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Archived Author Help > Next step after self-publishing?

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message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments It's been months since I self published and I just cannot find any readers willing to take my book. I tried doing ads in Goodreads and amazon but nothing works.


message 2: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments I want to help, so I read your blurb - it could use a rehaul if you're up to it. You could post the blurb in the blurb help section and you'll get a lot of people pitching in to make it 'grabby' for prospective readers. The other thing you could try is having authors on Goodreads review it for you so there are some that people can read.
Is that the kind of help you're looking for?


message 3: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Jenna wrote: "I want to help, so I read your blurb - it could use a rehaul if you're up to it. You could post the blurb in the blurb help section and you'll get a lot of people pitching in to make it 'grabby' fo..."

I tried contacting authors, reviewers, and anyone else that's offering to read "indie" books but I never even get a reply. I'll try to work on the blurb and see what I can do. Thanks for the advice and help!


message 4: by Jor (new)

Jor (jorjjj) | 3 comments I want to help as well. I would first start with making your goodreads account more 'professional'... I would do this by adding a quick biography, as well as links to other social networking sites that you may have, you don't have to do that if you don't want to though.
I would fix the blurb for the story as well, here is an example of how I would fix it... just to make it more clear and attention grabbing. These are just some suggestions... :)

"Once, long ago, there was a man who was known as The Ghost. In that time, now long gone, The Ghost waged an epic battle against a madman on the peak of the highest mountain, and won. The blood soaked into the mountain soil, and was forever known as the Red Mountain.
But like all history, it was soon forgotten as time passed.
The Ghost, The Madman, and the battle on Red Mountain all became legend, and the legend became myth... "


message 5: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Comment from earlier today deleted. Review swaps are a big, stinky no-no.


message 6: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe... a few things you need to do off the top of my head...

You need an author photo and you need to get your profile fixed up.

More than that, you need to write more books. It's difficult to make it as an author. It's even harder when you only have one book out there. If you are working on your next, great. If not, get to it.


message 7: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Ellie wrote: "I want to help as well. I would first start with making your goodreads account more 'professional'... I would do this by adding a quick biography, as well as links to other social networking sites ..."

Wow, that's actually pretty good.


message 8: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Comment from earlier today deleted. Review swaps are a big, stinky no-no."

But won't that benefit me? How is it bad? Can you explain more please?


message 9: by Jor (new)

Jor (jorjjj) | 3 comments Joe wrote: "Ellie wrote: "I want to help as well. I would first start with making your goodreads account more 'professional'... I would do this by adding a quick biography, as well as links to other social net..."
Thank you! lol


message 10: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "But won't that benefit me? How is it bad? Can you explain more please?"

Reviews don't benefit authors. Period.

Amazon may take your account away if you're caught doing review swaps. Same with Goodreads. It's against FTC regulations.

Even if no one notices you're swappin' reviews, the only thing you're gaining is dishonest, bogus reviews. That's not going to help you as an author.


message 11: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Dwayne wrote: "Comment from earlier today deleted. Review swaps are a big, stinky no-no."


I didn't know this! Confession: I did one with another author and I feel like I need to be absolved of my sins...


message 12: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Joe wrote: "But won't that benefit me? How is it bad? Can you explain more please?"

Reviews don't benefit authors. Period.

Amazon may take your account away if you're caught doing review swaps. S..."


But the swap review I'm in are supposed to be honest, they said if it's a negative review they won't post them.

And how do reviews not benefit authors? Isn't that the main part of how people would consider reading a book?


message 13: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 21 comments It's rather simple. The practice of swapping reviews is considered to be dishonest in the same way that you don't allow students to grade each other's term papers. The only way that reviews are considered unbiased and fair is if they come from readers who did not receive an incentive or payment of any kind from the author.

Instead, what many authors do is to participate in non-reciprocal reviews, where authors review someone who has not reviewed them.

Hope that helps.


message 14: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Ubiquitous wrote: "It's rather simple. The practice of swapping reviews is considered to be dishonest in the same way that you don't allow students to grade each other's term papers. The only way that reviews are con..."

Ah yes I forgot to mention that part, it is non-reciprocal. They assign books for authors to read and when they do they have to leave a review showing that they read it. Then they'll take the reader's book and post it on a wall for another author to look at and decide if he/she should give it a read.


message 15: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited May 01, 2018 12:59PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "But the swap review I'm in are supposed to be honest, they said if it's a negative review they won't post them.

