How To Publish a Book From Start to Finish in Six Months

13 December 2014

From author Ashley R. Carlson via Self-Publishing Review:

Six months ago I quit my job to write a book.

Because I was blessed financially, I decided that if I were to get some roommates I could feasibly leave the job I hated and pursue my real dream—to write a novel.

And I did. My debut novel, a steampunk fantasy called “The Charismatics,” released on December 13th on Amazon and my website.

How was I able to produce something in such a timely fashion? Well, I want to share my experiences and timeline with you.

Firstly—the main reason I was able to publish a book in six months is because I wasn’t working a 9-to-5. I wasn’t exhausted all the time, and it allowed me to really unleash my creativity when I was mentally, physically and emotionally strong.

I know that quitting a position isn’t feasible for 99% of you—but what I want to impart here is that in order to complete your book in a timely fashion, you need to be diligent about setting aside TIME, SPACE and QUIET to allow yourself to write.

. . . .

So even though I wasn’t working at a job anymore, I actually had more work to do than ever before—I kissed parties and movies and dating goodbye. Truly, I did. But because I holed up inside my office, living and breathing my book nearly every waking moment, it allowed me to complete it much more quickly than my previous attempts at writing (I have numerous half-finished manuscripts floating around on my computers from years past).

. . . .

Mid-November 2014-late November 2014: Wrote the fifth draft, taking into account editor’s comments. Sent my finalized draft to formatter to be designed in various book formats. Found numerous typos and changes desired so I wrote the sixth draft in late November. Received formatted print book late November and ordered copies from CreateSpace.

. . . .

December 12th, 2014: Goodreads print book giveaway closed, 843 total entries and three winners. Preparation for book launch party on December 13th, 2014 at family home. Schedule updates on Twitter and Facebook through Hootsuite to advertise the release date. Write and schedule newsletter through MailChimp to go out to newsletter subscribers on December 13th at midnight encouraging them to purchase a book on release date and increase Amazon ranking. Also encourage readers to use the hashtag #TheCharismatics to increase awareness and interaction about the book release.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review

Here’s a link to The Charismatics

How Facebook Changes for 2015 Could Affect Authors

12 December 2014

From author Edie Melson via The Write Conversation:

Facebook is making some fairly major changes in 2015.

. . . .

Truthfully, this time the changes aren’t just an inconvenience. These changes are going to cost money—serious money. Those in the know have been warning that Facebook was going to have to make some changes and monetize the site to keep shareholders satisfied.

. . . .

They began the process with business pages. They rolled out the edgerank algorithm and limited the number of followers who see any given post.

Then, at almost the same time, they began offering the option of paying to boost a post. This allowed significantly more followers to see the specific post.

In 2015, they are about to charge businesses a monthly fee to advertise on Facebook through business pages.

. . . .

Facebook is the one who decides what is classified as advertising and what isn’t. They will have very specific guidelines for what constitutes advertising.

Here’s what it includes for writers and authors:

  • Updates about a new book release.
  • Updates about a book launch and/or event.
  • Updates about Rafflecopter and other giveaways.

. . . .

Here’s what’s not—for the moment—being considered advertising:

  • Updates about blogging articles that interest you and your connections.
  • Updates that pose questions.
  • Updates that share quotes.
  • Updates that share cartoons and memes.
  • Updates that ask for opinions. (This one may be cloudy, especially if the opinion solicited is in regard to a book cover. I just don’t know.)

I don’t know which side (advertising or just social) sharing updates about someone else’s book will fall. I suspect that at this point, they don’t either.

. . . .

Google is looking at instituting the same restructuring. They are farther back, but the changes are in the works, so get ready.

Link to the rest at The Write Conversation and thanks to Mike for the tip.

Here’s a link to Edie Melson’s books

Forget the Book Launch

11 November 2014

From Digital Book World:

Effective book marketing today is a different game than it used to be. This post continues my recent series comparing traditional book marketing methods with newer, more effective strategies.

This article (the third installment) focuses on the strategic decision forego a big launch at a book’s introduction into the market. Traditional book publishing once put a lot of emphasis on the launch. But high-profile launches are most effective when you’re communicating to mass audiences via mass media in mass-market bookstores. None of that applies in a market that relies heavily on Internet sales—and all ebooks rely heavily on Internet sales.

. . . .

One of the reasons the launch used to be so important to book sales is because when all books were sold in physical book stores, they competed for shelf space. Shelf space in a physical bookstore is finite. A brick-and-mortar bookseller doesn’t want to clog her shelves with books that don’t move. So publishers would put all their effort into early promotions in order to generate sales and earn the right to stay on the shelf. On the Internet, book sales can afford to be more gradual.

