Let’s Get Digital 2


If you bought Let’s Get Digital 1 you can download the 2nd edition FREE. Instructions here.

For the rest of you, you can grab Digital 2 from Amazon USAmazon UK, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords (and all the other Amazons too).

If you are looking for the free PDF edition, scroll to the bottom of the page. Note: the free PDF is of the original first edition (published July 2011), not the new second edition.

Paperback coming in a couple of weeks.


This award-winning, bestselling self-publishing guide has been re-released as a new updated and expanded 2nd edition, with 75,000 words of essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 30 bestselling indie authors including J Carson Black, Bob Mayer, Debora Geary, Mark Edwards, and many more.

You won’t make any money from self-publishing.


The internet has revolutionized every business it has come into contact with, and publishing is no different.

For the first time, these changes are handing power back to the writer. It’s up to YOU if you want to profit from them.

Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should (Updated 2nd Edition) covers everything from how the disruptive power of the internet has changed the publishing business forever to the opportunities this has created for writers. It gives you practical, hands-on advice, sharing the very latest best practices on editing, cover design, formatting, and pricing.

It gives you proven marketing strategies that won’t eat into your writing time and are actually effective at selling books. It also shares tips on platform building, blogging, and social networking, and explains which approaches are best for selling fiction versus non-fiction, and what writers should really focus on.

This new updated 2nd edition now has more options for those on a tighter budget, teaches you how to get your book into print (and why that helps selling e-books), tells you why you should start a mailing list immediately, and shares the pros and cons of going exclusive with Amazon. And that’s just for starters…

Praise for Let’s Get Digital:

“Let’s Get Digital is a must read for anyone considering self-publishing.” — JA Konrath, bestselling author of Trapped, Origin, and Whiskey Sour.

“Even with my background as an indie writer, I picked up several valuable tips…this is simply the best book about the ebook revolution that I have read.” — Michael Wallace, bestselling author of the Righteous series.

“Credible and comprehensive. I’d recommend it to any writer who is considering self-publishing or anyone interested in the current state of publishing.” — Big Al’s Books and Pals – 5 stars.

“It should be THE starting point for anyone considering self-publishing today. This book is a Pixel Pick, and should be considered required reading for any Indie author.” — Pixel of Ink.

*** Table of Contents ***

1. Appetite for Disruption
2. Here Be Pirates!
3. Royalties
4. What We Talk About When We Talk About Editing
5. Literary Agents
6. The 800lb Gorilla: Amazon
7. Print Is Doomed
8. E-book Dominance Is Inevitable
9. Publishers: The New Travel Agents?
10. The Age of the Algorithm
11. Self-publishing Myths
12. A Great Time to Be a Writer
13. …Unless You Fall For These Scams

Step 1: Publishing When Ready
Step 2: Cover Design
Step 3: Working With An Editor
Step 4: Formatting & Killer Layouts
Step 5: Pricing To Sell
Step 6: Uploading & Metadata
Step 7: Marketing is Easy
Step 8: Platform Building
Step 9: Developing A Sticky Readership
Step 10: How To Kickstart Your Sales

Cheryl Shireman
Victorine Lieske
Michael Hicks
CJ Archer
Beth Orsoff
Bob Mayer
Debora Geary
Sibel Hodge
Consuelo Saah Baehr
Steven L. Hawk
Suzanne Tyrpak
Mel Comley
Jason Letts
Melanie Nilles
Jan Hurst-Nicholson
KC May
Terri Reid
N Gemini Sasson
Susanne O’Leary
Shayne Parkinson
Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Sarah Woodbury
Kenneth Rosenberg
Katie Klein
William Esmont
Lexi Revellian
J Carson Black
Imogen Rose
Mark Edwards
CD Reiss

Appendix A: Publishing Checklist
Appendix B: Mailing Lists
Appendix C: Let’s Get Physical
Appendix D: Shorter Stories
Appendix E: Reviews
Appendix F: KDP Select
Appendix G: Practicalities
Appendix H: Resources


The PDF version of Let’s Get Digital has been free since I launched the book in July 2011. This is not the new updated and expanded second edition, but the original first edition. Perhaps if you find it useful, you will consider buying the update, or gifting the 2nd edition to a friend.

