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What You Need to Know about IBSN Numbers

This is from Becky Flansburg, author of Sissy Goes Tiny:

Sissy Goes Tiny by Rebecca Flansburg

“You can buy one (or 10) ISBNs from Bowkers ( and they are 100% yours. Buying 10 enables you to have 10 in a sequential series (helpful if you intend to be a publisher or write more books). BUT, there is another option too: when you upload your book to Amazon, you can choose to get a free ISBN through them. The downside is that Amazon owns your ISBN number, not you. If you use Amazon KDP’s free ISBN, they will be listed as your “publisher.” So, if you have a business set up and want your business to be noted as your “publisher,” then buy an ISBN from Bowker.

If you would like to sell your book online in places other than Amazon, you will need to buy your own ISBN. Using Amazon’s free ISBN is their way of making sure you can only sell online through them. Which is really not a big deal. FYI: only 25% of book sales come from “non-Amazon “ sites so it’s fine if you only want to sell online via Amazon.
Amazon may take a chunk of your profits, but selling through them puts your book in front of MILLIONS of potential buyers. You can ramp up your chances of book sales by using Amazon Ads and, if done right, they are effective.”
I made the mistake of using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) FREE ISBN number and now, as a result, I can not pay Amazon to run my ads. Literally, if I say that I am willing to spend $5 a day for a month, Amazon will spend $1.20 all month. And that means that Changing The Game never comes up as a recommended book. Perhaps if I get more than 50 positive reviews, that will change. I will keep you posted.
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Kindle Direct Printing vs IngramSpark?

KDP vs IngramSpark

I printed Changing the Game with Kindle Direct Printing (KDP) because I didn’t research my options. That was a mistake!

I will write a separate post on ISBN numbers and how that affects selling your book on Amazon, but I made the mistake of thinking that printing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Printing would at least allow me to run ads on Amazon to sell my book. Nothing could be further from the truth!

If I could do it over again, I would print using IngramSpark instead of KDP.

Here’s a post on that from Old Mate Media. They have a different conclusion but have a ton of useful information.


KDP vs IngramSpark

Image from Damoza


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Another Printer for Children’s Books including Pop Up Books

Win Choi printing company pop up books

I met William Xue through my LinkedIn network. He says that his company, Win Choi, specializes in high-quality printing jobs since 2008, especially in children’s books and pop-up books. His company offers competitive pricing and a high-quality product.

Here are some examples:

Win Choi printing company pop up books

Another Printer for Children's Books including Pop Up Books

children's book printing company in China

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Another printer for book projects: PrintNinja

PrintNina printer for Kickstarter book projects

Ninja Tip: If you’ve successfully funded your campaign there may be a tax advantage to spending your campaign funds within the calendar year. See what Kickstarter has to say about it here. You can spend your campaign dollars with PrintNinja even if your artwork won’t be ready until the following year!

Hi Mia,

My name’s Justin — I work for a custom book/game printer called PrintNinja. We’ve printed lots of Kickstarter-funded projects like Brightmare Art Book, Wanderlust, The Cremation of Sam McGee, PokeNatomy, Dream On, High Fidelity, and No Small Plans. Continue reading Another printer for book projects: PrintNinja

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Don’t Use Gmail for Your Kickstarter Email Marketing

Don't Use Gmail for Your Kickstarter Email Marketing

I learned the hard way about using Gmail for my Kickstarter marketing campaign.

First of all, Gmail only allows you to send out your email to 500 recipients. It doesn’t really state that; it just won’t send out the email if you have more than 500 email addresses. This means that if you want to send out your email to 2000 people, you will have to do it in at least 4 batches.

And that was my strategy for my Kickstarter launch. I set up my email with 500 email addresses and sent it out four times.

A few bad things happened:

  1. Gmail thought my account was being hacked because of the volume of emails going out. It went into SHUT DOWN mode and I had to scramble to complete various account verification processes to prevent my Gmail account from being shut down.
  2. Gmail would not let me send out that exact email subsequently. I’m not sure if it is because my email was reported as spam or if it was the volume of the emails going out with that exact same email.

The upshot is that a Gmail email campaign will work best for your Kickstarter campaign if you are planning to send out emails to less than 500 people. If not, definitely use an email marketing service, many of which are free.

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Building Your Email List for Your Kickstarter Campaign

building your email database

Once you’ve decided on where you are putting your email database (spreadsheet, email marketing company), it’s time to start building your list. You want to avoid spamming people but you do want to cast your net as wide as possible. Where can you pull your email list?

  • Your contacts from your email account
  • Your LinkedIn connections (you can export the emails directly from LinkedIn)
  • Your alumni connections from school (high school, college, graduate school)

Continue reading Building Your Email List for Your Kickstarter Campaign

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Your Kickstarter Campaign Pre-Launch Campaign

Pre Launch Kickstarter Campaign

The largest crowdfunding pledge management company, BackerKit, ran some numbers based on the thousands of campaigns they’ve worked with. According to their research, a Kickstarter project with a pre-launch page set up was 4 times more likely to successfully fund than a project that didn’t.

from Coolbacker

Personally, I was a little late to the pre-launch game. I’d recommend at least two months to begin promoting your Kickstarter campaign. I announced my Kickstarter project to coincide with International Women and Girls in Sports Day, Feb 3, 2021. My campaign launched Feb 14, 2021. That gave me less than two weeks. I don’t recommend my timeframe!

You are going to want to set up your project’s pre-launch page with the goal of getting people to sign up to be notified when your project has launched. Be sure to have a clear Call To Action on all your communication.

How to do this? Consider this to be the dry run of your Kickstarter marketing campaign.

You will want to use:

  • Your marketing database to send out emails
  • Your social media
  • If you have a website with a blog, you will definitely want to use that

If you are giving yourself two months or more for your pre-launch campaign, I’d suggest using different aspects of your book to keep your messaging fresh.

Things to feature include:

  • Book cover
  • Video of your book that you made for your Kickstarter campaign
  • Interior page or two if you have it
  • Highlight your illustrator if you are using one


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Do Authors Need Social Media?

Do Authors Need Social Media?

If you have a picture book manuscript and are wondering how to get it published, you have different options. You can try to get published traditionally through a large or small publishing house. Alternately, you can self publish. Kickstarter is one way to crowd-fund to raise the money that you need to self publish.

But do you need a social media following if you plan to self publish through a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter? The answer is a resounding YES! Continue reading Do Authors Need Social Media?