Let's Get Digital: Launches Tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the launch of Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should.

It will be priced at $2.99 on Amazon US, £1.71 on Amazon UK, EUR 2.99 on Amazon DE, and $2.99 on Smashwords for international customers who are affected by the Amazon Surcharge.

It will also be available as a free PDF download, right here. Tomorrow, the link to the free download will go live (if you want to be first to hear when it does, please subscribe to the blog or my newsletter). You will see a PayPal Donate button on that page.

There will be a note asking anyone who found the free PDF useful to consider leaving a donation of their choice, or to purchase one of my other titles (or the e-book edition from Amazon/Smashwords). Anyone will be able to donate with either a PayPal account or a credit card. But it is strictly optional.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

This guide contains over 60,000 words of essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 33 bestselling indie authors.

It 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 advice on editing, cover design, formatting, and pricing. And it reveals marketing tips from blogging and social networking right through to competitions, discounts, reviews, and giveaways.

If you are considering self-publishing, if you need to breathe life into your flagging sales, or if you want to understand why it’s a great time to be a writer, Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should will explain it all.

You may see the book on Amazon before then, but I still have to build some content on the blog that will give people extra help people with things like formatting, which aren’t practical (or that useful) to have in the e-book. After all, you will be formatting on your computer, not your Kindle.

I also have one minor issue with the PDF version that I need to iron out, and if anyone Word/PDF expert out there knows the solution, you will save me a lot of heartache! [EDIT: Fixed, thank you Craig!] The PDF looks really great, and I have spent a lot of time making sure it reads beautifully – there was no skimping of effort on the free version.

I was up until 5:30am last night formatting. One bonus of that ridiculous slog is that I seem to have skipped the queue in Amazon, but I won’t post the link until I launch tomorrow (when the PDF and everything else is ready).

However, if you want a sneak peek at some excerpts, you can see that I have rearranged the top bar of this blog where you have practical information at your fingertips on things like formatting, covers, blogging, and much more.

This content is still being built, and the text there right now is the unedited, unproofed version, but that should all be replaced (and added to) over the next 24 hours. I will also keep that content updated, and the comments are open there too, so you can add your own tips and advice.

Some regular blog-readers have asked how they can help promote the book. Tomorrow, I’ll make it easy for you, and post up some tweets and other things you can use.

But the best promotion will simply be to download the PDF version and share it with your friends. I have attached a Creative Commons License to the free version (more about those in the book), which means people are free to download, copy, e-mail, and share the PDF edition.

They can even put it up for download on their own site. The only restrictions of the License are that they must credit me as the author of the work, they are not permitted to amend it, and they are restricted from commercial use (i.e. they may not profit from it).

In the coming days, if you are directing people to the free version, I would prefer if you sent them to the download link, so they can at least see the note about the optional donation, and I can keep track of the initial download numbers.

After that, it probably won’t matter so much, as people will be free to share it in any (non-commercial) way they choose. There will probably be far more copies in circulation than I will track by download as people email copies around. In fact, I hope there will be.

As such, I have placed a note on the title page (where the copyright notice is), explaining the terms of the License, and asking people to donate if they found the book useful, providing a link back to the download page.

It has cost me $1,175 to publish this book. I will need to sell 588 copies to cover costs (or make the equivalent amount in donations). It would be nice if I could sell a little more than that and compensate my designer who kindly donated her time and skill to create the cover.

It would also be nice if I could make a little myself to cover the three months of work that have gone into this book. But, I will settle for covering costs, and a large amount of free downloads. That will have all sorts of other benefits which won’t be immediately obvious or tangible.

At this stage, I’ve no idea what’s going to happen when I launch tomorrow. But it’s going to be fun to watch.

I’m going to be making a little noise over the next few days, so please indulge me if you run into a little promotion. After the first push, I’m taking a few days off, and then it’s back to writing fiction (I can’t wait).

I would like to thank everyone who helped bring this book to the market. My editor, Karin Cox, did so much more than a copy-edit. She took an active role in shaping the document from when I first floated the idea to the final touches. (And if anyone needs an editor – a real editor – she is top-notch, but her prices are very reasonable.)

My designer (my sister), once again has achieved the impossible. Non-fiction is next-to-impossible to design an enticing cover for. Especially when it’s a “graphically dry” subject like digital self-publishing (and yes, we tried the LCD font idea; it really didn’t work).

She has come up with a cover that looks like a manifesto that has been secretly passed around, like samizdat. And I think it’s beautiful.

Finally, I would like to thank my blog readers who have provided support and encouragement at every turn. They have hunted down typos with zeal, challenged my assumptions, and prodded at the weak points in my argument.

