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One of the appeals of self-publishing is that there is no waiting time. In traditional publishing, there is a lag, sometimes of a year or more, between the publisher's receipt of a manuscript and its publication.

Historically, authors have railed against this lag for two reasons: 1) They are impatient to see their books on the shelf, and 2) They are worried that in some cases, the book may never be published at all.

The second of these reasons for objecting to a delay in publication is legitimate. If the publication date is not specified in the contract (e.g. manuscript will be published within one year of acceptance), there is always the chance that due to various unforeseen events affecting the publishing house, your book may never make it into print.

The first reason, impatience, is not a good reason to object to a delay, but it is the main reason many writers opt to self-publish. Once they finish a novel, they want to see it in print as soon as possible.

Why immediate publication is a bad idea

One of the reasons traditional publishers delay publication is that in addition to the months required to edit a book, it takes between four and six months to market a book. ARCs must be sent to reviewers, pre-orders must be set up, outlets must be notified. If these steps are not taken in advance, there will be no pre-release buzz. And without pre-release buzz, the proverbial tree will fall in the forest, and it will not make a sound.

This is not to say you can't promote a book after it has been released. You can, and you should. But if you don't create a demand for your book ahead of its release, chances are very few people will buy it. Demand is the fundamental basis of selling anything - be it a new car, a new shoe style, a new book, or a new president. Create a demand, and there will be a market for your product.

If you publish immediately after you finish editing, you will have no demand and no market, which means you are virtually guaranteed a lack of sales.

What to do before publication

First, make a list of book reviewers for your genre. Also make a list of bloggers who do interviews, and make a list of those who do cover reveals. (Many book bloggers do all three.) You should have several hundred reviewers when you are finished. This will take some time, so start now.

While you are making those lists, research popular publications - online magazines and general interest sites - relating to your genre or to the subject of your book. Make a list of those that accept advertising, or which will post your book as a new release. Start making the list now. (You can use Alexa to measure the traffic to a publication's website.)

Build your twitter following. Do not use a service. You need real followers, not a bunch of people who don't care about what you are tweeting. Do this at least a year before the launch of your book.

Make sure you have a Facebook page, a blog, and a website up and running at least a year before you launch your book.

As soon as you have a cover, make a banner. Write your back page blurb, and ask for endorsements.

Six months before your launch send review requests to every reviewer on your list. At the same time, send review requests to your list of popular publications and websites, especially those which charge a fee, (Those tend to get booked up quickly.)

Three months before your release upload your book for pre-ordering on Amazon. (If you are using Smashwords, they also provide a pre-order service.) Sign up for blog tours.

As soon as you have an ARC, submit your book to every self-publishing book contest.

Schedule talks, book signings, and author events to coincide with your release date.

Plan a book release party, and advertise it. Have fun! (And make sure everyone at the party gets on your mailing list.)

Do all of the above - patiently, methodically -  and your book will be a success.


Useful articles:

List of Online Reviewers Who Accept Self-Published Books

Everything I did wrong: Self-Publishing

Arranging Your Own Book Tour

10 Tips for How to Throw a Successful Book Launch Party

10 Ways to Find Your Ideal Audience on Twitter (For Writers)

The Skinny on Virtual Book Tours

You can find many more useful articles on self-publishing and book marketing here.

 
 
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There are more than 20,000 libraries in the U.S., providing not just books to their patrons, but a solid boost for authors. Libraries often feature sections for local authors, and host many literary events.

On October 8, 2016, libraries all over the country will be celebrating indie authors. If you have self-published, this is a golden opportunity for you to connect with readers, local resources, and other writers!

Find out more on the Indie Author Day website.

______________


From the website:

During the Inaugural Indie Author Day on October 8, 2016, libraries from all across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. In addition to these local programs, each library’s indie community will come together for an hour-long digital gathering at 2 pm Eastern featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity for libraries and authors to connect on both local and global levels!

Libraries across the US will be holding:
  • Presentations from local indie authors about writing, marketing and more
  • Book readings and / or signings from local authors
  • Presentations from local industry leaders
  • Writing workshops
  • Presentations and workshops to inform the writing community about tools available for them to use through the library


Is your library participating? Find your library herehttp://indieauthorday.com/where/

 
 
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If you have published a science fiction or fantasy novel, you'll need to promote it on social media. I know the thought of engaging in yet more social media makes you cringe, but like it or not social media is here to stay. And you may, in fact, be pleasantly surprised at how effective it can be.

Here are some social media platforms that can help you promote your book for free. Although they allow promotion, most of these platforms are not strictly promotional. Their main purpose is to host discussion groups, book clubs, and writing critique groups.

In addition to the ever-present necessity of promoting your work, I would encourage you to take advantage of these non-promotional functions for two reasons: 1) As a writer, it's essential to participate in discussions about your craft and genre, and 2) You may make some valuable contacts with other authors in the course of those discussions. (I did.)

