Tips and Tricks For New Authors Part 1

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR NEW AUTHORS PART 1

So you published a book…now what?

    Publishing a book is both exciting and terrifying at the same time if you are an indie author.  The following is my take on being an indie author through my eyes.

    I recently published my first novel “Vampire Next Door”.  You can find it here on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EV69622  To say I am a total noob at the whole indie author/publishing thing would be the understatement of the year.  I did some research before publishing, and I will stress the word some.  I have had several people ask me for advice, and my number one piece of advice is always do your research.  You need to know what you are in for.

    Your novel should be about 50,000 words and over.  Just remember when you self-publish a book — the more words and the bigger your book is, the more money it will cost to manufacture it.  The more it costs to manufacture it, the less royalties you will have.  So in a sense, a shorter story will make you more money in the long run.  So you want your book to have a great story, but keep it on the short side, if you can.  If you can’t shorten it, think about writing a series of books.  A lot of readers will gravitate towards a series more than a single book.  A lot of publishers are in the market for book series right now as well.  Young adult, dystopian and series are three things you will hear that are in high demand as of right now.  That is always subject to change, however, as people’s tastes change and the next new “big thing” hits the market.

    If anyone tells you that writing the book is the hard part, they’d be lying.  Writing the book is absolutely the easiest part of the process.  With millions upon millions of books out there and a big percentage of them being independently published (and relatively easily I might add), the entire process of publishing your own book can be quite a daunting task.  I came to realize that firsthand.

    The most important thing to remember is that you are publishing independently.  Don’t expect results overnight, and don’t quit your day job…even if you hate it.  Helpful Tip — Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) waits 60 days to pay you.  That’s for e-book sales only.  So if you sell in August, you are not getting paid your royalties until the end of October.  Patience is something else you’ll need to learn all too quickly.  CreateSpace, on the other hand, pays monthly.  That is only for paperback sales, however, and I personally have been selling four times as many e-books than paperback.  If you are publishing your e-book with Smashwords, they pay quarterly.  The bottom line is don’t expect money right away.  It will take a few months to see any real profit.

    If you think are you ready to publish your first novel, think again.  Go back and read your book, edit it and then edit it again.  Your grammar and formatting should be flawless or close to it.  Why?  Because if you have too many grammar mistakes or your book is hard to read or understand, your reviews are going to be horrible.  How many times have you read reviews on Amazon that read “I loved the story, but just couldn’t get past the poor grammar”?  Can’t afford an editor?  Have some friends or family members (that you can trust) read over your book for free.  If you are afraid of putting your life’s work in someone’s hands, then don’t do it.  Edit the book yourself or find a more trustworthy friend.  The formatting and grammar of a book can mean the difference between a two or three-star review and a five-star review.

    Speaking of reviews, getting them will be difficult, to say the least.  It is definitely not an easy task for most authors.  Unless you have a strong and large fan base, you will quickly learn why people are paying other people to review their books.  Let’s face it — The more reviews you have, the better your book looks to possible customers.  The easiest way to get your first review is to ask a friend or family member who has read your book to leave a review.  Even if you only get one, one review is better than none.  The most important thing to remember is don’t put too much pressure on someone to leave a review.  Most of the time I ask nicely.  Either they leave one or they don’t.  It’s out of your hands at that point.  You don’t want to nag someone to leave a review, because they could, A, not leave a review at all or, B, leave a negative review.

    Why don’t people leave reviews?  The most popular answer to that question is they don’t know what to say.  They feel like anything they write would be inadequate or dumb.  But in reality, even a review that says “I loved it” or “I liked it” would be more helpful than they could ever know.  The best thing you can do for an independent author is LEAVE A REVIEW.  If you are thinking of doing a book giveaway, do a giveaway for the people that leave reviews.  That should give you a jump start on getting reviews.

    If you are gearing up for your first book release, you should already be building a Twitter and Facebook following.  It’s a quick and free way to get a lot of potential readers and communicate with fellow authors who will be more than happy to help promote you in return for promoting them.  You can search for authors on Twitter by the #author hashtag.  Another trick to find new readers is search for keywords such as “love to read (insert your book’s genre)”.  I often search for romance/paranormal or just plain old “love to read”.

    So you joined Twitter, but you need help connecting to other authors.  A great group on Facebook is Authors Tweeting Authors.  It’s a private group that allows authors to tweet each other.  Here is the link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/142128792643893/  Another way for authors to tweet authors is to join the World Lit Cafe at http://www.worldliterarycafe.com  There you can joint tweet teams, post your Facebook page links, Twitter usernames and more.  It’s a great way to connect to fellow authors and, once again, gain exposure.  And the best part is it’s free.

    Stay tuned for part 2…

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