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MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 01:06 AM
So, I have a plan...

I decided that over the next few months I will be working hard to polish my manuscript. I will, during that time, be querying agents and editors as well. However, after over three years, if by February I have not at least landed an agent, I have decided to self-publish. This has been a VERY difficult decision for me. I plan on making DAMN sure that I have it edited to the teeth and perfected as humanly possible (I am seriously considering hiring a professional editor as well), and I have a great illustrator all lined up as well.

I will have a budget for advertising and such, which cannot exceed $2,000.

So. Here's my question: what, in your opinion, are the most important things I should invest in for maximum visibility? Buying copies of my book and handing them out? Selling at local stores? Renting a convention booth (it's sci-fi)? Paying reviewers? Advertising on Facebook?

What do you think? I want my money to go as far as possible. I am also looking around this forum for ideas and whatnot. You guys rock! Thank you!

merrihiatt
11-08-2012, 03:48 AM
Use your money to hire a professional editor and cover artist. Start working on your next book. Those seem to be the best uses of your time and money.

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 04:18 AM
I have my next book working on, and I'm working on my final master's thesis, too. I've already hired an illustrator as well. As I said, I'm pretty sure I'll hire an editor. (That depends on cost, unfortunately; I wish money was no object!) I guess I wasn't clear, and I apologize for that: I'm asking what forms of advertising are most effective to get the word out?

leahzero
11-08-2012, 05:01 AM
So. Here's my question: what, in your opinion, are the most important things I should invest in for maximum visibility? Buying copies of my book and handing them out? Selling at local stores? Renting a convention booth (it's sci-fi)? Paying reviewers? Advertising on Facebook?

None of these.

You are unlikely to sell a significant amount of copies at a convention or at a local bookstore. If you are buying POD copies of your book, you might actually lose money if you don't sell through.

Buying hard copies of your book to hand out is a waste of money if you're self-publishing. You can just give out free ebooks for review purposes instead. One of the upshots of self-publishing is that you have total control over ARCs and review copies.

Facebook has been shown to be virtually worthless when it comes to advertising, as well as Twitter and social media in general. Facebook is on the decline now after its recent monetization debacle.

Reviews on Amazon will help, but you can probably get those by giving out free ebooks. Paying for reviews is ethically dubious and not guaranteed to earn you valuable reviews.

The actual best investment of your money is to buy yourself more time to write more books. Books sell books.

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 05:25 AM
In my experience, children do not read e-books as a matter of course. They would much rather have a physical book. I actually have done quite a bit of research on that, so I feel pretty confident in my understanding. Therefore, giving out e-books would be pretty worthless. There are some children who read Kindles, but when they do, most of them want big bright illustrations and animations involved, otherwise they don't see the point in having to use a device. My book is a MG chapter book.

I am considering handing out and selling at smaller venues because children tend to find books through the grape vine. If I can get them talking about it, their friends will want it too. Kidlit economics 101. ;-)


The actual best investment of your money is to buy yourself more time to write more books. Books sell books.

So how does one buy more time then?

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 05:25 AM
Sorry. Stupid computer double posted.

Polenth
11-08-2012, 05:41 AM
In my experience, children do not read e-books as a matter of course. They would much rather have a physical book. I actually have done quite a bit of research on that, so I feel pretty confident in my understanding. Therefore, giving out e-books would be pretty worthless. There are some children who read Kindles, but when they do, most of them want big bright illustrations and animations involved, otherwise they don't see the point in having to use a device. My book is a MG chapter book.

Most reviewers are adults (and these are the people you'll be giving review copies to). Most middle grade writers are adults, and will also read in the genre. Some children do have ereaders. So it's a really good idea to have an ebook version available, even if you don't sell many copies.

merrihiatt
11-08-2012, 06:43 AM
I guess I wasn't clear, and I apologize for that: I'm asking what forms of advertising are most effective to get the word out?

You were clear. So was my response. Take that two grand and put it into editing and cover art. Advertising sells books for people who already have an audience as a way to say, "Here's my new release." As an unknown author who is self-published, it makes very little difference.

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 07:04 AM
Most reviewers are adults (and these are the people you'll be giving review copies to). Most middle grade writers are adults, and will also read in the genre. Some children do have ereaders. So it's a really good idea to have an ebook version available, even if you don't sell many copies.

