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Dhewco
05-30-2015, 03:10 AM
Okay, I'm sure this has been asked before, but I suck at searching...so if my question reminds someone of an answer down the page, please either put a link here or PM me with it.

Here's my situation. I'm dirt poor and unemployed (For those who follow my crowdfunding effort, the job I was told I was getting got disappeared by a regional manager being unable to overturn a bureaucratic snafu.), but I want to self-publish two manuscripts that I've tried to interest agents in before and didn't get past the partial request stage. These novels are at least 10 years old and I want to concentrate my agent/publisher efforts on my new works. I still feel these two novels should be given a chance to be read by someone besides my beta-readers/crit group.

I have no money for a professional editor/copywriter...no money for a typesetter. I might be able to afford a cheap e-book cover designer.

Here's the questions:

Is the Amazon program really free? E-book and paper?

What about Smashwords?

I consider myself a decent self-editor and would go through (again) multiple times before I upload, but I do wonder whether I'm too close. Should I go with my gut when it's ready? Or try to find even more betas, for differing opinions?

Finally, would self-publishing these two books on a shoestring budget eff me up when it comes to getting commercially published? (Editing to clarify: I'm talking about will self-pubbing these two mess me up with the newer works.)

Thanks for any knowledge/advice,

David

imjustj
05-30-2015, 03:14 AM
I don't know about all the other things, but yes, it will virtually eradicate your chances of getting those stories traditionally published.

Traditional publishers want NEW content and FIRST rights. Unless you have a self-pubbed title that is selling Fifty Shades of Grey type numbers, forget it.

Dhewco
05-30-2015, 03:15 AM
I'm talking about new work. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Dennis E. Taylor
05-30-2015, 04:35 AM
You can get your novel up on Amazon and on Createspace without ever spending a penny, assuming you already have internet, some kind of graphics program, etc.

Old Hack
05-30-2015, 12:02 PM
Self-publishing older works will not affect your chances of finding an agent or a trade publishing deal.

However, it will make it much more difficult to then get a trade deal for the self-published works, and while you're not after that, it's something to consider. When you eventually find an agent one of the first questions they'll ask you is, "What else do you have?" If your books attracted some attention when you last sent them out then they might interest your agent.

It's up to you. You can self-publish them entirely for free (but if you're not going to pay for an editor, make sure you take them through several rounds in SYW and work with a few beta-readers at the very least); but if trade publishing is what you're interested in, you might like to hold back from self publishing for now.

Parametric
05-30-2015, 01:06 PM
Hypothetically, if you're flat broke, can only scrape up $50 for this project, and desperately need to make enough profit to cover the electricity bill, I'd strongly recommend spending that $50 on a good cover. There are some very talented designers offering cheap ebook cover deals. If your budget is even more limited, look out for sales of premade covers. You can manage without an editor with beta readers and rigorous self-editing, but you can't sell books with a badly made cover.

Treehouseman
05-30-2015, 02:43 PM
There are a lot of people going hybrid now, so in an ideal situation one will compliment the other.

Putting the books up through Amazon etc won't necessarily generate sales, from what I've seen it's people with 5 or more books/novellas released with promotions and "loss leaders" (the first book for free, for example) who get the bulk of repeat readers, so look into writing a lot more.

There are websites that do book promotions, but the free ones tend to fill up their slots quickly. The sites that are more likely to work are also more likely to cost you.

So, spend the money on a cover and a www domain name if you can, use a free website builder, get a mailing list going (Wix the website builder has them built in), look for free promo sites, and participate on self pub forums.

bookcoverdesigner.com has heaps of cheap and good premades.

Dhewco
05-30-2015, 03:38 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful replies. It's a lot to consider. A part of me is hesitant to put it up on SYW because I'm thinking these two stories are the kind that might put me in a weird light. Actually, only one of them does that, but it might brush over to the other one if I put them there.

In my HUMANITY story, the one that garnered the most agent interest (several partial requests but no fulls) it tells the tale of two protags and one antagonist. The boy in question is 12yo when the bad guy injects him with the age stopping nanites. I'm not sure how much detail to go into here, but the point is that I put the query on the Evil Editor blog and several of them and my beta readers asked me why I had him be 12.

Frankly, I have very personal reasons for that age and to make him older would take the story in a place I didn't want to go. I prefer to write preteen characters with a maturity that seems to balk people. I've no idea how to get past this. Maybe I'm overthinking this. I should just put it up and give it a shot. I'll give it some more thought.

One question: How much of it should I share? I do want people here to consider buying. Would they do that if I share all the way to the end?

Thanks for the advice,

David

Dhewco
05-30-2015, 03:42 PM
Btw, by personal reasons, I meant I built his personality on myself at that age. (at least, how I remember being) It's not exact, but it's close enough that making him older would mean I'd have to make some radical changes to his personality to fit the changes I went through as an older teen. At least, that's how I see it. I'm having trouble seeing the character in any other light.

WriterBN
05-30-2015, 09:41 PM
Is the Amazon program really free? E-book and paper?


Yes, for e-books. For print-on-demand (Createspace), you'll incur the costs of printing and shipping for a proof copy. You can proof online, but I really recommend getting a proof copy.


What about Smashwords?


Completely free.

The problem with self-publishing is that, unless you already have a fan base, it's very difficult to sell a significant number of books without spending money on advertising and promotion. If you're only publishing for yourself and family/friends, that's a different situation, but if you want to sell books, you almost always have to invest money.

Dhewco
05-30-2015, 11:40 PM
My goal for these two books is simple. I want someone besides my beta-readers/crit group to read them. Currently, the crit group is going through a book that's not one of the two and suggesting I try to self-publish it. The problem is that I still have commercial hopes for the wip. So, I thought I'd try with these two older works. Right now, I have in my possession three older manuscripts of completed novels. (I've completed others, but crashed computers and disappeared backups put the kibosh on those.) The oldest, titled The Vessel was in the possession of a well-meaning, but apparently unknowledgeable agent who sent to the wrong people (romance publishers when it was a YA fantasy, for example.) I commented on her when I first got to AW. Also, I almost put the book on lulu, but pulled it the next day.

I want people I don't know, who don't belong to any of the same boards, and who I won't suspect of having any skin in the game give their opinion of my writing. I'm not sure SYW is that area. Don't get me wrong, I believe you'll give me honest feedback, but I'm too close to it. I'm afraid of my reaction.

Here's what I mean. Say Old Hack sees it on SYW and says it's the worst drivel ever written. Right now, I enjoy OH's posts...if I hear OH hates my work, I'll be afraid to post my opinion on the pages OH posts on. In the back of my mind, it'll be like a little voice that says, "This person hates your work, why would they care what you think?" It might make me rethink being on this board for awhile...

Getting an Amazon review is different. I assume it'll be easier to dismiss a negative opinion as I probably won't have contact with that person. I'm not sure I'm making myself clear, lol.

I can almost hear what you're thinking. Who do I expect to buy my novels if I can't do promotion beyond my crit group, Facebook, and here? Well, since one of the novels revolves around the Princes in the Tower (King Edward V of England and his younger brother Richard), I'm hoping someone will find it in a search of that topic. It will probably be far down the list, since I couldn't afford any of the services that would bump it in the search lists. I know it's a long shot, but it's a hope I have.

I'm sure I'm overthinking it. Maybe I should study more edits on the SYW board to get a better idea of how things work there, before I talk about it like I've been doing. I've just been through a round of a crit group telling me that it was impossible for a character of mine to act in a certain way when I have written proof in the form of a journal entry that I acted that way at that age. I think I'm a little touchy about it and worry that I'll be that way when I share.

Old Hack
05-31-2015, 01:48 AM
I want people I don't know, who don't belong to any of the same boards, and who I won't suspect of having any skin in the game give their opinion of my writing. I'm not sure SYW is that area. Don't get me wrong, I believe you'll give me honest feedback, but I'm too close to it. I'm afraid of my reaction.

