Guest Blog – Jerome Dumont on e-Publishing

Jerome is a French lawyer I met when we were both doing our Barreau du Quebec exams in Montreal, and we’ve been good friends ever since.

Jerome has written and self-published a book about his own personal story about weight loss, and since he had to master the e-book business to do it, I asked him to blog about it. (Next, I’ll ask him to help me knock off a few pounds.)

Today, he’ll talk about how he self-published. Tomorrow, what he did to build a bigger platform for sales.  I hope you find it helpful!

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As I am closely following Peggy’s blog about her publishing journey, I’ve occasionally commented on some of her adventures and she kindly offered to let me guest blog. So, here is my little contribution, about my own journey in the wonderful e-publishing world.

Early this year, I wrote something which is more a testimony rather than a novel. It’s about my own experience in losing a dramatic amount of weight: more than 66 lbs. in around six months! As more and more people kept asking me how I did that, I decided to write my own story, and to promote also the book that helped me so much in this personal journey, How to Conquer Your Food Addiction.

I wrote it in my native language, French. After giving it to close friends, the idea of sharing it with the world came almost naturally, but how?

As I’m working in the videogame industry after being a lawyer for twelve years, it was quite natural to me that it had to be done the electronic way! As a true Apple fan, I first thought of the Apple’s ibook store, available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

As usual with Apple, the procedure is well documented: 

1) you have to have an i-tunes content provider account (which is slightly different than your customer’s itunes account,

2) once registered, you have to download a simple application: itunes producer,

3) then you convert your book in epub format, preferably using Apple’s text processor, Pages

4) all you have to do is to use itunes producer to upload your book, enter the metadata and price.

Apple offers six virtual ibooks stores in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, France and Germany. You also have to set your price, and decide if your book is going to be DRM free or not.For Apple, I chose DRM Free, and a price fixed at $ 2.99 and 2.99 euros. This price’s bracket was chosen deliberately in order to encourage “impulse buys.”

Seems quite easy, doesn’t it? But… in order to register as a content producer with Apple, you have to give a US Employer Identification Number (EIN), even if you don’t hire anybody, even if you don’t do business in the US: the publishing process is made in the US, so you have to get that number. If you don’t have it, you simply can’t register.

I read the documentation and sent my fax to the IRS, Philadelphia office. And waited, and waited and waited… Nothing. Finally, I asked my accountant’s office in Quebec City to do it and the partner who does  business with the US  got me this magical number in one hour!

There was another problem: the conversion process. My book was initially written using Microsoft Word, and the conversion process has strict guidelines to be followed.

I downloaded the sample Pages document from Apple and things went much easier: I simply put my content in that template and after few adjustments and essay/error tries, I had my final epub. I finally completed the registration process and uploaded my epub ebook! 

The wait wasn’t over. It took almost one month to have the book processed. (I guess that an English book goes faster in that process, as French books are very rare on the iBook store).

 The book was online on June 14, my birthday. After that, I only had to check my sales every day! Apple provides a comprehensive interface with its Itunes connect website, with graphics like these:

These are my weekly sales, but you can also check on a daily basis. This can help you a lot when marketing your book, to see if your marketing is effective or not. 

So far, I’ve sold around 130 books, and I’m waiting for my first payment. (Apple pays monthly but only if you hit the $ 150 threshold, below this amount, you have to wait ). My first payment will be 251.22 CAD!

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Jerome’s book, Losing weight without a diet ? It’s possible!  is now available through Amazon. Tomorrow, he’ll describe how he went about getting it on Amazon and promoting sales world-wide. Thanks, Jerome!

 
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