This was my first Examiner article. Aaaww! Isn’t it cute!
Posts Tagged With: self-publishing
I’ve finally plugged into a few online author communities. It took me awhile, but I’m part of the conversation now. During my forays, I’ve noticed that there are some things that really infuriate authors.
Is it possible for you to be an author?
That is a question most people think they know. I know I did for fifteen years, and my answer was “no”. But I was WRONG! I had been an author all along but had dismissed that idea because I couldn’t see it. It would have been helpful for someone to ask me a few questions. One of my policies is, if I see a need for it but don’t see it online, I make it. So here you go!
- Do you write? This also seems like a dumb question. Of course you write. You write grocery lists, notes, emails, maybe even blog posts. But do you write for your own entertainment? When an idea hits you, are you compelled to write it down? Do you like to research things that won’t increase your paycheck? Then you just might be an author! Continue reading →
This is new to all of us, and we’re figuring out how it works! Please pardon the switcheroo. Today is now my day for the Author Blog-in so the others can have time to catch up.
I’ll take this opportunity to invite you all to join in! This Blog-in is kinda short this time, which I’ll chalk up to August activities and my own laid-back approach. September 14-25 will be the next Blog-in, and we already have a sign-up! Lets fill up all the slots and maximize our collaborative audience. If you were shy about joining until now, don’t be! Shoot me an email and lets get groovy!
If you have blogged-in before, don’t worry! You’re still welcome to join in with a different book. Short stories and freebies are also welcome.
Book Marketing Services
After a little bit of digging for people’s experiences with book marketing services, I realized this is going to have to be an ongoing investigation and report process. Overall it seemed that everybody was interested but hadn’t had any experiences. I only managed to get a few and I only included ones with people’s direct experience with the service. Here’s what I found:
KindlePromo – “actively promotes” books with tweets £15 for Indie Book Listing service
Kindle Daily Nation – $160 “with no result” (used to be great but saturated with too many books)
BookWhirl – SCAM! http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?t=8338
Goddess Fish Promotions – (5-blog tour and reviews, $30) “didn’t break even” but supplied publicity.
Orangeberry Summer Splash Tour – participant’s tour hasn’t begun yet (August)- $25
Sizzling PR – “Nice people and very affordable.” $15 up to $75 blog tour options
99 cent Network – No obvious return for money ($45 intro rate for 3 months) and no visibility of book on site. No answers to emails inquiring about where to find the book.
A few more were mentioned but they didn’t provide more than names. I’m bargain hunting enough at this stage that if the one who mentions it doesn’t talk about price and their website doesn’t talk about price, then I figure they’re too expensive or don’t cater to self-published authors.
The conversational approach seems to work better than a poll, and people in the forums had the most to say.
Anyone else had any experiences, good or bad, with a book marketing company?
Let me know what you think of book marketing companies you have used. I couldn’t find any comprehensive rating online, so I decided to make one!
Yes, this is the first picture ever posted online. I wonder if these ladies still hang out. They definitely don’t have the same hairdos or wear the same clothes. Does this picture embarrass them or are they proud to be the first?
Our culture is focused more and more through the internet. On my Facebook today I saw a friend’s current progress painting a robot figurine, the coffee another friend was drinking, and the political views of yet another friend. Will these photos and statements disappear into the cyberworld or will they live on there “forever”, just waiting for someone to dig them up?
Well, as scary as this feels, this phenomenon of media lasting virtually forever is really a bonus for me, an author. My works, nestled into their pages on the web, will live there forever. I will always be able to make money on them, or at least get the credit for them if they become free. If someone claims them as their work, I can point to multiple places where my work lives and has lived for a long time. There is no “out of print” online. There is no time limit for my work to survive other than the time limit of how long it interests people.
Yes, in case of apocalyptic failure of everything technological, I do have paper copies of all of it, including the copyright certificates. But after we’ve recovered and have the internet back, provided the Giant Ant Overlords allow it, I’ll put them all back up.
What do you have online that will live forever? How do you feel about that?
Yes, I got a bad review. It was my first book blogger review and the link is here: http://entertheportal.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/the-lustre
Yes, I want you to read it because it was really awesome! She dug in and highlighted all the weak points of my book, which I really needed to hear. Her statements go right along with a lot of my struggles as an author. Her opinions of my genre weren’t really something I worry about, being an independent author and unconcerned about fitting in to slots. The analysis of the plot weaknesses and downsides of the style of writing made a lot of sense, and if I plunge back into the story to give it a face-lift, I’m revisiting this critique first!
I’ve said it before and I felt it deserved its own post: The free sample is the best free advertising an author can get!
Since posting it, I’ve given away 376 download copies of my fantasy short story, The Silver Collar on Smashwords, and had 692 reads on Wattpad. This doesn’t include all the other places I’ve posted it. I haven’t been able to make it free on Amazon yet, partially because people are still buying it! I don’t understand that, but OK.
I’m also currently working on Horarium, a sci-fi short story, and posting on Wattpad as I go. I’m enjoying this kind of work and reaching readers along the way.
My hubby had a fabulous idea about the freebie, too. (He has lots of those) After my free story, I include information for the reader to find my other works. I even included an excerpt from my upcoming book at the end of the story.
Here is my list of places I’ve posted The Silver Collar:
Do you have a freebie? How has it worked out for you?
- First come – first served for slots in the blog-in. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Author Blog-in”.
