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Thread: [ePub service] Booktango

  1. #1
    YA Writer, Lover of Common Sense csorensen's Avatar
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    [ePub service] Booktango

    I just came across their site today (booktango dot com) and they say they can do free ebook conversions to pretty much all platforms for online distribution to pretty much all stores...but I have never heard of them before.

    It all seems pretty legit, but I figured I would ask if there is any experience?
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    Jewel of Amarin (YA Adventure/Fantasy - 75,000 words - actively querying)

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    The Greatest Discovery (adult fiction, self pub, 2003) - Book-of-the-Year, 2003, Virginia College Stores Association

    The Greatest Choice (adult fiction, self pub, 2007)

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    No personal experience, and there isn't much written about them on Google.

    The free package looks really good on the surface. No flat fee, no royalty. That's almost too good to be true. So is it? Doesn't a legit company need to make money somehow?

    The one point of concern is they're owned by Authorsolutions (now further owned by Penguin) and Authorsolutions has something of a reputation for relentless marketing direct to their authors to purchase additional services. That doesn't necessariliy mean it will apply to Booktango, but it could. You might try looking for websites for a couple Booktango authors and email them about their experience if they have contact info posted.
    J. Tanner vs the Page

    Latest Publication: "Bring Me the Head of Pepe Cortez!" in Return of the Dead Men Walking (anthlogy)
    Latest Sale: "Reunion Soup" to [title unannounced] fantasy anthology coming somewhenish

  3. #3
    Starving Artist
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    I don't have any experience with them, sorry. This thread just grabbed my attention. They look even better than createspace. Free? I'm skeptical though. I see they are offering upgrades for things like pictures...not a big deal for me but for someone with a lot of pictures in a book this could get expensive.

    I suspect what they might be doing is giving away the service for free until it becomes very popular like createspace and then BAM they will hike the prices up. Since I only have one book to worry about publishing right now that's not a big deal, but for someone who plans on writing a lot of books it might be a concern.

    I'm still not 100% sure I'm going the self publishing route but this is a very interesting website, thanks for pointing it out.

  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    [puts pedantic hat on]

    AuthorSolutions is now owned by Pearson, which also owns Penguin. It's a subtle but important difference

    [likes pedantic hat enough to keep it on]

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
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    Not pedantic at all. My loose phrasing implies a direct link that doesn't exist. Thanks for the correction.
    J. Tanner vs the Page

    Latest Publication: "Bring Me the Head of Pepe Cortez!" in Return of the Dead Men Walking (anthlogy)
    Latest Sale: "Reunion Soup" to [title unannounced] fantasy anthology coming somewhenish

  6. #6
    Starving Artist
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    Just wanted to update. I decided to self publish my memoir and went with booktango because they don't have any fees upfront (unless you want a fancy cover or line by line editing etc). Another reason I went with them is you can upload your manuscript as a word document with very little formatting required. All I had to do was delete all my tabs, reverse my double spacing, and highlight the chapters so it would automatically make a table of contents for me. I tried to upload my manuscript to createspace and thought it was much more complicated because you had to convert it to pdf first and I was confused about how to do that.

    While looking through all the fine print I did notice that the retailers that sell your books get a cut, so if you have your book priced at $5.00 for example, you get about $3.00 of that. If the book is sold on the booktango website you get 100% but if it's sold on amazon or barnes and noble they get a cut. The fee that the retailer takes can vary. But I figure a traditional publisher would take 70% so it's still not a bad deal.

    So far I'm satisfied with their service though. They have a live chat feature if you get stuck and have questions. I was having problems uploading my book cover and they helped me out with that(turns out their website works better with Google Chrome and I was on IE). I uploaded my manuscript, it says it takes up to 4 weeks for it to be released

  7. #7
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebekahmichel View Post
    Just wanted to update. I decided to self publish my memoir and went with booktango because they don't have any fees upfront (unless you want a fancy cover or line by line editing etc).
    You pay no upfront fees if you self publish directly to Kindle or Smashwords.

    Another reason I went with them is you can upload your manuscript as a word document with very little formatting required. All I had to do was delete all my tabs, reverse my double spacing, and highlight the chapters so it would automatically make a table of contents for me. I tried to upload my manuscript to createspace and thought it was much more complicated because you had to convert it to pdf first and I was confused about how to do that.
    I've heard others here say that if you put your work through the Smashwords meatgrinder then the resulting file is perfect for uploading to Kindle, CreateSpace, and elsewhere. I might be wrong, and I hope that someone will step in and clarify this point.

