On Saturday, November 9th, we had another speaker for our NH Chapter of Romance Writers. We meet in Bow, NH the second Saturday of the month from September to June. Each month we have a speaker to give us tidbits on what they found worked best for them as in writing or promoting.
So yesterday, we had a visit from none other than – wait for it – wait – Marie Force. That’s right. She was our speaker.
What she brought to us was tidbits on being a hybrid author. You see, she is not only traditionally published but she is a self-pubbing author as well. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak in person than take it, she has a lot of insight into what comes into factor for being a hybrid author.
She spoke mostly about the importing things a self-published author needs to know before hitting the mighty publish button.
- Write a book that is not just good – but great. Make sure your plots are sound and your characters are likeable.
- Have your book professionally edited. It is costly but well worth the money spent. That is copy-edited for the most part. They are the ones who pick up on a lot of grammar problems and spelling problems, maybe a proofreading error or two.
- Use a professional designer to make your book covers. Book covers do have a huge impact on whether your book is going to attract a reader.
- Make sure your manuscript is properly formatted. If you can’t figure out how to format your book then pay someone to do it for you. Lots of times sites like Smashwords will tell you to try again if the formatting is not correct. But if it takes you more than five tries and you still don’t get it or all your hair has been pulled from the top of your head then you really need to seek out a formatting service to take care of your manuscript properly for you.
- Even eBooks do need front matter. This is where you put the name of the book followed by author name then published by and so on. Smashwords has good examples of this in their style guide that is free for everyone to read and use.
- Every book needs an ISBN. Or should read, every different format of you book needs its own ISBN. That means that an eBook needs its own for ePub and Mobi, PDF and so on. Right down to making sure that you have a separate one for you paperback. You can’t use the same ISBN for all the books under that same title. Each one has to have its own.
- You need to distribute your book. This can be done by setting up an account with the various venues like Amazon Kindle Direct, Barnes & Noble Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life and so on. Or you can do the one shoe fits all and use Smash words for you distribution needs. (Note: you still need a separate account for Amazon Kindle Direct when using Smashwords unless you are a bestselling author, otherwise, if you are not a bestseller, Amazon will not open their distribution gate for your Smashwords file. So it is best to work with amazon direct in the beginning.)
- Promoting your book. Marie found that Facebook was the best social media avenue when it came to promoting your book. This is without posting multiple posts about your book. Just engage with your readers and treat them the way you would love to be treated and word of mouth about your book and how nice you are really makes a difference in how well your book sells. Readers love to say my friend – so and so – Facebook link – wrote a book that I loved. This is so good for you and your reader. Let them have at it. Friends are some of your best readers. Believe me; everyone wants to be someone’s friend.
- If your book is not selling, revisit it and take a peak to see why. If the cover needs to be improved than change it. If your formatting is not good enough than fix it. Update your books periodically so they can keep pace with the ever changing face of technology.
If you need help with your self-published book Marie has a solution for this as well. She runs a service called
Formatting Fairies. They do everything from formatting to copy editing and book cover design. She also has a self-pub loop at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/selfpublish/
ROW80 Update: My NaNo Work in Progress
It has been a couple of weeks since I last checked in or maybe just over a week. I’ve been working on a Nano project for this month. It will be interesting to see how far I can get with this WIP. I missed two days this week and fell short on word count on one day too. As of yesterday my word count sits at 7k words. I might be done after the first of the year. (LOL)
I have to keep telling myself that the best I have done is writing a first draft in 90 days. That is still not too bad. So if I don’t make the NaNo deadline I will not beat myself up over it.
Next weekend Sunday Scoop: Monadnock Writers’ Group
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- Smashwords Reveals Author Payment Terms for Oyster’s eBook Subscription Service (the-digital-reader.com)
- Indie Author Tips: Formatting Requires Patience (legendsofwindemere.com)
Back in 2010 I came across an eBook publishing house called Smashwords. It was kind of big at the time, but not like it is today.
I remember trying to upload my very first book to the site and pulling my hair out because I kept getting vetting errors. I fussed and fretted about the meat grinder (that’s what they call their formatting tool for making all the different formats for the venues they submit to). Finally after about the twentieth try I did it. It was such a frustrating experience. I had two choices at that point. I could either give up hope of ever publishing my book on their site or persevere.
Well we can all see what really did happen.
Over the years I have heard Authors complain about Amazon. It is always the same kind of complaint. Their too big – they keep changing the rules – they don’t seem fair – but I’m making money.
Okay – yea – so – Let’s look at Smashwords:
I don’t like the meat grinder – why – because you don’t know how to format your book properly.
Once you learn it is pretty easy peasy.
What else don’t you like about Smashwords?
I can’t think of anything that comes to mind.
What do I love about them?
They distribute our books to lots of great venues, plus Mark Coker is always out there trying to find us more venues.
He never gives up. He is for the author.
Mark gives us tips and trade secrets and hope to be a great writer someday, the hope that the readers will discover us the way we discovered Smashwords.
He has given us ways to be found and not just by using SEO as Amazon does. Coupon codes are one of his great features on the site. These allow us to distribute our book for free or a reduced price to those who are part of our growing platform. This is a great way to secure reviews.
He takes part in Read an Ebook week on the site and also promotes NaNoWriMo.
The best part is, Mark Coker is always out there advocating for the authors, it does not matter if they are the little guy who has no platform as of yet or the best-selling author with millions of followers. Mark is always there for us.
So I want to say: Thanks Mark Coker for all you have done for us since 2008
Mark’s latest post: http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/03/how-libraries-can-launch-community.html
- The NPR Interview with Mark Coker of Smashwords | Self-Publishing on eBook (petergalenmassey.com)
Amazon.com just bought Goodreads.com. Huh?
How is this going to affect the reader/author experience?
A lot of questions will surface over the coming months.
- Will the reviews suddenly automatically appear on the Amazon site?
- Will our Amazon book purchases be added automatically to our to read/reading lists?
- Will the book giveaways keep going for the author/reader experience?
- How are the big six publishing house going to feel about the stronger control Amazon is going to have over their reader experience?
Many, many more questions are going to be asked over the coming months.
I see some people who are anti-Amazon are running over to The Library Thing as their way to get away from Amazon. Is that really the answer? Is Amazon really an enemy just because they have learned how to play the game of monopoly? I can see it now, owning all the review sites would be like owning all the railroads and charging a fee for landing on it.
Naw, they wouldn’t do that now, would they?
Only time will tell.
Me: I’m on both Goodreads and The Library Thing.
At least The Library Thing allows eBook giveaway make great use of those Smashwords coupon codes for free books.
Oh, and just so you know, there is another book giveaway site out there. It is called fReado.com – You should take a look at it sometime if you are looking to escape the Amazon/Goodreads Experience.
- Amazon/Goodreads: Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? (amarketingexpert.com)
- Amazon Buys Goodreads, Expands Their eBook Empire (the-digital-reader.com)