Facebook Groups

Facebook is a huge social media platform, which means it can produce dramatic results. First, set up a page for your book. (This is a must.) Then join writers' groups. The largest and most active writers' groups are listed here: 43 Facebook Groups for Authors. There are also several active Facebook groups geared specifically to science fiction and fantasy writers. These are:

Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers in America. (Closed group) This is for writers who focus their work mainly on science fiction and fantasy. The site is for writers to post small pieces of their work to get others' opinions on them, to offer or request advice about the art, craft, and business of writing, and to exchange interests concerning science fiction and fantasy writing with like-minded individuals.

Cyberpunk Science Fiction & Culture (Closed group) Group dedicated to all things related to cyberpunk: culture, literature, music, film, technology, games, fashion, lifestyle, etc.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. This group is open for anyone who loves the genres of science fiction and fantasy. They welcome readers, writers, viewers and all lovers of the genres.

Science Fiction. (Closed group) For all those interested in science fiction and fantasy adventure reading.

Space Opera. Space opera is a sub-genre of science fiction dealing with stories of epic adventure and conflict on a grand scale. If you are a fan of authors like Poul Anderson, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, E.E. Smith, David Drake, Neal Asher, John C. Wright, Iain M. Banks, Walter Jon Williams, Dan Simmons, Jack Vance, David Weber, Vernor Vinge, Stephen Baxter, Larry Niven, or Louis McMaster Bujold, this group is for you. Authors can promote their books through special promotion threads.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Fans. This is a virtual book club of fans of science fiction and fantasy.

SciFi,Horror,Endoftheworld,Truestory.,other,Books,Screen,Music,Writers. This group is for authors, novelists, screenwriters, and bloggers to share their pages and/or published work.

Goodreads

We PROMOTE Fantasy/Sci-Fi Writers/Authors - "If you need help promoting your work, my Sci-Fi/Fantasy Team can advertise your book in our active Facebook fantasy & sci-fi page with 117,000+ Likes, Twitter page with 20,000 Followers, and feature it in Fantascize.com. We can also help you reach thousands of readers through book reviews, author interviews, book trailers, and any other type of advertisment/promotion you may need. For more details, Email my team at fantasynscifi@gmail.com or me personally at berserkxxo@yahoo.com if you're interested."

SciFi and Fantasy Book Club (15669 members) - This is mainly a discussion group, but there is also a folder for authors to promote their books. Make sure to read the rules before posting. 

SciFi and Fantasy eBook Club (3538 members) - Self-promotion is allowed in the Authors' forum for active members.

Dystopia Land (2047 members) provides a folder where authors can post releases, giveaways, free books, and short stories.  

Twitter Hashtags

#SciFi
#SciFiChat
#scifibookclub
#speculativefiction
#fantasy
#sciencefiction
#DarkFantasy
#Fantasy
#Dystopian
#Paranormal
#PNR (Paranormal Romance)
#SteamPunk
#UrbanFantasy
#ScifiRTG or #SFRTG (Sci-fi Retweet Group)
#IFNRTG (Indie Fantasy Re-tweet Group)

General marketing:

#amreading
#indieauthors
#mustread
#kindle
#kindledeals
#BookMarketing
#IARTG (Indie Author Re-tweet Group)
#YA (Young Adult)
#indiebooksbeseen
#Amazon
#BYNR (Be your next read)
#BookGiveaway
#Free
#Freebie
#FreeBook
#FreeDownload
#FreebieFriday
#FreeReads
#KindleBargain

Google+

Google + communities are an ideal platform for book promotion. These communities are lively, and posting is effortless. (All you need to do is post a URL and a brief intro.) Before you start joining Google+ communities make sure you have set up an attractive profile on Google. It's easy to do, and I guarantee people will be visiting. (My profile has gotten over 5 million views.) You can also set up a page for your book. Don't forget to read the rules of the groups before posting!

Speculative Fiction Writers - This Community is a place where all writers of science fiction and fantasy, from brand new to published authors, can come together to share trials and triumphs in developing new worlds, human and nonhuman characters, and stories large and small. (No promos)

Science Fiction Writers - Any and all discussion related to science, fiction, or any intersection of the two is welcome. This community does not allow self-promotion, but feel free to post book reviews and announce the release of your latest work.
Science Fiction - Authors, please feel free to post information and links for your books, blogs or other promotions, but please be sure to do it into the correct category and be sure to limit your self-promotional posts to once per week.

Fantasy Writers - All active members who post and comment on writing-related topics are welcome to promo their work on Saturdays.

