An Interview with NY Times Bestselling Author Bella Andre

Having sold more than 1.5 million self-published ebooks, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre’s novels have appeared on Top 5 lists at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only, English language deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s popular series about “The Sullivans” will be released in paperback in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia/New Zealand in continuous back-to-back releases from June 2013 through April 2014. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine ”Red Hot Reads” twice, have been translated into nine languages, and her Sullivan books are already Top 20 bestsellers in Brazil. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her “One of the top digital writers in America” and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently in TIME Magazine. She has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America in 2012 on her self-publishing success.


In 2012, Bella Andre broke a glass ceiling that most in publishing said could never be shattered:  selling her print rights while retaining her eBook right to her Sullivan series.  I remember speaking with her on the phone prior to that momentous deal and hearing all the various options that were on the table before her, but the one she didn’t mention was the one she ended up doing, which is quite spectacular.

How did you decide to try the print only route with the traditional publishing world, knowing they were publicly very reluctant to go for it?

Thanks so much for doing this interview with me, Bob! You’ve been so helpful and forthcoming in every conversation we’ve had these past couple of years – especially the discussion we had last summer when I was considering all of the options that were unfolding for my self-published Sullivan series.

While it’s absolutely true that I had heard countless people at publishing conferences during the past couple of years say they didn’t think a print-only deal would ever happen, I always believed it would. Perhaps it’s my background in Economics (I have a Bachelor’s from Stanford), perhaps it’s my perpetual optimism (my friends joke that I’m like the Bumble from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” – I always bounce!), but I knew that once the sales numbers for my self-published Sullivan ebooks were big enough, it would make perfect sense for a major publisher to bring them into the print market in a big way.

Once my sales numbers grew big enough for that first print-only conversation to happen with a NY publisher, I can honestly say that it was a great one with absolutely no reluctance expressed. The conversations just got better from there as several other NY publishers also expressed interest in bringing the series to print and working with me.

Who made the first move? You? Or Traditional publishers?

Traditional publishers . At that point I had released the first 5 books in my Sullivan series, 3 of which were already New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. By now, because I have already released the first 8 Sullivan books in e, Harlequin is able to do a truly incredible 8 month back-to-back mass market release schedule for the series.

Since I signed that first print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA in October 2012, I have agreed to two additional English language print-only deals – another one with MIRA and a new one with HQN. I’m particularly excited about our upcoming release of a Sullivan Christmas book in October 2013 in which I will go back in time to tell the Sullivan parent’s love story. This is the book Sullivan fans keep asking for and when Harlequin MIRA releases the hardcover, I will release the ebook. Working with them on the print side of my business has been a fabulous experience every step of the way.

THE LOOK OF LOVE, the first book in the series, hits shelves May 28th in an expanded edition. I can’t wait to see what happens as even more readers discover the series all over the world…

Why did you first decide to self-publish?

I was between contracts in mid-2010 when a friend of mine suggested I put something up on Kindle. (Amazon was the only self-publishing game in town at the time.) I did and a month later I couldn’t believe when I had sold 250 copies of the ebook I’d put out. It was amazing to me at the time, and still is, even as I’m heading toward 2 million self-published ebook sales with a bullet! Those first 250 sales started everything for me.

When did your career begin to take off? What do you attribute your success to?

My career began to take off once I was able to take charge of my own destiny and reach readers directly. I love having an idea about a cover or book description or marketing my ebooks and being able to execute it quickly. I love being able to get the stories my readers want to them (almost) as fast as they’d like me to! I love waking up each day knowing it will be full of incredible new opportunities all over the world. I have been extremely fortunate to work with some incredible people who have helped me format my ebooks and publicize them, as well as being good friends with some of the best and most brilliant minds in publishing who I can call anytime I need to talk things over. I had 2 original self-published books out in December 2010 that was when I had my first 5 figure month. By November 2011 I had my first six-figure month. In October 2012 I signed my first seven figure print-only deal. My sales have continued to grow from month to month and new book to new book since 2010.

I work like crazy writing and revising the books and then taking them through the production cycle, but ultimately my success comes down to my amazing fans. They are so excited about the Sullivans that they tell everyone who will listen about the series!

How do you think your readers found you and continue to find you?