The marketing advice (Steps 6 to 9) is particularly out of date, but between this post and this post you can cobble together a more up-to-date approach.

FREE PDF: Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran (Updated July 2011)

Simply right-click on the link above and select “Save As” to download it. Alternatively, click the link to open the PDF. From there you can save to your computer.

The Free PDF Edition is released under a Creative Commons License, meaning that you are free to download, copy, share, print, and email this PDF. You can even put it up for download on your own site. The only restrictions are that you must credit me as the author of the work, you must not amend it any way, and you are restricted from any commercial use (i.e. you cannot charge for it or profit from it in any way).

Please respect these very few restrictions, and feel free to share it with whoever you like.

219 Responses to Let’s Get Digital 2

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  7. Hello all!

    Let’s Get Digital is making a run at the charts in the UK and the US!

    I have had a couple of reports of the site being slow (possibly down to increased traffic), so if you experienced that, please let me know.

    I’m going to put up an alternate site for downloading the PDF shortly as a workaround.

    Sorry to anyone affected!



  8. Pingback: Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should | The Passive Voice

  9. Fabulous, David! And thanks!


  10. Thank you for sharing this, especially for free since I’m a cheap bum. Very informative and filled with a lot of great best practices.


  11. Just bought it from Smashwords (epub format for Nook). Thank you for publishing this book.


  12. Pingback: Impressive Book About Self-Publishing - Free, If You Want It That Way | The Passive Voice

  13. This is a great PDF, Dave! Clear, to-the-point, concise and extremely helpful. Thanks for making it available!


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  15. Keira Lea says:

    Thank you, Dave! I appreciate all your hard work and generosity!


  16. Pingback: Let’s Get Digital: First Day Results (Normal Service Resumed Tomorrow) | David Gaughran

  17. Just saw your tweet. This looks so awesome! I’m sure this will be a huge help to myself and many, many others. I just wanted to say thanks!


  18. Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate it.


  19. Cari says:

    David, I want to thank you so much for this! As someone still very new to the attempt at writing publicly (whether for profit or not–just getting my feet wet right now, I suppose one would say) & more than likely in dire need of tips, I’m finding the writing community to be most kind, helpful, & generous–more than I’d ever have imagined! Everyone I’ve ‘met’ so far, yourself included, has been wonderful! I can’t wait to check this out! Many blessings to you & yours for your kindness!


  20. Pingback: Using “Free” to Generate Pre-Release Buzz & Let’s Get Digital | Moses and Dionysus Walk Into a Bar ...

  21. Alanboy says:

    I shall read this with great interest. Having finished my first novel it could be a turning-point for me.
    You deserve every accolade.


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  24. Janet O says:

    Thanks so much. We heard about this on ABNA threads. Greatly appreciated. Will help with my next project which I’m revising.


  25. Landon Cocks says:

    You have just changed my life and opened my eyes. Job well done.


    P.S. Help!


    • Hey Landon – thank you very much.

      What do you need help with? I’m a man of limited abilities and questionable morals, but I might be able to point you in the right direction.


  26. Awesome! I really with this was on B&N so I could (easily) download to my Nook, but Smashwords will have to do. 🙂


    • Hey Susan,

      It will be on B&N in a week or two. They don’t let nasty unwashed internationals like me into the store direct. We have to go through Smashwords which means a delay of at least a couple of weeks before it gets approved and appears on B&N – unfortunate, but not much we can do about it.



