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DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


Thank you everyone for the kind words! I hope it helps you, and I'd love to see what you are publishing! (Cough, Order of the Magi guy is a SA person). I'd love to publish a novel, but I think if I go that route I have to put some effort into marketing ;)

White Chocolate posted:

Oh that is interesting can you talk about your decision to go on kindle unlimited?

My decision to go with kindle unlimited spawned because I didn't want to deal with multiple marketplaces. Since I was only going to go on amazon, and I know that many of the people would want to buy my book, going to Kindle Unlimited seemed like a smart choice.

From my understanding, it might hurt your royalties if you go to KDU? I.E: say you know 50 people are interested in your book, but they all have KDU. If you put up your book on KDU, you will miss out on 50 sales, and instead get (KindleUnlimitedFund / TotalPagesReadByKDUPeople) * 50 * PageCountOfBook. So you lose a lot of control over pricing, but you get lumped in with everyone else, and may turn a profit.

Since my goal was to make the book as available as possible, I went KDU. The cherry on top was many of the people wanted to support me, so most of my target audience bought the ebook, or paperback.

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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


I've also always been on KU purely because I can't be hosed dealing with multiple markets, especially when Amazon is 90% of the market anyway, and if you're going to be Amazon exclusive you may as well be on KU too. There is an argument that it eats into your royalties but also an argument that lots of people who might not be inclined to purchase your book outright are more likely to borrow it through KU, and frankly I think that's impossible to meaningfully test or measure, because there are also all kinds of other factors that might influence your sales at any given time even if you put them in and later take them out.

For me, my first big 6-book series I later released as a box set (which is now how 90% of people read it) and clocked in at just over the 3,000 word cap for KU payout - which generally hovers around $0.004 a page, so $12 for each person who reads it through. That's actually more than the 70% royalty cut I'd get on the box set's price of $9.99, i.e. $7.00. So I'm better off if people read it in KU rather than buying it.

But then I started a new series - two books out, writing the third at the moment - and because those are rather short, I'm actually a lot better off if people buy them rather than borrow them from KU. So when I release the third I'm seriously considering pulling those two out of KU and going wide. Which will be a lot of work but probably financially worthwhile in the long run.

The other benefit to being wide is that it's supposedly more likely to get you picked for a Bookbub.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

i'm in KU because it is a significant moneymaker for me. probably 50% of my gross comes from KU page reads (right now ~$25-$40 a day). and based on the experiences of other authors in my genre, going wide doesn't really bridge that gap until you have more than 10 books published.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

also, people wanted to hear about audio. here's my take, 1.5 weeks after releasing my first solo audiobook:

if you can afford the up front costs, do audio. Audio books sell all on their own. I have had to put in 0 advertising for audio, specifically (i still advertise my ebooks) and audio is roughly an additional 30-50% of my daily gross royalities. getting people to buy audio has been 0 effort, and i'm seriously considering putting one or both of my backlist series into audio.

LiterallyATomato
Mar 17, 2009



KrunkMcGrunk posted:

also, people wanted to hear about audio. here's my take, 1.5 weeks after releasing my first solo audiobook:

if you can afford the up front costs, do audio. Audio books sell all on their own. I have had to put in 0 advertising for audio, specifically (i still advertise my ebooks) and audio is roughly an additional 30-50% of my daily gross royalities. getting people to buy audio has been 0 effort, and i'm seriously considering putting one or both of my backlist series into audio.

Do you do the readings yourself or hire someone? Just curious.

And if you do it yourself, do you do the voices? You gotta do the voices, right?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Hey thanks for the shoutout, Anvil! My thoughts about marketing on reddit are that the Fantasy community seems the most open to self published endeavors. There's a few high profile authors that have gone from self-publishing to traditional success, then there's dudes like the creator of Cradle who proves it can be profitable with the right content staying in self-publishing, and there's not the immediate recoil from self pub work as long as the author seems to have put the time in to prepare a polished manuscript and know the genre. My book fell off from its early numbers but still gets a few sales here and there and a few hundred KU page reads per week, and that probably wouldn't have happened without reddit.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Ccs posted:

Hey thanks for the shoutout, Anvil! My thoughts about marketing on reddit are that the Fantasy community seems the most open to self published endeavors. There's a few high profile authors that have gone from self-publishing to traditional success, then there's dudes like the creator of Cradle who proves it can be profitable with the right content staying in self-publishing, and there's not the immediate recoil from self pub work as long as the author seems to have put the time in to prepare a polished manuscript and know the genre. My book fell off from its early numbers but still gets a few sales here and there and a few hundred KU page reads per week, and that probably wouldn't have happened without reddit.

