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Author Topic: A Blog on Self-Publishing  (Read 1425 times)

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Online AmberStarfireTopic starter

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A Blog on Self-Publishing
« on: July 01, 2016, 08:37:27 AM »
Hi, everyone who's reading this. :)

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but I just built up the motivation to request a blog yesterday. It's my intention to write here about self-publishing, because I know there are a lot of people on the site here who write on a regular basis and who have other, more extensive writing projects. It's generally seen as difficult to publish books, and I think going through traditional publishers it is. The number of authors self-publishing has grown hugely to the extent that the whole industry is changing in an ongoing way. A lot of people have come to realise that they don't need agents or traditional publishers to put their books out there and build up a name for themselves, but there are hurdles to self publishing as well. It can be very hard to market your books and while companies offer various distribution channels, they're generally going to not put your books in real bookstores the way that traditional publishers will. A lot of people buy their books online now, but generally people aren't going to find a book unless they know to look for it.

I think what holds a lot of people back from publishing is the expectation that what they want to publish should be utterly perfect. It honestly doesn't need to be, though it's best for it to be as good as possible. What you need to be careful about (I would say first and foremost) is that you don't violate any copyrights or others' intellectual property. If you have a look at Smashwords, you'll see that people can publish (and do publish) anything. Books that aren't edited, on every subject under the sun where they've just written some text and put it out there. If you write a novel (or even if it's much shorter than that), it gives you something to work with, edit and prepare if you want to publish it. You don't need anyone else's ideals of perfection to write something and publish it yourself. You only need your own (and to have it approved by the company printing the book/Amazon). It puts the decision of when to publish and what to publish in your own hands. You don't need to wait for a publisher to decide your work is 'good enough' or will make enough money for them. However, if you want to sell it well then it has to be something that people will buy and they need to learn about it. This may not even be your goal for publishing - generating large sales wasn't my goal when I published poetry. I did it because I wanted to.

Once you know the 'terrain', it makes it easier to figure out how to go about things, and that's what I want to write about here. I've only used a few different sites (Createspace, Amazon and Smashwords), but I mean to write here about my experiences with them, how you go about publishing your books with them, and what kind of formatting information you need/where to find it. The hurdles I've encountered are with accounting (more complicated tax), needing to register as self-employed in Ireland, legal deposit books (when you publish a book in paperback, in some countries the publisher is legally required to submit copies to libraries. If you're self-publishing, that may be yourself), and finding ways to publicise my own books/pen names. What I've found is it helps to learn to do the things you need yourself, from creating covers (I'm going to go into how to go about it for Createspace/Amazon/Smashwords with content you can legally use), editing (if you can do it yourself for example, you'll save money) and creating your own web sites (which you can do for free, for example with a free Wordpress blog).

It's quite an indepth subject but I also feel like once you know how it works, there isn't all that much to it. What you should know upfront is that (in many cases), when you self-publish you're not going to have a lot of success overnight. It's something that you may work at with little sign of reward, but it something that can be built up over time and it can be extremely fun as well. :)

Offline Caitlin

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2016, 07:39:28 AM »
I'm very interested in seeing what you have to say on the topic. I'm a self published author on Smashwords and Amazon, but it's always great to get a new perspective on how things work from somebody else.

Online AmberStarfireTopic starter

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2016, 07:53:00 AM »
I'm very interested in seeing what you have to say on the topic. I'm a self published author on Smashwords and Amazon, but it's always great to get a new perspective on how things work from somebody else.

Thanks Caitlin. :) I publish on Smashwords and Amazon too, though I'm thinking of giving up on Smashwords from this point on. I just haven't had much luck with it and I think people may be harvesting free samples of books. A couple of sites have cropped up on the web offering free copies (if only people will sign up, when they have no right to give away free copies), and at least one of those was using more text from my book than was available on the description alone. Some people may have a lot of luck with it and I know you can access channels like Kobo and the Apple store through it but I'm going to let it go. That's how I feel about Smashwords currently, anyway.