Most importantly, they have made this blog what it is by coming along every day and – crucially – engaging in the comments.

When I started this blog in April, I didn’t know if anyone would read it. It’s with great joy (and some disbelief), that I am writing this three months later having had 35,000 visits (and 7,000 of those last week).

None of that would have been possible without the help that you guys provided along the way. And none of that would have been possible without all of the other bloggers in the self-publishing community who share their numbers, their successes, and their failures.

Everything in my book, I learned from them. A particular mention must go to Joe Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith, whose blogs I have been reading for quite some time now. As I say in my book, reading the last three or four years of their blogs is like a free Master’s Degree in digital publishing.

But it’s not just Dean & Joe. There are hundreds of writers who share their struggles every day on their blogs, on forums, on Twitter, and on Facebook. We all help each other, and everyone has time for everyone else.

Just one example. I had decided that my book would benefit from some “real life” self-publishing success stories (as the media only reports the successes of John Locke, Amanda Hocking, and Joe Konrath).

I contacted a bunch people that I knew had been posting great numbers on Kindle Boards. Some were selling 1,000 a month, and some were selling over 1,000 a day. Most of these people I didn’t know at all. I expected only a handful to say yes, if that.

All of them replied, and virtually all of them said yes (a couple couldn’t because of time constraints). That astonished me. I was nobody to them, and they took time out of their extremely busy days not only to reply, but to contribute 500 words on their self-publishing journeys for my book at extremely short notice.

I’m looking forward to releasing the list of names tomorrow, but I can tell you that there are two New York Times bestsellers on the list. There are others who left traditional publishing because their careers had plateaued, and who are now selling phenomenal amounts on their own. But most are people who couldn’t crack the system, and self-publishing allowed them to find thousands and thousands of readers.

There stories are funny, uplifting, motivating, and inspiring, and I’m very grateful to all of them for sharing.

Tomorrow, I will be mostly drinking wine and pimping the book here, on Twitter, and elsewhere. If anyone wants to join me, I have a few spare glasses.

David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time he spends outside. He writes fiction under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.

39 Replies to “Let's Get Digital: Launches Tomorrow”

  1. This isn’t something I’ve ever had to do, but I looked around a little and one guy said that he only got it (converting from Word to pdf and preserving the links) to work after he’d installed the “Save to pdf” add-on, which can be downloaded from Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=7

    Somebody else mentioned that Doc2PDF.net worked well.

    And several people said that Open Office was much better than MS Word in this regard, but downloading a whole new office suite may be overkill for you.

    Good luck, anyway!

        1. I never know if I am talking to Eloheim or Veronica!

          Thanks for the link. I’ll consider it in the future if I run into problems with the free stuff.

  2. I’m sorry I’ve been slow responding to comments in the last couple of days, but as you can see, I’ve been busy. I will respond to everything from yesterday’s post, and today’s, in a few hours when I get back from the city with copious amounts of wine for my one-man launch party 🙂

  3. Enjoy the wine, Dave. You deserve it.

    And thank you for your kind words It was a pleasure to edit and very inspiring even for me ( a trade-publishing trained gal). I’m putting some of the marketing advice in play to promote my e-books, that’s for sure.

    I’m certain many, many authors will benefit from this guide and I say, “Hurrah to that.” The more authors helping authors, the better.

  4. David, congrats! I have no doubt you’ll get a ton of downloads tomorrow, both free and paid. I’m still trying to figure a lot of things out with this new (to me) format and I’m looking forward to reading and learning from you.

  5. “These links all work in Word, but when I convert it to a PDF, they don’t seem to function. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.”

    PDF drinks in the same pub as its pals TIFF and JPG. The links won’t function in a PDF. A PDF is a type of picture, as if you took a snapshot of the document.

    Looking forward to the book.

    1. Hi Holly – so essentially, there is no way of creating hotlinks within a PDF? It’s not a HUGE deal, because this is the free version, but it would be nice.

  6. Congrats, David and every success with the book.

    Special thanks for making it available FOC. That’s an added bonus when you’re doing the benefits waltz!

  7. Ahhh… Deep sigh of relief. Enjoy your wine, kiss your patient better half who I’m sure is as happy as you are, and get some well deserved rest too.

  8. Congratulations, David. I’m looking forward to your book because the author stories sound intriguing and I need all the encouragement I can find in learning about other people’s experiences along this challenging self-publishing journey.

  9. My heart sank when you said “tomorrow” – I’m on a 3 hour train journey at cock’s crow, but then I thought… and I looked… and I did. So now I have something decent to read. Why, though, is the ToContents at the back??