Reddit

Reddit is underutilized for promotional purposes, probably because the site actively discourages self-promotion and ads. Nevertheless, several authors have been "discovered" on Reddit, and have developed sizable fan bases, usually through r/books and its subreddits. (The trick to Reddit is knowing which sub-reddit is appropriate for your topic.)

r/books. This is a very active community dedicated to the world of books. There are no direct promotions allowed on this page, but they do have a “new releases” section where you can promote your book. You are allowed to promote your own writing in "new releases" as long as you follow these two rules:
  1. The books being discussed must have been published within the last three months OR are being published this month.
  2. No direct sales links.

All the sci-fi related subreddits have been collated into a Big list of SF-Related Subreddits. There are too many subreddits to list here, but if you take a quick look at the Big List you will find many in the "writing" section that will be useful. (Also make sure to check the genres list.) There are two sub-reddits that are particularly active, and which allow some self-promotion. (Please read the rules before promoting your work!)

r/scifi (238,420 readers) Saturdays “self-promo Saturdays,” so log in on Saturday to promote your book. If you look at the side bar you'll find numerous subreddits, and within those even more sub-subreddits. 

r/sciencefiction (34,189 readers) This reddit is for fans and creators of science fiction and related media in any form. 

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great tool for sharing information. You can set up a board for your own publications and include photos of your book covers, signing events, and anything else related to your writing. You can also set up a group board devoted to related science fiction or fantasy topics, such as self-published science fiction or your favorite classic science fiction books, and allow others to share their titles. You can join established boards as well. (This is a great way to get followers.) Here are some group science fiction and fantasy boards that welcome new pinners:

SciFi Books – Community Board

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

Bookaholics Anonymous

Indie Authors and Self Published

! Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

For more detailed information about how you can make best use of Pinterest see:  How to Use Pinterest to Build an Audience (For Writers)

 
 
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Indie authors need all the help they can get. Self-publishing is difficult, time-consuming, and there is a steep learning curve. Fortunately, there are lots of people who are here to help.

If you are considering self-publishing, you will need an arsenal of tools, tips, and strategies, all of which you can find in the following sites.

Need a free guide on how to get your book into bookstores? Galley Cat has one. Need daily updates on the publishing industry? Look no further than Publishers Weekly. Between these 10 sites you will be well-equipped to take the Indie world by storm.



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1. GalleyCat brands itself as "the first word on the book publishing industry." Here you will find the latest digital and print publishing trends, new books, and authors who might be "the next big thing.” The site features daily updates on Publishing, Book Biz, Reviews, Resources and Bookselling. They also list job openings in the publishing industry and offer courses (right side bar).

Every week Galley Cat publishes lists of the 10 top-selling books in the two major market places for self-published digital books: Amazon and Smashwords. The lists include a live link to the book so readers can buy it, right from the site.

In addition, Galley Cat provides a number of resources for self-published authors among which are: Free Sites to Promote Your eBook,How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores, and How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets.

2. Publishers Weekly is an institution in the publishing industry. Founded in 1872, it is read by nearly every librarian, publisher, agent, and bookseller in the country. Publishers Weekly articles cover publishing, bookselling, marketing, merchandising, trade news, along with author interviews, people in publishing, and bestsellers.

Keeping up with the times, Publishers Weekly offers several free newsletters, one of which, the Book Life Report, is aimed specifically at self-publishers. In addition to providing the latest news about the ebook publishing industry, self-published authors can apply to have their book reviewed. Advertising space is also available.

3. TheBookDesigner.com  was founded by Joel Friedlander, the reigning "guru" of self-publishing. As a book designer and author, his site provides insights, tips and practical information for the self-published author, as well as offering breaking news about the industry at large. For resources, you cannot do better than this site. From free guides, to book templates, to media kits for your launch and print-on-demand book sizes, this site has everything.

In addition to providing extensive resources, Friedlander compiles a monthly blog carnival, The Carnival of the Indies, in which he gathers posts from all over the web. If you write about self-publishing, you can submit your blog posts to the blog carnival.

4. Jane Friedman.com. Jane Friedman has more than 20 years of experience in the book and magazine publishing industry. She has been a featured speaker in such notable venues at BookExpo America, Frankfurt Book Fair, and Digital Book World. Her site attracts over 150,000 unique visitors per month.

In addition to offering author services such as critiques of proposals, synopses, and query letters, Friedman publishes a free newsletter, Electric Speed, in which she recommends the best digital media tools and resources for authors. (About 2 messages per month.) HerWriting Advice archive provides invaluable tools for every type of writing and publication format imaginable.