When I released my first original self-published story (LOVE ME) in July 2010 I took a week and wrote a personal email to everyone who had ever written to me in the previous five years. Almost every one of them wrote back to say, “Wow, I can’t believe you still had my email!” LOVE ME was a sequel to a book that Pocket had put out in 2005 (TAKE ME). For five years readers sent me email asking for the sequel. It was thrill to finally be able to give it to them.

What top three things do you view as critical to success as an author with the publishing landscape changing so quickly?

1. Write and read. Write and read. Write and read. (Repeat forever.)

2. Pay attention. I spend at least an hour every day reading everything I can find on self-publishing, NY publishing and ebooks, not just in the US, but all over the world.

3. Don’t forget that the book is the #1 most important thing. It’s what your readers want from you. Sure, they love hanging with you on twitter and facebook, but what they really want is to read your next book and they want it to be awesome.

How do you feel about authors who’ve succeeded as indies and then go completely with a New York publisher?  Do you think they’ve sacrificed something, or if the advance and contract as good enough, that they’ve made a smart move?

Everyone has to do what’s right for them and will make them happy.  I can’t speak to anyone else’s contracts or negotiations.

What do you know now from your experiences that you wish you knew before you started?

I quickly learned that everyone in this brave new world of publishing was awesome and my experiences in the past two and a half years have confirmed it over and over again. I’ll meet people at conferences and on panels and at workshops and we’re all so excited about books that we have an instant and strong connection.  You were the one who told me about audiobooks, Bob, when we met on that DBW panel last year. Every month when that check comes from Audible/ACX, my husband and I do a “Bob Mayer is awesome” dance. J

I think it’s important for people who are thinking about self-publishing to know just how much work it is. Every single person I know who is self-publishing works around the clock.



Robots won’t just take our jobs – they’ll make the rich even richer

It may sound strange, but a number of prominent people have been asking this question lately. As fears about the impact of automation grow, calls for a “robot tax” are gaining momentum. Earlier this month, the European parliament considered one for the EU. Benoît Hamon, the French Socialist party presidential candidate who is often described as his country’s Bernie Sanders, has put a robot tax in his platform. Even Bill Gates recently endorsed the idea.

The proposals vary, but they share a common premise. As machines and algorithms get smarter, they’ll replace a widening share of the workforce. A robot tax could raise revenue to retrain those displaced workers, or supply them with a basic income.

The good news is that the robot apocalypse hasn’t arrived just yet. Despite a steady stream of alarming headlines about clever computers gobbling up our jobs, the economic data suggests that automation isn’t happening on a large scale. The bad news is that if it does, it will produce a level of inequality that will make present-day America look like an egalitarian utopia by comparison.

The real threat posed by robots isn’t that they will become evil and kill us all, which is what keeps Elon Musk up at night – it’s that they will amplify economic disparities to such an extreme that life will become, quite literally, unlivable for the vast majority. A robot tax may or may not be a useful policy tool for averting this scenario. But it’s a good starting point for an important conversation. Mass automation presents a serious political problem – one that demands a serious political solution.

Automation isn’t new. In the late 16th century, an English inventor developed a knitting machine known as the stocking frame. By hand, workers averaged 100 stitches per minute; with the stocking frame, they averaged 1,000. This is the basic pattern, repeated through centuries: as technology improves, it reduces the amount of labor required to produce a certain number of goods.

So far, however, this phenomenon hasn’t produced extreme unemployment. That’s because automation can create jobs as well as destroy them. One recent example is bank tellers: ATMs began to appear in the 1970s, but the total number of tellers has actually grown since then. As ATMs made it cheaper to run a branch, banks opened more branches, leading to more tellers overall. The job description has changed –today’s tellers spend more time selling financial services than dispensing cash – but the jobs are still there.

What’s different this time is the possibility that technology will become so sophisticated that there won’t be anything left for humans to do. What if your ATM could not only give you a hundred bucks, but sell you an adjustable-rate mortgage? While the current rhetoric around artificial intelligence is overhyped, there have been meaningful advances over the past several years. And it’s not inconceivable that much bigger breakthroughs are on the horizon. Instead of merely transforming work, technology might begin to eliminate it. Instead of making it possible to create more wealth with less labor, automation might make it possible to create more wealth without labor.


