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Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Danger Slut posted:

I'm nearing the completion of my first book which is a travel guide, I've already had it edited and now I just need to format it for epub/print. As a first time author is this easy enough to do ? Is caliber a good tool for formatting?

If you're on a Mac, the gold standard for formatting as far as I've been able to suss out is Vellum. It is however, spendy if you're not planning to publish more books/formats.

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Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



feedmyleg posted:

And, uh, what might the silver standard be?

Every answer I've ever gotten from publishers, self-published authors, etc has been "Just use Vellum". We bought Vellum.

Some cover artists will also format your book for you though so keep in mind you may not need to do all of the formatting yourself.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Facebook Aunt posted:

I remember reading that harlequin romance writers do 4-6 novels a year. It looks like Stephen King manages 2-3 books most years. A quick look at genre authors like Mercedes Lackey, Peirs Anthony, Laurell K. Hamilton all seem to do 2-3 books a year. From reading author's notes over the years they aren't just doing 2-3 books a year, they were doing 2-3 books simultaneously. Writing one first draft, doing revisions on another, and final proofs and publishing on the third. Just doing the job for 8+ hours a day.

This matches up with the Genre Authors that I've spoken to at conventions. They are also adding in speaking gigs, seminars, etc. KJA runs Wordfire press on the side as well to augment income. The other shift is that more of the well known authors are making the transition to Hybrid publishing where they have some works Traditionally published and are starting to Self Publish work as well. This works very well for them since they have built-in audiences. Readers don't buy based on Publisher, but they DO buy based on Author.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



pseudanonymous posted:

I think trying to make too much of a first book is a mistake. Though I'm definitely not an expert, this is just going by a few months of browsing a lot of "how to" kindle stuff and chatting in discord with various authors.

This is good advice. You need read through to generate sales. The reviews and such on your first book will slowly build and you can market the series once you have a few books going. Keep plugging at it. The people making big money are publishing at an incredibly fast pace so the readers continue to read through as quickly as their appetite allows. Getting them suckered in by marketing a cheap book 1 or a "box set" or something like that with lots to follow it up I seems to be the key.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



n8r posted:

Getting impartial feedback can be difficult as an author. I cannot count the number of times we've had authors bring us manuscripts that they swear are ready for publication because all of their friends have read it and say it's amazing.

My wife has a rule, Never submit a manuscript that has not been read and critiqued by at least one person who is not your friend or relative.

On another note, Amazon won't let us list paperbacks for pre-sale because reasons? The more I get into the publisher side of Amazon the more I loathe it.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



I can at least help out on a couple of these questions

Gologle posted:

2. A few years ago, the advice that I saw in regards to Kindle Select was "don't" because when you publish your stories to KS, Amazon has exclusive rights to the work for a certain period of time and you cannot publish it anywhere else. I was told this can be a problem if the work is somehow reproduced somewhere else, Amazon finds out about it, and decides to ban your account or withhold funds or something. Has that changed?
When you put your work into Kindle Unlimited, you give Amazon Exclusive Rights to distribute the work in ebook form. You MAY sell paperbacks, hardbacks, or audio books through other means. However, single physical short stories are unlikely to sell beyond the family circle, unless you're already a big name author. Anthologies generally have a chance to break even on production costs, but typically only if it's a group of authors.

Gologle posted:

3. Is Amazon still the main publishing route to go?
The 800 pound gorilla has continued to maintain its weight class. Yes, as your primary focus. But don't discount bigger distributors like Kobo to get your work to a wider audience.

Gologle posted:

4. How can I promote my works? I don't have much of a social media presence because I despise social media, but I'm willing to try if it only involves minimal interaction with those platforms.
Facebook ads, Kindle ads, Blog, Newsletter, Twitch Stream, Twitter maybe. It's moved very quickly over the last few years to a pay-to-play system. In other words, you really need to buy ads if you want your books found by anyone outside of your immediate circle. Social media is powerful as you start to grow fans because they want access to you. A newsletter and an author website are your absolute best bets as you first start out.

Gologle posted:

5. I worked on the cover myself with a friend's help, because I'm poor and unwilling to pay for even the cheapest covers found on goonwrite.com. I do plan to change this once I get more money going, however many months that takes, because I'm aware that a professionally done cover and editing are both good investments. My question now is the cover we ended up designing is small, very small. The ideal dimensions Amazon recommends is 1600x2560, this cover is like less than 400x250 or something like that. My friend, who does have some expertise publishing on Kindle, assured me size is not that important on a Kindle/ebook reader because of the thumbnail, but I want to check that with others first, because it feels like a big deal, how are people going to notice my book if it's got a small cover? But if I try to resize the image, it of course looks blown out and terrible.
The cover is arguably the single most important feature of the book on Amazon. I would find a way to make it Kindle's minimum size requirements. I'm surprised they even accepted it. If it doesn't fit, they'll tell you.