    While looking through all the fine print I did notice that the retailers that sell your books get a cut, so if you have your book priced at $5.00 for example, you get about $3.00 of that. If the book is sold on the booktango website you get 100% but if it's sold on amazon or barnes and noble they get a cut. The fee that the retailer takes can vary. But I figure a traditional publisher would take 70% so it's still not a bad deal.
    You might get 100% of the purchase price if your book is sold through the Booktango site but how many readers go there to purchase books?

    The fact that they take a cut of all sales through other more well-known retailers suggests to me that that's where they make most of their sales.

    I uploaded my manuscript, it says it takes up to 4 weeks for it to be released
    I believe that if you self publish your work directly to Kindle and Smashwords it's up within a few days.

  8. #8
    Starving Artist
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    Hmmm just took a look at smashwords, the retailers take 40% if you go through them. The only advantage I can see to going with smashwords is they have been around longer, so readers will know about them. Like you said though, most readers will buy ebooks from retailers, not directly from a self publishing website. Looks like either way you go, the success of your book depends on content and marketing.

    Lesson learned: no matter how you decide to publish your book somebody wants a substantial cut.

    One thing to note, I don't see Amazon or Google Books on the list of retailers at smashwords, but they are on the list for Book Tango.

    And just to clarify, Book Tango said that the ebook can be released as early as 1 day after you submit it, or as long as 4 weeks from when you submit it, I guess it varies.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I've heard others here say that if you put your work through the Smashwords meatgrinder then the resulting file is perfect for uploading to Kindle, CreateSpace, and elsewhere. I might be wrong, and I hope that someone will step in and clarify this point.
    That's typically correct.

    You might get 100% of the purchase price if your book is sold through the Booktango site but how many readers go there to purchase books?

    The fact that they take a cut of all sales through other more well-known retailers suggests to me that that's where they make most of their sales.
    Their phrasing claims they do not take a cut from other retailers either. This is, on paper, superior to Smashwords which takes 10%.

    I believe that if you self publish your work directly to Kindle and Smashwords it's up within a few days.
    Kindle is often close to immediate, but occasionally is up to 24 hours or so.

    Smashwords will be immediate to their site but is much slower to the premium distribution channels. It varies from channel to channel but it can be days, weeks or even months to get through the whole process to every supported channel.

    Quote Originally Posted by rebekahmichel
    One thing to note, I don't see Amazon or Google Books on the list of retailers at smashwords, but they are on the list for Book Tango.
    That's correct. And SW has a couple smaller markets that BookTango doesn't, but that's nothing like missing Amazon. SW users almost universally upload direct to KDP too. (It's very minimal additional work as Old Hack noted and their reporting and payment terms are superior than either aggregator.)

    Please keep us posted on your experience at BookTango, pros and cons and how it really stacks up vs what they say. It all looks great on the surface, but after you brought it up I couldn't find any authors using the system talking about it online. I'm interested in hearing more.
    J. Tanner vs the Page

    Latest Publication: "Bring Me the Head of Pepe Cortez!" in Return of the Dead Men Walking (anthlogy)
    Latest Sale: "Reunion Soup" to [title unannounced] fantasy anthology coming somewhenish

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I experimented with BookTango for a day. In principle their system is a good idea and it would be excellent if it worked fully. I like the idea of being able to make small edits to correct formatting issues. They also say they will accept docx, doc, epub, rtf and txt files. That's a step forward from Smashwords .doc file. Unfortunately they have similar problems to Amazon in that certain files just don't convert as expected.

    I submitted a docx file and found centered text was inconsistent with it either being left aligned or centered along with the following paragraph. Superscript endnote links did not convert either. Paragraphs have extra line spacing added also.

    I expected to be able to use the editor to fix these issues. They did appear to fix but once the document was saved, once it was re-opened, everything was back as before!

    Instructions were a little vague. I was unsure if I should delete title and copyright pages or leave them and expect the 'Publisher' program to do that. Instructions for the 'advanced' features of the editor (revealed on right clicking) were non-existent.

