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newts
Oct 10, 2012


You are making me never, ever want to self-publish anything. Which is probably whatís best for everyone

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Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Ebooks are easy! The cover artist I used wants me to do a physical version of my book because a lot of people are asking him if they can get his art in print, but messing with the set up of the paperback is super intimidating. Also I only commissioned front cover art so I'd have to make something for the spine and back cover and it would not match his quality, and he's busy with commissions for the next 1.5 years.

So ebook only for now.

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


In all fairness, the majority of my problems are because I'm doing a children's book which requires print formats and fixed ebook layouts.

If I were self publishing genre fiction I'd probably be done by now and even on costs. I did my own illustrations and cover (only because I could get away with that kind of simple art style for a kids book) but shipping ARCs and beta read reward copies probably cost the same amount as hiring a good cover artist/designer.

Marketing would still be the same headache. I spent all day today setting up a proper mailing list in preparation for a launch eblast. I ended up ditching the WP Newsletter plugin and going for Sendinblue over Mailchimp because the free plan is better. Still can't get my email on my domain working properly, but is finally an issues that's unrelated to KDP and Ingram Spark so I'll take the variety.

But yeah, don't let my rants put you off self-publishing!

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Ccs posted:

Ebooks are easy! The cover artist I used wants me to do a physical version of my book because a lot of people are asking him if they can get his art in print, but messing with the set up of the paperback is super intimidating. Also I only commissioned front cover art so I'd have to make something for the spine and back cover and it would not match his quality, and he's busy with commissions for the next 1.5 years.

So ebook only for now.

What does the cover look like? It might be easy to expand it into the back.

Doom Mathematic
Sep 1, 2008


Ccs posted:

I only commissioned front cover art so I'd have to make something for the spine and back cover and it would not match his quality, and he's busy with commissions for the next 1.5 years.

I have also fallen into this trap. Eventually I commissioned a different artist to extend the original artwork. They did a good job, and people aren't paying as much attention to the back and spine (there's blurb overlaying the back of course) so the slight mismatch in style isn't too glaring unless you're actively looking for it. I hope.

Anyway lesson learned!

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


Ccs posted:

Ebooks are easy! The cover artist I used wants me to do a physical version of my book because a lot of people are asking him if they can get his art in print, but messing with the set up of the paperback is super intimidating. Also I only commissioned front cover art so I'd have to make something for the spine and back cover and it would not match his quality, and he's busy with commissions for the next 1.5 years.

So ebook only for now.

If he's the one who wants a print edition with a back cover, tell him to make time for it or shut up, lol.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Megazver posted:

If he's the one who wants a print edition with a back cover, tell him to make time for it or shut up, lol.

Uh, yeah, absolutely this. Iíve done plenty of covers and the back was always quick as long as no one wanted any new art. He should be able to fit it in.

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


Leng posted:

Today is an exciting update! Preorder links are starting to go up at various retailers (Amazon of course, Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble, Kinokuniya, Dymocks), but there are weird glitches due to metadata lag:
  • Some of the retailers have only just gotten the initial round of metadata - which means the book title (and some of the links) contain Chinese characters which either get messed up as "???????" or escaped unicode characters like "今" which does not look great
  • Some of the retailers have the book info but are missing the cover for whatever reason
  • Amazon is super frustrating - the hardcover shows a preorder link as expected on the US site, the paperback is listed as unavailable on the US site, both preorder links work fine on the AU site, but both formats are listed as temporarily out of stock on the UK site.
This means I've updated my book webpage from taking in emails to putting actual links to preorder pages in there. Still haven't set up my estore, that's a job for tomorrow I think, in tandem with finally getting my email list sorted.

Further update which I feel I need to post as a PSA because I've been freaking out about this over the whole weekend:

The preorder pages on Amazon are fine. There is no issue. People I've been sending to the preorder page can preorder, no problem.

The "issue" was a bad user interface design on the Amazon product page, on every major market other than the CA store, which had the default behavior I expected. Namely, when your shipping location is set to a location other than the country of that store, it still shows you the pre-order button, but there is red/warning text telling you that the product does not ship to your selected location.

