Writing · Writing Articles

Pronoun: An eBook Self-Publisher’s Dream

Today I want to bring back the Monday Writing Articles series and talk about Pronoun, a fantastic tool I found for those interested in eBook publishing.

I found Pronoun through NaNoWriMo 2014; beta access was part of the annual Winner’s Goodies. Now Pronoun is open to the public, so I thought I would go through at least part of the process of using it.

Pronoun is a free website through which authors can upload their books, convert them into eBooks, and publish them on most major eBook retailers, including Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play. Better yet, Pronoun tracks your sales across all sites in one place. I have been told by Pronoun staff that it is also possible to link the eBook listing on Amazon to the listing for the print book. Pronoun is a central location where eBook authors can control their keywords, categories, pricing, sales, and more, across multiple platforms, in one place.

Let’s get to the tour.

1.) Create Your Book

Basics

Pronoun takes you through a fluid, simple series of steps.

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You can put platform links in the author information and Pronoun’s eBook converter will automatically include them as links in the .epub and .mobi files. Can you say maximum reader engagement?

You can credit contributors (not pictured) and then move on to…

Design

Pronoun allows you to upload your own cover file or to create one with Canva (which is another awesome author tool that I’ll have to talk about eventually).

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Then you can upload a Word document (formatted according to Pronoun’s guidelines) and it will automatically convert it into a formatted eBook in any of several styles.

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A note of warning on the conversion process: it has a tendency to create some typos, specifically a double quotation mark in several places (“”). (This may also just be an issue with Word documents going through conversion, as when I pull a Word doc into Scrivener, the same issue occurs.) It may be easier to pay a professional to convert it and upload an .epub file directly.

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You also have the ability to download Pronoun’s automatically-generated .epub and .mobi files in order to proof them. This is a great way to get tablet-friendly copies of your drafts for friends and beta readers! You can re-upload your .epub or .docx as many times as you want in order to reflect more developed drafts or correct things. If you’re publishing the eBook, Pronoun will sync all of your file updates across all platforms. Say goodbye to embarrassing typos that will live in your work forever.

Then, once your book has been created and designed…

2.) Marketing

Sell Your Book

Pronoun will help you choose categories…

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Search terms…

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And your book’s description…

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It will sync all this across all retailers, and you can update this information at any time.

Retail

Then it will allow you to set your book’s price across all retailers while giving you comparisons for similar books and an estimate of royalties for each price.

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Then you can receive an ISBN from Pronoun or bring your own.  According to Pronoun’s Author Agreement, “[The designation of Pronoun as a book’s official publisher] has virtually no practical consequence and in no way affects your rights, which are unequivocally yours.” Some people will still want to bring their own ISBN for safety, which is also supported.

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Elissa from Pronoun told me over email: “If you include the print book’s ISBN when filling out your ebook’s Book Details on Pronoun, Amazon will automatically link the two versions of your book.” So that would be how you integrate the print and eBook listing on Amazon!

Finally, you can review the Author Agreement, finalize your book, and hit the “publish” button.

3.) Tracking Sales

Pronoun has a simple homepage where you can track your eBook sales.

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Pronoun pays quarterly through Paypal. Since there are no sales for my unpublished example book here, it doesn’t show the full breakdown of sales by retailer, but my understanding is that once you actually publish, it will do that. You will also receive daily sales updates through email.

An Overview

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Pronoun is a fantastic, free tool for eBook self-publishers! Why do they do all this for free? Because they believe that publishing should put authors first. (If that’s TL;DR, try What Authors Deserve.) It’s an admirable goal from a company providing a wonderful tool, which, though it has its shortcomings (namely the eBook conversion process and the inability to manage print book sales directly in-app), they are minimal. I’ve spoken directly with efficient, polite customer service, and with Pronoun, I believe that even a self-publishing newbie could have a shot at success. (That doesn’t mean that total newbies should publish, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Go on, give it a try. It’s free, and you’ve got nothing to lose.

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3 thoughts on “Pronoun: An eBook Self-Publisher’s Dream

  1. Hi there! I loved finding your review because I’m publishing my first ebook soon!
    However, I’m concerned with the PayPal fees. What do you think of this? Like if I wanted to get more reviews by selling my book for cheaper, like at $0.99, net worth would be $0.35 but after PayPal fees I would only get $0.04 :O
    I guess other publishing with other platforms would be more expensive since they charge a fee themselves, plus the retailer fee, plus PayPal. But still.
    Do you think it’s better to publish them directly at the retailers?

    Like

    1. Interesting point! Pronoun describes Paypal’s fees here: http://support.pronoun.com/knowledge_base/topics/how-pronoun-pays-authors

      Paypal charges 3% per payment up to a max of $2, and you get paid once per quarter. As I figure it, that’s about $8 per year.

      I think you’re looking at the Paypal Merchant fees, which apply if you want to use Paypal as a purchasing agent: https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/merchant-fees

      The way I understand it, Paypal is not the purchasing agent, it is only the means through which you receive your paycheck. Buyers of your book are not purchasing it on your website through Paypal; they are purchasing through Amazon or Google or whatever platform. Therefore, the fees that Pronoun describes on the FAQ, not the fees that Paypal describes on its Merchant Fees page, are what you will be paying. The Pronoun staff may be able to confirm or explain it better. They are very responsive and polite, and you can contact them at publish [at] pronoun [dot] com.

      Like

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