Best of Self-Publishing in November, 2016

The past month has been rich in informative articles and features for self-publishing authors. Here, we break down the best of the bunch, giving you a one-stop venue to learn everything you need to know to get that new book in the hands of readers.

Episode #168 – A Book as a Business Card with Rachel Smets

When Rachel Smets wrote her first book, she learned a whole lot more than how to organize chapters. The process taught her a lot about what is important both in life and in a self-driven creative project, such as surrounding yourself with supportive people.

In episode 168, Rachel shares action steps that first-time authors can use when writing and publishing books. These included:

  • Break down your current project into mini-goals. Confidence comes from taking action repeatedly, and action can be taken in very small steps. Identify those very small steps and commit to accomplishing them a little bit each day. One of these small steps can be setting up your Amazon Author Page, if you haven’t done so yet. You all know who you are! Take 15 minutes and get it done!
  • Make a honest personal assessment of how well you’re taking care of yourself. A common thread with all of the successful people Rachel interviewed for her book is that they took time to balance their productive successful lives with conscientious self-care. So if you’re tired, feeling blue, run down, irritable, or struggling to break past 2,000 words a day, spend a moment to taking stock of what’s really going on. Maybe you just need a nap! Or maybe you need to get out for a run, or have a relaxing afternoon at the local cafe with a cup of coffee.
  • Identify something that you really want to learn or do, but are a little afraid to try…then just do it. Like a Band-Aid, just rip it off! Break it down into little steps and take actions on each of those steps, one at a time. Repetition is key. Facing your fears and discomfort through repetition will turn things that seem scary into things that are comfortable and enjoyable. If you keep doing something, eventually scary becomes ordinary…sort of like pushing that “Publish” button.

Seven Ways to Target Readers Using BookBub Ads

BookBub Ads are a great way to target and bring in new readers—if you know how to use them. Here are seven ideas to transform your advertising strategy:

  • Target readers interested in the promoted book’s author
  • Authors, target yourself to retarget readers who clicked on a Featured Deal
  • Target readers interested in similar authors
  • Target readers interested in popular genre authors
  • Target by category interest
  • Target by retailer preference
  • Target by region

Imagine Dragons and Beacon 23

You never know where your writing will take you. Author Hugh Howey was always an Imagine Dragons fan, and for years had thought it would be fun to collaborate with them.

When Booktrack reached out to him and said that Imagine Dragons wanted to do an original mix to one of his novels, he jumped at the chance. The result was something he never could have imagined when writing the book: Booktrack Collab Beacon 23 and Imagine Dragons.

How to Make Your ebook Free on Amazon

In this informative article, the folks over at the Self-Publishing Roundtable share two strategies authors can use to make their ebooks free on Amazon. Details about releasing on Kindle Select and across various platforms helps beginning authors to understand the Amazon platform.

“We all know that Amazon won’t let you just make your ebook free, not like at other online retailers, but there are two ways you can make your ebook free at Amazon. Which option you take depends on if you’re in KDP Select or wide.”

This simple yet informative article breaks the process down into easily digestible steps.

SA289 What Is List Hygiene and Why Does It Matter?

These days, it isn’t enough to have an email list—for that list to be effective, it needs to be clean and healthy. “List hygiene? What the heck is that?” many people might be asking themselves. That’s exactly the question this podcast sets out to answer.

In short, when it comes to email lists, hygiene does matter! There are certain people you want to get rid of, and others you want to hang onto no matter what. A “dirty” email list can create problems for fans, so it’s important to do some preemptive cleaning. Before you do, though, there’s an important step that no one should skip. All of this and more is covered in the podcast.

Non-Fiction Writing Tips and How To Live a Good Life with Serial Entrepreneur Jonathan Fields

Jonathan Fields is an entrepreneur and author, and has overcome numerous challenges on his journey to success.

In this article, Jonathan talks about what happened when he wrote a book that didn’t work, and he had to find a new way to write. He goes into his early years as an entrepreneur, including a high school business where he painted album covers on jeans jackets.

He takes us on the winding path of his entrepreneurial journey, including learning to recognize patterns in life to discover passion and purpose. He then ties it all together in a discussion on how to plan and open yourself to the magic of serendipity, learning to create a “good life” and understanding where work fits into that, as well as how important it is to remember to play as adults. Finally, he discusses the hybrid method of publishing that he is using with his new book.

Writing: Sharing Stories of Special Needs Children Through Non-Fiction

US indie writer Jo Mach writes nonfiction books for children with special needs, although that wasn’t always her career plan. In this inspiring feature, she discusses how that decision was influenced by her career. Jo also talks about working with a photographer to write her books, and how she involves special needs kids in the process.

Writing Wednesday: Needs Must (by Rachel Aaron)

In this Wednesday special, author Rachel Aaron analyzes her writing productivity to figure out what works and what doesn't when it comes to the business of writing. She goes into sales, newsletter sign ups, and website traffic, discussing the role each plays, and how to best leverage each for your self-publishing business.

Amazon Rolls Out Rapids, a Chat-Style Reading App for Kids

We are solidly into the age of the app, and it seems like a day doesn’t go by without new apps being released to the public. Rapids is a chat-style reading app from Amazon that aims at encouraging kids to read. This cute, playful app targets children between the ages of 7 and 12, helping them to discover the joy of reading.

SPF-037: Writing Against the Odds – with Author T.J. Garrett

Tony Garrett is a newly successful author writing under the nom de plume T.J. Garrett. Tony is seeing as much as $30,000 per month in sales, but before reaching that level of success he had to come to terms with a degenerative disease that impairs his vision.

Technology that enabled Tony to read again opened a world of possibility to him, and inspired him to learn how to successfully market his books and achieve noteworthy sales. In this episode, Tony tells his story and describes how technology, family and friends helped him overcome challenges.

Do You Have Intention? How to Set Achievable and Meaningful Goals

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the publishing process, and too often authors set goals that are unachievable and can actually discourage them. Jane Friedman believes that the trick is to set an intention, and in doing so give yourself achievable and meaningful goals, which you will be motivated to accomplish.

When setting these goals, remember to ask yourself if your goal is intentional or purposeful; if your tasks or opportunities are moving you closer to your vision for your career; if you are prioritizing your goals; and if your goals can be broken down into both short-term and long-term targets.

The key to acting on your intentions and accomplishing your goals lies in your personal investment in them. If you are fully committed, your commitment will be reflected in your intention and daily action, which will in turn facilitate accomplishment.

7 Reasons Why Self-Publishing Is The Right Choice For Authors

To self-publish or go the traditional route—this is the question that all authors will eventually have to face. While there are arguments to both sides, this article breaks down seven reasons why self-publishing is the way to go:

  • You have full control over your story.
  • You get to work on your own timeline.
  • The profit margins are much higher.
  • Marketing becomes your responsibility.
  • Bookstore sales are less important, which opens up other avenues of focus.
  • Self-publishing can lead to traditional publishing opportunities as well.
  • The time to self-publish is now, so take advantage of the current environment.

How Fast Do You Write?

There’s nothing worse than being stuck with writer’s block, or laboring for hours to get a few hundred words down on paper. Fortunately, there are ways to increase your productivity and speed when it comes to writing—and some of them might come as a bit of a surprise.

In this article, Melissa Bowersock looks into how handwriting her books increased her productivity. She breaks down the numbers and describes how she was able to write four books in only 13 months—a level of productivity most of us would do just about anything to achieve.

How To Double Your Yes’s From Book Bloggers

Book bloggers are a great way to get your name and titles out there, but before they can do the heavy lifting for you, you have to convince them that it’s worth their while to do so.

This article breaks down best practices for generating book bloggers’ interest, including pitching the right bloggers, remembering that less is more, being personal in your pitches, engaging with bloggers on their level, taking the time to follow-up, keeping things short and sweet, taking time to craft an effective email subject line, thinking outside of the blog, remembering to say “please” and “thank you,” promoting bloggers when they decide to feature you, being okay with non-responses, and maintaining a consistent pitch strategy that remembers to take advantage of every opportunity that arises.

By the time you have worked through all of the tips in here, you should know the book blogging world as well as you know the main characters in your novel.

Favorite Ways to Promote a Virtual Book Tour

There are dozens of ways to promote a virtual book tour, but some are more effective than others. Knowing which strategies to use can be the difference between wasting a lot of your valuable time and running a successful tour.

  • The first is to work with your hosts to make sure that they promote your tour.
  • Second, you will want to learn to use mini-posts to boost your rankings on search engines.
  • Third, a Facebook page dedicated to the author or book is a great way to interact with readers.
  • Fourth, encourage conversation in the comments section below each post—remember that engagement is as important as views.
  • Finally, register your gravatar so your photo appears in all your comments. That way, your readers can begin to relate to you on a personal level.
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