Self-Publishing

What’s the best time to publish your book?

9 July 2017

From Bookbaby Blog:

Q: What’s the best time to publish your book?
A: Now!

Here’s a little-known fact for aspiring self-published authors: The holiday season is not the prime selling time for new, self-published authors.

Think about it: Established authors target holiday sales’ periods because it’s a safe, easy gift choice for a lot of folks. The same can’t be said for most self-published authors. These relatively unknown authors’ books need to stand out and attract the interest of potential readers. This kind of discovery and browsing usually doesn’t take place in the hectic holiday time frame. As a result, they’re often disappointed with holiday sales efforts.

So when is “prime time” for new authors to release their book? Just about any other time than the holidays, starting with the beginning of the year. People are going to have more time to spend reading during the cold winter months, and it’s a fact that book sales soar during January and February. Thousands of new eReaders and gift cards given during the holidays need content; there’s no reason why it can’t be your book!

Many authors think the enrtie first half of the year is a perfect time to launch and promote self-published books because of another major book-buying season that happens during that time. Do you know what the biggest selling season is for books? Fair warning: It’s probably not what you’re thinking.

Most people will say: Christmas. Sure, the holiday season is important for every retailer, including book merchants. But they would be wrong.

The summer time reading season is the top selling season for books. There are over $3.4 billion in sales over the long hot summer, according to industry sources, compared to about $2.9 billion spent for holiday gift giving.

Link to the rest at Bookbaby Blog

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@#*&$it – Self-Publishing Does NOT Have to Cost You Anything

2 July 2017

From Indies Unlimited:

Okay people, I’m going to rant. I have had it with all these articles lately – some from people who are in no way qualified to be writing them – TELLING authors how EXPENSIVE it is to self-publish. Well, that’s a crock of …

If there is one way to get me riled up, this is it. Scare tactics. Holier than thou BS. Seriously, people. JUST. STOP. Stop trying to frighten new authors. Stop writing articles with ONLY worst-case scenarios. Stop claiming that authors have to go to conferences or get interior “book design” or that they have to pay for every service under the sun. One of the best things about being an indie is that we can learn how to do most everything ourselves – FOR FREE. If you have the ability or desire to pay for everything, good for you. That doesn’t mean that’s how it HAS to be done. In fact, most indies I know do everything themselves. FOR FREE.

Editing is the one place where an indie should spend money. It’s impossible to edit your own work. But it doesn’t mean you actually can’t get it done for free – some editors will trade work. (I once traded an editing job for six book covers…) If you don’t have anything tradeworthy, you can still greatly reduce the cost of your editing through the use of Alpha and Beta readers.

. . . .

So please, don’t take all these articles that tell you how expensive publishing is to heart. Yes, there is a wide range of costs related to the industry, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay. In fact, when it comes to getting published, my new slogan is – If you have to pay, run away.

Link to the rest at Indies Unlimited

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Book of Feminist Fairy Tales Outsells Harry Potter

30 June 2017

From Inquisitr:

Sensational feminist fairytales authored by two women, who suffered sexist abuse, has now outsold Harry Potter in the U.K., the homeland of author J.K. Rowling.

Feminist fairytales Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls self-published by authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, who were laughed at and endured sexist jokes in meetings, feature 100 bedtime stories about amazing and powerful women.

While the list of Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls includes such iconic figures as Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Malala Yousafzai (and even Hillary Clinton), there’s a new volume that will tell the mesmerizing stories of Beyoncé and J.K. Rowling in the works.

After years of sexist remarks and jibes from investors, the two women decided to self-publish the 100 feminist fairytales, which went on to become a huge hit.

The Daily Mail reports that Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls has become a major success both in the U.K. and around the world after the project became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history.

. . . .

In April 2016, Favilli and Cavallo launched their Kickstarter campaign and, much to everyone’s surprise, raised over $1 million and had plenty of people talking about it.

Link to the rest at Inquisitr

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Amazon killing Asean writers

30 June 2017

From The Independent:

Zieda Nazri, a young enterprising writer from Malaysia, speaks to us about the pitfalls of self-publishing in the country where arts and literature is in the veins of many but where only the few gets published.

Zieda tried to sell her books on Amazon.com but she met with another pitfall: Amazon does not allow readers from Southeast Asia to buy books from the region on its portal.

This is killing budding writers from the region and nothing is being done by the internationally recognised publisher-vendor to rectify this censorship.

Facing this hurdle, Zieda says:

“I personally think that it is Amazon’s choice if they decide not to let the readers in South East Asia buy e-books from them but they should at least give a solution to that.”

. . . .

You sold on Amazon. How was the experience? What should Amazon do to make it easier for Asean writers to get a break on their platform? Create an Asean base Amazon platform?