And how do reviews not benefit authors? Isn't that the main part of how people would consider reading a book?"


Ha! If "they" say they won't post a review if it's negative, they're not being honest. Honest reviewers will post a review, negative or not. Review swaps are not honest. They're full of bias. Why would "they" hesitate to post negative reviews? Reviews are supposed to help other consumers. How is it helpful if "they" aren't willing to admit when a book was not to their liking? I don't get it.

So, here's what you're probably going to run into if you keep up this practice. You read someone's book. You think it's okay. You give them a nice review 'cause you're a nice guy and you want them to give you a nice review, too. Weeks go by. Months. They don't review. And then they say, "Oh, I didn't like your book all that much, so I didn't give you a review." How does this help you at all? Or, they review your book and they give you a nice review. You read their book and you find you don't care for it, so you give them a negative review. A short while later, they "get even" by giving you a negative review. This is the kind of bullshit that goes on when people swap reviews. It's not honest and it's not helping the consumer at all.

Continue the practice if you feel you must, but be warned. It could do a whole lot more damage to you than good. A whole lot more!

When I consider a book... I have to know about it somehow before I ever get around to looking at the reviews. A good cover, a good blurb, good marketing, etc. will all benefit you more than having a lot of reviews. Write more books. That will get you more attention, too.

Bottom line - are you in this to be serious about your writing? Or are you just in it to see how many nice reviews you can get?


message 16: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Anyway - discussing reviews is actually against our group policy especially discussing review swaps. If you need to talk about it further, feel free to shoot me a PM. Talking about it here needs to end, though.


message 17: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Ah yes I forgot to mention that part, it is non-reciprocal. They assign books for authors to read and when they do they have to leave a review showing that they read it. Then they'll take the reader's book and post it on a wall for another author to look at and decide if he/she should give it a read. "

You can put a dress on a monkey and call it a prom queen, but it's still a monkey. This is still review swapping. You're being encouraged to leave nice reviews or your book doesn't get reviewed, right? I've seen shady groups like this before.


message 18: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Dwayne has spoken! (Thanks, Dwayne!)

I'm all for writing to write, and as long as I remember it's a hobby, I don't get too stressed out. I do like getting followers on my blog, instagram, etc, though and being active on social media does work. (Introverts unite! Separately!)

If you're in it for money, then like Dwayne said, you just need to keep publishing, at least as far as I've seen. The minute I put up my second book, my first book did better. Not hugely, but a definite increase. I know authors that are able to not only quit their day job but are really raking it in - they have upwards of 30 - 50 books. Yikes! And I'm stressed abotu getting out #3!


message 19: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Oh, one last thought - I started adding free short stories to my blog, something that works well for a lot of authors. Especially if it's a little vignette about a side character or something to keep t hem busy until your next book is out.


message 20: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Joe wrote: "It's been months since I self published and I just cannot find any readers willing to take my book. I tried doing ads in Goodreads and amazon but nothing works."

As has been noted here by Jenna and Dwayne, the best advice if you are looking to launch a career as a writer is to keep writing.

If you're someone who only has one book in them and that's what you want to focus on (a lot of folks do this and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that either) then my advice is to figure out who you want your audience to be before spending money on ads. Figure out who reads the type of books you write. Observe their habits (social media is great for this) and take note of how they discover new books.

And when I say observe, I mean observe only. Do not give in to the temptation to find someone who reads your genre and spam them with ads for your book. This is not only rude,but it's the best way to get your account deleted on most platforms as you'll be considered a spammer.

Once you've observed and gathered information, put it into practice. Do your genre readers get book recs from newsletters? Goodreads recs? Word of mouth? Obviously not everyone will be the same,but this is a good place to start rather than just throwing money at unfocused ads.


message 21: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Joe wrote: "But the swap review I'm in are supposed to be honest, they said if it's a negative review they won't post them.

And how do reviews not benefit authors? Isn't that the main part of how ..."


Ok now I get it, took me a while to understand.


message 22: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Joe,

I'm going to give you a blunt and honest opinion here - take it for what it is. I read the prologue and first chapter of your novel. You published a rough draft. You might get a few sales here and there and somehow you've gotten nice reviews, but most readers will not take you seriously. The prologue was the vague and confusing story about The Ghost and a madman doing battle, with no real detail as to what was truly at stake. Just gives the impression two guys had some kind of issue with one another and somehow got hold of a huge army and some kind of incredible weapons and did some stuff to each other. It's much too fast paced, as if you're in a huge hurry to get through it.

