Yes, You Have to Price Your Books Low if You Want People to Buy Them

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You dedicated two years to working on your first novel (here’s mine!). Spent several hundred dollars (or even a couple thousand) on editors and designers.

And now that you’re ready to publish, you’re being told to price your book LOW?

Screw that, right?

I’m Here to Tell You that Low Prices = Higher Readership

I do not advocate giving your book away for free, unless for reviews or giveaway contests. However, if you’re an indie author and you’re publishing your debut novel, you might have to sell your book for less than what it’s worth.

AT FIRST.

If you’re launching your indie career, I doubt this will be the last book you write. So the goal of publishing your first book should be about building readership. An engaged and dedicated readership, who will then buy book #2, and #3, and so forth …

What’s the best way to get readers to take a chance on an indie author they’ve never heard of before? Remove the risk; price your book low.

Increase Prices as Readership Grows

As you begin to build a readership, and people recognize your value as an author, they’ll be more willing to pay a couple of extra dollars for your next book.

Also, as your reviews and sales accumulate on Amazon, at bookstores, and at libraries, you’ll build enough “social validation” to increase prices of your published works.

In essence, think of your indie career as a marathon, not a sprint.

Don’t Forget to Reward Your Most Dedicated Fans!

When the time comes to begin increasing your prices, don’t forget about the readers who launched you to this place of success! Make sure to offer them discounts and benefits for remaining loyal fans.

  • Coupon codes
  • Pre-order deals with special pricing
  • Giveaways just for them

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you agree that indie authors should price their books lower to begin building a readership? Comment below!

Why Indie Authors Have to Stick Together

I’ve heard self-publishing “experts” say time and time again that no big difference exists between an author going the traditional route or the indie route.

Ahem — I beg to differ.

Therefore, here are the reasons why us indie authors have to stick together:

1) We have to pay for EVERYTHING.

Editors, designers, copyright filing, advertising, and yes, book tours.

2) And let’s just admit it. Major traditional publishers have one gargantuan advantage over us: connections.

Connections to major media outlets (like the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly), to librarians, to book store owners, to distributors, and to online influencers.

3) No one takes us seriously when we’re starting out.

4) Those dang literary pirates want to steal and sell our stuff!

5) We’re a bunch of anti-establishment rebels.

Of course, we take on this load because we have SO MUCH MORE CONTROL. Over everything.

  • Creativity
  • Legal rights
  • Marketing
  • Design
  • Presentation
  • Pricing

But man, for an indie author trying to make it, you guys know this is an uphill battle! I don’t care what anyone says, going indie is a tougher climb. And this, my friends, is why we all gotta stick together.

While you’re here, did you know I published my debut novel six months ago? “The Apollo Illusion” is a science fiction dystopia about a future society’s frightening overdependence on technology. Learn more by clicking here!

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What it’s Like to Be 2 Millennia Old?

The following is a guest post from a mysterious writer. You must read until the end to discover the secretive recluse …

Everyone has their secrets.

Mine is more complicated than most. Sure, I look like a perky twenty-four-year-old with resting bitchy face, but you’d be wrong. At least about the twenty-four-year-old part.

I’m actually older than Jesus and far more cynical.

So, you might be asking yourself, what’s it like to live for two millennia? Allow me to explain in GIFs. They’re the “in” thing now, right?

1) Like you simply can’t deal with the human race’s stupidity for a second longer.

2)  Like you’re in a crowded room and completely standing still.

3) Like getting close to anyone is just another road trip to heartache.

4) Like times and technology might be changing, but really, that’s about it.

5) Like you’d rather slide down a banister of razor blades into a pool of alcohol—than be forced to make new friends.

6) Like you could totally ace any history test thrown at you.

7) Like whenever you meet someone without ulterior motives, you might just faint.

8) Like in all honesty, the majority of the time, it’s just…

This probably didn’t sell you much on the glorious lifestyle of being older than dirt—but deal with it. In all honesty, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Then again, maybe you’re a sadist. C’mon, I know at least a few of you reading this are. If that’s the case, feel free to linger a bit longer in my world. Check out Oracle by Carissa Andrews—but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Wondering who Carissa Andrews is now? Well, you can find her:

How to Deal with Criticism After Publishing Your Book

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No matter how you slice it, reading criticism of your beloved book is hard. Especially when it’s your first book, and a critique can feel like a personal assault on your child.

I get it. As I prepared to read the first public reviews of my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, I mentally put up my “wall.” I’ve been a journalist and professional writer for 12 years now, and I became an expert at letting naysayers be naysayers.

But reading criticism of my first novel as a published author—as a creative writer—was a whole different universe I wasn’t prepared for (even though I thought I was).