Offline Caitlin

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2016, 08:06:15 AM »
My sales from Smashwords vs Amazon was about 50/50, with Smashwords the majority of my sales came from Apple. I want to switch from adult novels to teen fiction though, so I unpublished the adult content, which I might upload under a different pen name at some point in the future. I know it's probably easier to keep the current pen name for this content and use a new pen name for the other category I want to focus on, however, my website's name is all tied into it as well and I really like that name.

I have some time to figure it all out anyway, since it'll take me at least 6 months before I finish the first novel in the series I have in mind.

As far as free percentage goes; I set that very royally at 20%. I figured that if they like the first 20% and read through all that then they'll pay for the last 80% as well. My novels run in the 80k - 100k word range though, with poetry I'd probably feel different about it since each poem can be seen as a stand alone story.

Personally, I wouldn't drop Smashwords altogether, you can use the channel manager to turn off those channels with which distribution you don't agree with. I'd also contact Smashwords about the issue and inform them of what's going on to let them sort it out. I quite like their customer service and I'm sure they'll be able to help you out.

Online AmberStarfireTopic starter

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2016, 08:26:34 AM »
Maybe I jumped to conclusions about Smashwords then. I'm sure different people have different experiences. I just know another person who had hundreds of sample downloads on there.

I guess you need to figure out what works best for you with your pen names. Even if you unpublish content, there's still a record of your ISBN and the book information. I use two pen names and found that works best for me, but if you split your efforts between two names, each may take more time and effort (and potentially cost) to publicise (and to build up a reputation for). If you're hosting your own web site, you might be able to get a different domain and create a second one on the same hosting account, or create one on a subdomain of the first.

Up on Smashwords, I've got 1 poetry book, 2 short stories and 1 erotic novella. I have a second poetry book but I chose not to advertise it on Smashwords and opted for Kindle Select instead (that one is e-book only). I set the free sample percentage at 30% for the first poetry book. You're right, poems are standalone content so in a way they aren't the same as fiction books. I'll have a think about it. I have one book currently up for approval on Createspace to publish on Amazon in paperback (58.5k word approx fantasy), but I was going to add Kindle to that and sign up for Kindle Select for a 3 month term. I'd decided to hold off on Smashwords for that one. I guess it comes down to deciding between Smashwords and Kindle Select.

Offline Caitlin

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2016, 08:54:41 AM »
Personally, I wouldn't go for Kindle Select, like the word says, it's 'select', not just to the company providing the service, but mostly to yourself and your readers. The more exclusive you become with a retailer, the harder you are to find for everybody and the more effort it takes to build a name for yourself. Although Kindle Select sounds great in theory, I doubt that I'll ever buy into that. From the few authors I was in contact about the program they mostly opted out after a while because it didn't bring them the money they were hoping for, while it did severely limit their ability to get their name out in the audience.

It's a personal preference though, it may work great for other people and it is depends on what goal you're trying to accomplish. In my case I want to build a large fanbase to make future sales easier, which is why I price my books low so they'll get sold more, even though I think their actual value is higher. If you have another goal in mind, then an alternative model could very well work better for you. Either way, I'm very much interested in reading your next blogs about the topic. I bookmarked this blog so I can follow it easier. ^_^

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2016, 10:12:53 AM »
I know Kindle Select can hold you back (for those who haven't used it, when you publish an e-book you can opt in for 3 months at a time and you can't sell your book anywhere outside of Amazon and its distribution channels). It lets you sell your book for a short time at a reduced price or for free at some point during that period, and you can get a share of a Kindle sales fund, which depends on how many books you sell/pages read, I think).

They have options to advertise on more international Amazon sites, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, because there are more currencies and you get paid when the currency passes a threshold. Perhaps more advertising, even if you may never meet your threshold in a given currency, is a good thing. Maybe Amazon might change the way they do things in the future. I don't know.

Selling books cheaply and building a large fanbase sounds like a good idea. What I'm thinking is maybe once I have book 2 and 3 out, I'll reduce down the price of book 1 to encourage people to read it and get into the story. Thanks for bookmarking my blog. :)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2016, 10:47:20 AM by AmberStarfire »

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2016, 09:41:27 PM »
This is more an update than a blog entry on a specific topic related to writing or publishing (though it actually is).