- Everyone who signs up gets to join in, one book per Blog-in. (Lets set our maximum at 10 authors per blog-in so we aren’t posting into eternity.)
- Everyone gets one day on the Blog-in.
- All Groovy Cats (participants) in the Blog-in will post each day for all the other authors.
- All Groovy Cats will post on day 1 about their own book, including the Blog-in logo in their post.
- All Groovy Cats will re-blog the other authors’ first posts according to schedule on each successive day, which I will post on the Blog-in page at https://katepolicani.com/author-blog-in/. (Hint: You can schedule them all ahead of time on the proper days for less work http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/schedule-a-post/, http://www.wikihow.com/Schedule-a-Post-on-Blogger. If you do, please email me the post link when you schedule so you don’t forget!)
- Feel the love, man!
If you’re a self-published author, you have to promote your work. If you can’t pay someone else do do it, you have to do it yourself.
There are some things that are great, some things that are a waste of time, and some you just shouldn’t do. Here are some of each from my experience. A lot of it is about etiquette, because there are a lot of rude writers out there. Unfortunately, the people making the rude mistakes probably aren’t reading posts like this.
Don’t consider other writers as your opponents. Readers aren’t going to choose just one book. They’ll read what they see. If they see your book on seven other sites because you’ve promoted those seven other writers’ books, they’re seven times more likely to buy your book. We’re all in this together.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want people to review your book, review theirs. If you want people to tweet about your book release, tweet theirs. Until you are a bestselling author, people probably won’t promote you if they get no value out of it.
Don’t keep all your promotions to yourself. Trading promos is an awesome way to spread your influence. Also, people like you better if you aren’t all about yourself.
Do provide people with other value besides what you’re selling. Free, interesting content is like a sample of what they’ll get if they buy your work. The more variety you provide, the more variety you’ll get in your attention.
Don’t tweet or post on facebook like a maniac every 30 seconds to advertise your work. Nobody likes that and you’ll lose all your followers, plus you’ll gain a ton of maniacs like yourself who only want to broadcast like a crazy person. If what you are saying is valuable, people will notice.
Do rotate your promotions between your groups. Poll your facebook friends, run a contest on your blog, tweet your reviews on Twitter, but Don’t broadcast everything to everyone every time.
Don’t promote as if people already want what you have and were just waiting to hear about it. They don’t care and they aren’t impressed. Hubris is ugly. You’ll set people up against you instead of drawing them in.
Do focus on the people who are interested. Give them a little extra, like a beta-reader position or a review copy. They aren’t interested because you are hot stuff and you deserve followers. They like what you do and should be appreciated.
Don’t give your beta-readers your manuscript chapter-by-chapter as you write it. They will get sick of your book right away. You may want to read through your work again and again, but most other people won’t. Keep your work like a secret before you finish and people will want to know more about it.
Do promote in ways you enjoy and understand. You’ll be more natural and likable if you enjoy what you’re doing. If you hate it all, maybe you should save up and hire someone else to do that part.
I Seattle-ized this one. Is blue really better?
Been tweaking the cover more! Special thanks to Cynthia Mael, Marc Policani, Tahlia Newland, and Maria Tatham for their input! The back cover will be the same for all, except the first will have a tan back instead of red.
What do you think?
See them all here http://www.flickr.com/photos/katepolicani/sets/72157630198732104/
- You shouldn’t expect that anything is going to be easy. This is going to be a lot of work. Formatting is hard work. Promotion is hard work. Social Media and building a platform is a lot of work. Everything that a publishing company does, you have to do for yourself or pay someone to do it.
- You shouldn’t expect things to take off quickly. I’m not saying they won’t, but they probably won’t. This isn’t the cusp of the e-publishing era anymore. Just look out there and see the many, many books. It’s hard to stand out among those even if you have a great book.
- You shouldn’t expect to do it all for free. You’ll spend money somewhere. There’s no way to escape it. If you go the super-cheap route like me, you’ll still spend more money than you thought. Amazon wouldn’t bother if they weren’t making any money off of selling your work.
- You shouldn’t expect everyone to be excited about your work. This one was hard for me. I had really hoped that I could get at least 50 sales out of my 250 Facebook friends. Didn’t happen. I don’t know if it is just that they aren’t readers, or that they aren’t readers of Fantasy or Science Fiction, but they weren’t very interested. They have been less interested in subsequent books too. It’s not as if it was too expensive for them. Just because I would get excited about a friend writing a book, doesn’t mean anyone else will. Also, almost a year into my journey, people are still just noticing that I wrote a book. I don’t know what to say about that. I’ve bugged them enough about it, I’m sure.
- You shouldn’t expect anyone else to do it for you. They do, frequently. People you never expected support from just appear and do amazing things for you because they are so cool! But you can’t go at it expecting it. You have to roll up your sleeves and attack it yourself. People respect that and offer to help because you are taking the initiative.
The reason I still love self-publishing:
Even though it isn’t what I expected, it has brought so many unexpected, wonderful things to me! I now know and work with people around the world. The work that I slogged through myself is now knowledge that I own like treasure, saved up. I can help others with what I know. I can drop everything and make cinnamon toast for my kids, but still write things I love and share them with others. (My kids just interrupted me asking for cinnamon toast.) I can reach people all over the world with my experience, all while sitting in a chair in my living room, in my bathrobe. (Yep. I really did.)
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