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MarlynnOfMany
11-27-2015, 09:41 PM
Hello, all! Iíve finally jumped onto the self-publishing train, and as far as I can tell, itís going well! I was planning to wait until I got my first paycheck before posting about the experience, but Iíve got plenty to talk about now. And as I understand it, Amazon should be sending in their statement soon.

After much research and hand-wringing, I settled on self-publishing through BookBaby. I know there are several routes that would probably give me higher percentages in sales, but at this point in my life I needed a central place to do everything from, since I donít have the time to keep track of a half-dozen different things. BookBaby does it all ó POD, ebooks, cover design, even webhosting ó and I must say itís been a good experience so far. My only caution to others is to triple-check everything for errors, both yours and theirs. Itís on you if the book gets printed with a goof. But as Iím an accomplished proofreader, it appears that Iíve managed to send the book out into the world without any glaring typos! At least none that Iíve found yet. Here's hoping.

This is the book:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e148/Nziz/Pro/400pixels.jpg

Sweeping Changes (http://www.amazon.com/Sweeping-Changes-Mara-Johnstone/dp/1943612013/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438636201&sr=1-3&keywords=sweeping+changes) is a fantasy novel about magic, memory problems, and broom-fu. It was originally inspired by song lyrics (ďI used to rule the world / Seas would rise when I gave the word / But now I sleep alone / Sweep the streets I used to ownĒ). I had a great time writing it, and readers are saying good things about it now! There are currently 10 reviews on Amazon, and theyíre all positive ó most are high quality reviews, too, not just ďit was good lol.Ē This is a great relief to me, because of course I think itís good, but other people seem to as well! And theyíre not just saying nice things becuse they know me and donít want to hurt my feelings. :)

Iíve been as busy promoting it as I can be. I got it stocked in local bookstores and the library, Iíve done public readings and even a TV interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhKAmTD0DoQ&feature=youtu.be) (woo!), and Iíve told everyone I know. When I placed the order with BookBaby, I got 100 physical books to give away and sell by hand, and Iím just now coming to the end of those. Iíve given them to friends and family, sold them at a mini comic con, and even gotten permission to set up a little display on the counter at my day job. Iím always delighted when people buy them. Iím not making any real money, buy Iím getting the word out, and I daresay thatís more important, especially now when Iím just starting out.

I had bookmarks printed, which I highly recommend as a marketing tool. I used OverNightPrints.com (http://www.overnightprints.com/bookmarks+printing), which has both good quality and good prices. (ďSpend three times as much on the next batch, and get eight times as many? Yes please!Ē) They turned out great:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e148/Nziz/Pro/photogenicbookmarks3.jpg

Itís hard to go wrong with classy bookmarks. Theyíre business cards that people will want to keep and look at regularly! A visible reminder to look up that book that sounded promising! Something that can be hidden around oneís alma mater like a literary Easter Bunny was there! (My college may have bookmarks in strange places now. I regret nothing.)

What else have I learned? Goodreads! Iíve learned that Goodreads giveaways are excellent, while paying for a sidebar ad is a waste of money. I paid months ago to put my ad into the rotation, which really means I gave them money to use up in 50-cent increments whenever someone clicks on the ad. It's a great system, to be sure, except no one pays attention to the sidebar ads. Iím pretty sure only one person has added the book to their to-read list as a result of such a click. Ring-a-ding-ding. The giveaways, on the other hand, are a whole Ďnother story!

I ran a giveaway in October, and nearly 1200 people entered to win a single copy. 500 of those added the book to their list, and these were people whoíd never heard of it a few days earlier. All it cost me was a physical book that I already had, and the shipping fee to send it to the winner. Definitely worth it.

Iíll be doing another giveaway on the first week of December, and weíll see if more or fewer people enter. Those 500 will be notified, and the Goodreads members who frequent the newly-posted giveaways may recognize it. The question is whether theyíll react with an ďOh hey, I should enter this time,Ē or a ďNah, I already saw it.Ē I shall report back with my findings!

And if you or someone you know would appreciate a book with furbirds, fight scenes, and a snarky talking reflection, then feel free to enter yourself! (https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164243-sweeping-changes) You may even win. :)

Oh, and one other handy thing about Goodreads that Iíd recommend is the book club forums. There are ďRead to review / R2RĒ threads, where authors can offer free ebooks in exchange for honest reviews. Itís a good system, provided you donít mind if people are actually honest! (Itís a good way to get ďI got a free copy and it was a waste of storage on my smartphoneĒ responses.) (Thankfully I didnít get any of those.) And since emailing someone a digital copy doesnít cost a thing, Iíd say itís well worth the effort.

