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Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


I looked over the first post and while the importance of promotion/marketing was made quite clear, I didn't see much in the way of links to resources telling you how to go about doing it. Because I am, evidently, not very good at it and I would like to know how to be better. If there's a way to do that without taking a college course or selling my immortal soul (or however it is marketers are made), I'd like to know about it.

Any tips or tricks that others have learned from experience along the way would be nice. Anything, frankly, would be nice.

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Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

(Assuming you want to do this for a living)

Research. Research what is popular and determine why it's popular. It can be as simple as hitting up Amazon's Top 100 Bestsellers in the genre you want to write. Don't spend years writing your magnum opus about a lone shoe in a dark closet, then think there is ~SEO magic~ you can sprinkle onto it to make it sell. In the end, you need to have a product people (think that they) want to buy.

Yes, I want to do this for a living. In all honesty, to toot my own horn, I'm pretty good at it. Not master class or anything, but I'm definitely in a comfortable spot with my writing. It's not the content that's the problem here, though, it's the fact that I'm atrocious at promoting myself. I don't have the right kind of attitude to shamelessly shill my stuff, so it doesn't really come naturally.

Jalumibnkrayal posted:

There aren't a lot of worthwhile 3rd party promotional opportunities for new authors. BookBub is the king, it can cost thousands of dollars, and they are incredibly picky because the folks they promote do very very well. On the other side of the spectrum you have someone like BKnights on Fiverr. He costs five bucks, adds your book to a list of a hundred others, and unless it's on free promo it probably won't get touched at all.

The best promotional/marketing thing is just to keep writing. You need to constantly be producing because there are no barriers to entry. Every day dozens of authors are joining the ranks of self-publishing. It takes a lot of dedication to tread water above them.

That is not the most encouraging thing to hear, especially the "thousands of dollars" part. Writing more seems a bit like hoping for the best, but if it's what works and doesn't cost much, then I guess that's what I'll do. I suppose I could also try and get myself a bit more involved with social media stuff, post more hashtags on twitter and maybe buy a few ads here and there.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


My newest book has been delayed for more than two months because of the artist I commissioned for the cover running into problems in their personal life. Random acts of God have been the major thing loving up my ability to produce for the past year, it's not fair :(

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Mr. Belding posted:

One monkey don't stop the show.

Oh, sure, it's not like I'm being unproductive. I've been busy writing my next book almost the whole time, apart from a week or so at the beginning when I was doing the finishing pass on editing for the completed work.

Just call it annoyance that ever since I started trying to write for a living, the world has dumped some serious poo poo on my doorstep with alarming regularity.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Malloreon posted:

cancel the artist and get a new one. 2 months is unacceptable.

Well, the first month wasn't much of an issue. They had to finish up a prior commitment before they could start on my work, and I was fine with waiting because of the editing that needed to get done, and eventually I got the preliminary sketches and was very happy with how they looked. We discussed some more, then they said they were on the final stages of the piece, and that was literally the last email I got from them. I'd be happy with just getting a "yes, hello, still alive" from them, if only to know they haven't been hit by a bus or something.

The thing which honestly baffles me is that I haven't even paid them yet. No downpayment, no deposit, not so much as a dime. So there's no way I'm the one getting scammed or duped here. Really I'm just genuinely concerned that something terrible has happened and I don't know about it.

Hoping that tomorrow morning I get an email with the finished piece and a small apology for the delay, but I am still looking around at alternative artists in the mean time.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Pinky Artichoke posted:

I'm amazed that you've been this patient instead of just dropping them and buying a cover elsewhere.

I'm naturally very patient, and it's not like I'm going to lose sales like this. My book's gonna sell the same amount whether it's published now and six months from now, honestly. Plus the artist's work is very good, and they've shown me that they have a really good understanding of not only what I want from the cover, but also what the story is about. I took one look at their sketches and thought, "this is the exact cover that I want."

Which means it's hard for me to just go "welp, not working out" and cut ties, especially since the price they quoted me was really good. Like, the kind where you honestly want to bump it up a little because it'd otherwise seem like you're ripping them off.