5. BookWorks.com describes itself as "a community dedicated to producing, publishing and promoting its members' books, sharing what they learn and helping each other." Core membership is free. As a Core member you will have access to:
  • Works in Progress – Post 2000-word excerpts of your book for peer review 
  • BookWorks Blog – Where industry experts share valuable insider tips, information and how-tos, plus breaking news from across the indie blogosphere, guest writers, as well as archives of all past blog posts organized by topic 
  • Resource Directory— All the essential services; curated, arranged by category & updated frequently 
  • Author Profile – Your customizable online hub & calling card 
  • Community – Interactive, Social & News feed with member controls ... the heart of the BookWorks community 
  • BookWorks BookShop – Where you can showcase & sell your book(s) by linking your titles directly to retailers 
  • Service Provider Members – Everything from freelance proofreaders to web designers who offer services to help Indie authors self-publish 
  • BookWorks’ Learning Tools – “Success Series” white papers, as well as forthcoming podcasts & webinars.
6.  Blog.Smashwords.com. Mark Coker founded Smashwords in 2008 to change the way authors self-publish. By 2014 Smashwords had become the leading publisher of Indie books with a catalog of 336,000 books by over 100,000 authors.

The Smashwords blog was one of the first blogs dedicated exclusively to news and best practices of self-published digital authors. On this blog you will find the latest developments on ebook publication, digital requirements, breaking news, as well as the highly informative surveys Smashwords conducts each year.

7. DIYAuthor.com is a site that “educates and empowers writers — from the curious to the committed — with tools and resources to successfully develop, publish, and market their work with confidence.”

DIYAuthor boasts numerous resources: writing tips, editing, how to design your book (cover and layout), self-publishing platforms, how to promote and market your book, and managing your life as an author. This site is very user friendly and beautifully laid out. You won't have any problems finding the articles you need.

8. IndiesUnlimited.com was named as one of the top six blogs for authors by Publishers Weekly, and that's quite an endorsement. The link will take you directly to the blog, which like all blogs is arranged from most to least recent. But if you click on the Resources tab in the upper left corner, you'll find a long list of useful articles. This site also provides great links for finding reviewers for your book.

9. Author Marketing Experts, Inc. Penny Sansevieri started Author Marketing Experts because, like so many of us, she had written a book and had no idea how to promote it. However, unlike most of us, Penny had a background in marketing, which she put to good use. Her articles are practical, concise, and highly informative. Once you are in the site, look for Categories on the right side bar. These are nicely arranged into marketing, publishing, self-publishing, social media, and writing. You can also sign up for their free newsletter, which I suggest you do.

10. TheCreativePenn.com. Joanna Penn's blog is a wonderful resource for both aspiring and experienced writers. She delivers numerous marketing and self-publishing tools and updates via videos, tutorials, podcasts and, of course, blog posts. The site has over 1000 articles and over 100 hours of audio information, as well as downloads. Overwhelming? Yes, indeed. That's why there is a "Start Here" tab. Start there.

And as a bonus:

ThePassiveVoice.com. Passive Guy (aka David P. Vandagriff) is a lawyer who began blogging anonymously "so his snarky remarks would not show up when opposing counsel performed a Google search." Personally, I find his remarks to be anything but snarky. Although his disclaimer warns readers not to take his comments as legal advice ("get a lawyer") he has some truly valuable insights into contracts as well as self-publishing. (Look in Categories on the right side bar for a full list of topics,) Passive Guy's expertise makes this a popular site. It gets 2.5 million pageviews per year.


 
 
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Mark Coker is the founder and CEO of Smashwords, and he knows his business. Last November he wrote an article forPublisher's Weekly explaining in detail how pre-orders can help increase sales for self-published authors.

If you are self-publishing, pre-orders are a must. Not only do they help generate buzz about your book, they serve as a vital promotional tool. There is little point lining up advance reviews if readers who are fired up about your book can't place an order. With pre-orders, readers can respond to an immediate call to action, and you don't have to wait to see if your marketing campaign is working.

All of the major self-publishing platforms currently offer pre-orders as part of their packages. But before you schedule pre-orders, you need to have all your ducks lined up in a row. Have you assembled a list of reviewers? Is your book cover finished? Do you have promotional materials (back cover copy) ready? Are your friends, colleagues, family members alerted? (Don't be afraid to get on the phone.)

There is no substitute for careful planning.
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How Indie Authors Can Use Preorders to Crack the Bestseller Lists


BY MARK COKER

Imagine you could press a magic button that would make your next book launch more successful. The magic button is the e-book preorder, which gives indie authors a sales and marketing advantage.

Over the last 12 months, nearly two-thirds of the top 200 bestsellers distributed by Smashwords originated as pre-orders. This statistic is all the more impressive when you consider that only one in eight books published at Smashwords during this period was listed as a preorder.

A preorder is an advance listing of your e-book at major retailers that allows your reader to reserve a copy of your book up to 12 months before the release date. When the book is officially released, the customer’s credit card is charged and the book appears in her device’s library.

Although preorders are standard practice for traditional publishers, most self-published authors don’t yet know how to take advantage of them. Let’s fix that problem right now.

Five Big Benefits of E-book Preorders

1. More effective advance marketing of your book: Most authors use Facebook and other social media to communicate with readers about works in progress. By providing a preorder link every time you share news about your upcoming releases, you can capture readers’ orders when you have their greatest interest and attention.