The first chapter was a list of names David, Kevin, Matt... I couldn't keep track of them all and couldn't keep them straight. The dialogue is dull. The writing is much too on the nose, too much telling, not enough showing - way too little detail.

My advice would be to take your book and edit it. Again and again. I want to know who all these characters are. All I really get are a lot of guys with names like Peter and Casey shouting "what the hell" and "these aren't pirates". It's as if every character was pretty much the same guy.


message 23: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "Joe,

I'm going to give you a blunt and honest opinion here - take it for what it is. I read the prologue and first chapter of your novel. You published a rough draft. You might get a few sales her..."


I did mention that the weapon is able to destroy mountains and the reason why was that no could stop him with this weapon. He wanted mankind to be put on a leash with him as the ruler. Ghost gathered a multinational army to stop him and he won. That's it.

The first chapter started like that because well, they've just survived a plane crash and are taken as prisoners, most of them barely spoke.


message 24: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
The first chapter starts with the characters in an airport and boarding a plane. This is a time you could develop characters. You talk about one guy getting bored and starting up conversations about video games or something. They haven't been in the plane crash, yet, at the start of the chapter.

The book actually says that it was believed the weapon could destroy mountains - telling me no one really knew what it could do. There's no description of this weapon, no hint of where this guy got. You say he's unstoppable and, yet, Ghost (who is a man and a ghost?) stops him.


message 25: by Joe (new)

Joe Crane | 16 comments Dwayne wrote: "The first chapter starts with the characters in an airport and boarding a plane. This is a time you could develop characters. You talk about one guy getting bored and starting up conversations abou..."

Well, I guess I did not have much character development in the first chapter, but that does happen later on.

And about the weapon, I did not explain it because that would be a huge spoiler. I left a bits of pieces behind as the story goes on and then later revealed. I see your point but everything in the first chapter that keeps you wondering is answered later. That's because I always loved novels/movies/series that start with me questioning a lot and wondering what's this all about and why or how?

But again, that's just my opinion. :)


message 26: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
I get that. No, you don't want to give away too much right away. You are right about that. But, again, it is frustrating to me, as a reader, to have nothing solid to grab early on to.

I would suggest that if you can't give more detail in a prologue than you've given, skip it. Trust me, I know where you are coming from. Even though I write in a very different genre, my current work in progress has two main "villains", but I do not want the reader to know who they are early on, so I don't even hint at it toward the beginning. I give more detail on the things the reader can know early on.

While this may not be true of all readers, most of us want someone to relate to or to root for early on. You would not have to develop all those characters right away, but when you have a story that reads like, "Bob bought a ticket to Paris. Meanwhile, Eric spoke to his wife on a pay phone while Charlie scratched his armpit. Nearby, Eunice found gum on her shoe and Phyllis looked at a photo of her grandchildren. Parker worried he was going to miss his plane. Steven hoped he would make it to Paris on time" and so on, there's nothing solid here. It's a list of random people doing mundane things. I would focus on one character, maybe two, taking us through their routine of getting through the airport, onto the plane, etc. Follow the one or two characters until another character becomes important to the story. See what I mean?


message 27: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Gale-Han (katherinegalehan) | 5 comments Hi Joe,
I hope my comment isn't redundant, but from other comments and reviews on Amazon & Goodreads, these are the top things you can work on to improve your book's success:

1) the story and characters (developmental editing), including
- the beginning, does the story start in the right place?
- POV (point of view)
- pacing --> readers want books that have varied pacing. It can be quick for a scene, then slow down a bit before amping back up. Something that's always "Go Go Go" will be tiring for a reader. It should include a mixture of dialogue and descriptive narrative (though not telling instead of showing). This also includes having good transitions between scenes and chapters.

2) making sure the mechanics are right (spelling, punctuation, dialogue tags). A good story will look unprofessional to avid readers if there are more than a couple mistakes.

3) Marketing. Expand your Goodreads and Amazon author's pages, join social media, see if some bloggers will review it (after polishing the **** out of it in #1 & 2 :-)

4) More books. Many authors swear by writing series. But that doesn't mean one book can't get noticed--if it looks/sounds great.