Here's what I mean. Say Old Hack sees it on SYW and says it's the worst drivel ever written. Right now, I enjoy OH's posts...if I hear OH hates my work, I'll be afraid to post my opinion on the pages OH posts on. In the back of my mind, it'll be like a little voice that says, "This person hates your work, why would they care what you think?" It might make me rethink being on this board for awhile...

Getting an Amazon review is different. I assume it'll be easier to dismiss a negative opinion as I probably won't have contact with that person. I'm not sure I'm making myself clear, lol.

The comments you get here will probably be easier to take than the comments you'll get on Amazon.

The comments you'll get here will be along the lines of, "I think this might be a problem, but here's how I'd fix it." They won't be judgements about you: they will be comments regarding your work, and how to improve it. We are all writers here, and the people who comment in SYW are commenting in order to help you. Sure, some of the comments might be somewhat difficult to decipher, and you might not agree with all of them: but they will still have the potential to help you improve and if they're out of line, the mods will jump on them and make sure you're ok.

The comments you'll get on Amazon won't be that. They'll be people saying they liked your book--or that they didn't. It is likely there will be a lot more judgement, and a lot less respect. And you won't have the mods to look after you, either.

Now, if I tell anyone here I hate their work (and I don't think I've ever done that), then that's one thing. Talking to them elsewhere on AW is another thing. I've edited enough books in my time to know the difference between a writer and his or her work: the two are different, they're separate. You might find it useful to develop that same ability to separate the writer from the work.

Dhewco
05-31-2015, 02:15 AM
You make some good points, OH. I'll go to the SYW board and try to read more of the posts than I have in the past. It's a hang-up I have to get over.

ETA: Have you ever bought a book you've helped in SYW?

Old Hack
05-31-2015, 11:37 AM
ETA: Have you ever bought a book you've helped in SYW?

Yes, a few. I've also bought books I've seen here in people's signatures, and by people who are particularly helpful and interesting on the boards.

I've never bought a book as a result of a "buy my book!" announcement, here or anywhere else. I don't find them appealing.

Maryn
05-31-2015, 06:22 PM
Buy my books!

Maryn, unable to resist

Old Hack
05-31-2015, 06:32 PM
*growls at Maryn*

Ha!

Dhewco
05-31-2015, 09:28 PM
I've wondered about that, OH. I've wondered that if I have ya'lls help in SYW, why would you buy a self-pubbed book when you've read most of it already? It's good to know that some still buy.

Parametric
05-31-2015, 09:40 PM
SYW is not really intended as a display window to find readers to buy your work. It's a critique forum to get help on your writing. If your excerpt interests someone enough to buy the final product, great, but that's not really the point. I don't think there's any chance of an 1000-word excerpt making anyone think that they've read the whole novel already.

izanobu
05-31-2015, 10:24 PM
Dhewco- worry more about getting your book ready for the general readership and less about selling to your fellow writers. We're not the audience you need. Don't focus on making a sale or two, think about how you can get your book ready to reach a big audience. Writers are not your audience, you want readers.

Dhewco
05-31-2015, 11:22 PM
Thanks to everyone with the helpful comments.

David

CathleenT
05-31-2015, 11:23 PM
Just a thought. There's a saying that the writer writes the first draft for themselves and subsequent revisions for readers. It is entirely your decision, but if a significant number of people are losing suspension of disbelief over your character, you might be better advised to make him older. You've already related to your character. But the challenge is to get other people to do so as well.

I ran into a similar problem with character believability over my characters getting engaged as teens (in the 1930s). It wasn't even remotely uncommon then. But a beta pointed out that I needed to make that clear for all potential readers who aren't history buffs. Ultimately, this work is now for other people, and their enjoyment will make it succeed or fail.

And if you're worried about how people see you on SYW, then publishing could be problematic. I look at SYW as almost like getting a vaccine in terms of putting my work out there. The critters help me refrain from making serious mistakes, and I learn to disregard crit that I disagree with. AW can be very blunt, but the real world is brutal. I've read reviews for Hunger Games that astonished me. I mean, sure, it may not be your cup of tea. But for some, it seems like chopping anything down to size is the main reason they read.

And there's someone on the art forum saying they'll do covers for twenty bucks. Might be worth checking out.

I hope that however you proceed with it, it works out well for you.

Parametric
05-31-2015, 11:26 PM
No offence intended. Just trying to encourage you to use SYW for helpful critique without worrying about impact on potential buyers. Two different audiences. That's all.

Dhewco
05-31-2015, 11:28 PM
You make some good points. However, I hate writing teenage characters. It's a real hangup for me. I don't think I do it well. Also, I don't agree with the critiquers' comments. However, I might reconsider. I don't know.

Dhewco
05-31-2015, 11:32 PM
It's not so much that I was looking at potential buyers, but I was thinking of eliminating potential buyers. I'm not kidding when I said I was broke. I have a 6yo computer, no job, 7 dollars in my bank account, and my ill parents living with me is the only reason I have a home. The only marketing I can afford to do is through my signature on forums, facebook and word of mouth. In other words, free stuff. That's why I kept talking about you guys buying. I wasn't thinking of pushing on you or anything, but I did want to know if some of you guys still bought after helping. That's all I meant.

ETA: No offense taken...ok, not exactly true...but I got over it quickly. I'm a little touchy at times.

Another edit: I realize I'm not going to make a lot of scratch here. I don't expect that (dream of it, but that's different.).

Parametric
06-01-2015, 12:05 AM
Sorry to hear that. Your circumstances are tough.

Again no offence intended: A good writing community can provide invaluable help and support to a self-publisher. The problem is that the book is specifically targeted to writers (eg. it's about writing in some way) your support community is not necessarily your reading audience. Readers gather in different locations - Goodreads is massive right now and has some excellent (free) methods to get your books into readers' hands. I'd also recommend the Kboards, which in addition to having a ton of advice for self-publishers is also frequented by people who just like to buy and read Kindle books. So definitely add a buy link to your signature here at AbsoluteWrite in case you strike anyone's fancy, but I'd plan to promote mainly to reader communities like Goodreads.

If you literally only have $7, I seem to recall that the site Fiverr allows you to hire out ebook cover design for $5, and the interesting part is that different designers will actually compete for your $5 by submitting various cover designs for you to choose from. Don't ask me how anyone makes money doing this, but I've seen some pretty cool cover designs from Fiverr.

Old Hack
06-01-2015, 12:46 AM
You make some good points. However, I hate writing teenage characters. It's a real hangup for me. I don't think I do it well. Also, I don't agree with the critiquers' comments. However, I might reconsider. I don't know.

If you don't agree with the comments people make when they critique your work, you thank them for their time and move on. That's all. You are not obliged to follow their suggestions.


It's not so much that I was looking at potential buyers, but I was thinking of eliminating potential buyers.

You're not likely to lose any readers by having your work critiqued here. And if you do, you'll more than make up for the few you've lost by having a better version of your work to publish, as better books attract more readers.

Have you looked in our Book Promotion room? There's a really good stickied thread there about how to promote your books effectively.

Also, let me remind you that no matter how well you publish your book, writers rarely make significant money from their books. You shouldn't be expecting this to be a lucrative venture, I'm afraid.

izanobu
06-01-2015, 08:28 AM
Be careful of hiring cover designers on Fiverr. Many of them use supposedly free images but I've seen some pretty egregious copyright violations from some. Just because an image is on the internet or even under Creative Commons doesn't mean it is allowed to be used for commercial purposes.

This might sound harsh but... get your book beta read and in the meantime, find a job that pays the bills. Even if you put up your book today and got tons of sales (which is unlikely without a professional cover or editing or formatting, and unlikely to happen with only one title anyway) you wouldn't see that money for at least 60 days.

You can make a lot of money in publishing, but it doesn't happen quickly and it is very unlikely to happen with a first book.

