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!

A conversation with Bestselling Author Colleen Hoover

COLLEEN HOOVER Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. She released her debut novel, SLAMMED, in January 2012 and the follow-up novel, POINT OF RETREAT, in February, 2012. Both books have been optioned for film as of October, 2012. Her bestselling Romance novel Hopeless has been on the New York Times E-Book Best Sellers list for 20 weeks! indieBRAG: Thank you, Colleen, for spending this time with us. Colleen Hoover: Thank you so much for having me. iB: You have written three very successful books in the Romance genre. I wonder if an author sets out to write in a specific genre or do they just write the book that is in them? In your case, did you choose the genre first and then create the book, or was the story already in your mind and it just happened to fit that genre? CH: When I began writing SLAMMED, I didn't even think about where it might fit if I tried to sell it. I wrote the book thinking I was going to be the only one to read it besides a few family members. Once the book was complete and I decided to upload it…

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Bob Mayer, bestselling author, talks audio books-

Bob Mayer is a West Point Graduate, Former Green Beret, CEO of Cool Gus Publishing and a NY Times Bestselling Author. He has had over 50 books published. He has sold over four million books, and is in demand as a team-building, life-changing, and leadership speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way concept, which he translated into Write It Forward: a holistic program teaching writers how to be authors. He is also the Co-Creator of Cool Gus Publishing, which does both eBooks and Print On Demand, so he has experience in both traditional and non-traditional publishing. Thank you so much Bob for giving us some of your experience and wisdom on audio books. The latest sales figures tell us that ebooks significantly out number print books and that the latest trend is to have audio books. You have stated that this has been quite successful for you. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us and answer some questions. 1. Why do an audio book? It can be rather costly. I use the ACX program, which is a really well run system. I've invested over $50,000 in producing 30 audio…

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Book Trailers- are they worth it?

I have read a lot about book trailers, and I have watched my share of them, and here is my final thought on whether they are worth it – I don't know! There seems to be little evidence that book trailers help sell books. I enjoyed watching some of them and a few actually got me interested in taking a look at the book. However, in general, most looked amateurish; they were just a slideshow with music. They were more helpful if I went to the book's website first and then watched the video. In other words, they did not grab my attention on their own; rather they simply added to my overall interest in the book. But the point is I'm not sure they would encourage me to actually buy the book. Obviously, I am biased but I do enjoy being able to click on a book trailer when I go to one of our B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honoree detail pages. But, there again, I have already sought the book out and I know it is well worth the investment of my time and money. So here is what I think- A book trailer is a nice enhancement to all the…

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# Authors, Reviews, Trolls and the fight goes on!- Part 2

Our previous blog on "Reviews" triggered a great conversation. In this, the second blog on the subject, we offer authors some thoughts on dealing with negative reviews. I hope you will join us again and share your thoughts and experiences- 1. Take negative reviews into consideration. The reviewer just may be right! Well-¬written and thoughtful critical reviews can be helpful – painful, but helpful. Be open-minded. Listen. Read. Be willing to consider the opinion of others. In the end, you may still disagree but you may also gain some valuable learning. 2. Respond to fair-minded reviews. It is always nice to thank someone who takes the time to read and critique your book. You should do this even if you disagree with the review but be gracious, and NEVER enter into an emotional, heated discourse. No-one benefits and more times than not, it turns personal and ugly. 3. Consider reviewing books for other authors. This is the best way to create the "word of mouth" buzz that all authors want. In turn, your reviews may encourage others to review your book. But always be objective and professional. Never gush or attack; both are equally amateurish. 4. Ignore the "trolls". Unfortunately,…

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Authors, Reviews, Trolls and the fight goes on!

Wow! It seems the entire literary community is on fire about reviews and alleged "troll" attacks. First, let me say that indieBRAG does not depend on reviews for several very good reasons. A well-written review by a reviewer who genuinely cares about books is a valuable source of information – favorable or not. However, there are more than a few people out there who use this venue just to be mean and disagreeable. Others try to show their higher level "intellect" by picking any book apart. They believe that to critique means simply to find fault. As evidence of this I should note that even the universally acclaimed book, To Kill A Mockingbird, has received one star reviews! BLOG #1 We will be offering some information about writing a respectful and responsible review. BLOG #2 We will also be offering authors some advice and, hopefully, help in dealing with negative reviews. So here we go, be sure to join the conversation- Reviewers first- Our B.R.A.G. interviewer and a book reviewer from www.layeredpages.com Stephanie Moore: The most important thing to do when reviewing is to read the book first of course. You must understand what you are reading in order to…

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Audio Books-The Next New Thing! Part 1.

