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psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


One blurb tip I came across recently is that they live where the first act becomes the second. That's the transition/conflict you want to pass along to potential readers.

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psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


You should absolutely publish them in pro-paying fiction markets (5cents/word) first if you can, then self-publish after the exclusivity period ends. It's like advertising you get paid for.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I use Smashwords to get freebies on Barnes & Noble.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Grammaton posted:

Posting my book here for consideration/critique: Amissaric by James Hight It's young adult sci-fi.

I've redone the cover and blurb since last time, added a prologue (and epilogue) and fixed up the beginning of chapter 1 to make it flow better. Hopefully it's an improvement. This is my first rodeo so I'm still learning the ropes.


Your blurb is a bit wordy and you'd do better with a face on the cover. Maybe something on a layer behind what you've currently got, staring at the reader.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I found this on kboards awhile back, and can say that it's been accurate at the $2.99 price point:

Set Price = Discounted Price
99c = no change (royalty = 52%)
1.49 = no change (royalty = 52%)
2.49 = 1.92 (Discount = 23%. Actual royalty = 67%)
2.99 = 2.09 (Discount = 30%. Actual royalty = 74%)
3.49 = 2.65 (Discount = 24%. Actual royalty = 68%)
3.94 = 2.99 (Discount = 24%. Actual royalty = 68%)
3.99 = 3.03 (Discount = 24%. Actual royalty = 68%)
4.50 = 3.44 (Discount = 23.5%. Actual royalty = 68%)
4.99 = 3.82 (Discount = 23%. Actual royalty = 68%)
5.18 = 3.99 (Discount = 23%. Actual royalty = 68%)
5.25 = 4.04 (Discount = 23%. Actual royalty = 68%)
5.99 = 4.61 (Discount = 23%. Actual royalty = 67.5%)
6.48 = 4.99 (Discount = 23%. Actual royalty = 68%)
9.99 = 7.99 (Discount = 20%. Actual royalty = 65%)
8.99 = 7.52 (Discount = 16%. Actual royalty = 62%)
15.99 = 9.99 (Discount = 37%. Actual royalty = 83%)

So set GP's price to the first column and they'll discounted it to the second. $3.94 becomes $2.99.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Grammaton posted:

Will an agent be soured by the fact that I self-published?

Only if it's a lovely agent with weird prejudices.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


You could just publish it through Wattpad or something.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Start your mailing list now.

I don't give away free books, because I want a very tight list - just people who want to buy my books. It's not a better way of doing it, just different. I end up with a 50% open rate as a result, but my overall numbers aren't super high.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


If you want to write short fiction just submit the stories to professional markets.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I'm assuming he means "posted to the web for free" web serials. There are a lot out there, and some interesting monetization schemes.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Better than last month, making it only the second worst this year. Amazon earnings were up, BN, Apple were down. Kobo is kobo.

I put a short story in Select to give it a go. Got one Unlimited borrow. Eh.

Had a reader email me about getting a signed copy. Going to order it via createspace, sign, and ship to them via priority mail. Added $16 to the cost, but they were fine with it.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Jesus, Amazon, can you at least pretend to keep this relationship professional? Christ.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


They will ban you for having more than one KDP account. More than one Author Central account is fine.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I sat on a WorldCon panel. I was the only self-pubbed author with these Hugo and Nebula award winning authors, so even though I was outclassed in every conceivable way I was fielding many of the questions.

I like doing panels, but I never remember to sign myself up for any until it's too late.

psychopomp fucked around with this message at 21:42 on Dec 18, 2015

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


From what I understand it's less of a plot-to-sex ratio as it is the focus of the plot. Is the protagonist's goal sex related or relationship related? If the latter, it's a romance. The former, erotica. Either can include copious amounts of sex; the difference is in why all the fuckin'.