Another reason to forego a big, mass-market launch is that they are very expensive and extremely short-lived. But even if you’ve got a big budget and a tight schedule, a large-scale launch is simply not all that important for an ebook. Why? Mass-market launches are built on the assumption that high sales in the first week dictate a book’s future success—and that simply doesn’t apply in the world of ebook sales.

. . . .

First-time author Sheryn MacMunn had this experience she first introduced her book Finding Out. After two months of sales that barely moved the meter, she decided to do a free promotion on Amazon. The free offer succeeded in moving books. Finding Out even went up to No. 1 in her category for a brief time.

But brief is the operative word. “I was at No. 1, which is like a dream, right?” says MacMunn, “but then it was like, how do I sustain it?”

Link to the rest at Digital Book World and thanks to Mike for the tip.

A Call for Digital Media Ethics

29 October 2014

From Publishing Perspectives:

Self-appointed digital experts on any digital topic are very popular these days in the digital media. It seems that just being “digital something” gives anyone the right to feel competent at anything that has some “digital” flavor/attribute/declination/relevance. While there is a clear difference between being “a jack of all trades, but master of none” and a “windbag,” in the digital media almost anyone feels to belong to the former rather than to the latter. This is often because they believe their readers know even less than they do. While this might or might not be the case of the average reader, it is never true for the entire reading community. There always are readers that know better than any bigmouth.

These days I have been asked by few friends and colleagues in Europe what I thought about the recent and very popular article appeared on titled“Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers” by Matthew Yglesias.

The title speaks for itself: it is clearly not unbiased journalism, but just another self-serving and very effective propaganda, with 2,300+ shares on Twitter, 6,700+ on Facebook. A lot less (300+) on LinkedIn. Good job, great traffic, a lot of eyeballs and advertising money. This is an example of how a digital media can become “creative” at content publishing to pursue advertising money.

Bashing “book publishers” is a very common sport these days, as publishing expert Mike Shatzkin noticed.

. . . .

However no individual has the right to be listened to. Especially not if it’s for his/her own profit. Being listened to is a privilege that needs to be ethically earned and handled. Not seized by exploiting listeners’ trust or abusing own properly earned listeners’ base. Intentionally and unintentionally. This is still one of the things where the most digital media companies have got plenty of room to improve.

Thus the only point I have here is ethics. Manipulating readers for its own profits perhaps it is legal but not always ethically correct. In my humble opinion.

. . . .

However no individual has the right to be listened to. Especially not if it’s for his/her own profit. Being listened to is a privilege that needs to be ethically earned and handled. Not seized by exploiting listeners’ trust or abusing own properly earned listeners’ base. Intentionally and unintentionally. This is still one of the things where the most digital media companies have got plenty of room to improve.

Thus the only point I have here is ethics. Manipulating readers for its own profits perhaps it is legal but not always ethically correct. In my humble opinion.

. . . .

This would help, in the end, to reduce the overall online buzz around unqualified opinions and ultimately better curate a quality selection of content by ethical digital media to the great benefit of the readers. And still — hopefully — with decent profits for the digital media owners.

“Digital media ethics” are three simple words that open an entire very complex world of options, risks and opportunities. A Pandora’s box, perhaps. It is about time to seriously do something about it. The readers will certainly appreciate ethics. Advertisers will follow and shareholders will be happy too.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives and thanks to Bill for the tip.

In PG’s inexhaustibly humble opinion, this article has a fairly high incomprehensibility index. However, the comments are great.

From David Gaughran:

Ethics? Values? Give me a break. What kind of values does the publishing industry have exactly?

Penguin Random House owns the biggest vanity press in the world and is aggressively expanding its exploitative operations. Harlequin, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have white label vanity press imprints powered by Author Solutions. Harlequin is facing a class action for swindling its own writers out of contractually agreed royalties. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The reason we criticize the industry (as I explained to Shatzkin), is because (a) we find this behavior unacceptable and (b) we want the industry to change.

From Joe Konrath:

You claim Yglesias is engaging in the sport of “book bashing” in order to make advertising dollars. You claim the author didn’t disclose his background. You claim this is unethical.

You’re funny.

Where is the citation and refutation of any of Yglesias’s points? You make a claim of “fiction” without supporting your belief that Yglesias isn’t telling the truth. We should agree with your “fiction” pronouncement because you’re an expert?

Must I have a PhD in mathematics to say “2 + 3 = 5″? Am I not allowed to defend gay rights because I’m not gay?

Do you know that the “arguement from authority” is a fallacy?

You speak of propaganda that “pursues advertising money.”

