Thursday, December 23, 2010

eBook Authors: Surefire Book Publishing Announces New Opportunity

Surefire Book Publishing announced today the formation of a new eBook division.

Surefire CEO Jim Satire said, “Our publishing company is going to take a new direction because we recognize the large opportunity of the immerging eBook industry. We have been a typical publisher for a long time. We have about a 5% throughput rate (submission to publication) including fiction, non-fiction and reference books.”

“Because of the eBook opportunity, we are going back and researching our turndowns and the reasons for them. We are looking at the top 10% of the books rejected and creating a new breakeven point, starting with the low cost to bring an eBook to market. Then we are categorizing the turndowns into profitability, quality of content and longevity of content.”

“The reasons for the rejections have ranged from predicting whether the book would be profitable to the brand of the author. We will take into consideration the reader’s acceptance of the topic, the genre, regional appeal, the author and other basic concepts. Then we will convert the content to an eBook format and publish it through online channels.”

“This makes sense to us because we have already done the homework on the submission. The shelf life of an eBook is considerable longer than the paper version so over time the income from the eBook has the potential to outweigh the paper version which has a shelf life of about six months tops. Plus the eBook shelf is not a physical one which has to be rotated out for new books.”

“SPR is a medium sized publishing company with about 100 active authors. We publish about 20 books a month. Our forecast shows that to start with we will convert about 25 books a month at a higher margin for Surefire and a larger royalty for the authors.”

“Our goal is to reach a 100 eBooks a month next year. We recognize that if we have a hit with the eBook only, we will go back and publish it in paper because we have already converted the book to digital.”

“That cost is considerable less to take the book from a Word document by Surefire Book Publishing to an acceptable eBook format (mobi or epub), store it on a network and sell it online. We have no second hand market to deal with and no middlemen.”

SPR is a hypothetical company created to illustrate the future of a proactive publishing company.

This blog was submitted by HBSystems Publications.
Author: James Moushon
To contact him email:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lessons For the eBook Industry – Study the E-Forms Industry Beginning

I created this blog to motivate and challenge authors to take advantage of the great opportunity the eBook industry offers them. The other players in the industry must also take action or someone else will.

The following posit is the highlights from a case study I have written about the parallel of the eBook Industry and its transition from paper to digital too the beginning of the Electronic Forms Industry in the 1990’s.

The Start
It all started December 1992. I was wearing my computer consulting hat and trying to find time to write. One of my associates, a forms distributor from Costa Mesa, California, called one day. He wanted to invite me to go with him to a seminar. It sounded interesting so I accepted the invitation. Little did I know where that meeting would lead me: my adventure into the digital world?

We attended a seminar held by a company who was presenting a new concept in creating and using business forms. Their concept was to use the paper form image and create a digital copy of it. Then the user would either fill in the form on a computer screen or overlay the form image over the data as it was printed from their software on a laser printer.

They were trying to sell the idea of partnering with the forms distributors. They would create and install this new product for the distributor’s customers and share in the profit.

After the seminar, I had coffee with my associate, Rick Bowen. He conveyed to me that if this concept took off he would be out of the pre-printed forms business...

I left that meeting with a different point of view than Rick. He thought the sky was falling and I could see an opportunity. This was not magic and mirrors. It was a simple computer process. I studied the new concept and talked to everyone I could about it.

Finally, I went back to Rick and presented to him what I had found. He had also been doing his homework, talking to his colleagues. He said that there was a lot of resistance…

Taking Action - EFS
Like in most situations business problems present opportunities. I presented to him a different point of view. Let’s don’t fight it, let’s embrace this new technology. Let’s get involved in the process and at the same time help his colleagues provide this new service to their customers.

So in February 1993, we went into partnership. He created a company, Electronic Forms Solutions. The new entity would provide electronic forms systems to businesses. Also we decided to help other independent forms distributors develop their own in-house solutions so they could provide electronic forms to their customers.

Rick and I started talking to forms distributors about the large opportunity that digital forms offered them. They had developed their business on customer relations and service. This was just another way to help their customers. They had the design skills. All they had to do was add the e-form skills and they had a new business opportunity. It sounded like a simple solution.

Also with our discussions was a warning. Your bigger customers are changing their thinking. They can do this process themselves by giving up a little quality (color and special fonts). You should be the one who presents this new concept. You will be the first in the door.

To eBook authors, agents, bookstores, libraries and publishers: You must take ACTION or competition will find a way to solve the current problems and issues and leave you behind.

