Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Series of Posts Ahead - Making Enhanced E-Books

Now that I've finished with the Newbie Author post series, I'll be taking a short break. This just to organize my thoughts for my next set of posts that will look into the epub3 and enhanced ebooks formatting in more detail. I touched the surface of this formatting option a month ago (my Newbie Author Getting Started post 2) but I think it's time to take another look. So what I'm planning is a little experimentation, a little bit of creating an epub3 and other enhanced ebook formats (if it's even possible via open source software).

Where to begin? I'll start with taking a look at programs for the do it yourselfer with no experience. Yes that's me too. So really, this upcoming series of posts might be a little slow to get going - there's a lot to tackle. But I'm planning to start with the basics - making the audio, video, animation tracks that we just might want in our enhanced books. Where and how to do it for free. The tougher stuff -like pulling it all together and mastering HTML5 (really? mastering? hah- joking) will follow. So if anyone out there has an interest in making their own enhanced book - I hope you are interested in followig along here, and maybe sharing your own comments or experiments.

Starting next week, I'll try to ensure I update every week. Until then - good luck everyone and you might be interested in a very informative post on making enhanced ebooks as KF8 (Kindle format) and epub3 (website in a box) files. http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/kf8-epub3/  It's WGB (World's Greatest Book) -a blog by an author, designer and educator.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Indie Author Newbies Final: Promoting Your Book and Getting Discovered

Super short-ish post ahead! Why so short if this is one of the most important stages you ask? The answer is simple. I've only just arrived here myself after months of shopping around, testing the waters and procrastinating at all of the previous steps (newbie author insecurity can be such a handicap!).

Well, at least you're finally here. You're ready for oodles of information on promoting and getting discovered... but you aren't sure where to go first. In spite of all the great info to be had at these awesome resources (Novel Publicity, World Literary Cafe and the Indie Book Collective), I'm going basic. I'm just going to suggest that you start at the place you buy books (or are most influenced to buy books). If you're a new writer you are probably also a reader (or you should be). So where do you get the books you like to read? Where do you hear about them first? If it's on a famous best seller list (example NYT best sellers), you'll probably have to scale your sights down - at least for now.

Do you get book reading suggestions from your friends? From Goodreads or a similar book club group?
Then you should make yourself known at those places. Ask a friend to read your book, suggest it to other friends and list it at their book club. Make sure you're on Goodreads as an author and link your blog. Make lots of new friends.

Think about the bookstores you buy at - and how do you choose your books? If it's Amazon - you're in luck. Amazon is easy. You make your author page. When you buy books there - what sells them to you? Reviews? Price? Free? So make sure you get your book reviews posted there. Do you only buy cheap books?  Stick your book somewhere in that price range. Free books? If you're on the Kindle Select - you can make your book free for a while.

If you don't buy from Amazon - say it's Smashwords or Barnes and Noble - or other online e-book retailers - it's still the same thing. Get reviews of your books posted there.

Do you get books from the library? Offer them a copy of yours. If you've got your own ISBN and you formatted your own .epub or .mobi file -  it's far more likely your book will get accepted and then loaned out if you give it to the library for free. If you only went through something like Smashwords, B&N or Amazon - see if you can gift them a copy. There are rules to be followed for book donations and e-book lending is relatively new for libraries (not all are equipped for e-book lending but some are).  Libraries aren't all the same - you'll have to check out your own local library to see how it's done. Just make sure your e-book is filled is filled with links to your other books, your website, and all your other social platform author pages.

I've added very little information here. Like I said - it's just the basics. There's a lot more out there - and again - I strongly suggest the author support groups I've listed all along in these posts. They have tonnes of tips. The only thing I'm a little reluctant to push are all the social platform promotions suggested - the tweeting, the Facebook, the blogs. Do you really pick up the books you want to read there? Other than Karma building - I have to say honestly that those are not the places I look for books. Although the blog hops/tours and e-book love fests out there are great for promotion and getting discovered - but who wants to only give away books for free?

I'd really like to know what everyone out there thinks... so feel free to leave a comment. What do you think? Where do you buy your books?
(Oops this wasn't all that short-ish a post after all - sorry!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Indie Author Newbies Part 3: Reviews and What to Do With Your Novel

This is a really short post and it's mostly just links. This is because there are plenty of people out there already telling you how to get reviews. It's still a challenge and there are a couple of ways to go.

Say you did everything wrong from the start (just like I did). You wrote a book, did your edits and formatting on your own, asked people you knew for feedback but... Now you're stuck. You don't have a group of authors to help you with critiquing. You don't have enough objective eyes for your work and you're a bit too scared to approach a book blogger when you really don't feel that confident. Here are some options:

1) Join an author group now. The ones I've mentioned in earlier posts. See
WorldLiterary Cafe (Used to be WoMen's Literary Cafe)
Novel Publicity

If you're confident you're ready to get reviews - you can get started here -
Goodreads (join group discussion, many groups have a thread on reading and reviewing)
IBC Reviewers and Reviews only

2) Pay for a cheap review. Not really recommended, but still an option.

If you've already self published and really not confident, you can:
a) backtrack and unpublish your book, then republish when ready - after you've found the cheap reviewers and they've given you the dish (NOT recommended - it's a big pain).
b) leave your book published where it is (chances are no one will read it) and update it with a new edition when you've made all your necessary changes (after you've found your reviewers).
I suggest option b). That way you're giving a reviewer something that looks finished. Formatting problems can get discovered at this stage as well.

3) Go ahead and write the next book and build your review/critique group as you do it. Get your two books reviewed at the same time.
There are several author communities that allow you to build an author group. They're online writing sites where you post your writings and comment on other author writings. You will pick up a few readers here too. It's an interesting way to build a following and can help you when it comes to getting reviews later. You do have to reciprocate (it's Karma). Also - some of the sites will affect your publishing options when the time comes. So read the fine print. Here are some examples:
I'm adding Goodreads as well - loads of readers, places for writers to post their work (excerpts etc.)