Self-Publishing News: 9.10.2018 – The Interviews!

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically interviews with or articles written by self-publishing authors and experts!

A.B. Endacott, self-published Australian author, wrote this insightful piece for The Nerd Daily, a pop-culture (and just regular culture) website for those interested in regular updates on news, books to read, and more. In it, Endacott chronicles her journey through the publication process–specifically, its immediate aftermath, in marketing and selling her books. She first published in 2017 with two books, Queendom of the Seven Lakes and King of the Seven Lakes, and published a separate article through The Nerd Daily several weeks back on why she chose to take the indie route. In this week’s article, however, she focuses on what all she did to raise awareness about her books, from reviews to placement to social media, and her suggestions for other authors based on her experience. The best suggestion? That authors should get to have fun after their books are published, even during the marketing process. Seems like solid advice to us!

Although not strictly an interview, this article covers an author visit by Sandy Tritt to the Point Pleasant Writer’s Guild in such detail that it might as well be! Tritt, who is known for being the founder and CEO of Inspiration for Writers, Inc. and author of the books Everything I Know and The Plain English Writer’s Workbook, walked the guild members through her publishing experiences and her knowledge of the publishing process, step-by-step. Erin Perkins of the Point Pleasant Register describes Tritt as discussing the positives and negatives of both traditional publishing and indie publishing, including self-publishing and hybrid publishing. When opening the floor to questions, Tritt was asked for advice on keeping motivation. According to Perkins, “Tritt said if an author feels they need to tell a story, time will be made, and the author must ask themselves what is most important. […] ‘If you feel like you have the story tell, if you don’t write it, who will?'” The tried-and-true advice of published authors is invaluable to those looking to take the self-publishing path; if you have a chance to sit in on some author visits, we highly recommend it!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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In Your Corner: Growing Your Market With Eyes For the Future Harvest

fall computer autumn

In many parts of America, it’s already Fall. Oh, maybe pumpkin spice mochas haven’t quite hit the menu yet, but school is back in session or just about to return to session, and many of us are starting to plan ahead for the coming seasons: Fall means back-to-school and back-to-daily-routine planning and the comedown from summer vacations; Winter means the holidays have well and truly arrive, and all the reunions and trips and expenses that come with them; Spring means the winter doldrums are over and it’s time to lay the groundwork for the new year. This transition time, between Summer and Fall, is our last best chance to plan ahead before things get well and truly busy.

It’s time to prepare the soil and plant the seeds for your next marketing plan.

Technically, when it comes to marketing, including marketing for your own self-published book or books, it’s always time to plant these seeds. After all, the best marketing plan is a robust one with a whole stable of ideas running simultaneously, from attending book fairs to scheduling book readings to participating in a book blog tour to reaching out to your local radio stations to creating meaningful content for your social media posts. But since we’re human beings, we need things broken down into manageable bits and bytes for us to move forward without falling over our own feet.  Or at least, this is a common enough necessity that I too have experienced it: We all need to hit the “reset” button every now and then, whether our plans grew so messy in the previous season as to drive us to exhaustion, or because they fizzled out and we need to relaunch them with fresh vim and vigor.

reset button

So … if resetting one’s marketing plan is equivalent to laying the groundwork for your next harvest, what does resetting actually look like?