Customer Relationships
I decided to write an article to help the forms distributors get a better insight into the digital world.

My first published article was in July 1993. Who are You in the Eyes of Your Customers?

The article discussed the forms distributor’s relationship with their customers. Also it discussed an industry in transaction, moving from the paper world to a digital one. With the advent of computers, new software and laser printers, the forms industry was going to a print on demand process…

The industry changes were happening at a rapid pace. The more it changed the more resistance we saw from the forms distributors. They didn’t understand the process and they could visualize their larger customers not ordering paper forms from them anymore.

To the book industry players: You must proceed with eBooks to maintain your reader relationships and your brand. You must embrace the technology. The digital world will be a major part of your industry in the years to come.

How To Seminars
Rick and I decided to get out and talk with the forms distributors and explain to them the opportunity that the new process presented to them. In September 1993, we had our first How To seminar in Irvine, California. Over the next two years, we conducted over twenty seminars across the country. We had over 200 different companies attend (over 400 attendees) as we presented the conversion process, how to market e-forms and how to gain that repeat business they were all looking for.

One of the ideas we presented to the attendees was: once the e-forms are installed, customer couldn’t change easily to another supplier. This still didn’t seem to create much activity.

After one of our seminars an attendee came up to Rick and me and voiced his concern. “The process that we were teaching was going to ruin his forms business. It was just like sleeping with the enemy.

Training is one of the keys…
Once a reader has purchased an e-reader, they are a dedicated customer and they are tied to that device for a long period of time.

The conversation prompted another article February 1994. Electronic Forms: Sleeping with the Enemy

Forms distributors were slowly starting to look at the new technology with little activity. They had been in a comfort zone selling paper forms and this was rocking the boat.

Then we started to see a new competitor. Software companies saw the business opportunity and started including electronic forms with their software. They became the new game in town with a new set of rules. The forms distributor hadn’t provided the service so software companies where starting to design the forms themselves…

Publishers are in the same situation as the forms distributors were in the 1990’s. With the ease of self-publishing, their competition will come from new sources, the authors themselves or pro-active publishers.

An Industry in Transition
In December 1994, I wrote another article, There Goes the Neighborhood.

I was still trying to get the forms distributors to take action. The creation process was simple. Most of them, instead of trying to take advantage of the opportunity, were trying to plan a strategy to compete with the digital process…

eBooks are the ultimate repeat business vehicle. All purchases are first time purchases. If an industry player doesn’t take action on this opportunity, they will have trouble surviving. New players will appear and they will provide the new solutions.

In May 1995, I wrote another article, The Sky’s the Limit.

The forms distributors were still reluctant to offer the new product…

This was a large challenge for them to turn their backs on pre-printed forms.

Meanwhile personal computers, laser printers, software advances and the Internet were starting their dramatic growth. Users were now filling in their forms on-line rather than manually filling out pre-printed forms…

New e-readers and new software will appear with added features and acceptability and eBook authors and publishers must start rendering their eBooks to enhance the eBook experience. The opportunity is here and the entry level is low.

A copy of the original paper book will not be enough. Any ONE eBook will be available to readers any time, any place for years to come. The sales life of an eBook has the potential to never go away. It will be available far longer than the paper version.

Going Digital
In October 1995, I had another article published, Timber, The Consumption of Pre-Printed Forms is Falling.

Again I discussed the digital world and how business forms would never be the same. The customer could reduce costs and at the same time pass their information digitally anywhere in the world via the Internet. I even discussed the reduction of paper use and helping the environment…

A movement from the traditional paper world to the digital POD and the eBook is now available with a delivery system that readers are embracing. Now is the time for the players to take action.

The Internet is Here
In October 1996, I wrote another article, Nothing But Net, Or Close to It.

This article discussed businesses moving toward the Internet with electronic forms and workflow/ e-commerce systems. I gave it one more shot. I challenged forms distributors to get involved...

The digital world is here and it has merged with the book industry. The opportunity is here for all the players. You must think outside the box. What is that old saying: they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Look at the big picture and not the detail. Remember the word Resistance is not in the new eBook dictionary.

Several years later (October 1999) I conducted a training seminar for the IRS in Washington D.C. The purpose of the seminar was to train agents on how to create fillable tax forms. Of course that process is now a feature offered by the IRS.

To read the complete case study and view the published articles referenced in the content, go to the HBSystems Publications site and follow the link.
E-mail me at and I will send you the case study in a doc or a mobi format.

