Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #29
Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for February, 2013. We welcome your submissions on topics related to writing, self-publishing, book design or marketing books.
A collection of outstanding articles recently posted to blogs, your reading here will be richly rewarded.
See the end of this post for links to submit your blog posts for the next carnival, or for participating Bloggers and Featured Bloggers to grab your sidebar badges. Thanks to everyone who participated.Featured Posts
India Drummond presents How I Easily Doubled My Daily Word Count posted at India Drummond — Author saying, “So, how did I go from struggling with the concept of writing more than one thousand words per day to breezing through 3000 words per day?”
Joanna Penn presents How EBook Readers Shop And The Importance Of Sampling posted at The Creative Penn, saying, “It’s important to understand how ebook readers shop, because they are the high-volume readers, the ones who will make up the bulk of your digital sales. Your sample is critical to getting these readers to buy, so here’s how to make it most effective.”
Ken E Baker presents How to hire an illustrator for your novel – Part 1: The Setup posted at The Blogclamation, saying, “I wrote this article based on my experience with an illustrator who I hired to create a fantasy map for my book. In a market where enhanced ebooks are becoming ever more popular, the indie author has an opportunity over the traditionally published author to have full control over the type of content he can include in his book. I believe that including illustration is a tremendous value add – not only to the story, but to the reader as well, and with the growing number of readers making use of high-resolution tablets to do their reading, I feel that we should be taking advantage of these benefits. I am confident that this article would be helpful to any indie author who is looking to hire an illustrator for cover design, map creation or page illustration, and I hope you enjoy it.” Book Design and Production
Scott Marlowe presents eBooks, eReaders, and Maps posted at Scott Marlowe, saying, “This post was written after I’d established that maps are important to fantasy books (http://bit.ly/ZJ9IJm). Unfortunately, not all of today’s eReaders are capable of displaying them properly.”
Phyllis Zimbler Miller presents Addition to After Action Report for CIA FALL GUY Free Day on Kindle posted at Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Author
Phyllis Zimbler Miller presents After Action Report for CIA FALL GUY Free Day on Kindle posted at Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Author
Rinelle Grey presents Table of Contents in Novels – Do We Need Them? posted at Rinelle Grey, saying, “A question I’ve been pondering as I format my ebook, does a table of contents offer anything for novel?”Indie author
Steven Saus presents Are You Really A Publishing House? posted at ideatrash, saying, “Dear (fellow) indie authors who call themselves a publishing house:”
Fiona Ingram presents Book Awards for Indie Authors posted at Word Magic: Articles & Tips for Writers, saying, “This is an article specifically on Book Awards open to Indie authors. The awards are listed by calendar date, with direct links, and I have included details on whether e-books (always cheaper!) are accepted, or print copy only. I hope it will be useful.”
Vicki Hudson presents Cancer, Julie Forwad Demay & Cell War Notebooks posted at Vicki Hudson.com, saying, “Julie is not here to blog or tweet or promote her own book. This post is for her, part of the indies forward blog tour in her honor. Read her book. Share it with others. Julie’s words live.”
Gary McLaren presents Digital Publishing & Self-Publishing Conferences in 2013 posted at Publish Your Own Ebooks, saying, “Attending conferences is always a good way to keep up with industry trends, learn some new tricks, and network face-to-face with others in the industry.”
Steve Vernon presents MY DAY AT KOBO posted at YOURS IN STORYTELLING, saying, “I recently was taken on a tour of the Toronto Kobo headquarters – along with a trip to the Ontario Library Association’s Convention. In this blog entry I will tell your readers just exactly what went on – in a way and a style that will (hopefully) both amuse and enlighten indie writers who are wondering just what Kobo is up to.”
Dana Sitar presents 3 Lessons I Learned Figuring out How to Create a Book Trailer for ‘A Writer’s Bucket List’ posted at DIY Writing, saying, “Here’s the book trailer for my latest ebook + the lessons I learned creating it, resources to use, and examples to help you create your own!”