Boy have I been busy over the last week. I released a book (for paperback and Kindle - I'm not going to link it here) and decided to make a strong effort to market it myself. I thought I'd made an effort with prior ones, but in actuality I'd done very little, at least compared to this time. So far I've:

- Put up a banner ad on E
- Been posting in between 20 and 30 Facebook books groups per day, each day.
- Arranged with 3 people to review it for me (one on her blog, one on the Herald and one in a Facebook group)
- Created a Facebook author page
- Advertised on Reddit
- I joined Goodreads, was approved as an author and added the new book to its catalogue
- Have networked with old friends and people on other RP sites, to tell them about the book
- And otherwise generally spread the word about it
- I've updated my web sites and created ads/listed new ads.
- Updated my Amazon affiliate link ads, though the changes haven't taken effect yet
- I can't recall what else, but there are many things.

On the plus side, Amazon and Createspace now allow payment to more European bank accounts, so I no longer have those 100 euro/pound/dollar etc thresholds that used to drive me crazy. :)

I really feel like I'm making progress and I've sold some books, though nowhere near as many as I'd like. I've been eyeing some of the marketing and promotion deals on fiverr.com, but some would list in Facebook groups like me. I'm not interested in spam email and that kind of thing. There are people who post on Twitter (I'm not sure if it's worth it), their own book sites or have advertising on their blogs and things. I'm still considering it. I was going to sign up for KDP Select, but I decided not to, so I intend to create a Smashwords version of the E-book.

It's occurred to me that I've priced my book at a normal full-price, which may not be that normal anymore. There are so many cheap, free and 99c books out there, but I've been working on this one for a couple of years and I don't want to price it that cheaply. So I'm bucking that trend, at least for now.

I have really been pushing myself to try and get this all done, and do my best to make a success of it. Lately I've changed web hosting company too, so I've been getting my web sites and emails and all sorted out, with as little interruption as possible. Thankfully that's about done and I'm just doing one last backup as we speak before I delete the stuff off my old hosting company's server.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 09:47:32 PM by AmberStarfire »

Offline Caitlin

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2016, 12:06:07 AM »
The best advice I can give; price your book for what it's worth. Mark (the owner of Smashwords) published several very interesting topics in his blog about this topic. 99 cent books are often seen as 'throwaways', while a book of 5 dollar is much more likely to get read. Personally I wouldn't price it over 10 dollars though, then you're just entering a niche category that's too small. However, I'm still just a single person, if you do price it higher and feel that's right, then by all means, go for it. ;)

In the Smashwords publishing guide it's recommended to spent at least 30 minutes a day on marketing efforts to get the word about your novel out. I think that'd give a decent balance between everything else you have to do and make a name for yourself, though if you can spend more time on it, all the better. It also advices against paying (too) much for advertisement, but it sounds like you have that part well under control as well. I think the saying that Mark went with was "Squeeze your pennies". :)

Good luck, I look forward to reading more about your successes!

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2016, 11:54:37 AM »
At the moment I have it for $8.95 in Kindle and $14.50 in paperback on Amazon.com. I could perhaps drop it down another dollar or two. I think you're right though about some 99c books (and free ones). People don't place as much value on them because they're cheap, and there are large variations in the quality of books published cheaply. In part it depends on the book, but there are some people who have put a huge amount of work (and in some cases expense) into their books selling them for 99c, and there are others who are just turning out as many books as quickly as possible, with very little in the way of revision or editing.

I've tried to keep down costs by doing most things myself, but I spent around 15 euro recently getting some stock art (of the same models) from Fotolia to integrate into the cover for my second book in this series (the first would've been around the same). It's not something I had to do, but I want to make it good, and it's still way cheaper than if I was going to pay more to get a cover made for me. One of the things I enjoy most is illustrating and creating covers myself. I enjoy it at least as much as the writing, and it's good to take a break from the writing every so often and work on a different element that will contribute towards creating a book.