Thank you for the clarification, Polenth. I do, entirely, plan on an e-book version. Not to do so would be pretty stupid these days. LOL

merrihiat, thank you for your point of view. :)

James D. Macdonald
11-08-2012, 07:50 AM
Buying copies of my book and handing them out? Selling at local stores? Renting a convention booth (it's sci-fi)? Paying reviewers? Advertising on Facebook?


First, don't ever, ever, ever pay for reviews. Just don't do it. It will come out, and it will be a scandal. Paying for a review is like paying for sex.

If you can convince a local store to carry your book, well, good luck with that. You might wind up selling as many as three to five copies.

Convention booths -- I've seen some self-published authors who've bought tables in dealers' rooms at SF conventions. Poor dears go home with as many copies as they brought.

Sending free copies with press releases to a ton of reviewers might help.

Any advertising you buy, whether Facebook, Goodreads, or the New York Times, is wasted money.

===========

The single greatest reason anyone buys a book is that they've read and enjoyed another story by the same author.

The second greatest reason is that the book was recommended by a trusted friend.

All the rest of the reasons vanish into single-digit percentages.

So, the number one thing you should be doing is all the production work (editing, typesetting, copywriting, art) on this book so that anyone who reads it will enjoy it. Putting out a book that isn't ready will sabotage all your future works.

The second thing you should be doing is writing your next book. And the one after that. And the one after that.

You might write a ton of short stories and start sending them around to the major markets (see above: Read and enjoyed something else by the same author).

Beyond that, you've chosen the single hardest way of getting read.

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 10:33 AM
Reviews. Gotcha.

I can't help but ask, though... a lot of you guys are pretty much saying it's impossible, a lost cause, whatever. There are very few, if any, people saying "yeah, this helps a lot!" besides editing (which I DO plan to do, and have said as much... I don't know why everyone seems to be assuming I'm not).

So... if it's that impossible and hopeless, why self-publish at all?

Old Hack
11-08-2012, 11:12 AM
So... if it's that impossible and hopeless, why self-publish at all?

It is as difficult as people here have told you. Which makes their successes even more significant than is first apparent.

On the advertising front, how many books have you bought because of advertising? There's a good thread in Book Promotion about effective promotion: but the most effective form of promotion for you is to have lots of books available for sale.

If you still want to throw some money at this (and I think you'd be better off spending that money on making your books look more professional, with good editing and design and so on), then consider your own book-buying habits. Why do you buy books? What makes you notice interesting new titles and hand money over for them? Can you do anything to replicate that?

James D. Macdonald
11-08-2012, 11:19 AM
So... if it's that impossible and hopeless, why self-publish at all?

A darned good question, and one that I'd hoped you'd have answered for yourself before setting out on this path.

For me, it was putting my backlist into a form that was readily available (see above, Read And Enjoyed Another Work by the Same Author), and brought in a half-a-tank of gas every now and then, for essentially no work. Certainly a lot easier than selling reprint rights (which are still available, if anyone wants them).

A whole bunch of the self-publishing enthusiasts make it sound like self-publishing is a simple, easy way to coin money.

It isn't.

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 11:39 AM
It is as difficult as people here have told you. Which makes their successes even more significant than is first apparent.

On the advertising front, how many books have you bought because of advertising? There's a good thread in Book Promotion about effective promotion: but the most effective form of promotion for you is to have lots of books available for sale.

If you still want to throw some money at this (and I think you'd be better off spending that money on making your books look more professional, with good editing and design and so on), then consider your own book-buying habits. Why do you buy books? What makes you notice interesting new titles and hand money over for them? Can you do anything to replicate that?

I plan on spending money on editing and design. I have an illustrator lined up with a contract and payment, beta readers working on it for consistency and clarity, have workshopped it in college and graduate school, had professional editors go over it a few times, etc. I am already doing all that. I don't know how many times I have to say that? :Headbang:

So, what you're saying is, I'm already planning everything that is really needed?

James, I seriously don't expect it to be easy, no matter what I do. I've been writing for 20+ years. I'm studying writing in graduate school. I've poured blood, sweat and tears into my work since I was knee-high to Poe. Trust me, I am NOT a noob, and I am NOT doing this to make it easy.

As I said, this was not an easy decision.

sarahdalton
11-08-2012, 01:20 PM
Hey Morgan,

I'm early into my self-publishing journey and I've personally found twitter useful for connecting with my audience. I'm publishing YA so it's mainly aimed at teens and because there are so many YA bloggers who are tech savvy, I've actually sold a couple of books by chatting on twitter. That's actually chatting though - those spammy tweets with links to their books don't really work.

