Look what I found....
Okay so I have 5 free promotional codes to give away to anyone who would like a copy of my "Carly the Cat" eBook from the iBookstore. So anyone looking for an Interactive Early Learning reader suitable for children between 2 to 5 years email me or inbox me on facebook and I will get it to you for your free download.
The codes expire on the 9th of July 2013 so be quick.
Oh, and if you would like to rate it or do a little review that would be great as long as it is positive, otherwise don't bother ;)
A step by step guide......
Firstly you will need to get the following things organised if you have not already:
An Apple ID for use on the iTunes Store with a valid credit card on file
A valid email account
A Mac computer with OS X v10.6 or later
A valid U.S. Tax ID or EIN
A valid bank account (for Apple to pay your Royalties into)
ABN (Australian Business Number)
Assuming you already are familiar with iTunes, iBookstore and all things Apple, you probably already have a Apple Id in iTunes with a valid email account attached. You will need a valid credit card on file as you will be unable to apply for an iTunes Connect account. Similarly if you do not have a Mac computer with OS X v10.6 or later (or access to one), the game is over here. With all these things in place though you can move on to setting yourself up as a self publisher.
It is important to remember you are becoming a publisher and everything you do from here will involve you applying for as a Publisher. To keep things simple, I just used my own name in the hope it would be less complicated and consistent. This way all my details are the same for each registration process and there could be no discrepancies when I applied. It seemed to work though I would have liked to have used a different, more fancy Publisher name, so it appeared different from the author once up in the Bookstore. But my aim was to get my books out there without complication so, c'est la vie.
Also be reminded that I am in Australia and the process regarding taxes, ABN etc, may be a little different for those applying in other countries.
How to apply for the ISBN?
I used Bowker and the process was relatively pain free. I created an account, signed and paid up for 10 ISBN which cost around $80 AUS. When you apply you have the option of inputting your book details then and there for each ISBN. Or you can opt to go back later through their "Bowkerlink " system and input your books metadata. I chose this option as I was not organised enough. Keep in mind though, you cannot do this until you have been sent your numbers and until you have been emailed with your registration details and password. I think I received mine the next day. However, as the email stated, it can take up to 24-48 hours after you receive this for your account to go live and before you will be able to input any information. However, if you are in a hurry, as I was, you can give them a call (number available under contact us) and a friendly staff member can speed it up for you.
How to apply for ABN?
Again, relatively pain free.
Fill in your details making sure you have your tax file number handy. You will be registering as a sole trader under your own name. If you have any questions, give them a call and they will walk you through it. Though you may have to wait a little on the phone listening to very bad music, you will know you have filled it in correctly.
You should be issued with your ABN then and there.
I filled the form in without calling and had a problem because I ticked "other" in one of the boxes which confused the system, but I spoke directly to an admin staff member and they were able to go in and correct my mistake and give me my number over the phone.
It is then time to register for GST (if you wish to sell in the Australian iBookstore). You need to wait 24 -48 hours for the ABN to process and then give them a call to register for GST.
You will receive your ABN and GST notification in the post.
How to apply for EIN?
Easiest way is to call them directly on 1-800-829-4933
You just need to give them your details and tell them you want to sell eBooks in the iBookstore. They will give you your number over the phone and send you a copy in the post. Use the same name as you have with your ABN, this is your Publisher name so it is important for consistency, especially once you start filling in the iTunes forms.
And finally once all this is sorted, you are now ready to begin the application process. Let the fun begin.
How to apply to iTunes connect?
Things you will need at hand:
Your Mac computer with OS X v10.6 or later
Your Apple ID for use on the iTunes Store with a valid credit card on file
A valid email account
A valid U.S. Tax ID
A valid bank account (the one you want your royalties to be paid into)
Firstly, if you have not already done so, you need to have a credit card set up to your iTunes account or you will not be able to apply.
Then go to: https://itunesconnect.apple.com
and fill in your details step by step.
Apple provide useful PDF instructions as to how to use iTunes Connect which are useful to keep on hand if you do have any concerns or questions along the way.
These are not too bad to follow (for Apple) and quite thorough. There are two sets of instructions handy to know about - one for iTunes Connect and one for iTunes Producer, each are helpful. I would have a quick read through both, especially the iTunes Producer guide to get an idea of exactly what you will need to know, to familiarize yourself with it and get an idea of what you will be asked for. This way you will be well prepared and there will be no little surprises, like oh, how many pages is my book?
You will receive an account activation email once your U.S. Tax ID has been verified. Give this 24 hours or so for processing. Just click on the link in the email and sign up to activate iTunes Connect account. Read the contract and if you are happy then accept the conditions. It is then a matter of working through each step and filling in the details. Before you can deliver and sell your books on the iBookstore, you must accept the contract, provide valid banking details and provide valid tax information. Once you have completed all areas you can then use iProducer to upload your book.
How to upload you eBook into iProducer?
It is not too difficult, just make sure you have everything ready to go:
Book cover (see here for dimensions),
Screenshots (just use a screen capture from your book in iBooks on your iPad and have 2-3 ready)
Description of your book written so you can copy and paste. I had a look at some other books in the bookstore to get an idea of what should be included.
An idea of which countries you want to publish in and an idea of pricing.
The EPub itself.
An ePub preview, you can make this a small version of your original ePub by deleting pages.
Before I did this I went into Bowerlink and updated my ISBN numbers with the information about my book. I am not sure this is necessary but it did give me some more background and useful experience in filling out the details around my book.