Iím sure that thereís more I can say about my adventures thus far, but I canít think of it now. Iíll add more when it comes to me. Or when that first paycheck comes to me! Hereís hoping itís bigger than I think itíll be! :D

WriterBN
11-28-2015, 09:14 PM
Congratulations, and may your paycheck be ever embiggened!

Getting 1200 entrants for a GR giveaway is great. I haven't found them particularly useful (a lot of entrants are freebie chasers, these days) but it doesn't cost you anything except shipping and the book.

scott123
11-29-2015, 09:50 AM
Congratulation man. I hope everything goes as planned

M. H. Lee
11-29-2015, 07:07 PM
Congrats! Sounds like you're off to a good start.

CathleenT
11-30-2015, 05:47 AM
Hurray for good reviews! I know we're not supposed to pay too much attention to them, but it really means something when somebody likes your book.

raelwv
11-30-2015, 07:29 AM
Congrats!


Getting 1200 entrants for a GR giveaway is great. I haven't found them particularly useful (a lot of entrants are freebie chasers, these days) but it doesn't cost you anything except shipping and the book.

I was pleasantly surprised that both the winners of my last GR giveaway actually wrote reviews (albeit very very short ones). The last time, neither did. :Shrug:

ASeiple
11-30-2015, 09:21 PM
Bookbaby, huh? I'll have to look into that...

Congrats! Welcome to the club, glad it's going well!

Sweeping Changes sounds like a book my wife might like. Might be time to get her a Christmas present... :D

Glyax
11-30-2015, 10:03 PM
Congratulations!!! I was unaware of GoodReads before I read this post. As I am nearing the final product on my latest story to be self published, I will be heading over there very shortly to see what results I might get. Might I ask how you went about the public readings, getting your local bookstores to sell copies of your story, and the interview???

MarlynnOfMany
12-02-2015, 07:57 PM
Sweeping Changes sounds like a book my wife might like. Might be time to get her a Christmas present... :D

Yay! I hope she enjoys it. I certainly did. :D



Might I ask how you went about the public readings, getting your local bookstores to sell copies of your story, and the interview???

It was mostly a matter of researching what's available in my area, then following up on anything remotely helpful. There's a chain of bookstores with a section for books by local authors (Copperfield's, in Northern California). I called each store and asked for the consignment person -- most said to bring in a few copies and sign a paper so they could sell them and give me half later, while a couple just said it sounded good and they'd order it directly from Ingram, without me having to bring any in. It was all easier than I expected.

The public reading opportunities were things I heard about through a local writer's group (Redwood Writers). I went to an open mic that was open to anyone, and while I was there I learned of the other opportunities: I was a featured author at Dining With Local Authors Night at a restaurant, I paid a bit of money for filming costs of the interview, and I got my books on consignment at some non-bookstore locations (which is arranged by the same lady who does the interviewing, a local author herself).

All of this was really just a matter of (1) finding out that it existed, (2) asking to be involved, and (3) having my book approved as something worth promoting. And that part wasn't as strict as I expected either! There's a lot of support for local authors in my area. There may be in yours too; I certainly had no idea all this was going on before I started looking! *thumbs up* Good luck!

Talbot
12-03-2015, 02:00 AM
Marlynn

Good tips. I just published a short story and a novel on Amazon and I'm diving into marketing mode. (which I hate)
The first book in my trilogy of the zombie war in Georgia has a broad scope but drills down to the fight for at the river line at Roswell. (northern Atlanta suburb) It's the anti-Walking Dead - Georgia would never roll over without a fight but the story is about the eccentric mix of men and women who made it happen.

I did a lot of research and have the idea of conducting video interviews with people who were involved in saving the town at the different locations: the river, the courthouse, the governor's mansion, police station etc.. I have a should patch design for the 'Whispering Death' battalions of the State Defense force which I plan to have printed as stickers and then produced as velcro patches. Thinking also of giving away the Excel tool I created to use because I don't like outlines.

This novel was derived from a musical I originally created but lacked the resources to produce. I'm sure there is an angle there but I only got three of the songs recorded so not sure how to play that.

Bookbaby looked like a good idea when I scoped it out but Smashwords seemed cheaper and sort of similar - perhaps I'm wrong? Guess I'll revisit that.

Thanks for the input
Michael

-------------------------------
In the midst of a Zombie apocalypse and nuclear horror the libertarian governor of Georgia must impose martial law and act against her personal beliefs to enable the people of her state to survive.

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Dirt-Zombies-Roswell-Georgia-ebook/dp/B018FFAMR2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1449093386&sr=1-1&keywords=red+dirt+zombies

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Dirt-Zombies-Roswell-Georgia-ebook/dp/B018FFAMR2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1449093386&sr=1-1&keywords=red+dirt+zombies

MarlynnOfMany
12-03-2015, 10:08 PM
That all sounds like some fun promotional stuff, and extra content for fans! I wish you all the best of luck with it. I've been keeping an eye out for more to offer on my own website -- I know there'll be art when I get around to drawing it (after I've figured how to avoid spoilers). The other book that I originally planned on publishing first had a nifty alien species that I was going to make sculptures of, but there's not a perfect thing like that for this one.