I agree with what other people have said. The book cover is an advertisement for your book and it needs to stand out. Shop around for a good artist with a reasonable rate. I've seen a few that are very expensive for less than sparkly covers.

Get on Goodreads and network there. Join groups and advertise your book in the relevant section. I found quite a lot of interest came my way in terms of reviews, mainly because people liked the book cover and the premise and wanted to read more. Then I just emailed them an ebook and they posted the review (in most cases. Some either get the book and decide not to review it for whatever reason - not enough time/didn't like it/just wanted a free read - so it's important to only give out ebooks).

I know someone has just mentioned never paying for reviews, but I've heard Kirkus been mentioned a few times on other forums. They charge a lot of money to review your book with an honest opinion. Does anyone else know much about them? I guess they must have a huge readership because some writers seem to think it's worth it.

On the advertising front, check out some of the threads in the book promotion section. Some of it is not worth your time. Reviews, cover, second book - maybe a trailer (which you can do on the cheap with windows movie maker) are what I've found to be successful.

Getting out into the real world to sell books face to face is something I don't have any experience in at all. It works for some authors. On my local forum there are a few writer who have been on local radio and sold books via their own website - they are writing local interest books so it's a bit different, but it seems to work for them. :)

J. Tanner
11-08-2012, 01:29 PM
So... if it's that impossible and hopeless, why self-publish at all?

It is neither impossible nor hopeless.

It's just really, really difficult to build an audience up from zero.

I have yet to see any evidence that any of the options you've presented has any value at all. Save your money for the stuff that matters. (Pretty much what others have told you.)

The real opening for self-publishers is the rise of ebook publishing. You seem to believe your target demographic lacks interest in ebooks. I'm not sure how correct you are, but assuming it's true, then you should expect your path to be even more of a challenge.

Let's be optimistic and say the market is growing and open to ebooks. Expect that your first book won't sell well, because most self-pub books don't. Same with the second, but it may do a bit better. Then repeat with the third. It's no surprise that the successful authors have large backlists and so the key is persistence if you don't have that yet. The thing that tends to hurt people the most that I've seen is unrealistic expectations for their early books. They get discouraged by making close to nothing at the start even though that's what they should expect.

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 01:56 PM
The real opening for self-publishers is the rise of ebook publishing.

Yup. And that's what worries me. Wherein does a middle grade (ages 8-12) writer fit in this new ebook world? Merp.

That said, I understand that my first book won't sell well. It's actually my third book, but first in this series. Still, I have no grandiose expectations. I don't think I will become Stephen King. I just want kids to read what I write. That's all I want.

My question is, how do I get there?

I'm editing, hiring editors, hiring an illustrator... is that all I need to do?

MorganMarshall
11-08-2012, 02:00 PM
Zero isn't what I have. It's more like .2%. I have a FEW little fans, but far from many.

sarahdalton
11-08-2012, 02:17 PM
I think you need to find the parents of the 8-12 year olds and market to them. Book loving blogger parents I guess. A lot of the YA blogs I use also read middle-grade.

It is possible to use a POD service for paperbacks - create space etc. It's easier and cheaper to sell ebooks, but that's not to say that you can't sell paperbacks.

sarahdalton
11-08-2012, 02:20 PM
Having just seen Mdme Guillotine's post - what about Mumsnet? I've never been on the forum. Is there a section for children's literature?

Old Hack
11-08-2012, 03:27 PM
I plan on spending money on editing and design. I have an illustrator lined up with a contract and payment, beta readers working on it for consistency and clarity, have workshopped it in college and graduate school, had professional editors go over it a few times, etc. I am already doing all that. I don't know how many times I have to say that? :Headbang:

So, what you're saying is, I'm already planning everything that is really needed?

I appreciate that this is difficult, but you should read my post properly instead of getting irritated with me.

If you do, you'll realise that what I'm saying is this:


consider your own book-buying habits. Why do you buy books? What makes you notice interesting new titles and hand money over for them? Can you do anything to replicate that?

Those are the principles I used when I worked as a marketing director of a major UK company. Think about your target market: where are they? what do they want? what do they like? what do they need? how can you make contact with them, on a level which will make them warm to your book and like it enough to want to go and buy it?