Ben Zackheim presents Does advertising on Goodreads work? Here are some results. posted at ben zackheim, write
Steven Saus presents An Open Letter to The Men In Genre Fandom posted at ideatrash, saying, “While originally addressed to fandom, this post was sparked by a magazine cover. And as independent authors, we’re responsible for what covers go on our books… and the messages those covers can carry to our fans.”
Vikram Narayan presents Conversation Triggers – The Secret Ingredient of a Rock Star Marketing Strategy posted at BookBuzzr Blog
Nick Thacker presents Episode 10: Write More Books posted at LiveHacked.com, saying, “Writing more books isn’t new information to you, most likely. You’ve no doubt heard many, many other writers, bloggers, and “advice givers” tout the truism of “writing more books is the fastest way to more sales.””
J.M. Ney-Grimm presents Eyes Glaze Over? Never! posted at J.M. Ney-Grimm, saying, “When readers look at your book’s cover copy copy, you want their eyes to brighten and the mouse to click either “look inside” or buy. This blog post presents two foundational concepts for making that happen, together with before-and-after examples of cover copy using these principles.”
Aishah Macgill presents How to Hold a Fab Book Launch on the Cheap posted at Aishah Macgill, saying, “There is no need to break the bank for your book launch! Here is a simple, proven formula for a fab book launch that will cost you, the self-published author, next to nothing.”
Laura Pepper Wu presents Indie Authors Share 10 Golden Nuggets: The One Thing They’ve Done to Get More Readers posted at 30 Day Books, saying, “This post taps into the great minds (and successes) of independent authors. You’re gonna want to bookmark this!”
James Moushon presents Indie eBook Marketing: When You Get to the Fork in the Road, You Must Take It. posted at HBS Author’s Corner, saying, “Marketing: 17 outstanding authors give their opinions on using social media to sell their novels.”
Laura Pepper Wu presents Marketing Idea: Developing a Song Playlist for your Novel posted at 30 Day Books, saying, “Whether your book is about music or not, this is a fresh marketing idea, and a “music to read by” playlist could apply to a lot of novels. In this post, Kathy Lynn Harris explains exactly how she put one together, and how you can implement this idea for your book too. Enjoy the post (and don’t forget to check out the playlist!)”
Steven Saus presents Need a Website For Yourself? Make Sure You Meet These Two Requirements First posted at ideatrash, saying, “To the geekier authors out there, this may seem obvious – but when you’re checking out where to host your website, there are two VITAL qualities that any webhost should have before considering any others…”
Peter Masters presents Promoting Cut Limbo with Social Media posted at The ALL new Marketingm8 Blog, saying, “I’ve been blogging for years but since publishing Cut Limbo have focused mainly on self publishing and book promotion. Good to connect with you guys!!”
Alexander Zoltai presents Selling Books Is Hard. ~ So, Why Do Writers Keep Trying? posted at Notes from An Alien
Steven Saus presents Six Probable Outcomes From Amazon’s Used Digital Sales Patent posted at ideatrash, saying, “Before the pro-Amazon crowd roasts me, this could apply to ANY company. It just happens to be Amazon.”
Nina Amir presents You Need Courage and Authenticity to Succeed as a Book Blogger posted at How to Blog a Book, saying, “To succeed as an book blogger (someone blogging a book), an author, or as a blogger you need courage and authenticity. Learn how to get these qualities.”
Bob Baker presents Your Facebook Author Page: 5 Simple Ways to Get More LIKES posted at Bob Baker’s Book Promotion Blog, saying, “Creating a Facebook fan page is the easy part. Once you have one, you have to attract people to it and encourage them to “Like” it. And that’s where a lot of authors and book publishers get hung up. Here are five ways to generate more Facebook fan page likes …”Self-Publishing Success
Nina Amir presents 10 Reasons to Use the Proposal Process Before You Write a Book posted at Write Nonfiction NOW!, saying, “Discover why and how to evaluate yourself to see if you are the best person to write and publish your book and to determine if you are ready to do so.”