How Books by Self-Published Authors Can Land on the New York Times Bestsellers List

Most authors would love nothing more than to have their books appear on the NY Times Bestseller list.How Books by Self-Published Authors Can Land on the New York Times Bestsellers List This list is the Holy Grail for authors—the ultimate sign of success. But the long-standing challenge for self-published authors has been that the list is compiled based on brick and mortar bookstore sales, and most self-published authors aren’t featured in bookstores unless they are working with a distributor. Without bookstore distribution (combined with a heck of a lot of promotion), it’s impossible for a book to make it to the list.

But don’t give up hope just yet! The New York Times also features a bestseller list for ebooks, which is compiled based on sales reported from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Google. If you distribute your ebook through these channels and achieve exceptional sales, you can absolutely make this list.

Still don’t believe it’s possible? In August 2012, independent ebook distributor Smashwords announced that four of its authors were featured on the NY Times bestseller list that week! This was BIG news for all self-published authors because it provided evidence of what is possible when you produce your book and then market the heck out of it!

I’m sure we’ll be seeing more stories about how these authors achieved such tremendous sales success. In the meantime, consider how you can ramp up your marketing efforts to really kick those ebook sales into gear.

By the way, we have used and recommended Smashwords for ebook distribution for several years. If your titles aren’t listed there, they should be!


25 Money-Making Ideas You Can Leverage Online

While unscrupulous Internet marketers parade their offers that are more designed to extract money from you rather than help you to make it, many people are faced with the dilemma of who to trust when it comes to making money online. Clearly, there are some ideas for making money on the web that are simply too good to be true. The self-evident truth is that these ideas over-promise and under-deliver.

However, there are legitimate ways to make money online. These money-making ideas are mostly relatively simple and straightforward, though some of them require more dexterity and knowledge in certain online arenas. Yet, for the most part, making money online, even if it’s just a few hundred dollars extra per month, isn’t something that’s too difficult to do. As long as you don’t have pie-in-the-sky hopes at the outset, you won’t get burned.

What most people come to quickly realize about the Internet is that anything that’s too good to be true, often is. Still, we’ve been falling for these gimmicks and tricks far before the internet. Late-night infomercials that promise you’ll easily get rich in real estate or lose weight fast made their rounds for decades before the internet reared its not-so-ugly head. We often seem to rush headfirst into things that clearly have the odds stacked up against us.


This is a matter of both disinformation and misinformation. Those that are informed and in-the-know have an upper-hand on others that are clamoring for results in arenas that they might not fully understand. The Internet, with all of its conveniences and tools that have facilitated ease of access to many sectors of life such as transportation and labor, is also something that’s incredibly difficult and complex on the business side.

While we might be experts at searching the web, not everyone understands the nuisances of online marketing, and this creates a vacuum for those less-than-legitimate individuals to swoop in and sell the latest system or hack that will all-but guarantee you riches as long as you do a little bit of legwork. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. Below, what you’ll find are some money making ideas that do require work but aren’t the result of some system by the latest raving Internet marketer looking to sell you some hyped-up dream.


If you put in the time with any of these money-making methods that are accessible to virtually anyone with an Internet connection, you will see results as long as you do it wholeheartedly. Don’t be afraid to put in the work and deliver true value no matter which one of these methods you decide to implement. Value really does make the difference between those that make money online and those that fail.

I’ve split the following list of online money making ideas into three separate groups:

  1. Simple and easy methods
  2. Medium-difficulty methods
  3. Complex or drawn-out methods

The more complex the money making idea, the more potential for return you’ll have. There will also be a greater investment of your time involved here as the difficulty level increases, which is natural in the curve of returns on investment no matter what area of business we’re talking about.

If you’re just looking to make some quick cash, the simple methods can help. If you’re looking for something that will deliver a constant and steady stream of passive income, look no further than the complex methods found herein.


#1 — Do paid surveys online

Websites like Survey Junkie and Swag Bucks allow average everyday individuals to get paid for sharing their thoughts online. In fact, there are an endless stream of sites promising individuals cash for completing surveys online, some of which are more reputable than others. Be sure to do your due diligence before enrolling in any of these programs.

#2 — Get paid for searching the web

Sites like Qmee offer you the chance to search and conduct your everyday activities on the Internet while also earning money. In effect, you get paid to search online across sites like Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and Bing, with countless sites offering your the ability to earn money while their software is listening in on your activities in the background. A little creepy? Maybe.