2. Preorders signal commitment: When you establish a pre-order, you’re making a commitment to deliver a book to your readers. This signal of commitment is especially valuable if you write series. A preorder on a series makes the entire series more desirable to readers because it shows that you’re continuing to support the series.

3. Simultaneous release at multiple retailers: A preorder gives all retailers time to process your book in advance of the sale date so that they’re ready to release your book on the same day. Readers appreciate simultaneous releases.

4. Preorders help your superfans review first: Your biggest fans are more likely to reserve a preorder. This means that when your book goes on sale, readers who already love your work will be the first to receive the book and the first to leave reviews. These positive reviews will drive the next wave of purchases after release.

5. Fast track to bestseller lists: At iBooks and Kobo, all orders you accumulate leading up to your release date are credited toward your first day’s sales rank. This can cause your book to spike higher in the bestseller lists on release day, which increases the visibility and desirability of your title, leading to more sales. Amazon does not credit your accumulated orders toward your first day’s sale rank, which means that preorders will actually cannibalize your first day’s sales rank. For this reason, some indie authors forgo the preorder at Amazon and simply upload on release day so they can concentrate more sales on day one. However, an Amazon preorder may still make sense for you given the other benefits stated above.

As with all tools, those who know how to wield the tool will do the best with it.

Five Preorder Best Practices

1. List the preorder as early as possible: Look at your publishing calendar for the next 12 months, and get everything up on preorder now. At Smashwords, you can upload your preorder up to 12 months in advance, and you can adjust the date later if needed.

2. You can list the preorder before the book is finished: In June, Smashwords announced assetless preorders, also known as “metadata-only” preorders. With an assetless preorder, we can establish your preorder at iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo before the book is finished. All you need is the basic metadata: the title, the description, the price, and the categorization. Some authors even choose to establish preorders without cover designs so they can turn the cover reveal into a separate preorder marketing event days or weeks later.

3. Promote direct hyperlinks: Once your book is up for preorder, share direct hyperlinks to your preorder listing at each retailer. This puts your readers one click away from reserving your book at their favorite retailers.

4. Leverage your other books to promote your preorder:

After your preorder is listed at the retailers, update the back matter of your other e-books to promote the preorder. Consider running price promotions on your other e-books, including free promotions, so you can use the increased readership to drive more readers to the preorder.

5. Plan an aggressive multiweek marketing campaign:

When you do a preorder, spread your book launch activities throughout the duration of the preorder period so that you’re building buzz in support of your book release every week.

 
 
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Scott Bergstrom made publishing news last November when his debut novel, The Cruelty, got a six-figure advance with attached movie rights. Scott originally self-published his book, but not in the ordinary fashion. As an advertising executive, Scott knew that marketing was everything. He formed a LLC, NuCodex Publishing, which allowed him to display his book at the Frankfurt Book Fair. It generated a huge amount of interest, grabbing the attention of an agent - and Hollywood.

What is interesting about Scott's self-publishing story is that he planned on making a bestseller from the start. He did not spend time querying agents (it may have taken years). Instead he built success with careful planning. 

First he chose to write a thriller (great for film adaptations), with a teenage main character (YA is very popular right now), using tried-and-true tropes from previously successful books/movies.

Then he drew on his own experience as a marketer to catapult his book into the limelight. And he began his plan when he had only written a few pages.

The moral to this story - think ahead.
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YA Debut Gets Six-Figure Deal, Sold to 16 Territories and Jerry Bruckheimer

By Sue Corbett, Nov 24, 2015 Publishers Weekly

A six-figure deal for North American rights to The Cruelty is the latest in a string of good things that have happened to Scott Bergstrom’s debut novel in just the past month. The manuscript, self-published a year ago, caught fire in October at the Frankfurt Book Fair with sales, so far, into 16 territories. “Every morning I wake up to more exciting e-mails,” said his agent, Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

The buzz that those foreign sales generated ignited interest from Hollywood. In late October, Paramount secured the film rights, with Jerry Bruckheimer attached. (Yes, that Jerry Bruckheimer – Pirates of the CaribbeanTop GunBeverly Hills Cop.)

And, now, Bergstrom has a U.S. publisher for his thriller, which Adams describes as a “YA Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets The Bourne Identity, with a dash of Homeland.” (Adams said she got one offer for the book based on nothing more than that description.) Jean Feiwel of Macmillan’s Feiwel and Friends won the book, plus a sequel, in a six-house auction. Publication is scheduled for winter 2017.

Read the rest of this fascinating article on Publishers Weekly

 
 
The Martian, a film directed by Ridley Scott (AlienBlade Runner, Gladiator) and starring Matt Damon, has grossed over $385,869,582 in less than a month. This is not an unusual occurrence in Hollywood. But how an obscure, self-published novel chock full of math and science ended up as a blockbuster certainly should be a question on every indie author's lips.