Self-publishing is starting a business. Businesses need capital to start properly. Publishing requires less than say, opening a restaurant, but still requires a lot of work and some money injected into the early stages with no requirement of return on that for at least a few months if not years. If you aren't financially stable enough to start a business, perhaps you should keep writing, find something else to do for money, and save up until you can afford to start a business.

Dhewco
06-01-2015, 04:30 PM
OH, I've already stated that I know I won't make a lot of scratch from a self-pubbed book. I hope I do, but I don't expect it. However, with my situation, 1 dollar here or there is a snail mail query or a SASE I couldn't afford. My parents keep a house over our head, but I haven't asked that they support my writing. Again, I'm looking for someone beyond my crit group and small selection of beta readers (I count on one hand, lol) to see the book on kindle, in my sig, or on Facebook and buy. While I'm polishing up the works I'm still trying to sell, I want someone to buy this other stuff. That's all I want. Guys, please stop implying that I expect to make a living off these two manuscripts. My comments about finances were simply to point out that I really have no options to spend money on marketing and what-not. I have been a member of this board for 10 years and if I haven't learned that the money isn't likely to be there by now...it's not likely to sink in at all.

AGAIN, these two manuscripts are works that I've shopped around before, that I want to self-publish. A few pennies here and there is the most I expect. I hope for more, but I don't expect it.

Finally, I've been unemployed for a long freaking time. Until last month, I had no transportation to find work and had to apply to only those businesses I could walk to. I'm freaking looking for work...suggesting I find a real job isn't helpful at all.

David

PS. Old Hack, thank you so much for your thoughtful replies to me. I appreciate the time a professional takes to reply to little ol' me. I'll check out that Book Promotion room. I don't think I've been in there in quite a while. Your comment about a lucrative venture, while not news, comes from a good place and I appreciate your time and effort.

ETA: I have a crap-ton of student loans. Even if I find work, heck will freeze over before I could put them into promotional for my writing. People have self-published on a shoestring budget (almost non-existent) and I wanted answers to my questions (I got a few, to be fair) and suggestions of how I might do the same. (I also got those.)

Also, do I use parentheses too much? hehe.

Old Hack
06-01-2015, 08:08 PM
Guys, please stop implying that I expect to make a living off these two manuscripts. My comments about finances were simply to point out that I really have no options to spend money on marketing and what-not.

<snippetty-snip>

PS. Old Hack, thank you so much for your thoughtful replies to me. I appreciate the time a professional takes to reply to little ol' me. I'll check out that Book Promotion room. I don't think I've been in there in quite a while. Your comment about a lucrative venture, while not news, comes from a good place and I appreciate your time and effort.

ETA: I have a crap-ton of student loans. Even if I find work, heck will freeze over before I could put them into promotional for my writing. People have self-published on a shoestring budget (almost non-existent) and I wanted answers to my questions (I got a few, to be fair) and suggestions of how I might do the same. (I also got those.)

Also, do I use parentheses too much? hehe.

Dhewco, I'm sorry if I've made you feel nagged at. That wasn't my intention. But the thing is, it's not just you reading this thread. There are lots of other people reading it too. I like to take them into account too, when I respond here. And I know that for every writer who understands that writing isn't often a lucrative career, there are many more who hope to hit the jackpot with their work. I like to try to remind them that things aren't always that easy whenever I can because, well, I've seen too many writers splash out their money without realising how unlikely it is that they'll see it again.

Also, you're welcome. You're important here. All of AW's members are important. AW couldn't exist without us!

Dhewco
06-01-2015, 09:40 PM
No problem...it just irked to have two or three people say it here in this thread. I understand where you guys are coming from. I appreciate every commenter, despite the impression I might give by my response. Also, I've started writing again (I'd been depressed and it really affected my motivations.), so I'm better than I was before I asked my question on self-publication. I still plan to put these out on this board, but if feels good to start new work. I wrote 1k of the first chapter of the story from the photograph in less than an hour last night. I hope to repeat it tonight. (I'm hoping to get back into the older work in progress that I'm 2/3rds of the way through).

Thanks again.

Old Hack
06-01-2015, 10:07 PM
I'm so pleased you're writing again. I send you much applause. Now go and write another three pages!

*cracks whip*

*smiles*

Amity Lassiter
06-02-2015, 10:50 PM
Another thing to consider in the way of promo is to make friends with other authors who write a similar genre. :) I had a ton of success last month with a free cross promo that a friend of mine and some other romance authors put together. Basically, we all agreed to put a book free for a specific date through KDP, and then EVERYBODY sent their newsletter lists a message saying "Hey, check out all these free books!". Free is a good tool when you have a big backlist, but it's also a useful tool even when you just have two books out (that's all I have right now). It garnered tons of newsletter sign ups, some new Amazon reviews, and my rankings stayed elevated for quite a while after I went back to paid. And it was completely FREE (I did stack with a couple of paid promos, but I didn't the last time we did it and had my BEST month yet for sales following that).

Dhewco
06-03-2015, 01:13 AM
I never really considered the free thing. you do make good pooints. I only have one friend doing the self-publication thing, it's a fantasy, I believe. Not sure if it makes a difference about the different genres. Still, it's something to consider.

Thanks.

Dragonwriter
06-04-2015, 07:06 AM
IThe only marketing I can afford to do is through my signature on forums, facebook and word of mouth. In other words, free stuff.

When you're ready to start promoting your book, don't forget about Twitter. I avoided it for a long time because I didn't understand it, but once I started using it, it made a big difference in my sales. Figure out what it is about your book that will appeal to various audiences, and target your ads using appropriate hashtags to reach them. It can't hurt, it's free, and it might help you, especially after you start gaining followers and retweeting others' ads--they'll reciprocate and retweet yours.

Dhewco
06-04-2015, 03:03 PM
Hmmm, I've never tried Twitter. I don't even know how to use it. But you're right, it's something I'll have to study.

Dhewco
06-04-2015, 03:37 PM
Well, now I'm depressed. Let me explain. One of the books I was planning to self-publish...the one about Edward V and his brother (I spent a little over the year researching it...contacting people in England, having people send me photos of the area, etc.) has disappeared. I thought it was on one of the many drives I use to store my work. I was sure I'd saved it on those. If I saved it at all, after giving away that old computer, it must have been on one of those cd-rs I threw out last year. So, I'm down to one completed novel worthy of any sort of publication. (I still have a YA fantasy...but I don't really think of it as worthy. I might try it anyway.)

(I also lost the research files, btw.) I don't understand. I was so sure I had it saved. I didn't even check when I gave the older laptop away a year ago.

Anway, sorry for the whine. People have been saying that just one book self-publishing is much harder, so I thought the loss of one was relevant to my post.

Thanks for the listen.

Amity Lassiter
06-04-2015, 04:30 PM
Oh I know that crushing pain all too well. I am the queen of losing work. :( So sorry.

LBlankenship
06-04-2015, 09:22 PM
Anway, sorry for the whine. People have been saying that just one book self-publishing is much harder, so I thought the loss of one was relevant to my post.

Thanks for the listen.

Whine away. Holy crap, I'd be looking for a sword to fall on.

Dhewco
06-04-2015, 11:15 PM
Yeah, that was 85k words that vanished into the ether. I have an old (15yo) desktop that may have an older draft on it, but I don't have any of the cables anymore...and the monitor's screwed up. I don't even know if it would power up. I wrote the first draft on it, before I moved to laptops.

Old Hack
06-05-2015, 12:10 AM
You could take the hard drive out of that old computer and put it into a USB caddy, and then peel the files out of it. It's not that difficult.

Dhewco
06-05-2015, 01:26 AM
That's an idea. I'll have to see if I can locate someone with a USB caddy. Too bad Wal-Mart doesn't have one I could hook it up to, or do they? I'll have to check it. Thanks for the idea, OH.

