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Almyrigan Hero said:
Yeah, honestly, that's why I'm waiting for my KDP select enrollment to run out before I really do anything in terms of marketing. Not gonna lie: in the most classic of all rookie mistakes, I skimped. Skimped on professional editing and beta reading, didn't even know about advanced reviews, was a bit too confident in myself and my immediate group, we were all a bit too eager to get started on the publishing journey...you know the drill. That sweet, sweet rush of having just finished your first serious work, followed by the creeping slow-motion crash of wondering how finished you actually were, once it's already just a bit too late to slam on the brakes. I'm just happy the air bags popped out before I started spending, honestly.

I'm still fairly confident in the overall plot and characters, all things considered. I'm not experiencing any sort of crushing hindsight embarrassment, aside from maybe a few cases of avoidable exposition or the odd clunky line (pacing is my main worry,) and while I aimed for originality, I didn't go at it from an 'as experimental as possible' mindset. That said, if the first reviews I get are bad, at this point...where exactly do I go from there? Are major revisions several months after a book's release acceptable form, or do I just 'make the sequel better?'
I really couldn't say where to go from there. What I would do and you should do aren't likely to line up. Though in the general sense our goals are the same - write good books that people want to read - we're in very different places. So I might not be the best one to give you advice on your next step. Much of my knowledge of what it takes to start an indie career is probably outdated anyway.
If you think working with an editor exposes a few clunky lines and poor word choices you need to be prepared. It's far worse than you think. At least it is if you hire an editor who tells you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. It can be an ego crushing experience. One for which you need to develop thick skin. But it will make you a better writer. If you really want to know where you stand as it pertains to skill, solicit a few unbiased reviews from bloggers. It may take a while, but in the end you'll have a firmer grasp on the issue. There are pros like me who can tell you, but they probably won't unless you force them into a corner. It's not a thing we enjoy doing. It makes us uncomfortable. Partly because we find ourselves being as brutal with the aspiring writer as editors and reviewers are with us. It's simply how we relate. Writers can be squeamish about it when on the distributing end. All-in-all we're a nice bunch and hate to dump on the dreams of others.

addendum - I forgot to say congratulations. Regardless the outcome, writing a novel is a big thing. Even if you've reached the limit of where you go with this completing your book is an accomplishment no one can take from you.
 

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Discussion Starter #82
The thing is, as stubborn as I can be on big-picture issues, I'm fairly willing to re-evaluate specifics. This whole cover discussion serves as good indication of that, I think.

The real meat of my story is the world it takes place in, the mystery surrounding it, and the gradual falling into place of pieces. If an editor or beta reader told me that some secondary character should be axed, or a subplot should simmer a bit faster or slower, or a minor arc takes up too much time without really going anywhere, or a main character's motivations are a bit weak, I could actually see myself being reasonably flexible on those sorts of points. There are, obviously, a few points of no compromise with implications reaching beyond the first book, and when it comes to that ultimate puzzle box everything revolves around I'm going to put my foot down a lot more, but I won't cry myself to sleep over the notion of having to clarify the villain's goals a bit more thoroughly.
 

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I didn't read all of this thread.

Saw the cover of the OP's book, and some of the accompanying discussion. Only input I can give is if you're going to have a cover -- be it your own or a pro-designed one -- make sure the title is bold and easy to read.

You can have the coolest, trendiest and most pro-drawn or illustrated cover in the world, and if the title is something readers have to hunt for you've shot yourself in the foot. There are readers who still look for books using their Kindle, and on a Kindle the book thumbnails are very small, and sometimes that's all you get in the carousel of new books, suggested-for-you's, or also-boughts -- a very small thumbnail.

So keep that in mind if you update the cover, or have one made for you. It won't guarantee sales, but will help get eyes on the book, and hopefully get people to purchase.
 

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I agree with what @jb111 said about your cover, OP.

Also, the following:

(1) It doesn't matter how good your book, writing, story, craft, or anything is if you can't get visibility. The only way to get visibility is to advertise. Just putting a book up on Amazon isn't helpful, and after the first 30 days, any new-book visibility you might've had is gone. Try different ads, spend just a little, see if you get any traction. Do not overspend.

(2) I gather that this is the first book in a series. It'd probably be better if you waited until at least book 2 is published before you start spending much on book 1.

(3) You have to decide for yourself how you want to approach your writing career. Are you doing this to make money? If so, you have to stick with the market, write those tropes into the ground, and forget about what it is you really want to write/say/do. No amount of editing or cover design or ad budget can make a book a success if it's not what the market wants. On the flip side of that, really poorly written books can be huge successes if they hit the market in the right spots. Don't believe me? Open up the Look Inside on top-selling indie books in several genres. Good to-market storytelling is far more important than "good" writing. Readers don't care. They want a story they enjoy.

(4) Pricing. Indie authors have destroyed the pricing of ebooks so that even $3.99 seems "expensive" for a 100K-word Kindle edition by a little-known author. I don't know what to tell you about this except that pricing your book above $3.99 is probably pointless. Do you want nonexistent royalties? Or do you want people to buy your book and make practically nothing from each sale? Hey, even at $0.99 with the 35% royalty, if you sell 2,000 books, you've made $700.

(4) Whatever you do, do not ever give up. Keep writing. You'll figure it out as you go along.
 

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Quote:  (4) Pricing. Indie authors have destroyed the pricing of ebooks so that even $3.99 seems "expensive" for a 100K-word Kindle edition by a little-known author. I don't know what to tell you about this except that pricing your book above $3.99 is probably pointless.

That's kinda it in a nutshell for the Indie populations. 

Advertising and promotion costs kill the profit margin, especially for new authors. Therefore ups the budget investment it requires for new or 'un-famous' Indies to gain traction in the markets. Unlike Trads, as individual start-ups, we are less able to push our non-existent and ready-made Trad markets. And, if an Indie has a limited budget, it often forces an e-book into the free or discount market, which lessens the revenue even more. We all understand it takes money to make money ... but Indies really shot themselves and future Indies in the foot with a 12 gauge not a simple .22 when e-books launched all those years ago. Tough to recover from that original pricing error.

A good, well-written story should have the same value no matter who writes it.
 

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What @boxer44 said--I totally agree.

For an indie with an audience, turning out a 15K- or 20K-word book, especially in a series (or better yet, a serial) every week at $0.99 makes some sense, especially in KU, since page-read revenue probably outdoes the sales revenue. But for those of us who write 80K+-word novels that take more than a week or two to write . . . well . . .
 

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jpchoquette said:
This is really helpful, thank you, Simon!
I just looked through the list and mostly agree with it, but please note that lately Bargainbooksy hasn't produced good results for the amount of $ it costs. Other authors have had a similar experience. I still use Freebooksy for free books--they're terrific--but Bargainbooksy is off my list.

Also, in my experience, BookRaid and BKnights are good for both free and bargain books.
 

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This is an interesting discussion, and I want to add my two cents. I know that many people promote their books on such sites as Goodreads, Book Buzz, Scribd, GoodKindles, Writers.net, Wattpad. Have you tried them?
 
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