Today Lindsay had some laggy internet going on, so naturally we did a show with just the three of us, where we all needed to talk a lot! With a few more pauses than usual, we discussed all aspects of book reviews: why you need them, how to get them, and how to deal with those pesky 1-stars. Here are a few more specifics of what we covered:
Why it’s so important to get reviews (social proof, proof for advertisers, and also possibly getting a bump from the Amazon algorithms for lots of reviews right after a release)
Things we did to get reviews of our early books and whether give aways and blog tours are worth it
What we’re doing now, as more established authors, to get reviews, especially for new series and new genres we may be exploring
Looking beyond Amazon to Goodreads and getting reviews in the other stores
How we deal with bad reviews
Whether we think you should ever respond to reviews
Ways to possibly make a bad review work in your favor
Tonight we had dark fantasy author Becca Andre on the show. She’s a relatively new author with three novels and two novellas out so far in her Final Formula series (the first ebook is free at Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers if you want to check it out), but she’s gotten off to a great start.
Here’s some of what we talked about with her:
Writing and publishing while working a full time job and being a mom
The usefulness of writing workshops when you’re getting started
Branding the covers in a series and choosing an Amazon category (and even cover design) based on what’s less competitive (assuming a couple of options would work)
Novellas related to one’s main series and whether they’re worth doing or if readers are mainly interested in novels in the SF/F genre
Pricing for novellas versus novels
Effective ways of marketing a series, such as whether to focus on advertising the first book all the time or whether to spend money on plugging new releases too
Writing to a “key demographic” versus just writing what you want
Launching your very first novel at 99 cents so there’s less of a barrier to entry for potential readers
What to do as an author on Twitter and Facebook (i.e. posting snippets, updates, book news, etc.)
Using a Goodreads Giveaway (of a physical paperback) to get people to add the book and leave reviews there
Trying giveaways at times other than during a book launch, such as between books to generate interest and keep your name out there
Giving away a free “alternate PoV scene” to entice people to sign up for your newsletter
In today’s episode, we talked to John P. Logdson and Chris Young, a comedic fantasy and science fiction writing duo. We covered a lot of ground. Here are some of the highlights:
Any special challenges with writing humor/comedy?
Dealing with one-star reviews from people who don’t “get” the humor
Collaboration — who does what and how do you manage to put out cohesive novels?
Does collaboration offer any advantages over titles written by a single author?
Can any writers collaborate well, or does it take a special personality and/or a certain skill set?
Writing to target less competitive categories on Amazon
Tricks for producing books more quickly
Should you mention that the books are humorous or comedic in the blurb or on the cover? So people looking for serious fiction won’t accidentally grab them?
Are there any marketing advantages to writing fantasy/science fiction comedy?
How to set up your tweets to market successfully on Twitter (effective hashtag use and Hashtagify for seeing what’s popular or trending + BookLinker to send readers from different countries to the right store)
Twitter groups and networking with other authors in a smart way
Marketing/advertising on Facebook, Goodreads, and using giveaways
The types of marketing John and Chris have tried and that hasn’t done well + what has worked
What they do to encourage newsletter signups
A new site for crowdfunding/getting pre-orders specifically for authors: Publishizer.
Tools they use for collaboration: Scrivener, Trelby (screenwriting program), and Dropbox.
Want to check out their work?
For more character-driven stories, try Starliner or the Land of Ononokin books. For more humor, check out Platoon-F. They’ve got a new project coming soon as well, a book called Queen Aurthur, a different (very different) take on the King Aurthur story. You can get in touch with them or find out more at their site, Crimson Myth.
You may have heard that the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association) is now allowing small press and indie authors in, so long as they’ve made the earnings requirements. We invited MCA Hogarth onto the show to talk about some of the changes and what they mean for indies, as well as why you might want to join.
After that, we talked a little about marketing, but Lindsay was curious about some of the extra ways MCA is making money from her work, so we also jumped into Patreon, Kickstarter, Paypal tip jars, and coloring books!
Here’s a list of what we hit on:
The SFWA, which has been around for 50 years, is now accepting small press and indie authors.
What does the organization offer and why might authors want to join? (Networking, invitations to anthologies, legal help, and more.)