Writers, Readers & Self Publishing

Our community of self-published authors is generous with the knowledge they have gained on their writing journey. Here at Writers, Readers & Self Publishing, we will share with you their advice, their experiences and their ideas for writing and promoting award-winning books.  We will also share incites from our readers and others in the field of self-publishing such as editors, designers and successful best-selling authors who graciously share their thoughts and experiences. Our readers and writers have also contributed some fun and interesting stories that we hope you will enjoy!

Liars, Leeches, and Other Losers

To all you eager, new―and as yet unknown―authors who have finally finished your manuscript, welcome to the world of publishing, where dreams come true, and fame and fortune are only a book tour away. Or perhaps not! Let me see…how do I break this to you gently? Not one single literary agent will have anything to do with you. At most, your query letter will trigger a form rejection response as cold and pitiless as an IRS audit notice. And you can forget about sending your manuscript to any of the Big Six publishing houses. To them, you are lower than rust on the third rail in the subway, and equally untouchable. However, I doubt that these brutal facts will deter you from pursuing your dream, nor should they. So as you embark on this journey, let me just share with you a few words of caution about the liars, leeches and losers who populate the world of publishing. Let’s start with the first group of liars―your friends and family―albeit well-meaning ones. In your heart, you know that you have not written the next great American novel but you still think your book is pretty good. Damn good in fact!…

Read More

Promote your latest book with a book trailer

Words of Wisdom from Chris Robley at BookBaby- People love short videos. They're easier to watch and easier to share, and that makes them easy to talk about. One of the most fun, creative, and effective ways you can promote your new book on blogs and social media is by shooting (and then sharing) a book trailer– a video advertisement for your book similar to a film or TV trailer. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're developing your book trailer ideas. 1. It's gotta be good! There are a lot of crappy book trailers out there. And to the big, bad, scary world of publishers, editors, critics, and agents, a crappy book trailer looks worse than NO book trailer at all. So if you're going to do it, it's worth doing right. The better your video, the more likely fans will share it, bloggers will post it, and critics will take notice. That being said, quality and budget are not always directly proportional. It's quite possible to shoot a great trailer yourself with consumer-grade gear and a little old fashioned elbow grease. Likewise, you can hire the world's most talented production team with all the…

Read More

Folio Prize to allow self-published work

The Folio Prize has confirmed it is to consider self-published entries, a move that has been welcomed by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Sixty titles on the 80-strong longlist will be put forward by the Folio's academy, made up of members of the literary community, and it is understood they will be allowed to select self-published works. The remaining 20 will be called in by judges following publishers writing letters of support for particular titles. Self-published authors will be able to act as publishers and write letters of support for their own titles, which will then be considered to be called in. Dan Holloway is campaign manager of ALLi's Open Up To Indies program, which encourages prizes, festivals, the media and other bodies to be inclusive of self-published writers and works. He said: "This is important news and greatly welcomed by ALLi's Open Up To Indies Campaign. Whilst self-publishing has been stripped of much of its stigma by a string of high profile commercial successes, the suspicion remains in some quarters, notably the media, that the self-published corpus is not a place to find works of outstanding artistic merit that could take their place alongside the works of a…

Read More

Blog Series on the “three Rs of Writing” #3

Finally let's deal with Respect Respect is perhaps the hardest of the three "Rs" to acquire. Being financially successful and well-known does not necessarily mean you will be respected. This is especially true for self-published authors who enter the publishing ring with one hand tied behind their backs. Although the stigma is lessening, self-published books are still not accepted by professional reviewers such as the NY Times, or accepted by prestigious writing competitions. There are a lot of well-written indie books out there; I have personally read several that are every bit as good as, or even better than, the best that the big publishing houses have to offer. It is because of this literary snobbery that self-published books are held to a higher standard. If you want to be taken seriously as an author – and assuming that you have written a good book – then you had better make sure that it is meticulously edited: copyedited at a minimum and line edited if you can afford it. Not to do so plays directly to the indie stereotype, and will doom your work to the trash heap of broken dreams and forgotten titles. Now to end this blog series…

Read More

Blog Series on the “three Rs of Writing” #2

  Now let's deal with Recognition. You might think that recognition and wealth go hand in hand but that's not always the case. I'm sure you've heard about movies that critics loved but nobody went to see. The same applies to books. You can write a really good – possibly even great – book but it will not bring you fame and fortune unless you identify your audience and go after them. How? Find bloggers, reviewers and events that focus on your genre. Use social media to get your name and your book out there. And build a website. A good one. Some authors don't do this, which is a big mistake! You may think that if no one knows you how will they find your website? But it is a self-fulfilling prophesy – without a website how will your audience ever get to know you? Today readers want to reach out and touch you (figuratively and in some cases perhaps even literally). They want to connect with you on a personal level. You must be prepared to bare your soul to them. Websites that simply list your books won't get many return visits. In my last blog in this…

