Category Archives: Self publishing

Adrian King Writing revolution guest post headshot

Self Publishing: The Writing Revolution

Becoming an author is easier than it has ever been - we have something to say and now, with the advent of self publishing in all its forms, we are able to reach an audience through our own efforts, rather than relying on being noticed by an agent or publishing house. This week's guest poster, Adrian King, has some tips on how to take full advantage of the writing revolution.

The Writing Revolution

By Adrian King

Adrian King Writing revolution guest post headshotI consider myself privileged to be a writer living in one of the most extensive revolutions to ever hit the publishing industry. Authors have more access to their readers than any other time in history. We no longer rely on the decisions of a few publishing houses to determine the destiny of our work. Rather, we can look to our audience, and create our own success. The wide distribution of E-readers and more access to print-on-demand companies in the last ten years have transformed how our business works.

“Tweet something personal. Post a picture of your pets.”

So, how can a novice writer begin their solo journey to published author? This short guideline can help you begin a strong foundation.

  • Start by testing your work. Ask family and trusted friends to read your piece, and get it edited. If you can't afford a professional editing service, then seek out writer's critique groups. You have asked these people for their opinions, so be prepared when they offer them. Some writers become so attached to their work that they cannot accept constructive criticism. All they have done is ignored the fact that their work could be better. However, do not let anyone dilute your focus either. Keep an open mind about suggested changes and consider every option, but ultimately it is your name on the cover.
  • Build a strong author's platform.
    • Create an author's page on Facebook, and link it to your Twitter account. Once you link them, your Facebook posts will tweet, and your tweets will post as status updates on Facebook. Invite all of your friends to like your page. Be sure not to make your pages one long running commercial. Tweet something personal. Post a picture of your pets. You will be ignored if you bombard your friends and followers with commercials about your book. It is also important to grow your audience. Follow industry professionals, invite everyone you know to be your friend, and even include your Facebook and Twitter information on your printed materiel. It is common now for people to judge the reputation of artists, authors, and companies on their number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter. This is why many large companies have entire departments dedicated to their social media coordination.
    • Also, an author's website is a must. Have your complete bio available. Have descriptions of all of your available titles, along with a link to where they can be purchased.
    • Want to make two royalties for each sale? Amazon makes it possible.
      • First, make sure your book is available for sale on Amazon.com.
        Then become an Amazon Associates Member. This allows you to sell Amazon products on your author's page for a commission.
      • Finally, create links to your book at Amazon Associates and use them as the links to purchase your book. Now, when people click the link to buy your book, you will get paid a commission for the advertisement and the royalty for your book sale.
    • Start a blog. Your blog doesn't need to be about writing. Blog about something you love. Your family, travel, pets, anything. People who do not typically read Sci-Fi might buy the Sci-Fi title of their favorite travel blogger. You may not look forward to starting another regular commitment, but there are plenty of good reasons to get it done. You will get good practice writing, grow your audience, and provide content for your social media posts.
  • Choose your weapon. Choosing your printer and distributor is like choosing a relationship. Carefully define your budget, and then do your research. Createspace.com, Lulu.com, and iUniverse.com all have their pros and cons. You will need to choose a company that fits your needs and budget.
  • Get your name out there. When people search your name, you want them to find your book. There are many ways to get this done, but here are a couple of simple and cheap methods that I like.
    • I listed my book on E-bay. Most search engines will display E-bay results on the first page.
    • Next I created an author's bio on Amazon.
    • Become a guest blogger. Establish your blog and write enough content to show your expertise on your topic. Then, offer to write posts for other blogs similar to your own. This will not only spread your byline, but also help drive some traffic back to your own blog.
    • Finally, a blog tour is a great way to get your book mentioned on several websites in a short period of time.
“You are no longer just a writer. You are an Author”

All these things can help you build a strong base. Remember, how successful you become is completely up to you. You are no longer just a writer. You are an Author... Not to mention publicist, head of marketing, editor-in-chief, and designer. It is hard work to be your own publisher, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Useful tips there from Adrian King - there were a few I hadn't thought of! How do you let people know about your books? Use the comments below to share your thoughts - and the handy buttons to share this post with your friends, too.