Treehouseman
06-07-2015, 03:34 PM
Also look into a cloud service like Dropbox - even their free services are more than enough for writing backup. So if your computer dies, Dropbox has all the files, and if Dropbox dies (perish the thought!), the computer has all the files.

Once you connect your smartphone or another computer, you'll find that you'll get more memory allotted to you.

Dragonwriter
06-07-2015, 07:50 PM
I use my email account as my primary backup method. I have unlimited space on my GoDaddy webmail account, so at the end of the day I just email myself copies of whatever I'm working on. So far it's worked pretty well.

SBibb
06-08-2015, 07:56 AM
I use my email account as my primary backup method. I have unlimited space on my GoDaddy webmail account, so at the end of the day I just email myself copies of whatever I'm working on. So far it's worked pretty well.

I also use email to back up my work. I send myself a copy at the end of the day of whatever progress I've made.

Sorry to hear about your loss of the other files though. Not fun at all. :-(

RightHoJeeves
06-08-2015, 04:42 PM
I save everything I write onto Dropbox because I'm terrified of the computer crashing or getting stolen and losing everything.

Smiling Ted
06-08-2015, 07:37 PM
I just finished David Gaughran's "Let's Get Digital" on the advice of my former agent. I know you don't want to spend any money, but Gaughran does a very good job of laying out what oyu need to reach various levels of success in self-publishing...in other words, how to avoid having your work vanish into complete obscurity. I understand that you don't want to spend any money, but it's $5 that's very worthwhile. It not only answers many of these questions (and others you haven't asked) - it puts them in an actionable format. I recommend it.

EMaree
06-08-2015, 07:50 PM
Dhewco, did you e-mail the story to any beta readers, or anyone helping with the research? Cloud e-mail services like GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo might still have the file stored.

And regarding Old Hack's suggestion about putting the hard drive in a caddy: if you're not confident and know a few technically-minded folks, don't be afraid to ask. We're usually happy to help and, knowing your circumstances, wouldn't require any more compensation than a thank you (a cup of tea or coffee is always welcome, too. Maybe a biscuit!).

And don't be afraid to ask female techie friends! I've been in IT for a long few years now, but I usually get people going to my (non-technical) partner for IT help instead of me. It bothers me, mostly because I really enjoy helping people out.

Old Hack
06-08-2015, 10:18 PM
I just finished David Gaughran's "Let's Get Digital" on the advice of my former agent. I know you don't want to spend any money, but Gaughran does a very good job of laying out what oyu need to reach various levels of success in self-publishing...in other words, how to avoid having your work vanish into complete obscurity. I understand that you don't want to spend any money, but it's $5 that's very worthwhile. It not only answers many of these questions (and others you haven't asked) - it puts them in an actionable format. I recommend it.

I definitely DON'T recommend it.

Gaughran was a member here when he published it. At the time he had three and a half weeks' experience of self publishing. He started a thread in Announcements and our members began to notice problems with many of the facts and figures he'd provided in the book. He agreed they were wrong--often by a significant amount--and said he'd update the book but a year or two later I checked it, and he had not made those changes.

It has some useful parts. But so much of it is so deeply flawed that you can't rely on it.

AW Admin
06-08-2015, 10:32 PM
Be cautious about relying on Email exclusively for backup; you're relying on the email provider having a backup of their mail servers, and that's not a thing I'd be comfortable with.

Consider using DropBox or a similar service (there are many) and occasionally backup up to a thumbdrive.

Maryn
06-09-2015, 12:32 AM
Amen. You want to back up important things to something which is entirely under your control. Consider my highly negative Yahoo! experience. I had a personal account for 18 years, plus others I used for purposes which were likely to get me spam or ads. One day I couldn't get into my personal email. I waited, tried again, tried from other computers, and finally after a weekcalled a customer service number in Sunnyvale, where after a 45-minute hold I learned my account was permanently suspended, with no reason given. (I still have no idea what I'm alleged to have done.) If I'd backed up only to mail, I'd have lost it. As it was, I lost contacts and mailing lists, plus a Yahoo Group I was the administrator of.

Maryn, getting herself all angry again

Dhewco
06-09-2015, 02:40 AM
I'd never thought of using email. It's definitely a tool I could use. But I wouldn't use it exclusively, for the reasons mentioned. Not sure about Dropbox. I was so sure I'd backed up to the portable drive. Positive. To be so wrong, I'm not sure if I'd remember to save to Dropbox. I've got to figure out a system that doesn't rely on remembering alone. My memory is so fickle, I have a perfect picture of my bedroom when I was 4...but I never remembered to move that book to the portable drive when I moved all the others.

Dhewco
06-09-2015, 02:42 AM
Emaree, I'm sure I could figure it out. However, until I find employment, I'm living off my parents' largess. Caddys cost anywhere from 15 on up on Amazon and I don't know if I can ask them for that much. They'd probably give it, but I'm not sure I want to ask.

Maryn
06-09-2015, 02:50 AM
The way I have Dropbox set up, all saves are automatic. Anything that removes my brain and my laziness from the equation is progress.

Dhewco
06-09-2015, 03:06 AM
Does it matter what word processor you use? I use the Microsoft Word Starter 2010 that came with my computer.

Treehouseman
06-09-2015, 10:00 AM
Yes, make your writing folder a sub-folder of your computer's Dropbox folder (it organises itself like a MyDocuments folder when you install it) Everytime you hit save, it the file automatically saves, a copy is saved in the cloud. No fishing for thumb drives or emailing then realising you have more to write.

- - - Updated - - -

AND ITS FREE

Dhewco
06-10-2015, 04:47 PM
Finally joined twitter. @WriterDavidH

Don't really know how to use it yet, or how to link it, but there you go.

AlexisRadcliff
06-10-2015, 07:20 PM
Finally joined twitter. @WriterDavidH

Don't really know how to use it yet, or how to link it, but there you go.

Cool that you're on Twitter! One tip... people are a lot likelier to follow or follow back if you use a non-default picture (doesn't have to be a real pic of you -- just not an egg). Other than that, I'd just start chatting with people. :)

DACasey
06-11-2015, 02:25 AM
I definitely DON'T recommend it.

Gaughran was a member here when he published it. At the time he had three and a half weeks' experience of self publishing. He started a thread in Announcements and our members began to notice problems with many of the facts and figures he'd provided in the book. He agreed they were wrong--often by a significant amount--and said he'd update the book but a year or two later I checked it, and he had not made those changes.

It has some useful parts. But so much of it is so deeply flawed that you can't rely on it.

That was more than four years ago. Back then, most of us were new to self-publishing electronically. Everything was changing so rapidly at online retailers that even people with 30 years of experience publishing print books had little to no advantage over new entrants into the eBook market.

By now, David has a lot more experience at successfully self-publishing, as well as access to the methodologies and marketing strategies of numerous highly-successful self-publishers. He updated Let's Get Digital, and the 2nd edition is out. It contains plenty of useful advice, so count me among the authors who recommend it for new self-publishers. For experienced self-publishers who want to take their sales to the next level, I recommend both Sean Platt's and Johnny B. Truant's Write. Publish. Repeat. and David's Let's Get Visible.

...

David, check out David Gaughran's blog (https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/). You'll see he's a smart guy who researches his topic before reporting it to the world. He's a strong advocate for authors, especially new authors. Contact David (https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/contactfaq/) and tell him you're from AW and what your circumstances are. (You can even give him a link to this thread.) You have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but he can point you in the right direction to get you there much faster than you would on your own.

Ravioli
06-11-2015, 01:57 PM
I'm in your situation. Unemployed, 7 cats, 1 special needs dog, well it sucks. I'm doing everything myself, other than asking AW for advice. It's just a lot of work. I am now editing my 497 page MS for the 5th time by reading through it myself. I've designed the cover myself, too. I mean, maybe I'll submit it to a trade publisher, but I'm perfectly willing to take my chances on Amazon.
The only problem is marketing. I suck at it.