Print proofs also cost money and with Createspace, postage options other than priority take a long time to reach here, so that's another 15 or 17 euro to have that sent to me (including the proof). I have to provide around 10 or 12 copies for legal deposit (to give to university libraries) for each paperback-published book. Normally it's around 8, but UK libraries can request copies as well and they have for any of my future publications. That brings it to around $100 outlay for this book alone before I make any money back. If I sell my books for 99c, that's more than a hundred books I have to sell before I break even (with a 70% royalty rate), though there would be paperback sales as well. There might also be taxes (Ireland has a tax treaty with the US, so with paperwork submitted none would be payable there). If I actually want to stand a chance of earning a living off my books, I can't price them that cheaply, but I don't want to price them so highly that they're not going to sell either.

It would be much simpler if I just published in e-book format because there wouldn't be legal deposit requirements and costs would be lower, but I want to see this series in paperback. As the first book is, that means I'm intending books 2 and 3 to be as well (and any future ones in the series). I'm not sure if I'll end up behind or ahead in the long run because of the choice to publish in paperback, but it's why I've published some other books solely in e-book format. The information on legal deposit copies is up on Wikipedia here (with information by country).

I was reading through some of the forum posts on the Goodreads forum, about whether it had paid off for authors to take out paid advertising on the site for their books. There were more people saying no, that the ads hadn't been overly successful, and they'd found much the same for other paid advertising services. It holds me back, but I am keeping an eye out for lower-cost advertising opportunities because I want to try and sell more books.

Thanks Caitlin. :)



Incidentally, I found this video that was quite interesting, though my experience with Amazon/Createspace varied slightly from his.

How to Self-Publish Your Book on Amazon

« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 12:07:15 PM by AmberStarfire »

Offline Caitlin

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2016, 02:12:31 PM »
I think your pricing for paperback is fair, if people really prefer it over the the e-book then they probably don't mind dishing out a bit of extra cash either. A good front cover is a must though, in my case I don't mind paying 50 - 100 euros at all to have somebody do it for me, although I would be hesitant to put like 200 euros into it. The good thing about covers, however, is that you can always upload a new cover image if the novel takes off. I actually did that with my first novel and it ended up increasing the sales by quite a bit.

I'm not really sure yet what to do with paid advertising myself. It's very easy to burn through lots of money that way and I think it should be used as a last resort, or better yet once your novel is already making you some money. I don't try to make a profit of the books initially, but instead I invest every cent back into it. Once you make like 2k - 4k of your sales you can keep a certain percentage and use it for other means, but even then I'd still put probably half of the money back into the book to get the word out.

Thank you for that link by the way, I'll definitely study it. :-)

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2016, 02:26:34 PM »
Thanks. :) So far it's selling better in paperback than e-book, so perhaps the e-book price is a reason for that. I've just updated my book to drop down the e-book price a bit.

That's true, if need be then covers can be changed. I'm quite happy with the ones I have and I can tell as time goes on I'm getting more proficient at creating them. I've learned a lot, doing a lot of these things myself. I'm not going to name my books here (otherwise their titles will show up on search results with my username on Google), but if you click the book banner ad, it will show you the cover for the most recent one.

What I would like to do is try and get my books into bookstores, rather than just sites online, but I'm not entirely sure if there's much I can do about that.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 02:35:55 PM by AmberStarfire »

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2016, 01:24:46 PM »
Resources - Promotion/Blogs
(I'm now officially tagging posts). :D

This isn't so much a blog post of its own accord, but lately I've been researching methods of free promotion for my books and I found this wonderful blog site:

http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.ie/

It's got so much useful information, down to Facebook groups to list in and even publishers accepting direct submissions of manuscripts:

http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.ie/p/publishers-looking-for-authors.html

I've found their blog to be very helpful and useful in the time I've been reading it, so I wanted to share it with you here.

Offline Cobito

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2016, 01:18:58 PM »
Hello:

   Maybe I could find a little advise here, I most mention that I write in Spanish but it is the same thing anyway, I sent my writing to an editorial and they never answered, then I decided to publish in Lulu. I choose Lulu because I could publish an e book not having to pay any money and with no need of ISBN. The problem was that I needed to build my own format with lots of requirements using word. I can't figure out how to do it correctly to send it to Lulu. After I started with the guide to do it I gave up, it is very difficult.