I think a lot of your success came from the awesome cover you had too! But I think it was a hefty investment. Any idea on what your payback period is looking like?

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

LiterallyATomato posted:

Do you do the readings yourself or hire someone? Just curious.

And if you do it yourself, do you do the voices? You gotta do the voices, right?

i hire somebody. if I did it myself, the initial cost would be near zero, but yeah it's a shitload of work that i don't need.

plus a professional voice actor sounds a hell of a lot better reading my book than I would.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



KrunkMcGrunk posted:

i hire somebody. if I did it myself, the initial cost would be near zero, but yeah it's a shitload of work that i don't need.

plus a professional voice actor sounds a hell of a lot better reading my book than I would.

Do you hire a specific individual, or use a service?

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

Fuschia tude posted:

Do you hire a specific individual, or use a service?

I hired a person who came recommended to me, and who I had met before.

But ACX (Audible) does allow you to hold auditions for narrators. You can request people who have certain types of voices--soft, raspy, deep, nasally, etc.. I believe they'll read a passage you select, or the first 15 minutes of your book, and you work with the narrator from there.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Fuschia tude posted:

Do you hire a specific individual, or use a service?

We've done all of ours through ACX. We have one series where we paid an amount on delivery and share royalties with the narrator. The second series we paid for the finished hours outright and are not sharing royalties. If you can manage the latter, definitely go for it. For a self published audiobook though giving up a percentage going forward can be a good way to get the audiobook made with less upfront capital. However, there is one huge caveat. The ACX contracts let you publish royalty shared audio for 7 (I think) years and then it goes away. If you aren't royalty sharing, you own the rights to publish the audio indefinitely (baring any other contract stuff).

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


https://twitter.com/JaneFriedman/status/1420408408419840005?s=19

Anyone planning on doing this?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Leng posted:

I think a lot of your success came from the awesome cover you had too! But I think it was a hefty investment. Any idea on what your payback period is looking like?

Oh I'm never going to make that investment back. But it's alright, it was a personal project I'd been picking away at for a while as a hobby and got to involve my favorite artist in through a commission. Maybe if the book continues to sell its current numbers for 10 years I'll make it back.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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


I would like to, but i'm knee deep in writing the next book.

A friend has, but I'm not sure how it's actually going for him. It looks nice, at least. Here's what he did: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NHHZNMW

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

A friend has, but I'm not sure how it's actually going for him. It looks nice, at least. Here's what he did: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NHHZNMW

Oh, that's NEAT! It does look really good. Guess we can all try it out with our next book/s and see what happens.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Quick question for the long-established lurkers, if they're still here: any advice about going wide vs KU? I'm going to release the third book in a series soon and I'm tossing up whether to keep it in KU or go wide for the first time in my short career. Being KU exclusive is something I've done since the start simply because it's easier, but I'm wondering whether the reward of going wide would be worth the effort.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


freebooter posted:

Quick question for the long-established lurkers, if they're still here: any advice about going wide vs KU? I'm going to release the third book in a series soon and I'm tossing up whether to keep it in KU or go wide for the first time in my short career. Being KU exclusive is something I've done since the start simply because it's easier, but I'm wondering whether the reward of going wide would be worth the effort.

YMMV. I get 90% of ebook sales through Kindle - but the other 10% includes all the Apple Books users, for instance. How does the percentage of actual frickin dollars of KU vs. sales work out for you?

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

divabot posted:

YMMV. I get 90% of ebook sales through Kindle - but the other 10% includes all the Apple Books users, for instance. How does the percentage of actual frickin dollars of KU vs. sales work out for you?

Seconding this. I'd say sit down, figure out how much have to sell on other platforms to make more than you're currently making through KU.