Dhewco
06-11-2015, 02:57 PM
Yeah, I hear you. It's not so much that I suck at marketing, it's that proper marketing either cost money or that you have a large support system. (or a platform). I have none of those things. I'm also an introvert of painful proportions. The only type of selling I excel at is cell phones (selling phones in a store doesn't require pushing people in their homes).

Sheryl Nantus
06-13-2015, 10:02 PM
That was more than four years ago. Back then, most of us were new to self-publishing electronically. Everything was changing so rapidly at online retailers that even people with 30 years of experience publishing print books had little to no advantage over new entrants into the eBook market.

By now, David has a lot more experience at successfully self-publishing, as well as access to the methodologies and marketing strategies of numerous highly-successful self-publishers. He updated Let's Get Digital, and the 2nd edition is out. It contains plenty of useful advice, so count me among the authors who recommend it for new self-publishers. For experienced self-publishers who want to take their sales to the next level, I recommend both Sean Platt's and Johnny B. Truant's Write. Publish. Repeat. and David's Let's Get Visible.

...

David, check out David Gaughran's blog (https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/). You'll see he's a smart guy who researches his topic before reporting it to the world. He's a strong advocate for authors, especially new authors. Contact David (https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/contactfaq/) and tell him you're from AW and what your circumstances are. (You can even give him a link to this thread.) You have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but he can point you in the right direction to get you there much faster than you would on your own.

Did he ever fix the part where he claims Canada's pulping a million trees or some such silliness every day? I recall it being a ridiculous figure that didn't stand up to scrutiny at the time...

It's a small detail but the devil is in the details, IMO.

*shrugs*

DACasey
06-14-2015, 04:58 AM
Did he ever fix the part where he claims Canada's pulping a million trees or some such silliness every day? I recall it being a ridiculous figure that didn't stand up to scrutiny at the time...

What makes you think David's claim is silly or ridiculous? Do you have an accurate number or an estimate and a source for that estimate? Who scrutinized David's numbers? Someone from the Canadian Forest Service or the pulp and paper industry in Canada?

Dhewco
06-14-2015, 03:25 PM
I shouldn't read this blog so soon after getting up. It took a couple read-throughs to realize you're talking about Gaughran's blog. More than I care to admit. I'll probably check it out after I do a couple more editing sessions with the book. I might dig into the darkness and dig out that YA fantasy I wrote 15 years ago (the one that was on Lulu for a day) and try to self that one too. I was in the middle of major revisions when I quit to work on newer stuff, so it'll be a lot more work.

The only reason I'm considering it is because of the advice I'm getting about having more than one work out.

David

Dhewco
06-27-2015, 04:56 PM
How do you overcome that urge to do just one final read-through? I've been editing and editing. Found the grammar errors and fixed them. Did a read-through for consistency errors like eye-color and such. Also, did a third read-through for pacing. Doing an fourth read-through for overall whatever. LOL. I always feel like I need to do one more. Anyone else? I want to start the process for Amazon, but I need to get passed this.

WriterBN
06-27-2015, 08:21 PM
You have to decide when you're comfortable with what you have, move forward, and don't look back. I go through a lot of drafts because I tend to write in layers. I think my first book was 10 or 11 drafts before I sent it to my copy editor.

I can still look back at that book now and say, "I wish I'd changed this, or reworded that" but it serves no useful purpose. There will always be things that you could have done differently.

Dhewco
06-27-2015, 09:19 PM
Good point. I have a few beta readers, but they don't like to read scifi...and they have a problem with the way the boy gets treated. They don't like to read the weird trials the boy goes through before overcoming everything and coming out on top. They tell me they don't like to read books where a child is mistreated by someone who is supposed to love him. So, I couldn't get them past the prologue and first chapter. I'm not sure I get where they're coming from. In the first chapter, my character is physically threatened, forced to wear clothes that humiliate him, and has a sizzling hot steak dropped into his hands. (Then forced to eat said steak when it's dropped onto the backyard grass.)

The idea behind the mistreatment is to lower the boy's feelings of self-worth so that he becomes humble and easily manipulated. It backfires in the next few chapters and the boy develops both an intensive pride in his accomplishments and the feeling that he can overcome anything. You have to get through the first bit of uncomfortableness, to really appreciate the boy's spunky 'I can beat this' attitude. My three beta-readers didn't make it that far.

It could be that I was too specific in that chapter or that my readers are coming from something that makes them really dislike that part. They have read my child serial killer novel (12yo killer of child abusers who get off) and I got a lot of positive feedback off my characterization of him, so I'm hoping the book I'm self-publishing isn't a simple case of they don't want to tell me I suck. LOLOL.

J. Tanner
06-28-2015, 02:23 AM
It's hard to tell if this is a case of having the wrong BETA readers, or a case where the story isn't working.

But when all your BETAs are reacting the same way, it's something you should strongly consider addressing. Perhaps you're starting in the wrong spot? Maybe you need to start with a mystery or hook of some kind and leave the misery for a flashback?

Dhewco
06-28-2015, 04:13 AM
Well, the book starts with the prologue which covers the stepfather's murder of the boy's mother and the Chancellor's plan. I had to add the prologue because the agent who read said that they didn't like the fact that you don't find out that the Chancelloer ISN'T a pedophile until chapter six or seven and don't learn the true plan until then. Only one agent bothered to give me feedback on the first three chapters and she asked me some questions and that was her response to my answers. I can't find the email anymore and I don't remember which one it was...I just remembered those statements. It's weird, her name escapes me.

Anyway, She thought that people would think that it was a novel about a pervert and that would seriously limit markets. It's not, and only a few characters assume the Chancellor's motives for making the kid eternal are pervy...but again, you don't learn that until later...without the prologue.

WeaselFire
06-28-2015, 04:47 PM
Spent the day yesterday with some publishers, editors and agents. Every single one of them specifically said that they will not, in any way, touch previously published work, whether self published or even posted on a public web site, blog or forum. There are too many licensing and publication issues to deal with to make it worth their time, especially when they have a dozen other options available.

Every single one of them said they would be happy to look at new work by any author who has self published, but that their decision would also be based on how well previous works have sold. If you self published books one and two of your series and they sold a total of nineteen copies over three years, they don't even want to see your book three. But totally new work would normally be first judged by whether they believed they could sell you, as an author, to other editors, publishers, sales managers and, eventually, the public.

Amanda Hocking and EL James are freakish anomalies that are so rare they skew sales projections for other works and authors. 50 Shades alone threw all ebook predictions out the window and resulted in bad sales decisions for 2015 based on ebook sales figures, which have tanked since the 50 Shades impact has faded. FWIW, it looks like Amanda Hocking will not earn out her historic advance and will likely become a pariah to all publishers forever.

Bottom line was that, if your goal is a a traditional agent and publisher, then do not self publish until you have shopped your work for at least three years. And five years from when you finish your book and start submitting it until it hits bookshelves across America is absolutely normal.

Jeff

WeaselFire
06-28-2015, 04:52 PM
I had to add the prologue because the agent who read said that they didn't like the fact that you don't find out that the Chancelloer ISN'T a pedophile until chapter six or seven and don't learn the true plan until then.

Nobody told you to write a prologue and you didn't have to write it this way. Lopping the first five chapters off the book may have been the real solution. Agents, beta readers and others don't determine how a book should be written, they can only tell you where they see plot holes or problems. You have to take responsibility for how these are fixed.

And nobody in this thread can tell you how to fix something they haven't read. Post some samples in SYW for valid feedback.

Jeff

Dhewco
06-28-2015, 05:51 PM
Man, I've shopped this book a long time now. 30 plus agents. I 'finished it' in 05 or 06. I've moved on to shopping other work now. HOWEVER, I don't think that means this book shouldn't be out there. Since I only had a three betas read this particular work, I don't feel there sample of opinions is enough to remove those chapters. Cutting off five chapters of work kills a lot of characterization and action that I feel is important for the story.

