I’ve been giving a lot of advice lately on writing, as well as processing some of my most recent experiences. So what I decided to do is write down my basic advice on what to do. I’m keeping it positive, and I hope to update it over time.
What To Write
- Obviously you should write what you like, but you may want to target to a market.
- There is almost inevitably a market for something you’ll want to write, but the question is how many sales you want to make (and if you cary).
- There are inevitably other authors to learn from and study.
How To Write
- It’s likely if you want to write you already know how. It’s just a matter of getting it into professional shape – or acceptable shape.
- There are a lot of books on writing efficiently and effectively. Chris Fox’s books are very well regarded.
- When possible join a writer’s group, meetup, or team to help you out.
- There’s nothing like practicing, so keep writing!
- Have an editor. Period. Pay them or reimburse them somehow.
- Having beta and pre-readers helps, but an editor is hard to replace (though you may find one with betas and pre-readers)
- A book cover is a great sales tool, and makes a real difference in if people buy it.
- Different genres and audiences have different cover expectations.
- There are various sites and tools that will help you make covers.
- You can also get premade covers from several sources like www.goonwrite.com.
- For major, important works you want a professional-level cover.
- You can learn to do your own covers, but it will take effort if you don’t have much graphic experience. There are online tutorials.
Book Covers – Doing it yourself
- You can do book covers yourself, as noted, but it takes time and effort to learn.
- You can get good paid stock art and photos at www.canstockphoto.com and www.shutterstock.com
- For practice (or to save money) you can get free stock art and photos at www.pixabay.com and www.unsplash.com
- The Non-designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams is indespensible to learning good design skills. There’s other advice online.
- Unless you have a reason (or format) not to, a book should be in ebook format no matter what others you choose.
- Physical books may or may not interest your audience. It’ll be up to you to decide that.
- eBooks will usually outsell physical books, but physical books are also great for gifts and holidays.
Formats – eBook
- eBooks can be formatted by publishing sites (like www.Draft2Digital.com) or on your own.
- The best tool to format eBooks is www.jutoh.com – it’s powerful enough to write a small book in it.
- Your formatting will usually be mobipocket (Kindle) or ePub.
Formats – Physical books
- Physical book formatting is more complicated than eBooks, because you have to worry about page breaks, page facing, and more.
- Covers will also require careful formatting because of sizing and colors (hint, save in CMYK).
- You’ll probably have to run a few copies of physical books to ensure they’re set up right.
Formats – Audiobooks
- Audiobooks are a forgotten format – and if you can get your book into audio format, then you have an edge over others.
- There’s many places to publish, however you want to make sure whatever service you use you end up on www.amazon.com – for obvious reasons.
- To easily publish on multiple sources, www.Draft2Digital.com is a mainstay.
- Many services like the above do physical books, and www.Lulu.com
- Pricing affects sales, and cheaper is not always better. People will be concerned that a cheap book isn’t worth it.
- Most smaller eBooks are best priced at $2.99.
- Larger books seem to center around $4.99, but some go higher.
- Physical book pricing is inevitably much higher than eBooks, and often you make more on each physical books.
Promotion – General
- Good promotion ties into each other. Your books mention your website, your website points to your newsletter, your newsletter mentions new books, new books go on sale, etc.
- You’ll want to read up on promotion. Though a lot of promotion advice is repetitive, that’s because a lot of it is always new to someone.
Promoting – Website
- You will want an author’s website, period. You want your own domain, and can set up a website in wordpress.
- If you’re on Amazon and/or Draft 2 Digital there are author pages there as well. Set them up and link your website back to them and vice versa.
- Mention your website in all of your books.
Promoting – Social Media
- Writers should have a Twitter, Facebook presence, and blog to establish a presence. At the very least a blog and twitter is needed.
- You may only have so much time, so make your best call.
- Hootsuite is a great way to manage social media.
- Mention your social media in all of your books.
Promotion – Newsletters
- Have a newsletter. Www.mailchimp.com is a perfect place to start.
- Send out your newsletter at least monthly if not more (but I’d avoid more than one a week). Mention books, give samples, etc.
- If you want to get more people on your newsletter use www.InstaFreebie.com for giveaways or giving out samples.
Marketing – General
- Marketing is an inevitable part of book writing. You can’t avoid it – but you can outsource it.
Marketing – Amazon
- If you’re publishing things at Amazon, use Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). It’s pretty much point and pay and (hopefully) sell.
- If you’re amazon exclusive, you can do book sales and promotions.
Marketing – Reviews
- You’ll want to get as many reviews as possible. So make sure you keep a group of friends, family, and readers willing to review for you.
- You can also find reviewers at http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/
- You can send books in for review at http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm
- There are paid review sites (it’s like the old-school review pools, so is better than it sounds). They do run pricey. https://www.selfpublishingreview.com is a good place to start.