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Publishing and Promoting > Self-Publishing... Marketing/PR/Agents/Reviewers... and one big headache :s

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 31, 2014 10:48AM) (new)

Hi all! :)

I am currently in the process of getting my book (my first.. yey! :) lol) edited by a professional editor and even hired an artist for the cover art.

I have decided to go the self-publishing route because mainly, I want to have control on the many different aspects of publishing (book cover, pricing,...)

I have looked through too many blogs and articles on the topic and find myself more confused than anything :(

Here is what I gather: (I would be very grateful for any feedback, suggestions, ...)

1. Reviews, reviews, reviews... A self-published author's best-friend. Reach out to blogegrs and potential reviewers a few months prior to your release date. Paid reviews, I understand are a waste of money. I would love goodreads reviews but don`t want to just be trading positive reviews with fellow authors. I want to be honest when I review a book and hope for the same... (I fear conflict of interest issues might arise?)

2. Marketing: social media plays a big role, also aim for local coverage. Local Radio station? Local magazine? (obviously in the niche your book concerns) Anyone went so far as purchasing ad space in their city?

3. KDP vs Smashbox and the likes: I am personnaly favoring KDP at the moment. From what I gather, vanity publishing will offer mediocre editing and marketing services and take around a 10% cut of your royalties (on top of the 30% if sold on Amazon). As I am already forking out for these services... just stick to Amazon for now?
How about CreateSpace... anyone happy or unhappy with the product/services?

4. Ricing: Yes... yes... stick to the 2.99$ limit... I personnally feel that I prefer to have lower sales from readers intent on reading the book then many impulse buys ending on TBR lists indefinetely...

5.Marketing/PR agencies: Hmmm... I have considered them.. I am beginning to think it will be a waste of money as well... Anyone thought of printing their books and going door to door to their local bookstores (obviously not Chapters... lol)
From the reviews I read, most authors have been disapointed by the servcies they purshased from agencies (marketing or PR)...


Any insights?
What worked best or least for you?

Thank you so much for your help. It is nice to read the candid advices from fellow authors to each other :)


message 2: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Congratulations, L.C.!

1. Reaching out to bloggers is a good idea if you can find some that are not overwhelmed with prior commitments. I definitely would not pay for reviews, nor would I exchange them. You might try a new service from ChoosyBookworm.com. You pay $20 to be listed in their newsletter as willing to give out copies to those willing to read and review. There is also a group on GR that is similar - you post your book info and those who are willing to read and review will reply, then you send them a copy.

2. I think social media is over-rated when it comes to promoting books, but it's probably something you can't just ignore either. You want a presence, but don't use the presence for the purpose of spamming. I haven't tried local promotions yet.

3. I can pretty much guarantee that you'll sell more on Amazon than anywhere else. I put my first novel on Smashwords and thus all of the retailers they distribute to. I sold a few hundred copies in the first month on Amazon, and 0 at all of the other retailers.

I've found CreateSpace to be great. I have a little difficulty with getting covers to conform to the measurement requirements, but I'm bad with numbers.
I'd definitely recommend CS over its competitors.

4. Pricing your book low doesn't mean people will just pick it up and not read it. That's what happens when you make it free. The biggest errors people make is over-pricing. Like $6.99 for a "book" of 30 pages. It's also considered a bad idea to price too low because it devalues the book. It really comes down to demand, then quality, then quantity.

If you have a good story in a popular genre, and a good-sized book, I'd start with $2.99 and see how it goes. Amazon has a beta program that will suggest a price to you. Notice when you get to that step in the publishing process that it's recommending a price based on making the most money per unit. You'd probably rather have more sales at a lower profit, (which is how Sam Walton built the WalMart empire) than high profit on few sales.

5. I definitely not recommend using a marketing agency - at least not the type that will promise to promote your book on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and send out X number press releases.

When did you last buy a book because you read a press release? :)

There are readers who subscribe to newsletters about books that are on sale, or that are in the genre they like, etc. Places that readers go to find out about new books is a great place to have your book. Not in a press release or a YouTube trailer.

Places like bookbub.com, bookdaily, choosybookworm, and those types of sites. Some of them have free promotion options and some will sell promo spots.

I did ebooksoda.com when it first launched and was free. I got 7 sales that day. It's hard to say if I got them because of the promo or not. I think it costs $5 now for a promo there.

There's probably a website somewhere that lists all such places and their costs. If not, you'll have to seek them out. I should do that some day, but I'm too busy writing (or replying to people on GR. lol)

The thing that worked best for me was writing a post-apocalypse story apparently. That book sells itself.

The least effective thing I did was buy advertising on Goodreads. You know, the place with millions of readers that everyone says you just have to be a part of, as if it was the Shangri-La for authors.

