Author Topic: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?  (Read 3088 times)  

Online CloudStrife

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Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« on: April 06, 2018, 02:14:25 AM »
Conventional wisdom says not to do X, but you're doing it, and it's going well. What is X for you?

Conventional wisdom says to do Y, but you're not doing it, and it's going well. What is Y for you?

I'm interested in hearing about off-beat paths that are working well for you.

Offline Kathy Dee

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 05:30:27 AM »
I'll start you off.

I am not doing the usual stuff at all. I do my own editing, my own covers and I do not do any marketing at all. See this thread for more details if you want  ...

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,260393.msg3626298.html

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 06:08:22 AM »
I blog chapters. All of them. Readers still buy the books.


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Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 06:25:38 AM »
I write in a niche genre, and it's hard to find readers. So, I constantly reinvent the books, refreshing the covers, blurbs, etc. Contents stay the same because I'm really happy with what I write. Once people get into the series the reviews are very positive.

My latest cunning plan is to focus on the robots in my novels, hence today's cover refresh. (I've only done the first four so far.)

So, pushing along, hoping that one day the people who would love the books will be able to find them.


Sierra Bravo all but done. Robot vs Dragons is next!

Offline AlexisR

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2018, 07:26:07 AM »
Yes, but in my case it's a mix of using good judgment and listening to smart people who tell you what really works.

Advice I follow: I write to market. I found niches that I enjoy writing in where readers appreciate the stories I want to tell. I write fast and release often. I put about 10% of my revenue back into advertising.

Advice I don't: I do my own covers and editing (some books get edited, some don't, and I self-edit as I go), mostly ignore social media completely, and don't talk to my readers much at all with my newsletters (I basically just say, "Here's a new book.")

Went full time in December, easily now providing more than my half of household expenses.

(Any of you who know who I am from certain other forums and/or IRL, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your guidance and encouragement. I would not be here if not for your lessons and examples.)

Offline solo

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 07:28:28 AM »
I blog chapters. All of them. Readers still buy the books.

Me, too.  ;D

I started off by writing for free and I don't think I'm going to stop doing that. And I don't do BookBub. Too expensive for me.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 07:36:02 AM by solo »

Offline CLStone

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 07:30:18 AM »
I created a niche that didn't exist before in the romance genre, at least not to my knowledge. Gave it a name. Pretty popular now, from what I hear.

New covers and second book release: Coming soon!
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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 09:03:50 AM »
I self-edit, do almost my own covers, write what I feel like when I feel like, write under multiple names, price most everything at $4.99, etc., etc. etc. It's not the easy way to a steady income, but I've slowly earned more over time and last month was around $4K gross with no promos other than AMS and no releases since December. About half of that was in paperback, which is also not the norm. Of course, if I were doing all the things folks say to do maybe I'd be at two to three times that, but the way I do things is the way that allows me to keep moving forward and I've accepted it may make it a slower path than others have taken.


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Offline AlexisR

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 09:48:24 AM »
Of course, if I were doing all the things folks say to do maybe I'd be at two to three times that, but the way I do things is the way that allows me to keep moving forward and I've accepted it may make it a slower path than others have taken.

This was such an important lesson for me, too. It took years of trial and error and learning to get to a point where I started finding something that worked for me, and it was specific to my working preferences. It's a different path than lots of my friends have taken with their writing, and that's okay. It's what I needed to keep going and trying. I'm right at about the same place that Cassie is, and I have a similar style of working. YMMV.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2018, 10:29:37 AM »
"Going well" is a relative term.

I think, with every book, I'm becoming a better writer - so that's going really really well. And while I want readers and everything that goes with them, I'm not all that interested in becoming an internet-entrepreneur. I've never measured my success, or anyone else's for that matter, by income (regardless of industry). To me, this is about the Art, not the selling - although, I know that for many, the writing is completely incidental, and it's all about the revenue. And that's cool, too; it's just a different goal and therefore, a different process.

Also - what conventional wisdom?   :)

Online C. Gockel

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2018, 10:51:32 AM »
I don't write to market and I don't release often. My fantasy is all third person present tense, too. I write short stories fairly often (that is becoming more and more a no-no as multi-author short story anthos earn less and less.)

I do advertise a lot.

