotes themselves.

– Lawyers who deal with this sort of thing spend most of their time worrying about academic and corporate intellectual property issues, and this kind of thing rarely, if ever, comes up. I admit that out of anything we discovered, this reassured me the most.

In the end, my client decided on a compromise as her strategic approach. She sent each “quotee” a flattering personal letter asking for their permission to use their quote, with a specific response date. She made sure that there was a line on the copyright page that thanked all the people that have been quoted. As far as I know, there was not a single negative response, although the Office of the Dalai Lama did respond with a beautiful letter, granting official permission!

She also modified her disclaimer in the front of the book to include a statement about the efforts she made to avert copyright problems, and a promise to remove any from future editions if there is an objection that is resolved in good faith between herself and the objector. Talk about good karma! I don’t think she could do much better than that – even the lawyer friend agreed.

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Social Media For eBook Authors, The 5-Second Version

September 19th, 2015 . by Peggy

Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak at FreeDigitalPhotos.netSocial media for eBook Authors? BIG topic! Here’s one small way to think about it.

We all know that social media for eBook Authors is super important, and is great for general “buzz” about your eBook. But the best part about social media is that it’s easily measurable, and sales types love things that are measurable! When does social media really put rubber to the road? That’s where we start to talk about inbound links.

What is an inbound link?

Simply put, an inbound link is when another website, tweet, Facebook post, Pinterest image, or etc., has a link that sends people to your site.

Google and other search engines, like Pinterest, YouTube, and others, all use ridiculously complicated algorithms to rank one website over another. While all the details of that math are a huge corporate secret, we do know for certain that one thing that matters is the number and quality of inbound links that it sees coming into your website over another. If many people post links to your site, this seems to indicate to a search engine or a social media network that your content is more worthy, accurate, well-written, to-the-point, and therefore, better. This means that a website or blog with more people saying “Hey, check this out…” is more likely to rank higher up in a search engine.

All of this means that every time someone tweets or posts a note on Facebook about your blog, article, website, or even back to another social media connection of yours, you score a major bonus point with the search engines.

So that’s what you’ve been doing all along on social media – building inbound links! We’ll talk more in future posts about ways to do that, ones specific to eBook authors. For now, how are you doing in the social media department? (Discuss among yourselves…)

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