Silas Champion dealing with rejection headshot

Keeping That Chin Up | Dealing With Rejection

Self published authors are truly on their own - long hours in front of the computer screen writing and marketing! Then along comes a troll and puts the boot in. This week's guest poster, Silas Champion, has a few tips on dealing with rejection.
[sendtokindle]

Keeping That Chin Up | Dealing With Rejection

by Silas Champion

Silas Champion self motivation headshotWriting can be a discouraging endeavor. A writer sits in front of a computer for months or sometimes years to create a very personal work of art. He or she then pushes this delicate art form into the wide world to face criticism. It can be a terrifying experience. It’s like an eagle pushing its baby out of the nest.

Every writer faces rejection. Publishers and agents reject our work. Self-published authors face bad reviews from readers or just difficulty getting anyone to buy their book. Many famous authors suffered a lot of rejection before they found success.

It can be difficult to deal with this rejection. Our work is personal; therefore rejection of our work feels like a rejection of us. Sometimes when we get that thirteenth vague form letter rejection from an agent, we just want to throw the laptop out the window. When we see a zero in our monthly sales on Amazon, we feel like chucking it all and living in a box under a bridge.

How can we avoid giving in to discouragement? How can we stay out from under that bridge? Well, first, we should step away from the laptop and put that big box in the recycling bin. The television reception is terrible under the bridge anyway. I think there are three ways to keep your chin up in the face of rejection.

Celebrate Small Victories

The first way is to focus on the positive. Keep that review from someone who enjoyed your book close at hand. Go back and look at a positive post about your work on social media. There are people out there who enjoy your work. This is one reason why we write. With all the rejection and discouragement, it is good to be reminded of this from time to time. I still remember the first review I got from a total stranger. Someone who didn’t even know me talked at great length about how they enjoyed my book. I go back and read that review occasionally, and some others as well. Even though some people will not like your work, others will. Don’t give in to negativity.

Find Community

Writing is a solitary endeavor. It is a very isolating activity as well. Isolation makes it much easier to become discouraged. Find some people who will lift you out of the slough of despair. Talk to a friend on the phone. Exchange emails with a positive person. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to find community. There are many encouraging and friendly writers on social media. They are facing the same struggles. You are not the only writer struggling with crippling self-doubt and discouragement.

Of course, there are plenty of trolls and negative people online as well. Ignore the angry trolls (unless, of course, it is an actual troll–then run away). Find good people and interact with them. Avoid those who constantly spew discouraging information. There are many writers out there who run down famous authors or just lament their lack of success. Reading for the umpteenth time how Amazon’s algorithms are stacked against you will drive anyone to drink. There are always complainers. Find positive people and push negativity away.

Keep Writing

One of the most exciting things that can happen to a writer is the new idea. There is a rush of excitement and energy that comes with it. A new project is full of possibilities. It is like an undiscovered country awaiting exploration. Keep yourself busy with this excitement and you won’t have time to wallow in self-doubt and pity. This doesn’t mean we should ignore older projects. Jumping from one project to another without finishing anything is counterproductive. That will lead to frustration as well. It does mean, though, that we should always be pushing forward. The new possibilities will motivate us to move past our self-doubt.

So stay out from under bridges (seriously, there are trolls there) and just keep writing. Keep going. Keep working. Don’t let your doubts and fears make decisions for you. Find positive people, explore new possibilities, and keep reminders of small successes. Go for it. Don’t give up, and seriously, throw that box away.

What are some things that I missed? How do you push past the obstacles of doubt and discouragement in your writing?

Silas Champion is author of the children's book Finbar's Fiddle, available on Amazon.

Dairenna Von Ravenstone graphic for

Self Publishing Is Hard | Marketing is Harder

Self Publishing is hard. There are no two ways about it. I think we have all felt the frustration of self publishing a work of genius, only to find that no one buys it. Readers don't know it's there unless we can find an efficient marketing strategy! Writers, even when they've been traditionally published, have to get their hands dirty with marketing.