  27. Just heard about this on Twitter and downloaded the sample. I’m sure I’ll be buying the rest. Looks like great info.

    Cathy Titus Neumueller


  28. Pingback: Guest post: Publishing in 2016 by David Gaughran | One Thousand And One Parsecs -

  29. Pingback: [Bargain eBook] Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should | Pixel of Ink

  30. Data to support Joe’s contentions about how self-publishing benefits authors.
    Having made the change from mainstream publishing with one of the big 6 to publishing and selling my own novels I now have some figures.
    From my latest sales via an online small etailer I am making $4.28 per book sold by them on my behalf.
    For my in-print books I get $2-$3 per copy [or much less] for print copies sold or a measly 90c they offered me per ebook sold. Which I declined.
    This is a small example of how self-publishing can benefit the Author.
    I haven’t even begun really marketing my books yet!


  31. Pingback: Stone Cottage on a Hill » Blog Archive » Indie Author Spotlight – David Gaughran

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  33. Pingback: Novelnaut » Blog Archive » Let’s Get Digital

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  38. Julie Isaac says:

    Hi David,

    I just bought your ebook on Amazon, because of how much I like your blog, but realized immediately that it didn’t have a Table of Contents. So I flew over here, lickety-split, to ask you for one. Then I found out that you were offering the PDF (with a TOC) for free. It is now downloaded, and tucked away in a file whose name I hope to remember when I stumble upon a few free minutes for reading. I’m keeping your ebook, as I’m happy to pay you for your writing, but you might consider adding a Table of Contents to your Kindle edition, because 60,000 words of a non-fiction book without a TOC is quite daunting.

    Julie Isaac


    • Hi Julie,

      First of all, thanks for buying the book. The Kindle version should have a ToC – I tested it myself. It’s at the back of the book (which is common enough practice now so readers get more of the actual book to sample). Have you tried just clicking the ToC button? I’ll send you an email.



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  43. Paul Pavao says:

    One bit of advice. I used my back button to come back here from PayPal after giving a small donation for the book. One of the options when you create a donate button is a page to which to return customers after donating. It’s probably worth it to make use of that option so that we can easily return to this page.


  44. Pingback: October Sales Report: A Holding Pattern & A Milestone | David Gaughran

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  46. Colleen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am sadly between jobs at the moment and money is tight but you’re on my list to toss a few loonies or twonies to via the donate button or purchase when or if I sell (or find work). I’m following Dean Wesley Smith’s advice re starting with a few short stories and everything will be DIY. What I read re promotion seems more oriented to longer works so I’m curious to see how you managed with your short stories. Best of luck for your continued success!


    • I know that feeling. Happy to help.

      I promoted the hell out of my first short. Not so much with the second. I’m not sure if it’s worth it until you have five out that you can then sell as singles and as a collection. By all means, publish them as soon as they are ready, but hold back on devoting too much time to promotion until there are enough out there to make it worth your while. I still give every title a little push, but that’s it until I have more stuff.


  47. Harry Freedman says:


    I just read Let’s Get Digital and thought it was great- really useful and informative. Thanks so much.

    I am just starting out in e-publishing, I’ve had a couple of print books published but have had enough of publishers and agents, I know a bit about marketing so I’m going to have a go.

    I recommend anyone strating out to read Lets Go Digital, n fact I did alread, I mentioned it in my introductory post on Kindleboards, http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,90892.msg1419965.html#msg1419965.


  48. Patrice says:

    I found your blog via Joe Konrath’s. I’m so glad I did. Your PDF book is wonderful. I really need some of this information, and the stories of writers is encouraging. Thanks for such a super book. My writing will now have a chance to fly- I lost my job last week. It will be my new job. I can’t think of a better one or a better time to self publish. Wishing you my best-


  49. Patrice says:

    Oops! That should say “stories of writers ARE”. Can you imagine that I need a copy editor for a blog comment? !!!!!!:)


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  55. Kasimma says:

    Thank you David for sharing this. I want to write a book but I have been thinking a lot lately of how it is going to be published.


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  59. Thank you Dave, this is what I have been searching for months, it is quite fantastic! I hope you will still give us more ‘dose’ of your knowledge, I quite appreciate it. I’m not an “OLIVER TWIST” but I am Asking for more.