Kind of like someone who makes money in the digital book business and writes an editorial defending the groups who hire him? But there’s no propaganda behind your piece, eh?

From William Ockham:

I notice that the author doesn’t follow his own advice. Shouldn’t his disclaimer include that he has never run an online magazine, never been a professor of ethics, etc.?

Negative disclaimers are silly. This isn’t about ethics, it is about attacking the credibility of outsiders who have the insolence to opine about publishing. Vena wraps his hit piece in the veneer of ethics, but he really seems to be afraid of open debate with people outside his ‘tribe’.

The Content Flood and Authors Whining

23 September 2014

From from author Bob Mayer on Digital Book World:

Sales are down for most authors. You don’t see blog posts about it or tweets, but it’s a reality. And the reason is simple: there’s more content out there than ever before.

Jon Fine of Amazon calls it a tsunami but at least a tsunami recedes. This is a flood that is going to get deeper and deeper.

Authors United (a misnomer as it represents less than 1% of authors) wraps itself in a cloak of noble intentions. But while some of them certainly do have those, for many it’s an economic quandary. They look at their royalty statements and see less. They also see sales shifting from hardcovers and paperback to digital. Where the contracts they signed award them less than stellar royalties.

The chosen, many of the Authors United, didn’t face much competition at the front table in Barnes and Noble and on the racks at the airport and in other retail outlets for years, and they still don’t. In fact, they face less. It’s mind-numbing to see the same names splayed out in an airport store. Publishers are pouring more coop money than ever before into their big names and not taking chances on lesser names. Tom Clancy has a new hardcover out. Really?  That’s what Authors United is trying to protect?

But in digital, readers are finding new authors. And liking them. Many of them self-published. Bookbub contributes to that. So does the fact that many bestselling indie authors understand the business so much better than the Big 5 and use it to their advantage.

. . . .

So for Authors United to claim they represent freedom of expression and ‘books aren’t a commodity’ is a flat out piece of BS. In fact, Amazon and other digital platforms have indeed democratized publishing. That’s not to say there aren’t storm clouds on the horizon, but it is the reality right now.

I’m sorry some bestselling author’s ten million is now seven million. Actually, I’m not, because many of those authors are extremely clueless about the realities of publishing, being shielded by their agents, who single-mindedly pursue their next advance without considering long-term income via higher royalties.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Here’s a link to Bob Mayer’s books

The Hardest Post… As goes the publishing world, so goes the blog

22 September 2014

From author and TPV regular Julia Barrett:

After six years, I’m done. The publishing world has changed, we all know it. So has the world of blogging.

Once upon a time, as recently as 2-3 years ago, a blog was crucial for outreach, for getting to know readers and other authors. Blogging meant putting oneself out there. No more.

Readers find books and authors via other algorithms. Via Amazon and Goodreads and who knows where. There is far less interest in the individual thoughts of individual authors like me.

I’ve loved this blog. It is precious to me. I’ve loved interacting with my readers and my friends. I will miss writing posts and reading your comments. But it’s time to make a change. And change is good. I’ll have more time to write regular old books.

Link to the rest at Julia Barrett

Here’s a link to Julia Barrett’s books

Paulo Coelho, Fiction’s Digital Alchemist

16 August 2014

From The Wall Street Journal:

When Mr. Coelho’s novel, “Adultery,” comes out Tuesday, the publicity will be handled almost entirely by the 66-year-old writer, a self-styled spiritual guide who has sold more than 165 million books in some 80 languages. The Brazilian-born author has become an international celebrity due in no small part to his knack for the provocative and his immense social-media following. An early blogger and Facebook poster, he knows how to cast clickbait (breezily endorsing illicit affairs during business trips) and shape his image.

Mr. Coelho (pronounced “Coe-AIL-yoh”) has more than 25.6 million fans on Facebook in three languages and over 9 million followers on Twitter. He has more followers on those platforms than Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, John Green, Dan Brown, Danielle Steel and John Grisham—combined.

Many readers have come to see a writer’s Internet persona as a digital extension of their books. For some fans, a personal tweet from their favorite novelist is more thrilling than a signed copy. Social media’s influence on book sales has publishers pushing authors to put more of themselves online than ever before.

Mr. Coelho didn’t get to the top of the digital pyramid by accident. His niblets of inspiration about life’s challenges and personal fulfillment fit neatly with a link and a picture on a phone screen. He connects daily with readers, sending private messages of encouragement and comfort, while updating his blog and public feeds with snapshots from his life and aphorisms from his books. Fans describe being profoundly moved by his online affirmations, professing their love for him in retweets and comments.

. . . .