Enjoy today's guest rant by Dairenna Von Ravenstone - you may find yourself, as I did, nodding in agreement all the way through it!
[sendtokindle]

Self Publishing is Hard

by Dairenna VonRavenstone

Dairenna Von Ravenstone graphic for self publishing is hardAs an unsuccessful self-published author it’s been a rough three years. I haven’t come close to breaking even in what I spent to publish my first novel. I have over 500 followers on twitter, about the same on Facebook but I don’t know what to do with them. Saying self-publishing is hard is an understatement. It’s like trying to make a door through a brick wall with a spoon, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Don’t get me wrong: there are a ton of guides, other indie authors who are willing to help out and lots of things you can do to get yourself noticed. BUT if you don’t have a plan, the will, the time, the determination or the “blood, sweat and tears” then you won’t make it. Plain and simple: if you can’t take the responsibility to work your butt off to promote your work then you won’t be a success.

This came to head about a month ago. An indie author I followed started ranting about how he was going to quit writing if his new book didn’t reach 50 sales in two months. At first I felt the same. I was all “Yeah, you tell them!” Then I read his prior tweets and realized that it wasn’t the fault of the “broken industry” (yeah, that’s what he called the self-publishing industry): it was his fault.

Research

“He spent his money on companies that were scamming him.”

He didn’t do his research in finding an editor and when he did find one he expected that editor to edit an 80K manuscript for under $500 and do a stellar job. He didn’t promote properly. His cover art sucked and he blamed his fans for not telling him. He spent his money on companies that were scamming him. He didn’t do his research in any aspect of self-publishing. He simply wrote a novel that he knew wouldn’t sell (his words) and when it didn’t sell: complained.

Then I got angry. How could this guy sit there and blame the industry for his lack of research? I got mad enough that I wrote an angry blog post (thankfully didn’t publish it), tried to comment on his blog (you have to register to comment then it doesn’t even work: WTF?), and ranted to my IRL friends and some friends online.

It’s not the industry's fault that he didn’t do the proper research before getting into the industry. He’s got no one to blame but himself. Please don’t read this wrong: I’m not trying to bash him in the slightest. But his issue of not selling after two years hits home.

On Not Being a Marketer

Because just like him I’ve got no one to blame but myself for not breaking even in three years. It’s not the problem of the authors who tried to help me. It’s not the fact that I didn’t get good guidance from “how to” books and it’s not the fault of the books themselves. It’s not the fault of the company I did go through (three actually) to sell my books. It’s my fault, mine, all mine (insert maniacal laughter here).

There’s something liberating in saying that. There’s also something really depressing about it. But through this experience I did learn something: I am not a promoter, marketer or whatever you want to call it. I am simply a writer. I’m one of the few who cannot change hats to promoter and get my stuff out there. I understand the concepts; don’t get me wrong, but actually putting them into practice? Nope. It just doesn’t click.

“I have to go the route of traditional publishing”

And you know what? I’m okay with that. I know now that I have to go the route of traditional publishing (or hire a promoter) in order to sell my stuff. It doesn’t bother me that I’m not selling. It doesn’t bother me that people aren’t commenting on my blog or re-tweeting me or whatever. I’m just going to sit here and write because frankly, that’s what I do best.

So, what should you the reader, take out of this word vomit? Simply this: don’t try to do things you aren’t meant to do because if you do you’ll make yourself really, really depressed. Also, don’t be afraid to admit that even after trying hard for X amount of years that you really can’t do something. And, once you admit to not being able to do something: ask for help, or, well, hire help if you can. Because, really: it’s useless to keep whacking at a brick wall with a spoon. You’re just going to bend the spoon. In short: go get a demolition team if you need it.

Dairenna is the author of The Tale of the Twins available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Do you have a similar self publishing experience? Let us know in the comments below - and please share with your friends using the handy buttons provided!