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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I've been reading a bunch of stuff lately about how you can make a bit of money by cranking out what is, I take it, the Verboten Genre. Are these stories about people making five figures a month in royalties true, or are they exceptions and the vast majority of stuff wallows at the bottom of the trough with nobody ever buying it? (Although, God, if I could make even a few hundred bucks a month off a 100-page novella that would be like manna from heaven.)

Or is it extremely arrogant to think that just because I'm a somewhat talented semi-published writer, I could pump out something in a genre I instinctively disdain, without knowing anything about its conventions? I mean, I think I can guess, but again that feels like arrogance.

I think I know the answer but will give it a shot anyway because a) it would be a lark, and b) I intend to self-publish some stuff that I actually care about down the track, and this would be a good practice run to see how the whole system works.

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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

I can tell you that it's very possible to make very little money doing it.

How very little is very little, though? I get what you're saying about researching and knowing the genre, but as I said, a stipend a month sounds good to me.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Thanks for the replies; I suspected it takes more work than people let on, but it still sounds worth attempting. I'll go ahead and take a crack it it, largely because...

Sundae posted:

I'm only a high-four / low-five author each month (usually high-four) from Super-Romance, but I'll definitely say it was worth every second of the writing. =)

...to me, that is insane. To be clear here: you're talking about making $60,000 a year from this? Have you quit your day job?

I wouldn't even begin to dream of that kind of cash. If I could make a few hundred dollars a month I'd be happy.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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As someone who is not savvy with how Amazon works, can someone explain to me why this book has like five reviews but they aren't showing up on the bars, ranking them by 5 star, 4 star etc?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MY3TRK0?tag=rpbook-21

edit - Just realised it may have been a UK/US Amazon thing, since the first page was UK and the US page does properly rank them. But again, why do they even have two different pages?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pouakai-David-Sperry-ebook/dp/B00MY3TRK0/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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EngineerSean posted:

So do what they do. Here is the list of Top 100 supergenre authors, find someone who you like and copy them.

http://www.amazon.com/author-rank/Erotica/digital-text/157057011/ref=ntt_at_kar_B008GFU7UO

Holy poo poo. On the fantasy sublist, three people I've never heard of are outselling George RR Martin (on the eve of the next season of Game of Thrones) and Terry Pratchett (right after his death and all the subsequent media coverage and online remembrances.)

http://www.amazon.com/author-rank/Fantasy/digital-text/158576011/ref=kar_mr_nav_kstore_3_158591011

edit - And Paula Hawkins, who has no author photo and only two books, is outselling James Patterson? What's the deal here?

http://www.amazon.com/author-rank/ref=kar_mr_unv_kstore_0_157028011_2

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I recently finished a long, long, looooong zombie story that I'd been writing since high school and serialising online. Now I'm considering self-pubbing it because, obviously, the bulk of the work is done and also I am going into debt soon. Frankly I don't think it's great, since I started writing it as a teenager and I've grown a lot as a writer since then, but on the flip side there seemed to be a lot of people who liked it, so maybe that's the whole literary quality vs. pop appeal paradigm? Whatever. I should publish it, right? Amazon seems glutted with zombie fiction that sells very well.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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psychopomp posted:

Compile it, give it a fresh edit, a snazzy cover, maybe some EXCLUSIVE EXTRA CONTENT that wasn't serialized, upload it, and market it to the fans of the serial.

OK. I'll have to give it an edit, so I'm not doing it any time majorly soon, but are there any good free resources that sort of hold your hand through the process? This from the OP...

Sundae posted:

FREE RESOURCES:
How to Self Publish Your Book in 30 Days - http://howtopubyourself.com/ - (Almost) 30 days of tips on how to self publish your book through Amazon. A real basic course but you still might learn something from it! Part of Pub Yourself Press, a goon run company.

...no longer seems to exist, and while I'm sure this thread will be helpful down the line it mostly seems to be full of seasoned pros that I don't want to bug with idiot questions.

Actually I do have one other question. The story itself, as I said, was serialised online in journal format, spanning an entire year. All up it's over 600,000 words (yeah, I know) so it'll obviously have to be split up quite a few times, and I was thinking of doing a 12-book series, month by month, and maybe putting the first book up for free. Is that a good idea as a hook, or do free books not actually do well because they're considered "worthless"?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Sundae posted:

I'll check up on that link with the site's owner and see if it's coming back or not. Good catch!

Also - seriously, ask questions. Speaking for myself, I'd much rather answer questions up front than stare at another Ethereal Girls six months later.

OK, cool. So, first book in a series being free, subsequent books being priced - good idea or bad idea?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Sundae posted:

This resource is still available. You have to sign up for the guy's mailing list to get the series of daily tips -- it's not on the site.

