Building a Book, Part II

Indie Publishers Go Their Own Way

by G G Collins

What happened to the easy life as a writer?  Despite my time at a traditional book publisher, I was unprepared for marketing and promoting my eBook Reluctant Medium. An eBook is a whole different animal.

A bricks and mortar book publisher will mail a handful of advance galleys to review media in the States such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times and your local newspaper—if it still has a book page. And they may set up a couple local morning TV shows. After that, you’re usually on your own unless you’re one of the few chosen for an all-out book tour, something that becomes less and less common every year.

But surprise, most of these conventional review media won’t accept eBooks for review at all, but a couple will do it for a fee. With Kirkus, it’s a pricey fee!

Start here. That places the eBook author firmly at the starting line. Fortunately, the eBook world is quickly forming its own network of book review blogs, blog tours and book communities  stepping in to give the fledgling eBook author a leg up.

Goodreads-badge-read-reviewsHere are some book communities that will help you learn about marketing, promotions and getting reviews: Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com, Shelfari (Book must be book available at Amazon.) at http://www.shelfari.com and  Writers’ Café at http://www.kindleboards.com (If you published in Kindle format.) Amazon also has forums. Post only in the “Meet the Author” forums as the others are for readers. Don’t forget the forums in other countries where your book is selling. Again, look for the “Meet the Author” forums, then post on threads featuring books in the same language as your book.

Whichever book and author websites you decide to join, be certain to take advantage of their author pages as well as the book page. Complete both and link them. Yes, you’re going to be busy for awhile, but it’s worth the time to get your book out there.

Goodreads takes authors, whatever format they’ve chosen. Look for their threads on marketing and promoting, tagging (Members “tag” each others books on their product page.), indie publishing and blogging. You can announce events: free Amazon promotions, book signings, giveaways, and contests.

Whatever websites you use, haunt the forums looking for information you need to get your books in front of your audience. If you write thrillers, mysteries, romances, nonfiction self-help or spirituality, you’ll find a reading group.

Available at Smashwords

Bloggers to the rescue:Look for forums with members willing to do reviews and interviews. Bloggers are also members. Let them know which retailers carry your book:  Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. The reviewer can then place the review in those outlets.

Here are some bloggers where I’ve found interviews and reviews: Mallory Heart Reviews at http://archiestandwoodsreviewsandwritings.blogspot.com/; Kindle Book Promos at http://kindlebookpromos.luckycinda.com/; Chompasaurus at http://www.chompasaurusreviews.com/;  Paranormal Book Club at http://paranormal-bookclub.com/; and Indie eBooks in the UK at http://indieebooks.wordpress.com/. Google “book review bloggers,” and start looking for good matches to your genre.

Are you social? If you’re a member of Google+1, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, publicize your book under the guidelines of these social networks. Some have accounts that cater to authors or you might even set up an account in your character’s name. Just make certain you’re doing it according to their terms and conditions.

Seeing the world. Smashwords offers a premium catalog listing for those eBooks that qualify. This gets your book in places like Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, Sony, Apple, Kobo and Library Direct. Being accepted in the premium catalog is important. Smashwords distribution reaches more countries than Amazon. It appears to be the road to world-wide distribution and it continues to extend its reach.

English: Photographic composition of Granmata ...

eReaders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acceptance depends on the way your manuscript is formatted. I took advantage of Smashwords list of formatters. (They also have a list of book cover artists.) First, I edited it again myself, then spent $50 to hire the formatter.

I chose Shelley Glasow Schadowsky at http://www.goodlifeguide.com.  The first time I uploaded the book, it failed to obtain acceptance, but Ms. Schadowsky made the necessary fixes and it’s now in the premium catalog.

It’s a blog. The other thing an author must do is build a blog. Two free places to get your start are Google’s Blogger and WordPress. I’ve read good things about both, so it’s just a matter of what you prefer. I chose WordPress and have been happy with it. There are many themes to choose from. You can find one that will match your personality or reflects the mood of your book.

Now, blogging is not all about promoting your book. In fact, writing posts that are related to your book, but not featuring your book, is the direction you want. For instance, I started my blog writing about the places where the “treasure hunt” in the storyline took place. And because I write about a medium, I added ghost stories about my locale. Since then, I’ve covered locations used in my book, talked about my characters, and enhanced the metaphysical aspects of the story.

Be sure to protect your writing with copyright notices. WordPress has one you can use on your blog. I use a copyright notice on all my photos as well.

Image representing Smashwords as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

For more in-depth help, here are two eBooks by Mark Coker, author and founder of Smashwords: Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success and Smashwords Book Marketing Guide. I’ve found these quite helpful. They are available at Smashwords, Amazon and other formats.

Go indie! When we choose the indie path, it’s indie all the way. Marketing and promoting an eBook feels like a monumental task at first, but just approach it like you did writing the book; one chapter at a time. The indie publisher writes, edits and formats the manuscript. Think of that as chapter one. This is followed by marketing and promotions, or chapter two. The final chapter is reaping the profits as your book and blog following grows.

From here we have to put on our writing hat and go to work on the next book. This can be a bit disorienting, but just plunge in. You’ve been making notes and doing research while marketing your book, so you’re ready; string those words.

This is rudimentary marketing and promotions for an eBook. Indies are learning these skills together as the market for eBooks continues to grow. I believe we are the face of new publishing, green publishing, with the potential to bring reading to people who haven’t been exposed to books in their lifetime.

With conventional publishers fading away, and eBooks exploding on the scene, we are pioneers—not in covered wagons, but pioneers exploring the technological frontier.

— G G Collins

Copyscape Do Not Copy

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About G G Collins

Reporter, blogger, book writer.

Posted on November 7, 2012, in Publishing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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