  1. First off, resetting doesn’t mean “stop everything you’re doing and burn it all down.” That would be a crying shame, given that even the slimmest of strategies, even the ones which tapered off sooner than you would have liked or that never really got off the ground, did some important work–work like getting you registered on your social media platforms of choice, or acquiring some followers on your blog.
  2. Resetting does mean taking stock. It’s time to make an inventory of all the marketing strategies you’ve tried, and running some numbers. What kind of engagement did you see on this or that social media platform? Did you see more success with Twitter or Instagram? Your blog or your Facebook page? And this is just as important: How much time did you spend, on average, marketing through each of these avenues? Get that down on paper (or pixels), too. Don’t cast any judgments or make any emotional calls until you’ve had a chance to actually run these numbers and put them all on one page.
  3. Then you get to make some judgment calls. And yes, your emotions about these things totally matter! If you had a negative personal experience with a social media platform, Twitter for example, you may not feel comfortable returning to it for marketing reasons. And that’s okay. That would make for a great reason to try out an alternate platform, if it leaves you with a gap. If you’re quitting Facebook, try Goodreads. If you’re quitting Twitter, try Instagram. If you’re quitting Snapchat, try YouTube. There are so many choices to choose from! But keeping it manageable is the real trick here.
  4. Keeping it manageable applies to all aspects of your marketing. If your original marketing plan fizzled out without much success, it’s usually because either the original plan was A) too ambitious, or B) not ambitious enough. You’ll know instinctively which of these was your struggle simply by looking at your inventory of time spent marketing. And if your original marketing plan stalled out because you were exhausted from trying to keep all the balls in the air, very likely you’d be in the former category, not the latter. If you were in camp B), it’s time to experiment a little. I can’t force you to, and it’s very likely I can’t even entice you to, but I will certainly encourage you to pick up one or two new marketing strategies this year–and to go back to the beginning, as if you’ve never marketed your book before. (Just be sure to hang on to those followers and strategies which you’ve already established.) If you’re camp A), your reset must include scaling back. This doesn’t mean burning bridges or quitting social media platforms altogether, however; I suggest announcing your new plans on all of your platforms, even to the point where you announce you’re scaling back on your engagement in some areas so that you can focus on others. This gives you a chance to direct your followers to those platforms where you saw the most return on your time and energy. while still giving those followers on less-high-return platforms something to remind them that your book exists and you care about them as readers. But you do need to scale back the time and energy you’re spending on marketing if you find yourself burnt out. You need to feel free to experiment and play and enjoy yourself, too!
  5. Resetting means returning to the things which bring you joy. Resetting is about recovery, and rejuvenation, and starting afresh. You can’t start afresh if the very thought of marketing, or of doing more, depresses you! Worse still, your potential readers can totally pick up on a lack of enthusiasm, given their skill at … oh, reading between the lines. So focus on those things which bring you joy. What platforms, marketing strategies, and daily marketing habits were the least intrusive? Which ones made you smile? Focus your energy there for a while. It’s okay to pull back, take stock, and re-center on those things. I give you permission. The world gives you permission. Your book gives you permission! And once you’re in a good place, you’re in the perfect place to craft the architecture of your next marketing plan–and to start growing those strategies which will bring in your next harvest.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Growing Your Market With Elbow Grease

Over the last several weeks of this summer, I’ve written about the difficulties of both making a fresh start when getting started and having to re-start your marketing plan when something goes south. Both of those involve a lot of work, it’s true, but this week it’s worth reminding everyone (including myself) that the work is worth it.

I wrote recently about my gardens being stripped accidentally. Well, after having a mini-meltdown and lapsing into total self-loathing and disappointment for a few days, I decided to take a couple of baby steps. I did a soil pH test one day, laid down some fresh soil the next. Ordered a couple of packets of wildflowers and bush beans the day after that. Took handfuls and spread them out the following weekend.

Now, things are starting to come up. It may not be the garden I first envisioned, and it may never again look like the original, but it’s still something. And it still makes me happy. It brings me joy.

Just like writing, and marketing, when I see the first signs of success.

gardening

The elbow grease needs to be there. It’s never going to be the easiest thing, marketing. But it also doesn’t have to be the hardest thing you do each day. Line it up after your fifteen minutes of foreign language learning each day (Duolingo is brilliant, isn’t it?), your half-hour walk, and your afternoon smoothie. Making marketing just another part of your routine, something that has a little bit of structure but not so much it interferes with the rest of your day, is critical to it remaining a long-term part of your life.

I should know. I’ve been to the marketing (and the gardening!) doldrums this summer with you. I know what it looks like. And I’m here to remind you: it’s not the end. It’s never the end. It’s just another part of your life, and you get to make it fit with the rest of who you are and what you do. And in the end, you’re going to sell some books simply because you were willing to show up for a few minutes each day and remind the world that you have a brilliant new book out there in the world, and it’s ready to be read.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

 

Using Book Videos to Market Your Books

youtube video illustration

Everyone knows Google is the #1 search engine. Any guesses for #2?

YouTube.  

Video is quickly become the de facto way in which people interact with the Internet, which means you are missing out on a world of opportunity if you don’t have at least one book video (and preferably more). The good news is that it is easier than ever to make videos.  In fact, you probably have everything you need in your pocket right now.

Every major social media site (SnapChat, Instagram, and Facebook included) is jumping on the video bandwagon and most of them are following in the shadow of the one that popularized it all: YouTube.

Youtube is for authors, too.

The YouTube app makes it easy to record videos on your mobile phone and then upload them to a channel that you can create exclusively for your book. If you write multiple books, you may be better off creating a channel about you as the author and then include videos about all your books in one place, rather than uploading them across multiple channels, since managing multiple YouTube channels is more trouble than it’s worth.  And besides, you’ll already be busy uploading the same videos to Instagram and Facebook and other video sites, like Vimeo.