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  65. Vern at AFA says:

    I’ve already published 22 books, but you never know what I’m missing. I’ll get the book and see what you’ve got! Cheers, and thanks for this…


  66. Hi David, A very inspirational and captivating read. Thank you for making so much available for so little in return – a rare gift these days. You have settled my thinking on my fledgling writing career and am looking forward to a weekend of writing. I am working from ground zero and I hope to tell an exciting tale or two of my adventures of weeks and months to come. It is exciting being a writer in these times – to convert thought, to idea, to word is a journey of great merit I think.


  67. wo3lfWoelf says:

    Thanks for this. It is people like you that contribute a lot to helping people realise their dreams, and who are partly responsible for this renaissance in self-publishing we are currently seeing. I will follow your future posts from now on. Again, thank you.


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  72. David:
    Just have to leave a comment to say a BIG “Thank You” for offering this free PDF download. Will be heading over to PayPal to give you a rightfully deserved donation.

    I’ve been selling an eBook (PDF) via ClickBank for a number of years and haven’t done too shabbily, based on the extremely narrow audience interested in the topic. I thought about branching out with it via Amazon, but have procrastinated for various reasons.

    Due to having the 1st eBook under my belt, I then wrote what turned out to be a 300 pg. fully (color) illustrated PDF how-to type gardening and garden project book that I finished over a year ago, made a website for and then launched on ClickBank. However, due to a severe family illness situation that required all my attention, my work and everything else came to an abrupt halt and my marketing plans went immediately to the back-back burner.

    So much has changed in the last year as far as eBook selling and such – I’m definitely disadvantaged in not having been able to keep up and am now in the research and education stage to determine how best to market my book and start making some $$. 🙂

    This guide appears to be full of the answers and guidance I’ve been trying to find on the internet – as example, I have been searching to see why I ought to even consider using Smashwords; should I bother going direct with Amazon; pricing points pros and cons; etc.

    I’ve only skimmed your guide tonight and it’s a gold mine of info! I believe what you’ve taken the time to compile will offer me the fast track to getting my book launched in the short time frame I’ve set for myself. I’ll be reading it thorougly in the next few days.

    Again … many thanks! And the best of luck in all your marketing endeavors.


  73. Edwin Tipple says:

    Well, I’m off David. You’ll find a credit one my first blog http://www.edwintipple.com/periodmurdermystery.html
    and also in my links page, http://www.edwintipple.com/contactlinks.html
    I’ll be following in your footsteps with my experiences, but I doubt I’ll fill your shoes.
    Thanks for the all advise, tips and encouragement.


  74. I read your article on HuffPost and just wanted to say thank you putting your hard work here for us to download free of charge. I’ve downloaded it and will certainly take a look. Though, I’m still very pessimistic about the chances of success through self-publishing, I love writing and it’s the best chance to have my work be seen. Thanks again!


  75. Pingback: Why Is My Book Not Selling? | David Gaughran

  76. antaeusq says:

    Thanks for sharing this and making the advice free. Next thing that I read!


  77. Lyn Perry says:

    Great summary – I bulleted the list on my blog today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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  81. ozengo says:

    Thanks for a fantastic guide, David. Just what I needed at this moment. I have just uploaded a post about it on my blog: http://purplezengoat.com/2012/01/27/newbie-guide-to-digital-self-publishing/


    • Thank you very much, Ozengo, that put a smile on my face. If you ever need any help, send me an email or just shout in any of the comments, and the bat will appear above my writing cave.


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  92. Jane C Woods says:

    Hi! I did actually buy the Kindle version but am pleased to see it here too as it’s easier to get links etc. If I ever get as far as getting it out there you’ll be first to know! Thanks, really helpful guide.