There are very specific places where book promotion is welcome. Outside of those places, do not promote your book, or even mention that you're an author. Wear your reader hat when you're in a reader's forum.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Edward wrote: "Congratulations, L.C.!

1. Reaching out to bloggers is a good idea if you can find some that are not overwhelmed with prior commitments. I definitely would not pay for reviews, nor would I exchange..."


Wow... Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. (And thank you for the congrats, cheezy I know :s but it really made me smile :))

This is priceless info. Thank you so much, it is truly appreciated!


message 4: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) L.C. Moon wrote: "Wow... Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. (And thank you for the congrats, cheezy I know :s but it really made me smile :))

This is priceless info. Thank you so much, it is truly appreciated! "


You're welcome, but I wouldn't go so far as to say priceless. Someone else will come along with much more helpful info.

But it does give you an overview of what I've learned in my one year of experience.

I did a blog post about social media marketing that you might find interesting. The Art of Not Marketing on Social Media

And you should definitely feel good about writing your first novel. You just stepped past that critical line behind which stand all of the people who say they're going to write one some day. You actually did it, so my congratulations is sincere.

I didn't set out to promote my writing, but to get a sense of what you've accomplished already, check out another of my blog posts called The Storytellers.

I think the end will definitely have you smiling again. :)


message 5: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Dianne wrote: "Edward, I hope you put all that info in a blog or a book. Superb. If you don't have a blog, I'd love to put it on mine and credit you with it. My email is dianne@dianneharman.com"

Thanks, Dianne. I didn't really think I was that helpful though. But I guess I do dispel some of the myths, and things promoted by people who write little instructional ebooks just to make money.

I felt it would've really been helpful if I had provided a list of book promotion sites, or bloggers who are currently open to doing reviews. But I left the hard work for L.C. to do on her own.

I should've mentioned that Bookbub is reputed to be the one place you really want to pay to promote your book. They send out email to their subscribers based on genre, and everyone reports a boost in sales afterwards. The downside is that you have to have a certain number of reviews to qualify, and it's not cheap.

But just think of it. Something you can do that results in sales. That says a lot. So my thinking is, other sites do the same thing. Maybe they're not as big with as big of an impact, but then, they're also much less expensive for someone starting out. So start with the smaller guys and work your way up to bookbub.

If L.C. hadn't mentioned that she's having her book professionally edited, I would have included how critical that is if I was writing this as general advice for someone who was just getting their feet wet.

Since you think it would be helpful, I'll put it on my blog and email you a link. Thanks for the idea. It wouldn't have occurred to me. :) Once it's there, you can re-blog, link, or copy and paste it. Whatever works best for you is good with me.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Edward wrote: "L.C. Moon wrote: "Wow... Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. (And thank you for the congrats, cheezy I know :s but it really made me smile :))

This is priceless info. Thank you so..."


Will definitely check it out! (was already smiling reading your recommendation) so Thanks again.

Ps: You addressed my every question/concern and provided very insightful information. I stand by my statement. Priceless information. ;)


message 7: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) L.C. Moon wrote: "Will definitely check it out! (was already smiling reading your recommendation) so Thanks again.

Ps: You addressed my every question/concern and provided very insightful information. I stand by my statement. Priceless information. ;) "


Thanks, L.C. I'm glad you think so. That makes it worth writing. And since Dianne felt it would make for a good blog post, I went and expanded it (maybe a bit too much) to make it into a more complete article, rather than something I just wrote off the cuff to help someone who wasn't getting any responses to a very nicely-worded and well-thought out series of questions.

I know people don't like to read long articles, but if you really liked my answers, there's even more info in the blog post version.

Thank you for the questions that gave birth to the blog post, and thank you, Dianne, for suggesting that it be such.

Q & A for the Newly Self-Published Author


message 8: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 258 comments Edward wrote: "L.C. Moon wrote: "Will definitely check it out! (was already smiling reading your recommendation) so Thanks again.

Ps: You addressed my every question/concern and provided very insightful informat..."


Commented on the blog - good article - well said.


message 9: by Deanie (new)

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne | 50 comments All of you offered helpful advice. Thanks for taking the time to share it.


message 10: by E.J. (new)

E.J. Jackson (elainejenny) | 74 comments Edward, thank you for this - so much useful advice!


message 11: by P.D.R. (last edited Aug 03, 2014 08:31PM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 42 comments IndiesUnlimited.com have a great list of those email newsletters which go to readers.

Bookmarketingtools.com has great advice and information. They also have a tool which helps you list a promotion on over 30 of those email newsletters to readers.