Like many authors, Andy Weir, a computer programmer, could not get an agent interested in his novel, The Martian. Weir, the son of a particle physicist father and an electrical engineer mother, spent years researching orbital mechanics, conditions on Mars, the history of manned spaceflight, and botany in order to write his survival story about a man marooned on Mars. While clearly a work of fiction, Weir, to use his own words, "scienced the shit out of it." The novel is laden with enough math and science to defend his premise, which is that a man can survive alone on Mars.

The plot of the book (and film) is fairly straightforward. Astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead when a manned mission to Mars is hit by an intense storm. Abandoned by the rest of the crew, and unable to contact NASA, Watney uses his knowledge as a botanist to grow food in the mission's artificial habitat. He figures he'll need to survive for at least three years. (Think Cast Away, but without the volleyball.) Eventually, Watney locates an old probe and uses it to regain contact with Earth. The rest of the plot follows the twists and turns of various disasters, recoveries, and attempts to rescue Watney.

Since Robinson Crusoe, survival plots have been sure-fire hits among readers. There is something deeply engaging about an individual's fight for survival. I believe this is because it is a theme we can all identify with, and, at a metaphorical level, it is one we all experience. Yet, this story was rejected by every agent Weir contacted, probably because of all the science. Science and math are not considered "marketable." (Neither are long sentences and words containing more than two syllables.)

So, how did Weir manage to find an audience?

First, Weir posted his book, chapter by chapter, in serial form on his website. Then he published it on Amazon for 99 cents. After the book had gotten 35,000 downloads in less than three months, Weir was contacted by Crown and offered a contract. The rest is history.

If this story seems pie-in-the-sky to you, it is. In fact, it's a little like the hilarious Monty Python skit, "How to do it."

"This week on 'How to Do It' we're going to learn how to play the flute, how to split the atom, how to construct box girder bridges and how to irrigate the Sahara and make vast new areas cultivatable, but first, here's Jackie to tell you how to rid the world of all known diseases!" 

So, to paraphrase Monty Python, all you have to do is "write something marvelous, and when the world starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well write your own ticket." (Sadly, this is a commonly held delusion among young writers.)

To answer the question "How could Weir's story possibly be true?" I consulted with someone I gave birth to (Spawnling #2). I figured he could give me an insider's view of how on earth someone can end up with a movie deal after posting a novel on his website. After all, there are a billion websites out there. How did readers find his?

The answer, not too surprisingly, was to get onto a bigger platform. Spawnling #2 described reading a serialized book on a website after encountering it on Reddit (/r/books, to be precise). Reddit has a much deeper reach than most individual websites can muster. By garnering attention on Reddit, lots of people began talking about the book, and it gained a readership. (Go here for other writing-related sub-reddits.)

You may be tearing your hair out right now, wondering how your historical romance can possibly appeal to a bunch of 20-something males on the west coast. (That's Reddit's demographic.) The truth is, it probably won't. But there is always a platform (meaning a popular site) for the sort of people who will want to talk about your book. It is up to you to find where your demographic hangs out, and how to reach them.

I've made your job a little easier by assembling these resources:

Top 5 Sites for Science Fiction Writers

Top 5 Sites For Mystery/Thriller Writers

Top 6 Sites for Romance Writers

Top 5 Online Resources for Children's and YA Book Writers

Top 5 Sites for Historical Fiction
 
 
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Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, the most famous author you have never heard of, has been making the news recently. His children's book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, has been touted as an overnight success after it hit #1 on Amazon's bestseller list with seemingly no promotion.

How did Ehrlin's self-published Rabbit manage to garner the top position on Amazon? There was some speculation that he may have gamed the system by having everyone he knew purchase copies simultaneously (this has been done before) - but 20,000 copies? 

The mystery of how Ehrlin won such spectacular success - including a 7-figure advance from Random House - is finally revealed. Publisher's Weekly has conducted an interview with Ehrlin in which the author revealed how his book became a bestseller - step by step.
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A Self-Published Sleeper: Author of 'The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep' Speaks

By Claire Kirch | Oct 07, 2015, Publisher's Weekly

"Initially, Ehrlin focused on selling Rabbit at seminars he conducted before various groups and the classes he taught at Jonkoping University. The word-of-mouth praise that effort drove, he said, resulted in people talking about the book to the press. This, he said, propelled sales of the book in Sweden. After Rabbit became a bestseller in Sweden, Ehrlin decided to solicit “friends and their friends” to assist him in translating the book into approximately half a dozen languages so that it could reach a wider audience.

After the various translated editions were self-published in 2014, through Amazon’s CreateSpace imprint, the U.K. edition, Ehrlin said, received “the most attention.” This, he assumes, is attributed to the the fact that he gave away e-book editions of the title via Facebook.

