US Coins

Guest Commentary: Collector offers advice for producing e-books about coins

Writing e-books about coins is a passion of mine that was spurred by more than 50 years of coin collecting and the need to expand my knowledge of coins.

My passion for collecting coins evolved from finding coins in circulation to fill in coin folders in the 1960s, when you could find a variety of different coins dating back to the early 1900s. Becoming a member of American Numismatic Association and the Professional Coin Grading Service Collectors Club vastly improved my knowledge of numismatics, including the vast number of coin variations and error coins that are available. Attending coin shows was an invaluable method of understanding the types and classifications of all known error coins. It was at the coin shows I began to understand the terminology and see a visual example of the various coin errors.

After years of cataloging error coins, I have written and published several e-books with the intent of providing coin values from actual auction results compiled from various reputable auction sites. The true value of a coin is always what someone is willing to pay for it, no matter how rare or common the coin is.

Although thousands of e-books are available, the coin segment is limited to people that have a passion for collecting or those who desire to improve their knowledge of coin collecting. It is important for anyone writing a coin guide to present credible and factual information that is widely accepted by the various numismatic organizations. Information that is gathered from particular coin sources should be footnoted in the book to avoid plagiarism.

The process of writing an e-book about coin collecting begins with determining subject matter. The success of selling an e-book is determined on the market for the information that is presented. My e-book, 2013 US Coin Errors, lists the types of error coins and it is a collection of every known error coin that has sold in the past 10 years at auction. This book will give anyone a guide to the value of an error coin they may have in their possession.

Once the subject matter is determined for the e-book, the next step is to create an outline of the subject matter. The outline is used to develop the contents of the book and also to maintain a flow for the e-book. From the outline, chapters are developed that contain the pertinent information that you want express to the readers.

The next step is to write a preface for the e-book. The preface of the book is used to describe what the e-book will present in content, and the intent of the book.

This book was written to provide the coin collector with a detailed description of:

? The minting process from U.S. Mint sources.

? A detailed description of Mint error classifications and how the errors occur.

? Photographs of error coins that have been encapsulated and discovered from auctions.

? A comprehensive listing of all U.S. error coins that have been cataloged by Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America, PCGS, ANACS and Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

? Updated listing of all known error coins by coin, date and auction price if available from high end auction companies.

The next step is to write chapters from the outline that was created. Each chapter should contain information that maintains the interest of the reader. In my book the first chapter describes the various error coin types and the differences between categories.

Most book-publishing sites provide a preformatted and a step-by-step process for listing e-books. Barnes and Noble and Amazon are highly recommended. Most of these sites also offer professional assistance for a fee. Using the free listing process is generally the best method so that the expense of listing an e-book is kept to a minimum.

Most e-book websites will allow the author a selection of book cover styles that are either plain or contain some patterns.

Setting the price of the book can be a challenge because if the price is too high, the book will not sell as many copies as it might otherwise sell. Setting the price too low will yield little profit. Another consideration for determining your book price is selling prices of similar books sold on the same site.

Once your book is completed and available for sale, you can monitor the sales by logging into the e-book site. You can then make modifications to the selling price or other parts of the book at any time.

Stan McDonald is a longtime collector and writer, who has contributed articles to the American Numismatic Association.

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