Sensible right?

Well apparently some front end developer at Amazon disagreed, because the default behavior on the US/UK/AU stores is that if your delivery location is set to something other than the store's country, then it will take away the preorder button and tell you that the item is "Temporarily out of stock". On a preorder item. Which nobody has in stock, because the point of a preorder is for the retailer to collect preorders for an item that is not yet in stock so they can in turn place a bulk order with the wholesaler in advance of the release date. Thus causing me to freak out over the weekend and make a lot of customer service reps unhappy with my frustration.

I only figured it out because I started contacting customer service in every location because there is no single team that looks after this and the KDP team won't touch it if you're publishing via IngramSpark. Not that any of the customer service reps were able to put two and two together either.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah the way they display this stuff is annoying. When I go on the US store my ebook says its not available for purchase because I'm accessing it from Canada. There's nothing that says "oh you're in Canada, you can get this available for purchase on your version of Amazon."

I think the web version actually does pop up a warning saying "you should try the .ca site" but on mobile it just says it's not available.

Not the most user friendly bit of UI design.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Don't bother reading my posts. I'm an idiot shilling an e-book. I literally profit from shitposting.

yeah, I would absolutely always presume you're gonna do a print version, get both covers done. Even if nobody sees the back cover until they buy a copy, it just makes everything look more professional, and self-publishers need all the professional look they can manage.

Make sure your artist has done print before, because RGB on a screen is piss easy and idyllic but four colour printing is a demon-spawned hellworld where your design needs to be robust against whatever the gently caress colours it might feel like today, and also registration errors like when they just decide to use thicker paper than the cover size calculator thinks (happened to me on Libra Shrugged).

I always thought nobody would buy a print version, and it turned out to be 25% of my sales. I mean, good! More money!

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


all other things like the standard of storytelling and cover art being equal, what are the most popular genres in self publishing in a hierarchy?

erotica
romance
fantasy
sci fi
crime
misery memoir
then what?

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Switch romance and erotica.
Milscifi above sci-fi probably.

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


military eh? what about stories of second world wartime derring-do? my grandfather wrote an account of his time in the air force and ive sometimes thought about revising it.

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:

Not the most user friendly bit of UI design.

Speaking of, I now have a new target of frustration and rage: Apple.

It seems I am not the only one experiencing this weird script error with Apple and Apple IDs being deemed not active and therefore the iTunesConnect set up process choking:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/252527782
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/252586742

The applebooks@apple.com email is useless - they just send back an email parroting the error message you already have and telling you to activate your Apple ID (without realizing that the reason you're contacting them is because there's nothing to indicate that your Apple ID is inactive, particularly as you can login, etc without issue). Also it will take 3-5 days for them to reply.

The online chat team also can't do anything when it's an iTunesConnect issue, phone support is required. Oh, and the information about phone support information on their own website (https://itunespartner.apple.com/books/articles/apple-books-support-2701) is wrong - all phone support hours are 9 AM to 7 PM US Central Mon-Fri, despite the public webpage saying they do 8 AM to 8 PM for the Australian phone lines. According to the only helpful online chat person I got, their internal operating manual says otherwise. Well that would definitely explain why I'm on hold for hours on end if I try calling the Australian line on Monday in Australia, or quite frankly any time after 10 AM in Australia, after daycare drop off.

divabot posted:

draft2digital deal with both pretty painlessly IME

(indeed I find d2d less faffy than smashwords, so I hit Kindle for 90% of sales, d2d for the other 10% and smashwords just to sell on smashwords)

Quite frankly at this point, I'm going to leave it on Kindle, and then set up an ecommerce store on my own website to distribute PDFs and epubs. Most of my readers are going to come via word of mouth anyway, so it's not like I'll be relying on them browsing through the other stores to find it, and I'm not enabling DRM on the ebooks either so it doesn't really matter where they get it from.

