View Full Version : Thinking About Jumping In

03-08-2019, 09:10 PM
Hey guys!

I've been trying to parse whether I should stick with trying the trade publishing route or if I should jump into indie publishing. I believe I could do a lot of stuff on my own. I have a great network of artists I can reach out to in making a very professional cover, I am part of communities that would support me financially. However, I have no social media at the current moment and I have little to no disposable income to pay for advertisements. I'm also not sure what to do in order to get my book out there if I were to go indie.

Do y'all have any suggestions on how I could educate myself (I've read a lot of threads on here) so I can make my decision?

03-08-2019, 10:06 PM
I'd go read threads on kboards. I rarely post there anymore--the terms of service from the new owners state that everything you post belongs to them. It's fine to ask questions and answer them. But I don't post book covers, blurbs, or anything else that I want to monetize in the future. Don't use an avatar if it's anything you want to use anywhere else.

Other than that, I posted a three-month study I did on using free promotion for free books; it's in the book promotion subforum on AW.

The only advertising that will net you full-price sales in any quantity are pay-per-click. Amazon is crowded, and bids for spots are high, but you can sell books full price there; Facebook has its own ins and outs that I don't fully understand, and BookBub ads work best with free or $.99.

I have David Gaughran's publishing books and I get his newsletter. I've found both valuable.

AW's MH Lee also has marketing books that I've found useful.

And Patty Jansen has a three-book series on self-publishing that I'd recommend.

ETA: IMO, you're going to have to find an advertising budget or get really good at social media fast. Both would be better. The days when you could put a book up and have it succeed just on cover and contents are over, barring a few outliers.

03-10-2019, 09:16 PM
+1 on Gaughran. the newest edition of Let's Get Digital is the best one-stop explanation of self publishing.

The most important things to remember are: don't expect anything great happening until you have at least a full series out, and ideally 6+ books. Don't get anxious about sales or advertising until you've hit that level of production. your time is always best spent writing more books.

Get pro proofreading and buy a good cover, at least at the level that goonwrite.com offers (his prices are reasonable and he runs sales often). Something I've seen 100 times here and 1000 times everywhere combined is someone has an amateur cover and is worried about running ads. Wrong order to address things! The cover IS the ad--as is your summary description of your books. So do that right. And then go write more books.

Good luck no matter which path you choose.

03-11-2019, 12:25 AM
Yeah, I have a lot of amazing artist connections that I intend to utilise. Thank you for the information!

03-11-2019, 02:59 PM
First I would educate yourself about book covers, then. All the great art in the world won't help if you don't understand what a cover is for. A cover needs to pull a viewer's eye and brand your book correctly.

I'm a decent painter. I painted the covers for Dragon Hoard, Stolen Legacy, and Twelve Tales (in sig). But I've also painted covers I really like and then had to consign them to the scrap heap. I painted a beautiful version where my hero, Bellerophon, is riding Pegasus up in the clouds. Lovely stuff with reflected light off the white horse and white clouds. Sheer joy from the rider.

And it branded my book as a MG girl's story. After months of dialing that piece in and getting it just right, I ended up going with the cover in my signature. A Shutterstock image was a better call than a painting I'd put my very best into. The pic (along with designer work on font) brands the book correctly.

Also, who's going to do your font work? Even though I'm an artist, I farmed out font from the very beginning. It's a whole area of expertise on its own.

A cover is the last thing I'd farm out to a random, talented artist. They need to understand cover design. I understood a lot of the principles, and I still got it wrong.

As always, YMMV.

03-11-2019, 05:53 PM
Agree! Cover is where I would invest any money I wanted to spend, long before I would put it on promo or ads.

03-11-2019, 07:14 PM
Oh! Thank you for the advice! I see what you're saying. I'll talk to the person I'm going to pay and come up with a good plan...

I'm actually a trained graphic designer with a lot of experience with typography so I'll be doing that part.

03-11-2019, 09:29 PM
If you're looking for affordable cover artists who do great work, I can't say enough good things about Deranged Doctor Design. They've done all my covers, and I'm very happy with their work. They do get a lot of requests, though, so you have to schedule things ahead of time.

As for ads, you don't have to spend big money on them. I set mine at $3.00 a day on Amazon, and I rarely hit that mark. I would also recommend getting more books out before you worry too much about ads.

On the social media front, you don't have to go crazy. Just get involved in a few communities related to your genre and spend most of your time interacting, not spamming.

03-12-2019, 04:16 AM
If you're a graphic artist, I'm going to advise practicing on your website first. Your words are fine, but they need images, banners, variations in font--all this stuff makes posts way more interesting. The single drop cap isn't getting it done, IMO.

Your sig says you're into dark fantasy, so I'm going to send you first to Derek Murphy's site: https://www.creativindie.com/.

Then I'm going to send you to Amazon. Lucky you--dark fantasy isn't a garbage dump for everyone trying to score a cheap #1 rating like fairy tales. (Fairy tale comps are practically worthless on Amazon anymore.) But dark fantasy is big enough that you should do fine.

I'd study the book covers and go to the sites of the top-rated authors and see what they do with their banners and such. Consider getting a feel for site graphics before you venture into covers, which are extremely unforgiving.

Then take your snazzy new banner and open a Facebook author page. (You'll also have to open a Facebook profile, but you can ignore that all you want.) Every time your blog posts, your Facebook page will, too, if you set up if this-then that protocols. (You can always do it manually, too, but WordPress supports automatic posting.)

If you need help with this stuff, I've got a lot of basic social media how-to posts on my blog under the Promotion tab. :)

03-12-2019, 05:20 AM
Oh sweet! Thank you for all the advice! I'm not planning to launch my first book for a month or six yet. Still a month out from getting the cover art done and beyond that I know I need to network a ton more with other authors, have an actual author photo, etc.