HBSystems Publications
4408 N. Rockwood Dr. #183
Peoria, IL 61615
James Moushon
eBook Author blog: ( )

A summary of this blog was previously posted on the OUR LITTLE BOOKS site: Lessons From Eforms to ebooks

Thanks again to Julia Lindsey.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

eBook Authors: Render Your eBooks

Rendered eBooks
The eBook Author has the opportunity to add to the reading experience. The eBook conversion process must be much more than converting a paper book to a digital format. It must take advantage of the power of the electronic reader.

The eBook author is defined as an author who is writing directly to the eBook platform. You can read more about this concept in my blog: eBook Author: New Breed of Author.

As an author, you must think about the reader and what he can do with the added features the eBook allows him to use. You must add to your content something of value for your readers.

You should include in-book links to help the reader enjoy the content. The eBook’s advanced features should be exploited. And you should think about the future of the eBook and the software and devices and plan for the changes in your research and writing.

Your eBook must be more than just a copy of a paper book. You must render your eBook to set the content apart from the paper version.

Think about the reader
The eBook author should think about the reader when he is rendering his eBook. The object is to improve the eBook reading experience.

Picture the reader of a paper book and some of the things they do while they are reading. Let’s explore the practice of Read back.

Read back is the action of the reader to go back through the content to look up information. The eBook can make this practice an easy and quick process.

I am a typical reader and some of the things I would like to be able to do while I am reading are: (I have included the rendered eBook solution.)

1. Read back: I would like to look up the definition of a word or a term.
Render: This is addressed directly by the e-reader’s dictionary and encyclopedia if it is a common word.

2. Read back: I would like to look up the definition of a word or term coined by the author or that is not in the standard dictionary.
Render: You can supply information in the appendix and link to it using bookmarks. (see the in-book link section below)

3. Read back: I would like to see pictures of people, buildings and objects that I am reading about.
Render: As an eBook author, you can easily insert jpg files into the content during the rendering process and link to them.

4. Read back: I would like to actually see the locations that are referenced in the content.
Render: You can enclose Google Maps or better yet Google Earth snapshots. Just give them credit.

5. Read back: I would like to see an easy-to-access character tree.
Render: This is important if the eBook is large and has marginal characters that are revisited throughout the eBook.

6. Read back: Sometimes I would like a calendar of events so that I can keep track of where I am in the story.
Render: You can render a filled in calendar to support the reader.

As an eBook author, you can easily provide the reader these items by using the power of the e-reader’s links.

Use in-book links
In my eBook, Call Off the Dogs, I used four types of in-book links. In-book links are used to move the reader to content that is not online (no need to be connected to the Internet) but is included in the books appendix area.

The in-book links have an advantage because they do not interrupt the reader’s train of thought. This is important especially if the eBook is fiction. I have included Internet links to the example below for your reference.

The first type of in-book links I used were links which I called eBook Gems. The gems are terms I invented as part of the story.

For example, the main character, CIA agent Jonathon Stone, used a device to scan for bugs, GPS locators and bomb residue. It was called a waffle scanner(follow the link to view the description) because of the texture of the back of the device. Well this was a figment of my imagination so I inserted in the content a quick symbol link for the reader to view a broader description of the device. The reader just clicked on the symbol and reviewed the information. Then he pressed the Back button and continued reading.

The second type of in-book links were brief definitions from Wikipedia. The reader could click on an underlined link and view a short summary of the topic. (You need to give credit to Wikipedia to use this feature – see their guidelines on their site.)

For example, one of the locations used in the novel was Belmont Shore, California. (follow the link to view the definition and the credit statement) I enclosed a brief description from Wikipedia about the location and the area around Belmont Shore to inform the reader.

The third type of in-book link was a link to a map from Google Earth which showed the location of part of the story. (Again you need to give credit to Google Earth to use this feature – see their guidelines on their site.)

For example, Call Off the Dogs, is a novel about the Assassination of President Kennedy. It discusses Dealey Plaza (follow the link to view an aerial map) in Dallas where the assassination took place. I captured an aerial view of the plaza and inserted building references so the reader could visualize the scene.

The fourth type of in-book link was the insertion of a picture of an object to assist the reader in the visualization of the content. A digital picture (jpg file) was quickly added to the appendix and linked so the reader could view it.

For example, one of the objects in Call Off the Dogs was a reference to a Wild Hog Trophy. (follow the link to view the digital picture)

Also, I have included extra information to help explain the in-book concept. Follow the next link to the reader reference material in Call Off the Dogs. The section in the eBook was entitled the eBook Experience Notes.