EDIT: OMFG that was so much easier than setting up anything on Apple. I now have a working estore that accepts credit card payments on my website. The free plan on ECWID doesn't include auto fulfilment of digital goods, but a quick test shows that when someone places an order, I'll get an email and be able to manually send them the file. I'll call this a win for today.

Leng fucked around with this message at 05:18 on May 4, 2021

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Grimey Drawer

Breath Ray posted:

military eh? what about stories of second world wartime derring-do? my grandfather wrote an account of his time in the air force and ive sometimes thought about revising it.
Yes.

Was he in the Luftwaffe? If so you'll do very well.

If he was just Joe bomb loader in England that'll be much less of a big seller. Combat memoirs will do well, there was a glut of them after WW2 and are still quite popular.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




divabot posted:

yeah, I would absolutely always presume you're gonna do a print version, get both covers done. Even if nobody sees the back cover until they buy a copy, it just makes everything look more professional, and self-publishers need all the professional look they can manage.

Make sure your artist has done print before, because RGB on a screen is piss easy and idyllic but four colour printing is a demon-spawned hellworld where your design needs to be robust against whatever the gently caress colours it might feel like today, and also registration errors like when they just decide to use thicker paper than the cover size calculator thinks (happened to me on Libra Shrugged).

I always thought nobody would buy a print version, and it turned out to be 25% of my sales. I mean, good! More money!

The cover artist I used was barely in my price range for a front cover, to get the whole wrap around done would be beyond what I could ever expect to get back in ROI. Maybe if I come into money in the future haha. That's what I get for going with a guy who's illustrated Harry Potter books. Well worth it though, the front cover is probably the reason anyone is actually reading the dang book and I just feel incredibly lucky that he was willing to work with me at all. In the future he'll probably become one of those absolutely legendary illustrators like Craig Mullens who never takes commissions.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

Breath Ray posted:

all other things like the standard of storytelling and cover art being equal, what are the most popular genres in self publishing in a hierarchy?

erotica
romance
fantasy
sci fi
crime
misery memoir
then what?

ime, crime/mystery/thriller are more popular than scifi, but i haven't looked closely at scifi in a few years

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Don't bother reading my posts. I'm an idiot shilling an e-book. I literally profit from shitposting.

Leng posted:


Quite frankly at this point, I'm going to leave it on Kindle, and then set up an ecommerce store on my own website to distribute PDFs and epubs. Most of my readers are going to come via word of mouth anyway, so it's not like I'll be relying on them browsing through the other stores to find it, and I'm not enabling DRM on the ebooks either so it doesn't really matter where they get it from.

EDIT: OMFG that was so much easier than setting up anything on Apple. I now have a working estore that accepts credit card payments on my website. The free plan on ECWID doesn't include auto fulfilment of digital goods, but a quick test shows that when someone places an order, I'll get an email and be able to manually send them the file. I'll call this a win for today.

yeah, this works. Kindle has achieved the miracle of coming up with an ebook store where people spend money, and was always gonna be 90% of ebook sales.

Ccs posted:

The cover artist I used was barely in my price range for a front cover, to get the whole wrap around done would be beyond what I could ever expect to get back in ROI. Maybe if I come into money in the future haha. That's what I get for going with a guy who's illustrated Harry Potter books. Well worth it though, the front cover is probably the reason anyone is actually reading the dang book and I just feel incredibly lucky that he was willing to work with me at all. In the future he'll probably become one of those absolutely legendary illustrators like Craig Mullens who never takes commissions.

oh god yeah that sorta guy, awesome

I have considered various Guys of that sort but my current artist is a genius who keeps underpricing herself so I pay more than she asks. If you like my covers, my artist is Alli Kirkham of punkpuns.net and she is both an artist and a graphic designer, and you fuckin' pay her right ok

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

drat divabot, somebody got $10 worth of mad at you.

or like 1/10000 of a bitcoin mad at you, since i'm assuming it was a crypto goon

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Don't bother reading my posts. I'm an idiot shilling an e-book. I literally profit from shitposting.