I started selling my books on Amazon because I wanted to gauge reviews fro international readers.

At that point of time, I was actually surprised when I learnt that readers from the South East Asia could not buy e-books from Amazon.

Few reasons were given by Amazon for this and I have to say that this became one of my problems in publishing e-books.

How do I sell my e-books if the South East Asia readers could not buy them?

I had to promote my books in international universities and Facebook and that had taken a lot of my time.

I personally think that it is Amazon’s choice if they decide not to let the readers in South East Asia buy e-books from them but they should at least give a solution to that.

We want to read all the e-books too.

Creating a special platform for South East Asia readers would be a good start.

. . . .

Do you think the cost of publishing is high in Malaysia? Should there be some form of intervention to assist writers? What would be the modus-operandi of such an assistance, if there need be?

Yes, I think that the cost of publishing is quite high in Malaysia.

Even though I was told by my printers the printing cost in Malaysia is among the cheapest to compare with other countries.

I really wish that there is a channel for self-publishers to get some fund to start with.

At this moment, I learnt that the National Library can help with the funding by buying your books to be put in all the libraries in the country.

This is one way to support the writers but it did not help them to start the ball rolling.

Actually, before I started to print my own books, I went to a few agencies asking whether they offer any fund to self-publishers but none of them said they do.

They are grants offered by Kota Buku though, for translating your book to other languages.

. . . .

How has the experience publishing a book in Malaysia on your own, helped you understand the industry as a whole? Do you think the publishing industry is controlled by some? Should it be liberalised? How would that happen?

To sum up, I think the difficulties in dealing with writer blocks are not even close to the difficulties in dealing with marketing the books and distributing them.

Self-publishing is new in Malaysia so people are quite reserved when you tell them that your books are self-published. Sometimes they even think twice about buying your books.

From experience, I think that the publishing industry is not controlled just by someone and there is still hope to penetrate the publishing industry.

However, I cannot say the same for the books distributing industry.

It seems that larger books stores are monopolised by some and it is very difficult to get your books on their shelves.

The biggest problem would be in monetary terms because they take a big chunk from your costing.

I hope that in the future, there is an association maybe to help the self-publishers to promote their books and to penetrate the books distributing industry.

Link to the rest at The Independent

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Anthologies: Joining With Others In Marketing To The Masses

21 June 2017

From Digital Book World:

A lot of people that ask me how I got started marketing my books. There are so many options out there for marketing your books, and as you probably know, some are effective, and some… not so much. I’ll tell you about the number one way I marketed my books early on when I didn’t have a list or a fan base. It’s a way of sharing the marketing effort: joining with other authors in anthologies.

. . . .

One type of anthology is a collection of stories written by various author and complied into one large omnibus. The authors usually come together and create the topic/genre and set up a few standard rules, including due dates for story submission, formatting specifics and the like. They work together to choose the cover, the title, and the blurb.

Everyone pulls a bit of the load, and when you release the book, you PUSH like crazy together. It’s hard work selling a book, as I’m sure you’re aware of, but when you do it in arms with other authors, it makes the load a little lighter.

. . . .

After being a participant in 5-6 of these efforts, I finally stepped up and decided to run several of my own. I pulled together some writer friends who had similar genres as myself, and we did novella short stories for Halloween and then again for Christmas.

There’s some time involved in these projects, but the monetary investment was $25, and we hit number 1 in the holiday section on Amazon and broke through the top 100 for Free with very little effort. It was a fantastic way to share my readers, and have my friends do the same.

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

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Dear Apple, Please Don’t Give Up on iBooks in iOS 11

21 June 2017

From The Mac Observer:

Here are some ideas I have to improve iBooks in iOS 11, because I want to see it succeed. As an avid reader, I was disappointed that there was nary a mention of iBooks at WWDC 2017. I’m not just talking about the app, I’m referring to Apple’s eBook ecosystem as a whole. I think improvements can be made in both areas, and that Apple could give iBooks a bigger presence in physical Apple stores.

. . . .

When it comes to books—or any type of content—the two most important features for people are discovery and sharing. The App Store is getting a major redesign in iOS 11, one designed to make it easier to discover new apps and games. I’d love to see Apple bring the same attention to iBooks. A new UI could feature eBooks and audiobooks in new ways and make it easier for readers to figure out what to read next.

. . . .

Now, to the iBookstore ecosystem. Apple should make it easier to self-publish on iBooks. I’ve never personally used the iBooks Author app, but the consensus among many users is that it produces gorgeous books, but is difficult to use. Apple should also take a cue from Amazon and make iBooks the premier platform for self-publishing. While it’s possible to self-publish on iBooks today, the process is not as easy as it is on Amazon Kindle.

