Self and Indie Author Publishing Advice

Steph Post’s New Author Survival Guide

A guest post by Steph Post. Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of A Tree Born Crooked. The past year has been a roller coaster of a ride, with fortunately more highs and lows, and the learning curve has been steep. In honor of my first book’s first birthday, I’m offering a gift of sorts: Steph Post’s New Author Survival Guide! (Also known as a list of things that have kept me off the ledge during this crazy, hectic, exciting, tumultuous and altogether amazing experience). If you’re a recent or soon-to-be debut author, I’m here to give you my humble observations and tips. These are also things that I hope to remember and apply for the rest of my writing career… So, here we go: Steph’s Survival Guide! -Make friends and allies with fe...

Books and Amazon’s New Third-Party Seller Policy

Recent changes to policies and fees for third-party sellers who sell Media products on the Amazon Marketplace on Amazon.com has elicited questions from book resellers and small presses. Here is a sampling of articles and threads discussing those changes:   “Small publishers in particular are dependent on backlist sales for their livelihood. Amazon is a Herculean player when it comes to backlist sales because bookstores favor front-list books. If you’re looking for a book that’s a year old or more, you’re likely to go to Amazon to find it.” Read the full article here.   “We sub-divided our analysis into two categories – volume and price.  Volume metrics will reveal whether sellers are entering or exiting the market, and price metrics will help us visualize how th...

Beginner’s Guide to Building an Online Platform

A guest post by Marla Sherman. Most of my experience in the world of publishing has been helping friends and colleagues to get their work published, so I never had the need to create a social media presence for what I do. But when I decided to go pro, I realized that my business was going nowhere without an online platform. Starting an online platform from scratch is a lot of work with little return, at least in the beginning. Nevertheless, in today’s digital market, it’s exactly what I had to do. It’s also exactly what many first time authors need to do, and so I thought I’d share the process with you. Without further ado, here is my beginner’s guide to building an online platform: Claim your domain name. A domain name is how potential fans will find you on the web. You can choose from vi...

Direct Submissions: Traditional Publishing, No Agent Required

A guest post by Jennifer Bort Yacovissi. It’s hard to overstate the changes to the publishing landscape over the last decade. The doors to the gates that regulated who got published have effectively been blown off their hinges, and authors are now awash in possible avenues to get their work out into world. For those trying to navigate their way through all the choices, the field seems to narrow to two primary options. On one end of the spectrum is self-publishing, where the author is in total control of the entire process, which can be both a joy and a nightmare. On the other end is the traditional two-step of finding an agent in order to find a publisher, in which even the first step can be a multi-year process. There is, however, a third, middle-ground, option, called direct submission. ...

Downsizing To An E-Reader

My family is filled with serious readers. When together, we collect books, trade books, talk books. Even the little humans among us refuse to go to sleep without their favorite stories being read to them. Recently, during an all-hands-on-deck session to help a family member with a move, while packing up about 20 shelves crammed with books, I got to wondering. Remember how, back in the old days (and by “old,” I mean the pre-Kindle days), the worst part about moving was relocating all the boxes of books? Such a pain that was, transporting those deceptively small containers. Each one weighing more than a Vespa. Nowadays, my garage holds my overflow books. It looks like the Leaning Tower of Inked-Up Pages in there, with a giant stack of cardboard boxes filling up one entire corner. It is a dai...

Amazon Vs. Hachette

Let me open this blog post by clearly stating my position: I am not for or against Amazon. I am not for or against Hachette. I am on the side of the marketplace. Sometimes, this is the toughest position to be in. Loyalty pulls in one direction while, often, practicality pulls in another. Consider: I am an avid reader of books. If I find myself in a store that sells books, the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of me leaving there with at least one new book, usually more. My purchases are spread out over a host of different brick-and-mortar retail brands, but I admit that Barnes & Noble receives the lion’s share of my book-buying budget for paperbacks and hardcovers. That said, I get my e-books exclusively through Amazon. I have a Kindle (it was a gift) and I both use it and lend it out w...