Ah cool, thanks

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Out of curiosity, what do you all publish? Like, your specific titles? I've read through a lot of the thread and people only seem to reference their stuff obliquely. And if that's on purpose because you prefer to keep it on the down-low that's cool, I get that, but if not I'd be fascinated to see links to your books and what they're about and the sales figures and stuff.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Oh, I didn't realise that. Although reading the OP more closely I now realise it says all of you write romance, and if there's no romance chat allowed, then ipso facto...

I guess also because this is a sequel thread, right? So I guess a lot of you already know who's who and what's what. I'm totally happy with anybody and everybody to message me links to their titles and info. I just appreciated the fact that this thread was really honest and business-oriented, but then found it odd that nobody linked to their own stuff as examples.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Do those of you planning to quit your day jobs for this not worry about the long-term sustainability? I realise that right now many of you are making way more money from this than you did on your day job, or than most people do in their day jobs, but do you feel you can keep that up until retirement? What do you do about superannuation/pension/401k? What do those of you who are American do for healthcare?

I guess it's actually no different from being self-employed or running a small business, but some Marge Simpson-like voice in the back of my head thinks it's reckless. Or maybe it's just baggage I picked up from all my old creative writing courses when Amazon was a blip on the horizon, and I distinctly remember one of my professors telling me that the number of authors in Australia who lived solely off their writing could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Thanks for the replies. I guess my gut feeling partly comes from the fact that since I enjoy writing anyway, I do it in my spare time regardless of how profitable it is - I think I've earned less than $500 from selling short stories to magazines in the last three years. I'd probably (at this stage in my life, anyway) be more inclined to keep the double-income stream rather than abandon the day job.

A massive incentive to being self-employed as a writer, to me, would be being able to move out of a major city. That alone would massively slash living costs, in Australia and the UK at any rate.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I think I will try this out purely because I've finally snapped at Word 2007's utter refusal to switch from US English spellchecking.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I can't wait to finish off my reworked novel/serial and actually get to dive into the nitty gritty of all this publishing, with your KUs and ARCs and whatever the hell else all that stuff is.

Not being sarcastic at all. Writing is hard in a very specific way and I could do with a different sort of difficulty.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Wait, so you'll not release anything under 50K? It's that hard and fast a rule?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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OK. The reason I ask (and why I mostly lurk here) is because I wrote a long post-apocalyptic zombie story when I was younger which I'm shortly looking to self-publish. It's written in journal format and takes place clean across a year, so I was figuring I would release twelve books, one for each month (particularly since most months end on some sort of climax or cliffhanger).

But I'm editing it now - actually rewriting the first three months flat, because I was quite young and bad when I wrote them - and they come in sort of short. January is 20,000 words and February will be around 30,000. The final word count for the whole shebang is 610,000, so I must have got wordier as it went on.

Since there's 12 I was thinking of setting their price as low as possible and also probably making January free. But is 20,000 still too short? Will people hate that, even if they got it for free and can read the next instalment for 99c or whatever?

And to be clear I am 100% doing this for the money so I have no objections to doing what the market demands.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I think if I lumped them into four books the final one would be absolutely gargantuan. Although looking at some popular book series at the moment maybe that's not an issue...

If I was to stick with 12, or maybe put them into 6 books of 2 months each, would releasing the first book free be a good idea or not? Is that generally a done thing? I can see the appeal of hooking people on a free book, but then also think that maybe readers assume free books are worthless.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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brotherly posted:

I don't know much about that genre, but I think making January free is the right move. It's fine if it's on the short side. After that I'd price at .99c and put them in KU (the first one won't be in KU to get that permafree status). Also make sure January has a really awesome hook.

I personally like the idea of releasing each month as a separate entity; it'll give you more room to mess around with promos. 20k seems low, which is why I think it would be a good free opener, and 30k is on the low end but still fine for .99c or KU. I wouldn't price over .99c unless you're dead set on going wide, at which point I guess 2.99, although I can't imagine you'll get much traction at that price point. People say 1.99 is a dead zone of no sales, so keep that in mind.

Invest in good covers and have reasonable expectations. I don't know how well horror sells.

OK, thanks. This is all pretty theoretical at the moment because I'm still a ways off finishing the editing process, but it's interesting to see what established writers advise.

I'd have no issue pricing at 0.99 because that's still several dollars even for people who don't bother to read more than a few books in (and $11 for people who read the whole way) and in fact it's more like $1.40 for me since the Aussie dollar continues to tumble. It's just the same as with pricing the first one free - the concern that maybe people think a 0.99 book isn't worth anything.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Bardeh posted:

You will only get 33 cents per sale at a 99 cent price point. However, what you really want is for people to borrow each installment with their KU subscription, because it'll end up making you much more money. 99 cents helps with this because you'll get more sales which will increase your ranking and visibility, ideally attracting more borrows. If you price higher than 99 cents, you'll be passing up most of that extra visibility which is so crucial.