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2016, 02:22:43 PM »
Hello:

   Maybe I could find a little advise here, I most mention that I write in Spanish but it is the same thing anyway, I sent my writing to an editorial and they never answered, then I decided to publish in Lulu. I choose Lulu because I could publish an e book not having to pay any money and with no need of ISBN. The problem was that I needed to build my own format with lots of requirements using word. I can't figure out how to do it correctly to send it to Lulu. After I started with the guide to do it I gave up, it is very difficult.

Hi :)

I haven't used Lulu personally, but I have checked out their site before. If you're looking to publish an e-book and not in a paper book (in hardback or paperback) format, you can just go straight through Amazon. You don't need an ISBN to publish a Kindle e-book on Amazon. You can find it at kdp.amazon.com

Looking at Lulu.com now. In order to publish in paperback, you would need an ISBN, but there are costs associated with publishing non-e-books, because in most countries there are legal deposit requirements (anyone publishing a paperback or hardback book is required to send a number of free copies to one or more libraries. You can search it on Google and find information on Wikipedia). It's easier with e-books because that isn't a requirement. While ISBNs aren't on Amazon, they might be for Lulu.

The way these companies mainly work is they offer templates for your book in different sizes (for print), and you choose one and fit your book into the template, so it will print correctly. If it's for e-book only, you don't need that but there are formatting requirements.

If you use Lulu.com, they look to have an e-book creator guide:
http://connect.lulu.com/t5/eBook-Formatting-Publishing/eBook-Creator-Guide/ta-p/109443

If you go through Amazon or a different site like Smashwords, they have their own guides or directions for formatting (rather than templates). What you usually need to do is eliminate details like headers and page numbers, use 'styles' for different types of fonts (for instance if they're sized differently) as it avoids some of the problems when it's converting for e-book, and add a table of contents. The sites give directions on how to do that.

It can take a while to get a book formatted for e-book or paperback, and usually the more pictures it has, the more complicated it will be.

Have you gone through the book creator guide? If so, what are you having trouble with exactly?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 02:24:53 PM by AmberStarfire »

Offline Cobito

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2016, 12:26:42 AM »
Thanks Amber, this is a lot of help for me, I will try again and if I found a step that I canīt understand I would like to ask you more especifically. For now I will start doing it and thank you a lot.

Cobo

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2016, 08:45:50 AM »
Book marketing and maximising sales with Amazon

In the past I didn't spend that much time on Facebook, but I've been spending a lot more time there since I started promoting my books in Facebook groups. Some days I post in up to 40 book groups, trying to put the word out and sell more copies. I think I've sold some because of it, but I'm not sure if it justifies all the work I've put in. I know I have to do something though to put the word out and it tends to be more successful if I have a Kindle countdown deal or free book promotion, though people who get free copies don't often leave reviews.

Someone on one of the groups I follow linked to an article today that may be rather useful:
http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites

It's like the url says - a table of sites where you can promote or spread the word about your book/s. There are free options and paid ones. There was another page linked off that one that I found really interesting:
http://www.readersintheknow.com/blog/17/how-to-engage-Amazon%27s-algorithms-to-sell-more-books

Basically, this is how to work with what's known of Amazon's algorithms to increase sales.

It mainly comes down to the fact that the more books you sell in a short space of time, especially where there's an upward trend, the more Amazon are going to promote your book for you. I've found this is one reason that as soon as they publish a Kindle e-book, many authors will immediately buy a copy. It's to help get their book off the ground.

A book can be reasonably high in the rankings at the start, but can very quickly start dropping if you don't get sales. It sounds like that the methods discussed in this article don't rely on getting a lot of sales at the very beginning, but at any point that a book is for sale. Having a lot of customers over a period of days is better than having a lot of customers all buy the book on one day. Customers start getting book recommendations when there's an upward trend.

Check out the article for more information. It's not an official statement on it because it looks like Amazon's algorithms are kept secret, but it's what one person has been able to discern. It looks like advertising and promoting books in a range of places at once is therefore far better than trying one method at a time.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 08:49:24 AM by AmberStarfire »

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2016, 09:32:38 AM »
Promoting Books Online

Some people say promoting books on social media isn't really helpful, but I'm fairly sure I've had some sales because of it. It also helps in building up your social media presence, which is something different but important nowadays as so many people are online, network with authors and find their books for sale on the web.

