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message 1: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Hey Folks,

After a few questions that were raised in the introductions thread I thought it might be useful to start a thread that puts all of our knowledge and experience with Indie Publishing (and marketing and publicity) into one convenient location.

To make things easy to find we should perhaps follow a format, so I've arbitrarily decided on the following (please let me know if you think it could be improved).

-name of resource -underlined- (please include a link if you can)
-brief description
-cost (if any)
-whether or not you've used it personally
-results if you have, and source of recommendation if you haven't (please include both positive and negative results)

To demonstrate what I mean I'll include a few resources that I've come across lately that I think are useful.

Goodreads Giveaways
Goodreads Giveaways allow you to offer up free copies of your book in exchange for an honest review. In addition, being listed on the giveaways page gains you quite a bit of visibility with readers.
-Listing a giveaway is free, however you are responsible for the costs of sending copies of your book to winners of the giveaway
- Yes, I've used it myself.
- I just started my first giveaway on Jan. 26th, but 175 people have already entered for a chance to win it, and as a consequence over 100 people have added it to their Goodreads bookshelves. I've only offered 3 free copies, so costs should be relatively low. In fact, if just two people buy the book in any format because of the giveaway it will have paid for itself. The only downside I can think of is that if no one buys a copy as a consequence of the giveaway I'll have spent about 30 bucks for "nothing," but worst case scenario I think that would just equate to "associated costs" of getting the book reviewed by the winners of the giveaway.

Facebook Author Page
Facebook author pages are free to create. They provide an easy platform for people on Facebook to "like,"share, and help spread the word about you and your work, and can be easier to manage than a website if you struggle with that kind of thing. You can even add an app that connects readers straight to your goodreads author profile.
- It's free to set up an author page, but there are ways to advertise and boost your posts that cost money.
- Yes, I've used it.
- I started my author page back in June of 2014 and it has been exceedingly useful in spreading the word about my books and events. It has also made it much easier to create facebook ads which have led directly to sales and awareness of my new book. The only downside I've encountered so far is that people who are already connected to you personally, and who like your author page, may get repeat content from you if you post in both accounts.

Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are small advertisements that appear in the ads column and in people's news feeds as "sponsored posts." They can reach millions of potential customers and are highly customizable.
-They cost as much as you are willing to budget. You choose your budget, the length of your campaign, your targeting, and your marketing goal, and Facebook serves your ad accordingly. The cost per click varies according to how many people actually click on your ad over the length of your campaign.
- Yes, I have used facebook ads.
- My initial experience with Facebook ads wasn't great, and it has taken some time to sort out what ads are the most effective use of budget. I ran one campaign that wound up charging me $13 per click because it only earned a single click over the life of the two week campaign. My other campaign, which is still running costs about $0.02 per click because it's getting thousands of clicks over its month long campaign with a maximum budget of $50. In other words: your milage may vary. ;-)

Blogger
Blogger is a free blog creation and management site provided by google. It is user friendly, and allows you to produce a crisp professional looking blog in minutes.
- FREE
- Yes, I have used it.
- I've been using blogger for years now and it has come a long way since its roots. Big plusses are: it provides you with a customized url (for example: virginiamcclain.blogpsot.com), but it also allows you to use a url that you have purchased for yourself (for example: virginiamcclain.com). Also, it's easy to manage and easy to link to social media. Downsides: currently there is no way to easily add an online store to sell merchandise directly from your website, however, you can link to any other page, so you can link to a different webstore if you have one. Also, it's only as customizable as the templates allow (which is quite a lot if you're good with basic html), but not as completely customizable as some other platforms.


message 2: by Ann, Supreme Overlord (new)

Ann Andrews (annliviandrews) | 687 comments Mod
This is great Virginia!