Years before other novelists joined Twitter and Facebook, Mr. Coelho was reaching out to fans on MySpace and, later, putting short videos on YouTube. He has accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo, Google+ and Pinterest. He often posts during high-traffic intervals in the U.S. to reach the most readers. Since 2012, he has more than tripled the number of @paulocoelho followers on Twitter. He doesn’t follow many people back—those he does include Jeremy Piven, Jessica Simpson and Deepak Chopra.

He speaks and writes in Portuguese, English and French and posts in Spanish through a translator. He also keeps up a presence on Russian and Chinese social media.

. . . .

Clearly, though, the right kind of digital engagement moves sales. When Grijalbo, an imprint of Random House Spain and Latin America, put the first chapter of “Adultery” online last month, it drew 10,000 views. Mr. Coelho then posted the link on Facebook and within 12 hours the tally jumped to more than 200,000, says his agent, Mônica Antunes.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post

9 June 2014

From Buffer:

The 7 essential elements of a perfect blog post

I can often get wrapped up in making sure that every little detail of a blog post is perfect. No doubt I could list way more than seven elements from perfect blog posts, but these seven seem to cover all the most important bases.

  1. Headline: the 6 words that count most
  2. Storytelling hook
  3. Fewer characters per line at first
  4. Featured image
  5. Subheads for scanning
  6. Content and the 1,500-word sweet spot
  7. Soundbites for sharing

. . . .

Eight out of 10 people will read your headline. Two out of 10 will read the rest of what you wrote.

. . . .

Readers tend to absorb the first three words of a headline and the last three words. These numbers via KISSmetrics come straight from usability research, revealing that we don’t just scan body copy—we scan headlines, too.

Of course, few headlines will be six words long in total. In those cases, it’s important to make the first three words and the last three words stand out as much as possible.

. . . .

Beyond those specific numbers, there is extensive advice on the techniques for writing a great headline. And I do mean extensive. At last check, there were 56 million results in a Google search for “how to write a great headline.” We enjoy pairing the workflow of headline writing with the science of human psychology. With that in mind, here are eight headline strategies that are backed by psychology.

  1. Surprise – “This Is Not a Perfect Blog Post (But It Could’ve Been)”
  2. Questions – “Do You Know How to Create the Perfect Blog Post?”
  3. Curiosity gap – “10 Ingredients in a Perfect Blog Post. Number 9 Is Impossible!”
  4. Negatives – “Never Write a Boring Blog Post Again”
  5. How to – “How to Create a Perfect Blog Post”
  6. Numbers – “10 Tips to Creating a Perfect Blog Post”
  7. Audience referencing – “For People on the Verge of Writing the Perfect Blog Post”
  8. Specificity – “The 6-Part Process to Getting Twice the Traffic to Your Blog Post”

You can also learn a lot from the headlines of high-traffic blogs. Lenka Istvanova developed a headline formula based on her analysis of best practices for headlines that get clicks. The formula goes like this:

Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise

Link to the rest at Buffer

Book Blurb As Salesperson

20 May 2014

From Digital Book World:

Your book blurb is a salesperson. The “book description” area of your online sales page (commonly called a blurb) must sell your book for you. In an online store, there’s no knowledgeable store clerk ready to offer a verbal book recommendation to browsing customers. If you’re self-publishing a novel, you need a book description that works hard to sell your book.

Create a mood

First, the book description has to create a mood. Readers want to slip into a feeling when they dip into a book. That feeling could be suspense, romance, humor, nostalgia. When you begin to write your description, don’t worry about outlining the plot step by step. First, think about the atmosphere you’ve built in your book.

. . . .

Explain what happens, briefly

Sure, your audience wants to know the characters they’ll be reading about and the events that happen. But do this briefly. Mention what your character yearns for. Describe the challenges of the situation. Don’t go into the sub-plot, that’s too much for a book blurb.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Indie publisher advertising: Books on cars

4 May 2014

From TeleRead:

I can’t say I ever expected I’d run into independent publishing marketing in the wild, but there I was this afternoon, coming down from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument viewing tower in Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indianapolis when I noticed a colorfully-vinyl-wrapped van pull onto the circle and drive around a few times. It had a logo on it saying “Elfhunter.”

. . . .

So there you have it. Advertising your books on vinyl car wraps works! At least, it worked on me. It made me curious enough to hunt up the writer’s web site, and poke around some once I got there. It looks like an interesting fantasy series.

Link to the rest, with a photo, at TeleRead

PG did some quick internet research and it appears that a full vinyl car wrap costs $2-4K, with prices varying by geographic area and the the amount of the car to be covered. Partial wraps are less expensive.

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