ETA: I've never even heard of those two writers. Names are not familiar. Not sure why you're using them as examples.

I've heard of 50 Shades, of course..but I had no idea who the author was.

Dhewco
06-28-2015, 06:45 PM
I never realized how many extra words I had until I picked up this manuscript two years after putting it down (after the last edits). I might have to go through it a couple more times before I self-publish.

Dhewco
06-29-2015, 12:42 AM
Another Amazon/Self-publishing question: How do they determine how many pages are part of the 'Look inside' feature?

Dennis E. Taylor
06-29-2015, 04:48 AM
Another Amazon/Self-publishing question: How do they determine how many pages are part of the 'Look inside' feature?

IIRC, it's 10% of the book.

Dhewco
06-29-2015, 06:55 PM
Forum mods, a stupid forum related question. I can't figure out how to read my reputation comments. Someone sent me a nice comment there with a helpful suggestion, but I closed it and now can't figure out how to get back to it. All the notification button does is send me to inbox and I don't see reputation comments there. I wish I'd gotten it as a PM. Those, I can find. LOL. I know, I'm an idjut.

Thanks anyway for any help.

CaoPaux
06-29-2015, 08:29 PM
It's definitely not intuitive: you need to click on "Settings" up there between "My Profile" and "Log Out".

Dhewco
07-01-2015, 07:08 PM
Is there a breakdown someone on this board on how the Amazon ranking system works? I have a online friend whose book has been out a few years and it has ranking of only 1.3 million. So, what's that, is she down to one a month? 3 a year? I don't want to ask her directly as I feel that's kind of inappropriate. I still would like to figure it out with your help.

Thanks for any info or direction you can do for me.

David

WriterBN
07-01-2015, 10:26 PM
1.3 million would be maybe 1-2 sales a year. Nobody knows how Amazon's algorithm works, but there's a quick and dirty online calculator that will get you into the ballpark:

http://kindlepreneur.com/amazon-kdp-sales-rank-calculator/

Dhewco
07-01-2015, 10:32 PM
Thanks. I appreciate the link.

Also, thanks to everyone who's responded to my pesky questions.

Seems like everything after 100k is "less than a book a day"


Oh well. Thanks anyway

JalexM
07-01-2015, 10:48 PM
Thanks. I appreciate the link.

Also, thanks to everyone who's responded to my pesky questions.

Seems like everything after 100k is "less than a book a day"


Oh well. Thanks anyway

I would say 100k is one book a day at a consistent buy rate. After my 30 day release window, my book has a harder time staying at 100k.

J. Tanner
07-01-2015, 11:54 PM
Once you're above 100K the number tends to indicate how long since your last purchase rather than how many sales per day. 1.3M is around 3 months since the last sale. But in the weeks just prior to that last sale you could have had 0 or 20 sales--there's no way to know. You're going to be around 1.3M either way.

There's also (anecdotally) a floor for books with high overall sales. So if you sold a bunch in the past, but haven't sold for that same three months, you might bottom out (for example) at 500K. I've never seen this effect myself, so I can only guess where the floor might be or how many sales it takes to create that floor. But I can say that when you see books over 1M, it probably means they never had particularly strong sales.

Dhewco
07-02-2015, 12:20 AM
Thanks, the 100k was from another self-published friend. That's why I checked that number. I wish that number meant something. It seems it only matters if you're selling at least 100 a month (give or take).

Old Hack
07-02-2015, 11:32 PM
What makes you think David's claim is silly or ridiculous? Do you have an accurate number or an estimate and a source for that estimate? Who scrutinized David's numbers? Someone from the Canadian Forest Service or the pulp and paper industry in Canada?

We scrutinised Gaughran's numbers. Various members found the original sources for the statistics he quoted, and showed how he'd either misquoted them or misinterpreted them. Links were provided. It was clear he had either not been straightforward or he'd misunderstood what he'd read.


Forum mods, a stupid forum related question. I can't figure out how to read my reputation comments. Someone sent me a nice comment there with a helpful suggestion, but I closed it and now can't figure out how to get back to it. All the notification button does is send me to inbox and I don't see reputation comments there. I wish I'd gotten it as a PM. Those, I can find. LOL. I know, I'm an idjut.

Thanks anyway for any help.

Scroll up to the top of any AW page. Click on "settings". Your reputation comments will be there, below the links to threads you're subscribed to.

izanobu
07-07-2015, 03:19 PM
Once you're above 100K the number tends to indicate how long since your last purchase rather than how many sales per day. 1.3M is around 3 months since the last sale. But in the weeks just prior to that last sale you could have had 0 or 20 sales--there's no way to know. You're going to be around 1.3M either way.There's also (anecdotally) a floor for books with high overall sales. So if you sold a bunch in the past, but haven't sold for that same three months, you might bottom out (for example) at 500K. I've never seen this effect myself, so I can only guess where the floor might be or how many sales it takes to create that floor. But I can say that when you see books over 1M, it probably means they never had particularly strong sales.

This isn't true. While lots of sales will mean a slower slide down, there is no floor. I have a book currently at 800k ranking that sells maybe a copy a month if it's lucky, but back in 2011 had a few months of selling 50-100 copies a *day* and was ranked in the top 1500 books on Amazon. Doesn't matter.

Any book ranked over 100k or so is selling an average of less than a copy a day generally, but you'd need to watch a title for a few weeks to see since they can bounce around a lot. It's possible to get 5 sales and jump from 500k to 50k ranking, then nothing for a week and end back up at like 300k. Velocity matters, but nothing sustains without sales to back it up. Something at 1.3 million rank has sold maybe a copy or two in the last year. It's possible that a book at 1 million plus rank once was selling very well, but that kind of ranking means that the last year at least of sales has been very poor.

Dhewco
07-07-2015, 03:45 PM
Mod question: When my book finally goes up on Amazon, should I start a separate publishing journal thread? Or should I use this thread? What do you guys think? Normally, I'd just use this thread, but my journey would be buried behind four pages of my questions.

J. Tanner
07-07-2015, 08:26 PM
This isn't true. While lots of sales will mean a slower slide down, there is no floor. I have a book currently at 800k ranking that sells maybe a copy a month if it's lucky, but back in 2011 had a few months of selling 50-100 copies a *day* and was ranked in the top 1500 books on Amazon. Doesn't matter.

Ah, interesting. It's been a while, but I distinctly remember an author stating one book he'd taken off-sale dropped down into the six figures and plateaued there while the worse sellers dropped beyond 1M. So perhaps a glitch (or intentional change?) on Amazon's part.

izanobu
07-07-2015, 10:11 PM
Glitch most likely. Or he remembered it wrong? I've studied my own stuff (across 40+ titles in multiple genres) and a lot of bestsellers and former bestsellers over the years. Books that don't sell drop like stones eventually, no matter how well they once sold. It's tougher now even, since three or four years ago a single sale could push your rank up to 50k or so. Now a single sale might not even pull a book into the top 100k. Don't sell a book for six months? Welcome to a million + ranking :)

J. Tanner
07-07-2015, 11:57 PM
Yep. That all matches my experience.

In regards to the other author's situation, it was definitely real. He brought it up as a curious "why won't my unpublished book drop lower than X?" and there was a lot of conversation and speculation around the reason. A few other chimed in with the theory about long term sales history impacting the ranking on the downswing and it seemed to fit all the anecdotal data, but, of course, it was still speculation at its core.

izanobu
07-08-2015, 12:46 AM
Oh, wait, it was unpublished? That explains it, actually. It would freeze at whatever rank it was at, since it no longer counts anyway. So of course the rank wouldn't change. I have a couple titles I unpublished but if I look at them in Author Central, they are at whatever rank they were when I took them down. Mystery solved?