Also you'd want to look at marketing options for the other markets.

to freebooter: You write non-fic, yeah?

KrunkMcGrunk fucked around with this message at 22:19 on Aug 1, 2021

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

You write non-fic, yeah?

I do. Also, it's business/finance with some geeky poo poo in, so the audience is (a) people with money who will click a button on Kindle without a second thought (b) a small number of people with money who hate DRM (even though I don't have it enabled) and so won't buy anything on Kindle.

also (c) people who like physical books - about 25% of my sales are the paperback. The business/finance market seems to love its paper books.

(For audiences without money, I tell 'em to grab it off libgen, which I put it on myself, cos I regard as marketing. I hope they will tell their friends about it.)

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

divabot posted:

I do. Also, it's business/finance with some geeky poo poo in, so the audience is (a) people with money who will click a button on Kindle without a second thought (b) a small number of people with money who hate DRM (even though I don't have it enabled) and so won't buy anything on Kindle.

also (c) people who like physical books - about 25% of my sales are the paperback. The business/finance market seems to love its paper books.

(For audiences without money, I tell 'em to grab it off libgen, which I put it on myself, cos I regard as marketing. I hope they will tell their friends about it.)

i meant freebooter, but I think he also writes non-fic, so your experience is def relevant to him.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



divabot posted:

YMMV. I get 90% of ebook sales through Kindle - but the other 10% includes all the Apple Books users, for instance. How does the percentage of actual frickin dollars of KU vs. sales work out for you?

Indirect answer here, but our overall business plan is to stick with KU until the series is complete. Then go wide and try to make a big-ish marketing splash when we do. We are wide on paperback from day 1 and shell out for ISBNs for all the relevant versions of the books. We also don't really advertise before book 3 of a series so that absolutely has some impact on our sales curves for a given book/series. We haven't gotten through a full series yet (book 4 of our furthest along series comes out January) so we don't have a good data set but that's the plan we're currently rolling with based on all the research we did across Traditional, Small Press, and Indie/Self-Pub circles.

Edit: For context we only do Speculative Fiction

Zaepho fucked around with this message at 00:51 on Aug 2, 2021

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Nope, I write horror and/or "supernatural suspense."

divabot posted:

YMMV. I get 90% of ebook sales through Kindle - but the other 10% includes all the Apple Books users, for instance. How does the percentage of actual frickin dollars of KU vs. sales work out for you?

With my previous series KU works out better because most of my sales/reads now come through the 6-book full series box set, which is a tad beyond the 3,000 word cap. And I get $12 in KU page reads every time someone reads the whole thing, as opposed to the $7ish of royalties from a sale. So that's definitely staying in KU.

But the books in my newer series (two books out, writing the third) have shorter page counts. I'm making about 90 cents and $1.20 per full book page read count respectively, opposed to the roughly $2 of royalties at a $2.99 sale price point. So I'd obviously prefer people buy it rather than KU read it - it's just a question of how many people who would read it in KU will buy it if they can't, rather than just not bother. (In terms of current reader behaviour, it looks like a 60/40 ratio in favour of purchases rather than KU reads for those two books.) Trying to leverage higher sales rather than KU reads is as much a motivation as being able to pick up additional sales from wide retailers.

Icon-Cat
Aug 18, 2005

Meow!

Adventures in technology:

So at the top of this month KDP stopped accepting MOBI files. I've been making MOBIs since 2012 and I had my workflow all figured out, but with Kindle Previewer I can turn my MOBIs into KPF files, so I figured I was all set.

Today I wanted to make a little edit to a piece and I figured this would be a good day to test that out.

So I uploaded my KPF and got the perplexing red message "Reflowable mobi input is not supported."

I used Calibre to convert the MOBI to EPUB and uploaded that EPUB and it allowed me to upload. Updates in review… I guess we'll see if it complains. (EDIT: It moved on to "Updates publishing" and so far Amazon headquarters has not exploded.)

My old-rear end workflow is that I have an .html for the text, a .css for the overall formatting and a .opf to "zip" it all together. I bring the .opf into Kindle Previewer and make a MOBI from that. (And I guess now I use Calibre to convert that MOBI to EPUB.) I like to work this way, I don't want a program to help me with the formatting or whatever, but I wonder if there's a better/smarter/more current way of doing the final export from that. Something about it not accepting my .kpf has me raising an eyebrow.