You can easily download the YouTube app from the iTunes App Store, but if you prefer not to use the YouTube App, it’s still easy to record videos on your phone and then upload them directly. Another alternative is a webcam. Nearly all laptops and tablets come with video cameras nowadays.  Just aim and shoot and upload. Of course, you can always go “higher-end” with a GoPro camera or something even higher-definition, although the price and the complexity makes it less worthwhile. Start small, start cheap, and as your experience with shooting videos grows, so too can your budget and quality.

The technical aspect is actually the easy part.  More difficult is deciding WHAT your video is going to accomplish, or what it is going to say.  While it is certainly simple to record yourself reading passages from your book, that may not make for the most exciting video to watch.  

Entertaining and/or educational videos are the way to go.

How-to videos, for instance, are very popular. This means authors of non-fiction how-to books have a large pool of content from which to draw.  Every chapter could be its own video; heck, perhaps even every page if you wish to make a series of shorter videos (which are more popular than longer ones, and drive more subscriptions to your channel to boot).  

Children are almost as popular as cats in videos, so children’s book authors … rejoice!  Let the little ones be your stars and reap the rewards for their cuteness. If you’ve written a cookbook, you’re golden. Film yourself cooking some of your recipes.  The point is, no matter what kind of book you have written, you can create a book video to market it. If all else fails, use stock photography sites to pull some still images down and edit them in with memes or quote cards and tell the story of your book or summarize its plot or message.  With the right selection of music, even these can be effective. Slide.ly and Animoto are two third-party video sites that make this process relatively simple and relatively inexpensive.

Once you make one video and upload it, make another one, and make it unique. Then, track the views and comments to see which type of videos are most popular with your audience.


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Tuesday Book Review: “Five O’Clock”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

five o'clock Joe Montaño III

writer's digest 25th annual self published book awards

Honorable Mention: Poetry Category

Five O’Clock

by Joe Montaño III

ISBN: 9781478771753

Synopsis*:

“singer, fruit picker, behind his
father, walking music thru desert sunrise.”

Conjured in crude images of thenatural world, the poetry of Joe Montaño III connects the reader to the great music,art, film & literature created before us and to his own cultural past. Hiswords strive to illuminate the breadth of human fallacy, compelling compassionatesouls to speak with punk rock conviction through the filter of profoundabstraction.

From Picasso to Buster Keaton tothe New York Dolls, a source exists within the greatest and most flawed of ourinspirations. From here, and from the many places of travel and childhood home,Joe Montaño pieces together his own culture, while finding a place within hisown elusive Hispanic heritage. Ever the expositor, he persists in his searchfor connection, as well as a place to push off of.

“There oughta-be-a
burn down the town anthem stuttered
by the tongues of youth, those failures
waiting for sunrise so to daydream.”

The poet seeks to create Universalwork that not only endures, but moves and travels with the reader. JoeMontaño’s words reflect a personal & disquieting truth of humanity insurrealistic detail. To identify with these poems is to walk a brambled path -conceding ego, confessing fault – and also made curiously pleased by thethought of our own inherent golden core.

“The sun has called him a murderer, and
punishes his skin and eyes…taking his god away
while shading the poet, the dandy rebel, and
the lovers like naked gypsies
bathing in the light.”

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

If there is any type of poetry I admire the most it would be the abstract and surreal type of poetry.
Likewise Joe Moantano’s first book is packed from cover to cover with both of those, plus poems of humor, stories of his culture and tradition, plus some of his outlooks on life and attitude. It is difficult to pick out a favorite poem out of this book, so instead I’ll just say that “blue#1&2” really stood out. Overall it’s a good book to read over time and thought, and re-read after that. As a person I think of Joe as one of those kinds of enigmatic types who is full of generosity and a passion for poetry. (Although the latter of which may be misunderstood by some folks)

– reviewed on Amazon by Gene Miller

Another Review

Joe Montano III is a thinking man’s poet. No slam poet pop culture fluff here. Read his poetry aloud to appreciate its rhythm and meaning. Hearing Joe’s poetry always inspires me to want to write more myself.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

 

Author Website

http://artofjoemontanoiii.yolasite.com/

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 7.30.2018 – April Round-Up

July

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, wrapping up what’s new for you and yours in April 2018.

Every now and again, we need a success story to remind us of why we do what we do, and this one from Publisher’s Weekly contributor Matia Burnett is a gem; Burnett interviewed author Susan Wittig Albert, who has published more than 100 books, on how she could possibly both publish books and also make time for “raising cattle, sheep, geese, ducks, dogs, cats, and chickens (not to mention gardening and fiber crafting) on her 31-acre farm in the Texas Hill Country.” The short answer? Susan Wittig Albert has a work ethic which puts many of us to shame, but the long answer? She makes time. Her experience has run the full gamut from indie to traditional to entrepreneur and back and forth again, and she has much wisdom to share on all of these varied and rich experiences. Well worth a read!