You might find this post of mine useful. (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7730964&postcount=22)

Old Hack
11-08-2012, 03:42 PM
I know someone has just mentioned never paying for reviews, but I've heard Kirkus been mentioned a few times on other forums. They charge a lot of money to review your book with an honest opinion. Does anyone else know much about them? I guess they must have a huge readership because some writers seem to think it's worth it.

There are two sorts of Kirkus reviews.

One sort is free, and is well regarded and widely read. The other sort is paid-for, is pretty much invisible, and no one really pays much attention to it.

sarahdalton
11-08-2012, 03:49 PM
There are two sorts of Kirkus reviews.

One sort is free, and is well regarded and widely read. The other sort is paid-for, is pretty much invisible, and no one really pays much attention to it.

But would Kirkus ever review a self-published book for free?

I'm not saying that I would pay, I personally don't think it would be worth it for me, but is it even a possibility for a self-published author without paying?

Old Hack
11-08-2012, 05:14 PM
I've not checked but last time I looked, Kirkus wouldn't consider self published books for its free reviews.

ETA: and as Kirkus is a trade press, intended for the bookselling trade, getting a review there probably won't do much for you as the only people who would see it would be booksellers, not your potential readers. And if you don't have a print edition and an account with a good distributor, those booksellers wouldn't be able to order it into their shops even if they wanted to.

James D. Macdonald
11-08-2012, 08:15 PM
I know someone has just mentioned never paying for reviews, but I've heard Kirkus been mentioned a few times on other forums. They charge a lot of money to review your book with an honest opinion. Does anyone else know much about them? I guess they must have a huge readership because some writers seem to think it's worth it.


Don't pay for Kirkus reviews either.

They have two sections: One for books from trade publishers. Neither the publishers nor the authors pay for these reviews. This section is subscribed to by libraries and bookstores. The other is for-pay, for self-published people, and doesn't get sent anywhere. This section is segregated on their webpage so you have to go searching for it; which no one does.

What good does it do you? Zero point none.

James D. Macdonald
11-08-2012, 08:18 PM
I'm editing, hiring editors, hiring an illustrator... is that all I need to do?

One more thing. Write and publish a new book. Then another. Then another. Then another....

sarahdalton
11-08-2012, 08:29 PM
Don't pay for Kirkus reviews either.

They have two sections: One for books from trade publishers. Neither the publishers nor the authors pay for these reviews. This section is subscribed to by libraries and bookstores. The other is for-pay, for self-published people, and doesn't get sent anywhere. This section is segregated on their webpage so you have to go searching for it; which no one does.

What good does it do you? Zero point none.
It's a shame they are offering this service and charging so much. It feels like they're trying to rip off self published authors.

Thanks James, and OH for the clarification.

Bloo
11-08-2012, 09:01 PM
Morgan, have you considered doing a literal tour of schools? Contact teachers in your area or in your state directly (I wouldn't do postcards, I tried that once and got zero response as I was pretty sure I would, teachers get inundated with postcards). Or talk to area libraries with children's programs...kids, from my experience, bug parents to buy books from authors they know (which means your price will have to be reasonable and the quality of the book has to be good). The trick to this is not coming across as "buy my books", but it's a way of building your fan base.

J. Tanner
11-08-2012, 09:35 PM
My question is, how do I get there?

I'm editing, hiring editors, hiring an illustrator... is that all I need to do?

Most of the online success stories involve direct interaction with the target reader. A lot of those options go out the window for you because direct interaction with kids online is just kind of creepy for an author. I'd narrow it down to having a kid/parent friendly website. If you want to make it active, your content options are pretty limited--maybe book reviews/recommendations of other kids books. The other thing I'd recommend is to write short stories featuring your characters. Give them away free on your Web site. Publish them as free ebooks on the various platforms and make sure they have links to your novel in the back. That's the best advertising option you have. Give away 1 paper copy of your novel on Goodreads. Give away as many ebooks as people will take on LibraryThing in exchange for a requested review. (You might ask specifically for them to ask what their child thought of it?)

That's about it. Watch forums like this one for other low-time, low-cost, non-spammy opportunities that might appear. It's okay to experiment. Sometimes you luck out.

MorganMarshall
11-09-2012, 01:41 AM
I appreciate that this is difficult, but you should read my post properly instead of getting irritated with me.

