Words of Wisdom

SPBE Blog #4- Grab The Audience!

  Over 70% of our readers told us they either downloaded a free sample of an eBook or perused the print book in a bookstore before making their decision to buy it. As this next slide shows an indie author had better grab a prospective buyer quickly.   Slide 17 indicates that only 23% of potential buyers will read several chapters when they consider a book, whereas 35% will only read a few pages. And 27% make their decision based strictly on a paragraph or two, or the synopsis on the back cover. Clearly an opening hook is vital. It doesn't matter if an indie author has written a great book, he or she won't sell many copies they don't get a reader interested from the very first paragraph or the first few pages at most! Buying a book is a commitment of money and time and to be successful an indie author had better make sure that they have made their book worth that commitment. Beyond having a powerful opening hook, an indie author also needs to have an eye-catching cover. Slide 15 shows that while genre and author are the most important factors in a person's decision to…

Read More

Blog # 3 – The Best Format And Price For An eBook

      Continuing our discussion of our presentation at SPBE this slide shows the formats that our readers prefer.     As you can see, 56% of the readers we surveyed prefer the eBook format. This is not surprising. According to amazon.com during the past two years eBooks have outsold print books. The convenience of eBook readers and the lower cost of eBooks are the main drivers of this trend. Slide 7 also shows that if an author also wants a print book, a trade paperback is the most desirable format. We believe that an indie author should offer both but if he or she only publishes their book in one format, it should be as an eBook.This next slide shows the best price points for an eBook.   The above chart shows that 32% of the readers we surveyed will pay up to $4.99 for an eBook while 39% are willing to pay up to $9.99. The slide also indicates that 92% of readers will pay more than 99 cents. This is very important because there is anecdotal evidence from other sources that pricing a book at $.99 does not generate sufficient sales to warrant the loss of…

Read More

SPBE Blog #2- Editing a Self-Published Book

    As I said in my previous blog, copy editing errors are the reason that most self-published books are rejected during the indieBRAG screening process. An indie author must not edit his or her own book. Although professional copy editing can be expensive, it is the single best use of an author's money. There are also other less expensive ways of doing this such as by using beta readers or joining writers' groups. Here are two slides from our presentation that address this issue: As you can see in Slide 19, our readers ranked copy editing as fourth in importance of the characteristics in their liking a book. BUT as Slide 20 shows, it is the number one reason why readers dislike a book. In other words, good editing alone will not make a book but bad editing will certainly kill it! In conclusion, we cannot emphasize enough that an author rarely gets a second chance at a good first impression!

Read More

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Blogs from the Self-Publishing Book Expo Our trip to the Self-Publishing Book Expo, held in New York City on November 9th, was a huge success! Our presentation, titled "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY" of self-published books was well attended and well received. We were the only panel (out of seventeen) that was filmed by C-SPAN's Book TV and we will let you know when the segment will be aired, likely later this month. indieBRAG team members Robert Clouston and Stephanie Hopkins joined me in the presentation and over the coming days we will blog about what we covered. This will include the results from the surveys we conducted among our readers and B.R.A.G. Medallion authors, the findings of which formed the basis of our presentation. We think you will find it all very interesting. We will also discuss some of the things we learned from other presenters at the expo, which further support our survey findings. So here we go- To begin our presentation, I shared some rather stark statistics that out of the over 1,500 books we have considered since indieBRAG began in April of last year, 50% were rejected during the initial screening process. Strictly for…

Read More

Have you ever added song lyrics to your story?

  Have you ever added song lyrics to your story? Popular songs can set a mood or even a time. Beatles music puts you into the Hippy days of the 60's. But, can you include these lyrics in your book? Here is some important information from Jason Boog, writer and GalleyCat editor- Have you ever quoted song lyrics in your book? Music can set the mood, evoke a certain setting or channel a particular emotion.However, writers need to be aware of copyright issues surrounding music in books. We caught up with Copyright Clearance Center's author and creator relations director Christopher Kenneally, discovering the key questions authors should ask before including a song. Kenneally explained:Consider not quoting the song. Lyrics, like all creative expression, are copyrighted. Copyright gives the author or creator the exclusive right to republication of the work. Any writer who wishes to quote lyrics, or for that matter, passages from another's book, must obtain permission first. It's probably worth asking how necessary or vital such quotation is to any particular creative work.Kenneally added:If it's used to set a mood or establish a period, it's easy enough to refer to song titles, which, under U.S. law, are not copyrighted.…

Read More

Hugh Howey Shares His Wisdom!

