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feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



So, I just finished my first novel.

Well, finished is a loaded word, as I'm sending the manuscript out to friends-and-family readers this weekend to get general feedback to see if anything really isn't working, then I'm going to get it edited. But in the meantime, I'm working on cover and blurb:

quote:

edit: deleted

I've gone through the advice in this thread and books of the sub-genre on Amazon and it feels like this might be a bit more plotty than average. However, I think it gets the main bullet points across well and in an intriguing manner.

e: Ultimately I want it to come off as "Scooby-Doo with romance for teenagers."

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 22:44 on Oct 2, 2019

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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
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feedmyleg posted:

e: Ultimately I want it to come off as "Scooby-Doo with romance for teenagers."

I don't like to give detailed blurb feedback because I think I personally suck at writing them myself, but I will say it definitely nails the vibe.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


A Goodreads book club has selected my recent vampire novel release as their book for September which I feel pretty chuffed about :)

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




freebooter posted:

A Goodreads book club has selected my recent vampire novel release as their book for September which I feel pretty chuffed about :)

The word chuffed, I think cause it reminds me of chafed, sounds like itís a bad thing, even though itís clearly not.

Congrats!

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I found Vellum to be really restrictive. Not being able to style certain elements was very frustrating so I took to InDesign. It was a bit of a learning curve when it came to working out some of the kinks on reflowable EPUBs but I think I've got the hang of it now

Only thing I'm worried about is Amazon's habit of skipping to the first chapter (due to KU page number payments I guess?) as my book begins with a quote and I'd really rather that not be skipped.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 10:18 on Sep 5, 2019

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


I have a free Bookbub on the 17th and thought I'd ease it into the rankings with a few smaller fry promotional newsletters. Checked my dashboard and I'm already at 2,500 downloads before the Bookbub even runs! I had to actually go back through my Paypal receipts to even remember who the smaller fries were, but for those of you wondering which cheaper newsletters are still effective: Freebooksy and Fussy Librarian.

Ed Zeddmore
Dec 12, 2011

:h:love will turn you around:h:


Would you say one of those newsletters was more effective than the other? I did Fussy Librarian recently and got almost 2000, but I've heard Freebooksy is bigger, so I'm wondering if I should try them next.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Impossible to tell unfortunately, since I scheduled them both for the same day and only have the number of downloads to go on. If you end up scheduling just a Freebooksy down the track, let us know what the difference was. I had a promo a while back where I had only Ebookhounds for the first day, and got like 20 downloads, so they're on the scrapheap.

Ed Zeddmore
Dec 12, 2011

:h:love will turn you around:h:


Yeah, Freebooksy would be a major splurge for me right now, but if I do end up trying it with this book, I'll definitely let everybody know how it goes. I know I need to have more than one book out under that pen name before I start spending too much money on it or actually making money from it, though. The point of this promo was really to get more readers and reviewers, so it's working out pretty well despite not turning out to be the magical sales generator that finally frees me from my roommates. My other name already has something out, so I might end up running these promos for something completely different first.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

I track my DLs when I do these free giveaways through mailing lists, and as far as Mysteries and Thrillers go the ranking is

Bookbub >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> eReader News today = FreeBooksy > Robin Reads >>> Everybody Else

My data is about a year out of date, but I haven't seen much that makes me think it's significantly different. I've hit #1 in the Free store on two different books off two Free Bookbub listings (domestic and international both times), so Bookbub is very good. ENT and FreeBooksy have gotten my stuff sub-100, and everything else is still pretty decent.

-----

So I'm doing a co-authored book for the first time. The other guy is pretty well established and has a nice following, so things are looking pretty good. But, before we self-pub, he wants to make a pitch to Thomas & Mercer.

I'm super excited! I feel like I'm playing with house money, and I can't lose no matter the direction we go.

KrunkMcGrunk fucked around with this message at 17:04 on Sep 19, 2019

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

Have other goons tried, or how do you feel about, using self-publishing not so much as a vehicle to make money but rather as a way of trying to build an audience to break into more traditional publishing?

That's sort of where I'm at, and I'd love to make some money selling work, but I don't want to go the route of writing 3-6 novels a year in order to build out a back catalog and spend a lot of time on marketing and promotion so people try the 1st novel of a series free than buy the others. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not what I want to do.

Also is there a discord where you guys talk? I thought I saw one mentioned earlier in the thread but nothing in the op (which is rather old).

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




Well, what do you want to do?

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

ketchup vs catsup posted:

Well, what do you want to do?

Sorry if I wasn't clear enough. I want to break into traditional publishing.

Lex Neville
Apr 15, 2009


I know next to nothing of self-publishing and, outside of my home country, only slightly more about traditional publishing, but I'd suspect you're probably better off trying to get a short story or two published in an esteemed journal and then contacting agents - or skipping the former altogether - than you would be publishing your own works.