. . . .

Currently, iBooks has a “More Books You Might Like” section under the Featured tab, but the suggestions are awful and I almost never browse through them. Using machine learning, Apple could scan my iBooks purchases and recommend books based on genre, popularity or other factors. Apple may already be doing this—or something like it—but recommendations on iBooks needs to improve.

Link to the rest at The Mac Observer

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There’s No Such Thing As A Self-Published Author

16 June 2017

From Digital Book World:

These days, it’s eminently possible for authors to publish and distribute books they’ve written themselves. Conversion and merchandising technologies are accessible enough for almost anyone to use without significant training. The costs are no longer a barrier for many. We often call writers in this category “self-published authors” but I’d like to respectfully challenge that term. There is no “self” in “self-publishing.” Creating a digital book today is rarely done by one person all alone. Self-publishing is, in fact, a team effort.

. . . .

Though most writers can train themselves to convert their written work and learn the ins-and-outs of book marketing, there are numerous additional activities that writers cannot—and should not do themselves when creating a digital book.

. . . .

Authors are managers—they do not work by themselves. That’s why I’m against the label “self-published author.” The term implies that a person can successfully publish a book all alone, and that’s simply not true.

The more we use the term “self-published” the more we perpetuate the myth that one person can do it all by themselves. Too many writers dive into publishing their own books with the inaccurate assumption that it’s a one-person job. They are often badly informed about the actual amount of time, effort and managerial skill that goes into the process.

Every book that is created and distributed to the public needs professional editors, professional book production specialists, and professional marketing experts. Every successful title is the product of many hands.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

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How Steve Vernon leverages Kindle Scout

6 June 2017

From Sandra Hutchinson, Sheer Hubris Press:

Sandra Hutchison interviews the ever-entertaining multi-genre author Steve Vernon about his experiences with Kindle Scout, the challenges of publishing across genres, his reviewing habits, and more.

Steve, you used Kindle Scout to successfully win a contract for your book KELPIE DREAMS, but I know that wasn’t your first try. What are your tips for those who want to try that?

First, write the very best book you can write. Try to make it marketable. Kindle Scout is simply a thirty day pitch to the world’s largest digital publisher – Amazon. Kindle Press (which is the publishing arm that actually publishes winning Kindle Scout novels) wants a book that is going to sell. So, if you have decided that you want to write something that is intense and personal and complex and damn near unreadable – DON’T BOTHER TRYING TO PITCH IT TO KINDLE SCOUT!

Or, maybe you should.

Why?

Well, really for me the very best way to think of Kindle Scout is like this. Kindle Scout is the a thirty-day extension to your book launch. Think of it as a pre-pre-order.

It works this way: You enter your book into Kindle Scout. You then have a thirty-day window to try to draw as much attention, in the form of nominations and views, to your book. If it’s selected, you get a $1500 advance and a chance to sell a whole lot more copies. The readers who nominated your book receive free copies – which can lead to a sudden boost in reviews.

BUT – if you AREN’T selected for Kindle Press publishing, you still have a note that you write ahead of time to your readers that can be used to notify them when you actually release your book. If you release it as a KU release you have the ability to set a free giveaway on your first few days of release and thus you have the ability to give away a whole lot more copies, boost your ranking and (hopefully) boost your initial flow of reviews.

I could talk a whole lot more about Kindle Scout – but let me just sum it all up by saying YES, I would do it again. The experience has been a good one for me and it continues to be good.

Link to the rest at Sandra Hutchinson, Sheer Hubris Press

Here’s a link to Steve Vernon’s books. If you like an author’s thoughts, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

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Exactly how I self-published my book, sold 180,000 copies, and nearly doubled my revenue

28 May 2017

From Growth Lab:

The Coaching Habit was published on February 29, 2016. (Leap Day! Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?)

In the year since, it’s sold nearly 200,000 copies, including 8,000 ebooks in one week in May. It made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list “organically” (which is to say, accidentally). It received more than 500 reviews on Amazon, 450 of which are five-star. And it’s been the number one book in the business/coaching category for about 95 percent of the year.

. . . .

So perhaps you’re considering writing a book yourself, or you’ve gone as far as to have a first draft in a digital drawer somewhere. We’ve all seen our marketing heroes grow a base of fans, then customers, then empires through “content marketing.” And the big kahuna in content marketing is the book. This is how you officially rise to “Thought Leader” status, it’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors, you drive revenue, you launch your speaking career, you start hanging out with other cool authors. Easy enough, right?

As with most things involving your business, it’s a bit more complicated than it seems. Writing a book is a long, lonely, and oftentimes unsuccessful endeavor. My “instant success” was anything but. The Coaching Habit was the result of four years of floundering, rejection, and toil. So you don’t make my mistakes, allow me to share everything I used to vault my book from idea to bestseller (with a table of contents to skip to what you’d like to know).