If they sent me an email that said "sorry, can't do it" it'd be easier, but the absolute radio silence is really making it hard for me to make a decision.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Congrats indeed! I think I've only made about that much this whole past year... although I did accidentally classify my book under "children's fiction" for half that time, stupid Amazon not making that clear.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


EngineerSean posted:

The young adult category is called Juvenile Fiction in KDP I think.

Yeah, that's all set correctly now, but when I was doing the information for my book (blurb, etc.) there was a section for suggested ages so I thought "well I'd say 12 and up, it's pretty kid-friendly" and so I put minimum age 12, maximum age 18+, and that got it classified as "children's fiction" which, I think, means it doesn't show up in the regular fiction section.

It might account for the very slow sales rate early on, but either way I'm never making that mistake again.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


The historical data from Book Report is stupid useful for me, it's telling me exactly how much I've earned to date (not a lot) and it's going to be interesting comparing that to future sales.

I hope so, anyway. I'd be a little disappointed if the numbers went down.

After the lovely debacle with my cover artist disappearing without trace, I now have a new artist doing a new cover which is looking pretty sweet right now. As soon as I get the colour version I'll be proudly posting it here.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Just how many people are publishing on kindle for them to "overwhelm" Amazon's servers?

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Spent money on a Facebook ad for my book, got a bunch of clicks that resulted in a non-zero number of sales. Same ad for a slightly different demographic got me more clicks but no sales whatsoever.

Marketing is baffling.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Bobby Deluxe posted:

Facebook ads have been proven to be pretty much useless, at least when purchased from the company they are. So many click farms and weird SEO inflation tactics going round that unless you really, really tighten your target audience down, most of the views will end up going to fake profiles.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18813237

Organic advertising - sharing it with like minded people and hoping they share it themselves - is what FB's good for.

I've been trying the organic approach and it hasn't been working out so well, and my options are otherwise limited due to my finances. Last time I asked for marketing advice in this thread, the suggestions given to me were "research what's popular and copy it" and "spend a thousand dollars on this service for guaranteed success, or five dollars on this other service which probably won't even do anything".

I'll keep doing the "I wrote a book, please check it out" thing, of course, but I'll keep looking for other methods.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


I commission my covers, because I like having original art, but 20 minutes with a stock photo and I can do some reasonable stuff.

If I had to give any advice, and I really don't think I'm qualified, you need an image editor which can handle layers. Also a healthy stock of Blambot fonts so you're not stuck with Times New Roman or anything with nebulous licensing issues. The ones I used for that image (a header for a play-by-post game thread I'm in) were Jack Lantern, Dracu-Frankenwolf, and Trash Cinema to give it a horror/pulp vibe. Honestly, it should be fine with any free font that you can use without worry, and which fits the genre of your work. But Blambot has a lot of very clear and well-designed fonts that are made for titles specifically, rather than general use.

Try to use contrast to good effect. Don't try to go too dark or too light overall, because a lot of kindles/e-readers are black-and-white and the cover can end up looking a lot worse when run through that. Use colours that elicit the right feelings for your genre piece. As a sort of occulty-horror thing, my example uses a lot of sickly green tinted with yellow, with stronger colours on the title outlined in some stark (in comparison) off-white. But for something like romance (or super-romance) you want warm colours. Use Paletton and/or Adobe Color to find good palettes to use. Then use layers over the top of your stock photos that adjust or recolour them to work better.

There's a bunch of tricks you can learn, like using blurred copies of the original image to create a bloom effect, but a lot of the time it's trial and error tweaking things 1% at a time and seeing what it looks like.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


ravenkult posted:

nooooooooooooooooo

Hey, whatever works for super-romance :v:

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Well my new book is finally out, after a lovely start to the year, and I'm psyched to see how well it does!

