Let’s Get Digital Is Free. Maybe Forever? Publishing Resources

I first published Let’s Get Digital in July 2011, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and then released a (much) revamped and updated version in September 2014. Combined, both editions have sold well over 25,000 copies at this point, which is about 24,000 copies more than I ever hoped. So my sincere thanks to all of you for that – particularly the generous authors who contributed to the book and the army of writers recommending it to others. Speaking of which, a friend told me the other day that she was grateful I’d written the book because it gives her a quick and easy way to answer emails from newbs. Well, let me tell you, I’m totally fine with monetizing Read More…

Staying Sane in a Crazy (Self-Publishing) World Publishing Writing

How do you keep yourself from going crazy? It probably helps if you are reasonably well-balanced in the first place, but, for the rest of you, I have some advice today from Susan Kaye Quinn. As many of you will know, Susan is the author of the bestselling Mindjack series, and lots of other books too, including the highly regarded Indie Author Survival Guide – the second edition of which has just been released. She"s also releasing a companion book for more experienced authors in mid-July which has the intriguing title of For Love Or Money: Crafting An Indie Author Career and it"s available now for pre-order. Here"s Susan on how to stay sane in a crazy (self-publishing) world. Susan Read More…

Building a Killer Email List

There is a lot of upheaval in publishing today and I think that’s likely to increase rather than decrease. The best insurance policy any writer can have against the future is a targeted mailing list. I’ve written before about how the author with the biggest mailing list wins, and I’ve invited Nick Stephenson along today because he’s got some great ideas on how to boost your list. The cool thing about his approach is that it’s something anyone can do. And, as you will see, it really, really works. Here’s Nick with more: Building a Killer Email List As an author, I try to read as much as possible. I tend to get excited over 8 or 9 different authors across a few Read More…

The Great E-book Pricing Question Marketing Publishing

There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly. Price/value confusion Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value. Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.” Price and value are two different things. Read More…

Using Story Beats To Increase Writing Speed Writing

You may be familiar with the Self-Publishing Podcast – hosted by Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright – which has featured all sorts of people doing interesting things in the world of self-publishing. Well, now the SPP guys have released a book – Write. Publish. Repeat – and it’s fantastic. Long-time readers of this blog might remember Dave guest-posting here way back in October 2011 about a serial fiction experiment he was conducting with Sean. The experiment was a huge success and Sean & Dave have since written a bunch more serials, including one for Amazon’s SF/F imprint 47North. Sean also co-writes with Johnny, and together they’ve written a bunch more serials too (over a million words published last Read More…

Amazon Adds Sub-Categories To Historical & Literary Fiction Publishing

There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!). The first is demographics: romance and erotica readers were the first to switch to digital, followed by mystery and thriller fans, leading to the success stories of Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people Read More…

The Craft of Writing: Interview with Michael Wallace (Part II) Writing

Today I have Part II of my interview with Michael Wallace – an author who has sold over 400,000 e-books since he started self-publishing in January 2011. If you missed Part I yesterday, that’s here and make sure to read that first. In this second installment, Michael talks about the kind of marketing that has worked for him, his advice for newer self-publishers, and his take on the 10,000 hours theory as it applies to the craft of writing. We talked about author platform, but that’s only one aspect of marketing. While you don’t spend a huge amount of time blogging, or on Twitter or whatever, you do take an active role in promoting your books. What has been the Read More…

The 20 Year Overnight Success: Interview with Michael Wallace Writing

I have an interview today with Michael Wallace, an author who has sold over 400,000 e-books since he started self-publishing back in January 2011. Michael patiently took the time over several days to answer my questions about writing, marketing, the craft, and the business. Given the length of the interview, and because I didn’t want to cut any of the great answers he gave, I’m posting this over two days. The second part will go live at the same time tomorrow: 5pm GMT/Noon Eastern. When I started self-publishing a couple of years ago, you were one of those guys already doing well that everyone was watching closely. I think you uploaded your first in January of that year, and, if memory Read More…

The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins Marketing

What happens when a reader finishes your e-books? What’s the first thing they see? What’s the first thing they do? Back-matter is extremely important. Presuming you have done your job as a writer well, it’s a golden opportunity to draw readers into your world. The basic components of effective back-matter are fairly straightforward: blurbs for and/or links to your other books, links to whatever social media presence you have, a short note requesting reviews, and, most important of all, a link to your New Release Mailing List. If you don’t have a mailing list already, you need to set one up immediately. It’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Without an effective method for collecting readers’ emails Read More…

Can You Self-Publish Your Way to a Big Deal?

Self-published author Lindsay Buroker was approached recently by 47North, Amazon’s SF/F/H imprint. Today Lindsay is here to explain how you can best position yourself to attract an offer. And, despite what you may think, it’s not all about sales. Self-publishing offers a lot of advantages over the traditional path: freedom to write whatever you choose and price however you like; real-time sales figures; direct connection with readers; complete creative control over things like covers; and, of course, the famous 70% royalty rate (and more again if you sell direct). Despite all these advantages, many self-publishers are keen to leverage their success into a publishing deal. For some, it’s a nice advance, access to bookstores, and the potential increased marketability of subsidiary rights Read More…

The Anatomy of A Book Cover

I know very little about cover design in a technical sense, but I know what I like, what I don’t, and that I should never attempt to do it myself. Self-publishing, for me, is all about rolling up your sleeves and taking care of every little minute detail, but there are two areas where I would never attempt to go it alone: editing and cover design. I have said many times on this blog that with a modicum of effort, a professional outlook, and a little bit of cash, self-publishers can match or exceed the production standards of New York. The most powerful self-publishing tools cost nothing, and a digital self-publisher can produce work at the highest level only spending Read More…