#3 — Do deliveries for PostMates

PostMates provides on-demand deliveries in major cities across the United States. The company claims that you can make up to $25 per hour making deliveries whether you have a car, a bike or decide to walk. At any moment, you can turn on or off your availability through the app so that you can do deliveries according to your schedule.

#4 — Drive for Uber or Lyft

The on-demand ride-hailing economy is in full swing. Companies like Uber and Lyft are dominating the space. They also allow most individuals with qualifying cars and clean driving records to earn cash whenever they’d like by picking up and driving passengers in their local areas.

#5 — Become an online or mystery telephone shopper

Companies are hiring individuals to not only conduct secret shopping experiments in real life, but also online by simply using their phone to call into doctors and dentists’ offices, call centers and other companies in an effort to analyze the experience received. While you won’t make a fortune doing this, you can earn a few extra bucks through sites like ARC and Intellicheck.

#6 — Sign up as a babysitter or nanny online

Sites like offer the ability for reputable individuals to earn money while providing nanny or babysitting services in their local areas. The site also allows individuals looking to provide pet sitting, housekeeping, errand services and senior care services as well, amongst many others.

#7 — Do app or website reviews to make money

Sites like Vindale Research and User Testing, amongst countless others, will allow you to get paid to post your thoughts about certain apps or websites. However, it’s important to vet any company that you find for these types of gigs and ensure that they’re reputable before spending your time working for them.

#8 — Become a virtual assistant

Use a site like Upwork or Freelancer to search for virtual assistant gigs. Although these won’t pay you a fortune, they will allow you to do small paying jobs from the comfort of your own home via a simple Internet connection. If you’re good at online research and other business related tasks, this might be the best idea for making a little bit of cash online.

#9 — Utilize Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform to do micro-jobs

Amazon provides a platform called Mechanical Turk for doing what it calls Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). These are small micro-jobs that pay very little money but also don’t take very long to complete. You could string together HITs during your free time to make a little bit of extra money each day without the exertion of too much effort.


#10 — Sell your photos on leading websites

If you’re at all into photography, you can easily take pictures and sell them online through popular websites such as ShutterStock and iStockPhoto, just to name two. Clearly, you can’t be an amateur at this, but you can do it without being a professional. And, the more you know about demands for certain types of photography, and the better you are at Photoshop, the more likely you’ll be to succeed at making money online through this method.

#11 — Trade stocks or forex online

Trading stocks or foreign currency exchange (forex) online isn’t something that’s for beginners. However, this is a lucrative field as long as you know what you’re doing. There are loads of sites that will teach you how to become a proficient trader. My advice? Find a pro or a reputable system or course that you can learn from and tread wisely so that you don’t lose your shirt.

#12 — Start a graphic design business

One lucrative idea for making money online is to start a graphic design business. However, you clearly need to have some graphic design background to get this off the ground. Take a course to learn the basics and the ropes, then ensure that you get really good before trying your hand at a site like 99Designs or Fiverr where you can sell your services to others.

#13 — Auction off old items on eBay

eBay is a great resource for selling items. You can even become a power seller and really move a hefty volume of merchandise. However, it takes time to build up your profile, and you need to develop the skills to ensure that your listings are well crafted, keyword centric and meticulously detailed if you want to succeed on this platform.

#14 — Create YouTube videos

YouTube is the world’s largest video platform, and has long been under Google’s umbrella. Professional marketers often turn to YouTube because they know just how powerful the platform is for delivering rich multimedia that helps to educate and inform others while also drawing attention to certain products or services. While building a popular YouTube channel can take time, it is far more potent and wide-reaching than most standard blog platforms.

#15 — Do social media marketing for local businesses

If you have a penchant for social media, why not engage in some marketing for local businesses in your area? Leverage platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to help companies build up their followers and ensure that their products and services are in front of their audiences.

#16 — Sell arts and crafts on Etsy 

If you have a keen eye for arts and crafts, consider selling those items on a site like Etsy, which is the largest handmade goods site of its kind. All types of individuals and businesses have turned to Etsy to reach a massive platform of people looking to purchase their goods. You can even sell digitally-downloadable goods here such as digital art designs and printable posters as well.

#17 — Create an e-commerce store with Shopify

Numerous platforms exist that will help you peddle your goods and services online. One such platform is Shopify, which is an easy-t0-use e-commerce system for selling just about anything under the sun. Build your Shopify store and start driving traffic to sell your goods and services and make money online no matter where you live in the world.