Virginia wrote: "Hey Folks,

After a few questions that were raised in the introductions thread I thought it might be useful to start a thread that puts all of our knowledge and experience with Indie Publishing (an..."



message 3: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments :-) I hope it will be useful to people. Those first few are kind of obvious ones so I'm going to add some less well known resources as well.


message 4: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Noisetrade.com
Noisetrade is a site that allows readers and listeners to find books and music available for free in exchange for their e-mail address and postal code. You can post your books there and people can download them for free (there's an option for them to donate $ to you if they like it or are feeling generous) and when someone downloads your work you get their e-mail address.
- Free
- I have sort of used it...
- I have used it to find new music and books and am working on listing my stuff there. I started to fill out my author profile there for Blade's Edge and then realized that I should list my collection of short stories there instead, because I want to encourage people to buy Blade's Edge by reading my short stories. I've heard good things about it from musicians, but I haven't talked to any other authors who use it. (Though there are lots of them on there.) It seems like a strong promotional tool, but I will add more info when I've had more experience with it. Has anyone else used it?


message 5: by Tasha (new)

Tasha Mann | 17 comments Virginia wrote: "Hey Folks,

After a few questions that were raised in the introductions thread I thought it might be useful to start a thread that puts all of our knowledge and experience with Indie Publishing (an..."


Virginia wrote: "Hey Folks,

A great idea. A silly question. How do I underline things here?
After a few questions that were raised in the introductions thread I thought it might be useful to start a thread that puts all of our knowledge and experience with Indie Publishing (an..."



message 6: by Virginia (last edited Feb 01, 2015 09:21AM) (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Tasha wrote: "A great idea. A silly question. How do I underline things here?"

Hey Tasha, not a silly question at all! Goodreads forums are excellent for a lot of things, but they're a bit old school in that they require you to know some basic html in order to format your text. Here's a quick cheat sheet for html formatting:

**Please note that spaces have been added where there should be none in order to make the format markers visible, to make the formatting work remove all spaces from html format markers**

< i >text here i> is how you italicize text like this
< u >text here u> is how you underline text like this
< b >text here b> is how you bold text like this

And, most importantly (in my mind anyway) the following is how you embed links so that they look all nice and pretty in your text.

< a href ="http://www.goodreads.com" >click here< / a >

When you take away all the spaces except for the one between a and href and any spaces in your visible text you get this:

click here

Please note that you need to leave the space between a and href (a href) and also that you can replace the goodreads link with any other url no matter how long or short as long as you include the http://.

And that is html 101. :-D Hope it helps!


message 7: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Susie wrote: "I am new to blogs, so I am not sure how to start, as I often find myself worrying about putting my foot in my mouth. Sometimes I ramble away and then a few days later wonder if I should have said t..."

Hey Susie, that's not an uncommon feeling especially considering that blogs really started off as online journals to the world at large. Generally I find that people are interested to read almost anything that you think is worth telling. I try to switch things up between personal updates, writing updates, and opinion pieces. Lately things have been so hectic for me that a weird mishmash of personal and writing updates is all I've been able to produce really. I try to break things up with pictures as well.

You can find my blog here if you're interested in checking it out as a point of reference. There are lots of other good (better) blogs out there.

Lots of writers do different things to keep people engaged. Two of my favorite writer blogs that are completely different are Kristin Cashore's and Hugh Howey's. They are both entertaining and I enjoy both of those authors a lot, but what they do with their blogs, and how they interact with their fans, is very different.


message 8: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
...you mean I could html code this whole box.....oh so tempting to waste time that way....


message 9: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Haha! Yeah, only limited html is allowed. I wonder where they draw the line... I guess you could find out. ;-)


message 10: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments You're welcome! Glad to be of service!


message 11: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Just thought of another resource that many people may not think of when they're indie producing their book:

iMovie
iMovie is the free software that comes with all apple laptops and enables you to edit video on your computer. Why is this relevant to your indie book? Because you can make your own book trailer to help generate buzz about your book.
- free with any apple computer (Windows Movie Maker is your free alternative if you're running a windows PC)
- Yes, I have used iMovie (and Windows Movie maker) to make movies.
- While I have made tons of movies with windows moviemaker and iMovie before (I was a teacher for 10 years and it's a very useful tool for language classes), I was unsure about how well this would go for a book trailer, and worried that whatever I made would look completely unprofessional. However, I was delighted to find that using iMovie's built in trailer templates, I was able to create a surprisingly dramatic and engaging book trailer. You can see the results for yourself if you're curious. I used that trailer in a facebook ad, in conjunction with my pre-order, for my latest release and generated enough sales to more than pay for the ad itself. Worth looking into!


message 12: by Tasha (last edited Feb 01, 2015 11:56AM) (new)

Tasha Mann | 17 comments Virginia wrote: "Tasha wrote: "A great idea. A silly question. How do I underline things here?"