KrunkMcGrunk posted:

drat divabot, somebody got $10 worth of mad at you.

or like 1/10000 of a bitcoin mad at you, since i'm assuming it was a crypto goon

$20 worth - some aggrieved coiner bought this, someone else bought back the previous image, then the aggrieved coiner bought this again

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




divabot posted:

$20 worth - some aggrieved coiner bought this, someone else bought back the previous image, then the aggrieved coiner bought this again

Still a more useful investment than bitcoin.

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


Today's update:

Marketing
I still hate social media. But I had a new idea for a regular thing I could post that doesn't feel spammy so I spent 4 hours this week doing the artwork that could be posted to Instagram and another 2 filming extra footage so it could go on YouTube then another 2 hours creating a related PDF download. It's also Mother's Day related so I'm capitalizing in the timing with this weekend.

The Instagram post and related tweet did ok for a new account with not many followers but I shared the Facebook page post to one of the Facebook groups for this niche and it blew up.

I wasn't really expecting it to go quite that quickly, so I was still setting up Google analytics and web pages. Will have to wait until next week to see how well it translates into audience growth, newsletter subscribers and then eventually book sales.

Wish I had had the forethought to set up Google analytics BEFORE I put up the preorder links because then at least I could track how many people clicked through on those.

Overall I'm feeling pretty good since I finally have some regular content I can post without feeling like that annoying person who's constantly spamming people to buy my book. And I should be able to eventually repackage all of the free content into a print book I can sell!

Grand Theft Autobot
Feb 28, 2008

got the catch game sewed up

I wrote an 89k word novel in 2019 and submitted it to agents in early 2020 after doing live pitches at a conference. I got 5 requests and 5 rejections, and they all said essentially the same thing: it was clear that an adult was writing the book or narrating the story which was meant for a young-adult audience. I got the same feedback from the friends and acquaintances who read it.

I've decided to try one more time to have it published, so I'm going to do a rewrite with a mind towards fixing the language, scenarios, and other elements for a younger audience. I'll probably cast a wider net this time, but if I hit a wall of rejections again I'm going to self-publish it.

Anyways, does anyone here have a good recommendation for blogs, books, other resources for re-writing a book?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




While I canít recommend specific sites, I would find books with characters of a similar age to your narrator and read them a few times to study how that author used the voice. Maybe rewrite a few chapters of your book in the best approximation of that voice as an exercise. The scenarios donít necessarily have to change, but the way the characters react to the scenarios might.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

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

Grand Theft Autobot posted:

I wrote an 89k word novel in 2019 and submitted it to agents in early 2020 after doing live pitches at a conference. I got 5 requests and 5 rejections, and they all said essentially the same thing: it was clear that an adult was writing the book or narrating the story which was meant for a young-adult audience. I got the same feedback from the friends and acquaintances who read it.

I've decided to try one more time to have it published, so I'm going to do a rewrite with a mind towards fixing the language, scenarios, and other elements for a younger audience. I'll probably cast a wider net this time, but if I hit a wall of rejections again I'm going to self-publish it.

Anyways, does anyone here have a good recommendation for blogs, books, other resources for re-writing a book?

I'm not sure how applicable it is to YA, but my favorite book about editing is called Self Editing for Fiction Writers, and it's by Renni Browne.

Grand Theft Autobot
Feb 28, 2008

got the catch game sewed up

I appreciate the recs.

Here's the pitch from my query letters/in person script:

Flint, the son of a feral cat chief, is doomed. Assassins hired by rival heirs hunt him; a doomsday cult, the Golden Circle, summons terrors from a dead future; and the American Civil War descends on Flintís city, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

In the middle of a Union naval raid on the riverfront, assassins attack Flint. Kulke, an old war ally, saves him. To pay his life-debt, Flint enlists in Kulkeís religious order, the Ratkillers, for a mission beneath the city, to disrupt a Golden Circle summoning ritual. Flint, Kulke, and their allies fail their mission. Monsters embodying the horrors of Late Capitalismóglobal warming, white supremacy, the surveillance state, among othersóemerge from the underworld to destroy the secret societies of cats.