You will undoubtedly LOVE some of the reviews you receive. You’ll share them on social media, on your blog, in your newsletter, or in paid advertisements. However, others may feel unfair (or at least aspects of them may feel unfair). But everyone knows, as an author, it’s not your place to defend your work once it’s been published.

Judgement now becomes the public’s job.

So, how do you cope when you have to remain silent?

First of all, understand that by trying to argue with the critics, you’ll appear defensive and immature. People will think you’re thin-skinned or an unsuccessful writer who simply can’t take the heat.

In my opinion, the only time you should publicly criticize a critic, is if the critic attacks you PERSONALLY, attacks a loved one, or makes a statement that is false and slanderous (such as claiming you plagiarized your work, when you didn’t).

Here are the ways I dealt with silently swallowing some of the critiques I received:

  1. Realize the unfavorable or unfair review is just ONE PERSON’S opinion. And people are entitled to their own opinions, right? As writers, we thrive on freedom of speech and expression of ideas. It’s all part of the dialogue.
  2. The copyright of your work belongs to you, but the judgement of your book belongs to the readers. It’s the next stage in the creative process, and you have to understand that YOU DON’T OWN THIS. So let it go.
  3. You will probably receive far more positive reviews than negative reviews, so concentrate on the trends! I know this has been true for me with The Apollo Illusion. When I look at the big picture, I realize that overall, people liked my book far more than they disliked it.
  4. You cannot please everyone. What one person loves, another person will hate. Your reviews will reflect this, so try not to take them personally. What matters is that you stuck to YOUR vision when writing your book.
  5. It takes time to build the emotional barrier against critiques of your work. If you’re on your first or second book, be patient. With time comes experience, and with experience comes expertise. I know that I need to give myself more time to get better at “not caring” what others say about my creative work.

If all else fails, you can always decide to just not read the reviews of your book!

**As a writer or author who has dealt with critics, what would YOU add to this list? Comment below, and don’t forget to share!**

Liked this post? Get social with Shari!

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How One Teacher-Turned-Author Overcame Her Fear of Publishing

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Cyana Scriptora

Hey everyone! So since becoming an indie author, I’ve met some other FABULOUS authors who I’d like you to meet. You might see some of them sprinkled here on my blog, as well as in my Readers Club e-newsletter.

Today, I’m dying to introduce you to Cyana Scriptora, who wrote this fascinating fantasy/historical book entitled Lady of Justice (girl power, anyone?) Here’s the cool thing, Cyana is a teacher whose students helped kick-start her into the world of writing and publishing!

Below, Cyana tells us how she found inspiration to write her novel and overcame her fears of publishing (and she’s looking for some additional reviewers, so if you want to read her book for free, COMMENT BELOW with your email address):

A Story of Make-Believe

By Cyana Scriptora

Lady of Justice came to me while I was playing make-believe in a play tent with my daughter. It popped into my head and a ravenous desire to put words to paper consumed me. I spent one month writing the plot line and several more months editing.

My students are my biggest supporters. I write stories for our class, so they can understand biology. They are all too familiar with my writing. After a few of them read it, they loved it so much, they encouraged me to self-publish.

With no formal education in writing other than the general English classes I took in college, I was terrified to publish, but I had this unexplained passion to share this world and these characters with readers.

I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to write a book that mothers and teenage daughters could enjoy together? A book that branches genres, utilizes perspectives from many characters (not just one), and uses flashbacks and dream sequences copiously to let the reader feel the emotions and become a participant in the experience?”

I’ve been told Lady of Justice has everything a reader could crave:

  • For my fantasy readers, it has immortals and magic.
  • For my mystery readers, a who-done- it? puzzle.
  • A little sci-fi.
  • Sword fights, evil empires, mysterious visions, immortal realms, and just enough romance to appeal to the fairy-tale lover.
  • Because it takes place in the present and past simultaneously, it reads like a contemporary too.

About Lady of Justice

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Can you really fall in love with someone through their journals? Can you truly change the past? What if a powerful goddess is willing to help?

Anna can’t stop thinking about Prince Audax. She feels like she knows him in a way that no one else does. She spends way too much time staring at his portrait and she’s even read his most intimate thoughts.

No, Anna isn’t a creepy stalker.

She’s a historian and her future career depends on discovering the truth. Her best friend Liz is convinced that Anna has brought her obsession to an unhealthy level, but she refuses to give up. She is convinced that the answers to the mystery of Audax’s death are still out there, and the clues lie somewhere in that dusty room.

Anna is willing to do just about anything to understand what happened, but to solve this enigma, she will have to travel a lot further than just her university library. As she delves deeper into the past, the twisted plot is unraveled and it’s worse than anyone ever thought.

Readers are loving Lady of Justice, calling it “fantastically put together” …  “AMAZING! A wonderful read that I suggest to everyone” … and “could NOT put it down.” 