Belinda Williams presents Fact: women are more successful self-published authors posted at Belinda Williams Books, saying, “This post takes a look at the findings of the recent Taleist survey of self-published authors and examines why women are leading the pack, compared to the more male dominated world of the traditional publishing industry.”
Dave Bricker presents Self-Publishing & Vanity Publishing: Confuse Them and Pay the Price posted at The World’s Greatest BookWriting tools and tips
Joanna Penn presents How To Write More And Create A Daily Writing Habit posted at The Creative Penn, saying, “Some tips for how to create a daily writing habit and seriously up your production in 2013″
Michael J Holley presents What To Watch When Compiling A Kindle eBook in Scrivener | Michael J Holley – Writer posted at Michael J Holley – Writer, saying, “Some handy tips on what to look out for when using Scrivener to compile your self-published eBook.”
Marcy Kennedy presents Four Techniques to Show Rather than Tell posted at Marcy Kennedy – Fantasy Author, saying, “We always get the advice “show, don’t tell,” but what we really need is some practical techniques to figure out when we’re telling and how to fix it.”
Gibson Goff presents Get Out of the Doldrums and Get Writing posted at Freelance Writing Dreams, saying, “It’s sometimes very easy for our creative spark to go out, even without us noticing. Here’s an easy idea to rekindle that spark, and feel like a writer again.”
Gordon Burgett presents How to interview a famous (or infamous) person abroad posted at Gordon Burgett’s Blog, saying, “Interviewing is part of almost any book or article that sees print. Here are 10 tips from a veteran journalist.”
Suzanne Ravelle presents How to write a story posted at www.Toga-Teasers.com, saying, “Hi I just came across your site on twitter. Not sure if my article is suitable as was written to also promote my self-published work but regardless of which I think your carnival of the indies is a great idea!”
C. S. Lakin presents String Shots Together to Make Dynamic Scenes posted at Live Write Thrive, saying, “Writers can learn from cinematic technique when it comes to creating scenes, which are composed of segments of shots. This article gives example of how we actually use “a series of shots” as we go through our day looking at things and interacting with other people. Part of a year-long course on applying filmmaking techniques to fiction writing.”
Well, that wraps up this issue. I hope you enjoy some of the great articles here, and let other people interested in self-publishing know about the Carnival—Use the share buttons below to Tweet it, Share it on Facebook, Plus-1 it on Google+, Link to it! The next issue is March 31, 2013 and the deadline for submissions will be March 20, 2013. Don’t miss it! Here are all the links you’ll need:
The original announcement post
Carnival of the Indies web page
Submit your article here
Bloggers, grab your official Carnival of the Indies Badges here
Follow Carnival of the Indies on Twitter
Subscribe to The Book Designer Blog
- Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #26
- Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #28
- Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #20
- Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #23
- Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #19
via The Book Designer http://bit.ly/ZJ9It0
On Publication Day, the story of why I chose an 'indie publisher' for my memoir...
Preface by Joel Friedlander, aka The Book Designer
I met Paul La Rosa when he was referred to me by friend and fellow blogger Betty Ming Liu. Paul’s story of growing up in the projects of New York City and climbing up the ranks starting as a copy boy at the New York Daily News really struck a chord with me. I was a year or two older than Paul, and grew up a few miles away. His book is coming out today, and I asked him to tell the story of how it came to be. Here’s his report.
by Paul La Rosa (@PaulLaRosa)
For my first four books—all about criminal investigations that were based on hours I produced for the CBS News broadcast “48 Hours Mystery”—I chose to publish with two of the Big 6 publishers—Penguin and Simon & Schuster. But for my new book—the memoir Leaving Story Avenue: My journey from the projects to the front page, which is being released this week—I wanted a publisher to care about this personal work as much as I did.
Enter the world of independent publishing. It’s different, that’s for sure but, so far, the experience is more enjoyable. I’ve had a lot of input into cover design, layout and getting blurbs that, yes, appeared on the cover.
