Saturday, March 17, 2012

Your Book's Selling on Amazon! Now What?

Just think about all the blood, sweat and tears that went into creating your book. The sleepless nights as you wrestled with the revisions and the breathless anticipation as you waited to see your book cover. Let’s not forget, the proud moment when you first held a copy of your book in your hands or saw it for sale on Amazon and B&N.

You may think your rollercoaster ride is over but believe it or not, the journey with your book is not even close to being finished. Thanks to the internet and social media, you’ll be doing marketing and promotions for your book before, during and after, long after, publication.

So first, let’s understand what will probably happen after your book is published. Unless your name starts with JK and ends with Rowling, chances are the masses are not eagerly lining up to buy a copy. According to Bowker's annual book production report released in 2011, self-published books increased 169% from 1,033,065 titles in 2009 to 2,776,260 in 2010. No numbers for 2011 yet, but as you can imagine, that number is getting larger, not smaller.

Don’t panic yet though because thanks to the internet, you do have time to build up word of mouth and positive reviews. It may take several months or several years for your book to gain an audience. It really depends on how you continue to get the word out and promote your book.

I know, I know, many authors are cringing and thinking, “I just want to write the next book, not continue to worry about the one that’s already published!” Whether you’re traditionally published or independently published, you’re pretty much responsible for the long haul when it comes to marketing and promoting your books.

My novel Bumped came out in the summer of 2011 and I still pass out postcards, tweet about it, share positive reviews and when I’m lucky, I do interviews – all promoted in a non-obnoxious way of course. No one wants to be hit over the head with reminders and news about your book. When it comes to social media, you have to walk the fine line of not being abusive but getting the word out.

So here’s what you do, create a calendar of post-publication marketing ideas. Start by looking at your pre-publication activities and see which ones would make sense to continue doing after publication. Write as many ideas down as you can think of and then put them in groups – 3 months after, six months after, on-going. Ongoing would be the Twitter and Facebook updates, first three months after would be reaching out to additional outlets to set up blog tours and interviews, and six months after could be advertising on and off-line, giveaways, etc. Always look for tie-ins with other sites and authors, and create opportunities for your book. You’re in control of whether or not your book lives or dies on the vine, not everyone is an overnight sensation so be prepared to work it for as long as you have to.

I love this quote by Jason Leister of Clients Suck and it really inspired me and it’s so true for writers:

“You do not need permission...

You do not need validation...

You do not need approval...

All you need is a goal and the will to pursue it.“

So go off, be fabulous and write your book. Promote it the right way and your audience will find you. Just don't ever give up.

Sibylla Nash is the author of several book included the novel Bumped. You can follow her on Twitter @Starbabyla.

Link to book site:

BN link:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ePub Countdown: A How-to for All

I admit. I am stumbling through this first independent publishing venture. Despite hours of research and picking the brains of other indie authors, I still find myself feeling overwhelmed by the entire process. I am sure I am not alone. That being the case, my next few blogs will detail my publishing experience with the hope that others will find it useful.
Presently, I am in the thick of editing. Rather, I am in the thick of being edited. This is a critical step (and a good editor will kindly suggest that crucial works better than critical) and you need to be prepared to shell out a few coins for a professional job. I started my search for an editor at This website has lots of great information for writers. More importantly, you can submit a portion of your work for a quote as well as a recommended level of editing.
Editing costs vary and may be calculated per word, per page (industry standard for words-per-page is a firm 250), or by the hour. The per word range is anywhere from ¢.01 to ¢.20. Hourly rates range from $20 per hour to about $80. For the lower rates you can expect basic copyediting and proofreading; the higher rates will include varying levels of developmental input. Rewrites and ghost-writing will cost you significantly more. My advice is to have your manuscript in the best shape possible before seeking editorial help.
My manuscript is roughly 95,000 words. I knew that I wanted line-editing and some light developmental input. When I ran the numbers, I was looking at spending more than a few thousand dollars, which was not in my budget. So I took a chance and put a free ad on Craigslist. I was surprised at the numerous responses I got from freelance editors willing to work for less. I corresponded with about a half dozen respondents, asked them to provide a sample edit of the first 10 pages of my manuscript, and based my decision on their credentials and their proven ability. It's also a good idea to make sure the editor you select is familiar with your genre.
I chose a MFA grad student who edits a literary journal and reads fantasy and sci-fi for pleasure as my editor. I have not been disappointed. For a third of what I would have spent had I gone through an agency, I feel like I landed a great editor with a keen eye for detail and consistency, grammar, syntax, POV, dialogue and style. She even throws in the occasional compliment to keep my frail writer's ego from collapsing under the weight of all the other editorial notes.
Be sure to enter into a written contract with your editor. The contract will outline specifics such as type of editing, delivery dates, payment terms and number of readings. For the latter you want to at least negotiate two readings--the initial reading where editorial comments are input and a second reading after you respond to your editor's comments. Feel free to download and copy the contract that I used. You can find it at under Resources.
Depending on the length of your work and the speed of your editor, the editing process can take a few weeks or a few months. Factor that into your production schedule. Also, be mentally prepared to do more rewriting. Yes, more rewriting.
Coming up: Pre-pub marketing, formatting for ePublishing and book covers.