My income has grown consistently year over year. This year I expect it will take a hit--maybe in the range of $36,000 less than last year--but I have been socking away everything I make above what I need, and I should be able to weather it fairly well. (I made a blunder, a big one, but it should be okay by 2020. I had hoped 2019 would be my "good" year. Oh, well.)


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Offline DrewMcGunn

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2018, 11:09:33 AM »
I write in a small niche of SciFi - Alternate History. It's a very unforgiving genre. hardcore readers know their history and if you're going to flip the script, you need to know what it is you're changing. I envy folks who can write thousands of words in a single setting. I find that I can't write more than a few paragraphs before having to research some aspect so that I get it right for the dedicated reader.

I started writing around a year ago and published my first book less than 5 months ago, so I don't know exactly how I'm ultimately going to define success, but I have enjoyed both the positive feedback my readers have provided as well as the increased income my writing has provided. But more than that, I get to take my inner "Walter Mitty" out for a drive regularly.

I understand that past performance is no promise of future returns and that YMMV, but if things continue as they have over that past year, within another few years, it may be that I may earn enough to do this full-time. All from a small sub-genre of Scifi.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2018, 01:06:32 PM »
I'm incredibly not good at self-publishing. I'm doing well at doing badly.  8)

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2018, 04:34:48 PM »
I started out writing to market and failed completely. I then "de-to-marketed" my first three novels, which involved massive rewrites and new covers, launched a fourth title written for my enjoyment, and things started taking off. In other words, the genres weren't for me. I was foolish to attempt writing genre fiction as I don't read it or enjoy it.

So now my books don't follow any rules. Plots are not heavy. There's very little conflict (breaking a big rule there). Stories are basically about smart couples dealing with the various delicate trials of coupledom.

There isn't a big market for it, but it's big enough to support my habit -- writing what I want.

I don't use ARCs or paid newsletter promotions. I have one tiny mailing list of 60 organic subscribers, and another bursting with Instafreebie subscriptions. The jury is still out on their worth. I do use AMS and have for six months, and understand it less now than I did at the beginning.

I do my own covers, which I view as fun projects. This isn't to say they're great covers. I also do my own editing but plan to run each book through professional editors once (or if ever) I'm clearing $4000 a month (I wanted to determine if there was an audience for my books before making big investments).

I release new titles every seven to eight weeks, though it'll be ten weeks with the next one (I'm flexible). They're on the short side (45-50K).


Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2018, 05:21:37 PM »
"off-beat path" and "going well" are all relative concepts and doing well needs to be quantified to be of any use.

As far as I can see, *everyone* here will do at least one or two things that could be considered off-beat by some other person's standards.

What is off-beat anyway? And who decides what is on-beat? I suspect you won't find any uniform answer to this.

There are things you can do, like writing three books in a series and then releasing them in Select, that have a proven higher chance of doing well. However, I'm not in Select and I can't write that many books at once. Maybe I could, but I wouldn't be enjoying myself, and I've already ditched one job that I hated, I don't need another one.

"People say" you have to advertise, and I don't. I prefer to funnel everything through my newsletter and website so that I can direct people to various retailer sites. I figure this is cheaper than advertising Amazon links, Kobo links, Apple links etc etc all separately.

"People say" you have to have an active Facebook page or a Facebook reader group, and I don't. I have a page, but I use my Facebook account mostly to talk about politics and to hang out in closed groups. I don't particularly like Facebook. And no, I'm not going to stop talking about politics so I don't accept a lot of friend requests from authors or readers.

I think that when you make a choice that runs against what other people have shown to be successful, this needs to be offset by something else you're doing well.

It may be that publishing a lot, having awesome covers and grippy books is all you need. I still suspect that if your books are selling well by themselves, they'll sell better if you occasionally do some of the things that successful self-publishers do.

I'd also be careful that by declaring yourself to be anti-indie-establishment-canon (an entity which imo doesn't exist for self-publishing as a whole, although it certainly exists in subgroups), you are not using your anti-statements as a way to shoot yourself in the foot. If there is something "everyone" is doing and you can bring yourself to have a go, try it just to see if it works. On the other side of the coin, if you have an idea and it doesn't take too much out of you in terms of time and money, and it's not something you can see people doing, no one is going to stop you. Only you can do the sums and decide if it's worth your time. But do the sums, and wield the machete if needed.