    The cover editor is good BUT the largest font size seemed to be 28pt (36pt is offered but doesn't appear to increase the text size) In most cases this will be too small for a book title. I ended up uploading the full cover from my Amazon book.

    Book pricing is limited to $0.99 - $9.99, so if you want 'free' stick to smashwords.

    In general BookTango is a site to watch. If they get the bugs fixed it could prove very popular. I certainly will be investigating it further as part of a revision for the third edition of my 'Illustrated guide to getting published'. Maybe submitting a .doc or .epub file will work better.

  11. #11
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Chapman View Post
    In general BookTango is a site to watch. If they get the bugs fixed it could prove very popular. I certainly will be investigating it further as part of a revision for the third edition of my 'Illustrated guide to getting published'. Maybe submitting a .doc or .epub file will work better.
    I refer you to my comment in another thread.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    I am looking for a reference to the number 2 like "it take 2 weeks to get your book set up" at booktango but I can't find any.

    Then I would have said "it takes 2 to booktango". Pretty sad really.
    If you think Amazon vs Giants is bad, do you think that Amazon vs Self-publishers would be better?

  13. #13
    Soaking up information. L.Blake's Avatar
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    booktango.com

    Has anyone heard of this company? If you have had any dealing with them good or bad, please let me know. My novel is getting dangerously close to being published.

    Thanks,
    L.

  14. #14
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.Blake View Post
    My novel is getting dangerously close to being published.
    They look to sell services to self-publishers, rather than being a commercial press, yes?

  15. #15
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.Blake View Post
    My novel is getting dangerously close to being published.
    So, the way I understand it, you've registered with them and are utilizing their services and you're just now asking if they're any good.

  16. #16
    Soaking up information. L.Blake's Avatar
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    Ben,

    No...I haven't done anything as far as registering. I was asking for any good, bad or ugly issues they had.

    From what I have read, I will stick with Smashwords.

    Unimportant, I was after opinions is all.

    L.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW WriterBN's Avatar
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    I'm considering them as an alternative to Smashwords once my book comes off KDP Select. Can you choose the distribution channels when you publish? I don't want to have my book show up twice on Amazon, for example.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW MickRooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WriterBN View Post
    I'm considering them as an alternative to Smashwords once my book comes off KDP Select. Can you choose the distribution channels when you publish? I don't want to have my book show up twice on Amazon, for example.
    You can opt in or out of individual distribution channels on the SW dashboard.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin magicbooks's Avatar
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    hidden fees?

    If I read correct, booktango has hidden fees. You are getting 100% only on their own webstore. But it is not easy to find what they really get.

  20. #20
    figuring it all out praktikle1's Avatar
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    BookTango (merged into BR&BC thread)

    Has anyone ever used Booktango or Freetango to publish an ebook?
    What kind of reputation do they have and are there any bewares?
    Thanks

  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Adding link: http://www.booktango.com/

    Has merged its store with that of Penguin's writer community/display site Book Country.
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  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MatthewDBrammer's Avatar
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    Booktango anyone?

    Being a musician and business owner, obviously I'm fairly new to the specifics of the world of publishing. Part of my collegiate education was in music business, so I'm not totally naive (as there are similarities between the businesses and industries), but yea. When I went to publish my first eBook, I did a bit of research on self-publishing options and ended up choosing Booktango, as it seemed to be the best out of all of my choices, especially for a self-published author looking to break in from scratch.

    There's been a few hiccups, but they were resolved fairly quickly. There's also some things I'd like to see improved, but as they're [relatively] young, and also beggars can't be choosers, I've given them a pass on some of the small things. Overall, I'm happy with them so far. Time will tell. My book has been released just fine and plenty of people have bought it, so there's that.

    My question to you guys is, have any of you used them, and what was your experience like? Also, does anyone have some professional insight as to their reputation or inner workings?

    I realize they're technically a vanity press, but I'm not foolish enough to pay for their add-on services, and I feel my work will stand out above some of the clutter of work on their site. Plus, my stuff has gotten to the other retailers (Amazon, etc) without issue, and that's where I'm really focused. I was rather alarmed, however, when I discovered after the fact that they are technically owned by a parent company (can't remember who) that has a very bad reputation and a long legal history...hence why I am asking for anybody else's thoughts.

    So, yea. Thoughts?

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW Taran's Avatar
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    It seems...unnecessary?