Grab your e-book or paperback copy today on Amazon!

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(And remember to tell your friends!)

Have You Seen these Dope Artists? They Designed My Rockin’ Book Cover

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One of the reasons I went indie with my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, was creative control—not just of my story, but of the cover art and presentation.

I had two artists in mind who I wanted working on my book’s look, because these guys are seriously awesome AF.

Cover Art: Rebecca Lopatin

Rebecca Lopatin_Darrel_charcoalYes, we have the same last name, because yes, Rebecca is my sister. But she’s also a professional, accomplished fine artist here in the blazing hot desert of Phoenix, Ariz. Like, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She studied art in Italy. F’ing ITALY.

You guys, she hand-painted my book’s cover art. Like, the classical way. Savage, right?

 

Rebecca has a garage full of oil paintings for sale that need some serious walls. Even if you’re not looking to buy, you gotta check out her work and give her a follow:

Cover Design: Ryan Quackenbush

Ryan is a sick digital artist and illustrator. I mean, this guy sells his own graphic novels at Phoenix Comic Fest (a.k.a. Phoenix Comicon). His stuff is dark and edgy and just AWESOME.

So naturally, I wanted that look and feel for my cover design, considering the genre of my book. He took Rebecca’s art and turned it into a badass book cover that seriously makes people gasp when they see it.

 

 

If you’re into the graphic novel scene (and even if you’re not), I’m telling you to head over to Ryan’s pages NOW and scan his stuff, or follow him:

 

How Babies and Tablets Inspired this Dystopian Novel

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Babies and tablets. The rise of propaganda. Rosh Hashanah dinner. These were a few of the factors that led to the inspiration behind my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion.

I love reading the story behind the story from favorite authors, like Margaret Atwood or Junot Diaz. So when Autumn of Fallen Over Book Reviews asked me to write a guest post on what inspired MY first book, I couldn’t resist. OK, I actually felt special. That’s allowed occasionally, right?

The Story Behind the Story
Everything began in September 2013, when I’d gone to my mom’s house with my boyfriend and sister for Rosh Hashanah dinner. In case that sounds like Elvish to you, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, because our calendar goes by the moon (I know, we’re weirdly Twilight like that).

While munching on noodle pudding and roasted chicken, my mom started telling us about a news story regarding babies and tablets. Babies were learning the swiping motion of using tablets before they learned to talk.

Head over to Fallen Over Book Reviews to read the rest of the story! …

What It Feels Like to Publish Your First Book

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My debut novel, The Apollo Illusionis releasing this Saturday, May 19, 2018. The Apollo Illusion is a YA dystopian suspense for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.

What does it feel like to publish your first novel? As a professional writer and journalist who’s dreamed of publishing a novel since she was a fetus, let me count the ways …

 

Like skydiving in your underwear. 

Like singing “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift while cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway with your best friend.

Like celebrating the Fourth of July all week long.

Like sticking it to the man (YEAH)!

Like tasting real butter after a lifetime of eating nothing but margarine.

Like the raunchy college party you’ll forget the next day, but wish you wouldn’t.

Like you’re the baddest mother-&*^% who’s ever written a story in the history of human existence.

Did I forget anything? 😉

 

What I Learned Through this Crazy Publishing Process

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In December last year, I founded my own indie publishing company, BookBooks Publishing LLC. My first client? Myself. 🙂

Front cover_finalYes, I am launching my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, on May 19, 2018. In the future, I would love to create enough capital and (therefore) time to take on other authors who write fiction stories of social importance, while continuing to write more books of my own.

Right now, though? I am fighting for my life to navigate this new publishing learning curve! I never knew so many logistics were involved on the publishing side of creative writing.

So whether you’re a new self-published author who is looking for help in the beginning, or a writer working with an indie or large publishing house, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned on this publishing journey.

Lesson 1: Quality Work Isn’t Cheap, so Invest Wisely

I think it’s no secret that the world of self-publishing is growing exponentially. Therefore, it becomes harder for new authors to push through the “slush pile” and get discovered by readers.

The best way to stand out is by publishing a quality product. This means your work is clean, well-edited, well-structured, and the book is well-designed. I funded the launch of my book with my 9-to-5 salary, so I had to spend wisely. Here’s where I spent my money:

  • A team of two good, professional editors (one for structural edits, the other for copyedits)
  • Designers for the book cover, as well as internal formatting
  • Establishing an LLC for my publishing company
  • Taking out a P.O. box for my publishing company
  • ISBN purchases from Bowker
  • An accountant
  • A few Facebook boosted posts on my author page

As I begin making money from sales of my book, I may invest in some ads, but again, I will be selective.

Lesson 2: Be Realistic with Your Time

I work a full-time job. And I also have a life. Writing is part of that life, but it’s not everything. I have family, friends, a boyfriend, my cats, and my house. I have to take care of my health. I also love traveling.