I am sorry. I am not irritated with you. I am just VERY frustrated by the fact that no matter what I post here, it seems the general consensus is that I just wrote a book and know ziltch about the industry, when the fact is I have been studying it for years. It is more frustrating when I actually say that I know I need an editor, et. al, before ever getting a reply, but the replies STILL say I need an editor. It feels like my specific words have been completely ignored due to the fact that I'm not known here or not published or... something. I don't know. And then when I voice my frustration, I'm being a whiner.

I don't know how I can NOT be frustrated by that. Merp.



If you do, you'll realise that what I'm saying is this:

"consider your own book-buying habits. Why do you buy books? What makes you notice interesting new titles and hand money over for them? Can you do anything to replicate that?"

Those are the principles I used when I worked as a marketing director of a major UK company. Think about your target market: where are they? what do they want? what do they like? what do they need? how can you make contact with them, on a level which will make them warm to your book and like it enough to want to go and buy it?

Thank you. I have actually done just that, and written a pretty extensive blog about it. If you want to, you can read it here (http://morganmarshallworlds.com/2012/03/13/in-the-middle-how-do-middle-grade-novels-fit-into-the-e-book-revolution/) :). This is why I am looking into the most effective way to market to my demographic, which I know is more difficult to get to than most, (as many of your have acknowledged).

The advice given to me here has been very helpful. If some of my questions or replies have seemed ungrateful or petulant, I apologize. I did not mean to come off that way. I have been wanting to discourse on the subject, is all, and sometimes answers beget other questions.


Most of the online success stories involve direct interaction with the target reader. A lot of those options go out the window for you because direct interaction with kids online is just kind of creepy for an author.

Yeah. Exactly. :Headbang:


Morgan, have you considered doing a literal tour of schools? Contact teachers in your area or in your state directly (I wouldn't do postcards, I tried that once and got zero response as I was pretty sure I would, teachers get inundated with postcards). Or talk to area libraries with children's programs...kids, from my experience, bug parents to buy books from authors they know (which means your price will have to be reasonable and the quality of the book has to be good). The trick to this is not coming across as "buy my books", but it's a way of building your fan base.

I have tried that with little success. In my school district, they have a list that they take from for school visit writers... and they're all traditionally published with all sorts of awards. I understand the reluctance to encourage bad writing in children (of course), and with self-published books you never know what you're getting. Still, it does make it very difficult for some of us.


One more thing. Write and publish a new book. Then another. Then another. Then another....

Duly noted and done! ;)


Don't pay for Kirkus reviews either.

They have two sections: One for books from trade publishers. Neither the publishers nor the authors pay for these reviews. This section is subscribed to by libraries and bookstores. The other is for-pay, for self-published people, and doesn't get sent anywhere. This section is segregated on their webpage so you have to go searching for it; which no one does.

What good does it do you? Zero point none.

Sigh. Yet another way to look down on those of us who aren't yet traditionally published. Sometimes it really does seem like a country club. Pfft.

Thank you all for your advice. I mean that wholeheartedly. I will use it!

merrihiatt
11-09-2012, 11:11 AM
I am sorry. I am not irritated with you. I am just VERY frustrated by the fact that no matter what I post here, it seems the general consensus is that I just wrote a book and know ziltch about the industry, when the fact is I have been studying it for years. It is more frustrating when I actually say that I know I need an editor, et. al, before ever getting a reply, but the replies STILL say I need an editor. It feels like my specific words have been completely ignored due to the fact that I'm not known here or not published or... something. I don't know. And then when I voice my frustration, I'm being a whiner.

I don't know how I can NOT be frustrated by that. Merp.


I think what many people are reacting to are your responses when they've offered asked-for advice. In the post I made suggesting that the best way to spend your money was on editing and cover art, you responded that you must not have been clear because I didn't answer your question regarding advertising. I didn't focus on advertising because I didn't think it would do any good, thus wasn't the best use of your resources. Others said the same thing. I don't think you liked that answer. It wasn't what you were looking for, so it may have seemed that we were ignoring your question. We weren't ignoring you at all. We were trying to share what we've learned and experienced. That's generally what happens in a truly helpful forum. Sometimes the words sting. Sometimes it's frustrating and it seems like no one is listening. In reality, we are listening and offering advice that we believe is in the best interest of you and your books as a way to help you succeed.