    1. Linda,

      It’s always a good idea to place the ToC at the back. As you can see, it’s three or four pages long. If that was at the front, that’s 4 pages less sample that a prospective reader would get (and would have to wade through before getting to the good stuff). In addition, the ToC is accessible at the click of a button, so it doesn’t matter where it is.


      P.S. Don’t tell anyone else the book is on Amazon. It’s a secret until tomorrow.

  10. Congratulations! It looks like you have solved your problem with links when converting to PDF, but I wanted to add a bit of my experience. I use a lot of internal links in my books. I also have external links. My Word version would function perfectly, but the links in the PDF version would give unexpected results sometimes. In the beginning, I didn’t recheck the links after making the PDF since the Word doc was fully functional. First lesson, check the links in the PDF!

    Turns out the problem was with bookmarks. You use bookmarks to create internal links. Bookmarks don’t show even when you have “reveal codes” clicked. (annoying…..) If you have a bookmark that is not working correctly, you must delete the bookmark. DON’T JUST PUT A NEW ONE IN. They don’t overwrite each other, they just stack up. This is what can cause unexpected results when you convert to PDF. The PDF pulls a different bookmark than the Word doc does for the same text.

    I’m still learning a lot about bookmarks. Since Word doesn’t display them we sometimes have to convert to other formats to get to the bottom of it all.

    Of course, our beautiful EPUBs don’t have these problems. I am teaching my website customers all about EPUB in the hope that someday we can just have one format for ebooks!

    Congratulations again!

    1. I just did some pretty rigorous testing there and all the links worked (man that was a lot of clicking). Good tip though (and I also heard that causes big probs with Smashwords – didn’t know about PDFs).

      MOBIs can be beautiful too, just a little more limited. EPUB is definitely the future. I expect it will be the universal format within 12 months – you can do so much more. And the current limitations of MOBI make it really difficult for non-fiction (as I’m sure you know). There are so many more cool things we could do with e-books if we could just make EPUB the standard, and get the e-reader manufacturers to make the most out of what it can do.

      1. I hear you on the clicking! First I do the Word version, then the PDF, then the ePub. I have HUNDREDS of links in my book. My glossary is over 100 terms all by itself! That’s a LOT of double checking clicking.

        Smashwords says the problem is with hidden bookmarks, but I think it goes deeper than that. Like I said the other day, I gave up on SW. I could write another book or two in the time it would take to sort it all out. For now, I’m going to wait for Mark to start taking ePubs.

        I hope you are right about the 12 months thing. When I sell books from my site, I give both the epub and the pdf along with details about how to download Adobe Digital Editions for viewing Epubs.

        I’m ready to start embedding video in my books – I have over 200 videos on YouTube – it will be cool when that functionality goes live.

        1. When Mark guest posted on Joe’s blog a while back he said that accepting files direct wasn’t a big priority. Have you heard that they may? I really do hope so. I spend a lot of time hand-coding all the HTML so that they are perfect, and it pains me to see what the Meatgrinder does. I know some people who won’t even list with them because of it.

          There could be a middle ground. They could have some sort of “approved” list where if you have a history of producing top quality documents, you can upload direct. Or something other than what we have now.

    2. I’ve emailed this request more than once and not received any clarity from Mark. He did reply that he would help me “fix” my documents. I spent over an hour following his instructions regarding hidden bookmarks. There were still tons of problems after the meatgrinder did it’s thing. I won’t deny that there are likely problems in my Word doc which the meatgrinder doesn’t like. Is it all on my end? Who knows.

      We also hand code our HTML for ePubs which requires considerable time. I can’t justify even more time trying to comply with the meatgrinder. If my books didn’t have so many links, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But, they do have links and it is a big deal.

      I either upload books without links or I send in a document that comes out looking crappy and doesn’t work right even after passing premium distribution. All the while a beautiful epub sits on my hard drive. It’s painful.

      1. Hello David, bought your book last night and I am enjoying it. I will FB about it later today. I have been submitting my epub to Amazon, but you send them a mobi? Just wondering why you don’t send them the epub.

        1. I tag the HTML file in Notepad++ then convert it in Caliber. That spits out the EPUB and MOBI versions, so it’s no extra work to create both.

  11. Re ToContents at the back – good thinking, Hatman! And your secret re launch is safe with me. I’ve even RTd your “Out tomorrow” call. Best of luck with it. I’m back to the land of wifi on Saturday so will call back to see how it’s going. Keep us informed.

    1. Thanks Linda – I will do. I post my sales figures at the end of every month – warts and all – but I always give updates during the month in one form or another.

  12. David,
    Tomorrow must be now, because I was able to purchase and download Let’s Get Digital from Amazon now—it’s 6:30 CDT, GMT – 6, I think. I look forward to a good read tonight.

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