Maybe the furbirds, but then I'd have to settle on an exact concrete visual for them, and I kinda like the different ideas that people are coming up with. Even though I describe them pretty clearly, people are thinking of details that I didn't include, and I don't want to break any hearts. :)

And Smashwords is probably cheaper, but they only do ebooks. BookBaby makes physical copies too.
*thumbs up*

Interfaced
12-04-2015, 07:56 PM
Congrats on the release (great cover!) and thanks for the tips.

GoodReads is definitely something that I need to delve into more deeply. I had similar poor results from paid advertising on there, but I really like the idea of the giveaway and R2R. The threads there have always had excellent information on them for a new author, so it's about time I gave something back too.

Onwards and upwards - may you find great success!

MarlynnOfMany
12-06-2015, 08:05 AM
Thanks, and good luck!

MarlynnOfMany
12-07-2015, 07:38 PM
Giveaway update (https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164243-sweeping-changes): it's looking like the second go-round will be less successful, sadly -- tomorrow's the last day, and I've barely cleared 700 people. That's a far cry from the nearly 1200 of the October giveaway. I guess we'll see if there's a crazy rush last-minute! That's certainly possible, since the about-to-end listings are the most popular, so who knows.

MarlynnOfMany
12-09-2015, 07:34 AM
So, about that crazy last-minute rush! There are currently 4.5 hours left, and it's passed 1000 people.

I am somewhat surprised! 0.0

What will happen in those last 4.5 hours?? :e2cheer::popcorn::banana:

MarlynnOfMany
12-09-2015, 10:17 AM
Less than 2 hours left, and it's past 1100 people. Wow. This is gonna be close! Looks like I may have to wait until morning to find out the total, though. *drumroll*

MarlynnOfMany
12-10-2015, 09:43 AM
End total: 1138 people entered the giveaway. That's a couple dozen less than last time -- which is a little disappointing, but given where it was a couple days ago, I'm not complaining.

Also interesting: the total number of people who've added the book is currently at 710, which is less significant than last time too. Not sure what to make of that.

But oh well, people are interested in the book, and that's a good thing!

Now to ship the winner's book to Canada. :Thumbs:

Interfaced
12-10-2015, 04:47 PM
Well done - you've absolutely inspired me to run my own, thank you for the prod! :)

Quick question: does GR do the random selection process for you, or do you just pick one out?

(Great author pic btw!)

MarlynnOfMany
12-10-2015, 07:50 PM
Yay! Good luck!

Goodreads chooses the winner for you, probably to make sure there's no temptation to be impartial. It's interesting to see who wins!

Thanks; I like that photo too! I'll probably put up something more Industry-Standard And Dignified eventually, but that's the best one I had on hand. :)

MarlynnOfMany
02-11-2016, 08:18 PM
I just got my first paycheck! *confetti* It's not much, but it's a start. And it's a little more than I expected, so hallelujah!

I have Direct Deposit set up with BookBaby so that they send me money whenever the royalties add up to $50. I thought I'd get a payment of exactly $50, but instead I got $65.39. Yay!

Now to keep meticulous records of my earning like a good self-employed taxpayer, then spend time scrutinizing the listing for where the sales came from!

I was surprised to find that there were two different orders for 10 print books each, which were ordered months ago but are only being reported now. I thought at first that all this happened yesterday as a result of the phone calls I made to different Barnes&Noble stores to ask them to stock the books. But no, these things only get reported well after the fact, so I won't know until the next payment how many they ordered. That gives me time to call some more stores!

Now what to spend my hard-earned money on... (Other than exciting things like groceries.)

MarlynnOfMany
02-29-2016, 07:56 PM
There are physical copies in Barnes&Noble! Not all locations by any means, but a couple close to home. I've signed the copies at the nearest, and someone will be getting back to me about doing a reading/signing there. Woo!

Oh, and I started a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/MarlynnOfMany). Apparently that's where all the pros hang out. *shrug* We'll see if anything comes of it! Fun so far.

MarlynnOfMany
04-07-2016, 07:35 PM
After getting a decent tax refund, I've started looking into ways of getting the word out via money. There are plenty of recommendations to sift through, and some are bit out of my price range (Bookbub looks great, but I could self-publish the sequel for that price).

For now, I'm starting with these guys (http://www.fireandicebooktours.com/schedule-a-book-promo/) for a reasonably-priced month, which amusingly enough starts on 4/20 (hurr hurr). I will be keeping an eye on the sales record as much as I can -- I may not know until three months later if much comes of it, but it's worth a try. And I expect this will do more than the Goodreads ad of the same cost. We'll see!