Again, don't take my word as gospel, but from what I know self-publishing isn't regarded very highly in more traditional circles.

Lex Neville fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Sep 20, 2019

n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

The one author I know that has been published Simon and Schuster has a publishing agent which seems to make a huge difference. The good agents only bring good work to the publishers so they learn to trust them. Good luck just landing an agent without some credentials. S&S did virtually no marketing for her last book despite having a long time strong selling book for them. You have to create your own audience. The only way to have an audience is to write. We always look at how much of a following an author has prior to publishing them. If you have no following you have to write something really amazing for us to want to deal with you (we are an indy non fiction pub).

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

Lex Neville posted:

I know next to nothing of self-publishing and, outside of my home country, only slightly more about traditional publishing, but I'd suspect you're probably better off trying to get a short story or two published in an esteemed journal and then contacting agents - or skipping the former altogether - than you would be publishing your own works.

Again, don't take my word as gospel, but from what I know self-publishing isn't regarded very highly in more traditional circles.

This is a good suggestion and I was going to try to do that also.

n8r posted:

The one author I know that has been published Simon and Schuster has a publishing agent which seems to make a huge difference. The good agents only bring good work to the publishers so they learn to trust them. Good luck just landing an agent without some credentials. S&S did virtually no marketing for her last book despite having a long time strong selling book for them. You have to create your own audience. The only way to have an audience is to write. We always look at how much of a following an author has prior to publishing them. If you have no following you have to write something really amazing for us to want to deal with you (we are an indy non fiction pub).

This was more or less my take.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

pseudanonymous posted:

Have other goons tried, or how do you feel about, using self-publishing not so much as a vehicle to make money but rather as a way of trying to build an audience to break into more traditional publishing?

That's sort of where I'm at, and I'd love to make some money selling work, but I don't want to go the route of writing 3-6 novels a year in order to build out a back catalog and spend a lot of time on marketing and promotion so people try the 1st novel of a series free than buy the others. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not what I want to do.

Also is there a discord where you guys talk? I thought I saw one mentioned earlier in the thread but nothing in the op (which is rather old).

Gaining an audience and making money self-pubbing (or any publishing route, I'd imagine) go hand-in-hand. If you want to self-pub your work and ignore the marketing half of the job you are entirely free to do so. However, without marketing you're unlikely to gain much of a following, which wouldn't make your work very attractive to a publishing house.

However, you can absolutely self-publish a single book a year, and still make a livable income. It's not easy, but it is possible--and you can't neglect marketing, even if it's something as simple as setting up an Amazon Advertising campaign, or FB ads, or BB ads.

If you are vehemently opposed to marketing work, I don't think self-pubbing is going to do you any good.

However, if you're serious about writing, you should absolutely look into agents accepting submissions of the kind of work you want to make.

jazzyjay
Sep 11, 2003

PULL OVER



I'm about to publish the third book in my South Wind series. I've posted in this thread about my experiences publishing books 1 and 2, so I thought I would share anything useful I learn with this launch.

Book three has been a long time coming as I've been working full time for the past two years. More than full time actually - running a diving operation in the third world is a time sink I do not recommend! Anyway, I'm out of it now, so able to focus on launching Flood Tide. Its going through its final proofread so I'm starting to line up promotions etc.

On thing I'm trying this time is BookSprout to gather ARC reviews. Previously I've used Bookfunnel to distribute ARCs but BookSprout's all-in-one approach to gaining new readers looks interesting. If you're interested in snagging an ARC of the first two books, here are the links. I'm using the free trial version so can only distribute 20 copies of each book though.

EBB TIDE: https://booksprout.co/arc/21099/ebb-tide
SLACK WATER: https://booksprout.co/arc/21100/slack-water

As for actually launching the book - since its the third book in the series, I was thinking of making the first two free for 5 days and launching the new book at 99c. Then after five days, putting book 1 to 99c as a loss-leader and setting 2 & 3 at 2.99 for a while. Promo it in Freebooksy, Fussy Librarian and eReader News as I've had a decent result with them last time.

Then in a couple of months, I'm planning to bundle all three as a trilogy and republish as a single volume in time for Christmas, probably going with Facebook ads as I hope the larger cover price will validate the larger advertising send.

If anyone's got any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Gaining an audience and making money self-pubbing (or any publishing route, I'd imagine) go hand-in-hand. If you want to self-pub your work and ignore the marketing half of the job you are entirely free to do so. However, without marketing you're unlikely to gain much of a following, which wouldn't make your work very attractive to a publishing house.

However, you can absolutely self-publish a single book a year, and still make a livable income. It's not easy, but it is possible--and you can't neglect marketing, even if it's something as simple as setting up an Amazon Advertising campaign, or FB ads, or BB ads.

