Archive for self publish

Marketing Ideas to Increase Sales of Your Self-Published Novel

Posted in Marketing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Marketing Increases Sales

I will soon be ready to publish my novel. This will be a great achievement, but it’s just the beginning. If I plan on selling the book, my next step is to market it. If I don’t market my book, no one will know it’s available, which means no one will know how good (or bad) it is. I have to market my novel so that people will know about it and hopefully, be encouraged to buy it.  Below are some ideas I have on how to market a self-published novel.

Keywords & Tags – Make sure that when you set your book up on its self-publishing platform that you use proper keywords and tags to identify your book. If your book is sci-fi, use the keyword sci-fi. Also consider the subgenre. Is it a space opera or is it cyberpunk, time travel, apocalyptic, hard science fiction, or another type of sci-fi subgenre? Is it for children, teens, or adults? Here is a good article about keywords for those of you planning on self-publishing on Amazon or CreateSpace – https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/createspace-kindle-keyword-and-category-tips/

Multiple Publishing Platforms – If you publish your book on Amazon and/or CreateSpace, keep in mind that your book will only be sold on Amazon’s site. If you want your book sold on other sites, then you need to contact those other sites. By the way, if you self-publish on Smashwords, Smashwords automatically offers your book for sale on multiple book sites (as an e-book only, but e-books are currently outselling physical books and this is not likely to change).

Your Own Website – It’s so easy nowadays to set up your own website and/or blog. WordPress, Wix, and others allow you to do it for free. However, building your own website isn’t enough. You have to market it too. For a website, you have to consider SEO marketing. For a blog, you need to post regularly and about topics that would attract visitors who would be interested in your novel.

Social Media – Consider a Facebook fan page for your novel. Consider a Twitter account. Depending on your genre, you may even try Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and others. Just be careful about spamming. You don’t want every single post to be about your novel. For example, sci-fi writers can post about new tech, new sci-fi authors, new tv shows or movies, and so on.

Paid Advertising – Advertise on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Also, consider advertising on book selling sites. Amazon has such a service, as does many other book selling sites.

Local Events – One of my writer friends pays for a booth at local comicon events. Depending on your genre, you may also consider Renaissance festivals, gun shows, home shows, lawn & garden shows, art festivals, and so on. Keep in mind that sometimes booths at these events are rather expensive. I’ve seen booths cost as much as $500 for just a three-day event. It might help to have other paraphernalia for sale. My writer friend also sells t-shirts with art from his book covers on them, mugs, calendars, etc.

Book Signing – Ask your local coffee shops and books stores if you can do a book signing event. Be sure to advertise locally on Facebook groups, radio stations, your town’s website, and wherever else you can think of that would attract people appropriate to your genre.

Get Legitimate Reviews – Don’t ask your friends. You need to find the right sources or your reviews will mean nothing. Here is a good article that explains why – https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/when-reader-targeting-goes-wrong/#more-4479.

For legitimate reviews, try contacting websites that sell books to see if they do book reviews or if they know someone who does. Try bloggers who regularly review books of your genre. Be cautious of paying for reviews. Their reviews can come across as being biased. This doesn’t mean that you can’t pay someone for their time, but you will want to check out their previous reviews. If they always give good reviews, then no one will take their review of your novel seriously. You risk a bad review, but if your work is good enough you can balance it out with several legitimate good reviews. Besides, even bad reviews can get you publicity. Do you know how many bad reviews the Gothic horror novelist Stephen King gets? Lots.

I hope this list gives you some ideas on how to market your self-published novel. If you have any other ideas, feel free to share.

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Expenses to Expect when You are Self-Publishing Your Novel

Posted in Publishing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Writing a novel is not easy. But if you’ve done it and you think it’s a worthwhile read, you have a new difficult task ahead of you – getting it published.

There are many ways to get your novel published. They are the traditional way, self-publishing, and numerous ways in between. This article is about the newest and easiest way to get published—self-publishing.

Although self-publishing is the easiest way to get published, it is the most difficult for getting your name out there because you also have to self-market. And although it is often relatively free to self-publish, if you truly want your work to get read and possibly even popular, you will need to be prepared for certain expenses.

  1. Writing Supplies – This is an expense you will have whether you self-publish or go the traditional route. Writing supplies can include a computer, software, notebooks, notecards, pencils, etc. Costs may vary depending on your wants and needs.
  2. Beta Readers – Beta readers are the most basic type of reviewers. They are your friends, family, or other informal readers. They can help you find plot holes and minor errors. They can tell you which characters, scenes, chapters, and other things they like most or dislike the most. Keep in mind that these types of reviewers are not likely to provide a professional opinion and some of their feedback may even be wrong. Also, their opinions may be biased. Family and friends will probably do this for free, but if you want more objective reviewers you may want to offer an incentive to people who are not friends or family. I’ve paid between $50 and $100 per beta reader.