In other news, I'm actively working on the sequel. This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, which is fine motivation to keep plugging away at it. I'm not managing anywhere near normal NaNoWriMo pace, but as long as I'm getting somewhere, it will have to be enough.

And the sequel is exciting to read. :snoopy:

Tavia
04-07-2016, 11:57 PM
Good luck with the promo! :) One question -- why won't you know about results for three months?


In other news, I'm actively working on the sequel. This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, which is fine motivation to keep plugging away at it. I'm not managing anywhere near normal NaNoWriMo pace, but as long as I'm getting somewhere, it will have to be enough.

And the sequel is exciting to read. :snoopy:

And exciting sequels are fantastic news :D I'm doing a fairly sedate Camp NaNo too. It's nice getting words down, however many they are!

MarlynnOfMany
04-08-2016, 06:43 PM
Most of my sales are through Amazon, and it turns out that they report earnings on a bit of a delay. It was a couple months before I got my first paycheck. I'm still figuring out the exact details of how that works, but I don't expect a new sales boom to be immediately accessible. (Ha, sales boom. Sales pop? Sales squeaky-mallet-noise? No delusions here.)

And hooray for Camp NaNo at any pace! Progress is progress.

Now off to write about a training exercise that involves dangerous magic beasties. Excitement!

Tavia
04-08-2016, 06:59 PM
Most of my sales are through Amazon, and it turns out that they report earnings on a bit of a delay. It was a couple months before I got my first paycheck. I'm still figuring out the exact details of how that works, but I don't expect a new sales boom to be immediately accessible. (Ha, sales boom. Sales pop? Sales squeaky-mallet-noise? No delusions here.)

Huh. Does Bookbaby not tell you your sales immediately, then? I can see my Amazon sales and royalties update from hour to hour.

ASeiple
04-08-2016, 07:31 PM
Eh, Amazon KDP royalty payments arrive 2 months after the end of the month they're earned. So if you make money in March, it comes to you at the end of May.

Amazon Createspace payments arrive 1 month after the end of the month they're earned. So if you earn a profit there in January, it shows up at the end of February.

WriterBN
04-08-2016, 07:57 PM
Most of my sales are through Amazon, and it turns out that they report earnings on a bit of a delay. It was a couple months before I got my first paycheck. I'm still figuring out the exact details of how that works, but I don't expect a new sales boom to be immediately accessible. (Ha, sales boom. Sales pop? Sales squeaky-mallet-noise? No delusions here.)

The actual payments are delayed, but you can still track sales orders on the daily graphs and the month-to-date reports. They're not completely real-time, but they're as close as you can get, and better than the reporting on any of the other channels.

Tavia
04-08-2016, 08:28 PM
Eh, Amazon KDP royalty payments arrive 2 months after the end of the month they're earned. So if you make money in March, it comes to you at the end of May.

Well, I didn't get my January royalties until the end of March. But I knew what they were by Feb. 1! Which I think was what Marlynn was talking about -- not knowing whether her promo will have any impact until three months after the fact.

MarlynnOfMany
04-09-2016, 08:14 AM
*shrug* Maybe I just haven't sold enough to make it really obvious. Further study of my BookBaby account does show some recent sales. It's just not yet at a level where they'll send me a direct deposit. Here's hoping that changes soon!

(I will be monitoring the sales list, for science.)

Dhewco
04-09-2016, 03:55 PM
I didn't realize Amazon had a DD limit. I was under the impression that any sales were possible to be sent that way. I must have read it wrong. I know if you wanted a check by mail or some other transfer, it required a 100 in sales...but I thought for bank deposit it was possible to get my 20 or so in royalties sent. If I have to wait for a 100, I'm in trouble.

Polenth
04-09-2016, 05:33 PM
The confusion here is that BookBaby is the one who uploaded the book. Which means BookBaby is the one with access to the money and sales data. Amazon is still doing what they usually do, but Marlynn doesn't have direct access to that. It's the usual set of problems that come with having someone else upload the book.

MarlynnOfMany
04-09-2016, 07:19 PM
Polenth's got it. I get the money from ebooks downloaded directly from my website (https://store.bookbaby.com/book/sweeping-changes) right away, but anything via Amazon has a delay.

WriterBN
04-09-2016, 07:56 PM
The confusion here is that BookBaby is the one who uploaded the book. Which means BookBaby is the one with access to the money and sales data. Amazon is still doing what they usually do, but Marlynn doesn't have direct access to that. It's the usual set of problems that come with having someone else upload the book.

Ah, okay. I didn't see the whole BookBaby thing.