EMaree
07-08-2015, 12:44 PM
Mod question: When my book finally goes up on Amazon, should I start a separate publishing journal thread? Or should I use this thread? What do you guys think? Normally, I'd just use this thread, but my journey would be buried behind four pages of my questions.

Obviously I'm not a mod, but I think if you start a new thread you'll attract news eyes -- a self publishing diary thread will get views from people who might skip past another self-publishing question thread.

Also, it'll look a lot more organised. One of my favorite things about self-pub diaries is seeing the uncertain baby steps at the start and then the posts steadily get more business-like and filled with sales. :D I *looovee* the self-pub diaries!

Old Hack
07-09-2015, 12:46 PM
This isn't a diary thread, so you'd be fine to start one for yourself. But remember: the diary threads are not intended to be promotional tools. They're meant to show how your knowledge and understanding develops as you publish. If you sell a few books off the back of yours then that's great, but please don't use it to spam us. (Not that I think you will, I just like to make this point when I can!)

Dhewco
07-09-2015, 04:20 PM
I understand. I only plan to put my little cover/link in the signature like I've seen others do. I'll have to figure out how ya'll do that, though. I don't know how to embed a link in a photo or how to resize that photo. I've forgotten a lot of HTML code that I used to know.

ETA: I also just want to show my journey, give advice if I gain any wisdom from it, and basically give some numbers to ya'll. There'll be no push/description of the book/ or anything like that.

Old Hack
07-10-2015, 10:22 AM
Don't worry, Dhewco, I don't think you're the spammy type and I don't think you have anything to worry about. But it's something I repeat every now and then in the hope that those who were thinking of a diary thread of their own as a promotional effort will think again.

If you go to the FAQ room you'll find all sorts of help with creating signatures, and if you still can't work it out drop me a PM and I'll see what I can do to help.

Dhewco
07-11-2015, 06:42 PM
I've decided to rename my eternal boy book Rebirth when I self-publish it. The book is going to read Rebirth: Book One of the Humanity series. The series, aside from being a scifi story about the 'heir' is also going to be a melding of Peter Pan's eternal youth and Pinocchio's 'real' boy. I had more detail on here, but it was starting to sound like a synopsis and not an actually question.

Here's the question: Should I use a pseudonym? Should I put a 'series' title on the cover when the second book is only an idea at this point?

akaria
07-11-2015, 08:23 PM
I use a pseudonym. Many authors don't. It's a personal choice. Whatever you feel more comfortable with.

As for using a series title on the cover? I remember reading the first three books of an author's series and none of them were labeled as such. Then suddenly at book four the series name showed up. I guess her publisher liked her sales numbers and decided to keep her. You can also repeat a word to show the books are connected. Like JD Robb's In Death books. I think readers pick up on that kinda thing pretty easily.

Dhewco
07-11-2015, 09:30 PM
Originally, the book was going to be called Humanity because I wanted to explore what humanity is and whether it was just biology or a state of mind. The first book became more about the escape and reuniting with the boy's true father. I'll probably explore more in the sequel. (I'll write one if I get more than a certain small number of stranger buys...Not a big number 25 or so would make me consider it)

Abderian
07-12-2015, 03:58 AM
Lots of people like to read series, so it's a good idea to include a mention on the cover. But only if you're sure the other books will happen, otherwise you'll have disappointed readers.

Dhewco
07-12-2015, 04:07 AM
Maybe I'll just title it something like Eternal Heir or Rebirth of the Heir...and only insert a series title if I sell enough to get me to rewrite the series. It really won't take much. I'm a glutton for punishment and I want to write it anyway. The only thing that stopped me is that I couldn't find a publisher for it, so I moved on. I do have ideas for the sequel, but nothing on screen. If I sell more than 25-30 copies, I'll write it. I might even write it for 20. I'm easy like that. LOL

ETA: I haven't shared any on SYW because I'm a coward and I'm afraid that if I get some serious negativity, I'll back out. I'll probably use a pseudonym, so that if I want to publish something else it won't get painted too heavily with this one.

Dennis E. Taylor
07-12-2015, 07:45 AM
Eternal Sunshine of the Traveling Pants? :ROFL:

frimble3
07-12-2015, 11:44 AM
Lots of people like to read series, so it's a good idea to include a mention on the cover. But only if you're sure the other books will happen, otherwise you'll have disappointed readers.
Seconding this. When people like the first book, they'll start looking for the next one. 'Almost finished and coming in October' is a far cry from 'Eventually there may be a sequel'. They haz a sad and they forget about your book if the wait is too long. (Or, you're GRRM and they badger and harass you. The perils of popularity.)

Dhewco
07-12-2015, 04:04 PM
What do you think of these review sites that are all over twitter? I'm not going to call anyone out, but I followed one of their links. First problem: The review is littered with grammar/spelling errors (by littered, I mean at least five and maybe ten or more. I didn't really count after five.) Second: It was way too positive. I feel honest reviews can be really positive but there needs to be mention of at least areas for improvement. Too positive and I get the feeling they didn't really read it. Third: I couldn't find the book on Amazon either by title or the listed author. The link at the bottom of the review didn't work.

The real question is: How do you find the review sites that are worth the time and (when I have it) the money?

izanobu
07-13-2015, 12:13 PM
Never pay for a review. Just don't do it. Not worth it.

EMaree
07-13-2015, 12:35 PM
What do you think of these review sites that are all over twitter? I'm not going to call anyone out, but I followed one of their links. First problem: The review is littered with grammar/spelling errors (by littered, I mean at least five and maybe ten or more. I didn't really count after five.) Second: It was way too positive. I feel honest reviews can be really positive but there needs to be mention of at least areas for improvement. Too positive and I get the feeling they didn't really read it. Third: I couldn't find the book on Amazon either by title or the listed author. The link at the bottom of the review didn't work.

The real question is: How do you find the review sites that are worth the time and (when I have it) the money?

It sounds like you might be talking about book bloggers, maybe? Book bloggers do their work for free as a hobby, often in what little spare time they can grab, so editing isn't a priority. But a reputable book blogger will never ask for money... so honestly, I'm not sure what website you were looking at.

Could you provide a link?

I haven't seen a single pay-to-play review site that's worth it. Don't waste your money, not even with that Kirkus review thing a lot of self-publisher advocates swear by -- that place only ever reviews self-published books, and it's clearly recognised by industry pros as a separate beast from trade published Kirkus reviews.


Should I put a 'series' title on the cover when the second book is only an idea at this point?

I think it can work either way -- one of our successful AW indie writers SLHuang doesn't include a series title (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?287000-Math-Guns-and-Snark-SLHuang-s-Self-Publishing-Thread), but displays it prominently wherever the book is listed: Amazon, Goodreads, her own website. Laura Lam (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?285243-Going-Hybrid)includes the Vestigal Tales series title on all her covers, and Profen4 always makes their series titles the focus of their covers (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?273156-Self-Published-my-journey&p=8280333#post8280333).

Dhewco
07-13-2015, 02:22 PM
http://theliterarycritic.com

That's the review site I was referring to. I didn't want to publicly refer to them, but screw it.

http://theliterarycritic.com/boiler-volume-one-civil-war-fantasy-the-secession-war-saga-by-author-j-paul-roe/?utm_source=ReviveOldPost&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost

This is the review I saw. On third pass, I can only be sure of three errors. However, this is early for me to post and I'm sure I saw more yesterday. What really turned me off is that the reviewer used very general, highly positive language and I can't be sure they actually read it. They could read these things on the book description. When I tried to find it on Amazon from the link given, it didn't work and I couldn't 'read inside'. All in all, very off-putting.

Marian Perera
07-13-2015, 02:46 PM
What really turned me off is that the reviewer used very general, highly positive language...

I read six or seven reviews on that site, and they're all five stars. In each case, the reviewer was blown away by the perfection of the author's work, highly recommended the book and couldn't wait to read the sequel. I especially like this part: "...the twists are endless filling me with a certain air of suspense that swept is both unique and original."