#18 — Do translation work to make money online

If you’re a native speaker in a second language, or you even speak multiple languages, consider selling your services to offer professional translations. People are always looking for high-quality translation services, and if you can really deliver to your audience, you can set yourself apart and make a considerable amount of money while doing it.


#19 — Create courses on Udemy

Udemy is one of the world’s largest platforms for selling online courses for just about any topic or subject. As long as you have the proper skills, you can likely teach those skills on a platform like this. However, don’t expect it to be easy. Fierce competition means that you need to deliver loads of value and expertly market your course online if you’re going to make any respectable amount of money.

#20 — Publish an e-book with Amazon Kindle Publishing (KDP)

The rush to e-book gold is over, but there are still countless individuals making a significant sum of lucrative passive income through the ebook business. If you’re an expert or have knowledge in a specific arena, publish a non-fiction ebook on Amazon’s Kindle Publishing (KDP) platform to help educate others in a number of areas when it comes to things like business, online marketing and other highly-technical fields.

#21 — Sell audiobooks on ACX

Audiobooks are another lucrative form of passive income. Speaking from experience, when done right, audiobooks can easily produce thousands upon thousands of dollars per month on autopilot. However, quality and the delivery of high-value content must be the key aim at all times. Leverage Amazon’s ACX platform to publish audiobooks for inclusion in Apple’s audiobook store and on

#22 — Start a Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA) business

Amazon is by far the largest electronic retailer in the world. People turn to Amazon today for nearly all of their consumer needs. And many individuals are leveraging the e-tailer to sell their goods by starting a Fullfiled-by-Amazon (FBA) business. You provide the products, Amazon handles the orders, fulfillment, shipping and returns.

#23 — Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing is a tricky business. It involves years of training and understanding of things like consumer psychology, writing compelling sales copy, understanding search engine optimization and online marketing, knowing how to build sales funnels and squeeze pages and so much more. But it’s also incredibly lucrative. Some affiliate marketers make millions of dollars per month, but reaching this level is excruciatingly hard.

#24 — Start and build a niche blog

Blogging is by far one of the most difficult ways you can make money online. It’s incredibly difficult to start a blog that becomes successful over time. But those that stick to it end up reaping bountiful rewards over time. Build a niche blog and learn about things like SEO and constantly deliver real value to your audience and you’ll see your income skyrocket. But keep in in mind that this will take you years, not month.

#25 — Become an email marketer

Email marketing is alive and well. In fact, a large majority of the most popular websites still generate their income from email marketing by building a relationship with their audience. Things like split testing, effective subject lines and funnel scripts are very important to gain the confidence of your audience while also climbing them up your value ladder. Take the time to learn all that you can about email marketing and start building out your list early on.


5 Surprising Trends in the Book Industry

In the changing technological landscape of the 21st century, the book publishing industry is in constant flux. Here are five trends to watch for in the publishing realm.

Return to brick-and-mortar

Years after their near-extinction—due in part to the increase of e-readers and the dominance of online booksellers—brick-and-mortar bookstores are making a comeback. In 2015, new stores began opening and others expanded to new locations, according to The Wall Street Journal. Amazon, a significant factor in the demise of brick-and-mortar bookstores, is hopping on the bandwagon with physical bookstores in Seattle, San Diego and Portland, and plans to open hundreds more by the end of 2017.

Rise of self-publishing

According to, self-publishing is becoming more popular each year. Self-published authors can earn from 60 to 80 percent of the royalties from their book’s list price as opposed to traditional publishing, where authors earn only around 12 percent to 17 percent. According to, self-publishing can serve as a catalyst for breaking into mainstream publishing. Publishers are more likely to take on a book if the writer has already proven his success through self-publishing.

Audio book boom

With the recent rise of podcasts and in-car and home streaming, audio books are experiencing a bump in popularity as well. According to, audio books are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry: 43,000 new audiobooks were released in 2015, compared to 36,000 in 2014 and 20,000 in 2013. Between August 2014 and August 2015, sales of audio book sales increased 43.4 percent. Publishers believe the ease of listening to an audiobook anywhere draws consumers.

Authors and social media

Gone are the days when an author retreated to her office to write, emerging six months later with a finished manuscript. These days, authors are expected to keep up with social media channels and expand their reach digitally to boost sales. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has 8.44 million Twitter followers. Rupi Kaur, a young writer from Canada, landed a book deal partly because of the 672,000 fans who follow her on Instagram.

