Although there are exceptions to the rules, from reading as many KBoards threads as I can, there are some consistent things people who are selling well are saying over and over again. This is what I've learned and I'm sure there are exceptions but here's the list.
* Outline or don't outline (pantser or not), doesn't seem to matter, just write
* Write beginning of the day or end of the day, doesn't matter
* Pick a genre that sells but a story you're passionate about so you have the steam to finish what you start
* Consider using the Heinlein technique to write faster (Google it)
* Use the Pomodoro technique (aka write for 25 minutes, take a 5-10 minute break, then write for 25 minutes more, etc.) Free app here: http://www.focusboosterapp.com/
* Block all Internet or websites that distract you. Tons of free apps that can do this but the best way is to unplug the internet when you're writing.
* Write under a different pen name for each genre that you write so you don't confuse the reader
FAVORITE WRITER WEBSITES (BESIDES KBOARDS) (AKA MORE PROCRASTINATION TOOLS)
* Passive Voice (if you're going to choose one, this one consolidates all the best in one site) - thepassivevoice.com
* Dean Wesley Smith - http://www.deanwesleysmith.com
* Writer Unboxed - http://www.writerunboxed.com
* Hugh Howey - http://www.hughhowey.com
* JA Konrath - http://www.jakonrath.blogspot.com
* Seth Godin - http://www.sethgodin.typepad.com
* Gary Vaynerchuk - http://www.garyvaynerchuk.com
* Russell Blake - http://www.russellblake.com
* Beverley Kendall's Self Publishing Survey Results: http://theseasonforromance.com/wordpress/2014/01/the-self-publishing-survey-results-its-a-brave-new-world/
* Hugh's Author Earnings Website: http://authorearnings.com/
* Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast - http://rockingselfpublishing.com/
* The Self-Publishing Podcast - https://selfpublishingpodcast.com/
* Joanna Penn - http://www.thecreativepenn.com/
BOOKS PEOPLE RECOMMEND OVER AND OVER AGAIN:
* 2000 to 10,000: Writing faster: http://www.amazon.com/2k-10k-Writing-Faster-Better-ebook/dp/B009NKXAWS/
* Write, Publish Repeat: http://www.amazon.com/Publish-Repeat-No-Luck-Required-Self-Publishing-Success-ebook/dp/B00H26IFJS/
* Your First 1000 copies: http://www.amazon.com/Your-First-Copies-Step---Step-ebook/dp/B00DMIWAIC/
* Goodreads for Authors: http://www.amazon.com/Goodreads-For-Authors-Promote-Books-ebook/dp/B00BKE039I/
* How I Made Over $42,000: http://www.amazon.com/Made-Month-Selling-Kindle-eBooks-ebook/dp/B0080USSYW/
* How I Sold 1 Million Books: http://www.amazon.com/How-Sold-Million-eBooks-Months-ebook/dp/B0056BMK6K/
* Million Dollar Outlines: http://www.amazon.com/Million-Dollar-Outlines-Writing-ebook/dp/B00L7UT850/
* How to Sell Fiction on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Fiction-Kindle-Marketing-Amazons-Ecosystem-ebook/dp/B00BR6G3ZW/
* Let's get Digital http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Get-Digital-Self-Publish-Publishing-ebook/dp/B005DC68NI
* APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book - http://www.amazon.com/APE-Author-Publisher-Entrepreneur-How-Publish-ebook/dp/B00AGFU5VS
WRITING FOR THE MARKET
* Write in genres that sell (ie: scifi, paranormal, erotica, romance - and their subgenres)
* Great cover (not homemade - though I've seen some homemade-looking ones that sell well too)
* Great description
* Great first 5 pages
* Decent book (it's best to have an amazing book but even decent books in the right genre can sell)
* Expect to make sales in volume rather than hoping your book will be a breakout hit (in other words it's a numbers game)
* Write in a series (stand alone books don't sell as well as series)
* Make the first book perma-free
* Get your book at least copyedited (if not edited too) so there won't be complaints about the quality of the book
* You don't need a lot or really any reviews to sell decently and consistently
* Don't respond to bad reviews, instead consider contacting that person to ask them to beta-read your next book
* Write publish repeat
* Erotica audience is tolerant of shorter books sold at full price
* 99 cents may not always be the best price for your market
* You can be successful in non-popular genres, it just takes longer
* If you're going to do audio books use ACX.com and do the 50/50 split with the voice over artist so you don't have to spend any out of pocket money
* Perma-free may or may not give you the bounce back you want on sales. Don't expect it to. If you do it, do it for exposure, possible mailing list build ups, getting in the Also Read section, etc.