Having been through this whole rigmarole, I suspect that as an author's earnings go up, their activities will increasingly resemble a subset of the stuff done by bestsellers and some of the more esoteric activities will fall by the wayside. I've just dropped hand-selling my books at cons. Although it's fun, it takes too much time, and costs too much money, for not enough return.

To quantify my statements, in the last three months--which have been comparatively [crappy] as I've been away, been sick and sales have just been bleh--I've cleared just short of 7k per month. The stuff I do now is very different from the stuff I did--and could afford to do, time-wise--when I was selling less than 100 books per month.

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2018, 06:10:21 PM »
With pricing all books at $9.99 in all stores, my partner spent $8 on advertising and made $25. Sounds good to me.


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Offline Will Kurth

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 06:46:33 PM »
Interesting question, what is off-beat?

I write, I ski I repeat, so yes in that way Im doing well. Ive self published 4 professionally edited books that have sold enough to pay for themselves and number 5 & 6 are under development. Any sales for the first four from here out is pure profit, walking around money if you will.

Maybe some day the series will take off and Ill have a tax problem and maybe someday I will start a mailing list and do marketing. I dont have a business plan because, for me its not a business. Its a passion, an interest and something I love to do!

So yeah, Things are going  well:).

Offline Adam Croft

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 11:51:22 PM »
I specialise in off-beat paths.

I listened to conventional wisdom for years, then ignored it to leave my series and write a standalone. That went quite well (read: mortgage balance covered inside 12 weeks).

I still do Facebook Ads when so many people consider them to be dead. I spend around $1500 a day on them and make double that in sales off the back of them.

When the industry had gone cold on BookBub Ads due to its Amazon obsession I found a way to make very healthy sales on the other vendors using BookBub Ads, which has given me a strong platform on some otherwise very small vendors. For example, last month (March 2018) I made three times my wife's old teaching salary on NOOK alone.

The beaten path is often exactly that: beaten. It's clogged and you'll struggle to be heard. The people on that path will often tell you it's the only path to be on, but I can tell you from experience the other paths are pretty damn decent, too. To the tune of about $100k a month in my experience.

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 11:55:27 PM »
I specialise in off-beat paths.

I listened to conventional wisdom for years, then ignored it to leave my series and write a standalone. That went quite well (read: mortgage balance covered inside 12 weeks).

I still do Facebook Ads when so many people consider them to be dead. I spend around $1500 a day on them and make double that in sales off the back of them.

When the industry had gone cold on BookBub Ads due to its Amazon obsession I found a way to make very healthy sales on the other vendors using BookBub Ads, which has given me a strong platform on some otherwise very small vendors. For example, last month (March 2018) I made three times my wife's old teaching salary on NOOK alone.

The beaten path is often exactly that: beaten. It's clogged and you'll struggle to be heard. The people on that path will often tell you it's the only path to be on, but I can tell you from experience the other paths are pretty damn decent, too. To the tune of about $100k a month in my experience.

Wait, Adam, Bookbub ads are *on* the beaten path again, thanks to you LOL.

Agree about Facebook and apparently using FB ads for leads is out, too. Seems to be working fine for me.

Offline Adam Croft

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2018, 12:29:53 AM »
Wait, Adam, Bookbub ads are *on* the beaten path again, thanks to you LOL.

What can I say? I'm a trendsetter  ;D

Agree about Facebook and apparently using FB ads for leads is out, too. Seems to be working fine for me.

Me too. I'm getting mailing list signups at 4/5p a piece (5.7 - 7 cents).

Offline RightHoJeeves

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2018, 12:34:47 AM »
I specialise in off-beat paths.

I listened to conventional wisdom for years, then ignored it to leave my series and write a standalone. That went quite well (read: mortgage balance covered inside 12 weeks).

I still do Facebook Ads when so many people consider them to be dead. I spend around $1500 a day on them and make double that in sales off the back of them.

When the industry had gone cold on BookBub Ads due to its Amazon obsession I found a way to make very healthy sales on the other vendors using BookBub Ads, which has given me a strong platform on some otherwise very small vendors. For example, last month (March 2018) I made three times my wife's old teaching salary on NOOK alone.

The beaten path is often exactly that: beaten. It's clogged and you'll struggle to be heard. The people on that path will often tell you it's the only path to be on, but I can tell you from experience the other paths are pretty damn decent, too. To the tune of about $100k a month in my experience.

Not to come across as an embarrassing fanboy... but your career has been very clearly helped by your ability to write f*cking awesome books, too.

James Lawson

Offline Adam Croft

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2018, 12:35:38 AM »
Not to come across as an embarrassing fanboy... but your career has been very clearly helped by your ability to write f*cking awesome books, too.

Haha, thank you :)

Offline Kathy Dee

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2018, 01:54:35 AM »
I blog chapters. All of them. Readers still buy the books.

Interesting idea. Thanks, I'll think about that.

Offline Jessie G. Talbot

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2018, 07:10:22 AM »
Conventional wisdom says not to do X, but you're doing it, and it's going well. What is X for you?

Conventional wisdom says to do Y, but you're not doing it, and it's going well. What is Y for you?

I'm interested in hearing about off-beat paths that are working well for you.

What benefited me the most on my self-publishing journey was learning how to do as much as I could myself for FREE. I write in Open Office, I format my .docs, I use beta-readers exclusively, I self-edit, and I usually make my own covers. That's a priceless technical education.

Is it going well? No! I fell on my face in terms of genre and branding because I didn't do my research BUT knowing what I know now I can start fresh. Onward, ever onward.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2018, 08:06:20 AM »
I've been focusing on a pen name that does a variety of gay erotica niches, and the scenarios that have taken off are precisely the ones that everyone says don't sell under any circumstances.
All that you would, you are

And that is the crown of a craving.

You are slaves of the wormwood star.     

Analysed, reason is raving.
       Feeling, examined, is pain.

What heaven were to hope for a doubt of it!

Life is anguish, insane

And death is - not a way out of it!

Offline Amanda Abram

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2018, 08:23:12 AM »
I self-edited my first book (which didn't go so well) and had my boyfriend help me edit my second book. I make all my covers myself (probably evident). I don't do any marketing or promoting because I'm too cheap to, and also because I don't even know how to go about doing it. I have a paltry amount of followers on Facebook and Twitter and have no newsletter or website. However, despite all that, my first book became a best seller in one of its categories and earned me enough money to make me feel comfortable quitting my cushy job to write full-time (not saying it wasn't a foolish decision, but I HATED my job with every fiber of my being). I released my second book at the end of January and in only about two and a half months, it has done as well or better than my first book did in eleven months, had become a number 1 best seller in all of its categories, and made it as high as the 200s for overall Kindle store ranking. All without doing anything.

But I feel like I just got lucky two times, and the third time I will probably fall flat on my face and the streak will be over. I'm sure I can't go on forever without putting any effort into it!

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2018, 10:40:12 AM »
I self-edited my first book (which didn't go so well) and had my boyfriend help me edit my second book. I make all my covers myself (probably evident). I don't do any marketing or promoting because I'm too cheap to, and also because I don't even know how to go about doing it. I have a paltry amount of followers on Facebook and Twitter and have no newsletter or website. However, despite all that, my first book became a best seller in one of its categories and earned me enough money to make me feel comfortable quitting my cushy job to write full-time (not saying it wasn't a foolish decision, but I HATED my job with every fiber of my being). I released my second book at the end of January and in only about two and a half months, it has done as well or better than my first book did in eleven months, had become a number 1 best seller in all of its categories, and made it as high as the 200s for overall Kindle store ranking. All without doing anything.

But I feel like I just got lucky two times, and the third time I will probably fall flat on my face and the streak will be over. I'm sure I can't go on forever without putting any effort into it!
Well, shoot. Looks like you wrote 2 awesome books! Congratulations on your amazing start!

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2018, 11:03:12 AM »
I self-edited my first book (which didn't go so well) and had my boyfriend help me edit my second book. I make all my covers myself (probably evident). I don't do any marketing or promoting because I'm too cheap to, and also because I don't even know how to go about doing it. I have a paltry amount of followers on Facebook and Twitter and have no newsletter or website. However, despite all that, my first book became a best seller in one of its categories and earned me enough money to make me feel comfortable quitting my cushy job to write full-time (not saying it wasn't a foolish decision, but I HATED my job with every fiber of my being). I released my second book at the end of January and in only about two and a half months, it has done as well or better than my first book did in eleven months, had become a number 1 best seller in all of its categories, and made it as high as the 200s for overall Kindle store ranking. All without doing anything.

But I feel like I just got lucky two times, and the third time I will probably fall flat on my face and the streak will be over. I'm sure I can't go on forever without putting any effort into it!

I just took a look at one of your books, and I don't think you got lucky, except for the part where readers discovered your book. I think you wrote things that have an audience and somehow your books found that audience. Awesome!

I wish this would happen for me too! Congrats!


Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2018, 07:02:13 AM »
I don't write to market and I don't release often. My fantasy is all third person present tense, too. I write short stories fairly often (that is becoming more and more a no-no as multi-author short story anthos earn less and less.)

I do advertise a lot.

My income has grown consistently year over year. This year I expect it will take a hit--maybe in the range of $36,000 less than last year--but I have been socking away everything I make above what I need, and I should be able to weather it fairly well. (I made a blunder, a big one, but it should be okay by 2020. I had hoped 2019 would be my "good" year. Oh, well.)

I'm sorry to hear this :( It must have been a big deal if it's going to throw you off track until 2020! Here's to hoping you can turn it around sooner than that!

Melanie Cellier | Website | Facebook

Online Jena H

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2018, 08:45:08 AM »
I'm incredibly not good at self-publishing. I'm doing well at doing badly.  8)

Me too.  I'm writing the best books that very few people are reading.   8)

I break all the rules and pay all the price of it.  Huzzah!! 
Jena

Offline AliceS

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2018, 09:01:13 AM »
If a dribble of income is well, then I'm there. I sell one series pretty consistently and a few of my other series whenever I do a promo. Since I genre hopped, it's been slow. I've accepted that it'll be a slow climb for me. I do what I can and like to do. I've got some very dedicated readers and great reviews on the books that have reviews.

The series that sells took off when I did book 3. I will be adding a third book to each of my stalled series this year. Hopefully that will kickstart them. If not, I have plans to make the 3rd book a possible capper to conclude each as a trilogy. If any of them sell, I can start another trilogy. I just don't feel like I can abandon any of them at two books in.


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Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2018, 09:17:33 AM »
I blog chapters. All of them. Readers still buy the books.

I started doing that this week. I had my readers vote on which book. I already had the first five up, so this Friday I posted Chapter 6. Boom, a sale. There might be something to this.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2018, 10:47:58 AM »
Hmm, so I self-pubbed my first book, Outland back at the beginning of 2015. It did ok, earned me coffee money every month. But I classify marketing at the same level as a root canal, so that was never going to happen.

With my second book, We are Legion, I got an agent. However, my agent wasn't able to get a big 5 publisher. He did however get a contract with Audible.com . So Legion was published on Audible as an Audible original, and on Amazon under my agent's imprint. I don't know if this counts as indie, trade-pubbed, or hybrid (I suspect the last one).

Anyway, this has worked out well. Because I'm not trade-pubbed, I get royalties direct from audible and amazon, rather that the relatively smaller percentage that a trade publisher gives you. And because I have an agent, I get access to things like foreign-publishing deals that I would never be able to engineer on my own.

I'm fully aware that going through a trade publisher would garner me a lot more visibility. OTOH, I'm making a lot more money this way. All things considered, I prefer the money.


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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2018, 11:57:34 AM »
Blogging chapters just works for many reasons. It's something I have to do anyway (it's writing I have to do to make the book so little additional work to create). It sends the message to my readers that I am still working so it's an "update" they want to see even if they abstain from reading piecemeal. It energizes my fans with continual contact. It is a super easy thing to promote with a boosted post or Google ads. It has no big time ask, time is most valuable. In a flood of free books for mailing list signups the problem is the "ask" is not let me contact you about my writing it's take this thing that has little to no intrinsic value to you before (it wasn't desired pre-offer) and comes with a time cost of hours. Approach someone on the street with "hey like historical fiction? Want to read a free chapter no strings attached?" Vs "hey like historical fiction? Give me your email address and I'll give you a free book." Which offer is more desirable from a time perspective? The first if they don't like me can walk away, they read 4 postings and like it, then they have to register aka give me their email address to get more. But by then I've built up value to them, they want to keep reading.

There is a risk of plaigarism, but in 4 years I've not had any issues. And it's far more convenient to steal from a full ebook boughtbin a store than copy and paste chapter by chapter rough final copy and strip out all the coding....


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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2018, 02:45:19 PM »
Blogging chapters just works for many reasons. It's something I have to do anyway (it's writing I have to do to make the book so little additional work to create). It sends the message to my readers that I am still working so it's an "update" they want to see even if they abstain from reading piecemeal.

It must take a tremendous amount of confidence to do this. Have you not had to go back and change something later? I've cut entire chapters in the editing process, so I can't see myself publishing them as I go.  :o


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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2018, 04:37:44 PM »
It must take a tremendous amount of confidence to do this. Have you not had to go back and change something later? I've cut entire chapters in the editing process, so I can't see myself publishing them as I go.  :o
I do this too and the short answer is no, there's nothing to be afraid of. Changes occur so what is blogged is not necessarily the final product.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2018, 05:06:32 PM »
Yep, I do outline, but I often deviate, and a few times I've taken down chapters, swapped them out. Readers still love that. They're not afraid of seeing the process and feel like a part of the team for the creation of the book. Mine leave me comments and are like "NEED MORE!" or whatever. Sometimes I get "oh I don't like THIS" and it's funny because I know where it's going next, and then they're happy. So it's like writing live, and really an immersive experience as a writer because you get their reactions as they're reading! I've learned a lot from my readers doing this, I think it's made my writing stronger.

It's not for everyone. I would never say everyone SHOULD do this or HAS to do this, but serialized fiction has a very long tradition and following, and having to write in a such a way that readers are chomping for the next chapter, when the whole book is put together, you've produced a book that has a natural "I have to know what happens next" built into it.


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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2018, 07:08:55 PM »
I don't know where to start.

I'm pretty sure everything I've done has gone against conventional wisdom, from buying ISBNs to writing in omniscient. I dropped a bundle to produce my debut at a level commensurate with a release by a Big Five publisher (editing, cover, typesetting, multiple proofreads, hardcover version, IS instead of CS); I set up my website as my hub and I point all my promo to it instead of to Amazon; I use a publicist and avoid noncurated promo; I started my own publishing company, with a business license and a line of credit; I aggressively pursued paper and ink wholesale distribution; and basically, I attacked this as if my book was a new widget or app--branding, SEO, marketing, website, artwork, and even bringing in a business development consultant--instead of promoting it like every other book on Amazon.

I have one novel out, released 18 months ago. It's selling better than it did during the first six months. I'm about to hit ten thousand retail copies sold, not including wholesale. I've received mainstream critical acclaim and had a couple of nibbles on film rights. The sequel drops in September. (Edit: I'm two years between releases, so add that to the list, too, I guess.)

I feel things are going pretty well, touch wood. I haven't quit my day job, but it was a hell of a year.
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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2018, 09:06:12 AM »
It must take a tremendous amount of confidence to do this. Have you not had to go back and change something later? I've cut entire chapters in the editing process, so I can't see myself publishing them as I go.  :o

I blogged my debut novel way before I published it, as I wrote it. It was super raw, but readers understood that there would be changes when I published it. And people still bought it.

Right now I'm blogging a book that's already available. I'm interested to see how blogging another WIP would go.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2018, 09:15:02 AM »
Blogging chapters just works for many reasons. It's something I have to do anyway (it's writing I have to do to make the book so little additional work to create). It sends the message to my readers that I am still working so it's an "update" they want to see even if they abstain from reading piecemeal. It energizes my fans with continual contact. It is a super easy thing to promote with a boosted post or Google ads. It has no big time ask, time is most valuable. In a flood of free books for mailing list signups the problem is the "ask" is not let me contact you about my writing it's take this thing that has little to no intrinsic value to you before (it wasn't desired pre-offer) and comes with a time cost of hours. Approach someone on the street with "hey like historical fiction? Want to read a free chapter no strings attached?" Vs "hey like historical fiction? Give me your email address and I'll give you a free book." Which offer is more desirable from a time perspective? The first if they don't like me can walk away, they read 4 postings and like it, then they have to register aka give me their email address to get more. But by then I've built up value to them, they want to keep reading.

There is a risk of plaigarism, but in 4 years I've not had any issues. And it's far more convenient to steal from a full ebook boughtbin a store than copy and paste chapter by chapter rough final copy and strip out all the coding....

What do you use to limit them to so many free chapters before they have to sign up?

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2018, 11:23:16 AM »
What do you use to limit them to so many free chapters before they have to sign up?