Adam Rowe of Forbes is fast becoming a name to watch when it comes to the latest and greatest hits on self-publishing and the digital sphere; in this week’s online issue, he tackles one of the greatest thorns in the industry’s side: fraud. But before he gets there, he tackles the history, unfolding piece by piece how both the problems and advantages of self-publishing have evolved alongside the technology itself. He talks about those so-called “agent reading fees” (scam!), so-called “referral scams” (definitely scam!), and fake or misleading awards (also definitely a scam!). Right now, in 2018, Rowe recommends steering clear of anything that doesn’t hold up under due diligence research, including: “A fast fast-growing cabal of predatory self-publishing or marketing companies operating from the Philippines.” A good self-publishing company will be up-front about its fees, and will be more than happy to answer questions when contacted.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 7.23.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

July

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

This article from Publishers Weekly comes at the perfect time to remind us how much we love audiobooks (and how perfectly suited audiobooks are for the summer holiday season, with all of its road trips and its changes of pace). The article, an interview between PW contributor Benjamin South and “audio veteran” Scott Brick, is revealing on many levels–first, peeling back the layers (and the myths) of what audiobooks are or are not to authors, including self-published and indie authors. Brick is known primarily for using his voice as a narrator of these books, but he’s also now using his voice to advocate for them. Says Brick:

My choices are driven by wanting to work with really good authors and it’s thrilling when people get in touch with me to say they’ve discovered a new author because of me. I am also a fan first and foremost. Most of the new authors coming out these days are indie authors, and if that’s where they are, that’s where I am going to follow.

Brick goes on to describe what draws him to a book, how he goes about collaborating with indie authors to bring their books to an audio format, and the ways in which working with indie authors and self-published books is different from working with a traditional publisher. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether or not you should pursue creating an audiobook edition of your self-published book, this revealing interview is an absolute must!

Last month in this news space, we discussed a different, earlier article on one of of the new ways that indie and self-publishing authors are breaking out into mainstream awareness: through Wattpad, and collaborations between streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and that unique story-publishing platform. This month, pop culture titan Vulture tackled the subject with this article by Chris Lee, wherein Lee breaks down what it is, exactly, about the platform that has led to it having such a moment. And it’s not just Netflix and Hulu getting in on the action: broadcast television network The CW is also putting out feelers, as well as NBCUniversal. And while Wattpad’s star is rising quite high these days, the question remains: can its success translate or “trickle down” to other indie and self-publishing outlets, platforms, and authors? According to Wattpad Studios’ chief Aron Levitz, (“as well as entertainment executives from companies in partnership with Wattpad,” writes Lee), there’s one specific reason why Wattpad is leading the pack:

[…] the Toronto-based publishing platform’s devoted community of readers provides a secret weapon in developing content with road-tested mass appeal: data. By actively commenting — often paragraph by paragraph over the course of, say, a 300-page online book — Wattpad readers function as a highly motivated focus group, helping dictate plotlines, vetting characters, and even the deletion of scenes.

It doesn’t hurt that while Wattpad is finding ways to its stories, the vast majority of content on the website is free, and the platform is brokering deals with these film companies without necessarily forwarding those profits to its authors. It remains to be seen whether the authors whose stories are being adapted will receive the same treatment as, say, a traditionally-published author or a self-published author in the usual mode. Watch this space as developments continue!

“How would you choose to build a general book publisher today, if starting from scratch? That was the question I found myself asking two years ago,” writes Pete Duncan, author of this recent blog post for The Bookseller. Duncan, who compares the average 10 to 20-year lifespan of a modern tech company to the longevity of many large publishing houses, set out to discover exactly what it would take to succeed in modern terms at “that delicate balancing act which the publishing industry has so often been adept at, of combining riskier publishing with safer bets, to keep shareholders’ hair on, and publishing across unrelated categories, to cushion against unforeseeable changes in readers’ taste.” It’s not an easy act, he concluded, after a year working in consultation with “a variety of book publishers small and large, self-publishing authors, website publishers, and companies from other sectors running some type of publishing activity.” One thing these all had in common? Things may not be so stable when it comes to publishing at all, with fragmentation of services and the multiplication and innovation of online services in many ways replicating and suborning traditional publishing models. Having now launched Prelude Books, a hybrid company seeking to occupy many niches all at once, Duncan is entirely honest about the challenges ahead. But the rewards are equally as great: “In this new type of publishing the relationship with the reader is fantastically direct and instantaneous – no more having to persuade intermediaries to stock a book then rely on yet more intermediaries to build the basic level of buzz.” This whole blog is a gem, and we highly recommend you take a look.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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