Posts Tagged With: Publishing

Self Publishing: First Book, First Week

First some housekeeping stuff.  I want to continue posting about how I’m doing with the book and what marketing I’m working on and all of that in service to someone else learning from my experiences, but I also realize that’s not why a lot of people follow this thing.  I’m going to be prefacing the headlines of these types of posts with Self Publishing: so you can ignore them if you’re not all about it.

That being said… here we go!  Week 1 of Blue Gentian was incredibly successful.  130 people downloaded the book for free.  It’s AMAZING that 130 people were interested enough in this thing to check it out. Thank you!

2 things I’ve learned over the last few weeks.

Thing 1: Several friends were asking me if they could actually PAY for the novel.  I wasn’t sure what to do about that, since I wanted to start running the book right out of the gate for free.  Does Amazon give pre-orderers the free price?  I didn’t know. So… it turns out that people who have pre-ordered the book pay for it, even if you run a free promotion on the day of the book’s release.  If you have people who actually want to pay, ask them to pre-order.  You can have your cake and eat it too!

Thing 2: I had originally planned to run a Kindle Free promotion, and then go for a Countdown Deal right after.  It turns out that Amazon won’t let you run those within the same KDP sign up time.  Every 90 days I can run either a Free promotion or a Countdown Deal promotion, but not both.  Boo.  But good to know for planning purposes.

Next we’re on to marketing:

Now that the book costs money, I’m wading into the area of Amazon Ads.  So far I only have Sponsored Product ads out there, and no Product Placement ads.  Product Placement got expensive, guys!  $100 is the minimum spend (yikes!). So, I’ll refine my copy on the cheap stuff and then worry about those costly ads when I have something I know probably works.

I know absolutely nothing about copywriting, and I think it shows… since the free promotion ended I have sold NO books.  I’m not terribly worried yet.  I’m playing the long game with this, not the short one.  I had also heard about this phenomenon.  Since Amazon separates out free from paid, you essentially start out at square one again when the free deal ends.  The internet warned me. But I am downloading copywriting books and faffing around with the copy on my ads now because things can always be improved.  I have five ads running right now, and they all have different descriptions enticing people to buy. We’ll see which ones actually do something.

Once I know I have copy that works, I’ll start faffing with Keywords.  That’s at least a month away, though.  I want to give the ads a chance to work if they’re going to.

Last is the bigger picture:

I’ve been thinking critically about how the book is presented and I realized today that I actually wouldn’t buy it if it came up in my feed as-is.  Everything looks great, but I always want a slew of reviews on my self-published titles to prove that they’re readable.  Right now, that’s the biggest thing I lack.  I’m discussing a possible blog tour because of it, though that’s also probably at least a month away.  I don’t want to be too annoying to my friends and family either, but I’ll also probably do a big social media request for reviews in about a month.  I’ll give everyone some time to read it first, though. And then after that, I’ll knock it off with the “please do this for me?” stuff so my friends don’t start to hate me.

What do I do while waiting for all the ads to aggregate and everything?  Work on my next book, of course!

Categories: Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fantasy Magazines

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This trying to be a writer stuff is so odd sometimes.  I go through cycles of things.  Like, the last month has been a month of rejection after rejection as all my stories came back with a “no, thank you.”  I like to think that I get better at handling this with time, but when they all pile up into a mass… And they inevitably all pile up that way, no matter how spaced out I send them.  I have packaged them all up again, given them a polish, and sent them back out.  Hopefully this time (my fingers are crossed) the news will be better.

Being a fantasy writer isn’t easy.  And it’s not just the writing part (although that’s some of it.  Writing is always hard).  It’s also the fact that a lot of journals don’t take fantasy or speculative things.  I have spent hours upon hours researching places to send my work to.  I thought it might be helpful to others if I threw down a master post of journals that take this sort of thing, so you can benefit from all the free time I seem to have.  Not all of them accept submissions all of the time, so you will still need to keep your ear to the ground.  The other thing I’ve found handy is this site: http://writingcareer.com/.  They have a Tumblr blog I can follow, and fancy reminders just show up in my feed.  They advertise for all genres, but they definitely cover fantasy too.

The list I put together is of stuff that looked good for my own writing.  I know there are other Canadian magazines and Aussie magazines out there (among others), but they don’t all want my American stuff.  Nor do places who print mostly horror. I also didn’t include any contests, no matter how prestigious, that required an entry fee.  Just say no, kids.  The chances of winning are so tiny; why pay for someone to reject your story when you can get that service absolutely free?

Now on to the list of Journals:

Paying Professional Rates:

Paying Well:

Paying Not a Lot:

Paying Nothing/Unknown:

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How It’s Going

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I haven’t talked about how the writing is going in a while.  That’s because it isn’t really going.  I mean, I shouldn’t say that.  It’s a different kind of “going” these days that feels less like writing and more like reading things and moving words around.  In short, I’m doing a bunch of editing.  All of it with Brian’s help, who is very awesome for going over my novel with me (it’s in much worse shape than I thought, but I don’t think the edits will be impossible).  Next stop Beta readers, maybe.

I set myself a few goals this year.  Goal #1 was to have a finished novel that’s ready to shop around.  Goal #2 was to get 5 short stories published, and one of those five paid for.  I’ll make #1, I think.  I’m on schedule to.  Brian and I will finish going over the novel sometime in June, and then I will have a full 6 months to do all the final edits and write the various synopsis that go with querying an agent.

But #2?  It just dawned on me that the year is almost ½ over and I don’t even have 5 stories written yet, let alone published.  And if everyone keeps things for 2+ months (which they do these days, mostly), then it is likely I won’t make it.  Yikes!  I’m whipping those six-in-six stories into shape as quickly as possible, and trying to write a few more as well.  The more I have circulating out there, the more likely I am to get things accepted.  That’s the theory anyway.  And only two of the six-in-six stories are something someone might be likely to buy, I think.

So I’m editing like crazy so I can start submitting like crazy.  The goal is to have 3 ready to submit this week, and then start writing again next week.  I’m making progress. Now we’ll just all have to cross our fingers that someone will give them a home.

Please?

In other news, Brian’s car is fixed!!!  It is running like a champ!!!  I have 2 hours of my day back and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!!  I like using exclamation points!!!

But seriously, it’s been nice to be able to have a little bit of time in the day, instead of always having to drag myself out the door, and then rush to the next thing, and then the next, until I finally get home (maybe) around 7:00 pm, after leaving at 6:20 in the morning.  And then there’s dinner to cook.

I do miss Brian, though, and it’s only been one day.  I’m hopeless.  I know.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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