Tag Archives: ebook publishing

New Author Tips: Easy Ideas For Fiction And Nonfiction

New Author Tips: Easy Ideas For Fiction And Nonfiction

One of the most popular questions I get from a new author is: “how do I know that my book will sell?” From an aspiring author, the most popular question is: “how do I know that my idea is a good one?”

The answer to the first question is — “write for a market, then do your best promoting your book. No one knows for sure.”

The answer to the second question is — “a good idea for you is an idea which has a market and which is EASY for you to write.”

Let’s talk about EASY ideas. For any author, not only for a new author, finding ideas which are easy for you to write is vital.

Are you a new author? Keep it simple and easy

Ideas are everywhere; not every idea is a good idea for you. If I gave you ten minutes, I’m sure you could come up with ten ideas for books.

They might be all great ideas, but here’s a secret from the world of professional writing. When a commercial writer is offered a gig, his first thought is: “What will this take?” In other words, how easy is the project?

Challenging projects take time. Clients are rarely prepared to pay for all the extra time a project consumes. So the professional’s primary aim is always to keep it simple and easy — or get the client to pay for extras — otherwise he doesn’t eat.

You can use the same question: “What will this take?” when you get an idea for a book. Time is money for you too. Most importantly: if you make a habit of choosing challenging ideas, you’ll end up with many partially-written books on your hard drive.

Ideas for fiction: write what you enjoy reading (keep research to a minimum)

My reading tastes are eclectic — I’ll read pretty much anything. Checking my home library however, and my Kindle library, it’s easy to see that I like historical romances from various time periods, mysteries and thrillers.

What do you like to read? If you like vampire novels and space operas, it may be hard for you to write a contemporary romance, no matter how popular these romances might be. You could do it, of course. But you’d spend so much time reading in the genre that it could take you a year or more to write the novel. Perhaps you’d start the novel, then get bored, or frustrated, and never complete it.

The best fiction ideas for you are ideas for novels which are in a genre you know, and which you can write with minimal research.

That said, if you get an idea for a novel which will take HUGE amounts of research, but you can’t get the story out of your mind — go for it. Inspiration trumps everything else.

Ideas for nonfiction: write what you know (or can easily find out)

As with fiction, your aim in finding great ideas for nonfiction books is finding ideas you love, but which are easy for you to write. Ideally, you’ll write from your own experience, or write about something in which you’re hugely interested… as long as there’s a market for your passion.

New author or experienced professional: answer “what will this take?”

Ask yourself: “what will this take?” before you invest time and energy in a fiction or nonfiction idea. Not only will you write more books, but you’ll sell more too.

Resources to build your writing career

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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing
You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day? More info →
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Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

If you’re into ebook publishing, you’re wondering about KDP Select, and Kindle Unlimited (KU). Several authors asked me whether or not they “should” enroll their books in Select, and thus make them free to KU subscribers.

My answer? It depends.

Please keep this in mind: no one really KNOWS. We’re all just guessing, and tinkering with our books, hoping to increase sales.

Ebook publishing in 2017, same as 2016: still the right strategy for me with new novels

In this post, Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump, I said:

Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?

That was last August. That’s still the process I’m following:

  • Enroll new fiction under pen names in KDP Select for the first three months, then take them out and go wide with them (publish to several of the most popular ebook retailers);
  • Already published ebooks: fiction and nonfiction, all wide. Of course, the ebooks sell more copies on Amazon than elsewhere, but for me, KU seemed to be cannibalizing sales — your mileage may vary.

The “perfect” strategy?

I’ve spoken with authors who are all-in with Amazon, and they’re selling huge numbers of their ebooks, as well as having a high KENPC (pages read.)

From what I can tell, these are authors who write novels in series, and publish regularly — either once a month, or once every couple of months, with shorter novels or short stories published intermittently. New ebooks experience a bump from Amazon’s “new” listings, and that bump helps you to make sales of older ebooks too. However, the bump lasts just a couple of weeks — it used to last a month, but not recently.

Other authors are going wide, with all ebooks, publishing everywhere they can, and are seeing good results too. By the way, if you haven’t read the self-publishing survey, read it.

There’s no perfect strategy for ebook publishing, there’s only what works for you.

By the way — consider pricing too.

Pricing affects sales, but no one’s sure how

One thing’s for sure, “free” ebooks, as your sole marketing strategy, is dead. Super-low prices — 99 cents — are dead too, IF you make every ebook in your catalogue 99 cents.