Think to the future
I am sure authors will start to render their back-list titles to add value to their writing. Although it is time consuming, the information gathering process for rendering can be incorporated in the research of your eBook.

I wrote Call Off the Dogs in MS-Word and put my research notes at the back of the document. When I was done with my first draft, I started adding bookmarks to the important items. That made the in-book link part of the rendering easy.

Enhanced eBooks are coming. We are starting to see them appear in selected books on the iPad. They include maps, graphs, pictures and video. Author information is expanded to give the reader an insight into the author’s thinking process.

As other e-reader devices come up to speed with their software and hardware, enhanced eBooks will one day be commonplace.

eBook Rendering is coming
But for now, rendering the standard eBook would greatly improve the eBook experience. The eBook author is the key. Remember you are in the creativity business. Rendering is an opportunity to set you apart from the traditional author.

I encourage comments and feedback on this. I believe this is an important concept.

Book Information
Call Off The Dogs
By: James Moushon
Published By: November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4507-4529-1 ASIN:B004AYCTI8
Available at Amazon in eBook Format
Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

Coming Soon on this blog:
Lessons For the eBook Industry – Study the E-Forms Industry Beginning- a CASE STUDY
This post will discuss the highlights from a case study I have written about the parallel of the eBook Industry and its transition from paper to digital to the beginning of the Electronic Forms Industry in the 1990’s.

This post originated from HBSystems Publications.
Posted by James Moushon

Or better yet subscribe to this blog and get all sorts of information that will assist you in becoming an eBook Author.

To contact me directly, mailto:

Monday, November 22, 2010

eBook Author: The New Breed of Author

With the advent of the Kindle and the Nook, the readers of the world are endorsing the eBook in very large numbers. One of the next phases of the industry development will be the transition of the author from the traditional writer to an eBook author. They will write directly to the eBook platform and take advantage of the features and opportunities provided by the eBook experience.

Currently the industry is in a copy mode, taking a version of the printed document and converting it to an electronic form. To preserve the written work and make books more accessible is a valid endeavor but there must be much more to the eBook industry than to just make a copy of the paper book. The eBook author is the key.

First there are the want-to-be authors. They are the authors that are not published and feel like they are swimming upstream. Their creative juices are flowing with ideas that they want to be published. Self-publishing via an eBook may be their only opportunity to be heard. They need something to set them apart and the eBook may be their only answer. Traditionally without assistance from an agent or a publisher their chances are slim.

Then we have the published authors who are already published in a paper version. Their copy is converted to an eBook with the same look and feel of the original traditional book but their sales are mediocre at best. However they may have a better opportunity of success by adding something else to their creative ideas and the eBook may help them do this.

On the topside, established authors produce their paper version and they have a better time of it. They have almost instant success with the eBook version. Their name recognition carries the sale.

On the other side of the author spectrum are the Internet content providers. Their ideas and creativity drive the Internet. Their pages, blogs and communications are the centerpiece of the Web. Their content includes text, pictures, audio, video, links and on and on. The web surfer, the communicator and the information seeker enjoy their work equally. They write to the digital platform only.

Enter the ebook and its connection to the digital world. The eBook reader is enjoying the new phenomenon but there is so much more to give to the reader than a copy of a traditional book.

eBook authors must develop their skills or get assistance to embrace the eBook capabilities. They will meet the traditional author and the content provider in the middle somewhere by writing to the eBook platform whether it is the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad device or a regular PC. They will provide live links to the Internet with up-to-date information.

The traditional book is cast in stone. Even if it is republished, it’s only current the day it is printed. Picture a history textbook with the ability to be linked to a web site. You could virtually have a daily update to the eBook. Or the reader may have a subscription to a service that uploads to the Kindle the latest version of the eBook on a regular basis like news feeds and magazines currently do. The eBook author is the key to this.

I sat in on an eBook seminar at a BookExpo America in Los Angeles in 2001 when all this was getting started. One of the speakers was a writer who wrote travel guides about locations around the world. The writer spoke highly about the possibilities of the new eBook industry but the writer’s conclusion still stays with me.

“The eBook was the wave of the future but it didn’t have a place in the travel book industry.” The speaker missed the whole point. The travel book industry is the perfect place for an eBook. You can publish an up-to-date copy monthly with live links and include current pricing and everything. What an opportunity.

The eBook author can include maps, images, multimedia and reference materials to back up their eBook and make it a better reading experience.