    There are other ways to sell directly to customers (like Payhip), and the "100% net" on royalties seems to mean you get exactly what you'd get if you uploaded the book to Amazon etc. yourself. So...yeah.

  24. #24
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    There's already a thread on Booktango here: <snipped>

    It's part of Author Solutions, which is, in my humble opinion, reason enough to not do business with them.

    Here's an illuminating article from 2012 from Writer Beware:

    http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2012/0...new-ebook.html

    My question would be if you need to make changes once your ebook is published, how much do they charge you? I couldn't find info on that, whether it's free or there's a fee. I also couldn't find whether there's a set amount of time you must leave your work with them or if you can pull it down at will.

    Your book on Amazon hasn't sold any copies yet, but I noticed it's $4.99 for 90 pages, which is wildly expensive for the size. I'd suggest a lower price. It's also categorized only in Sociology. I realize it's rants, but that seems an odd choice for the category anyway. You get two categories for an ebook, as well, and only the one is selected. Better categorization could help. An excerpt might, as well. Can you control all these things through Booktango?
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 03-31-2014 at 07:41 PM. Reason: threads merged, thanks!
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  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MatthewDBrammer's Avatar
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    Corrections/resubmissions are free, you can pull your work at any time, rights are non-exclusive, no DRM, price is self-controlled, ISBN freely assigned, conversion to all the different formats is done for you, and the online editor is pretty nifty....in addition to supplying it to all the major retailers. It honestly just seemed like the easiest, most practical way to go for someone inexperienced in literary publishing and starting from scratch. I also saw a lot of people's negative reviews of, and struggles with, Smashmouth and BookBaby; Booktango just kind of won out for me in the selection process. I didn't find out about the parent company (Author Solutions, yes...thank you) until yesterday.

    I also honestly could not find any dirt on Booktango. The few complaints I did come across were technical difficulties or things they didn't make very clear (or weren't available) back around when they launched. They at least seem to genuinely listen and care about that stuff and have worked on it; all of the complaints I saw were clarified or resolved long ago. That also influenced my decision. I also email customer service with several questions before proceeding, and they were more than happy to clarify and help along the way. Like I said, I tried not to be too naive about it, haha.

    But like I said, I ran across something that detailed the parent company a bit, so as soon as my account here got validated, well, here's the thread. Lol.

    Also, the book just became available this weekend through Amazon, Scribd, and elsewhere, so there's that. I do know I've made at least two sales on Amazon (family members); maybe it takes a business day or two to show up on the site? Idk. I have also been pushing Booktango's link more than any of the other retailers, as that's where it became available first last week, and Booktango offers it in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB. Figured the flexibility there was a better marketing strategy. *shrug* Not to mention I don't have to pay the retailer's cut, as Booktango doesn't take a cut and the other retailers do.

    As far as the pricing goes, if that's something you feel pretty strongly about, I'll reconsider. I priced it there because it seemed comparable to the average with other socio-political type eBooks, and everywhere else I read on pricing cautioned against pricing it too low, for a variety of reasons. It seemed to be the consensus that 2.99-5.99 was the most ideal range that eBooks performed the best at. I guess I also overvalued the quality of my opinions :P I'll revisit that for sure, thank you. I appreciate the input.


    On categorization, I don't recall what I put as a second option on Booktango, I'd have to go look. I do know that Social Sciences [subbed into sociology (general)] made the most sense as the main to me, so that's what I put. The only other categories that even come close were Politics and Self-Help, but 90% of the book focuses on basic social behavior and social issues arising therefrom; while I only very briefly touch on strictly political issues. There was no "Socio-political" option, lol. So idk.

    As far as excerpts are concerned: I give away a free chapter on Booktango itself, as Booktango does give a "free preview" option that you can put whatever in. It seems Amazon and Scribd take it upon themselves to choose what to share, though. [Amazon shared the intro and part of Chapter 1, Scribd shares about 30% of the book...random sections throughout it, at that). I don't know about Kobo, Barnes&Noble, or Google Play; I haven't checked yet today but they weren't available yet as of yesterday. [Update: B&N does the same type of thing; not sure Booktango has control over preview excerpts. No word yet on Google.]

    So yea, that's how we got here. Lol. I appreciate the input for sure, as well as any further advice or input you might have! Again, I'm new to this whole thing, but I tried not to be too dumb about it, as I do have some experience in related fields.

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