Flintís conscience wonít allow him to flee Vicksburg alone, but time is running out on the doomed city. To save his family, Flint must return home to face ruthless political enemies. To save his best friend, he must join the war against the Golden Circle and their army of drowned dogs, possessed rats, and insane cats. To save a love lost to the cult, Flint may have to become a lost cause himself. To save them all, he must find the one force that can contend with the madness of the cult: Solidarity.

SIEGE CATS is a gritty, urban, left-wing Warriors, with a mature style like The Wicked Deep and The Night Circus, where cats battle time-traveling forces of Late Capitalism, connecting readersí experiences of contemporary issues with the enduring legacy of slavery.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Grand Theft Autobot posted:

I appreciate the recs.

Here's the pitch from my query letters/in person script:

Flint, the son of a feral cat chief, is doomed. Assassins hired by rival heirs hunt him; a doomsday cult, the Golden Circle, summons terrors from a dead future; and the American Civil War descends on Flintís city, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

In the middle of a Union naval raid on the riverfront, assassins attack Flint. Kulke, an old war ally, saves him. To pay his life-debt, Flint enlists in Kulkeís religious order, the Ratkillers, for a mission beneath the city, to disrupt a Golden Circle summoning ritual. Flint, Kulke, and their allies fail their mission. Monsters embodying the horrors of Late Capitalismóglobal warming, white supremacy, the surveillance state, among othersóemerge from the underworld to destroy the secret societies of cats.

Flintís conscience wonít allow him to flee Vicksburg alone, but time is running out on the doomed city. To save his family, Flint must return home to face ruthless political enemies. To save his best friend, he must join the war against the Golden Circle and their army of drowned dogs, possessed rats, and insane cats. To save a love lost to the cult, Flint may have to become a lost cause himself. To save them all, he must find the one force that can contend with the madness of the cult: Solidarity.

SIEGE CATS is a gritty, urban, left-wing Warriors, with a mature style like The Wicked Deep and The Night Circus, where cats battle time-traveling forces of Late Capitalism, connecting readersí experiences of contemporary issues with the enduring legacy of slavery.

Okay. I missed the fact that they were cats at first and was very confused.

This doesnít read like a YA pitch to me at all. It reads more like a political allegory. But with cats. Iíd be expecting something more like Animal Farm. I canít see how this would appeal to a YA audience. I probably donít know what Iím talking about, though, so feel free to disregard.

Grand Theft Autobot
Feb 28, 2008

got the catch game sewed up

Haha yeah there's a reason it got rejected a bunch and I'm gonna end up self-publishing!

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Could you just age up the protagonist? Honestly I feel like with that pitch Iíd want an older main character. Maybe early 20s, or whatever that is in cat years.

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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


Grand Theft Autobot posted:

SIEGE CATS is a gritty, urban, left-wing Warriors, with a mature style like The Wicked Deep and The Night Circus, where cats battle time-traveling forces of Late Capitalism, connecting readersí experiences of contemporary issues with the enduring legacy of slavery.

newts posted:

Okay. I missed the fact that they were cats at first and was very confused.

This doesnít read like a YA pitch to me at all. It reads more like a political allegory. But with cats. Iíd be expecting something more like Animal Farm. I canít see how this would appeal to a YA audience. I probably donít know what Iím talking about, though, so feel free to disregard.

Seconding this. I do read YA from time to time and this really isn't YA. Is there a particular reason why you're trying to go after the YA market? As I understand, the YA market is insane competitive, but I mainly know what I know because I subscribe to Alexa Donne's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfwTRhTSM2NyJImC8HeUd1Q (she's traditionally published in YA, her two published books are sci-fi retellings of Jane Austen classics)

Ccs posted:

Could you just age up the protagonist? Honestly I feel like with that pitch Iíd want an older main character. Maybe early 20s, or whatever that is in cat years.

Also this. Flint doesn't come across as a young kitten coming into cathood, he sounds like a grizzled veteran (old war ally, a lost love).

And also why cats? I mean, I love cats and I am a real cat person, but why cats in a YA book? Usually YA has a huge focus on coming of age stories and first time romances, etc.

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