Icon-Cat fucked around with this message at 05:04 on Aug 3, 2021

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

you can do it all in Calibre. you'd have to break up each chapter into its own HTML file (as well as title page, toc, back matter, etc) but if you're technically proficient enough to code ebooks together by hand, i'm sure you'll be able to figure out Calibre.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

you can do it all in Calibre. you'd have to break up each chapter into its own HTML file (as well as title page, toc, back matter, etc) but if you're technically proficient enough to code ebooks together by hand, i'm sure you'll be able to figure out Calibre.

Seconding this.

If you already have stuff in HTML and CSS, then you can just import that straight into Calibre without issues. Calibre also has a HTML splitter so you can just sit there and search for your chapter headings and split the files right there and then.

LiterallyATomato
Mar 17, 2009



My friend had an idea, wanted to see what y'all thought of it:

When it comes time next year to find an artist to do my book cover, going to Emerald City Comic Con and meeting some people at Artists' Alley. Look for styles that would fit and see if they'd do the commission for you in the near future.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


So there's a newsletter thread here in CC if you guys haven't seen it yet:
https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3974904&pagenumber=1&perpage=40

Seeing as how we're all supposed to have email lists, I'm gonna hop on over to crack out what people who are good at newsletters are doing, because I am not good at newsletters and have literally only sent one newsletter to my list to announce my book.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

Leng posted:

So there's a newsletter thread here in CC if you guys haven't seen it yet:
https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3974904&pagenumber=1&perpage=40

Seeing as how we're all supposed to have email lists, I'm gonna hop on over to crack out what people who are good at newsletters are doing, because I am not good at newsletters and have literally only sent one newsletter to my list to announce my book.

i highly, highly recommend Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Lebrecque if you're looking for newletter info

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

i highly, highly recommend Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Lebrecque if you're looking for newletter info

I saw that and was wondering about it. Thanks for the rec, I'll check it out.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


So there are three big authortube channels making trending "unpopular writing opinions" videos that have all said they agree with the hot take "indie/self-publishing well requires financial privilege", which made me kind of mad. Mad enough to make a 13 minute video about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_D-9JXCRHg

If you're self-publishing because your first priority is to be able to hold a copy of your book in your hands and call yourself an author, then that's cool, but:

1) admit that it's a hobby/fun project for you and
2a) don't complain that it takes money; or
2b) just accept that you've picked what can potentially be a very expensive hobby (which is totally fine because lots of people have expensive hobbies)
2c) recognize it's a hobby and don't take the whole thing so seriously! (forget editing! screw getting beta readers! who cares about a nice cover! It's your freaking hobby, so go DIY and make it fit your budget)

Just don't sit there and complain that "financial privilege" is involved because there isn't any. I do not understand why "publishing is a business" and "businesses require investment" are such difficult concepts for some people to grasp.

/rant over

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Your background in accounting probably gives you a better sense of how business actually works and approach it as a profit-generating venture. Most people will just see the sticker price of "editing costs a few hundred, a cover could cost a few hundred, most Americans have less than one months rent in savings" and chalk that up to "privilege is necessary for publishing." Which, I suppose, is true that any sort of business endeavor take an appetite for risk that people who literally have no savings might not be able to shoulder, but.... I do think it dilutes the concept of privilege.

For example I approached my book as a pure vanity project, and I suppose if you don't bother coming up with a business plan for the book then yeah, you do need some capital of your own to risk on it. Not a problem in my case, overtime hours put in on doing vfx for some bad movies paid for all my publishing costs. If I was risking more i would have tried to consider how I was actually going to recoup investment.

Ccs fucked around with this message at 02:52 on Aug 21, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Okay, guys. I haven’t posted in here before because I haven’t had a reason to. But I wrote a book. Now I need a cover for my Mystery/Detective/Sci-Fi novel. It’s the first in a series. Please tell me how much it sucks.

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




The only parts I dislike are the fonts.