Young adult fantasy still sells, right? :v:

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Now I'm getting quite self-conscious about my own covers.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Since we're all giving it a go, I thought I'd try my hand. (Click for big)

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


angel opportunity posted:

This is my favorite so far

I can resize/reposition the text pretty easily (oh vectors, how I love you) in case it needs to have a bigger title or anything. Which it might, the "Sundered Heavens" part looks like it could stand to be a little larger now that I look at it in thumbnail.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


I used broadly the same principle for the text as I did on the cover to my new book, with a few minor differences. It's comprised of a set of layers: a blurred shadow to darken the area around the text, a dodge filter layer to brighten the background so the text isn't a solid colour, a layer above that which reduces the saturation by 50%(ish), and another layer over that to correct things.

The difference being that the background image I used for my cover was art I commissioned and not a stock image, so I didn't really save any money on it :v:

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Wow, ok, I did not expect to be offered money for this. Nor to have someone compare me to a professional, oh my. But, considering how long I took on it, and how long I took doing this new version that I'm much happier with?



I'd say, all things considered, maybe something like... thirty bucks? Maybe thirty-five? Since I was just working off the image provided, I think that's reasonably fair.

edit: for the love of God let's not haggle in a public thread though

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

e: On a serious note, I feel like having text that comes up almost right to the edges feels a bit off for a book cover - or any image at all. Is there a term/explanation for this? Am I wrong? It feels like it is throwing off the framing of the piece

Margins (and gutters) are an important part of the visual distinction that lets humans know they are seeing the whole of an image. By having blank or otherwise unimportant space between the physical edge of the image and the edge of the content, you can be sure that you're not missing anything.

I was pretty sure I had enough space that, considering the edges of the Kindle adding to it, the text wouldn't seem too much while also being as large as possible. But now I'm not sure anymore! Thanks a lot.

EngineerSean posted:

I'll personally pay Fuego the tthirty bucks for the cover, its nothing for me and I've enjoyed watching the process. I'll also buy a book from anyone who posted a ccover that didn't make the cut, post it in the thread or send me a link.

Now I'm torn between asking for the cash and asking you to buy my book, because unlike some people in this thread, I crack open the champagne when I hit double digits. Do not ask me how many times I've hit triple digits.

(It's zero.)

Maybe I should start using a pen name to write super-romance, but I can't help but feel that's too crowded a marketplace to jump in on as a side endeavour.

Bobby Deluxe posted:

Really? I gotta start doing selfpub scrub covers.

I am legitimately considering offering my services to this thread, at least part-time, if people actually like what I can do. Although I might need to splash out on some sort of stock photo season pass, or however that poo poo works.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Sundae posted:

Post a link to a book you want purchased. Your cover work is sweet enough that I'm gonna buy one anyway whether payment occurs or not. :)

I already did! Sort of.

Fuego Fish posted:

I used broadly the same principle for the text as I did on the cover to my new book,

I snuck it in all sneaky-like earlier in the thread, because I'm still new to this whole "marketing" thing. I'm a bit self-effacing by nature, when I should be hooting up a storm about how it's a great book.

(It's a great book.)

(If you like unconventional fantasy featuring interesting systems of magic and/or you really love the palaeolithic, I guess.)

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


EngineerSean posted:

Fuego if you'd like I can give you thirty minutes of phone consultation about your catalog instead. If you were in romance that's a $200 value but its prolly worth it for whatever you write anyway.

I have no idea what you mean by "consultation about your catalog" but it the "phone" part tells me it's 2:30am and I should have been in bed hours ago holy poo poo

But for serious I'd probably be interested in learning more about how to market myself beyond spending money I don't have on advertising, except for that 2:30am thing.

I'll get back to you when it's no longer 2:30am and I've had some sleep.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


I've priced both my books so far at the bare minimum for the 70% royalty rate. I know that going cheaper still might get me more sales, but three bucks is about the limit of how little I'm willing to value my work.

Plus I can always do a free weekend.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


I might release one of my upcoming books for free, just so people can read it and go "wow this is great, I feel like buying everything else this author has done" like they do in my dreams :allears:

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


newtestleper posted:

I haven't read it, but isn't a murder mystery a little dark for 9-12 year-olds?