MarlynnOfMany
04-20-2016, 08:48 AM
Annnd the advertising begins!

They have already tweeted a link to my mini showcase here (http://www.fireandicebooktours.com/fantasy-feature-and-interview-sweeping-changes-by-mara-lynn-johnstone-marlynnofmany/), from what are either a couple different Twitter accounts run by the same people, or else other authors who've advertised with F&I are reblogging too. *shrug* Yay either way.

I might mention that in the time between when I set up the ad and now, I've been following F&I on Twitter and seeing the kind of things they tweet. I have noticed that these do appear to be largely ignored, despite the number of followers these folks have. Many posts have a single retweet, likely from the author being mentioned. Sigh. Not the rousing excitement that I was hoping for. Oh well.

Mayhaps it will do some good anyway. We will have to see!

Tavia
04-20-2016, 10:42 AM
Good luck! And your interview is delightful :)

MarlynnOfMany
04-20-2016, 06:31 PM
Yay, thank you!

MarlynnOfMany
04-21-2016, 08:56 AM
I've gotten some Twitter action today, though it's honestly hard to tell if any of the new followers are actual people instead of bots/puppets. Oh well, I'll take it either way!

And let it be noted that the F&I people happily fixed the problem of the missing indents when I asked (the excerpt on that feature page didn't do well in the copy & paste from my email). It now has proper internet line breaks, and is much more legible. Good good.

Catherine
04-24-2016, 04:36 PM
Hi! I checked out your written and video interview. The video was fantastic. Also, very instructive. Not sure if you've ever taught, but it seems you have a knack for it.

You have something very special. I'm looking forward to reading more of your story.

Echoverse
05-02-2016, 01:57 AM
Congratulations! Looking good. :)

MarlynnOfMany
05-05-2016, 07:11 PM
Thanks, you guys! I have actually done a bit of teaching, though I decided that doing homework for the rest of my life wasn't my dream. ;) I'd rather be writing for the rest of my life! (Maybe someday I can quit the day job, but we'll have to see.)

And in other news, one of my short stories has been selected for publication in an anthology -- still in the hush-hush early stages, but hooray! I shall share the good news properly when there's a Perhaps You'd Like To BUY ONE link.

It's a story about a main character from a sci-fi book that's been on the back burner for a while -- the full novel will feature alien poachers, a human veterinarian, and a vary large and miffed sign language gorilla. In space. It'll be fun when I eventually get it finished!

M. H. Lee
05-06-2016, 10:56 PM
Congrats on the short story sale!

MarlynnOfMany
06-07-2016, 09:18 AM
This is gonna be a busy summer! Aside from non-book-related things, I'll have two events almost back to back, and I'll need to pick two different segments of the book to read at them. (Preferably not the section I read in my TV interview. And they've got to be enticing, without giving too much away. Easy, right? :P )

The first event is the yearly Author Launch (https://www.facebook.com/events/172442333141993/) put on by the Redwood Writers, my local chapter of the California Writers' Club. It's a free event showcasing all of the new books put out by members during the last year. Well I've recently joined, and my book qualifies! This should be fun. We all get to read our snippets and sell our books -- I have a brand new Square Reader Thingamawhatsit for my smartphone, and I'll be ready for anything short of barter by goat.

This will be on Sunday, July 10th (in Santa Rosa CA). Two days later on Tuesday the 12th, I'll be reading at Copperfield's Hot Summer Nights (https://www.facebook.com/events/1714801355456244/?active_tab=posts). This is a smaller event, with just four authors reading each Tuesday, and it shall be fun in a different way. I'm looking forward to both readings!

I'll try to remember to get Author Selfies with some of the other writers, so we can team up to maximize our social media exposure. *cheesy grin* (Author Selfies are fun -- a great chance to network and help each other out.) I got this idea from the Bay Area Publisher's Association (http://www.baipa.org/), another great local group.

And on top of all that, people can now buy print books as well as ebooks directly from my publisher (https://store.bookbaby.com/book/sweeping-changes) which gives me much higher royalties than any other way! (Perfect for those of you fond of Sticking It To The Man.)

MarlynnOfMany
07-01-2016, 10:36 AM
Many months ago, I bought ad space on Goodreads. The money ran out just recently. Given that it was whittled away by 50 cents every time someone clicked on the image, and given that I put down 50 dollars to be whittled away, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that it lasted this long. But unfortunately I didn't see much of a dramatic spike in sales. Really, I'll have to analyze the list of books sold to see if it made any difference at all. I've made more of an impact buying from Amazon myself, to restock the books I sell in person at my day job. Oh well. Live and learn! It was worth trying.

