Q is for Quick Tips and questions/answers #AtoZchallenge

I thought today, I’d give you a couple of more quick tips, and keep with the lighter, shorter posts.  I know it’s unlikely stuff will ever be the epic length of my cover design post, but there’s a couple of other tips that aren’t big enough for a post of their own, and could be talked about today.

  1. I don’t need an editor, I write perfectly.
    I hate to say this, but everyone, *EVERYONE* needs an editor.  If you’re not sure where to look for one, there are some great documents on the Indie Author Group.
  2. I don’t have the time to do this…
    One of the major complaints that I keep hearing from people is that once they’ve got one (or more!) books online, it’s that they don’t have time to market.  The thing is though, you can market easily in ten or twenty minutes a day.  You need to have the basics in place, but the rest of it is easy to manage.  Plan out what you need to do and then look at doing it.  Decide what works, and what doesn’t – do more of what works!
  3. How do I decide between KDP and KDP select?
    Another major question we get on the groups that I look after is knowing whether the author in question should put the book on KDP, or opting into Select, which is Amazon’s exclusive platform.  To answer this, we need to look at what the author wants.  If you want your book to be available, from the outset on all platforms, you need to NOT use select.  But you’ll also not get to use certain promotional tools.  If you go back and read my post on Kindle, I cover it a bit, but there are benifits to being in Select, in return for posting your ebook to Select exclusively.
    What do I do?  90 days exclusivity on Select, encourage those not on Select to sign up and let me know they want the book, give them a discount on my newsletter when I publish it, using the Smashwords coupon system and then go all platforms if the signups justify it.  Otherwise I just stay on the Kindle until I need to move off into the wider world.  It works.
  4. I can’t get passed first draft, what do I do?
    In short?  Nanowrimo!  There are three throughout the year (two camps in April and June) and one major one in November.  This year will be my 12th, and I still love it.  It really REALLY helps, but it does take commitment.

Got any other questions?  Post ’em here and I’ll answer them if I can!

 

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The three pillars of Marketing #atozchallenge

Cheating slightly today, but it says it far better than anything I’ve tried to write today.
This is a reprint of an article available on the marketing company I co-own, The Finishing Fairies.

The three pillars of basic indie promotion

I explain it a bit more in one of the books coming soon from myself and Kriss, but it’s important to look at your promotional efforts online and have a plan.  But to have a plan, you have to know where to focus from the start.  And in both mine and Kriss’ opinion, there are three minimum places authors need to focus.

They are, quite simply, your blog, your Facebook and your twitter.  These three pillars will help you build your brand, and ensure that you’ve got a place to promote your books, long-term.

Blog

Your blog should basically be the first place you work on.  It should be clear, and contain a media kit, news and information about your book, review quotes and anything you feel relevant to promoting you as an author.  Remember too that though you should promote your books, first and foremost, in all but a very few cases, the brand is YOU, not your books.  And because of this, whether you’re promoting your own name or a pen name, the things you need to do are the same.

Your blog should also be updated regularly – we recommend a minimum of once a fortnight, but ideally, once or twice a week.  You don’t need to post every day, but if your readers are demanding more information from you, it’s probably a good sign that you need to post more – it’s also a great idea to answer comments that aren’t spam.

As for where to blog – Kriss and I both recommend WordPress self hosted – in fact, that’s what we run all of our own blogs (including this one) on, but as long as it’s stable and accessible, you can blog anywhere.

Twitter

There are lots of ways to work with twitter, but you do have to make sure you’re not offering more ‘noise’ and instead become a trusted signal.  It takes a lot of work, and a lot of support to ensure that you’re the trusted source, but first and foremost, the single most important tip is to give your own time generously – share more of other people’s work than of your own – we recommend a ratio of 1:6 or less.  We’ll talk about content curation later in the month, but the basic concept is to search by keyword and share interesting articles that relate to the keywords you use in your book’s description, or the themes you talk about.  Romance writers can talk about love stories, weddings and more.  Thriller writers COULD become the premium source of information about crimes that people would be interested in studying.  The choice is yours.  The point is to be the expert that people come to.

Facebook

There’s two parts to Facebook.  The first is your personal profile.  This is where you join groups, create pages and more.  It’s important to remember that this will probably be in your name (and you can only have one of these), so joining groups means you’ve got to be happy that people know who you are.  This is not ideal for pen names, but it’s important for the security and support of other users on the site.  Please do not create more than one profile to join groups with – Facebook has been cracking down for a while now and you can lose ALL accounts, not just the spare ones.

As your brand goes, it’s important to remember that your personal Facebook is probably where you interact with family and friends – so there is no harm in saying ‘no’ to friend requests from fans.  Aside from the fact that Facebook only allows 5000 people (which sounds like a lot when you start out), the whole concept of page versus profile is something that we offer clear guidelines on, simply to save confusion down the line.  I’ll do a longer post on this later, but basically, if you’re doing promotional work, it really should be created under Facebook’s guidelines, on your page.

And as creating a page is easy, it’s important to make sure you do it as soon as possible.

Your brand

It’s important to ensure that your brand is basically designed to match up. If you can, choose usernames that match your domain name, and keep your brand consistent – if you can’t do so, try to make sure that it’s close for consistency’s sake.

What do you think?  Still think it’s the relevant three?  With the shift away from Facebook right now, I think this is going to change in the next 12 months, but it’s a good start.
Stuck?  I wrote a book about exactly this (and a few other things!).

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K is for Kindle – #AtoZchallenge

No way I could have completed a blog challenge and not use K to talk about Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing.
But I’m not going to talk about it’s merits.  What I’m going to talk about instead are a couple of hacks people seem to be missing when using it.

Subscribing to blogs on the Kindle

Tired of needing to remember to log in?  Get great articles from blogs on the Kindle?  Check and see if they’re available from KDP direct publishing.  Author Interrupted is!

You can find a full listing of blogs that are available on the Kindle here.

Emailing yourself documents

While it’s great that you can buy books with one click and download them to your Kindle, if you’re not buying from Amazon, all is not lost.  As long as you’ve got the right formats, you can email yourself books.  You can even do it when you don’t have a Kindle, just the app.
To do so.  Log into Amazon in the territory you live in.  Go to ‘Manage your Kindle’ (it’s in the ‘Your account menu) , then to personal document settings.  There, you should see a list of places you use your Kindle app/your kindles.  You can set one email address for each place, OR use the first one.
Also, whitelist your emails on this screen, so it doesn’t say you’re not allowed to email to it.  You can also add certain sites to it, such as Netgalley etc.
Once you’ve got it, tuck a free between the @ and Kindle (so it’s @free.kindle.com).  If the document emails no problem, but doesn’t show up, go back into Manage your Kindle, look at ‘all items’ or ‘personal documents’ and tell it to go to the device you want to use.  Or search for it in app.  Either way, it’ll ‘push’ eventually.

Kids and Kindles

Do not underestimate the power of KindleFreetime, but do still watch them.  Even disabled, my teen managed to break out of Kindle Freetime and download Facebook.

And there you have it.  What neat tips do you have for the Kindle?

 

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