Ah I see. This is all great stuff. I think even after the book is ready to go I'm still going to have to spend quite some time posting and learning. I still don't even know what the base options are, like - does going with Amazon mean you can't publish with anyone else? That seems like the kind of thing they'd do.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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angel opportunity posted:

The thing people start getting bummed out about is when you look at how it's pretty scummy from Amazon and fucks authors over. Amazon keeps 70% of the profit from sales at 99 cents, and you give that up to them for a ranking boost and the accompanying KU income.

That does sound scummy, but it's still better than what authors would make with traditional publishing, isn't it? Even putting aside how much harder traditional publishing is to get into?

edit - that comes off as defending Amazon but I'm genuinely unsure how much traditional publishers make. I remember it being very low, I know when I worked in a bookstore the store alone gets something like 70% of the sale price.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I think a lot of that depends on whether you have kids or not. I'm quite happy on my entry level day job income of 55K AUD a year, but I'd be hosed if I had even one mouth to feed, let alone two or three.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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angel opportunity posted:

a really long-rear end post

Just FYI this was great stuff and I've bookmarked it for future reference

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Even before I clicked on this I could tell from the URL it was that psychopath who smashed an 18-year-old girl over the head with a bottle. From behind. At her workplace. On the other side of the country. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how much jail time he gets for that.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Is there a rule of thumb for pages = word count? I have a 12-piece serial I want to package and publish but the advice here a while ago was that 20K words (the first instalment) is not enough to stand alone and I should lump some of them together. Just looking at other bestselling books in the genre and they seem to be between 200-300 pages. How do I figure out how many words that is, ballpark?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Malloreon posted:

figure 4-5 pages per 1000 words. roughly 200-250 words per page.


EngineerSean posted:

If you're looking at Amazon product pages, it all depends on whether they have a paperback version linked or not. If they do, it's about 250 words per page. If they don't, it's about 333 words per page.


OK thanks. So that would look like the key sellers in the genre are sitting somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 words.

I've got 12 instalments, most of which get increasingly larger, the first one is about 20K and the second 30K. (It's actually in journal format and runs January-December, hence the 12). Could I get away with putting the first two together as a 50K book? Because if I then continue with having each book be two months, some of the later ones will be extremely hefty - I'd probably rather not run to three months per book.

I was also considering releasing the first one free as a hook and the later ones being paid; I assume readers would be less likely to complain something is too short when it's free?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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That's what I originally thought, I just wanted to check with you guys in case there was a flipside opinion that maybe free books are considered worthless and never sell.

I was also considering doing it as a 12-parter and having the first one free and the subsequent ones at 99c, but when I asked last year I think it was a unanimous consensus that a 20,000 word book is a terrible idea because readers will fume against it even when the page count is right there on Amazon.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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BuckarooBanzai posted:

I have a silly stupid question for the thread, and I apologize if it was answered elsewhere. Is it possible to publish through Amazon, Apple, et. al, and in such away that you can be totally certain you won't make any money? I ask because I want to get back into writing but I'm living and working abroad and a condition of my visa is that I not make any money from anything else, even working for myself.

This is from a while back but I would think this would be fine as long as the money is flowing back into a bank account in your home country. It's not really any different from, say, having a stock portfolio generating dividends back home. Your new country just doesn't want you taking jobs off any other people there.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Bardeh posted:

Assuming a 0.0049 rate:



Plus around $500 from D2D and Google, makes July my best month ever. Turns out the summer slump doesn't matter as much if you just keep on publishing.

This is, ironically, about twice as much as the salary for an entry-level job in the publishing industry.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I've been editing the very, very old post-apocalyptic zombie serial I wrote online yonks ago, so that I can self-pub it. It was written in journal format across a year, January to December, and the months seemed like pretty obvious book breaks for me.

The problem is that it's lopsided - the original ran for about 600,000 words, but even post-editing, the first three months run for 20,000, 37,000 and 35,000 words respectively. (I got wordier as I went on, so some of the final months are like 60,00 words or whatever.)

So I'm tossing up between making the January book free and pricing subsequent months at 99c, or merging them together and making it, say, a four-part series where each book spans three months. So these first three months, which are done, edited and ready to go, would be just shy of 90,000 words. (Or if I made it a six-part series of two months each, 57,000 words, and subsequent volumes would be much longer). I guess this would also have the bonus of saving money on commissioning cover art.