Judging by the description it's all set post-murder, and so was the first chapter of Harry Potter, so if it's acceptable for kids to read the latter...

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


What sort of phrasing should I be using when sending out review copies, and (possibly more importantly) where should I be sending them? Is there anywhere I can look up potential reviewers based on genre or whatnot?

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


psychopomp posted:

Go to the nearest coffee shop and go up to someone with a laptop, slam a thumb drive onto their keyboard and yell BOOK MOTHERFUCKER

At this point, if that would guarantee me at least one review, I'd go for it.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


angel opportunity posted:

Specifically state what genre you are interested in. In this thread there is like one guy who is making a living off military sci-fi, and almost anyone else making significant income is romance and/or erotica.

I am in neither of these genre camps but I'm not making a significant income off anything so I guess it's kind of academic.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


magnificent7 posted:

Do you guys do anything on Goodreads? What's that about?

I made myself a Goodreads account for my stuff, it's all basically automated after a certain point, although you will probably still have to add in your books by hand (mainly by pasting the Amazon URL, it's not too difficult).

I don't know overall how popular the site is but I don't see a lot of traffic from there myself. Then again, I am still basically just starting out due to the circumstances that destroyed my productivity for over half a year.

I'd say it's probably worth setting up a profile if only because it runs itself once you plug in your twitter and website. Then all you gotta do is add in your new books every time you release one, which is a cakewalk even if it takes 'em a while to double-check it exists.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Sundae posted:

Can anyone recommend some good recent sci-fi? I want to read something that isn't romance, and I'm kinda sick of Asimov right now.

Damnit, my latest book is fantasy, guess I messed up there :v:

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


OpenOffice is kinda not worth using compared to LibreOffice, so maybe use that instead? Same filetypes are supported, it's just that LibreOffice is generally a more efficient (and more well-maintained) set of software.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Sundae posted:

Ooh... if muscular tattooed bad-boy Reagan is what I can expect from your book, I'm sold. :3:

Mister Gorbachev... watch me tear down this wall ;-*

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

It's pretty shocking how helpful this thread is. I mean, rags-to-riches helpful if you can hammer away at it for a while.

Yeah this thread has helped me a lot, and although I'm not really making bank from it right now, I'm certainly doing a lot better than when I started.

Plus I made some money helping with cover design, so that's pretty freakin' neat.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


EngineerSean posted:

Have you considered that you might be too comfortable? No mortgage, wife pays all the bills, biggest problem seems to be a teenage sister-in-law. If there's no gun to your head, there's less reason for you to produce. I find myself in these kinds of ruts often nowadays when I know that three years ago I would never have slacked off like I am now.

Comparatively, I'm incredibly uncomfortable and I find the "gun to your head" thing only hurts my productivity.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Bobby Deluxe posted:

In my case i'm generally stressed and depressed, so additional pressure generally makes me cave.

I genuinely wish I was someone who fought under pressure instead of collapsing, because i've a feeling i'd get a shitload more done.

I've also got the Sad Brains™ and, yeah, it's basically the same sort of thing for me. Especially since, as part of the government's "get hosed" program for dealing with the poor, nobody qualifies for any sort of disability benefit these days, so I'm basically relying entirely on my publishing to earn any money.

Unsurprisingly this doesn't make me feel real good about selling so little.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


EngineerSean posted:

Yo 2016 is gonna be a p fly year for self publishing

I'm hoping so too, I've got some big plans to try and up my sales counts, which should be a little easier now that I'm on meds (for my heds).

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


"Better" comes later, I'm not even a month in yet and it takes at least eight weeks for the positive effects to start presenting themselves. But just knowing that I've got something for it now is a good thing.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


angel opportunity posted:

lol one my arc readers just said: "I received an ARC in lieu of an honest review and with all sincerity, get this book!"

Don't think she knows what 'in lieu' means and I'm worried I might get in trouble now...

I think she might have meant something like "I received an ARC[, and] in lieu of [a lengthy] review and with all sincerity, get this book! [Because I am bad at expressing my like for this book in any actual detail.]"

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Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Email has been dropped!

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