Disclaimer: I can't write either, so this is a second-hand understanding.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


My big issue is that I'm getting tired of having the dozen pen-names I made up when I first started two and a half years ago. (Jesus has it been that long?) I still get a trickle of income from everything, so I'm disinclined to just un-publish everything. All the platform maintenance is a real time sink, though.

I'm wondering if I could just publish everything under my own name, or if that'd just end up a confusing cluttered mess to readers. If I boiled it all down to a few categories, I've written (and will likely continue writing) steampunk (and alt history) mysteries, metaphysical/bizarro/weird fiction poo poo, depressing literary drama, horror (psychological atmospheric and supernatural), fantasy (epic and urban), and sci-fi (near future techno-thrillers, post-apocalyptic, hard sci-fi, and space opera).

I think I can manage two platforms, possibly three, but I really want to diffuse my branding as little as possible given what I've already written. Any idea which genres fit well together under the same pen-name brand?

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


EngineerSean posted:

Another is to lump them under a single pen name (or your own real name) and just deal with the same kind of people who say "I read Dolores Claiborne and Lisey's Story, not like Cujo at all!" (I'm in this group even though I make fun of it).

This was basically my game-plan this year, and I might be second-guessing myself here.

quote:

The solution that I most favor is just to buckle down and stick to one thing for a while.

Yeah. I've got a tentative schedule written up for next year that's basically four releases in the same series, and I can stretch that out for another four the year after.

But I've got all these other already-written books across diverse genre that I'm wondering if there's a more effective pen-name/brand scheme I can consolidate them under.

quote:

I don't know man, you've been doing this longer than I have and I respect that, but it sounds like you've been needing to take this to the next level for a while now.

Thanks. I'm just not sure exactly what the next level is or how to get there, besides writing more books and hoping I reach a critical mass while slowly building my mailing list.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Roar posted:

Would unironically read this.

You're in luck.

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Moons-David-Cook/dp/B000GRM6RM/

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Pick a pen name whose domain is free for you to grab. That's really what matters most.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I can't even tell by the blurb if it's a horror book. And those covers are terrible. Follow Sundae's advice and get someone to make you one that fits in with the other covers in your genre.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Re-did a few of my covers recently, and some of them have been featured by Kobo. Sales and free downloads are up. So yeah, make a cover that looks like it "fits" alongside the others in your genre, but stands out and is distinct.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


EngineerSean posted:

I mean this is more along the lines of "a traditional publishing company can do absolutely nothing for me" which is said sometimes in self publishing circles but is absolutely wrong. Would you pay for cover design even though you can put words on a picture? Would you allow somebody to self publish for you if they were an expert on visibility and kept part of the profit? If no, why not? There is a decent chance (almost 100%) that Amazon handling your publishing would more than double your sales.

Would you give lifetime royalties to middlemen when you could hire a cover designer and editor yourself, then run a bookbub, all for flat fees?

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I had a story picked up by wattpad and featured, which resulted in around 20k views, but it's lead to negligible conversion.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Bobby Deluxe posted:


What it is though is a fantastic tool for gaining new followers who love to read and will enthusiastically spread the word about your books among themselves. The tags work like twitter should, and the newsfeeds work like Facebook should. Oh, and the queue is great because you can stack up a bunch of posts once a week, and it'll spit them out to your followers at regular intervals.

It has a lot of advantages that should put it on par with Facebook and Twitter, but for some reason nobody ever really mentions it.

So how do we, as authors, take advantage of that tool?

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


DukeRustfield posted:

I'm going to disagree with this. While you might be correct statistically, basically you're saying always be a follower. There are break-out products in every field. You can't say, "oh, there's never been an iPhone before so there is clearly no market for phones with the computing power of a PC." Or there's never been a 50 Shades (or at least not a big market). One of the reasons products can explode is precisely because it's a new market. Write the Generation Next Religious Memoir of Financial Accounting. It'll sell a million.

"Being a huge unexpected break-out success" is a nice fantasy but a lovely business plan.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


quote:

If you apply to a company, let's say Google, and tell them, "I just do what everyone else does," you won't get the job. If you tell your prospective agent, "I just want to make C+ grade work," s/he is likely not going to be interested.