If you are vehemently opposed to marketing work, I don't think self-pubbing is going to do you any good.

However, if you're serious about writing, you should absolutely look into agents accepting submissions of the kind of work you want to make.

I'm not opposed to marketing, I just want to limit my time in it to what's effective that kind of 80/20 thing, and I don't want to try and go the route of spamming out mediocre books. This is what I've read quite a few "succesful" self-publishing authors pretty much do.

I have started looking into agents accepting queries, I just thought if I spent maybe 50% of my time over the next 6 months trying out serializing on Reddit, self-publishing on kindle, blogging, submitting to flash sites and such I'd be in a much stronger place when my manuscript was finished.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

pseudanonymous posted:

I'm not opposed to marketing, I just want to limit my time in it to what's effective that kind of 80/20 thing, and I don't want to try and go the route of spamming out mediocre books. This is what I've read quite a few "succesful" self-publishing authors pretty much do.

I have started looking into agents accepting queries, I just thought if I spent maybe 50% of my time over the next 6 months trying out serializing on Reddit, self-publishing on kindle, blogging, submitting to flash sites and such I'd be in a much stronger place when my manuscript was finished.

Finding an audience on reddit and blogging is good, but those things can take up a lot of time! I should add that in my experience, PPC ads (through Amazon, FB, BB) and a regularly-updated mailing list are also a great way to find and keep an audience.

People def push out low-quality books quickly as a way to game the Amazon algo, but you can absolutely publish much, much slower and still earn a living. It's all about finding your audience and keeping them engaged.

KrunkMcGrunk fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Sep 27, 2019

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

jazzyjay posted:



I'm about to publish the third book in my South Wind series. I've posted in this thread about my experiences publishing books 1 and 2, so I thought I would share anything useful I learn with this launch.

Book three has been a long time coming as I've been working full time for the past two years. More than full time actually - running a diving operation in the third world is a time sink I do not recommend! Anyway, I'm out of it now, so able to focus on launching Flood Tide. Its going through its final proofread so I'm starting to line up promotions etc.

On thing I'm trying this time is BookSprout to gather ARC reviews. Previously I've used Bookfunnel to distribute ARCs but BookSprout's all-in-one approach to gaining new readers looks interesting. If you're interested in snagging an ARC of the first two books, here are the links. I'm using the free trial version so can only distribute 20 copies of each book though.

EBB TIDE: https://booksprout.co/arc/21099/ebb-tide
SLACK WATER: https://booksprout.co/arc/21100/slack-water

As for actually launching the book - since its the third book in the series, I was thinking of making the first two free for 5 days and launching the new book at 99c. Then after five days, putting book 1 to 99c as a loss-leader and setting 2 & 3 at 2.99 for a while. Promo it in Freebooksy, Fussy Librarian and eReader News as I've had a decent result with them last time.

Then in a couple of months, I'm planning to bundle all three as a trilogy and republish as a single volume in time for Christmas, probably going with Facebook ads as I hope the larger cover price will validate the larger advertising send.

If anyone's got any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

That sounds like a solid gameplan to me!

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006





I wish you nothing but success but I am not a fan of book 3ís cover at all. The visual motif you had going of the girl standing and looking with the titles in front and the cool background is completely replaced with a close up muddy shot.

Book 2ís cover is excellent and 1 is a tier below, but 3ís is bad. I had to stare at it for a couple seconds to understand it.

jazzyjay
Sep 11, 2003

PULL OVER

ketchup vs catsup posted:

The visual motif you had going of the girl standing and looking with the titles in front and the cool background is completely replaced with a close up muddy shot.


Thanks for the feedback - that's a bloody good point about the change in motif! I'll see what else I can come up with.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

I was going to say the same thing. Book 3 doesn't look like it's from the same series as the first two.

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010




ketchup vs catsup posted:

I wish you nothing but success but I am not a fan of book 3ís cover at all. The visual motif you had going of the girl standing and looking with the titles in front and the cool background is completely replaced with a close up muddy shot.

Book 2ís cover is excellent and 1 is a tier below, but 3ís is bad. I had to stare at it for a couple seconds to understand it.

Agreed. But, using a red background for girl
Standing would be a good contrast. Dudes glow in the lower part of the image is neat. Iíd say keep glow, but change girl. (Youíll need new images, but Iím just giving you a reference point).

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Can you not create an Author Central account until after you've hit publish on your first book? I'm trying to get everything prepped for launch and it keeps trying to get me to select a book I've written before I fill out my profile.

jazzyjay
Sep 11, 2003

PULL OVER

Bardeh posted:

I was going to say the same thing. Book 3 doesn't look like it's from the same series as the first two.

eurgh now I remember why I went with that cover in the first place - its virtually impossible to find a stock photo of a woman with a firearm that isn't ridiculously sexualised.