The most important pages to fill out/sites I've found so far include:
- Goodreads (having a profile filled out and books listed). They also have social media buttons so it's a quick way to 'like' your books on Twitter, Facebook and other sites. I know there's a community and I haven't really interacted much with others there yet, but it seems like an interesting and useful site.
- Amazon Author Page (when you list a book for sale, your profile isn't already set up. If you click on your author name, it will search out other books, but you can sign up to Amazon Author Central (the UK and US sites are different, btw) and add information, a picture, links to your other books, feed in blog entries there) so that you have a distinct author page. I've also learned you can add in more information that way including editorial reviews for your books.
- Facebook Groups (they aren't a 'great' way of promoting, but they're free. I can post in up to 40 on a given day (only some groups will let you post links in the feed) and at this stage I've streamlined the process. I have a list that includes the facebook url of each group, so it's a simple matter of copying/pasting it in. I copy the text/book link I want to use into another open notepad page, and highlight it in that window. Then it's a simple matter of copying and pasting, then copying and pasting, and on I go until I have around 40 groups. The only thing is you need to be cautious of the rules for each group but if you're doing this all the time, you get to know the groups. It would take me between half an hour and an hour on a given day, and so far I'm not sure if it's worth that time, but I also include a link for my Facebook author page in that text (as a second link - the first will auto-load a preview so it should be your book link). It kills two birds with one stone and helps increase my Facebook following. I also socialise and chat in some other book groups and it helps build up your presence overall (and it can be fun).
- Facebook author page (I have one of these set up, but I know people also set up pages for specific books or book series). I treat it like a blog and post in it every so often, as well as ensuring I have plenty of links there. I try not to make it all about promotion though because it can cause people to become bored quickly. So it's a mix of friendly chatter and links to whatever I'm doing at a given time.

I've also tried posting on sites like Reddit (I'm not sure I got any sales from it but I got some very useful feedback), and I've submitted my last book to book reviewers, and entered it in some book awards online. I have my own author site as well, and treat it as another blog (only with more promotional content and less social). I make sure links to other sites of mine/projects/business related stuff are located there, so that visitors for one aspect might visit my other links. I've also used KDP Select free advertising through Amazon on and off, and I've found this a good way to get free downloads (which boost your book's rating on Amazon), but not necessarily as a source of reviews or increased purchases (though that is the idea behind it). I think if I had more books listed than I do, it might help more. I've also advertised using banner ads on Elliquiy (and almost certainly will again), and I've found that useful at times.

I've read a few articles lately that suggested paid advertising through Amazon and Facebook are a good way to go. I'm as yet undecided but I'm thinking of giving Amazon advertising a go at some point in the future. If anyone has any additions that they've found particularly useful, feel free to post here.

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2016, 11:54:45 AM »
Hi, thank you for penning this wonderfully informative blog...

I have been writing for years and love it.
For 5 years I ran a writing site which had around 1000 members, quite a few of whom went on to get something published. The site worked well because it obliged authors to review sections of one another's works. The problem I ran into was getting dragged into site management issues (whilst holding down a real job) which interfered with my own writing ambitions   ::)

Nevertheless, I had a few short stories and a book published in the traditional way.

Over the last couple of years, I have been working with an author from this site on a daily basis and between us we've generated the equivalent of four historical fiction novels. Currently, we are going though the first of these in slow time (with rested eyes) to check logic and to improve the text as best we can.

Anyway, the long and the short of this is that we have it in mind to self publish through Amazon (or an equivalent).

One way we thought of publicising the first book was to produce a YouTube video of a section being read over appropriate backgrounds and post links to it everywhere.

Have you come across this method...? Do you think it has any merit?

Boat

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2016, 01:16:08 PM »
Thanks for posting here Boatman and sorry for the slow reply. I've had a lot going on this weekend.

That's cool about the writing site. Even if it's no longer still going, it's likely there are people out there who got to know each other and became friends because of it.

I know of about half a dozen published authors on Elliquiy but there are bound to be more. Four novels worth of fiction (or the equivalent) is definitely a lot. It sounds like the editing will take a while but it's how you get a finished product I guess. :) I have a novel and a short story to edit, as well.