"I did some ads there saying the book existed and [people] could try it for free and see if they liked it or not."

Ehrlin thinks that the people who downloaded the free e-books must have recommended the title to their friends, and those friends then sought out the print edition. “There was a correlation there” between the growing number of free downloads and sales of the print book," he noted. “Then the snowball started rolling, I think. There was a lot of word of mouth.”

Read the rest of this article HERE.

 
 
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Among the many awards for self-published books, there are few that are worth winning. The majority of self-published book awards don't confer any benefit to the author, other than a seal that winners often must pay for. And many of these contests are run by media groups that use them as a way to drum up business.

That being said, there are a few contests that are not only prestigious, but offer considerable prizes to the winners, either in terms of cash or publicity. I have listed 10 of the most worthwhile below.

With two exceptions all of these contests charge a fee, although in most cases the fees are reasonable (under $100).

While cash awards are always appreciated, as is the publicity generated by awards ceremonies, these benefits are fleeting. Before you enter any contest, make sure you have a long-term plan in place - just in case you win. How will you make good use of your award? Will you order gold seals to affix to your book cover (if it is in print)? Do you have a press release in place to announce your prize to local media? How about researching opportunities for talks given by an "award-winning author"? Even if you don't think you stand a chance of getting an award, when it comes to marketing and promotion, it is always a good idea to plan ahead.

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Axiom Awards. Authors and publishers throughout North America and overseas publishers who publish English-language business books with a 2014-2016 copyright or that were released between June 2014 and December 2015, and that are intended for the American market may enter. Print-On-Demand and other independent authors are welcome to enter their books themselves. Genre: Business books. Entry fee: $85 per title, per category, until October 24. $95 from October 25-December 12. Deadline: December 12, 2015.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) with help from over 150 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are unique in that all entrants receive direct feedback on their entries. The actual judging forms are returned to all participating publishers. Indie publishers and self-published authors are invited to enter the next competition for books with a copyright date of 2015. Genre: Any. Prize: Announcement to major trade journals (including Publishers Weekly and Book Business), to select public libraries, through all IBPA social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, the IBPA Blog. Entry fee: IBPA member – $95 per title, per category. Non-IBPA member – $225 for first title, which includes one year’s membership in IBPA; $95 per title, per category for second and subsequent entries. Deadlines: FIRST CALL—SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 - Primarily for titles published January 1 – August 31, 2015: SECOND CALL— DECEMBER 15, 2015 - Primarily for titles published September 1 – December 31, 2015.

The Book Designer: Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards. Aside from the fact that there is no fee for entering this contest, Joel Friedlander's site gets a substantial amount of traffic. Genre: Any Indie book cover. Entry fee: None. Deadline: Revolving.

Eric Hoffer Award. The Eric Hoffer Book Award is one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses. Anyone (including the author) can submit one or more books for the Eric Hoffer Award. Printed, e-books, and chapbooks are accepted. Genre: Any. Prize: $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions, as well as the winners of the Montaigne Medal, da Vinci Eye, and First Horizon Award. The book awards are covered independently by the US Review of Books. Entry fee: $55 (chapbooks $40). Deadline: January 21st of the award year.

IACP Cookbook Awards Details to be announced on September 14, 2015.

Independent Publisher Book Awards. All independent publishers are eligible, ranging from self-published authors to major university presses. About 2,400 publishers participate in the Awards each year, from every U.S. state, Canada, and English-speaking countries overseas around the world. The 2015 IPPY Awards attracted 5,700 total entries; winners came from 45 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, six Canadian provinces, and ten countries overseas. Genre: Any. Prize: IPPY Award entrants have four ways to win: the National, Regional, E-Book and Outstanding Books of the Year (which all entrants are considered for with no extra fee). Award winners are headlined on Independent Publisher, and are featured prominently in articles in their monthly newsletter, which goes out to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide, many of whom are agents, buyers, and librarians. Entry fee: $75.00 per category. Deadline: February 27, 2016.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Not-for-Profit book awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. In its ninth year of operation, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards was established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books in over 70 different categories, for the year, and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group (www.IBPPG.com) in cooperation with Marilyn Allen of Allen O'Shea Literary Agency. Open to all indie publishers including independent publishers (small, medium or otherwise), university presses, self-published authors, e-book authors, seasoned authors and even first time authors based in the U.S., Canada or internationally who have a book written in English and released in 2014, 2015 or 2016 or with a 2014, 2015 or 2016 copyright date. Genre: Any. Prize:
  • $1,500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the best Fiction Book
  • $1,500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the best Non-Fiction Book
  • $750 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the second best Fiction Book
  • $750 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the second best Non-Fiction Book
  • $500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the third best Fiction Book
  • $500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the third best Non-Fiction Book
  • $100 Cash Prize and a Gold Medal awarded to the winner of each of the 70 categories
  • Finalist Medals will be awarded to up to five finalists in each of the 70 categories
Entry fee:  Early Bird Special Entry Fee is $75 and includes the entry of one title in two categories. On October 1, 2015 the price to enter two categories increases by $50. Deadline: February 12, 2016.