  93. sara says:

    hi david,
    i read your whole PDF on self publishing. It was so informative and also inspiring. I am working on a book now for Work at Home Moms. My question to you is how are nonfictions doing in the self publishing world and do you think there are any major differences I should be aware of from that? Thanks~ Sara


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  95. Beechie says:

    Your book really gave me some goos ideas and really helped me.
    Thank you


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  118. I just read the french version of your book ‘Passons au numérique’, and found it really interesting and full of usefull ideas, which I’ll try to take into account.
    At a french scale and as a complete unknown writer, I also had the chance to be #1 in the top sales of Amazon, and it has been more then 170 days now that I am in the top 100.
    Your good advices will certainly help me for the launching of my next novel.
    Thank you !


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  129. Hi Dave I’m not a writer but an admirer of your gentlemanly generosity. May God forever bless you for your generous spirit and admirable desire to see others succeed. Oh yea, remember what goes around comes around and truly you got it coming.(Good things are truly headed your way)


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  132. The Gazebook says:

    This Ebook is inspired. me.. thanks


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  138. bobsawatzki says:

    Ryan Casey just recommended your book to me. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to learning more.


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  141. Caleigh says:

    really liking this book 🙂 here’s a post I wrote about it on my blog: https://ccgran.expressions.syr.edu/?p=110


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  144. Stephanie says:

    Great info David, definite value!


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  147. writerlauren says:

    Hi David,

    I just wanted to say thank you for Lets Get Digital. I am a first-time author in the self-help/spirituality genre, and I decided, for numerous reasons, to go indie with my first offering. Your advice has been essential and has given me somewhat of a clue as to what I’m doing! I look forward to reading Lets Get Visible when I’m a little further down the publishing road. Thanks again!

    Lauren x


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  153. James says:

    You lied about getting the free PDF version of the book here. You lied so I will never trust you again. I can’t find a link liar. Thanks for wasting my time you lying jerk!


  154. leejtyler says:

    I bought your book but I’m also going to download the pdf to have it on my computer. I love it. Thank you for all of your hard work and for being a stellar human being in general. ;p


  155. Drew Ridama says:

    Greatly appreciate the chance to read your book for free. Like others on here, I’m just starting out and have no doubt that this information is going to hugely invaluable. I shall be eternally grateful if it is.


  156. Ray says:

    Hi. This service here allows you to easily edit your PDF documents.

    You can fill out PDF form, save it, fax it, and email it.


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  162. Argus says:

    Thank you— I just downloaded your free pdf version, it came in quickly and with no noticeable problems. If it’s what I hope I’ll purchase a copy for my Kindle.

    And now to read more about you; then the book once I know the author a bit better …


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  165. Great job on the free PDF, thank you!


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  168. Page Lizard says:

    Really looking forward to checking this out! Will make for a good read.

    Page Lizard


  169. Sheogorath says:

    Thank you very much for making your book available to people who can’t make online payments. I hope to learn a lot from it.


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  173. Hi David. If only I had read your book when I first started self-publishing back in 2012, I’d have avoided a lot of mistakes. It’s still worth the read though. Thank you for sharing such helpful advice.


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  183. nitpicker276 says:

    Your “success stories” are ENTIRELY about fiction authors. Not one single serious nonfiction / journalism / history author among them. I went and checked:

    Cheryl Shireman
    Victorine Lieske
    Michael Hicks
    CJ Archer
    Beth Orsoff
    Bob Mayer
    Debora Geary
    Sibel Hodge
    Consuelo Saah Baehr
    Steven L. Hawk
    Suzanne Tyrpak
    Mel Comley
    Jason Letts
    Melanie Nilles
    Jan Hurst-Nicholson
    KC May
    Terri Reid
    N Gemini Sasson
    Susanne O’Leary
    Shayne Parkinson
    Stacey Wallace Benefiel
    Sarah Woodbury
    Kenneth Rosenberg
    Katie Klein
    William Esmont
    Lexi Revellian
    J Carson Black
    Imogen Rose
    Mark Edwards
    CD Reiss

    Romance, historical romance, thrillers, scifi, fantasy, mysteries, yadda yadda yadda.

    I’ve concluded that LET’S GET DIGITAL 2 and by extension your whole site and your whole schtick is basically for fiction writers of the kind of novels one buys at an airport (or on Amazon for $0.99). Useless for nonfiction authors.