I've read most of the posts you've made and stood by and watched those threads deteriorate. I've seen you write things you've later regretted and apologized for. I appreciate that you are aware that some of your posts come across a bit prickly.

I would suggest that you take a deep breath, re-read some of the threads and move forward with the idea firmly planted in your head that AWers want to share information and help you succeed. We all have other things we could be doing, but I know many people here helped me through my self-publishing journey and before when I signed with a less-than-stellar "publisher." If my experiences can help someone else, I'm happy to do it.

We're really a friendly amazing bunch of people and we want to get to know you. There are so many people here with vast experience in publishing. AW is a truly great resource you won't find anywhere else on the web. I don't want you to miss the opportunity to share the journey with your fellow travelers over a few misunderstandings and a chunk of frustration.

And, by the way, self-publishing is tough. We all know that already. Working together and getting support from one another makes the bumpy roadways a bit easier to take. No one has assumed anything about you. We don't know you well enough to assume anything. Allow us to get to know you. We'd like to get to know you.

Old Hack
11-09-2012, 11:29 AM
I am sorry. I am not irritated with you. I am just VERY frustrated by the fact that no matter what I post here, it seems the general consensus is that I just wrote a book and know ziltch about the industry, when the fact is I have been studying it for years. It is more frustrating when I actually say that I know I need an editor, et. al, before ever getting a reply, but the replies STILL say I need an editor. It feels like my specific words have been completely ignored due to the fact that I'm not known here or not published or... something. I don't know. And then when I voice my frustration, I'm being a whiner.

I don't know how I can NOT be frustrated by that. Merp.

Morgan, as this part of your reply is pretty much a rehash of your first reply to me, all I'm going to do here is refer you back to my first response to you. Again.

I've checked your post history and you've been complaining a lot recently about having been misunderstood, condescended to, and ignored. And yet when I read the threads in which you've taken part I don't see you being treated like that: I see you being given a lot of help and advice which it seems you are reluctant to listen to. You might want to think about that.


Sigh. Yet another way to look down on those of us who aren't yet traditionally published. Sometimes it really does seem like a country club. Pfft.

Thank you all for your advice. I mean that wholeheartedly. I will use it!

More complaining. This is not helping you, Marshall. If you don't want people to give you their opinions or advice, don't ask for it. And try to read the replies that you receive with a less jaundiced, self-pitying eye.

Moving on, you've been here long enough to know that we ask our members to use the term "trade publishing" here, not "traditional publishing". You've even participated in a discussion about it, just yesterday (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257609). So you must be aware. Read the guidelines (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249332), read the links therein, and digest.

MMcDonald64
11-09-2012, 07:39 PM
So, I have a plan...

I decided that over the next few months I will be working hard to polish my manuscript. I will, during that time, be querying agents and editors as well. However, after over three years, if by February I have not at least landed an agent, I have decided to self-publish. This has been a VERY difficult decision for me. I plan on making DAMN sure that I have it edited to the teeth and perfected as humanly possible (I am seriously considering hiring a professional editor as well), and I have a great illustrator all lined up as well.

I will have a budget for advertising and such, which cannot exceed $2,000.

So. Here's my question: what, in your opinion, are the most important things I should invest in for maximum visibility? Buying copies of my book and handing them out? Selling at local stores? Renting a convention booth (it's sci-fi)? Paying reviewers? Advertising on Facebook?

What do you think? I want my money to go as far as possible. I am also looking around this forum for ideas and whatnot. You guys rock! Thank you!

ENT has some good promotions, but they fill up fast. That said, once your book gets some good reviews, you can do a 99 cents sale on their site, and it's pay based on sales through their site. I can't recall the percentage, but it was worth it--especially for me as my book is part of a series so it led to sales of the other regular priced books. Even a stand alone can get some exposure without risk to you as you only pay based on what you sell. The most I paid was about $25 based on about 300 sales through them. The percentage is listed on the site, I'm just blanking on it right now.

I found paying for a FB ad (which was for my FB author page, not my books) was a waste of money. The only new likes I got looked like fake FB accounts--all blurry pictures, no other posts, no other pictures, no comments on the page, etc. I deleted most of them as they looked almost predatory.

Paying for reviews is not the way to go. Seriously, don't do it. I suppose you could try Kirkus, but even that isn't a great idea in my opinion, although it has worked for some authors so maybe you'll get lucky.