    I found some decent beta readers on Simbi.com. On Simbi, I exchanged services rather than paid them. They read and critiqued my book and, in exchange, I offered to do some art work for them. If you can provide a special skill, maybe accounting, dieting coach, or pet training advice, for example, you can offer your skills in return for beta readers. Keep in mind that some of the people you solicit will not follow-through. But at least all you’ve lost is time.

  1. Content Editing Service – Unless you’ve already had training as a writer, a content editor is a must. They not only provide an objective review, they also provide a more detailed review. They can tell you exactly what you’re doing right as well as exactly what you’re doing wrong. They will understand more about whether your book will capture a reader’s interest and keep their interest. They will be able to find plot holes better. The will tell you how to build your characters better, your scenes, and so many other things.

    I can’t stress the importance of this enough. When I wrote the first draft of my sci-fi, I knew and beta readers knew it wasn’t as good as it could be. But we weren’t knowledgeable enough to know what could be done to fix it. My content editor saved me. I think my book is ten times better now than it was originally, thanks to her feedback. Her services cost me about $500. And just so I can have a second opinion on the rewrite, I’ve hired another content editor for about the same cost.

    One thing about a content editor, they will be bluntly honest about your book. It will be very difficult to hear. You will want to get defensive about their opinions. But don’t. Listen. Listen to everything they say. Write it down. Then take a step back and think about it for a week or two. If you can learn not to take their advice personally, you will become a much better writer.

  1. Line Editing Service – A line editor will look for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Nothing is more irritating than reading a self-published book and finding dozens and dozens of errors. Hiring a line editor is very important for self-publishers. I’ve recently paid about $500, but the person was in my writer’s group and was doing a favor. I believe the service can cost much more.
  2. Art – You will need a book cover for your book. And unless you are an artist, you will need to pay someone else to do it for you. Although I am an artist, my specialty is not in sci-fi art so I’ve paid an artist to do my book cover. It cost me about $100 this time but I’ve seen sci-fi artists charge as much as $500 or more. I’ve also found art on photo sites. These look deceptively cheap so be sure to read their guidelines. Most photo sites require you to pay $100 or more if you plan on using the photo or art as a book cover.
  3. Publishing – Although it is possible to get your book published for free on some sites, such as Create Space or through Amazon’s e-book publishing service, other places may charge you. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. So while Amazon and Create Space is free, your only exposure for selling your book is on Amazon’s website. Plus, some writers believe the Create Space publishing format is not all that great. Other publishing sites can charge $50 or more to set up your book so that it can be available for print on demand. And they may also charge you for an ISBN, which is something all books will need before you can sell them. An ISBN can cost about $100 or so, I believe.
  4. Marketing – Since you are self-publishing, you really need to do a lot of work in order to market your book. There are so many ways to market and so marketing costs may vary. Here are just a few marketing ideas:

    -When selling on Amazon, Smashwords, or other online book-selling websites, make sure you use good keywords and that your book description, or synopsis, is very appealing for would-be readers.
    -You can pay for online ads on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites.
    -You can run your own blog and website, which may cost you in hosting services. If you have your own blog or website, you may need to spend a lot of time optimizing these sites so that they can be found ahead of other writers’ blogs and websites. Be careful about companies who say they can do this for you. They will charge you, but their practices do not always live up to their promises.
    -You can promote your book at book stores, which means you need to pay for a supply of books to keep on hand. Independently owned book stores may agree for you to do a book signing at their store.
    -Depending on your genre, you can pay for a booth at comicons, expo-shows, or local events. I have a friend who is rather successful at selling his books at comicons. But the booths are very expensive. Over time, he’s learned to supplement his book sale income with sales on t-shirts, art, mugs, and other things which have pictures of his book cover art on them.
    -You can try to find people to review your book and post their opinions on their own blog or website. This can backfire, though, if they give you a bad review. Some people will ask for small compensation for their time. Be careful with this because a paid review can come across as biased.

These are the expenses I’ve encountered in self-publishing so far. There could be others. I’ve heard of some people paying the self-publishing sites for additional services. This could be helpful for you, especially if you don’t know how to do something yourself. And despite your expenses, there is no guarantee that you’ll make the money back. Selling books is hard work. But at least you will have the good feeling of finally getting your novel published.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by Dawn Ross

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-World Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes

People who can self-publish is great because it allows people like me to finally publish something I spent years working on. It also gives the public more books to read. I don’t know about you, but I have read almost every fantasy novel out there. Being able to read something that is self-published gives me more options. The self-published books may not always be as good, but they can be.