And in unrelated news, I finally put together an Author Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMara). I was waffling over whether it was worth doing, and what the best approach was, but I realized that I'd like to be able to do professional networking on Facebook without strangers commenting on my baby pictures and family stuff. So, voila! I'm gonna fill it with updates and random art projects.

MarlynnOfMany
08-26-2016, 08:16 PM
Anyone heard of Imzy? The new social media site in beta testing, which promises to have distinct improvements over the big names? Like anti-trolling measures. And no algorithm garbage. And the ability to filter out topic you don't want to see, like politics.

I got an invite, and I just set up my little corner of writerly funtimes (https://www.imzy.com/mara_lynn_johnstone/request-invite)! Care to join me? I have invitations to spare!

MarlynnOfMany
09-12-2016, 07:19 PM
Hahaha, I just got my second royalties payment, and I think it's cuz I bought 3 copies of my own book off Amazon! (I was running low on copies to hand-sell at my day job.) Since there's a $50 minimum before BookBaby sends me my earnings, it sat there for a while at almost-enough-to-be-paid.

Either that or the ones that were sold ages ago finally made it through processing. It's hard to say; Amazon's kinda slow.

At any rate, yay! I gots money! And I am dutifully putting half of it away for taxes, like a responsible self-published author who heard that that's what you're supposed to do. Yes.

Whibs123
09-12-2016, 09:51 PM
What was it about Bookbaby that made you want to partner with them for your release?

MarlynnOfMany
09-13-2016, 10:28 AM
Mostly that they could do everything I was looking for in one place. Print, ebook, on Amazon but also through Ingram so bookstores will carry it, cover art, ISBNs etc. I was short on time (still am), and wasn't looking to do a half dozen different formats. It's worked out pretty well; it was a good choice for what I needed. (I understand it's less ideal for nonfiction that may need different editions, since it costs $$ to change more than simple typos, but I'm writing fiction that's Done When It's Printed, so all is well!)

Whibs123
09-13-2016, 08:21 PM
Mostly that they could do everything I was looking for in one place. Print, ebook, on Amazon but also through Ingram so bookstores will carry it, cover art, ISBNs etc. I was short on time (still am), and wasn't looking to do a half dozen different formats. It's worked out pretty well; it was a good choice for what I needed. (I understand it's less ideal for nonfiction that may need different editions, since it costs $$ to change more than simple typos, but I'm writing fiction that's Done When It's Printed, so all is well!)

Thanks for the information. I can understand that process, and wanting to farm it out a bit. You might run into a bit of a headache if you ever part ways wtih them, if you used their ISBN, but I sincerely hope everything works out for you.

p.s.w. gear
09-13-2016, 11:13 PM
Just wanted to hop in and say thanks for writing all of this. It's been good to read through your experiences - I especially love the bit about printing bookmarks. Totally never thought of it! Did you find that people enjoyed them?

MarlynnOfMany
09-14-2016, 09:06 AM
You might run into a bit of a headache if you ever part ways with them, if you used their ISBN

To my understanding, the ISBN is mine now, assigned to the book, not connected to them. There really don't seem to be many strings at all to keep me from doing later books with someone else (though I probably won't want to.) Thanks, though!


Just wanted to hop in and say thanks for writing all of this. It's been good to read through your experiences - I especially love the bit about printing bookmarks. Totally never thought of it! Did you find that people enjoyed them?

Thanks, I'm glad it's helpful/fun! The bookmarks have been great. People do think they're cool, and worth keeping -- these are business cards for the book that people want to hang onto! It's particularly handy at my day job, when people express passing interest in the book. ("Oh, you wrote a book; that's nice!" "Yeah, I had a lot of fun with it! Here, have a bookmark!") I'd definitely recommend it.

Whibs123
09-14-2016, 05:27 PM
To my understanding, the ISBN is mine now, assigned to the book, not connected to them. There really don't seem to be many strings at all to keep me from doing later books with someone else (though I probably won't want to.) Thanks, though!


No, unfortunately it's assigned to them (that's why your publisher is listed as 'bookbaby'). You can't take that ISBN, just like people who use createspace's ISBNs can't use them elsewhere either. But like you say, it might be a non issue if you're having a good experience with them, and they don't show any signs of closing shop anytime soon.

MarlynnOfMany
09-20-2016, 03:57 AM
*shrug* Oh well, maybe that will be relevant later, but things are fine now.

In other news, I finally posted the cell phone videos of the two public readings I did a while ago (one with Pretty Bad Quality, and the other with Actually Sorta Okay quality).

The first one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qEICPjOAKM) is from the Author Launch put on by the Redwood Writers. It's a scene from later in the book, with furbirds; it's hard to hear me.

The second (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee_d3vpbn0g) is from Hot Summer Nights put on by Copperfield's Books. It's a scene from early in the book, with eavesdropping and magic; better sound.