. . . .

Part I: The New York publisher, the big-name agent, and misery

In 2010, I fell into a book deal with a fancy New York publisher. It happened remarkably quickly. I was planning to self-publish my second book and had printed a small run to send out to my friends for their feedback, a final step before I hit the “All In” button and printed several thousand. One of those friends, Nick, sent his copy on to his publisher who got excited and called me. I got excited, and told them they had 48 hours to make an offer, given the impending big print run. They got flustered but made an offer. And in less than a week, we had a deal.

Woo-hoo! (Note: As I’ve subsequently discovered, this is not at all how it normally works.)

Do More Great Work was launched, and it’s done well. In five years, it’s sold about 90,000 copies, and people who like it love it. I had my first experience with a publisher, and it was mostly good. There were the usual disappointments about design compromises (a little gap), and about what they thought of as marketing (a much bigger gap).

Courtesy, as well as my contract, obliged me to offer my next book to this publisher. And this time, rather than “Accidentally Do It Myself” like last time, I thought it was time to get an agent. Because that’s what “Real Authors” have. After talking to a few, I found someone who I considered smart and strategic, and who had an impressive roster of business authors. I signed up… and quickly entered a special kind of purgatory.

The next three years were spent in back-and-forth between me, the agent, and my publisher, and I failed to make any progress. I wrote proposals. The agent turned them down. I wrote more proposals. The agent and the publisher turned them down. I wrote entire books. My editor told me they “loved them” but didn’t “love them.”

So I tried to write the book that I thought they’d think they might love, if they knew what that book was, which they didn’t. Another miserable fail. And I wrote at least one other full-length version of the book somewhere in there as well, also rejected. It was a colossal waste of time that I could have spent growing and improving my business. I had lost my way. It crossed my mind more than once that I should be spending my time on something, anything, more productive. You know, marketing, sales, that sort of thing.

. . . .

Part III: Invest more upfront (and keep more money)

. . . .

Just so you know how the money works, for my first book Do More Great Work, which was published only as a paperback, I was paid an advance of $15,000 (which I was THRILLED about) and a royalty rate of eight percent for full-price books (this does not include those sold at a bulk discount rate).

The book sells for between $10 and $15, depending on how Amazon is feeling, which means I earn about $1 per sale, plus-or-minus 20¢. In the six years since it was originally published, it’s sold about 90,000 copies, meaning I’ve easily earned out my advance, and I get checks once or twice a year from the publisher (checks that get smaller each time).

For The Coaching Habit, I had to invest a bunch of money upfront (more about that above) and had to spend a bunch of money on the launch and ongoing marketing (more about that below). However, the economics of this book, if I can sell it, are much better. It costs me between $1.50 and $2.00 a copy to print it. It costs me money for shipping and storage. Our distributors pay us 60 percent of the sale price. The book sells for between $11 and $15, so that means I earn between about $4 and $6 for each print copy sold. The Kindle version sells for $5, and we get 70 percent of that from Amazon, so about $3.50 per copy sold. That’s anywhere between 300 and 500 percent more than I’d get with a traditional publisher!

Link to the rest at Growth Lab

Here’s a link to Michael Bungay Stanier’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

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Publisher Jason Pinter Goes DIY Route for His New Novel

27 May 2017

From Publishers Weekly:

Inspired by the 2016 presidential election, Jason Pinter, founder and publisher of indie house Polis Books, is returning to his first calling—writing novels. Pinter will publish The Castle, a political thriller, on June 26. In an interesting move, Pinter is self-publishing the title, keeping it entirely separate from the Polis Books list.

“I wrote this book during the insanity of the election campaign,” Pinter told PW, “and I wanted it out right now, not in 18 months, [which is the usual publishing cycle]. I knew I would need to do it myself.”

Pinter and his agent, Scott Miller at Trident Media Group, submitted the book to several publishers, before withdrawing it. Because of the topical subject, Pinter said, “several editors liked the book, but said it needed to be out now. I agreed with them.”

. . . .

Aside from Pinter’s desire to get the novel to market quickly, he also didn’t want to see it overshadow any of the titles he’s working on as a publisher. “I didn’t want my sales reps to have to deal with my book or for my Polis authors to feel shortchanged, or make them think they would have to line up behind me,” Pinter said.

With this in mind, he set up Armina Press—the name was inspired by his daughter, who is due to be born in June—which will act as the book’s publisher. Pinter plans to use IngramSpark, Ingram’s self-publishing platform, to deliver the book in print. The e-book will be sold and distributed through Amazon KDP Select and other retailers.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

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