Edit: also joint investigations is a bland series title.

drwiii
Aug 23, 2005

You guessed it: Frank Stallone.

I'm writing the best book on planet Earth under certain circumstances, and I want to avoid Amazon Publishing and their Jeff Bezos space travel tax.

Any tips on low cost book binding methods for printed pages? I can probably get all the pages printed, but it looks like I need to find a binding machine to put the pages together unless I want to play around with glue. I want to avoid needing to use the internet to get my book in my hands for sale.

I would like to avoid metal spine binding because the plastic comb binding is much more safe and fun to play with. It's like someone would put their eye out trying to metal bind their own book.

Disclaimer: This is not a roundabout troll post to make fun of Maddox. The book is around 100 pages.

drwiii fucked around with this message at 00:06 on Aug 22, 2021

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS





Yeah it is pretty alright to start with but for a "night city" it wasn't very dark, and yeah the fonts need a little work. ("G" ≠ "C")

Is it scifi? Maybe add a robot or something.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Thanks for the feedback, guys. Yeah, my series name is just a placeholder. No robots in this book—it’s more AU than sci-if, I guess.

Any font suggestions for main title and subtitle/author name?

Icon-Cat
Aug 18, 2005

Meow!

I don't dislike the font the main title is in, or even the color—it provides contrast—but the author and series title has that done-on-a-home-computer feel.

Try a font called Revelstoke, or something that looks like it—bold, works well small or large. Or, for something less 'handmade', something in the League Gothic / News Gothic vein. And I would set your name, at least, in all caps, it will look authoritative.

For something like your main title, Neutra Text (or just use what your main title is set in).

For an out-of-left-field suggestion, Mistral. It's not always the most readable but something about your cover gave me a Drive vibe. Maybe something else in that edgy-jittery-handwriting vein could work but I can't think of something.

Icon-Cat fucked around with this message at 03:12 on Aug 22, 2021

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Thanks! I’ll try out some of those fonts. I get overwhelmed with all the choices out there.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Ccs posted:

For example I approached my book as a pure vanity project, and I suppose if you don't bother coming up with a business plan for the book then yeah, you do need some capital of your own to risk on it. Not a problem in my case, overtime hours put in on doing vfx for some bad movies paid for all my publishing costs. If I was risking more i would have tried to consider how I was actually going to recoup investment.
See this right here is the sensible thing to do! As opposed to "1) Write a book; 2) Publish on KDP; 3) ???; 4) Profit! ...somehow" thing that most people seem to be doing.

drwiii posted:

I'm writing the best book on planet Earth under certain circumstances, and I want to avoid Amazon Publishing and their Jeff Bezos space travel tax.

Any tips on low cost book binding methods for printed pages? I can probably get all the pages printed, but it looks like I need to find a binding machine to put the pages together unless I want to play around with glue. I want to avoid needing to use the internet to get my book in my hands for sale.

I would like to avoid metal spine binding because the plastic comb binding is much more safe and fun to play with. It's like someone would put their eye out trying to metal bind their own book.

Disclaimer: This is not a roundabout troll post to make fun of Maddox. The book is around 100 pages.

I... :psyduck: okay going on faith that you're serious, then there are any number of other print on demand places outside of Amazon (IngramSpark, Lulu, Barnes & Noble even). It's hard to avoid using the internet to do so, because most of those places will require you to upload via their websites. There are also any number of small printers that will do small print runs (100 copies or so), or you could go to an offset printer in China/Taiwan/India/etc.

But if you're seriously contemplating printing the pages yourself (do you have access to nice printers and paper?? This is the part that confuses me the most), some places will offer cloth binding as an alternative. Otherwise there are specialist bookbinders around who maybe could bind your book? But mostly they seem to sell you supplies for bookbinding and courses on how to do it.


:love: I think this will look great once you find some better fonts.

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newts
Oct 10, 2012


So, font issues…

I love the look of serif fonts and I wanted something noir-ish but modern for my cover. But it’s super easy because of the title to tip into horror or vampire-lit with a serif font. I’ve been sticking to sans serif fonts because they’re more ‘modern’, I guess.

The other issue is, if I stick with this image, I feel like I need a clean font to offset the blurriness of the background. Ugh.

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