Hugh took the time to share with us as he headed to the Frankfurt Book Fair! Hi Hugh Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. One of the things I enjoy and appreciate most in self-publishing is the support authors give to each other - I don't know if that's true in the traditional publishing world but somehow I doubt it. You have said that the journey of your life in the last decade has been the source of true joy, not just because of being a bestselling author – although you have to admit that is pretty spectacular! Your passion for what you do is inspiring but do you think it is possible for someone to become a bestselling author if they view it as strictly a way to get rich? Hugh- I think the chances are very unlikely that anyone becomes a bestselling author, however they go about publishing and whatever their motivations are. The truth is that millions of books are published and very few of them become bestsellers. It's similar to those who play basketball and those who start in the NBA and make the All-Star team. But I don't think that should…

Read More

5 Facebook Marketing Tips for Authors

 Some advice from Blogger and Author Lindsay Buroker on using Facebook-Month after month, Facebook and Twitter are the top sources of traffic for my site (after the Big G and its search engine, of course). If we consider that I spend much less time on Facebook than Twitter (I usually post to my FB author page 3 or 4 times a week, versus using Twitter incessantly throughout the day, because I'm become a tweet-happy addict), then Facebook is the clear winner when it comes to time spent versus results delivered. I should also point out that I don't post links to my site on Facebook very often, so all of this traffic (1,000+ visitors in January out of about 23,000 total) comes via two or three updates a month.And is getting traffic to my site a win insofar as book sales goes? It's hard to say if the folks who come in via social media outlets are buyers (I suspect many have already bought), but it's a rare day that I don't have at least a couple of sales at Amazon (monitored via the affiliate links I provide to my own books) that originate on my blog. Sales aside, I…

Read More

Shocked By Rejection?

    As you might imagine, some of the self-published authors whose books were rejected by indieBRAG readers are not happy. Fortunately, I am pleased to report that only a few of them have taken the time to berate us! The brutal fact is that many indie books have no chance at all of getting through our initial screening process, let alone being read by our reading team - they have poorly conceived stories and/or are badly written. These books are invariably rejected by most, if not all, of the readers who review them. However, occasionally we must reject a book with regret. These are books with really good stories but are in desperate need of professional editing- either content or copy editing or both. To have a book that is worth a reader's time and money, an indie author needs to do everything they can to fine tune and perfect their work. A great story poorly edited is a real shame. We recently rejected a book that the author said was going to be made into a film. This is wonderful news for the author but having a book made into a screenplay doesn't change the basic facts about…

Read More

Agent Assisted Self Publishing

    How exciting, you got an agent- just one step from getting a publisher! Whoa, not so fast. Although few self-published authors use agents they can provide some valuable assistance. With the advent of digital and self-publishing, agents, like everyone in the publishing world, have had to reinvent themselves. Many agents are now moving into Agent Assisted Self-Publishing. Like any business owner, and as a SP author that is what you are, do not sign until you know exactly what you are getting for your money and how much control you may be losing. With permission from The Alliance of Independent Authors' (ALLi), we are sharing information they provided. We would love to have you join the conversation and share your experiences- Agent-assisted SP takes many different forms. At one end of the scale, it mean an agency encouraging one of their authors to upload their backlist, and showing them how, without taking any payment, content with the revenue boost this will give to the trade-published titles they represent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         At the other are the many agents now uploading files to Amazon or other retailers in an account in their own name, and collecting 15% of the sales revenue ad…

Read More

Getting into Brick & Mortar Book Stores~

Richard Due, author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree, The Moon Coin, recently had his books accepted into Barnes and Noble brick and mortar bookstore! We asked him to share how he was able to manage this since this is often something most self-published authors are unable to do. I wish I had a more exciting story to tell, but getting a self-published book into Barnes and Noble is all about time, diligence, and whether or not they want your book. In a nutshell, here's how I got the Moon Realm series into Barnes and Noble. Last fall I submitted to their Small Press Dept., at their Headquarters on 5th Ave, in New York. On their website, they said that if I didn't hear back from them I should resend, as they get 2,000 submissions a week, which means, every once and a while, they have chuck everything and start over. I got a letter back from them maybe two weeks later requesting paperback copies of The Moon Coin (the only Moon Realm book in paper at that time). That was back in November. My next task was to get a distributor or wholesaler. B&N had sent me a list of them.…

Read More

Most Shared Posts

Most Discussed Posts