My partner in this venture—and I call this house my partner because that’s how I feel—is Park Slope Publishing, a new independent based in Brooklyn which calls itself an “environmentally friendly and green publisher.” That means it uses print on demand technology and e-books.
That also means not doing a print run of thousands of books but, in this age of e-books, I’m okay with that. Park Slope publishes the number of trade paperbacks readers want and we all save a few trees in the process.
One thing I knew at the start was that I wanted the books that were published to be in the trade paperback format. To me, mass market paperbacks look too cheap and hard cover books are anachronistic. Personal preference, but that’s how I feel. The publisher readily agreed to go that way.
We came up with three different designs for the cover (using the services of Joel Friedlander, aka The Book Designer) and settled on what we felt was the best.Taking Over the Blurb Project
One that I really wanted was good cover blurbs. With the big publishers, I never had the chance to get the blurbs on the cover as I wanted; this time I wasn’t going to be denied, especially since I felt that, with such a personal work as a memoir, I needed to quote someone who would be impressive.
I put out a lot of feelers. Some people that I felt sure would come through did not but I was overwhelmed with gratitude when the well-known author Ken Auletta of The New Yorker magazine came through big-time with a very generous blurb. It was all the more exciting because he’d warned me up front that he would read the book but not promise a blurb unless he enjoyed it. Thankfully, he did, saying, “Paul LaRosa has written a poignant and funny memoir that reads … as breezily as a delicious tabloid newspaper.”
We put that blurb on the front cover. You can read his entire quote on the back cover and you can be sure, dear reader, it is totally genuine. Ken had no reason to help me out on this one but he really enjoyed the book.
Another happy surprise was Theresa Weir, the best-selling author of her own memoir The Orchard, which was picked as one of Oprah Winfrey’s best books of 2010. I loved it too, and found Ms. Weir on Twitter. Would she be interested in reading my memoir? She said yes and, within weeks, I had my second generous cover blurb. Both were from highly reputable authors.
Working with a small house, it was easy to change the cover design a bit to get the blurbs included.Moving on to Marketing
The next issue was marketing. Those not familiar with publishing should understand that, even if you’re published by a Big 6 publisher, there is almost no marketing or advertising done for you as an unknown author. The best you can hope for is a couple of radio interviews and perhaps a bookstore reading or two. No advertising. The rest is up to you.
It’s counter-intuitive but the Big 6 publishers put all their advertising and marketing muscle behind brand name authors who need their help the least. Do you really have to push John Grisham’s new book? With his advertising budget, you could help a dozen unknown authors. It doesn’t make sense to me but that’s just the reality of modern publishing.
For my new book … I wanted a publisher to care about this personal work as much as I did.
Anyway, marketing is something I’m comfortable with, having done it for my four previous books. We drew up a press release and sent out advance copies to anyone we could think of. Again, the book received such nice reviews that I’m almost embarrassed. One reviewer compared me to a poet, another to a painter. It was heartening and we had even more good buzz to help us.
We also both used social media—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and our own websites—as much as possible. I’m very comfortable with social media and began to spread the word, ramping up as we got closer to the publication date (April 18, 2012).Next Stop: Distribution
The biggest hurdle was distribution. The best thing the Big 6 publishers do is get the books into bookstores but, even then, unless you’re well-known or your book catches lightening in a bottle, the bookstores will carry maybe five copies and put you on shelves that you’d need a GPS system to find.
We figured that these days, many if not most people are used to buying their books online and we took out Facebook, Google and Goodreads ads. I did try to talk my way into some local Brooklyn bookstores with mixed results. Believe it or not, the best luck I had was with a Barnes & Noble store in my neighborhood. We’re still waiting on the small independent bookstores to get back to us.
Using social media and press contacts, we were successful in getting online reviews, great blurbs, at least six radio interviews (including one on NPR), two television interviews and we’re still hoping for more.
It’s been a fun experience so far and I’m guaranteed a much bigger royalty share than I would have had with a Big 6 publisher. And you can help out—buy a book! As they say on Facebook and Twitter, J.