Apps are up, e-readers down

When the Kindle and Nook were first released, a customer needed to own a dedicated e-reader in order to access their libraries and features. Now, you can download a Kindle app on your smart phone, computer or tablet and have the same experience. Amazon and Barnes & Noble realized that expanding the market for e-books more than made up for potential declines in the sales of the devices themselves. (According to Bookseller magazine, e-reader sales fell for the very first time in 2015.) The Wall Street Journal reports that publishers are looking toward phone applications instead of e-readers. Although the majority of people who use electronics to read use tablets, that number is declining as the number of those reading on phones increases.

Reporter’s Takeaway

• The trend toward more brick-and-mortar bookstores, most famously announced by Amazon, is spreading across the country. Explore the reasons for the original decline in your region, as well as a possible resurgence.

• Self-publishing is another major shift in the book business. It’s worth investigating how this is impacting the traditional publishing industry as well as the platforms on which authors now publish. No matter how they are being published, authors are expected to use social media as a key marketing tool; take a look at authors who are using it most effectively.

• While audio books have gained in popularity, the sale of e-readers is in a slump. You can conduct man-on-the-street interviews that explore this trend, and ask publishing professionals for their long-range predictions.


Audiobook now Available on Amazon

42 chapters of tasty recipes every parent will love. The recipes are simple and easy to read. The family dinners include some flavorful recipes that any family will enjoy. Kasani’s Baby and Toddler CookBook is your guide to these important first years of eating. Find the building blocks of starting your child on solid foods, how to recognize food allergies, and easy ways to cook in bulk. Recipes progress from single-ingredient purées to multi-flavor blends like Garden Vegetable combo and Beets Blueberry mesh. This book also includes oral allergy information as well as the best BPA free utensils for children. Stage 1 and Stage 2 foods are included. Most can be made ahead and frozen, many are easily adapted for grown-up tastes, and all include full nutritional value. Please consult with your pediatrician ahead of time for food allergies also included in depth. Free of pesticides, hormones, GMOs, and additives, these delicious purees promote strong immune systems and healthy growth.

My Adult Coloring Book Finally Made it to Amazon

I was stressed out theoretically not literally of figuring the formatting for a mostly image based book. Well I uploaded directly to CreateSpace and within 24 hours it finally made it’s way to Amazon. I still have it on Lulu for now. 

77 Mixed patterns to color. This adult coloring book has over 77 animal patterns and provides hours of stress relief through creative expression. It features small and big creatures from forests, oceans, birds, elephants, mandalas, owls. Designs range in complexity and detail from beginner to expert-level. Adidas Wilson public Facebook page.

Adult Coloring Book for Stress Relief: Gardens, Mandalas, Flowers, Butterflies, Animals and Owls

51r7ae2ysll-_sx331_bo1204203200_ becomes the first premium audiobook service to offer full Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatch compatibility

TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — is pleased to announce their full compatibility with both Apple and Android wearable technologies, making them the only premium audiobook service to provide that option to their customers.

“We recognize how important innovation and convenience are to our customers, so offering them the option to listen with Apple and Android watches was important to us,” says Ian Small, CEO.

This expansion into wearable technology is in addition to’s availability on tvOS, Sonos, CarPlay, Android Auto, and select infotainment systems in GM, Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles.

“Connective technology – in homes, in cars, and now in style – is the way of the future, and is committed to being on the leading edge of that movement.”

Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatch users can now:

  • Launch the app from their smartwatch
  • Browse and listen to any audiobook in their My Books library
  • Access controls for play, pause, forward, rewind and volume

This announcement follows the recent Wear 2.0 version update for Android, with which is fully compatible when coupled with the mobile app.

Founded in 2011, is an app-based streaming and download service for audiobooks, delivering fast and easy access to over 100,000 titles to booklovers around the world. Subscribers can listen to their audiobook of choice on any Internet-enabled device via the free app. The company’s proprietary technology synchronizes users’ last listened-to position across all devices, creating a seamless user experience. Find out more at


17 Changes Indie Authors Can Expect in 2017

The world of book marketing is moving and shaking. Part of my job is to make sure to I keep my finger on the pulse of what’s working well, what’s transforming, and what book promotion tactics will soon go the way of the dodo bird. So what changes can indie authors expect in 2017? Although these predictions are educated guesses, I think you’ll find many of these things evolving this year.