Read More

Blog Series on the “three Rs of Writing” #1

  Writing a book – hard! Editing a book – much harder!! Making it a bestseller – nearly impossible!!! The first two require talent and commitment along with hard work and time. The third takes all of those plus introspection and honesty. You must decide which of the "three Rs of writing" you want: Reward, Recognition, Respect? Most authors (if they're being honest) would say they want all three. But they are not necessarily mutually inclusive: First let's talk about Reward. If wealth is all you seek, then you had better write romance novels – and lots of them! Many of the top selling eBooks are in this genre and most are by authors who have written more than one. There seems to be a huge and insatiable demand for them. But once you get an audience, you need to keep them by giving them more of the same and quickly. A book a year is not an option. Good romance sells! (With emphasis, of course, on the word good). When Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and best-selling author, Anna Quindlen, was asked what books we might be surprised to find on her shelves she replied: "A pretty full set of Georgette…

Read More

IF YOU WANT OPPORTUNITY TO NOTICE, GO KNOCK ON ITS DOOR!

indieBRAG is excited to be a witnesses to/and participant in the dramatic upsurge of self-publishing. Once considered a second-class citizen (or worse) in the world of publishing, self-publishing is now a force to be reckoned with; it has awakened the heretofore sleeping giants of traditional publishing. Clear evidence of this was Penguins' acquisition of Author Solutions last year. The executives at Penguin and other traditional publishers may be arrogant but they are not stupid. They seek to create a self-sustaining and highly efficient business model in which an indie author pays them to have their book published; does all the work promoting their book; and, if/when the book somehow manages to gain some meaningful measure of recognition and success, the big boys swoop in to offer the author a contract. They have, in effect, created a give and take relationship with indie authors whereby you give and they take! Only time will tell if signing a contract with a traditional publisher is something that a successful indie author will or should want. One advantage of such a deal is that a publisher can gain distribution in retail book stores; something that indie authors have great difficulty achieving. However, as eBooks…

Read More

FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS AND LEAVE THE ALGORITHMS TO OTHERS!

At The Media Briefing's Digital Media Strategies conference in London recently, it was reported that less than 3% of book sales on Amazon came from buyers who were simply browsing, and only 10% were derived from their "bought this/also bought" recommendations. These pale in comparison to 48% of sales from buyers who already knew the author or book they wanted, and were simply buying it online. The obvious conclusion is that most indie authors spend entirely too much time trying to get their title ranked higher by Amazon's algorithm! Instead, authors should focus on gaining name recognition. How? By connecting with their target audience: by reaching out to the people who are interested in their genre - bloggers, genre-specific websites and Facebook pages, as well as other relevant social media forums. Another interesting fact cited in London was that 17% of book sales were influenced by a book being listed on "Bestseller" or "Top 100" lists. For those indie authors who are fortunate enough to have their book placed on such a list, but find it near the bottom, another way to stand out is by having an appealing cover. This is true even if the book is only available…

Read More

How To (Really) Sell Your Novel – The Shocking Truth

Re posted with permission of John Yeoman Originally posted on The Wicked Writing Blog Friday, April 5, 2013 Under: Libels & Wickedness   How do you sell a novel? That's the number one problem for every self-publishing author and it probably accounts for all the other numbers too. Unless your novel sells, you may well be a writer but you're not a novelist. Here are four ways that don't work. 1. Banner ads don't work. Many sites will sell you a banner, in a choice of sizes, to promote your book and each at a fancy price. None will yield a profit. You might not even get a single click-through. Why? The average click-through rate for banner ads is just three tenths of one per cent or 0.3%. That's the industry average according to imedia connections.com. So only three in 1000 people who see your banner ad will click on it. And only about 4% of those people will buy your book. (That's the average conversion-to-sale ratio at Amazon.) So you'll make just one sale for every 10,000 people who see your banner. How much will you be charged for that banner? Anything between $100 and $1000. Result: you'll lose…

Read More

Happy 1st Anniversary indieBRAG!

  It is hard to believe that we launched indieBRAG and the B.R.A.G.Medallion one year ago! We will continue to shine a light on worthy books and tell the reading world that if they want a good book worth their time and money, to pick one with the B.R.A.G.Medallion. Our reading team now numbers 100 and live in 10 countries. We would not have been able to honor the books we have without all their dedication and support. They have considered nearly 1000 books and chosen 100 to carry our medallion. What a great job! Thank you all for joining our team. It is our great pleasure to be working with such a talented and hard working group – both authors and readers. I personally can say that I consider them my friends. All of us on the indieBRAG Team will continue to bring attention to our honored books and we have some new plans for the coming year which we hope will bring even more attention to these gems in the avalanche of self-published books. We all look forward to a successful and exciting 2013- Geri and the entire indieBRAG Team

Read More