SFFMP 99: A Quick Release Schedule with Traditional Publishing + Rocking Patreon with Seanan McGuire

Today, Seanan McGuire joined us on the show to talk about her urban fantasy and her science fiction, her rapid releases (under two different names) with traditional publishing, how she got started, and what led her to explore Patreon, where she is currently earning nearly $8,000 per short story.

**Note: a few curse words slipped out during the interview, so you might want to listen to this one with your earbuds in! 

Here are a few more details on what we covered:

  • How writing Buffy porn led to Seanan landing an agent
  • Publishing quickly even with traditional publishers
  • Why she has two pen names (Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant)
  • Seanan’s experiences with two different publishers, each with different ways of going about the business (she’s with Daw and also with Orbit)
  • What kinds of marketing things she does on her own, what she pays for, and what the publisher pays for
  • Why she decided to start a Patreon campaign and how she got the word out
  • Why she feels like you should submit to agents and try to make it through the gauntlet of traditional publishing even if you don’t ultimately sign
  • What a launch of a new book looks like for Seanan these days

For a limited time, grab Seanan’s first October Daye urban fantasy novel for 1.99 at Amazon. Visit her anytime at her website or on Twitter. You can also take a peek at her Patreon campaign.

 

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SFFMP 98: 40,000 Audiobook Sales and Counting with Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Author Kristen Painter

We’re talking to paranormal romance/urban fantasy author Kristen Painter today. She’s been traditionally published and is now self-publishing her popular Nocturne Falls books, a light-hearted paranormal romance series that’s been selling well. She’s also been doing great with the audiobooks through ACX, recently passing 40,000 in sales, so we asked her about what’s led to her great success there.

Here are a few details of what we covered:

  • How Kristen got her start in traditional publishing and when she switched to indie
  • Finding an underserved niche with comedic paranormal romance without the graphic content that is often a part of the genre
  • The difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as far as tropes and what audiences expect
  • The state of the genre and how urban fantasy/PNR are for newer authors
  • When it makes sense to pay for the production of your own audiobooks (Kristen mentioned a 5 to 1 figure, i.e., you might get 5 ebook sales for each audiobook sale)
  • Whether to opt for a royalty split or pay a narrator outright
  • How important choosing a good narrator is with audiobooks (and how to find one you like)
  • Whether it’s better to launch the audiobook as close to the ebook release as possible or whether it doesn’t make much of a difference
  • Why Kristen shoots for at least 8 hours of narration for her audiobooks

You can find Kristen on her website, and check out her first Nocturne Falls book, The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride for free in the various stores.

 

 

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SFFMP 97: The Ins and Outs of Selling Science Fiction Erotica with Addison Cain

We spoke to science fiction erotica author Addison L. Cain about getting started in the business, some of the differences between romance and erotica, how to market it when many of the advertisers aren’t interested in the subject matter, and how to get off to a good start. Addison’s first novel, Born to Be Bound, was just released in April of 2016, and she’s already selling very well, with three books now out in the series.

**Note: a couple of naughty words came up in today’s discussion, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, or frank discussions of what’s allowed and what the tropes are in erotica, you may want to pass on this episode and tune back in next week for a more typical show. Thanks! 

Here are some more details on what we touched upon:

  • Getting started with fan fiction and publishing on free-to-read sites such as LitErotica.
  • How Addison turned the readers of her free material into an ARC team that went out and left reviews of her books when she launched.
  • What’s working with SF erotica covers (and what to avoid if you don’t want your book to be nixed by Amazon)
  • Whether there really is “big money” in writing erotica
  • What the “Adult Dungeon” is on Amazon and how to avoid having your work stuck in it
  • Some of the sponsorship sites that accept erotica: The Romance Reviews, Spanking Romance Reviews, What to Read After 50 Shades of Grey, Excite Spice, Bookbub, BargainBooksy, The Naughty List.
  • How science fiction and fantasy let you play and be creative within the erotica genre
  • The pros and cons of publishing with a small press
  • Pricing considerations for SF erotica and whether or not to go wide or choose KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited
  • Challenges of being a big fish in a small pond (SF or fantasy erotica) versus jumping into more the more mainstream stuff with a larger potential readership
  • Who the primary reader is for these books (male/female)
  • The need to stand up for yourself and make sure your books are getting the attention they deserve when you’re working with a press

You can find Addison on her website or check out her books on Amazon and other retailers.

Her publisher is Blushing Books and she believes they are open to submissions for those who don’t want to go it alone.