Shelf UnboundShelf Unbound book review magazine reaches more than 125,000 readers in the U.S. and in 65 other countries around the globe. Genre: Any. Prize: The author of the book named as the Best Independently Published book will receive $500, a year's worth of full-page ads in Shelf Unbound, and editorial coverage in the December/January 2016 issue of Shelf Unbound. Five finalists will receive editorial coverage in the December/January 2016 issue of Shelf Unbound. More than 100 books deemed by the editors as "notable" entries in the competition will also be featured in the December/January 2016 issue. Entry fee: $40 per title. Deadline: October 1, 2015.

Spark Award. Sponsored by the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Genre: Children's book. Prize: The winner and honor recipients will receive: a Spark seal to display on their book;  commemorative plaque; the opportunity to have their book featured and autographed at an SCBWI conference of their choosing during the year the award is won, featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and publicized through SCBWI social networking sites. The winners will also get the opportunity to attend any conference of their choice tuition free (other than for extras such as critiques and intensives). Entry fee: No fee. Deadline: December 1, 2015 for books published in the 2015 calendar year. Do not enter before September 15, 2015.

Writer’s Digest is holding its 3rd Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards–a competition that spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors. Prizes:

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • $5,000 in cash
  • A feature article about you and your book for the May/June 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest
  • Winner’s name on the cover of Writer’s Digest magazine (subscriber issues)
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
  • 30-minute platform & marketing consultation with Chuck Sambuchino, author of Create Your Writer Platform
  • $200 worth of Writer’s Digest books
  • One year Subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine
One First Prize winner in each category will receive:
  • $1,000 in cash
  • Promotion in the May/June 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest books
  • One year Subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine
Entry fee: First entry—$110. Each additional entry—$85. Deadline: September 21, 2015

 
 
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If you are self-publishing, setting a price for your novel can be daunting. Do you set the price as low as possible in order to garner the most readers, or do you set a higher price in hopes that you will make some money for your labors? And if you do set a higher price in hopes of gaining an income, what is reasonable?

In this highly informative Huffington Post article, "Setting the Price for Your Novel -- What You Need to Know," Kristen Houghton lays out exactly how to price your novel. She also talks about discounts, how retail prices are calculated, and a lot of other factors that can affect the price of a book.

If you want to know which price gets the best performance in terms of maximizing readers and sales, Written Word Media has done an analysis. According to Written Word, if your only goal is to maximize the number of readers you acquire:
  • $0.99 is the most effective price point.
  • $1.99 is not far behind.
If your only goal is to maximize revenue on the day of a promotion:
  • Price your book at $4.99.
You will acquire far fewer readers, but generate the most revenue. And if you want to achieve both goals
  • but value acquiring new readers more than maximizing revenue, go for $1.99.
  • but want to maximize revenue more than you want to acquire new readers, price your book at $2.99.
There is no simple formulafor how to price your book, but between these two articles, you should get a good idea of how pricing works in real terms.
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Setting the Price for Your Novel -- What You Need to Know

By Kristen Houghton

Think you know all about publishing your book? The writing, the edits, etc., sure. But there's more. Do you know how to price your novel so it will sell well? This isn't about publicity, this is about the actual book price seen by your readers. There's a whole new world out there for authors and we need to be on top of all the "my book" related parts of publishing. Careful pricing is one of the keys to success.

One of the most important aspects with which an author must deal is the aspect of dollars and cents; in other words the selling price of your book and the profit you will make. If you are traditionally published, no worries; your publisher will determine the retail price of your print novel as well as your ebook version. Publishers will tell you the price point of your book and you're pretty much set.

However if you're going the route of a boutique publishing house of which you are a partner, or you are self-publishing, you need to know the publishing basics. The number one basic is how to do retail pricing. It isn't complicated; it is simple math. The retail price is achieved through an appraisal of your book's target audience and factors in the competitive price at which books in the same genre are selling. A simple example is if you're a romance writer and a competitor's print book of a similar length and size is priced at $9.95. You can feel secure in pricing your own at the same price.

The second basic is knowing how to actually arrive at the retail price. That figure should be at least 2.5 times the single-copy printing cost. This allows for a reasonable margin that will cover book-related costs and your profits after trade discounts are factored in. The retail price also helps establish the net sales payment amount. That's the amount you, the author, make from each sale. To make a nice profit per sale, and staying competitive, you price your book at $12.95.

But, there are some other things to consider when you set the price for your book. Remember the word discounts? Here's how it relates to the retail price.

Find out more about how to price your book HERE.


 

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