Indie writers like myself have a huge problem. That problem is obscurity.
We combat it via promotion. But there's only so much promotion one can do without coming across as bossy, spammy, or just plain desperate. Also, whenever a message is received from a person with a financial interest in the success of that message, then there are going to be skeptics. I don't blame them. No matter how great I may tell readers my books are, it means a lot more coming from an independent third party.
Independent third parties being, of course, readers.
Below are some ways readers can help all authors out, but especially indie authors. These methods are not entirely selfish as I think the reader/author relationship is a symbiotic one. By helping your favorite author and contributing to his or her success, you're increasing the possibility that he or she will continue writing the kind of books you enjoy. While making a living from writing isn't feasible for most of us, it helps a lot just knowing so... [More]
In Part 1 of this series I talked about some of the problems I think Smashwords has. In this post, I'd like to offer up some suggestions for ways they can improve.
1. Give the site a facelift
This one is obvious. I railed on the site enough last time. Mark Coker has indicated they're going to give the site some love this year, so we'll leave it at that.
2. Add moderated forums
Smashwords needs forums. Not like the Amazon forums, which run amuck with foul villainy, but forums like those on Fantasy Faction, Kindleboards, or Goodreads. Those forums are moderated by individuals who volunteer their time to keep the trolls from entering the castle. These forums could be a great place for readers to discuss books and for authors and readers to connect.
Attracting volunteers might be an issue. So, as an alternative, Smashwords could form a partnership with someone like Goodreads. Kobo already has formed a sort of partnership sin... [More]
Let me start by saying I love Smashwords. It's a great platform for the distribution of eBooks to multiple platforms with relatively little effort on the part of the author. I also like their coupon system, which allows me to hand out 100% off coupons to readers who agree to write a review of either of my eBooks. So as I get into what I perceive as deficiencies in the Smashwords way of doing things, I'm not demeaning them out of disrespect but because I don't think they're reaching their full potential. I would really like them to do well because then I do well.
I'm going to assume you're already familiar with Smashwords. But in case you aren't, here's the founder's explanation of what it's all about:
Smashwords is an ebook distributor. We make if fast, free and easy for authors and publishers to distribute ebooks to the world's largest ebook retailers. Authors and publishers retain full control over how their works... [More]
I'm stepping into the way-back machine today to highlight a series I wrote back in 2009 about selling your eBook without a publisher.
Back then I was just getting started with self-publishing. A lot of people were. I used the series of posts primarily as a way to familiarize myself with the various retailers, services, and how to actually produce an eBook. I've learned a lot since then. Still learning, in fact. But I think this series is still relevant. In fact, I think I could expand on it. For example, Kobo and CreateSpace are missing as retailers and service providers, respectively. Both are used by yours truly.
But, for now, here is the 8 part series in its original form broken down by post.
- Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 1: Introduction
- Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 2: E-book Formatting
- Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 3: Book Covers
- Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 4: Amazon.com
- Selling Your eBook Without a... [More]
The past year has been interesting to say the least. A lot has happened in the world of ePublishing and more people are reading electronically than ever before. It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to predict that eBooks and eReading in general will continue to do well in 2013.
I’m no expert in the field, but I've got this crystal ball I rented, and while the images it's showing me are pretty fuzzy, I thought I'd go out on a limb with some predictions. If nothing else it should be fun to re-visit this a year from now just to see how wrong I was.
1. Amazon does away with the 70% royalty rate for authors who do not enroll in KDP Select
KDP Select is Amazon’s opt-in program for authors who wish to have their books enrolled in the Kindle Lending Library. Amazon Prime subscribers can borrow any eBook in the library for free. Amazon then pays the author for each borrow. It was a good deal from the author’s pe... [More]
While the article cited below came out back in May, 2012, I never posted my reaction. Therefore, this untimely post.
So it turns out indie writing isn't the get rich quick scheme some people may have thought. From an article posted in The Guardian:
Despite the splash caused by self-publishing superstars such as Amanda Hocking and EL James, the average amount earned by DIY authors last year was just $10,000 (£6,375) – and half made less than $500.
The article states that "a small percentage of authors [brought] in sums of $100,000-plus in 2011". That by itself is inspiring. It fuels hopes and dreams, but, unfortunately, also adds to the noise of self-publishing. Suddenly anyone with a modicum of interest in writing is putting books out there. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that it's created a market that is highly competitive and even more difficult for writers to achieve monetary success.
Now, this is an interesting tidbit:
…self-publishers who received hel... [More]
Writing a book is a long, hard process. It's never-ending, too: As soon as you finish one, you really need to get started planning, outlining, and writing the next. But you also need to spend time selling and marketing. Very few writers, if any, are in it for the money. It's too much work with not enough return. Especially if you're an indie writer. Still, we try to sell our goods with the hope that one day we might support ourselves with our writing and therefore have more time to spend writing.
The biggest problem with selling: it takes a lot of time. Sure, you can release your book to the world and hope it gets traction on its own. I tried that for a while. For me, it didn't work. It wasn't until a combination of enrolling in KDP Select and implementing various engagements on Goodreads (advertising, giveaways) that my books started to get in front of people and start selling. But not only does the KDP Select rankings boost fade, Amazon also tweaked the ... [More]