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

feedmyleg posted:

Can you not create an Author Central account until after you've hit publish on your first book? I'm trying to get everything prepped for launch and it keeps trying to get me to select a book I've written before I fill out my profile.

yeah i think the best you can do is upload is a rough draft and set it up as a pre-release. They won't let you make an author page until you have a book.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


I quite like the third cover, with its juxtaposition of the blonde girl and the scary Maori warrior.* It doesn't quite fit with the dimensions of the other two but I think it works on its own. I don't have enough knowledge or personal experience to say that a third book cover which starts deviating is going to be enough to turn off "loyal" readers - and I definitely think it's only deviating in actual visual form, not theme or colours or anything like that. It just feels a bit zoomed in, I guess? But still thematically part of the series?

(*That is probably ~*~Problematic~*~ on its own terms but that's not really something we as self-pub authors have to worry about getting dragged for.)

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Probably not a fair assessment, but that's what my mind jumped to as well. Blonde girl with big gun + scary indigenous art = MAGA fantasy.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


I mean I definitely don't think it's fair I've just spent way too much time marinated in reactionary Twitter and now my mind always jumps to the worst conclusion the worst person would draw. (Also Maori war paint is supposed to be threatening, that's the point of it!)

jazzyjay
Sep 11, 2003

PULL OVER

feedmyleg posted:

Probably not a fair assessment, but that's what my mind jumped to as well. Blonde girl with big gun + scary indigenous art = MAGA fantasy.

Haha aaahhh yeah that juxtaposition is not something I considered - but is pretty obvious now I've taken a step back. That's reason enough to junk that cover. I make a cover while planning a novel as its both fun and helps make the project real. In this case, I never revisited the cover since doing the initial concept art, using whatever photos I had already bought on my stock photos account.

It's interesting what Freebooter says about problematic issues, as its something that I'm well aware of while writing. In this case the villain is a white guy who co-opts Polynesian iconography such as facial tattoos as part of his bullshit agenda - I've had Maori friends check it out to make sure I was being appropriate and got the feedback it was all good. Mostly because they were sick of white guys doing stuff like this in the real world so enjoyed seeing one get his comeuppance.

I'd used depositphotos.com years ago when I was making commissioned romance covers, and found the selection of photos of "women with gun" who are NOT in bikinis or underwear depressingly low. But I've just checked out shutterstock.com who have a much better range - and also are having a special deal until October 3 where the first month's subscription of 10 photos are free - the code is TRY10FREE if anyone is interested.

I came up with three new design concepts and sent them around my reader group. If anyone is interested, votes were 100% for the third.

Burkion
May 10, 2012

Changeman! And Not A Moment Too Soon!


The wider shot looks better, yeah. The blue fits better with flood, too

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


Burkion posted:

The wider shot looks better, yeah. The blue fits better with flood, too

I agree.

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




Third is best, but the lighting feels off on the girl. At her head level, the sun is clearly shining from her front left, but if you look down at her hand and over to her hair, it looks to come from her back left.

Fate Accomplice fucked around with this message at 20:49 on Oct 1, 2019

n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

I think you could back the sun light way off if that is something you're adding in with photoshop. I'd be interested in seeing it without that aging/artifact effect you've added on. I think you're colors are off on the fonts as well, the 'book three' part stands out the most because it's white. I'd suggest going smaller on the author name as well, nobody knows who you are, really prioritize the flood tide title. I think you could probably ditch the book three thing completely off the cover.

I'd do no artifact, reduce/eliminate sun effect, title where author name is, author name in lower right or lower left. Use either the same color for both title / author name, or use a 'real' complimentary color for the author name:
https://www.sessions.edu/color-calculator/

jazzyjay
Sep 11, 2003

PULL OVER

Interestingly I haven't done anything with the photo beside text and scratches - all the lighting is in the original photo. My guess is the photographer used fill flash or lighting to offset the sun behind the model and that's what you're picking up as weird lighting effects.

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




I just want to see her face better, thereís too much shine on it

Grand Theft Autobot
Feb 28, 2008

by sebmojo


Duuk posted:

Time does bloody fly, doesn't it. Based on what I read here, one needs to write 4-6 books per year to expect long term success.

I think this is true whether you self-publish or get published by a trad publisher.

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n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

jazzyjay posted:

Interestingly I haven't done anything with the photo beside text and scratches - all the lighting is in the original photo. My guess is the photographer used fill flash or lighting to offset the sun behind the model and that's what you're picking up as weird lighting effects.



Photoshop a bit more sky, put the title up there. Starting just below her waist do some author name / series name stuff. Big huge author name style screams lovely grocery store paperback. Also ditch the scratches.

There is enough going on with the original photo, don't overdo it.

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