    • You couldn’t be more wrong. Aside from myself, plenty of the above authors write non-fiction as well as fiction. And those genres that you readily dismiss – romance, historical romance, thrillers, scifi, fantasy, mysteries – make up the overwhelming bulk of all novels purchased.

      Let’s Get Digital, and my blog, is (unashamedly) focused on helping writers build a career – teaching them how to publish and market their work in the most effective way that will help them reach readers. Simply put, it’s easier to make money in certain genres because those genres are more popular. But there is plenty of money to be made in smaller niches too. You mightn’t like to think of a “serious” category like history to be a smaller niche, but it is. And if you don’t like that, you might as well be angry at the tide.

      There is lots and lots of advice in the book specifically aimed at non-fiction authors. In fact, that was one of the major changes between the first and second edition. There is now a clearer delineation between things like marketing techniques which are more effective for fiction authors and platform building which is more suitable for (certain types of) non-fiction authors. The publishing side of things is largely the same for authors of both stripes, but there is lots in there on the different ways that non-fiction authors they can (and should) market their books.

      Although, to be frank, you might struggle regardless if you keep approaching people with this attitude.


  184. Dan Fu says:

    I have undertaken an arduous Solo project of authoring, illustrating and marketing on 6 social media portals my eBook “Violin GPS”, all with rich content instead of mere online existence.

    Professionals (without vested interests in being deceptively polite) have told me my intellectual property and marketing campaign (cam-PAIN -_-) are fascinating and functional. However I am stonewalled by Partridge’s insistence on unreasonable delay for (the apparent lame excuse of) “content evaluation and due diligence against copyright infringement”, despite having been prompt in content submission and ahead of payment schedule. I myself have done due diligence to eliminate all possibility of plagiarism, and promised Partridge to deal personally with any frivolous contrived lawsuit attacking my work. They are still sitting (shitting) on my money with no return on investment to show for it. This only seems to confirm your critique of Author Solutions, a co-stakeholder (with Penguin Random House) in Partridge.

    When I attempted to bypass Partridge using Kindle Textbook Creator and Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP), I was further obstructed and annoyed by Amazon KDP’s policy of denying search and purchase access to IP addresses in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Egypt, Afghanistan etc. This effectively robbed me of support from my native reader base. Even now, with price slashed to the minimum of 3.99USD, Amazon still gives a ridiculous report of no sales. Record of my correspondence with Amazon (and my sardonic commentary on it) is in an album on Facebook.com/ViolinGPS.

    What I have produced is not a gimmick, but something subject matter experts have affirmed to be visionary and seminal. Present treatment of my work by distributors and the market in general is grossly disproportionate to its quality. I have reason to believe I have done at least 80% of what your guidebooks recommend, especially social media promotion and targeted tagging. I now request your cursory inspection of the material referenced above and diagnosis on what might have been overlooked. Please also suggest whether investing more time and effort in using Adobe InDesign to format Violin GPS for Nook to reach Amazon KDP-restricted regions is worthwhile.

    My loss of patience with this whole set of circumstances comes only after having given Excessive patience to unreasonable red tape. Any more of this and expletives will erupt.


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  188. Matt Parker says:


    A big thank you for writing this book. I purchased it about four months ago, and it has been by my side ever since. Yes, I did buy the paperback version, which is kind of ironic considering the fact that it’s a book about digital publishing, but what can I say? It’s just nice to have something physical sitting beside my laptop to remind me what I’m doing, even if it does run the risk of getting a little dog-eared.
    I’ve found your whole attitude to Self Publishing to be quite a revelation, and a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of blogs/publishing advice I was reading beforehand (The fact that I won’t have to spend hours of my time on social media was a great relief. I’m still on there, but now I know where my time can be better spent)
    Anyway, four months after buying your book, and following your advice, I now have a finished product I can be proud of. All I have to do now is get down to the business of marketing it. No problem; Marketing is Easy, right?

    A big thank you again. All your hard work has been invaluable.



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