Hey Tasha, not a silly question at all! Goodreads forums are excellent for a lot of things, but they're a bit old sch..."


Thank you, Virginia. :)


message 13: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Movie Maker! I forgot all about that! Been wondering how I was going to make a book trailer.


message 14: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments An oldie but a goodie.


message 15: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Oh, and for those that already have (or are just creating new) blogs and/or facebook pages, here's an excellent free resource:

Boost it Tuesdays
Boost it Tuesday is a wonderful free promotional opportunity hosted by Gin's Book Notes.... You simply add your name and facebook page url to the list on any Tuesday and then check out other people's pages to like posts, pages, links and pictures and receive the same love on your own page.
- Free (requires a small donation of your time and attention to other people's pages)
- Yes, I have used it!
- I don't take advantage of this often enough. Tuesday often rolls around and I forget to sign my name to the list, but when I have remembered it has been great for adding likes and views to my page and attracting new blog traffic as well. The more likes you have on your page the more you are likely to attract new readers, and this is an easy and fun way to gain a bit of readership. In addition, there are some really entertaining book blogs and author pages that you'll come across when you check out other people's pages.


message 16: by H.O. (new)

H.O. Tanager (hotanager) | 18 comments Virginia wrote: "Hey Folks,

After a few questions that were raised in the introductions thread I thought it might be useful to start a thread that puts all of our knowledge and experience with Indie Publishing (an..."


Virginia, thanks for this post. Would you be willing to share how you optimized your Facebook ads? Thanks!


message 17: by Karin (last edited Feb 01, 2015 08:51PM) (new)

Karin Boutall (goodreadscomkarinb) | 24 comments Virginia wrote: "Tasha wrote: "A great idea. A silly question. How do I underline things here?"

Hey Tasha, not a silly question at all! Goodreads forums are excellent for a lot of things, but they're a bit old sch..."

excellent advice, can certainly use it on wordpress.com. Thank you.


message 18: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Wordpress is nice, and if you know what you're doing it's easy to amass a thousand subscribers. It also links with your facebook, twitter, google+, and Linkedin accounts.


message 19: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Oh, and Author interviews! There are people out there willing to do them! Anyway to get your name out is a good way. Check out people like http://www.pennydebyl.me/post/3928/. Yes, it's shameless self-promotion.


message 20: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments H.O. wrote: "Virginia, thanks for this post. Would you be willing to share how you optimized your Facebook ads? Thanks!"

Sure! I narrowed down my targeted audience to people who "liked" books, reading, fantasy, young adult, and then included about seven different authors that I think are "similar" to me in terms of writing and content.

I'm still working out how best to target audiences, so anyone who has additional recommendations on how to narrow in on potential readers should definitely chime in. :-)


message 21: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Were the facebook ads the best source of clicks? I've been trying to find a good place to start posting my first promos.


message 22: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments They were once I started narrowing my audience down. But, keep in mind that was for the book trailer, and I think people get more excited about video than they do a lot of other things... Still, it's a decent place to experiment because you can make it as cheap as you like and work on refining things for very little money.


message 23: by Ann, Supreme Overlord (new)

Ann Andrews (annliviandrews) | 687 comments Mod
How many of you use book trailers? I've never done one. My husband thinks I should.


message 24: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 21 comments I decided very early on that if I was going to do a book trailer, it would have to have some proper money behind it. I suspect I'd end up getting more into the trailer than the actual book.