You'll have to tell me which scene is more interesting. (I'm partial to the first one, but you can't hear it well. Woe!)

MarlynnOfMany
10-04-2016, 07:57 PM
I got a short story in an anthology (https://www.amazon.com/Untold-Stories-Deep-Part-Well/dp/0997754400/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474861251&sr=1-1)!

It's titled "Cold Space," and it's on page 182. It's a fun bit of sci-fi.

And I tell you the page number because -- at least right now -- you can actually read the entire book via Amazon's "Look Inside" function. So, if you'd like a free sample before spending your hard-earned $10, check out page 182!

ASeiple
10-05-2016, 11:33 PM
Hey, awesome!

If it's okay to ask, where did you see the notice for the anthology? Did the publisher put out a call?

MarlynnOfMany
10-13-2016, 07:15 PM
The anthology was actually put together by the local branch of the California Writers Club, and they mentioned it in emails and meetings. Of the 300-plus members, we wound up with 81 entries that made it into the anthology -- short stories and some poems.

I'm always on the lookout for other things I can enter, though I don't have a system for finding them all. I did just hear about this one from a friend that I'm looking into: Farstrider Magazine (http://www.farstridermag.com/submit.html), and also this one: a 3-theme anthology Kickstarter (http://jpsorrow.livejournal.com/488157.html).

I may end up writing new things to submit, so even if I don't make the cut, I'll have fun new stories to show for it!

MarlynnOfMany
10-13-2016, 07:30 PM
And, following on the heels of that short story news, a different story won third place in a steampunk contest! :hooray:

This was also through the writing group, Redwood Writers. They even had a photographer on hand. Here's the steampunk-themed meeting when all the entries were due:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e148/Nziz/Pro/steampunk%20day.jpg

And here's when we got our awards:
http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e148/Nziz/Pro/Steampunk%20award.jpg

(I'm front and center in the first picture, back and center in the second.)

And, if anyone is curious about what sort of story would win such a thing, I just put it up on my website. (http://www.maralynnjohnstone.com/barefoot_in_the_sky)
("Do I want to read it?" you ask. Of course you do. It has a sky whales and robot named Tankerbelle.) :D

ASeiple
10-13-2016, 09:22 PM
Tankerbelle? Pfffft! Okay, you sold me with that name alone. Imma go check it out.

MarlynnOfMany
10-18-2016, 10:24 AM
Thanks, I hope you like it! :D

Today's momentous occasion is the stunning addition of an Amazon Author Page. (http://amazon.com/author/maralynnjohnstone) (Somehow I thought I'd already gotten that set up, but not so.)

The photos are the most fun part, I think. They range from Pro Photo Shoot to Maximum Geek. I think it's a decent summary of what I'm about!

p.s.w. gear
10-19-2016, 04:18 PM
Congratulations! Looking forward to reading :)

ASeiple
10-19-2016, 06:02 PM
Finally got around to reading it. Good story! You've got a knack for action. Now I'm more interested in that setting...

MarlynnOfMany
10-21-2016, 09:10 AM
Thanks, me too! I didn't plan on writing more, but it's awfully tempting...

AgathaChristieFan
10-23-2016, 08:10 AM
I really enjoyed your story and nice set-up with your Amazon author page. I clicked on your video but nothing happened besides a black screen. I don't know if that's an Amazon glitch or something wrong with my laptop...

MarlynnOfMany
10-29-2016, 09:03 AM
Thanks! I'm not sure what the glitch would be; it seems to work all right on my computer now. I guess they fixed it, or maybe it's a video player update issue. (I just updated my OS and had Funtime Adventures With Freezing. It's better now!)

MarlynnOfMany
11-21-2016, 08:33 PM
Interesting detail of the self-publishing process: if you make sure that your book has a proper ISBN and is orderable from Ingram so the bookstores can get it on their own terms (they can return what doesn't sell), then that might actually happen.

And you might order a few copies off Amazon so you have enough on hand for a reading, only to discover that they're copies you already signed. With bookmarks still in them and everything.

Sigh.

MarlynnOfMany
11-21-2016, 11:26 PM
Also, yayyy I'm a runner-up in the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition!

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e148/Nziz/Pro/runner%20up%20badge.jpg

ASeiple
11-21-2016, 11:53 PM
Whoa, nice!

Did you submit an entry to them, or did they contact you right out of the blue?

MarlynnOfMany
11-22-2016, 09:41 AM
I submitted the book. Totally worth doing. Hooray for shiny web badges! :D

Norman D Gutter
11-28-2016, 09:53 PM
Mara: Sounds like you're doing things right.

I hope you have many sales.

Best Regards,
NDG

MarlynnOfMany
04-18-2017, 01:19 AM
Things are going pretty well. Sales are poking along, as is the progress on the sequel. And oddly enough, I'm finding more opportunities to publish short stories now than ever before.

