Tag Archives: write and sell ebooks

A Simple Self-Publishing Process: Write Well, Publish Faster

A Simple Self-Publishing Process: Write Well, Publish Faster

“How do I know that I’m doing it right?” This concern underlies every question my writing students ask about self-publishing. I respond with a variation of “if you published your book, you did it right. Fix it later if there’s a problem.”

It might be useful to share a VERY simple process I’ve developed over many years of writing books; I teach it to my students.

Firstly however let’s look at the biggest challenge facing self-publishing authors.

Self-publishing today: your biggest challenge is YOU

Sadly, you’re your own worst enemy.

We all are. I’m not immune — I find new ways to torture myself and procrastinate each and every week. I tell myself about things I “must” do, but most of these “musts” are simply new ways to procrastinate.

We all have 24 hours in each day. Depending on how long you’ve been writing, it may take you between an hour and two hours to write a thousand words. But a thousand words of new content every day might not be possible for you. Perhaps you can only manage 500 words, or 200 words. That’s OK.

Set a word count goal for yourself. Keep the count low. You should be able to achieve this goal even on your worst and busiest day.

Self-publishing in six steps

Here’s the process.

1. Get an idea, write a blurb (description)

As soon as you get an idea for a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, write down your idea. Expand on the idea to 300 words. Look on this description as a mini-outline. It stops you wandering off-track later, once you start writing.

You may or may not use parts of this initial blurb later, when you publish.

2. Expand on the blurb: create a quick list outline (or two characters for fiction)

Without thinking about it too much, spend five minutes writing a list of what you intend to cover in the book if you’re writing nonfiction.

Writing fiction? Create two characters — just a job, and an attribute:

  • Bored accountant — for the mob;
  • Self-confident female surgeon.

You’ll find that the job plus attribute quick character-creation process sparks ideas. I had no idea that the “bored accountant” would be working for criminals, that just sprang to mind.

3. Write, while developing a more extensive outline

Start writing. When I write fiction, I focus on the major scenes; I want to know what these big scenes will be by the time I’ve written 10,000 words.

With nonfiction, avoid doing research until you know the slant/ angle you’re taking on your topic.

4. Create a title, order a book cover, research keywords, start marketing

Do these basic self-publishing chores as soon as you can. However, avoid letting any of them cut into your writing time.

Tip: use premade covers unless you’re writing a series. (They’re cheaper.) When writing a series, get good covers, and make sure that the covers will identify your series instantly, at a glance.

4. Revise: re-vision — promises kept?

Your biggest challenge is ensuring that your completed book lives up to the promise of your blurb.

For example, let’s say you’re aiming for a Lee Childs/ Jack Reacher suspense novel. Read what you’ve written. Did you achieve that goal? If not, start revising. 🙂

With nonfiction, have you differentiated your book? Does it serve its audience? If you’ve written a “me too” clone of other books on the topic, revise.

5. Send to beta readers: edit, and edit again

Once your revision is done, and you’ve done some light editing, whip the book off to your favorite beta readers. While you’re waiting for them to get back to you, start your next book.

Then take your betas’ comments on board, and edit. Twice.

Edit once to ensure that there are no boring bits. The second edit is to make sure that there are no stupid bits. Fact-check yourself.

Do a final proof, and…

6. Publish it — ready or not

Upload it to Amazon. Going wide? Upload your book to the other major book retailers as well.

Start your next book while you’re revising/ editing etc your current book

Write your next book, following the same process, while your current book’s being edited.

Here’s why you need to do this.

If you’re enthusiastic about the book you’re currently writing, you won’t be overwhelmed by comments from your betas — or by your editor, if you’re going the traditional publishing route.

In your first few years as an author, even the kindest comments can throw you off track. Aim to be so engrossed in your new book that you’re insouciant about the book being edited. Eventually your “it’s done, I don’t care” attitude will be real.

Use this simple self-publishing process. Keep moving forward, and have fun with it. 🙂

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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 →

5 Tips To Rescue Your Failed Nonfiction Ebook

5 Tips To Rescue Your Failed Nonfiction Ebook

You wrote a nonfiction ebook. It failed. One of my writing students is in precisely this situation. At the start of 2016, she wrote an ebook, and… Crickets. She can count her sales on the fingers of one hand. She contacted me, to ask whether I had any ideas.

Of course I do. You ask, I deliver. 🙂

Nonfiction ebooks: can you still make money?

Firstly, let’s talk about whether you can still make money writing nonfiction ebooks. The Amazon Kindle store is crowded. That said, some authors report that 2016 is their best year since 2010.

Here are the tips I shared with my student.

1. Keywords! Update your meta data today (be creative, and persistent)

Discoverability is the biggest challenge for all authors on Amazon, as well as on the other ebook retailers. If your readers can’t find your nonfiction ebook, they can’t buy it.

Check your ebook’s product page, and redo your keywords and description. Start by putting yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you were a reader, looking for the information in your book, what words would you use?

You have seven keywords you can use, as well as 4000 characters (approximately 800 words) which you can use for the description.

In addition to discoverability, remember that once a reader reaches your product page, he needs to feel that your book can help him. Give a clear description of your book: the challenges it solves, and the benefits to the reader. If you have great reviews, add a snippet of a review to the description.

Once you’ve revised your ebook’s meta data, you should see an uptick in sales within three or four days. No results? Tweak the meta data again.