I've watched a few book trailers, out of sheer morbid curiosity, but they've never tempted me to buy a book.


message 25: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Funnily enough, I agree with Andrew. A book trailer has never sold me on a book that I hadn't already wanted to read. But, as with most advertising I tend to think I'm not the target audience (I have ad blocker on all m web browsers and don't own a television, so ads don't enter my day too often). People do seem to like movies and share them more readily amongst their friends than other forms of ads, especially on facebook.

I'm dubious as to whether it would be worth spending any money on, but I'm pretty happy with the free one I created and the results it's gotten so far. (It's really all thanks to iMovie having fantastic templates with built in dramatic music and effects.) I would say conclusively: your milage may vary. ;-)


message 26: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
I do have a suggestion for those like me that are short on money and are looking for an editor. Check out the colleges near your home, there are a constant influx of english lit majors looking for a way to get their own portfolio started. Just remember that they're not completely professional, and you will probably need to double check your work to make sure everything is fine, but once again another set of eyes!

Plus, if you find one that WANTS to be an editor, some offer to do a free reading in order to help build their client base.


message 27: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments That's an excellent suggestion, Riley! And reminds me of another free method for getting editing...

Scribophile
Scribophile is a community for writers to exchange critiques on each others work.
- It's free! But you can't post your own work until you've earned enough "karma" to do so, by critiquing the works of others.
- Yes, I have used it. (You can upgrade to a paid account for some added benefits, but the free account does everything you need it to.)
- I haven't actually posted any of my own work to Scribophile yet, but only because I haven't had anything at that particular stage of editing since I signed up (outside of my kickstarter funded novel for which I hired a professional editor). However, I have critiqued a number of works there and connected with a few people who I used as beta readers for Blade's Edge (general overall read through, not the detailed nitpicky feedback that scribophile is excellent for). The quality of the feedback on the site seems to be quite high. People will tear your work apart in the friendliest possible manner and provide you with excellent insights and reader suggestions all of which you are free to ignore or accept as you like. You can request specific kinds of feedback, from plot and pacing to nit picky grammar, as well. And the community is wonderfully welcoming and supportive. (People are rated for their feedback, and earn more points for better rated feedback, so it pays to be thorough and polite.)


message 28: by H.O. (new)

H.O. Tanager (hotanager) | 18 comments Thanks so much for the Boost It Tuesday's tip!

I also used iMovie for a book trailer... and kittens.

http://vimeo.com/113555716


message 29: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Schwimley (victoriaschwimley) | 161 comments Ann wrote: "How many of you use book trailers? I've never done one. My husband thinks I should."

I have two. The first one I paid for and I liked it well enough, but after watching it, I decided I could do just as good a job for what I got. I had a lot of fun doing it, but I don't think it has done much good.


message 31: by Brian (new)

Brian Tucker | 5 comments Authonomy link above is great for reading community help and every month 5 manuscripts are selected/reviewed for possible publication through HarperCollins.


message 32: by Anne (new)

Anne Carter | 3 comments Ann wrote: "How many of you use book trailers? I've never done one. My husband thinks I should."

I agree with Andrew--it would be nice to have the budget for a professional trailer. I kind of wanted to test it out first before spending a lot so I made my only two videos myself. I like them, others like them, but I can't quantify any kind of results. They appear on my website, my Amazon page and a few other book related promotional sites.


message 33: by Leewriter (new)

Leewriter | 4 comments I have never done one but I'm about to with my new eBook about "Breaking Bad" -- chapter one is free, BTW, at https://gumroad.com/l/emwN.

I have two different ideas, both humorous (I think). One starts by showing "It was a dark and stormy night" on a poster board. I say something like, "This is an example of bad writing". Then I include a short, witty excerpt from my EPUB and afterwards declare, "This is good writing about a man going bad" or maybe "This is Breaking Bad writing".

