If you’re new to freelancing, or considering taking the leap into the freelance world, here are three tips to help you get started. Continue reading
By Megan F.
Working as an indie author can be quite a challenge. You often don’t have the backing of big organizations to keep you on track or to help you out when the going gets rough. Luckily, most everyone today has access to technologies that can easily take the place of those institutions. As the kids say, there’s an app for that.
This applies to writing even in ways you might not have considered. While it may seem counter-intuitive to put helpful apps on your number one distraction device, using your phone/tablet for your writing may actually help you use it more productively. Take a look at these six apps recommended for indie authors to help take your writing to the next level. Continue reading
As an indie authorpreneur, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends, not only in self-publishing, but in the publishing industry as a whole.
Here are some sites and blogs that I read regularly. Some of them cover the publishing industry, including news, book deals, and job moves. Others give updates on the indie world, such as Amazon algorithm changes or hot book genre trends. And some speculate on the future of publishing, and how digital affects the way books are made and consumer. I’ve found them all useful and often fascinating:
- The Book Designer
- The Bookseller
- Chris McMullen
- The Creative Penn
- Digital Book World
- The Digital Reader
- The Guardian (Self-publishing section)
- Jane Friedman
- Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies
- LibraryJournal Info Docket
- The Passive Voice
- Publisher’s Lunch
- Publisher’s Weekly
- Publishing Perspectives
- Publishing Trendsetter
- The Scholarly Kitchen
I’ve also set up Google alerts for the keywords “book publishing”, “digital publishing”, “ebooks” and “self publishing.” Come to think of it, I should probably add another one for “indie authors.” I get these alerts once a week (I used to get them daily, but found that to be too overwhelming).
As for my list, I get most articles delivered to my inbox, which I scan in the mornings. If something looks particularly interesting, I bookmark it to read more thoroughly later.
This is definitely not a complete list–there are so many helpful sites out there. Where do you go to get your news?
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared February 2016.
By Belle Balace
Looking to build your platform online? Belle Balace from Visme shares tips on growing your brand through social media.
Whether you’re just starting to build your online presence or you just launched your startup and want to share it to the whole world, there’s no better way to achieve this than through social media.
If you have no idea on how to do this or where to start, here’s a great primer Matei Gavril of PRMediaOnline provided – visualized in this handy infographic made with Visme. All the basic and essential things you need to know about growing your brand on social media are right here.
Belle Balace is a Growth Specialist at Visme, an online visual tool where anyone can create engaging presentations, infographics and other visual content in less time.
Because of this, there are tons of resources online that give indie authors advice on how to find reviewers and contact them. Funds for Writers and eNovel Authors at Work gives some tips, such as keeping in mind that not everyone who initially agrees to review your book will do so (possibly due to time constraints or other factors in their life). It’s also important to keep in mind that it takes time to get your book reviewed.
As Jackie Weger at eNovel Authors at Work puts it:
Book reviews are NOT instant. One must wait for the reader to read the dang book. Patience is required. All reviewers have a TBR stack ahead of you. There is a protocol for approaching reviewers. In your email: Greet the reviewer by name. State your name and the name of your book and offer a one line tag. DO NOT send your book cold turkey. ASK FIRST. Or follow the instruction on the blog to submit your book for review.
Another approach is to go the book club circuit route, as talked about on Book Works. This also takes time, since you will need to reach out to small, niche groups. The upside is you’ll probably find a small group of people who not only love reading, but probably like your book (if you find a group who likes your genre).
And then there are paid reviews. This means paying a fee for a professional book reviewer or organization to give an honest review. These services tend to give credibility to a book, but can be expensive (running in the hundreds of dollars). MediaShift has a great Q&A post with Blue Ink Review.
However, sometimes reviews are not always accurate. Christina Larmer on Huffington Post writes how sometimes reviews are incorrect, such as a review of one of her books that talks about missing pages, even though there are no missing pages. Yet, she couldn’t get the review removed, which may be misleading to potential readers. She ends her piece with a request for reviewers to “Keep it real”:
Just be sure to make it honest and believable, and it will not only pass muster with the Powers That Be, you will be doing your fellow readers a good service. Because each genuine review you write gives other potential readers a chance to understand a little about the book and whether it’s worth investing in. Then they can go in, eyes wide open, before they press ‘download’.
What are your experiences with getting book reviews? Please share in the comments!
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared July 2016.
With that in mind, here’s a compilation of tips and tools that can help you with your book promotion efforts. Continue reading
One strategy I’ve written about before is going permafree, meaning you set one book in a series to permanently free, as a way to entice readers to buy the rest of the books in the series.
To add fodder to that idea, M. Louisa Locke writes about how using the permafree strategy freed up more of her time for actually writing (instead of working to constantly promote all her books). And Bacon and Books shares their experience with giving away books for free, at least temporarily.
If you’re looking to promote your book (whether you’re having a sale, offering it for free, or making it permafree), here a few websites you can try:
- BookBub (try out the author profiles)
- Book Talk
- Buck Books
- Ereader News Today
- Indie Book Lounge
- Self-Publishing Review’s 35+ Alternatives to BookBub
Additionally, check out my post, “7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers.”
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared April 2016.
Your opening sentence demonstrated that you don’t know the difference between “number,” which is used to describe things that can be counted, such as fenceposts and birds, and “amount,” which is used to describe something functionally impossible to count, like water or sand. So “a large amount of birds” flapping around the very first line of your book didn’t fill me with a sense of promise for your writing or a lot of respect for your editor. I’ll never know whether you told a good story—what I found in the few pages convinced me you couldn’t write well enough for the quality of the story to make a difference to me.
There are a few types of editing:
- Developmental editing
- Line editing
In a nutshell, developmental editing looks at the big picture of a story, and makes sure the tone is consistent and things make sense. Line editing is more granular, and looks at improving sentences and paragraphs. And proofreading is the last step, making sure everything is grammatically correct.
IngramSpark has an article with nine common questions and answers about editing, if you’d like to read more. Some things to keep in mind are that you, as the author, do not need to blindly accept whatever changes an editor recommends, editors specialize in genres so you want to work with editors who have worked in your genre, and using a style guide is important.
There are a lot of things that indie authors can do on their own, but editing should not be one of them. That said, most of my budget for my self-published books goes to editors, and it can be on the expensive side. To help save some money upfront, it’s good to go through a few rounds of revisions, by either going through a checklist yourself, or asking for feedback from beta readers, or both.
If you’re looking for some help in this area, it may be worth considering joining an author collective or co-op. According to Jane Friedman, “Typically, author collectives are groups of writers who meet for the purposes of workshops, education, and networking. Some require members to pay yearly fees, and some, like the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, have a board that arranges events and provides services to the community.” The article goes on to recommend author collectives and give tips on how to start your own.
If you want to try doing a round of edits yourself first, BookBub offers a list of 12 editing mistakes that authors often make, which can be a good starting point. The first thing is the common adage, “Show, don’t tell.” However, also keep in mind that you don’t want to over describe things to slow down the pace. Also make sure you have believable conflicts, a consistent point of view, and good grammer.
On that note, HubSpot has a list of 10 edits that will improve your writing. A lot of the tips apply more to copywriters, but copywriting is important for indie authors too (think book blurbs). Tips include, making sure your benefits stand out (great for non-fiction books), using active voice, removing adverbs, and keeping paragraphs short. Most of these tips can apply to creative writers as well.
Last, many authors write informative blogs where they share their writing process and other helpful tips. Writer’s Write has a list of their favorite author blogs, as well as group blogs, blog directories, and other blog resources.
Happy writing and editing!
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared June 2016.