I guess my questions are:

1. Do free books actually "sell" well? Or is it an indication that something is trash, and puts readers off?
2. Is 20,000 words enough for a book even if it's free, and clearly the first part of a longer sequel? Or will that make readers crabby and give bad reviews?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Chokes McGee posted:

Oh um. This is a novella, which is only slightly harder to get in people's hands than short stories. I barely butted up against that but stayed on the other line. I'm of zero help with novellas and short stories.

Yeah, this what I was worried about, and as much as I don't like the idea I think I'm going to have to merge a bunch of them. 80-90,000 words is a short novel but still fine though, right?

I would probably prefer to just put the first two months together, but that still just makes 50,000 which I think is still just novella territory.

Also what do you mean by barely butting up against that but staying on the other line...? Your first book was that short?


RedTonic posted:

Keep in mind that a series can be a hard sell. I'm experiencing that myself right now. Other people will have more cogent insights on that than I do, but for best results, try to catch your readers up early in each book, so someone can pick them up after a long absence or as a fresh reader without being too goddamn lost.

I should probably clarify that this is a serial which I already wrote and put online for free ages ago, and the idea behind self-pubbing now is, "Well, I did it and it's sitting there, may as well slap it on Amazon." Of course I wrote it when I was younger and a worse writer than I am (or think I am) now, and so my heavy editing turned into a complete re-write of the early parts, but I think I'll need to do less of that the further along I go. But basically it's already a series and there's not much I can do about that. I'd absolutely expect purchase numbers to tail off the deeper into the series I go, I think that's inevitable, but I'm hoping that it will sell well enough to still make it worth the effort I guess?

Also re: having a good blurb, cover, promoting the hell out of a freebie - if there's anything I've learned from lurking this thread for months it's that those things are mandatory no matter whether your book is free or not, long or short, good or crap, etc.

Another question - since it is a series, I assume it's a good idea to release both the first two at once? So if readers do like it, you can harness that initial enthusiasm so they buy the second one immediately after finishing the first?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Also I think I have a theory that I'm dithering about questions like this because I've spent so much time on this now and I'm nervous to take that extra step and publish and actually make it real.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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OK, cool, so 44K sold okay? People didn't think that was too short?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Chokes McGee posted:

Well. It didn't sell okay—it's my very first novel—but I got it into about 800+ people's hands, got 8 glowing reviews, and I'm still seeing occasional spikes in the KU Pages Read. So apparently somebody out there likes it!

I will say, though, that "wow this is too short" came from a lot of people. I got away with calling it a novel because it moves at breakneck pace and gets more action out of 44k than people expect. But, I've been rejected from trad consideration and several review sites because 44,000 words is "too short."

So, just know what you're going in there against. However, setting expectations as a novella might help a lot, since 20k is very firmly in that category.

Hmmm right. Well, as the first part of a serial I'm hoping people consider it as such and don't expect a standalone book; on the other hand the success of the rest of the series depends on the first one selling and reviewing well. Maybe I should merge the first three months for 80K after all.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I'm done with my first book and ready to move into the actual publishing phase. Is there an updated list of good resources for buying a cover? The OP is quite old by now.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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Zombie apocalypse horror?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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When I first wrote it years and years ago it was a serial called End Times, now I've re-edited it and want to publish it as a series. For this first one I've settled on End Times: Rise of the Undead, because "Rise of the Undead" only appears to have been used once before for a straight-to-video horror movie in 2005. (A lot of better titles I can think of are already in use).

I'm not wedded to "End Times" as a title for the series as a whole, especially since it seems strongly associated with Christianity and Revelations etc on the internet, but I can't think of anything particularly more compelling either.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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moana posted:

made you a thing, let me know if you want it. If you want to try to recreate it yourself the font is nexa, stock photo from depositphotos.



Thanks, I like it - will tinker with the title a bit and change it to my pen name. I have this idea in my head that a book needs a super distinctive cover, and have to keep reminding myself the piece of advice I heard that by far the most important thing is that it gives off the right genre vibe when looked at as a thumbnail alongside dozens of others.

And a million dollars? Wow. Wow. I'd be happy if I could just shave a bit off my monthly rental bill.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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I have been sitting here for three hours trying to write a blurb and I never thought it would be this hard.

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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

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OK, working blurb. Zombie apocalypse, first volume in a series, title is Rise of the Undead:

quote:

New Year's Day; midsummer in Australia. In Perth, twin brothers Aaron and Matt have graduated high school and are enjoying their last few weeks of freedom before adulthood - while on the other side of the country, something has fallen from the sky, heralding the dawn of a new age...

As a terrifying plague spreads across Australia and the world, Aaron and Matt find themselves scrambling to survive, fleeing the city, refugees in their own country. Tormented by strange dreams and beset by violence, they must struggle to find the remnants of their family and survive the Rise of the Undead.

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