 

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SFFMP 96: Switching to Epic Fantasy and Rocking It with Phil Tucker

We chatted with Phil Tucker about his time working at Penguin, his first couple of series (including paranormal romance novels published under a pen name), and his new Chronicles of the Black Gate epic fantasy series, which has been selling great since its release back in May. Even though his previous experience was in paranormal and vampires, he had a solid launch, and we grilled him on what he did in designing and marketing the new series.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the topics we hit on:

  • Phil’s experience working in the content marketing department at Penguin publishing
  • Why he chose self-publishing instead of traditional publishing
  • Learning the ropes with his first vampire series
  • Starting a paranormal romance pen name, finding some success, but then switching away from it
  • Going back to his first love with epic fantasy
  • Going into debt to invest in great cover art
  • Studying the blurbs of top-selling books in the epic fantasy genre and making sure he had the best package possible when he launched
  • Participating in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off and gaining some attention and reviews from that
  • Using a free prequel to encourage mailing list sign-ups
  • Keeping to a two-month release schedule even while writing long epic fantasy novels and working full time at the day job

Check out Phil’s books on Amazon or visit his website for more information. Oh, and make sure to check out the beautiful covers on his epic fantasy series. Here’s a link to the first book.

 

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SFFMP 95: Boxed Set Strategies (multi-author and solo novel bundles and short story anthologies)

Today, the guys chatted about their experiences with multi-author and solo-author book bundles of existing material and also anthologies of new short stories or novellas. They offered some tips and strategies based on whether you’re looking for more exposure (getting more people into the rest of your series), to make money, or to hit a bestseller list. They also started out answering a few listener questions.

Here are a few more notes on what they covered during the show:

  • Jesper Schmidt’s Fantasy Map Making: A step-by-step guide for worldbuilders. He’s offering 10 free copies to listeners, first come, first serve: http://dl.bookfunnel.com/xshqdkoirn. If you don’t make it in time to grab a copy, you can buy it from Amazon or learn more on his website.
  • Books on writing and resources the guys recommend: Self-Editing for Fiction Authors, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Lectures on YouTube.
  • How the guys approach world-building and a few tips from what they’ve learned along the way
  • The different types of boxed sets/bundles/anthologies and when they’re useful for marketing
  • Bundling books in your own series (how many and where you you price them?)
  • Putting together a collection of your own short stories for a bundle
  • Joining or organizing a multi-author boxed set of novels
  • The various goals of these big, multi-author boxed sets
  • Leveraging the power of many authors’ mailing lists in order to sell thousands of copies and possibly hit a list
  • Whether to go wide with a boxed set or stick it in KDP Select so you can take advantage of the page read payments
  • New fiction for boxed sets versus previously published works
  • Creating a multi-author anthology of new short stories or novellas
  • Possible anthology pitfalls
  • Whether it’s better to pay authors up front or offer a royalty split with an anthology

If you’ve enjoyed listening to the gang and want to check out their work, you can find Jeffrey M. Poole at his website and download his first Lentari book, Lost City, for free on the various sites.

You can find Jo at his website or check out several of his books for free, such as Free-Wrench and The Book of Deacon.

You can find Lindsay on her site and grab The Emperor’s Edge for free or  buy Star Nomad, the first book in her new space adventure series, for 99 cents at the time of this show.

 

 

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SFFMP 94: Putting Together an ARC Team, Getting Lots of Reviews, and Publishing More Often with Anna Hackett

Science fiction romance and adventure romance author, Anna Hackett, regularly has 80-100 reviews on her books within a few days of release. We asked her about how she created a great team of reviewers who get early copies and leave prompt reviews. She’s also increased her productivity substantially in the last couple of years and often publishes a short novel each month now, so we asked her about that too.

Here are a few more specifics on what we covered:

  • Mining your existing readers/newsletter subscribers to find people for a review team (and how to get started building that mailing list if yours doesn’t have many subscribers yet)
  • The logistics of contacting reviewers with advanced review copies and making sure they can download the ebooks to their readers of choice.
  • How many reviews you should be shooting for with a new release
  • Increasing productivity by giving yourself deadlines (even if you don’t have to publish on a certain day)
  • Writing shorter novels, if it makes sense for your style and your genre
  • Keeping all the balls in the air when juggling multiple series
  • Tips for newer authors trying to get those early reviews
  • Focusing on writing and publishing books as the most effective form of marketing
  • Whether there’s a downside to giving away review copies to readers who likely would have purchased the books
  • Do book giveaways and contests help garner more reviews?

If Anna’s books sound interesting to you, she has several permafree adventures that you can check out:

Among Galactic Ruins (Phoenix Adventures — space romance)

Marcus (Hell Squad, Book 1 — dystopian romance)

Time Thief (Anomaly Series, Book 1)

Anna also has a boxed set available for free if you visit her site and sign up for her newsletter.

 

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SFFMP 93: Straddling Genres and Succeeding with Multiple Different Series with Rachel Aaron

Popular fantasy author Rachel Aaron joined us today to talk about succeeding with books that straddle genres, launching later books in a series, and turning your writing into a business, among other topics.