WeaselFire
11-09-2012, 07:56 PM
Wherein does a middle grade (ages 8-12) writer fit in this new ebook world?
Dead center. Middle Grade is a fast growing segment of digital, as expected. Everyone in that age group tends to believe that entertainment is digital, including books. Seems every grade school kid I know has an iPad and a Kindle now.

Good luck.

Jeff

MMcDonald64
11-09-2012, 08:43 PM
Dead center. Middle Grade is a fast growing segment of digital, as expected. Everyone in that age group tends to believe that entertainment is digital, including books. Seems every grade school kid I know has an iPad and a Kindle now.

Good luck.

Jeff

My daughter is 12 and has her own Kindle. That is getting more common. She is all about Warrior Cats and has been for about a year and a half, so my advice is to write a series for sure. Once my dd finishes one book, she would love to read another right away--which was great until she worked her way through the whole series. She has read other books, but with not nearly the enthusiasm.

yayeahyeah
11-10-2012, 12:21 AM
Morgan, speaking as a book blogger and not as anyone with any experience in actually getting published, so feel free to ignore any or all of this advice.

1. As others have said, the amount of the $2000 you need to spend on advertising is zero. Forget it. No-one I know buys books because of advertising. As Jim said earlier on, the main reasons for buying books are because you've read something else by the same author, or someone you trust recommended it to you. I'd suggest that the third most important reason, for me at least, is that it looks like it will be good value for money.

2. Which brings me onto the second - think carefully about what you're charging for it (especially the e-book, given how much cheap stuff there is) and think REALLY carefully about your blurb/sample chapter. Notice I said good value for money rather than 'cheap' - I'd much rather pay 2.99 for a book with a blurb which got me really interested than 69p for a book which just sounded okay. That said, anything over 2.99 for an e-book from someone I hadn't read before would be too expensive for me, and I'm guessing most people. (Unless, as pointed out above, it had some really good reviews from people who I trusted.)

3. Get the e-book reviewed by as many book bloggers as you can. To do this, you will need to e-mail bloggers who review in the genre/age range you're writing for and who accept self-published books. You need to personalise the e-mails, at least with their name, if you want any chance of the vast majority of bloggers responding. This is your advertising, basically. The good news is that it doesn't cost a cent of your $2000 budget (as others say, you shouldn't even think of paying for reviews!), the bad news is that it'll take time. It will be worth it.

4. (This is meant in the spirit of helpfulness, so apologies if it seems brusque.)
Be careful about how you respond to people online. Don't respond to reviews at all in public. Don't respond to negative reviews at all, ever. And just in general posting, try and be as reasonable as possible. One reason a lot of bloggers won't touch self-published books is there have been numerous occasions when self-published authors have thrown a tantrum in response to a review. Given this, you need to make sure that you're appearing professional when you interact with people to maximise your chances of getting a response from someone you've asked to review your book.

Hope that's of some use - best of luck!

MorganMarshall
11-10-2012, 02:06 AM
I don't think you liked that answer. It wasn't what you were looking for, so it may have seemed that we were ignoring your question.

I think it was more that I didn't understand the way the answer was worded, if that makes sense? If it had been more along the lines of "it looks like you're already doing pretty much all you need to; don't bother with advertising", then I'd have probably not been so confused.

If that sounds like arguing to you, I apologize. I am honestly only trying to reply to you as thoroughly as I can. I see your point, however, and have actually been thinking about this a lot. I posted about it here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=258249), but I don't want to further gum up the board by posting the same thing all over, so I won't repost it here.


No one has assumed anything about you. We don't know you well enough to assume anything. Allow us to get to know you. We'd like to get to know you.

I'd like that, too.

I want to thank EVERYONE for all their advice. It has been taken into deep consideration, and I will return to this thread to use a lot of your advice if the time comes that I self-publish. I'll be doing that in February, if my queries continue to be rejected through that time. I've been querying for two years on this, so trust me when I say I'm not just "giving up". I also fully intend on using the advice of everyone in Query Letter Hell to beef up my query for the next bout.

I'm keeping my options open. You all are helping me research the best one for me. For that, I am deeply grateful.

yayeahyeah, thank you very much for your advice! And yes, I know I need to act professionally. My issue is that often what others view as professional I view as cold and rude so... I have to figure out a happy medium there, I think.


My daughter is 12 and has her own Kindle. That is getting more common.