Those are matters of branding, not actual production. You're free to bill yourself as whatever, but you write to market.

You go to google with a resume appropriate to the position you're applying for, not an eight page rambling document calligraphied on construction paper about how creative you are as an artist and how your work history consists of running tabletop RPGs for your buddies.

And an agent is going to be much more interested in hearing that you write commercial fiction in a proven market than that you're an innovator out to try new and untested things. They tend to be risk adverse.

And the reading public? Even worse. They want work that resonates with what they've been reading their entire lives. They want to read what they like to read.

I'm not saying that there's no room for innovation. I'm saying that innovation is incremental and built upon a foundation of "doing what the successful people do" only better. Successful innovators predict what's going to be hot next and write that, not whatever random bullshit strikes their fancy. You can't force people to read what you've written just because that's what you want to write. That's not how capitalism works.

Edit: I want to clarify here that I'm talking about financial and commercial success, not critical acclaim or literary accolades. Creating a sustainable income takes priority over creating great art.

psychopomp fucked around with this message at 13:31 on Oct 14, 2014

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


quote:

I was a computer programmer for 15-20 years. And I worked fortune 50 for most of that. No one wants to hear that you're just one of the crowd. Not in Accounting. Not in Human Resources. Not in Information Security. I never remotely heard that play work. People want to think they're getting quality a step above.

B2C marketing is not in any way related to dealing with a formal institutional corporate environment. Middle management's goals are unrelated to consumer purchasing habits.

I have no idea why you assume that one would relate in any way to the other.

quote:

No, you don't. I mean, you can. But you're going to have a better time making your own market. I'm not talking about an entire genre of book. But like someone mentioned above, horror comedy. I wrote a horror comedy screenplay years and years ago and it placed as a semifinalist or finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship and got a lot of traction--though went nowhere ultimately. Still, one of the reasons it got attention was because it was different.

Awards-winning does not translate to saleable product. Often, in fact, it's entirely the opposite.

I will say that it's vastly preferable to create your own genre than it is to try and become a leader in an existing genre, but the only difference between this and book marketing is a matter of scale. You still need an in-depth understanding of the market, as well as your ideal consumer's purchasing and reading habits.

Genre isn't about what you write, it's about how you promote your author brand. It's short-hand to make readers easier to market to, so they can quickly and easily identify what already appeals to them. You can (and should) define your personal genre however you like, and use that to stay on target, but if there's no demand, there's no demand. Find out where the demand is. Then write it.

quote:

Think of all the medium successful bands. Not even the superstars. They got something that's different. Even if it's just being an all girl band playing metal wearing pixie clothes. But usually it's sound. I was just looking through upcoming concerts a bit ago and all these bands that hung around for decades they weren't the same. They aren't Generic Rocker Band 343.

Think of all the unsuccessful bands. All the ones with their special snowflake gimmicks and unique sounds. The ones you'll never hear about because they didn't get lucky unlike the ones you're talking about.

Luck is a terrible basis for a business plan. Don't use the outliers when constructing one.

TL;DR: Corporate management practices don't compare to consumer reading habits. Readers like the familiar, and tend to be risk-adverse when it comes to trying new authors. Hook them first, then you can get all avant-garde and see if they stick around. (They won't.)

psychopomp fucked around with this message at 19:20 on Oct 14, 2014

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


magnificent7 posted:

Have any of you had experience with publishing your books in audio format? On Audible, for example?

Yeah, I've published a few of my books through ACX. They recently cut royalties across the board for all new audiobooks, but they're still basically the only game in town.

It's a painless process unless something goes wrong; their support team hasn't been that great.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I did a kickstarter my first year to fund the paperback edition of a collection of novelettes. Goal was around a thousand bucks, went towards a new cover and some editing. Hit goal + 10%, just about. Never bothered doing it again; my royalties had increased beyond needing to crowdfund commissions and editing.