Most of this is through the local writer's club, though there are other potential things opening up just because I'm more Active In The Writing World nowadays.

I have one sci-fi short story in an anthology from last year, and it's looking like I'll have a fantasy-themed memoir piece in this year's. Also, the writing group (Redwood Writers, local branch of the California Writers' Club) has been running some very fun writing contests. I won third place in the steampunk one, and now first place in the fanfic contest -- which means that I'll be included in the anthology of contest-winning stories from the last ten years. Can't wait!

And in case you're curious, the fanfic was an alternate Harry Potter story where the main characters are out of the way and the bad guys are coming, and the only person left behind in the evacuated Hogwarts is the American exchange student Kevin McCallister. From "Home Alone." :D

ASeiple
04-18-2017, 09:29 PM
Okay, that sounds pretty glorious. Got a link?

MarlynnOfMany
04-19-2017, 09:43 AM
I posted it on Tumblr (http://marlynnofmany.tumblr.com/post/157475630101/writing-prompt-s-harry-hermione-and-ron-are). :D I would have liked to make it longer, but I was working with a wordcount limit. Lots of fun!

MarlynnOfMany
08-24-2017, 07:13 PM
Hi, all! It's been a busy few months. Now I finally have time to write again, after a long stint of unfortunate shifts at the day job!

The prize-winning fanfiction is now in a place of honor on my website (http://maralynnjohnstone.com/hogwarts_alone), and the three anthologies I have work in are linked to (http://maralynnjohnstone.com/books) as well. That includes:

http://www.maralynnjohnstone.com/img/untold_stories_sm.jpg
Untold Stories: From the Deep Part of the Well (https://www.amazon.com/Untold-Stories-Deep-Part-Well/dp/0997754400/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476334282&sr=1-1)

http://www.maralynnjohnstone.com/img/sonoma_sm.jpg
Sonoma: Stories of a region and its people (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997754427)

http://www.maralynnjohnstone.com/img/winners_sm.jpg
No Contest: A Decade of Contest-Winning Stories from Redwood Writers (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997754419)

I'm starting to feel kind of professional here! Now I just have to get the next novel published.

I've set aside work on the sequel for now, in favor of polishing up a science fiction manuscript that I wrote awhile back. This one I considered finished years ago, but couldn't get an agent for it. Now I see what could be better. I've gotten good feedback from other people, and I'm ready to make it shine like the robot main character who was too shiny for the TV cameras until they told him to tone it down a bit. It's a lot of fun.

And it looks like I didn't mention it before, but a prize for that fanfiction contest was half the entrance fees to a writer's conference (http://mcwc.org/), which was a BLAST. I met people, learned things, and got to pitch to agents! Their responses were very positive, and I have high hopes for my chances when this book is fully ready to submit. Fingers crossed! I'm editing as fast as I can, and I'll run it by a number of beta readers before I send it out. :D

MarlynnOfMany
05-23-2018, 08:28 PM
I now have poetry published in this anthology:
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/982/41402223365_318bc7c2a8_m.jpg

...which was going to be a run-of-the-mill collection before the California Firestorms wiped out a good chunk of the town. Now it's a Before and After arrangement, with my poems in the After section.

They are optimistic, because of course they are. Even with something this dark, I gravitate toward the light.

There will be another anthology with my work in it coming out soon, and that will be entirely different. A short story about the main character of that scifi book I'm working on.

Actually, now that I think about it, there are similarities. A dark moment during the robot civil rights movement, then something overwhelmingly bright.

The story's called Cursebot 9000. :)

MarlynnOfMany
09-13-2018, 07:15 PM
The newest anthology is live, with two short stories of mine! One is the promised "Cursebot 9000," backstory for Hubcap the robot. I can't wait for the book to be out as well, so I can point people to both and go "See, it all makes sense, doesn't it??" I'd also like to make some sort of animated video of it, but that won't be happening anytime soon. Some day.

The second story is "Pieces of Sky," a weirdly poetic thing about surviving a magical apocalypse. It exists because I took a poetry class once and wrote down phrases that I liked in the back of my notebook, then later made a story out of them. It is unlike anything else I've written in terms of writing style. But it's also very on-brand in terms of optimism!

Both can be found here (https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Stories-Edge-Redwood-Writers/dp/0997754435/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536849511&sr=8-1&keywords=Redemption%3A+Stories+from+the+Edge&dpID=51lIz2wIVlL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch):
https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1842/43748370185_a345e67030_m.jpg (https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Stories-Edge-Redwood-Writers/dp/0997754435/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536849511&sr=8-1&keywords=Redemption%3A+Stories+from+the+Edge&dpID=51lIz2wIVlL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch)