Author Topic: Are you on an off-beat path that is going well?  (Read 2886 times)  

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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Offline RTW

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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!

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Offline 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!! 
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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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Offline Dennis E. Taylor

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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.


Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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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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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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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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Offline Joseph Malik

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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.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 11:55:43 PM by Joseph Malik »
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Offline Elizabeth Barone

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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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Offline Elizabeth Barone

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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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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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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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Offline Douglas Milewski

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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.

Disclaimer: I sell horribly. Set your filters accordingly.

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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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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Offline catlife

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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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