A lot of people have original, great ideas! But how the story is presented can hide interesting ideas and distract readers. You want readers to connect/immerse with the story, but all of the above can push your readers out of the story by causing them to think about the mechanics.

Hope that helps! Good luck!


message 28: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Maughan (cj_maughan) | 1 comments This is literally my first post on these boards but I just want to say thanks for all of these great tips. I feel a little guilty second-handing them, but there's a lot of good stuff here...so thanks! :)


message 29: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Joe - my favorite way to edit is to find someone who doesn't read my genre. For example, I get someone who doesn't read fantasy to read my fantasy. They really edit thoroughly, and it helps me a ton.


message 30: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 249 comments Joe, I don't mean to be cruel, and I really want to help. I know you've worked hard and invested a lot of yourself, emotionally, in this story. But speaking with my manuscript-critique hat on, and having read the opening, a few hard truths:

1. You open with a historical overview—a report told in high level generalities. But who wants to study history? And, none of that information is necessary to understand the action in chapter one. So by the time it might be useful the reader will have forgotten. And that being the case the prologue is a liability, not a hook. Readers seek story, not history. And as the great Alfred Hitchcock observed, "Drama is life with the dull bits cut out."

2, In the story, you, the author, are explaining your events in the form, "This happened...then that happened...he said this...she said that..."

You're thinking in terms of cinematic progression of events in a medium that reproduces neither sound nor picture, and you're talking about what happens for the director's cut of the film, as if the reader can see the film you're commenting on. So to the narrator, no character is of more importance than the others. It's the action that matters. But in life, we fidget to show mood, we blink in thought, we snap a seatbelt while talking, and we introduce ourselves to strangers. Your characters don't, because you're talking about them.

But the reader wants to get to know one character, the protagonist, as a person, not a plot device. This is the person the reader will identify with in a given scene, and care about most. They expect to know the others in the story through-that-character's-eyes. It is his or her viewpoint that matters.

So when you tell the reader: Jake heard the announcement, closed his book, and headed toward the gate. You provide twelve words that explain what happened. But if he heads toward the gate isn’t it inherent in that act that he heard, stopped doing what he had been doing and boarded? Does it matter to the plot if he was reading or picking his nose? No. He got on the plane. So those twelve words reduce to, “Jake headed for the gate,” with no loss of dramatic impact because the rest was irrelevant and served only to slow the narrative. And that continues. It's not a matter of good or bad writing, it's that you're missing the tricks of the trade because they're not taught as part of the nonfiction writing skills we're given in school. Was Jake glad to get on? Sad to be leaving? Anticipating or dreading? This matters if he's to be our avatar—and the reader wants an avatar who will give them an emotional connection to the story

It's not a matter of writing a better blurb, it's that to write like a pro we need the tricks the pros know—the learned part of the profession. And they are as near as your local library's fiction writing section, where you'll find the views of successful writers, publishing pros, and noted teachers.

I know that after all the work you've put into the story this is the last thing you want to hear, but...you're working so hard I thought you should know—and would want to. Bear in mind that nothing I've said has to do with talent or potential, or the story. For all we know you're loaded with talent. But untrained, it's only potential. So...

Hang in there, and keep on writing. It doesn't get easier, but with work we can become confused on a higher level. After all, if we write a little better each day, and live long enough...


message 31: by Gauri (new)

Gauri Author (gaurishanbhagwagle) | 7 comments Ellie wrote: "I want to help as well. I would first start with making your goodreads account more 'professional'... I would do this by adding a quick biography, as well as links to other social networking sites ..."

AWESOME suggestions Ms Ellie ! I too would implement your suggestions.Do you read non fiction books ?


message 32: by Gauri (new)

Gauri Author (gaurishanbhagwagle) | 7 comments Katherine wrote: "Hi Joe,
I hope my comment isn't redundant, but from other comments and reviews on Amazon & Goodreads, these are the top things you can work on to improve your book's success:

1) the story and char..."


Hi Ms Katherine, amazing tips shared by you and thanks a million for that ! I am looking out for fiction editors who can edi my manuscript.


message 33: by Moronke (new)

Moronke (hotnicey) | 24 comments Thanks folks for this thread. I learned a lot! Keep up the good work!


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