There are plenty of reviewers who will provide this kind of vague, uncritically adoring feedback. Many readers can spot this kind of review at fifty paces and will give it all the consideration it deserves.

ETA : What's really sad is that the site charges $50/review.

Dhewco
07-13-2015, 03:16 PM
What prompted me to follow the link on twitter is that I was getting a lot of follows from review sites. Every so often, I make it clear that if they expect to make money from me they might as well unfollow. It wasn't going to happen.

Sometimes I follow review sites because I'm always looking for new books that sell for 2-3 bucks. The books that get reviewed are usually that price. I don't follow them to buy reviews, heh.

50 bucks? wow, you'd have to sell 40 copies on kindle to make that back, right? I hate math. lol

akaria
07-13-2015, 08:57 PM
Don't pay for reviews. It's a better use of your time to list a giveaway on Goodreads. Join groups that you think would like your book. If they have a section for promo, follow the group's guidelines. Don't forget to take off your author hat, put on your reader hat and interact with group members. It's much like AW. If you participate, people will be much more likely to help you out when you need it.

Parametric
07-13-2015, 09:37 PM
Just a drive-by comment, but if you're thinking about paid promotion, a really successful client of mine recommended Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours. I'm cautious about spending my hard-earned money, but the testimonial was quite enthusiastic.

Dhewco
07-14-2015, 12:38 AM
No money for promo. I was just curious. Thanks for the answers. As for Goodreads, I don't know. The idea of a 'giveaway' is weird. Plus, can you do that if you're only on Kindle? I don't plan on doing anything else.

Dragonwriter
07-14-2015, 12:51 AM
No money for promo. I was just curious. Thanks for the answers. As for Goodreads, I don't know. The idea of a 'giveaway' is weird. Plus, can you do that if you're only on Kindle? I don't plan on doing anything else.

No, you can only do Goodreads giveaways with hardcopies.

Dhewco
07-14-2015, 02:25 AM
Oh, well, that's not going to happen. I might do Createspace, but I have no money to give away free copies of anything. Oh well, maybe in the future if my situation changes.

raelwv
07-14-2015, 06:18 AM
No, you can only do Goodreads giveaways with hardcopies.

But you can do eBook giveaways at Librarything. Neither of my Goodreads winners wrote a review, but one of my Librarything eBook winners did.

rolandogomez
07-14-2015, 07:47 PM
David,

Believe me when I say this, I understand your budget woes, as being self-employed now for almost ten years, the only guarantee in self-employment is zero--some days you eat, some days you starve. That said, yes, Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace are free in a sense, but to do it right, i.e., publish and sell a book, you have to spend money. My advice, make yourself a personal budget of your lifestyle, see where you can cut/save, then take that money and bank it into a savings to get your book out. Easier said than done, but it starts first by asking yourself "Do I want this, or do I need this?" It's the "wants" that kill most budgets and you'd be surprised if you followed your budget how much you can save in six months for your book endeavors. It takes money to make money so work hard, save, play later, get your book out--what's another six months?

I'm a published author of seven books, my last four, self-published. I will say this, whether you go with a traditional publisher or self-publish, both require that you have, or build, a platform first, and that takes time, lots of time. Both methods of publishing require that you have your own marketing plan in place and that you do your part in promoting the book--including spending money. You can write the best book in the world, but without the "eyeballs" to know it exists, no one will buy it. It's a vicious circle, to get the eyeballs, you have to do a lot of things, and a lot of those things costs money.

Now, on editing, an author/writer should always edit their own work--but have at least one qualified "other" set of eyeballs to edit for you too. My recent book just released, I had a good friend be the senior editor, then another good friend the assistant editor, then my girlfriend and her mother, look it over for mistakes. Between us all we probably read it 100 times, I know myself, at least 25. I used Amazon CreateSpace (CS) and Kindle programs. Kindle is easy, find a mistake, re-upload, it's updated. On CS, though they have a reader/viewer, after they approve your content, editing on a screen doesn't cut it--to do it right. I highly recommend (your choice, Amazon does not force you to do this) you order a "proof" copy and again, not only you, but others, review that proof copy. My latest book took three proof copies before I said, "Publish!" The proof copy of my 254 page book was under $5, but shipping adds up and I ordered each time at least three proof copies and expedited shipping.

Now let's look at promotion, besides the obvious advertising to get the word out, including a press release (I used PR Web, $400), social media (your time, but free normally), advertising ($$$), "mail outs" to reviewers, plus people you hope will get some buzz out there for you ($$$), Kirkus Reviews (while controversial, I do recommend it and it cost me $575), etc., self-publishing is expensive to do it right, but manageable. By that I mean it takes months, sometimes over a year, before a book will take-off and I'm still working on that for my book, but nothing happens overnight. In fact, your Amazon rank will bounce, as mine has, from super great to bad, to great, to super great, etc. But you got to get out there and pace it out, especially when you have budget woes. The key here is to remember that every little bit counts and a little bit here and there is better than nothing at all. Would I like to have a budget that I can spend thousands on my book to make it to the New York Times best seller list, of course, who wouldn't?

There is so much I've experienced, both with a traditional publisher and self-publishing, that I can't put it all here in one post/thread, so I end by saying that anyone that thinks you can publish a book for "free," without a platform, without a promotional plan/budget, without a great cover, without a great editor, is living a pipe dream. The reality is that writing a book is only five-percent of the equation, in fact, it's probably the most easiest part of the equation. Gotta run, and I wish you the best, just keep hammering! Rolando

WriterBN
07-15-2015, 11:54 PM
What rolandogomez said makes a lot of sense. Except for the outliers, if you want to have decent sales in self-publishing, you have to spend money (wisely) on advertising and promotion. I haven't done so in a while, and my sales have suffered as a result. Every successful (in terms of sales) self-published author that I know has a budget for marketing and promotion.

akaria
07-16-2015, 12:47 AM
No, you can only do Goodreads giveaways with hardcopies.

People do giveaways with ebooks all the time on Goodreads through groups they participate in. Many groups have Read 2 Review lists. Other groups have special threads where authors can offer a giveaway, promote a new release or a sale. Each group is different, so you'll have to read their guidelines carefully.

The one time I did a giveaway I offered 10 copies in epub, mobi or pdf format in the two groups I was most active. Interested parties sent me their e-mail and I e-mailed the book in the preferred format. I sent out 15 copies and got my first reviews a short time later. I also did a hardcopy giveaway through the site's official channel. Only offered one copy. I don't think the person left a review.

Dhewco
07-16-2015, 02:15 AM
I can't spend what I don't have. I'm not kidding here. If I wasn't taking care of my parents and getting a few bills taken care of for that, I'd be homeless. I've tried to find gainful employment, but I have a bad shoulder and can't do much hard labor and my half an education isn't impressing anybody (Kaplan raised tuition where I couldn't afford to pay, even with student loans and grants). I also tried to get a loan to get equipment to start a computer repair business, as I've some training in that area, but my credit sucks and I couldn't buy the equipment or new books to update my training.

I'm wanting to earn a few pennies and maybe buy a couple sodas or even a ticket to a show. I am not expecting to be that Martian guy, or 50 shades or whatever people seem to bring up every self-pub thread. There's no money for any service. I wish there was. I wish I could get an editor and make a real show of it. I've shopped this particular novel to 50 agents and publishers (The list has disappeared, but I have.).

I'm assuming someone brings up the editor/marketing budget thing for other readers and not necessarily to me directly . . . as I've mentioned some of the above before. That's okay. I felt the need to respond just in case people felt I was being cheap or thinking I thought I didn't need those things.


Thanks to everyone who's responded in this thread. Your info is very valuable to me.

David

ETA: Every penny I spend is from my parents, right now. I've talked them into 'splurging' on a fiverr 10 dollar cover. That's the extent to what I can spend on this.