Here are a few more subjects that we touched on:

  • The challenges of writing across genres and marketing books that don’t fit tidily into a category
  • Rachel’s experiments with advertising and what has worked best
  • Using a pre-order to increase sales of an entire series and how to build launch buzz over several weeks
  • Some of the perks of being in Kindle Unlimited (Rachel explains why she believes KU readers are less likely to leave bad reviews)
  • How audiobooks have become a significant source of income for Rachel
  • The challenges of maintaining a high degree of productivity after this becomes a full-fledged business

Visit Rachel on her site, check out the fan art she mentioned, or take a peek at her first Heartstrikers book on Amazon.

 

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SFFMP 92: How to Use KDP Select to Sell More Books with Susan Kaye Quinn

We got a lot of great information from today’s return guest, science-fiction and paranormal romance author, Susan Kaye Quinn. In addition to writing genre fiction, she’s penned For Love or Money, a book that talks about the ongoing debate on whether to write to the market, to write your passion, or to try and find the spot where the two areas mesh.

Since Susan has been doing a number of experiments with Amazon’s KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited promotions lately, we focused on that during the show, trying to find the information that would help authors work KU to their advantage and do better with the promotions available to those in the program.

Here are a few specifics we covered:

  • Being wide (in all the stores) and having a permafree title versus being in KDP Select with a 99-cent title
  • How to have a successful free run while in KDP Select and why “getting the attention of borrowers” matters more than anything else
  • How borrowers are almost like an entirely different store with their own eco-system
  • What to do if you’ve been wide and are bringing older titles into KDP Select
  • What some of the problems might be if your books just aren’t selling as well as you wish
  • Figuring out if a book or genre is a good match for KDP Select
  • Whether pre-orders are a good idea when you’re in KDP Select and you’re relying on borrows (which can’t roll in until the book is live)
  • Dealing with readers who might be upset if you switch from being in all the stores to being exclusive with Amazon
  • Figuring out whether you should give KDP Select a try based on how well you’re doing in other stores
  • Whether you should save up books and launch them in a cluster or try to stagger them to release over time
  • Places to advertise KDP Select titles

Stop by Susan’s site, check out her books on Amazon, and sign up for her popular For Love or Money group on Facebook. Lindsay is there as are many other indie authors.

Also check out Susan’s previous appearance on the show if you haven’t already: Episode 36.

 

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SFFMP 91: Set-It-and-Forget-It Marketing and Selling Well in Non-Amazon Bookstores

Today, Jeff, Jo, and Lindsay talked about their strategies for selling books in the non-Amazon bookstores, such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Smashwords, and Apple. They also discussed some of the tactics they’ve used over the years that they would consider “set it and forget it marketing.” These are things they did once and that have continued to result in book sales month in and month out.

They also addressed some listener questions about Amazon ebook giveaways and setting up author newsletters. (Here’s a link to the WordPress plug-in that Jeff uses: Newsletter.)

Lindsay went into some details about the successful launch of her recent science fiction series, including the promos she scheduled and how and why she went about creating a new mailing list just for the sci-fi.

Here are the promo sites she used (these will accept new releases, but sometimes require that an author have previously published books with good reviews): Fussy Librarian, Ereader News Today, Books Butterfly, Free Kindle Books and Tips, and Bknights. Lindsay forgot to mention it, but ENT and Books Butterfly were the most worth it in terms of delivering sales, at least for her title in this case.

Links to Jo’s DeviantArt people:

The digital sculptor of Squee the Funk was Liz Landis.

The Sculptor that won the acclaim on DA was Viistar, and here’s the post of Jo’s project: http://viistar.deviantart.com/art/Ivy-Turn-620932412

 

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SFFMP 90: From Struggling to Find an Audience to the Top 1000 on Amazon with John L. Monk

This week’s guest, John L. Monk, is the author of The Jenkins Cycle and Thief’s Odyssey, cross-genre books that never sold as well as he wished, despite marketing efforts. About six weeks ago, he published Hell’s Children, a book firmly entrenched in the post-apocalyptic genre. He took some ideas from Chris Fox’s Launch to Market book and managed to release into the Top 1000 on Amazon for the first time, and his book has stuck and continued to sell well even after the dreaded “30 Day Cliff.”

Here are a few things we touched on:

  • The challenges of marketing cross-genre fiction
  • Making life (and marketing) easier by writing in specific genres with commercial appeal
  • Why John chose post-apocalyptic fiction for his new book
  • Staggering your book launch so that you’re selling some copies every day instead of firing everything off at once
  • Making acquaintances with other authors and networking so that they might mention your book to their Facebook followers or mailing lists
  • Launching into KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited and at 99 cents for the first week
  • Why putting fancy new covers on books that weren’t well targeted in a specific genre might not make much of a difference
  • Keeping readers interested in older titles
  • John’s experience with being wide and having an Apple rep and why he ultimately enrolled in KDP Select
  • Working with other authors on an anthology or joint project to spread the word about your work to new readerships

You can find John at his website, on Facebook, or check out his books on Amazon. You can also look into his new joint project, American Demon Hunters. Thanks for listening!

 

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