I need to leave room for these things!

Therefore, when I set my launch date for my book, I gave myself more time rather than squeezing into a tight deadline. I can’t do everything at once, and I need to leave time to complete the essentials. I also need to realize that I’m not a full-time author and publisher, so I can’t compete with those who are. And that’s OK.

Here’s how I invested my time:

  • The 80/20 rule: I concentrate my efforts on the 20 percent of tactics that will produce 80 percent of the results
  • Developing my “branded messaging” as an author, and integrating it everywhere online
  • Establishing an e-mail list through MailChimp for potential future “fans”
  • Finding early reviewers to generate buzz upon launch, and leaving enough lead time to allow them to read my book
  • Setting up the logistics: filling out the Articles of Organization to establish my LLC, setting up a P.O. box, opening a business bank account, etc.
  • Research

Lesson 3: Research!

Before you jump full-force into self-publishing, I highly suggest you read this incredible guide from Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, “The Secrets to E-Book Publishing Success.” This free guide walks you through the business foundations of the publishing industry, and is beneficial to anyone who is new to this world (such as myself).

Spend some time learning about the publishing industry and studying cases of successful indie authors. Many of these authors have offered interviews or written articles on some of the steps they took to reach success.  Jane Friedman is another great resource to help in that arena.

Once you conduct some research, you can more successfully develop a marketing strategy that will utilize your time wisely.

Lesson 4: Logistics are just as Important as Marketing

That’s right! The backend business side of things is imperative if you don’t want the IRS to come calling, or you want readers to take you seriously.

I never realized how many logistics are involved in publishing a book. Here is a list of everything I had to organize before my book even went to early reviewers:

  • Purchase a package of ISBNs from Bowker
  • Fill out all the required information for those ISBNs, including publication date
  • Request and set up a P.O. box from the Post Office for my business
  • Establish the Articles of Organization for my LLC
  • Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • Open a business bank account tied to my LLC, and link this account to all sales pages for my book
  • Request a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) for my book, which is a two-step process that requires you to complete the ISBN process first
  • Copyright my book by submitting it to the Copyright office
  • Consult with an accountant
  • Bookkeeping
  • Coordinate with all editors and designers

This blog post is not meant to overwhelm anyone, but instead to merely showcase the degree of detail that goes into setting up a legitimate publishing company to legally separate yourself from your new business. I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned, and I hope it might help some of you get started if you’re considering this incredible journey!

 

 

Do You Need a Proofreader or Copyeditor?

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What’s the difference between a proofreader and copyeditor? You’ve heard the terms, but which do you need?

I’ll admit, it can be quite confusing. And depending on your project, you may need both (gasp!).

The Proofreaders

These are the guys with the eagle eyes. The ones who will catch the missed periods or the typos where you meant to say, “and,” but really typed, “ad.”

Proofreaders scan your writing strictly for the purpose of making sure it’s flawless. They look for misspelled words, grammatical mistakes, tense agreement, typos, and so forth.

However, proofreaders do not edit for style or flow, and they will not make suggestions on how you can improve your writing.

The Copyeditors

Copyeditors do exactly as their title implies: edit copy. Proofreading may often be included in copyediting services, but that is not the copyeditor’s main job.

If you hire a copyeditor, he or she will look for structure, flow, style, and ways to improve your actual content. If your project is a whitepaper, the copyeditor may look for ways to simplify text or improve your marketing “hook.” If your project is a novel, the copyeditor may read for story arcs, dialogue, narration and voice.

Which should you hire: proofreader or copyeditor?

If you need someone to edit a 10- or 20-page report, or possibly even some website content, I might recommend hiring a copyeditor.

However, if you’re a self-published author, I suggest you invest in hiring BOTH. Why? The copyeditor will look for ways to improve your story, characters, plot line, narration, flow, voice, story arcs, etc. However, for a manuscript that’s 80,000 words long, you’ll want to hire a second pair of eagle eyes—a proofreader—to ensure your work is flawless before sending it out for the world to read.

Other than that, which type of editor you need really boils down to you:

  • Are you happy with the way your project sounds, but just need someone to scan it for mistakes? Hire a proofreader.
  • Do you need stylistic or structural help? Call a copyeditor.

What have been your experiences working with copyeditors and proofreaders? Do you have anything to add to this blog post?


Hi! I’m Shari Lopatin. I’m a professional writer, editor, journalist, and social media strategist with a decade of experience in media and communications. I live in Phoenix, Ariz. and blog about finding a literary agent, writing tips, social media or tech trends, and sometimes current events. Oh yeah, I also edit novels for self-published authors or writers needing help before querying literary agents. Are we friends yet on Facebook and Twitter?