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Announcing my Dive into ePublishing

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Telcontar, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Hi everyone! Some of you have no doubt already seen me say that I'm doing this, but I wanted to make a real announcement so I can get some feedback on a few things.

    The short version is: I'm putting up the full version of this story as a eBook, through Amazon and Smashwords (and other places, if I hear about them). I'll also be releasing a couple other stories for free at the same time.

    I'm in the beginning of getting everything done that needs doing, including securing cover art, formatting the books themselves, worrying about things like promotion

    ... to that end I now have a blog: Rant, Ramble, and Rave

    ... and a twitter handle: @GregoryWrites

    Both are in rather skeletal phases, as I won't have time to play around with formatting and style and such until the holidays.

    What I really want to know from you, gentle reader, is what you want to hear about? I wanted to start documenting this from the beginning so that everyone here - I assume most of us are interested in learning about publishing - and elsewhere might benefit from it.

    What parts of this process do you most want me to write about? Do any of you (I'm looking at the published ones, especially) have any tips?

    And finally, the plea which I wish I could - for reasons of class - leave unstated but - for reasons of necessity - I must say, often and loudly: When the time comes, won't you help me pimp my work? :)
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I've never published, but I do know a couple of things about promoting web communities.

    Link to absolutely everything in your signature. Your items on Amazon, your Twitter, your blog, your short stories. Heck, put a short story up in the showcase forum and link to THAT in your signature here. Whatever might make it easier for me to see your work and be intrigued by your abilities and your stories. Anything that connects me to the product you're offering. Anything worth looking at.

    Be consistent. Update your blog, your twitter, whatever on a relatively fixed interval. Don't update twice one week and then take three weeks off. If your personal schedule is turbulent, write extra posts when you have a chance and then post them when the time comes. Keep a steady, simple blogging voice and learn to write quickly in it. If you break routine, make it the exception, quickly acknowledge that you've done so and keep going.

    Talk to the people who talk to you, and be good about it. If it looks like an "argument," comment once, professionally, and then stop. If someone talks to you a lot, be bold and ask them if they have a blog and if they want to swap links. Do whatever you can to get your name out there.

    Keep an eye open for a graphic editor / website guru who might be willing to help you out. On some forum communities people are constantly offering to make each other graphic signatures; when you see that happen, ask if someone might be willing to make you a quick banner for your blog or something you can use as a logo for people to click on. They don't take long for someone with a little experience.

    Always be looking for a new and relevant place to promote yourself, a new community to be involved with, a partner who might host your link. Post on other fantasy forums (some of those which specialize in a specific world, for example), comment on other fantasy blogs, respond to other twitter feeds, and keep yourself out there. Network, a lot, everywhere.

    Remember that the whole thing takes about a year of steady effort. You should see slow and steady growth, and then suddenly you hit a tipping point where the whole thing takes off.... and then it levels off and starts to decline a little. That's the pattern. How quickly it grows, how much it "takes off," and how high it levels off is up to you, your efforts, and the quality of your work. It may or may not be enough. So good luck.
     
  3. Man, I'm going to read this about fifty times. All these different things to keep track of, I always feel like I'm neglecting the writing itself, but I know that when it comes to e-pub and marketing it takes just as much effort there as it does to actually come up with the material in the first place.

    *goes to change sig to link to Twitter as well as blog*
     
  4. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Great stuff Devor. Very true about the links, and I'll be having crosslinks to everything: blog, twitter, smashwords and amazon author pages, eventually a website provided I get anywhere at all.

    I'm also trying to think of ways to promote myself around town. Ann Arbor is a local-artist-friendly sort of place, but it's harder to promote eBooks than real books. Wonder if anyone's thought of an equivalent for an eBook-signing?
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Yeah, little business cards that aren't. Print the cover art on one side and the information on the other. Walk into local stores and ask if you can leave them on the counter. "Support a local author?" kinda thing.
     
  6. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Freaking brilliant. I'd heard about having business cards, but book-specific business cards is a great idea too. I could probably create a whole stand/display that they could put out on a counter or something. Though this makes it ever more important to find and stick to a really good artist whose style I like. Been working on that one since the beginning of this whole endeavor.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Maybe for a few stores, but most won't want more than a nondescript pile of cards.
     
  8. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    If you need cover art I know someone. PM me.
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Nothing beats a good recommendation, but if that doesn't pan out I suggest you look around at DeviantArt, start commenting on a few works, and see if you can get an artist talking to you.

    Regardless, I recommend something which places the emphasis on the character's face like this one over something epic and grand like this one. Just the vibe I get from what I know about the ebook market.

    By the way, if I had to guess at random, I would say the whole thing takes about 10-20 hrs per week and $500 out of pocket, about half of which should go towards the cover art.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  10. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Way ahead of ya there. I've been lurking at DeviantArt for years, and have recently begun trying to contact some of my favorite artists.

    Fortunately for the very beginning I've found a couple people through personal connections who are willing to give a cover a go on delayed payment...

    Always looking to develop more contacts though, so expect a PM, Blue.
     
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Best of luck Telcontar, let me know if you have any other questions. Like I said I've never done publishing, but I majored in marketing and have been part of a couple of successful web communities (successful for what we wanted, they weren't the sort that make money).

    Could we get a mod to move this to the Publishing forum?
     
  12. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    Reply sent, I also bumped the thread with my mock up in it for you to find.
     
  13. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Thanks Devor. And yes, I could see moving this to Publishing as it has the potential to be of interest to most people interested in starting out. I'll see if I can get that to happen.
     
  14. Print a QR code on the card that links to a download of a free sample of the ebook (or, if you're really trying to build an audience, the entire book for free).

    Another model is to have a free version of the book that's literally just the text of the book, and then the for-pay "deluxe" version includes cover art, maps, appendices with world info, etc. That's just an idea, I'm sure someone's done it already, and I have no idea how well it would work. ;-)
     
  15. You know, I'm finding that I have a weird psychological block that's probably going to make it harder for me to successfully market my book, when it's done. Devor's suggestion about linking to everything makes total sense, but before that the only link I had in my sig here was to my blog. I added Twitter and the sample chapter I posted here on MS after I read Devor's post.

    But it had never occurred to me to put those in, because I sort of felt like it was... bad, in some way. I don't know how to describe it. I think maybe I generalize about my reaction to seeing "Follow me on Twitter!" (it annoys me) and I think other people are the same way. This is probably because I don't have a self-promotion instinct. I think I need to kill that instinct. :)
     
  16. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    How do you kill that which does not exist? You are an intriguing character, Clayborne.
     
  17. D'oh! What I meant was, my instinct is to not self-promote.
     
  18. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I know what you mean, Ben, and I'm much the same way. I'm certain that I can overcome that instinct, but to some extent any beginning author who really believes in his own work needs to be a little shameless in promoting it. Finding ways to do it with some class and style is the hard part - I do not have a marketing mind, which is why Devor's advice (and the advice of the others whose blogs/journals/articles on the subject I've read) has already been so helpful.
     
  19. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There are certainly lines which shouldn't be crossed, but if your product is good and your marketing is tasteful, then you're doing some people a small service by presenting it to those who will enjoy it. Marketing can definitely be abused, but generally speaking it fulfills a role which is valuable to the consumer as well.
     
  20. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    moving to Publishing...
     
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