* Use Bookbub to promote the first perma-free book
and if you can't get into that, use BKnights on fiverr.com or any of the many other options
* A mailing list is essential to getting you at least that initial burst of sales that might help Amazon's algorithm's kick in (doesn't have to be huge list either)
* Writing the next book is always the best promotion because this gets you in Amazon's Hot New Books
* To Kindle Select or no Kindle Select? that is the question. Some love it, others hate it but if you have more than one book, it's worth a try. It can at least get you in the Also Read section
* Others say put the books on all platforms. Do it directly Kobo, BN, KDP, AllRomance, iBooks, Google Play <-- you can do those yourself but if you want them perma-free consider using Draft2Digital (seems to be preferred over Smashwords)
* add an excerpt of your next book at the end of the book
* add a link to your other books at the end of your book
* add a link to sign up for your mailing list
* Don't chase after literary agents. If you sell well enough, they'll come after you and so will the editors at major publishing houses. They are searching the Amazon bestsellers list every day looking for people. No need to look for them. And before you sign with them, do the math. Can you make more money if you continued on your own? Ask others who have crossed over what they think. Otherwise, continue indie publishing.
* Literary Agents may only good for selling ancillary rights, foreign rights and film rights. Otherwise, if you need someone to negotiate a deal, consider an entertainment or publishing attorney like PassiveVoice.com or Lloyd Jassin.
* The stigma against indie or "self-publishing" is 90% gone. There will always be the "elite" publishing snobs but most have faced reality. Fans don't care.
* Don't put too much front matter in your eBooks. It irritates potential Amazon Kindle readers.
* Save money on covers by getting pre-made covers.
* Save money on getting your books formatted by using fiverr.com or buy pre-made templates.
* Facebook, Twitter and all other social media is great for identifying potential readers, engaging with your fans but don't expect huge sales from them. Based on what I've read, they're not saying pull the plug on your social media, just use it when you need to.
* If you are going to use social media, don't just post or tweet when you want people to buy a book, talk about things THEY are interested in and respond to their comments and tweets
* Giveaways will build your mailing list but you don't know if they only want your giveaway item or because they love your books.
Well, the above is the compiled list. Can you think of anything else that people say pretty consistently? I'm sure there are exceptions to all these but these seem to be the general consensus.
These are my favorite threads on KDP:Serialized Romance
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,184087.0.html15,000 books in two months, 32,000 books first year. Advice for newbies!
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,189435.0.htmlA very quick, short, and dirty guide to slowly building sales http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,124433.0.htmlHow I write so many books: A system, some theories, and a few random thoughts.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,150274.0.html1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,162157.0.htmlBook Bombs, Release Days, & Other Good Free Marketing Tips Update
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,152565.0.htmlThe Fiverr Ad Experiment
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,185970.0.htmlMilestone: 2 Million Books Sold (now 5 million) & A Few Tips
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,160043.0.html50 Titles = 1,000 Sales...The DWS Wayhttp://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,121594.0.html54 Titles - My Results
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,136127.0.html[SM Reine's] How I Sold Lots of Books this Year (and had fun doing it)
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,171330.0.htmlLester Dent Master Plot Formula + Heinlein's Rules = Full Time Writer http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,168965.0.html[Hugh Howey's] The self-published authors I want to hear from
- Pretty much sold me on self publishing forever. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,134236.0.html Time Will Pass: Encouragement for our Lurkers and Noobies http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,177588.0.html[Rosalind James'] What Worked For Mehttp://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,182329.0.html[Viola Rivard's] 4 Months | 100,000 Sales | $50,000 | and Advice http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,187610.0.html
Also Results So Far / Advice for Aspiring Authorshttp://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,182600.0.html[Elle Casey's] 6-month perma-free sales results on YA Urban Fantasy series for those interested
- Elle Casey's analysis of the value of each permafree downloadhttp://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,164086.0.html[Edward W. Robertson's] 100,000 (Sales)http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,168959.0.html[Elle Casey's] My 2-year anniversary today. Some ramblings and Top 10 Tips. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,172980.0.html[Russell Blake's] Sell Loads of Books - My System Spelled Outhttp://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,150526.0.html**UPDATE***
* Tip courtesy of VydorScope
- Remember the 80/20 rule - spend 80 percent of your time WRITING, and 20 percent of your time doing all other activities. This also applies to your fans 20% of your fans are your super fans, engage with them the most. Those are the ones that will buy anything and everything you write, even if you wrote it on toilet paper. The other 80% will be happy with a monthly email or newsletter and they may or may not buy.
* Tip courtesy of ThePete
- FB is building relationships with the admins of pages/groups in your niche and crafting relevant postings that tie your book to the audience.
* Thanks for the "Kindle Select" / KDP correction Jan Strnad
Additional tips courtesy of:
* Thanks Dalia
* Rich Amooi
* Mark E. Cooper