Something which we've found helpful for us at Writer's Choice is this list to start doing as you write your next novel:
1
Testing the opening on readers at GR and librarything and anyone you've good contact with at FB/LinkedIn and Google plus.
6 months before launch. Make sure to do a Smashwords Preorders
2
Testing different covers, same places as above.
5 months before launch.
3
Offering giveaways on GR, Librarything, Readers in the Know and a couple of other sites which look decent places where your type of readers are.
6, 5 and 4 months before launch.
4
Beta readers, pro readers and/or group doing a Beta read. Rewarded with free book. Expect reviews but don’t insist and ask if they do review please could they put them up on novel launch date.
6, 5 and 4 months before launch.
5
Blogging and sharing blogs and your genre fiction sites with research/odd snippets affecting/used in/amusing/of interest.
3,2, and 1 month(s) before launch.
6
Tweets, Google plus genre sites, Linked In, comments on groups threads, wherever.
4 weeks and down to launch date.
7.
Local newspapers, national media, radio and Booksellers journals.
4 weeks and down to launch date.
8
Launch party in the local library and maybe in the ‘big cities’

Can't guarantee sales but doing all this does put news out.

Promotions at good sites help too. Read all about them at Indies Unimited which has a great list of very helpful articles about how to do promotions.

Find a few good sites you like and work with them.I like Readersintheknow and Goodreads and Librarything for promos.

Watch though as many email to readers newsletters now charge and many won't touch you without 5, usually more, 5 star or 4.5 rating on your novel. Bookbub wants 25 such reviews, mnay others want 10 or 15!

You will find that once you get into the swing of understanding how much PR you must do then it becomes simpler! Really.


message 12: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Thanks, Philip and Elaine!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you everyone for the insightful information!


message 14: by Monet (new)

Monet (monetp) | 10 comments So many great links for indie/self-published authors! I've been looking for a discussion about that particularly, so thanks.


message 15: by Diana (new)

Diana Phelps (dianamp) | 2 comments WOW! Thank you all for all this valuable information! You're teaching me so much about promoting, and I'm new to all this and am overwhelmed by it all. But with these outlines, opinions and guidance from you all, it helps to make some sense of everything that's being thrown my way! Thank you all again!


message 16: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 05, 2014 03:35PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Quit Your Day Job, A Guide for the Self Published Author by H.P. Mallory -- if we're recommending books :D.

The author is both self and traditionally published.


message 17: by R.P. (new)

R.P. Dahlke (rpdahlke) | 7 comments HI All, I'm an Indie mystery writer on Amazon since 2011. I also did B&N and Smashwords, but Amazon made my writing career soar! I also promote mystery/suspense/thriller writers with DIRT CHEAP MYSTERY READS. No vampires or werewolves unless they solve crime in their spare time--and dang if I don't get one every once in awhile. LOL. Author information page: http://www.allmysteryenewsletter.com/...

I also publish a short ebook about promoting. Yes, it costs $2.99 on Amazon but I happily GIVE it away to any author who wants it.
e-mail me: rp@rpdahlke.com and add JUMP START in the subject line.


message 18: by June (new)

June Ahern (juneahern) | 78 comments Thank you for your kind offer. I might take you up on it or to support another Indie author, buy it. Is Dirt Cheap MR on your site - well, I'll go and see for myself. Thank you for the info and supporting Indie writers - I know there are people who say if a story was that good it'd be published by publishing houses or have an agent. I ask, really? have you read some that have been? We Indie's like what we write and so do others. Like you I've found a good readership of my books on Amazon.
City of Redemption


message 19: by R.P. (new)

R.P. Dahlke (rpdahlke) | 7 comments June wrote: "Thank you for your kind offer. I might take you up on it or to support another Indie author, buy it. Is Dirt Cheap MR on your site - well, I'll go and see for myself. Thank you for the info and sup..."
I'm a Happy Indie Author!


message 20: by Donovan (new)

Donovan Edwards (donovanedwards) | 2 comments I self published through Author House publishing. I paid a flat fee but got a great deal. They agreed to publish two books for the price of one!This deal also included an e-edition. Now my book is being sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ebay, and anywhere one can order books. The beauty part is that I keep the royalties and the rights to my work. if any of my books become a movie I still own all the rights and so the money is mine and not the publishers!!

L.C. Moon wrote: "Hi all! :)

I am currently in the process of getting my book (my first.. yey! :) lol) edited by a professional editor and even hired an artist for the cover art.

I have decided to go the self-pub..."



message 21: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Amato (authorcarmenamato) | 73 comments One of the best things an author can do is start an email list. Have a sign up form on your website and promote it on social media. Check out Tim Grahl's book YOUR FIRST 1000 COPIES to see how a pro markets via email.


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