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  1. #1
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Let's help one another to figure out publishing

    hey all,

    I'm not all that knowledgeable about traditional publishing nor an expert in (depending on your definition) successful self-publishing. But what I'm becoming increasingly skilled at is slogging my way at the bottom of the food chain, trying to balance writing with getting my finished work out there so that it can find its way into the laps of people who would enjoy it and doing all this while working full time and trying to have a life.

    That said, I've discovered a few things:

    My job:
    Working in the corporate world, especially customer service, is mentally draining: it leaves me with such a lack of creative energy that I couldn't motivate myself to write for half a decade. So I decided to drop out of that career stream. Conversely working in a perceived lower-end career like delivery, cab driving, security etc. Didn't drain me as much and even gave me time to write on the job.

    My life:
    My early 20's were rife with drama, which gave me great material, a useful outlook and thought process but left my writing at the lowest priority. Now I think that I can say that I have no drama in my life that distracts me but I have lots that amuses me.

    Writing:
    I'm now very prolific and that added with my ability to adapt styles to my work and the knowledge gained in my youth makes the stuff that I produce very good in my opinion. In my case at least, it seems time has an improving nature.

    Publishing:
    I wanted to go the traditional route, and tried, but the last rejection I received tied in with my research on indie authors purported; the last publisher who rejected Fey Girl said, basically, that everyone in the industry was only interested in signing the next big thing that was exactly the same as the last big thing because they couldn't afford any risk as their house of cards collapsed around them.

    Post-self-publishing:
    I had to do as much work publishing and promoting as I did writing. So far I haven't seen a return of either investments in time except that, at least for the writing, that major investment has improved me.

    So, the point of this thread is maybe all of us (who are in the same boat or at least on the same body of water) can share our experiences and maybe offer one another advice. Who knows? Maybe we'll get this stuff figured out.

    Anyway, here are my tips:
    Amazon is awesome: a free ebook I put on there had 5000 downloads in the first month after 5 minutes of work.
    Smashwords is useful: can't beat free distribution for an hour of work.
    Project Wonderful is a great, cheap way to advertise. It increased hits on my page for an acceptable price. Facebook advertising was way more expensive and had a negligible effect. I didn't try Google because it didn't take papal.
    Getting indie reviewers to blog about your book is emotionally rewarding if you can get past the expectation that everyone will think you are awesome. I don't yet have a metric that figures out a mundane value for them.
    People who blog about publishing are a great resource if you can sift through all the conflicting information and figure out what works for you.
    If you can bang out ten well written and edited books that range in price from free to under 5 bucks, you may start to make a living off of them. I haven't reached that point but it's a goal I have that I've been falling behind on.

    Those are the main things I can think of. That and the fact that this site is a useful resource for information and many people on here offer encouragement and advice.

    That said, I'd like to see here what this site is best for: a deep, thoughtful discussion on a subject that affects us all.

  2. #2
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting link that's along the same lines as a blog I wrote years ago:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvin...-a-good-thing/

  3. #3
    Author & Master Life Coa Bruno LoGreco's Avatar
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    Thanks Kongming. I am new to the author world. Am learning to navigate through it, too, so your post is quite useful.

    Have a great weekend.

  4. #4
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kongming View Post
    Those are the main things I can think of. That and the fact that this site is a useful resource for information and many people on here offer encouragement and advice. That said, I'd like to see here what this site is best for: a deep, thoughtful discussion on a subject that affects us all.
    Great post, Kongming. You have touched on many themes that that have shown up here before, but there's also some new new info. Project Wonderful has shown up in a Smashwords forum, but I've never played the game. If you get a chance, I'm sure that many of us would like to hear how you've gone about choosing which sites to bid, and what kind of payment-vs.-reward ratios you've experienced.

    Thanks -- WB
    Last edited by Window Bar; November 3rd, 2012 at 12:34 PM. Reason: sp

  5. #5
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree that this subject would be useful for almost all of us here. I'd be interested to see posts from a few of the people here who know a great deal more about publishing and self-publishing than I. Having this input and a discussion about it would help me, and I think many others.

    As to Project Wonderful:
    it cost me $20 for a couple of weeks of ads. This increased the hits on my website from double digits to 500-1000 a day and resulted in about 800-1000 downloads of my free eBook.

    This means that it was not nearly as effective as Amazon, because as I stated, it resulted in 5000 downloads of the same eBook in one month for no cost. But it was better than Facebook, which cost more and had a negligible effect. In any case, Amazon won't direct traffic to your website which is important if you have more than one book and you want to have a place that you control that showcases what you have to offer. For that, Project Wonderful is sort of Wonderful.

    As for how I did the bidding: I really just chose categories rather than specific websites. The categories I chose were the ones that I thought would have people that would be interested in fiction. Specifically I left things like "food and drink, parenting and kids, sports etc." unchecked. This meant that the money I spent would be focused in places more amenable to getting people to download the eBook. I kept my maximum bids very low, mostly in the pennies so that the $20 would last longer.

  6. #6
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kongming View Post
    As to Project Wonderful:
    it cost me $20 for a couple of weeks of ads. This increased the hits on my website from double digits to 500-1000 a day and resulted in about 800-1000 downloads of my free eBook.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Feel free to contact me (best is via PM) if ever I can be of help to you.

    -- WB

  7. #7
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Update on facebook ads. $60 on the weekend netted me 400 likes (more or less). And since I used keywords linked to my writing in English-speaking nations, I believe that if Facebook's targeting works then those likes are worth it.

  8. #8
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Window Bar View Post
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Feel free to contact me (best is via PM) if ever I can be of help to you.

    -- WB
    I would be interested to hear your experience. If you prefer PM let me know, but maybe this thread might be useful to others. Checked out your site. You did well on the review front. It took me a tonne of time to exhaust the list of amenable bloggers I could find. Do you have any advice on that front?

  9. #9
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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  10. #10
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kongming View Post
    If you prefer PM let me know, but maybe this thread might be useful to others.
    For me, at least, PM's are best if you want quick responses. I don't re-check threads very often. However, I agree that it's helpful to keep discussions public.

    Quote Originally Posted by kongming View Post
    Checked out your site. You did well on the review front. It took me a tonne of time to exhaust the list of amenable bloggers I could find. Do you have any advice?
    Thanks for the compliment. Actually, I've had some negative reviews as well, but they're hardly the ones I feature on my own site. I know what you mean about it being difficult to get bloggers to do reviews, though. Given that each blogger probably gets fifty requests for every slot, it's no wonder they don't respond very often. The blogs that have featured my work are mostly done by bloggers who have, for whatever reason, found themselves with a temporary shortage of submissions and are putting out announcements in various places on the web, such as Kindle Boards, asking for new material. The others are bloggers who have found my book without my assistance. I really don't know how that happens -- probably by chance.

    --WB

  11. #11
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    One item I hadn't mentioned was Search Engine Optimization: the act of moving your book upward in search engine (mostly Google) rankings. Rankings come from many sources, one being cross-links from other sites. Such links can be built one by one, offering link exchanges with other writers or with blogs that feature your work. These are permanent links, so they have value. Temporary links, such as ads on Project Wonderful or any of the multitude of Craigslist knock-offs, also have value. Mentions (such as reviews) of your work are also helpful. I've noticed that every single review on Amazon is considered a separate mention. Smashwords runs several dozen daughter sites, each of which shows up as a separate mention, not to mention a link to Smashwords sales page. Authors' Den, Goodreads, Shelfari... and all of the other various literary websites are also good places for mentions and links. Once you begin building them, they tend to multiply.

    For obvious reasons, it is virtually impossible to rise to the top of search inquiries such as "Science fiction book," so it helps to have a unique title and a unique author name. If you are lucky enough to have written a book with a unique subject, you will rise to top of whatever searches are done under that subject, even if those searches are few. Be certain to list proper keywords and key phrases under your website metatags and the tag cloud for listings at Amazon and other vendors.

    Realistically, rankings won't bring much traffic to your site, but they give your book the imprimatur of widely dispersed mention on the web. If you type your book title into a Google search, there should be literally thousands of web reference points.

    Have fun. This part is a game. -- WB

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