Gologle posted:

6. Again, I absolutely plan on getting a professional cover artist down the line, but for now, for my first few short stories, are Canva and GIMP good platforms to use? What meager talents I had with Photoshop wasted away years ago, and I wasn't that big on it anyway. Canva sounds nice on paper for my kind of people.
Lots of authors who make their own covers use Canva.

Gologle posted:

8. Like I said in the description, I put enough alluded background details and plot into the story that I could make it into a series if I wanted to. And since the two short stories I'm planning on uploaded from this are a sort of package deal that I'm splitting in the name of profit, would it be a good idea to put the books together as a series (like Book 1 of 2, or however many I might make?) But I don't know if series' sell well. Down the line, I do plan to make them a bundle too.
Series are the only way to go if you're self publishing fiction. I would throw the short stories up, because you really don't have anything to lose. But once you have a series ready to go, take the short stories down and offer them as free incentive for joining your newsletter.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Gologle posted:

Thanks for the fast response. That's a very good idea about the short story incentive to joining the newsletter, I think once I get more established I will go that route. What should I be using to get a newsletter together? I know nothing about them at the moment.

Mailchimp is an easy enough option. Make sure you do double opt in and have an easy unsubscribe link in the footer.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Chris Pistols posted:

started off with (what I would call) a vanity publisher. He fell out of love with that and self-published on Amazon.

Cherry picking but the vanity publisher bit twigged me. Lets go back to the beginning. Has the book been through al least one round of professional editing?
Next up, consider the cover. Is it constructed/designed similarly to the books near the top of the rankings in the category? (Also is the book categorized correctly?)
Then the Blurb and Back Cover copy. These need to be good to get people to buy it.

I would work through those items before throwing money at getting people to the amazon purchase page. If the cover isn't great or the blurb isn't catchy/intriguing no matter how many people you get to land on that page it'll be a losing game.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



divabot posted:

Draft2Digital has just dropped 24Symbols as a distributor, no reason given. Anyone have any idea why?

Looks like they were being excessively slow to pay based on the email sent.

Draft2Digital posted:

We have been closely monitoring 24Symbols for several months and have determined that the operational and accounting timelines of the platform do not currently meet the minimum requirements we have set for our distribution partners.

As a nice gesture, D2D are covering royalty payments due from 24Symbols to Authors/Publishers.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Calico Heart posted:

I have an incredibly basic-bitch baby question: ... How much do I sell the book to the distributors for, per book?

Booksellers typically pay 50% or less of the retail/cover price and demand full return rights for 100% refund.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Leng posted:

Thanks I appreciate the feedback! The thing that gets me is it SHOULDN'T be daunting. It's just that the whole process is poorly mapped out and not documented anywhere and this drives me insane as somebody who spent over 15 years documenting process work flows. No wonder people get so confused and frustrated all the timeľ

Wait a few months and KDP or Ingram or somebody else will change something on you again.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Part of the issue for publishers is the contracts that spell out exactly what they are and are not allowed to do with the author's work. We cannot publish non-english versions of our author's books because we do not have those rights spelled out in our contracts. We chose to leave those rights to the author since we're not doing translations and have no intention of doing so in any reasonably near future. Same with several other rights we could have asked for (and none of our authors are big names or would even hesitate to give us those rights but we try to do right by the authors). I would be much more preferable for amazon to make these feature available to publishers to turn on and off rather than trying to just do stuff because they think it's a good idea. Those good ideas may unknowingly violate contracts and force publishers to pull works from amazon which screws the publishers and the authors.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Captain Log posted:

I do have a major question that I'd love any opinions on -

What is an executable work count for a first timer?

I've read way too much Stephen King and Clive Barker my whole life to write concisely, so I'm aware I'm producing bloat. But I've read a lot of articles saying 40k-100k absolute max.

I know my 217k needs to get majorly chopped down. But I'm not sure how much to chop.

Word count for a novel depends heavily on genre in my experience. Research your genre for specifics. We're publishing things from about 60k-120k across various SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror categories. Another thing to take into account especially self publishing is that the longer the book, the more just about everything will cost which makes it more difficult to see ROI out of a title. This especially applies to Audio books which is the largest growing segment of the publishing market at the moment.

Finally, realize that it can take quite some time/effort to build momentum and start turning a profit. General consensus from the majority of published authors I've had the opportunity to speak with directly and second hand through my wife (who does the actual writing and editing) is that you don't start making money on a series until the 3rd book in the series. Conversely, readers tend to peter out after book 6.

Those things being said. Write, write, write, and read a whole lot!

OH last item for real this time... Please don't publish or submit something to agents/publishers that hasn't been read critically by somebody who doesn't love you.

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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).

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