  1. Collaborative marketing: While not a new trend, I think you’re going to start seeing a lot more of this as the year progresses. In the past, we’ve seen authors do combo book bundles, so this means more books bundled together from a variety of authors. This encourages enhanced promotion, because more than one author is involved with the book. In addition to that though, I think we’re going to see authors collaborating on promotional efforts such as bundled freebies, samplers and collaborative ads. There is power in numbers and this year, more than ever, we’re going to start seeing that this is no longer an option, but a necessity.


  1. Book covers: Although, throughout all my years in publishing, I’ve always said that book covers are key, now, book covers are more important than ever to your book’s success. And, in fact, book covers that look good on mobile browsers are now a must. When was the last time you looked at your cover on your phone? If you have to pinch and pull it to be able to even see what it looks like or how it reads, you may be in trouble. Most new readers won’t take that step, they’ll just move on.


  1. Less social media: Most people are becoming weary of too much social media and I know several authors who have completely closed several of their social accounts. I think in 2017, more and more authors are going to get away from being everywhere. We have one author, for example, who went from being on six platforms to only two – and instead of doing a public Facebook account, she has a members-only VIP group.


  1. Publish often: I’ve said this before, but it’s becoming increasingly true. You can’t publish one book and wait to see what happens, you need to plan for a consistent publishing schedule that delivers a book to your readers a few times a year. Why? Because the more books you have, the more real estate you own on Amazon. But, there’s a caveat. Quality needs to prevail, so don’t crank out bad books just to hit your numbers.


  1. Seasonal romances: I love the Hallmark Channel for their marketing focus. If you follow them, or have ever seen a Hallmark Christmas movie (it’s ok to admit that you have), you’ll notice that nearly all of their movies are now tied to a season. This trend began in television, and has now extended to books; I’m seeing more and more romances with seasonal angles. So New Years themed books, summer holidays like Memorial Day and July 4th, then follow Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the trend starts all over again. And while I focused on romances here, I would expect this genre to have a wider reach into genre fiction, too.


  1. Direct to reader: I’ve said this before, in numerous blog posts, but you’ve got to work on getting direct to your reader. Yes, eBook promotions are great, ads on Facebook can work well, but it should all lead you to building a mailing list of avid fans who you can connect to directly. This change, though it started at the tail end of 2015, built up steam last year and we’ll see this increasingly over the coming year.


  1. More interaction with eBooks: It’s time to think of your eBook as a living, breathing, thing instead of a static product. So links that lead to external content like videos to enhance the learning, or book trailers to take readers to the next level of your story will be a fun new way to engage, entertain, and educate readers.


  1. Print books pick up steam again (but not for fiction): Interesting to note that so much of what’s being sold in fiction is not in print, meaning that eBooks are killing it in genre fiction. Dataguy from Digital Book World talks about this in his report: He notes that 70% of adult fiction sales were from eBooks. (mic drop) And, in fact, several major publishing houses have set up digital-only divisions for this very reason. But for non-fiction I’m seeing a totally different side. Print is actually still a strong staple of the non-fiction market. If you’ve released a book in eBook only, maybe now is a good time to put it out in print, too – a new edition can give you some new promotional opportunities.


  1. Consider your backlist: A lot of authors I speak to have older books that wound up being their “training wheels.” It’s where they learned the ropes, and learned from the mistakes they made they made with that book (or books, depending on your learning curve). I often hear authors say: “I wish I had known then what I do now.” Well, now that you know, why not re-release these? If the content needs updating, then by all means, do that, but if the book is fiction, you probably don’t need to change anything beyond the cover. Spoiler alert: in most cases the cover needs to be changed.


  1. Mobile: Do it or die (or at least your books may). You need a site that is designed for mobile, even if it’s just adding a WordPress plug in. Mobile can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, but if you don’t get this handled in 2017, you’re going to lose a lot (a lot) of potential traffic and new readers.


  1. Glitzy Publishers: It used to be that publishers could heap on a lot of benefits to get you to publish with them and many times it actually worked. Now though I’m finding that glamorous offerings from publishers are passé. Author want the basics, they get that publishers are there to help them facilitate publishing, not throw them a parade – which is why bare bones publishers like Createspace are doing so well. But don’t let the term “bare bones” fool you, they can do cover and interior work, they just don’t try to sell you a ton of stuff you don’t need.