Other scenario involves me dressing up like Walter White, delivering a pizza from the Heisenberg Pizza Factory, and then instead of handing the large pizza to the unsuspecting customer, I fly into a rage and hurl the pizza onto the rooftop. Then I tell the customer, "There's your hand-tossed crust. Try to eat that BLEEPING pizza now."


message 34: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
....How did you get around the copyrights with Breaking Bad? I was worried about using hobbit since it's trademarked...but damn that's ballsy!


message 35: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Schwimley (victoriaschwimley) | 161 comments I have an ad campaign going right now with Goodreads. I just added two of my books to the campaign. It's too early to determine if it's working. I've used Facebook and did get some hits on that, although not overwhelming. I also tried Bookdaily.com email marketing. They charge 50.00 per month per book you want to target. I only listed one book and didn't get enough interest to justify keeping up the ad. According to James Scott Bell, email marketing is effective, so I'd be willing to try again. I just mailed out books today from my first Giveaway. I emailed the winners right away and have to say I enjoyed their enthusiasm.


message 36: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Victoria wrote: "I just mailed out books today from my first Giveaway. I emailed the winners right away and have to say I enjoyed their enthusiasm."

Oh yay! That's good to know, I'm running a giveaway right now, but it doesn't end til the end of the month, so I'm curious as to how it will wrap up. I'm glad that your winners are enthusiastic, that bodes well. How many books did you offer in your giveaway?


message 37: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Schwimley (victoriaschwimley) | 161 comments Virginia wrote: "Victoria wrote: "I just mailed out books today from my first Giveaway. I emailed the winners right away and have to say I enjoyed their enthusiasm."

Oh yay! That's good to know, I'm running a give..."


For this one ten. I have two other giveaways going that I'm only offering five, but that's because the books are thicker and more costly to produce and ship.


message 38: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Schwimley (victoriaschwimley) | 161 comments Virginia wrote: "H.O. wrote: "Virginia, thanks for this post. Would you be willing to share how you optimized your Facebook ads? Thanks!"

Sure! I narrowed down my targeted audience to people who "liked" books, rea..."


Oh, that's probably where I went wrong. Thanks for the advice. I'll probably give them another try.


message 39: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Victoria wrote: "For this one ten. I have two other giveaways going that I'm only offering five, but that's because the books are thicker and more costly to produce and ship."

Ok. Good to know. I only did three with this one, but I'm starting to worry that that was too few. Or that my giveaway is too long. I'll have to reconsider for next time.


message 40: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments Virginia wrote: "Oh, and for those that already have (or are just creating new) blogs and/or facebook pages, here's an excellent free resource:

Boost it Tuesdays
Boost it Tuesday is a wonderful free promotional op..."


Nice tip, was not aware of this. BTW thanks for starting this discussion very useful.


message 41: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Glad to be of help! :-)


message 42: by A.W. (new)

A.W. Palmer | 19 comments Thanks for the helpful tips.


message 43: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments A.W. wrote: "Thanks for the helpful tips."

We indies need to stick together! Actually, authors period need to stick together. :-)


message 44: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments I read somewhere that Goodreads is contemplating doing giveaways that can include e-books? Has anyone else heard this? As my first novel is still a month away from publication, I have not had the opportunity to participate in a giveaway, but as I understand it, right now, giveaways are exclusively for hard copies?

Thanks


message 45: by Virginia (last edited Feb 05, 2015 10:00AM) (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Currently they are hardcopy only. Goodreads hints on their Giveaway creation page that they will be allowing ebook giveaways at some point in the future. However, I have heard no news as to when that might be.


message 46: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Stephens | 30 comments Here's a list of online resources I compiled from Goodreads lists and then double checked as best I could

https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...


message 47: by C.M. (new)

C.M. Subasic (colleesu) | 13 comments Has anyone been involved in ALLI, the global independent author's association?

http://allianceindependentauthors.org/


message 48: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments C.M. wrote: "Has anyone been involved in ALLI, the global independent author's association?

http://allianceindependentauthors.org/"


Hey, CM!

I hadn't heard of it before, but now I'm checking out. I like the look of their ethical author campaign... Still reading up on the rest of it. Are you affiliated with them at all? Can you tell us more about them?


message 49: by C.M. (new)

C.M. Subasic (colleesu) | 13 comments I was reaching out because I'd just learned of them too, and was wondering if anyone had any experience with them. So... I'm going to go through their site, too, and in this discussion... let's see whats we gets, eh?


message 50: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Thanks for the update E.J.


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