Now I'm gearing up to do a Kickstarter for a film project with a $25,000 budget and the number alone intimidates me. There's a lot of math that goes into figuring out stretch goals and reward tiers. Way more complicated than it was the first time around.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Yes, if we get the donations this year but don't have time to use them, we can't cite the expenses as a tax write-off, so we're waiting until next year to do the kickstarter.

There's a similar issue with incorporating; if we incorporate before the end of the year we'll need to file a tax return for the entity, even if we have no financial activity for the year. So we're waiting on that, too.

Another issue to be aware of is sales tax, depending on what your rewards are, and your state's take on the matter.

Talk to an accountant.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


All Else Failed posted:


I think I would rather approach this as a business venture at first rather than much of a creative one.

What is the best advice you could offer to an unabashed lazy person and procrastinator like myself

My best advice? If you intend to approach this as a business and not a hobby or form of self-expression, don't be lazy or procrastinate. Self-publishing is not easy and there's a very good chance that even if you do everything "right" you won't see a return on your investment worth the effort.

I make a living at this, barely, and it's turned me into a workaholic. If I'd been lazy I never would have even earned beer money. If you want anything like real-job returns, you need to put in real-job effort. 40 hours a week, at the very least. Already having a job takes some of the pressure off, but you're seriously going to have to treat it like a second job.

Or get super lucky, but if you're going with that strategy it's a lot less work to buy lottery tickets.

Disclaimer: I don't write erotica, so can't speak to how much easier that might be.

psychopomp fucked around with this message at 23:41 on Nov 3, 2014

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Being told that I was talented as a kid was all the justification I needed to spend my late teens and early 20s not applying myself. As a result I'm having to learn basic adult productivity skills in my 30s.

Thanks a lot, early supportive network.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Keep in mind that making a living from self-pubbed writing means you are, as far as the government is concerned, an independent contractor. Not only is Amazon et. al going to be taking a slice of your sales pie, but you are going to be paying higher taxes on your income, too. You also don't get employee health insurance options,employer 401k matching, all those things people in a normal dayjob never really have to think too much about. I don't know if you have another job or what your situation is, but these are all important factors, especially early on when you are probably going to be barely making enough for beer money each month unless you are insanely prolific and / or lucky.

Seriously. I made way more money than I expected to my first year and didn't save enough for taxes. Cue me scrambling to find enough money to pay off the massive state and federal taxes I owed at the last minute.

Don't let stuff like this slip past you. Keep really good records.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


My October sales for my main pen-name are up almost double what they have been, and I'm getting a steady trickle of mailing list subscribers. This isn't as much as it sounds like; I made a lot of pen-names when I was starting out, one per genre, and I've basically ignored them this year, so their income has dropped tremendously.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Duke... Betelgeuse at night... an ion curtain just doesn't seem right.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Does anyone have a good resource/guide to whipping up press kits and press releases?

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


All Else Failed posted:

Of course. The path less traveled is full of brambles and the chalkdust bones of past adventurers. There are pros and cons to every approach.

The con here being

quote:

For what it's worth, I've met a lot of people who have "had the balls to make their own audience", and not a single one is making a living wage doing so.

?

That's a pretty big con.

psychopomp fucked around with this message at 03:30 on Nov 15, 2014

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I'd really hoped to get my next novel out this month, but I probably won't be ready to publish until the second or third week of December. Really considering holding off until January or February... December sales have usually been disappointing for me.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I haven't heard of one.

My next novel is due to be done mid-December, but I don't know if I want to release it so close to the holiday, or send out some ARCs, build a little hype, and wait until late January or early February.

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psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Unless you're super ace pro and graphic design and layout, I would strongly suggest buying a premade cover or commissioning a custom cover. You're going to drop $40 to a few hundred bucks (Ravenkult is having a sale I think), but if you don't have the confidence that your book is going to make that $40 back, why are you self-publishing it?

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