One drawback, however, is self-publishers don’t always have the education, knowledge, or skill to write a professional novel. This doesn’t mean that the story being told isn’t good. It just means there might be a lot of grammatical errors or the story may not be as intricately involved as Robert Jordan’s fantasy novels.

To make your fantasy novel better, it helps if you try to acquire the education to learn what you don’t know. What makes a story good? Is your story any good? Could it be better? Educate yourself. Read other novels and compare. Take creative writing courses. Read books on creative writing.

Don’t be afraid to ask others to read your fantasy novel and provide honest feedback. Honest feedback is not likely to come from family or friends. Share your story on writer’s forums such as Fantasy-Writers.org. Find people on Facebook who share your interests and might be willing to critique your fantasy novel for you. Join a writers group off-line. All these people might be able to provide you some insight which you never thought, find inconsistencies, and give some tips on how to make your fantasy novel characters more interesting.

Many self-publishers take the shortcut of not having their fantasy novel professionally edited. They edit it themselves. But how can you self-edit your book if you don’t know what you don’t know. You can’t find mistakes if you don’t know you are making them. Get a book on grammar and punctuation, such as “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation“.

I have done most of the things I’ve talked about above. But even though I have already written and self-published my first book, I am constantly trying to improve my writing skills. I think my first fantasy novel, “The Third Dragon“, is good. But I want my future fantasy novels to be better. To make your fantasy novel the best it can be, do what you can to learn what you don’t know.

Find a Literary Agent or Self-Publish my Books?

Posted in Publishing with tags , , on February 11, 2011 by Dawn Ross

Three books of the Dukarian Legacy are written, but none are published.  There is nothing available to read on line yet.  There is no paper version to order.  So what’s next?  Publish it, of course.  But it’s not as easy as it sounds.  How do I publish it?  Do I pursue a literary agent again?  Do I try submitting directly to publishers such as Tor (as suggested by one of my blog followers)?  Do I self-publish online?

Benefits of Getting a Literary Agent
By having a literary agent represent me, I save a lot of work and can focus on writing more books.  I have many more stories in my head – The Guardian of Destiny, Hunt of the Darkblood, and at least nine more idea sequals to the Dukarian Legacy.  A literary agent will work on getting the publisher who will then work on the promotion of my books.  I won’t have to read up on self-publishing or marketing.  I won’t have to worry about the technical side of the book such as ISBN numbers, the book cover illustration, and so on.

Disadvantages of a Literary Agent
Lesson learned – do not pay a literary agent up front.  What else do I not know?  What other hard lessons are there for me to learn?  Literary agents and publishers also get a big cut.  That can be worthwhile if I don’t have to deal to much with the technical issues and marketing.  The biggest disadvantage of a literary agent, however, is finding a good literary agent to begin with.  I’m sure there are a lot of good ones out there but competition is stiff.  I am not the only person out there who has written a book that they want to get published.  I could have the best synopsis and my first three book chapters could be flawless.  But agents and publishers have to look through hundreds of them.  They may not even look at most manuscripts because perhaps they are not interested in my particular genre at that particular moment in time.  Then, what if I do get an agent and a publisher for my book?  They may want to make changes.  They know best about what will sell but do I really want to change the story to fit the masses?

Benefits of Self-Publishing
I can have 100% complete control over all aspects of my book.  I can design my own cover, keep the story just the way I like it, and keep all my own profits.  I have to admit that this has great appeal.  I am an artist so I can work on designing my own cover.  If that doesn’t work, I can save up to hire a graphic artist.  And I am already familiar with online marketing and social networking.  Also, since there is no guarantee that I will even find a literary agent or publisher, self-publishing guarantees that I get my books published.  What good are they doing right now sitting on my shelf?

Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
Self-publishing sounds really good until I consider all the aspects that have to go into self-publishing.  Do I self-publish online?  Do I build a website to sell my book or sell through e-publishers?  Do I get a paperbook published from sites such as Lulu.com?  If I do paperbooks, I have to worry about storage and finding distributors.  Building a website and online marketing may be easy for me but other aspects of marketing such as getting trade reviews, news releases, book fairs, etc.  All this will cost money up front.  And if I fall short in my marketing, I could stand to lose money instead of make money.  It doesn’t just cost money, it also takes time.  Finding the time is really difficult.

Can I do both?  Can I market my book online in PDF format while also looking for a literary agent or publisher?  Some sources say no while other say yes.    I’ve heard that some publishers prefer you have a fan base before they take the risk of publishing.  But I’ve also heard that others don’t want any version of your book out because they want all sales to go through them.  The world of publishing books is changing dramatically with the Internet.  Can I self-promote an e-book, then remove it for sale if I find a publisher?