On iTunes at last..

Seemed to take forever, but pleased to note that my omnibus ukulele handbook, The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know is FINALLY on the iTunes Store.

Those of you with iPads, iPhones or iPod touches can now get the book direct from the iBookstore.

For now this book plus my chord book are available and hoping the others will appear soon. You can find the book here in the US

and here in the UK


I have to agree - Mark Coker speaks ebooks

A little while ago I read this news article - a statement from Mark Coker of Smashwords, and I have to agree with him.

Smashwords is another option for those with ebooks to get their titles out there to other ereader platforms in a single one stop shop way. It's not without it's issues and the interface can be a little clunky, but when you are on and approved I have nothing but good things to say.

I put each of my titles on to Smashwords for one very simple reason - they gave me the opportunity to sell my books to people who don't have a Kindle but another electronic device. Why? Because, contrary to what Amazon would like you to believe, not everybody owns a Kindle!

So why should I as an author effectively slap potential readers in the face by saying "don't have a Kindle? Then don't bother me - if you want my books it is Kindle or nothing". That would be completely crazy. As such, I am pleased that my Smashwords listings appear on the likes of Nooks and Kobo's and Sony readers.

Now I am not being naive here - Kindle IS the biggest selling ereader and as such, my Kindle copies of my uke books in circulation are the greatest number, but to me, even if I sold only one copy of my books to an interested reader in another format, then that to me makes Smashwords worth it. I don't want to alienate. Of course, Amazon are a business and they want market share, and they think they have found that with a way to strong arm their readers. KDP Select.

I never joined KDP select ( a service which allows authors to have their books loaned in return for a payment and allows authors to run short term promos offering books for free) for one very good reason. To do so means I would have to take down all books on other non-Kindle sites. That's right - in return for these 'toys' Amazon want to own me.

For me, those delights of loaning and freebies were of no interest. In fact the huge surge in freebies on Kindle is now leading to drops in sales of books as Kindles around the world groan under the weight of readers just clicking on every book they saw that was priced ZERO. No thanks - my books are specialist - you either want them or you don't. So I thought that was that. Then something else happened.

At the moment Kindle authors get a competitive 70% royalty for books over a certain price point. Then Amazon started to offer it's Kindle service in India (huge potential market), but with a catch. To get 70% in India, you have to join KDP select otherwise it's 35%. Hang on Amazon - isn't that bullying tactics? And isn't this the thin end of the wedge?

Authors all over are flooding discussion boards with concern about the way Amazon is treating it's authors - the very people that make the Kindle so popular.  As such I totally agree with what Mark Coker is saying - we want a healthy market not one that bullies it's authors into submission. For me, with Nooks and Kobos gaining new users everyday, I am sitting tight, but will guarantee one thing - I will always make my books available to whatever device my readers use. The only way that would change is if Amazon continue to tighten the screw, then it may be Kindle that loses my trade.

If you want to support Smashwords - my books are here and sales through there give them a cut of the proceeds.

They also take something from sales direct, such as my books on Barnes and NobleKobo and Sony


My neglected title!

I get surprised all the time by my second book. In particular, I get comments from readers who have loved the first book (What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know) but tell me they didn't even know there was a second one!

Now, whether that is down to me not mentioning it to people or Amazon etc not recommending it to buyers of the other book I don't know - but either way it is feeling neglected....

You can grab a copy HERE. And if any readers want to share a review on Amazon, I'd appreciate that too - it's looking lonely on that front also!


Special offer on my omnibus ukulele book!

For the next two weeks you can grab a copy of my omnibus - The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know for 33% off list price.

Sadly, Amazon don't let me create discount vouchers, but thankfully Smashwords do! You can grab a copy in a range of ebook formats there (including Kindle)!

Just visit Smashwords to see the book HERE and apply the discount code MP69R at checkout. Offer ends on 20 October 2012.

And of course you can check my range of books on Amazon by clicking the book covers down the left hand side of this site, or going HERE



Are you a Like button clicker?

Facebook introduced it, and now it seems that everyone the world over has found themselves automatically clicking Like on so many things they see online. (Sorry Google, yes, I know yours says +1, but 'Like' has become the de facto way of telling the world you dig something.)

So in a shameless plug - are you aware that Amazon have the same system on their products? Up near the top of a product page, near the review stars - yes, you guessed it, another Like button. Have you read my books? Why not give them a like!

And for authors we are still trying to work out whether that Like button count can actually assist in exposure for a book? Rumours abound suggesting that the more likes there are, the more likely a book will appear on an Amazon newsletter or perhaps even (joy of joys) the Kindle homepage. I don't know whether any of that is true or not, but its an interesting thought.

So for an author - there are three things they  crave when they have a book on Amazon.

1. Likes - a like of the page as above.

2. Tags - tags appear a little further down the product page (either above or below reviews depending on the site) and represent words or snippets that relate to the book. For example, an obvious tag for my books would be be 'ukulele'. Tag the book ukulele and it goes into a sub page along with all other books tagged ukulele. That of course helps the Amazon search system become more reliable. I have a range of relevant tags on all my books and would be delighted if you added to them!

3. Reviews - the holy grail - the one thing all authors crave. (In fact some authors crave them so much, as you may have read in recent news, that they have faked them or paid for them... not good form at all.). But if you can get an honest review from a real reader, then that is just a wonderful sight for any author.

You can find Amazon links to all my books on the tabs above, and would be delighted for likes, tags, or even better, reviews! I know what a lovely bunch the ukulele community are so share a little love!

Barry Maz Amazon books - UK

Barry Maz Amazon books - USA