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard…Is True

In early 2010 I attended an event called “Eat, Love, Write.” It was a fundraiser featuring bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert and her sister Catherine Gilbert Murdock as the keynote speakers. Catherine is a successful author in her own right—specializing in young adult novels. During the question and answer session, someone asked, “How do I get an agent?” Catherine began to respond practically but then she interrupted herself and said, “Focus on the writing. If a book is meant to be published it will find a way.” I rolled my eyes. If a book is meant to be published it will find a way. Don’t get me wrong; I am an advocate of everything happening for a reason, but come on! Agents don’t go knocking on doors asking if you happen to have a manuscript hanging around. You have to take your writ...

The Power of Good Enough

  I’ve read amazing authors, from Ken Kesey and John Steinbeck to James Lee Burke and Harper Lee, whose perfect, seamless prose carried me away to those wonderful, far places where books transport us. I never imagined I could be one of them. They never inspired me to write. My inspiration came from a very forgettable culinary mystery I got from the library. So forgettable that I can’t recall the name of the book or the author. I only remember reading it and (after I figured out who dun it and why, say a chapter in) thinking, “This got printed, and the library bought it. I could do w-a-a-a-y better than this.” I thought about Tami Hoag, who started out writing mediocre romantic suspense and who now pens first-rate thrillers. I had a bit of a “Doh” moment. “Just because you start poorly...

Choosing A Book Genre: Spice Girl

I have spent the last few months preparing for the launch of AVA. During this time I have experienced mild, but recurring, stress about the proper genre for my novel. Depending on which source I choose to trust, my book is either romantic thriller, romantic suspense, family saga, literary light, or chick lit. In order to make my decision, I combed industry sites, looking for expert opinions. My mouse clicked on RWA, ITW, AWWC, Writer’s Relief, and WIKI, among others. What did all this research reveal? My book is a little bit of everything. Just like me. Perhaps the magic of Traditional Publishing—and its strength for long-term sustainability—rests on the skill of the Industry’s editors to pare down a writer’s manuscript to a single genre. After a laborious and annoying month, one in which ...

Self-Publishing: Happily Ever After

I read romances. In fact, I’ve read hundreds of them including books written by Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Carla Neggers, Johanna Lindsey, Catherine Coulter, and Heather Graham. I read this genre, and these authors, because they are guaranteed to take me on a semi-unpredictable ride to Happily Ever After.  I say “semi” because I already know, at the time of purchase, that the man and woman will fall in love and ride/sail/bike/drive off into the sunset. My upcoming novel, Ava, is in this category—but not by design.  I simply wrote about the lives and loves of characters that chose me to be their storyteller.  And, wouldn’t you know, they decided on romantic thriller as the genre. Sounds odd to have the characters make the decision?  Ma...

Self-Publishing: A Bold Step

Metaphorically speaking, agents and signed contracts are big, big dogs, and newbies don’t necessarily know if they bark, bite, or—best option of all—dedicate themselves to the pursuit of belly rubs. Looks can be deceiving and are not, generally speaking, the best indicator of personality or intent. Experience is our best teacher, our most reliable road map to show us when to trust, when to gamble, and when to walk away. To me, a revelation about self-publishing is that there is absolutely a place for literary agents. Not every agent, mind you, and not in the traditional roles carved out by legacy publishing. Still, there are countless opportunities for these individuals to translate and apply their wonderful experience into representing authors and selling ebooks. Some who have made the tr...

15 Articles About Self-Publishing

The following are links I have tweeted on my @dcPriya account over the past month.  Almost all are about self-publishing.  I decided to create a blog post containing the links for those writers and authors who are interested in self-publishing but don’t use Twitter.  This industry continues to grow in new and interesting ways, and opportunities abound. Hope you find these helpful.  Enjoy! E-book self-publishing company BookieJar http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2011/09/startup-of-the-week-bookiejar.html Found this article interesting: “How to Partner With a Pro on Your Self-Published Book” http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/09/how-to-partner-with-a-pro-on-your-self-published-book273.html “Amazon’s grip tightens on the entire book-publishing chain” http:/...

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