Here are a few highlights from the 2011 Association of American Publishers report: Total book sales in all categories hit $805.7 million • Hardcover books fell 11.3% • Paperbacks fell 19% • eBook sales increased 115.8% • Downloaded audio books increased 8.8% to $6.5million. • The fastest growing category in the iTunes App store – books! For those of you who may be skeptical about audio books – I should point out that it was just a few short years ago that no one believed eBooks would ever catch on! If you put audiobooks into your search you will find HUNDREDS of companies getting into the audiobook production business. You no longer see "never" when readers are asked how often they listen to audiobooks; everyone is now ready and willing to give audiobooks a try. The past stigma about listening to books is long past. Listeners are no longer lazy but busy! We now use audiobooks while our hands are doing other things. After all, listening to stories has been part of every culture, teaching us and entertaining us, from the beginning of time. Audiobooks are here and growing in popularity, they are the next means of getting your book…

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A chat with best selling author Addison Moore

  Addison Moore is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children, and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she's not writing, she's reading. Addison's Celestra Series has been optioned for film by 20th Century Fox. Thanks you so much Addison for sharing your thoughts and experiences on self-publishing with us. It is encouraging to us all to see wonderful self-published authors, such as you, get the attention they deserve! I am sure the readers and authors at indieBRAG will appreciate your input- First of all, why did you self-publish? Did you try to get a traditional publishing deal? I started self-publishing in 2011, ironically after I procured my dream agent. I was deterred by how long it would take to get a traditional book into the market and I wanted to write more than a book a year. Did you use professional help for story or copy editing, cover design or in other ways? My husband…

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To KDP or not – that is the question!

A blog piece by Jim Kukral at the Huffington Post on the subject of KDP Select gave me food for thought and I began researching other points of view on this very popular means for indie authors to sell their books. As Mr. Kukral points out, there are two very strong sides to this issue. I think the big question is "making money" versus "building an audience". Many of our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree authors take advantage of KDP and utilize the opportunity to give their books away for free for a limited time. They get a bit of boost in sales and make a bit of money in the process. The question is – does this actually build their audience? As this article states, those who seek out free book downloads are not particularly loyal readers and may do little talking about or reviewing of books. I do not know the statistics, but I wonder how many authors who take advantage of KDP actually build a big following? Sales on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony eReader and other means of reading eBooks arguably do not match the sales that amazon.com does. On the other hand, by placing their book on…

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The Art of Social Media

  The Art of Social Media for Self-Publishing Authors Most if not all self-publishing authors do not have publicists to promote their work. Therefore, you must work diligently to have your books noticed. Social Media is a crucial key to networking and to publicize your book. You must be willing to put forth the time, but it is well worth the effort if done correctly. Companies such as BRAG are a wonderful example of on-line promoting and networking. If you are a BRAG Medallion Honoree, share to the world that you are! Share BRAG's website to other sites, talk about what it means to be a BRAG Honoree. When needing reviews, have legitimate reviewers read your book other than just family and friends. You need readers who will be objective and who could give their honest opinion and to give constructive criticism- when needed. Encourage reviewers to post their reviews on various sites, including book forums. On-line interviews are another tool for promoting your book. Holding interviews also gives the chance for the reader to feel more connected to you. Readers are more likely to buy your book if they know a little about you and what your interest is.…

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How much to charge for your (soon to be bestselling) ebook

There's a short answer to this question but I'm going to make you read through the whole article to find out what it is. Don't worry; it's less than five hundred words, so it won't take long. When I released my first book "My Temporary Life" in December 2011 I priced it at $4.99. Based on other books out there this seemed like a reasonable price. I sold a few books but I knew there were others selling a lot more, and I believed in my book. So, I tried a .99 cent sale to try and get the ball rolling and perhaps find a reader base that would spread the word to other potential readers. I advertised my promo on Facebook and Goodreads and I sold a few more, but still not enough. Then, I discovered KDP Select. I enrolled in KDPS and ran a free promotion. During the promotion I gave away fifty thousand ebooks and afterwards, based on research I'd done checking out other Indie ebooks I priced my book at $3.99. Over the next few months I sold over twenty thousand books at $3.99. Bingo, I'd found my perfect price-point. After a few months, when sales…

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