2. Create a bright and sparkling new edition

I love ebooks, because you can edit them as often as you please to create a new edition. If you have material you’d like to add, go ahead and add it. Happy with the cover image? Change it if you aren’t.

Put “2nd edition” on the title page of your book, with the year: “2nd edition, 2017.” Update your meta data as well.

Additionally, remember that updating your nonfiction ebook is news. Create an online news release, and promote your new edition on social media.

Consider creating a new edition of your ebook once a year, or once every couple of years.

3. Contact influencers (your blogging and Facebook page finally pay off): reciprocate on promotions

The more people who know about your book, the more people can buy it. One of the best ways to promote your ebook is to use other people’s audiences.

Contact influencers in the subject matter of your ebook, and offer to do a guest post on their blog, with a link to your ebook. If you have a following on any of the social media networks, offer to do reciprocal promotions with an influencer in your niche. You promote them, they promote your ebook.

Consider partnering with three or four other authors in your niche, to create an ebook. Each of you writes a chapter or two. Add a link to the signup page for your mailing list in the book, as well as a link to your nonfiction ebook.

Webinars are a great way to promote ebooks. Join with another author or two, and create a webinar. With each of you promoting the webinar, you’ll be able to expand your audience, and create buzz for your ebook.

4. Give away free copies: hint you’d like a review

While “free” is no longer the excellent promotional strategy it used to be, you can still use it. Give away 200 free copies. You can’t force people to give you a review, but you can ask.

Aim to get copies into the hands of influencers.

5. Write more ebooks on your topic: explore it vertically (find out how well your topic sells, first)

Consider your nonfiction ebook’s subject matter. Could you write another ebook, which promotes your first ebook? Write another ebook, exploring your subject matter more deeply.

A suggestion: do make sure that ebooks in your subject are selling. KindleSpy is a useful tool which can show you how many ebooks are selling in any niche. If you find that the bestselling ebooks in your nonfiction ebook’s area are only selling a hundred copies a month, writing another ebook on the same subject may be a waste of time. Can you find a topic which sells better?

Use the tips to rescue your failed nonfiction ebook

Start by updating your ebook’s meta data. You should see results within a few days. Then revisit your ebook’s product page every three to six months, and update again.

My writing student put the above tips to use, and is thrilled with her sales. She’s now consistently selling copies every week, and is confidently getting ready to release her follow-up ebook.

I wish you similar success when you use the tips. 🙂

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Write AND Sell in Just 8 Hours: Create Top-Selling Ebooks FAST

Write AND Sell in Just 8 Hours: Create Top-Selling Ebooks FAST

$4.99
What if you could create AND sell an ebook or other product in just eight hours? The product could be anything: a Kindle ebook, a collection of articles, a short story… a new writing service for your clients. This program will show you how to think outside the box, get creative — and SELL what you create. More info →
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Become a Bestselling Author: This Is Clever

Become a Bestselling Author: This Is Clever

You’re writing books, and you want to become a bestselling author. How do you do it? Most writers believe it’s just a matter of luck, but it can be a matter of a strategy too. I’ve heard of writers using what Hugh Howey calls the Liliana Nirvana Technique, but I don’t know whether I’d have the patience to apply it as-is.

Here’s what the strategy/ technique boils down to: you write several ebooks, and you publish them together – all on the same day. This gets you Amazon’s help to make more sales. Here’s how Hugh explains it:

Why does this work? I think it has to do with “impressions,” or the number of times people see a product before they decide to take a chance on it. (In this case, the product is your name.) It also has to do with recommendation algorithms and how new works are treated on various online bestseller lists.

Become a Bestselling Author With an Explosion of Titles

As Hugh says, this strategy – which Liliana calls her “5 down and 1 in the hole” technique apes what happens when traditionally published authors get control of their backlist, and shovel their titles onto Amazon:

They didn’t gain a massive following until after they regained rights to their backlists and self-published. When they did get those rights, they secured works that were already written and edited. They could do some minor tweaks, update cover art, and release those works in rapid order.

Fast releases seem to lead to fast sales and – providing that the books are good, of course – that can lead to bestsellerdom.

I love the idea of the strategy, because it uses Amazon’s database to gain traction. The more books you have for sale, the more Amazon can promote you, automatically.

Wonderful as the strategy is however, it depends on an author having an enormous amount of patience. Not to mention, the ability to write six books quickly. If it takes you six months to write a book, you’ll need to be patient for the next three years, and a lot can change in that time.

A Modification of the Strategy: Three Months to Release

If you’re anything like me, and your reaction to this strategy is, “not in this lifetime”, you can modify the strategy. No one suggests that you need six full-length novels. Why not five short stories (to act as teasers), and a novel, or novella, to act as your “1 in the hole”?

I’m considering creating a pen name to write a series of mysteries later this year, and I’m planning to use “5 down and 1 in the hole” using short stories and a novel. Short stories are quick. The novel will take longer. I should be able to get all six books ready to roll within three months. It’s a way of kicking off the pen name with a bang, so to speak.

Another Modification to Become a Bestselling Author

You can modify Liliana’s strategy in any way you choose. Release two novellas, and have a novel ready to release a month later. You can tinker with the strategy in any way which makes sense to you.

If you have the patience to write six full-length novels, to use the strategy as-is, more power to you. With great books, you’ll get the exposure, and you may indeed become a bestselling author.

Write Commercial Fiction

Writing fiction? Is it commercial? Get more info: write commercial fiction. Once written, your books will sell for years, and if they’re commercial, they’ll sell well.

Write Commercial Fiction

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