In my eBook, Call Off the Dogs, I include internal links to author definitions of unique terms used in the eBook. I call these “eBook gems” named after the link symbol used in the eBook. The reader just clicks on the gem symbol and a brief definition of the term appears on the screen. I even include links to in-book Wikipedia information to assist the reader in understanding the story. Although eBook devices have dictionaries and encyclopedias available, sometimes author-coined terms and in-book information will help further explan the content.

The eBook author will start writing in a more snapshot method rather than a straight linear process. These chunks of information will be linked together to convey the story or idea. This method will allow multiple story lines and maybe a better read if done properly.

For example, the back-story in a novel could be greatly enhanced with the ability of the reader to explore more than the base story. Call Off the Dogs, which is a novel about President Kennedy’s Assassination, could direct the reader to more information about Dealey Plaza in Dallas or to the French Quarter in New Orleans where the main character, Jonathon Stone, searches for information about another gunman in Dallas besides Oswald.

Another opportunity for the new eBook author is the creation of companion eBooks. These would be eBooks written about the same topics as the original eBook but with more detailed information. With the ability to switch back and forth between eBooks, I can see a large opportunity for students and Education in general with this option.

Although there is no substitute for good content, the added features the eBook brings to the table, will be used by the eBook author to enhance the reading experience.

What are your ideas? I will try to respond to all your comments.

Jim Moushon

This post originated from HBSystems Publications .

To contact me directly, email:

Or better yet subscribe to this blog and get all sorts of information that will assist you in becoming an eBook Author.

Book Information
Call Off The Dogs
By: James Moushon
Published By: November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4507-4529-1 ASIN:B004AYCTI8
Available at Amazon in eBook Format
Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

Coming Soon on this blog:

eBook Author: eBook Rendering
This post will discuss the process that is much more than converting a book to a digital format. If you want to include the mark “eBook Rendered” on your book, you should read this posting.

Friday, November 12, 2010

eBook Author: Wearing Two Hats

This is the eBook Author’s initial blog. I have created this blog to assist eBook authors in writing and developing eBooks. My blog will discuss how the eBook author fits into the evolving eBook Industry and the many opportunities that exist.

Some of the topics that are on the blog’s drawing board are:

The new breed: the eBook Author
eBook rendering and what that adds to the eBook Experience
A comparison between the startup of electronic business forms and eBook industry
The power of in-book links and how that enhances the reader experience
A case study of the self-publishing of an eBook on Amazon

A regular feature will be: How Surefire Book Publishing, a hypothetical entity, is reacting to the new eBook industry

I am currently wearing Two Hats. I am a fiction writer and a computer consultant. I have spent the majority of my adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.

The writer part of me has just self-published an eBook. I recently went through the complete eBook process from writing the novel to the creation of the eBook to publishing it on Amazon.

My eBook, Call Off The Dogs, was not a scanned version of a traditional paper book but was converted directly from a Word document to the Kindle format. You can view a sample of the book by visiting HBSystems Publication web site. While you are there you should look at the concept of in-book links inserted in the content. (This concept will be discussed at length in a future blog.)

Because of my experience I was able to use computer tools to manage the writing project like designing a database to keep track of the sections or chapters and their word counts, the main and secondary characters, the storyline and so on. Call Off The Dogs is based on history, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, so keeping track of dates, times and places was important.

The publishing part was enhanced by creating a program that automated the Kindlegen process. With one click I was able to create a mobi file and view it in the Kindle For PC software. This program and ideas will be shared with authors in future blogs.

When I am wearing the Computer Consulting hat I am developing systems to help businesses move from paper to digital. I have extensive experience in the paper to digital conversion process starting back in 1993. In the coming blogs I would like to share with authors some of this knowledge. I will explore the relationship of my experience as it relates to the eBook author and the eBook industry in general.
(For more information on my background, see the About Me section of this blog.)

What do you think about this blog concept? I will try to respond to all your comments and include some of the good ideas in future posts.

I will be excepting guest blogs and writing comments about other blogs that are related to the eBook experience.

To contact me directly, email:
My self-publishing company is : HBSystems Publications
Or better yet subscribe to this blog and get all sorts of information that will assist you in becoming an eBook Author.

Coming Soon on this blog:

eBook Author: New Breed of AuthorThis post will discuss the changing role of the author and the large opportunities the eBook presents to him. If you want to be an eBook author, you should read this posting.

Book Information
Call Off The Dogs
By: James Moushon
Published By: HBSystems Publications
November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4507-4529-1 ASIN:B004AYCTI8
Available at Amazon in eBook Format
Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

This post originated from HBSystems Publications.