I use a very simple free plugin on wordpress called Simple WP Membership. Past the 4th posting, they have to join the site to have access to the rest. It's been pretty effortless. I've only had a few people need technical support. I launched the ability (I had a different solution and site back in 2014-2016 that I lost and that's a long story) in September. 9/24/2017 is when the first reader joined and I have 590 members.

Every time I post a chapter, it emails them. So it's also a built in contact system.

The way I design chapters is
Banner telling them what they're reading
Short Author Note
Chapter 1
Ad (I do a mixture of ads for me like Join my mailing list, or join the facebook group, or Adsense ads which make me money, not much money, but it's a trickle)
Chapter 2
Ad (Most recent release call to action or book, blurb, buttons to buy)
Chapter 3
Ad
You've been reading Title
Cover, blurb,
Available at these fine retailers + X more genre books (social proof, readers love discovering authors with catalogs to keep them busy)
Buy buttons
Comments

I decided on forcing a signup after the 4th post in a story because when I looked at my Google Analytics, by the 4th chapter most readers had dropped off to click a link taking them off the site, dropped off, and only a handful kept going through post 5, 6, 7, 8.

They're not just free people either, I can see with link clicks when I post there's a preorder etc. the percentages of people who visited that chapter that day to the people who clicked a link. I cannot confirm a purchase, none of us can, unless we're selling direct (which I am also doing now, too).

For novellas, I break chapters into 3 sections. Same with works in progress until the book is done, then the posts are 3 chapters each post. I use Elementor to design the posts so they look fabulous on any reading device, computer, tablet or phone. I use a 16 pt font for the text to make it easier to read.


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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2018, 12:50:16 PM »
I feel off the beaten path. ("Feel" is one of those useful wiggle words. It means what I want it to mean.) So far, I've found no magic alchemy that works for me other than Patty's group promos. I'm eyeing some niches right now, but I won't have anything out in the near future.

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2018, 01:23:01 PM »
I use a very simple free plugin on wordpress called Simple WP Membership. Past the 4th posting, they have to join the site to have access to the rest. It's been pretty effortless. I've only had a few people need technical support. I launched the ability (I had a different solution and site back in 2014-2016 that I lost and that's a long story) in September. 9/24/2017 is when the first reader joined and I have 590 members.

Every time I post a chapter, it emails them. So it's also a built in contact system.

The way I design chapters is
Banner telling them what they're reading
Short Author Note
Chapter 1
Ad (I do a mixture of ads for me like Join my mailing list, or join the facebook group, or Adsense ads which make me money, not much money, but it's a trickle)
Chapter 2
Ad (Most recent release call to action or book, blurb, buttons to buy)
Chapter 3
Ad
You've been reading Title
Cover, blurb,
Available at these fine retailers + X more genre books (social proof, readers love discovering authors with catalogs to keep them busy)
Buy buttons
Comments

I decided on forcing a signup after the 4th post in a story because when I looked at my Google Analytics, by the 4th chapter most readers had dropped off to click a link taking them off the site, dropped off, and only a handful kept going through post 5, 6, 7, 8.

They're not just free people either, I can see with link clicks when I post there's a preorder etc. the percentages of people who visited that chapter that day to the people who clicked a link. I cannot confirm a purchase, none of us can, unless we're selling direct (which I am also doing now, too).

For novellas, I break chapters into 3 sections. Same with works in progress until the book is done, then the posts are 3 chapters each post. I use Elementor to design the posts so they look fabulous on any reading device, computer, tablet or phone. I use a 16 pt font for the text to make it easier to read.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm going to give that plugin a try. I love that it auto-emails people when a new chapter is up. I'm already brainstorming ideas for how I can use this. Back when I was blogging the WIP of Sade on the Wall, it was mostly up to readers to keep checking if there was a new chapter. (I tweeted and Facebook'd, but you know how rough that is now.)

I also like that you can have paid memberships, if need be. That could come in handy.

I guess this means I also need to set up those TOS and Privacy Policy pages now, heh.

Edit: There's also a (free) add-on to integrate MailChimp! I can't thank you enough for sharing this with me.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 01:27:30 PM by Elizabeth Barone »

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Re: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2018, 05:01:44 AM »
This whole blogging your writing as you go is such an interesting idea. What a great way to connect with readers beyond 'Buy my book'!  It's early days for me yet with only two books out but I am going to give this some serious thought for the future, thanks guys!
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