  1. Review services will go away: While blog tours, reader reviews, top Amazon reviewers and blogger reviews will always be a staple of book promotion, companies that offer just review services will start to dwindle because of Amazon’s complicated review policy.


  1. Limited Edition Books: So part of the fun of promotion is doing things that pique a reader’s interest, like limited edition, exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, and even alternative endings. Some authors I know are using print books to drive exclusivity, but they aren’t listing them on Amazon, they’re offering them, signed, from their website or as promo gifts. Neat idea, huh?


  1. The Long Haul: We love viral, I mean who doesn’t? That thing that just goes crazy and gets everyone talking, like the Gilmore Girls reunion It’s on every social media feed everywhere. The only thing is this: with so many books being put out daily, this kind of “magic” is not really something that we’re going to see a lot of anymore. This doesn’t mean that books won’t sell well, but it’s much more about the long haul (which I know sounds like a horrible amount of work) that’s going to get your reader excited. So now that I’ve gone all buzzkill on you, let me explain what I mean by “long haul.” It’s time to prepare for the “after the honeymoon” phase, post 90-day mark when you’d normally expect to see things take off. That’s just not realistic anymore. More and more in my firm, I see authors spending their budget dollars very wisely. They know they shouldn’t just blow it all in the first week of promotion, and they pace themselves and their budget. Be sure to plan for the long-term because short, power bursts just aren’t getting the kind of traction they used to. In fact, I’m seeing this a lot in the way of eBook promotions. Remember when you used to be able to do one eBook price discount and see a flood of sales? Now I’m seeing authors do two and three of these to hit the same numbers. It’s all about saturation and if you stick with it, your book will hit its stride. Bottom line: Prepare for the long term and don’t give up.


  1. Big movie/TV tie ins: We see this already, but you’re going to see more of it. Much like the seasonal romances, there is a coattail effect here. So tying into big movies – or movie themes – and TV shows will be even bigger this year. All of this, of course, will help you stand out from the crowd.


  1. New genres: We’re seeing lots of new genres so while I used to say: stick with existing genres, this is becoming less true and many genres, like Chicklit, are seeing a huge revival. We’ll be seeing lots more of these and, in fact, I would expect that seasonal romances will eventually fold into some catchy, genre title like Chicklit did.


  1. The Netflix effect: Some years ago I talked about how Netflix was going to start reinvigorating old shows. We see this with a number of 90s hit shows that have made recent comebacks, but what Netflix has also done is create “binge watching” an often-used term. This has turned serialized content on its head with sites like Wattpad really pulling in the views. As authors, we should be doing something in serialization. And due to the growth of audio books, I think the next level of this might be serialized audio content. So, a chapter a week or a day, dumped into a subscriber feed (sort of like a podcast) to help you build listeners and maybe entice them to buy the full audio book version, or your print book. Be aware that while doing this could be a lot of fun, you’d better have a good reading voice to pull it off.


Chat app Line is developing an AI assistant and Amazon Echo-style smart speaker

Messaging app Line is taking a leaf out of the books of Amazon, Google and others after it launched its own artificial intelligence platform.

A voice-powered concierge service called Clova — short for “Cloud Virtual Assistant” — is the centerpiece of the service, much like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant. Beyond the assistant living inside the main Line chat app, the company said it has plans to release hardware with support for Clova baked-in, as Amazon and Google have done, and work with third parties to integrate the service into additional hardware. Sony and toy maker Tomy are among the early partners it is talking to.

Also, interestingly, Line has acquired a majority stake in the Japanese company behind a ‘holographic’ AI service. Vinclu is the startup, and its Gatebox is its ‘virtual robot’ that gives AI a graphical presence in the form of manga cartoon-style female — very Japanese.

“Gatebox’s holographic home assistant is voice activated and uses a variety of sensors to interact with the device’s operator in a realistic and natural manner, while also connecting to a range of devices in the home,” Line said.

As this promotional video shows, Gatebox is painted more like a virtual companion than a gender-neutral AI assistant. That might require a different approach if the product is to ship outside of Japan, perhaps involving Brown the bear and others who star in Line’s sticker packs.


Chat app Line is developing an AI assistant and Amazon Echo-style smart speaker

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