Amazon's fairly straightforward for publishing e-books. They've recently started offering paperback publishing directly through their site too, but I'm sticking with Createspace for paperbacks, at least for now. It's an Amazon-owned company (as far as I know), but there are a lot of other companies out there.

I haven't tried the Youtube or video approach myself. I've mainly seen it used in Kickstarter campaigns, but I've also seen videos on some Facebook groups used in book advertisements. Honestly, I haven't watched a single one through (at least on Facebook). I either scroll down or close them so I don't have to watch them. I prefer text or images, but that's just me. I think there are some people who like them, and an author reading a book has a lot in common with author readings (like sometimes happen at signings), but they're not really my thing. This is just one opinion on it, though.

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2016, 02:18:14 PM »
Thank you very much for your helpful further thoughts on these matters.

What I am not looking forward to is hawking myself around the various social media sites to try and gain readers for my self-published Amazon (or whatever) works.

Just how do you slip your pride and joy into the conversation without appearing pushy? - Which would be out of character for me.

"Oh and by the way , did you know I've  written something that might appeal to you? - Take a look at this... If you like it, there is more here."

How did you get on with this aspect? - Did you find a cringe free way through?   

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2016, 02:30:34 PM »
I didn't like it at first and to some extent I don't, but there's a point where it ceases to be fun or even stressful, and turns into work really.

I do occasionally post links on my own Facebook, but more often I get likes than purchases. I have a list of around 40 Facebook groups that allow book promotion. However, I suspect most of the members are authors and those groups have near-constant spamming of book links. You literally go in, post your link/ad and go, and move on to the next one. All up those groups I have would have about 500,000 members collectively, but there's a lot of overlap and I'm not sure how much people actually pay attention to them. I've noticed that when I had a book listed for free on Kindle for a time and promoted it, there were more downloads than I otherwise would've had, but not one led to a review. There are also non-promotional Facebook groups for writers, and those that allow promotion on certain days of the week. The rules of each group differs.

It can become a bit tedious. I usually post every day or two for between 20 and 40 groups. It feels a bit like time wasted, but after a while a feeling of indifference takes over (sorry if this is depressing :P) and it's just part of the things you need to do to promote your book, like a 'chore on a list of chores'.

There are things I would do differently. I'd have created my Facebook author page earlier (and there are a couple of groups where you can easily gain members for your page) and I'd have been promoting using Amazon campaigns earlier, even though I haven't had much luck with them yet. It doesn't have to cost a lot for sponsored listings (the minimum is $1/day if enough of your book ads are clicked to reach $1, but so far they haven't been for mine). It hasn't cost me much and it's helping get one of my books out there/putting ads out there.


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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2016, 05:48:11 AM »
I have a list of around 40 Facebook groups that allow book promotion. However, I suspect most of the members are authors and those groups have near-constant spamming of book links. You literally go in, post your link/ad and go, and move on to the next one. All up those groups I have would have about 500,000 members collectively, but there's a lot of overlap and I'm not sure how much people actually pay attention to them.

Yup. I've noticed groups allowing self promotion often end up being ONLY self promotion

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Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2016, 05:02:44 PM »
Putting my old designer head on for a moment, I would be thinking of making an open site where authors could publish attractive sections of their work indexed by keyword and genre/ sub-genre, so potential readers could scan for something of particular interest written in a style they would enjoy.
I would make feedback private to the author to prevent trolling.

For example, I would like looking for Roman-British fiction to read.
When I searched for works of this type on Amazon I was presented with pretty poor subject matches.

I imagine the sort of authoring site I am looking for probably already exists, just haven't found it yet.

Offline Verasaille

Re: A Blog on Self-Publishing
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2016, 05:17:50 PM »
I was wondering if you can just use Facebook links to promote your book to individuals and ask them to post on their pages to help out a starving writer? I like the idea of posting excerpts from your book and inviting them to pass the word to their friends. Instead of the group pages that list tons of writers, you would get more more attention, I would think.

(btw, Boatman, don't be afraid to list your partner. I have it on good authority she does not mind.  ;D  )