Readers won’t flinch if you start your pricing at $2.99. Indeed, you may sell more at that price.

Conclusion: in ebook publishing, KU is a very useful marketing tool

From what I can tell, KU can be very useful. You can use it as I do, to lift the visibility of new novels. I don’t use it for nonfiction, because it doesn’t work for my categories — it may work for yours, test, and see.

Alternatively, you can go all-in with Amazon, and enroll everything you publish in Select, so that it’s in KU. Amazon’s cracking down on scammers, so that helps with your KENPC income too.

Either way, it’s your choice. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

Self-Publishing: 5 Ideas To Write A Book TODAY

Self-Publishing: 5 Ideas To Write A Book TODAY

You want to write a book. It’s been on your To Do list for a couple of years. What if you could start writing today? You can. Self-publishing makes writing a book simple. Write, and publish.

Worried about how to format and upload your book?

Write a book, and publish it yourself

When I’m chatting with a new writing student and ask him about his biggest challenge in publishing a book, he tells me he doesn’t know how to publish it. My response is: “Did you know that you can simply upload a Word doc to Amazon, and let them do the formatting for you? You’ve created many Word docs. Your book is basically just another Word doc.”

Before you get to upload your book however, you need to write it. Here are some ideas which will get you started — today.

1. What’s on your mind? Find out

Inspiration happens while you’re writing.

Chances are that you’ve had dozens of moments in which you were inspired to write a book about (insert a topic here.) You thought, when reading a newspaper, or listening to a friend, or watching TV — “I could write a book about that.”

Perhaps you made a note.

Then you forgot about it.

Grab a timer, and set it for five minutes.

Write this phrase: I could write a book about…

Then keep writing for five minutes. Stop when the timer sounds.

I’ve given this simple exercise to dozens of students. Many of them did find a topic — or a glimmer of the plot, for the fiction writers — that got them started writing a book.

2. Check Amazon to see what’s selling. What’s popular?

I love Amazon. I spend far too much time (and money) there. I can always kid myself that I’m “researching” while I browse the Amazon book store.

Here’s a fact for you. No matter how old or young you are, or how much education you have, or don’t have, you have experiences and insights which can help others.

Not a nonfiction author? OK — if you’re writing fiction, you have a thousand stories locked in your mind.

Browse Amazon, then do the timer exercise we discussed above.

3. Got a blog? Turn a blog post into a book

I know… I’m always nagging you to blog, right? If you know me at all, I know you’re rolling your eyes because I’m urging blogging onto you again.

Let’s assume you have a blog.

Your blog is your enthusiasms, AND your experiences. Both of which are worth money. So go back to your very first blog post, and read your posts. All of them if you have under 50, if you have several hundred or thousands, check which posts got the most traction. Which of your posts was shared most often?

Any blog can be a goldmine of book ideas.

4. Turn an email message or a Facebook post into a book

In any week, I’ll write dozens of email messages in response to student and reader questions. If you’re a blogger, or answer questions as part of your job, you have a wonderful resource. You know what people want to know.

That’s immensely valuable. I’ve trained myself to go back at the end of the day, to look at all the questions I’ve answered. If I think something is particularly valuable for many people, rather than just one person, I copy the message into Evernote.

Although I’ve never used any of those messages as the seed for a book, I know many bloggers who have. Someone asked them just the right questions about their blog’s topic — weight loss, or online business, stress and burnout, branding — and they used that topic for a book.

5. Use the immense power of magazines: they do the research for you

I’m a big fan of magazines.com. I’ve suggested that website as a source of ideas to my students many times. My theory about why magazine covers are so inspiring is this: they help writers to see their ideas in terms of the audience.

Beginning writers especially find it a real challenge to target an audience. Most beginners write a book, and then go hunting for the audience. That’s exactly backwards. Start with the audience.

At magazines.com, that targeting is done for you. Many thousands of dollars of research goes into every magazine. You can see the results of that research on the cover — the cover is a magazine’s advertisement. It needs to instantly stand out, and be instantly be appealing to their audience.

Kill performance anxiety: just start writing

Every book you’ll ever write has challenges, and most of those challenges are easily overcome. You may never find the “perfect” bestselling topic or genre for you. By perfect, I mean that the book is easy to write — the words flow from your fingertips — and moreover, the book sells thousands of copies.

In around 40 years of writing, I’ve occasionally had a flash of pure inspiration. I got an idea, sat down to write the book, and finished it in a week or two. While pleasant, you can’t count on those flashes.

Choose a book idea, and start writing… today. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →