Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Selling Gbooks through the Google Partner Center

The Google Books and Google Play program enables the self published writer to sell ebooks online from one dashboard. All you have to do is to sign up for the Google’s Partner program. Within a few steps, your books will show up on Google Books searches and also on Google Play.

How to Get your Books onto Google Play

The writer may consider uploading a completed novel onto Amazon’s KDP platform, Smashwords or Kobo. But Google has also a platform where the writer may upload books where they may become more visible on searches. The system is a little fiddly and the pros and cons of selling your books on Google play are explained in another article. For now, I shall take you through the steps. Firstly, enroll for the Google Partner Program. You will need a Google account into order to do so. Once enrolled, you will need to complete all fields on a ‘Book Catalog’ page.

How to Publish Books on Google Play

You will need to collate some information on your book in order to fill in each stage of the book catalog. Firstly you will need to click on ‘add book’. Your book may have an ISBN (if it has been published on Smashwords and/or Createspace and Lulu). Don’t worry if there is more than one ISBN per book, the ‘general details’ page enables the author to inform on other ISBNS the book has. In my case, I had an ISB for the paperback version of my book, large print and digital.

This general details page also requires a title, the subtitle (if applicable), an autobiographical note (about the author) and book category (known in the US as a BISAC or in the UK a BIC). Book categories for other countries are provided. I placed my book under the subject heading ‘thriller/suspense.’ There are many other subject areas to choose from.

Creating a Gbook for Beginners

Some of these fields are a little tricky and here’s the first. Under language, don’t put ‘English’, but ‘Eng’ or the system will reject the book.

You may add the publication date, page count and age group the book is aimed at. If adult, leave blank or 18 plus.

The book description is vital, so some thought must be put into this. I used the blurb I had written for Amazon with some adjustments. Do revise this part if need be. A good book description can create sales.

If applicable, infill the details if the book belongs to a series and the publisher name. If self-published, this will likely bear the author’s name.

Before going further, click the ‘save’ button on the top right of the screen.

Setting the Price of a Gbook

You will now be presented with the ‘Google Play’ settings of your book.

Google has made things a little simpler than the older Google Partner system regarding the pricing of your book in that you only have to put in the price in your own currency (in my case, USD). Put in caps WORLD and the system will automatically convert the price into all currencies. A word of warning, don’t put $ or £. Again, the system will reject it. USD or GPB is the format required depending upon where you are. Click the relevant box if tax is included in the price.

You may choose to tick whether to protect your digital rights and whether to show ‘flowing text’ from the epub you will download. More about epubs in a moment. You may then decide how much of the book you are happy for customers to copy and paste.

How to Grant Free Copies of Your Book to Reviewers

This next bit comes in handy. You can grant chosen reviewers to read your book for free on their Android device without having to purchase a digital copy of your book for them. The reviewer must have a Google account to receive the ebook for free.

Remember to ‘save’ before progressing onto the ‘Google Books setting’ page.

The fields here are pretty self-explanatory. Under ‘territories’ put WORLD if you hold worldwide rights. If not, you can select the countries you wish the book to appear. You can download a graphic and link back to your own website or blog where your books can be purchased.

Again, remember to ‘save.’

The Content Files of Google Books

Now for the slightly tricky bit. On the ‘content files’ page of your book, you will need to upload the cover image of your book (preferably a JPEG, PDF or TIFF. You will also need to upload the content of your book. I uploaded both PDF (or scanned images) and the Epub version for ereaders. You only need to save a PDF version of your book if a print version exists (such as on Createspace or Lulu). Simply open the word document and click on ‘save as.’ select PDF. I chose to compress the file for online reading only. I saved before uploading the PDF file.

Uploading an Epub to Google

When it comes to flowing text, Google will not accept zip files, Word or MOBI files, only an Epub file, which is not as easy. If you do not have an Epub version of the Word document that represents your book, upload a free software called Callibre which will convert any file format into any other file format. Callibre is easy to use. Once uploaded, add your Word document into the library and then select ‘Epub’. The book will be saved as an Epub version within a separate folder generated within your Documents called Callibre Library.

To ensure the file works properly, you can upload another free and simple-to-use software called Adobe Digital Editions. If your book opens OK on this program, chances are, Google will be happy with it.

Once you have uploaded the cover image and the content of your book, click ‘save.’ Don’t worry if the files don’t show up immediately on your book details. Refresh after a few moments and they will show up. Now you will have to wait a day or so to see if the system has any problems with your files. Until then, your book catalog will show the status ‘not live’ or ‘needs action.’

Epub Cannot be Sanitized

On occasion, an error message will come up saying that the epub cannot be sanitized. I have to admit, even after querying this with Google am unsure what this means and welcome comments of enlightenment at the end of this post. All I know is that a site called ‘Github’ is used to pinpoint the problems with the Epub.

 If all fails, you could upload your own book onto your computer from an epublisher you have already published your book on. (Don’t use Amazon, as they use MOBI files). Epublishers that convert Word documents into Epub files include: Apple, Nook, Sony, Kobo and Smashwords.

How to Upload Epub onto Google Books

Once you have saved your Epub file (which likely will be saved under ‘Downloads’ of your computer), browse to it and then upload the Epub onto Google Books/Play.

Save and then wait another day or so. If all is OK, the book will show up as ‘live on Google Play.’ Don’t worry if your book does not show up on Generic Google searches. Give it a few days and the book will be Google indexed. Until then, you can still link to your Google Books/Play page of your books by clicking on the ‘Google Books’ or ‘Google Play’ link that can be found at the top of the ‘contents file’ page of your book once you have signed into your Google Books Partner Center account.

The pros and cons of enrolling your books onto Google Play is discussed in a separate article.

More Articles about Self Publishing

The pros and cons of selling your books on Google Play
I wish I had the time to write a novel
My ebook won't format properly

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