Huh. That's interesting. I knew the ebook interest for middle grade readers was going up, but it seems to be rising far faster than I anticipated. Good to know!


She is all about Warrior Cats and has been for about a year and a half, so my advice is to write a series for sure.

So far it's a trilogy, but it may become a series. I started it out that way. My biggest concern for a series, though, is the series plotline making it difficult to sell the first book to trade publishers. It's something I'm still working out...

And thank you for your advice! That is a lot of great information I totally intend to use!


More complaining. This is not helping you, Marshall. If you don't want people to give you their opinions or advice, don't ask for it. And try to read the replies that you receive with a less jaundiced, self-pitying eye.

Noted.

Bloo
11-10-2012, 11:37 AM
One little word of advice, if you're revising your query, don't make Feburary your SP goal date, give agents time to respond. Then, ifyou still do SP, wait (if you can, I know it can be hard) until closer to summer, then maybe do a blog tour (I haven't done one, tried and no one would touch it LOL but then...playwright, should have been marketing to theater bloggers...anyways, I'm sure someone here can help you), do giveaways, offer it at a discounted eprice as both kids and parents will be looking for new summer reading material. Kids will read what other kids are reading and recommending.

valeriec80
11-10-2012, 07:05 PM
Thought I'd jump in here only to say that I think what we're all sort of saying here is that no one really knows why some books sell well and others don't. If there were any concrete ways to make sure that your book sold well, then we'd all doing that, and we'd all be millionaires.

You already know that it's about visibility. Unfortunately, you don't have the resources that trade publishers do when they buy big display space at B&N for books that they've already put a lot of money into. As far as self-publishing goes, you get visibility because you sell a lot of books. And you sell a lot of books because you get visibility. It's kind of a Catch-22. There may be some things that you can do to increase your visibility. But the way this business works, it's likely that anything that's working right now won't work in February.

Generally speaking, someone tries something and it works. So they tell everyone else about it. Everyone else does it, it gets saturated, and then it no longer works.

Many people have tried various marketing ploys or ideas, got into them once they were heading into saturation, and gotten frustrated. They then conclude that marketing does nothing and there's no point in doing it. This isn't exactly true, but it's close enough to the truth not to matter. The truth is that there are forms of marketing that work, but that you're more likely to randomly stumble across them than find them in a book or on an online message board. You'll exhaust yourself trying a bunch of things, most of which won't work, and the odds of your finding something that does are long.

But, hey, the odds are against all of us, and that hasn't stopped us, right? :) I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Sheryl Nantus
11-10-2012, 08:57 PM
The best way to get through the waiting is by writing another book.

Which will also be a good selling point to an agent for YOUR first book.

Agents and publishers want more than one-book wonders. They want authors willing to put in the time to do more than a single work.

Get to plotting and working on your next work. It'll help deal with the stress of trying to sell the first one.

:)

MorganMarshall
11-11-2012, 06:29 AM
One little word of advice, if you're revising your query, don't make Feburary your SP goal date, give agents time to respond. Then, ifyou still do SP, wait (if you can, I know it can be hard) until closer to summer, then maybe do a blog tour (I haven't done one, tried and no one would touch it LOL but then...playwright, should have been marketing to theater bloggers...anyways, I'm sure someone here can help you), do giveaways, offer it at a discounted eprice as both kids and parents will be looking for new summer reading material. Kids will read what other kids are reading and recommending.

Thank you for the advice. I've thought about blog tours. I'll have to look more into them, though. I did one, but it was more to promote me than a book I actually had available at the time. Kind of a trial run. February is my date for personal reasons I won't go into here, but it has come to my attention that this might not be the best time. I'll have to figure out how to work around that personal issue, I think.


...no one really knows why some books sell well and others don't. If there were any concrete ways to make sure that your book sold well, then we'd all doing that, and we'd all be millionaires.

SOO true! :ROFL: I just thought maybe someone knew more than I do about it. (Okay, so a LOT of people know a LOT more than I do. LOL!) It turns out, there is a lot of great advice on this thread which I will come back and take for sure when (and if) I'm ready. :D


But, hey, the odds are against all of us, and that hasn't stopped us, right? I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Seriously. I mean, really, not writing is akin to not breathing. That, in the end, is really why we do it. In the face of all adversity. :)

And thank you. That means a lot!

Sheryl, I'm thinking about what to do with the next book, for sure. I just wish this darned thesis wasn't taking up all my time! LOL