Do not worry if you do not want to put it in all stores at once as you can use iTunes Connect to add or remove your books from different stores and to change the pricing later down the track if you choose to.
I was fortunate not to get many errors upon upload however, if you do DON'T PANIC, just work through each one and respond accordingly giving the necessary info or files. If you run into trouble remember Apple are just a phone call or email away. Usually my emails were responded to within 24 hours, so given the time difference from Australia I thought that was pretty good. You can email directly to them in the "contact us" section in iTunes Connect or via firstname.lastname@example.org. I found with the time difference (I'm in Australia) they would usually respond within 24 hours. If I emailed in the afternoon, by morning I would often have a response. Or you can phone them for a direct response, keeping in mind the time difference on 1300 307 504.
Once you have cleared all and no longer are receiving any error reports it will take a little while to go live in the stores. Once live, the little dot will turn green and next to it you will see how many stores it is in. I sent of a quick email soon after uploading to ask how long it would take to go live and to my surprise the next day it was up. I do not know if this was due to my email, but it sure did not hurt.
Below are some links to helpful sites. Also you can find helpful hints in Apple Support communities. You will need to sign in to use. Here's one that helped me.
Other helpful references I used along the way:
Phone numbers for iBookstore Support for publisher support:
Australia 1300 307 504
Note that this is a low tariff number.
France 0805 540 117
Germany 0800 664 5307
Italy 800 915 902
Netherlands 0800 0201 578
Spain 900 812 687
U.K. 0800 975 0615
U.S. +1 (877) 206-2092
Toll-free from U.S. and Can
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My eBooks are in the iBookstore
Well it did not take long before my two Children's Picture books showed up in the iTunes Bookstore.
Let's see, I uploaded them into iTunes Connect on Friday Nov 9 and by the following Thursday, November 15 (after spending UNDER a week in iTunes Connect stating they were being "reviewed for quality assurance"), there they were. I did send off a quick email to iBookstore support enquiring as to the books progress the day before they showed up. I do not know if this helped speed up the process or not. But I guess it did not hinder.
So exciting! Now all I need to do is promote them so people start buying them. Also, they only seem to show up in iTunes when I search either my name, or their title. This is a concern as it means they do not show up to the general public. Grrr.
Perhaps it takes a little time before they show up more in the public arena of the iTunes Store. I will keep you posted.
To check them out:
Carly the Cat
Paisley the Pig
In an attempt to help others get their books published, I will soon write down all the steps I went through to arrive here with two books published in the iTunes Bookstore. So stay tuned.
I first thought of self publishing an eBook about a year ago. I had been sending off a few of my Children's Picture books to publishers to no avail. A friend mentioned a self publishing service called Lulu, and it was then I saw the potential of the eBook. Having just got my first smart phone and purchased my first iPad I had just been thrust into the world of iBooks, apps and Kindle books. I thought, well how hard could it be? Little did I know, my journey had just began. I knew nothing then of the difference between fixed layout ePubs (compatible with iBooks) versus free flowing PDF / ePubs (for Kindle).
So I began to research putting together an eBook. Lulu stated they required an ePub or PDF file format so that is what I set out to do. They had some links to how you could do this yourself or you could pay and have them put it together. Being a control freak I chose to do it myself. At first I used the Microsoft Word program to create the PDF file, plugging in my illustrations and adding text around as per instructions. I used a free downloadable program called Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) to then "magically" convert it to an ePub that I could send to my iBook library an read on my iPad. To my amazement, it worked! But it needed tweaking to get the text to match the pictures. The free flow of the non fixed format made it tricky and meant that some text would dribble onto pages it should not. I compared it to other books in the bookstore and on kindle and it just did not come up to scratch. Being a children's picture book, I wanted the pictures to fill the page. I realized I would have to edit my pictures and embed the text in them to make it look the way I wanted it. However, even this did not work to my satisfaction.
It was at this point I started looking around for other ways to create my eBook. I then stumbled across a fantastic app on my iPad called "Book Creator". This changed how I would approach it altogether. It was perfect from a design point of view and I could also make my books read aloud and eventually interactive. This is an amazing app and I highly recommend it. It is extremely easy to use and makes marvelous interactive eBooks. The website: http://www.redjumper.net/bookcreator/ is filled with helpful hints. Dan, the creator is a great source of information and will help out with any problems you may have along the way. He is often just an email and short time difference away. Dan will also help with handy hints when you are trying to load your book into iBookstore.
The only negative, for me, was its fixed layout format which meant I could only publish to the iBookstore because Amazon and Nook did not accept fixed layout and multimedia eBooks at that time. Things however, may be changing see article by eBook Architects (BTW, these guys work with authors and publishers of all sizes, designing well-formatted, high-quality eBooks for the Kindle, iPad, Nook, and other devices). So although I had to accept my book may not be destined for Amazon in its current make up, I did not mind because my book had become an enhanced interactive experience more like an app than a book. BUT it did mean I would have to have to self publish to the iBookstore!!! You see the aggregators I could use (and here is a list you can use from iTunes) like Lulu and Smashwords, did not, and still do not (I think) deal with multimedia ebooks as they cannot get them into all the stores at once (Amazon, Nook, iBookstore etc).
So another journey began involving applying for ISBN numbers, EIN numbers (for US Tax purposes) numbers, an ABN (Australian Business Number).... etc etc etc All the fun stuff. Stay tuned for more on how to do it....