On today’s show, we chatted with Jill NoJack, fantasy author and Kindle Scout winner. The first book in her Bad Tom paranormal romantic comedy series, The Familiar, was selected for a publishing deal with Amazon. We asked her all about the Kindle Scout program, who might want to consider trying out, and what’s in it for the authors who are selected by Amazon.
Jill talked about what it takes to be chosen (excellent copy-editing and a great cover for starters) and how Amazon promotes those books that are published through the program. Winners receive $1500 and a 50% royalty split, and the ebooks get marketed through Amazon, are sometimes eligible for Daily Deals, and sometimes get submitted to Bookbub on Amazon’s dollar. For a self-published author who has been struggling to gain traction, it can get a new series or stand-alone book off to a solid start. Jill did a thorough write-up of her experience on Steve Vernon’s blog.
Tonight we talked with horror and dark fantasy author J Thorn. He’s sold over 130,000 ebooks since coming on the scene a few years ago, and he’s collaborated with more authors than Lindsay can count without taking off her shoes. We asked him why he’s collaborating with so many folks, some of the challenges and pitfalls (and perks), and then we interrogated him on boxed sets, both bundles he’s done of his own series and multi-author boxed sets that he’s organized.
Here are a few more details on what we discussed:
Challenges of epic fantasy versus dark fantasy/horror
Networking online as an introvert
Forming collaboration teams (finding people whose strengths match your weaknesses and vice versa)
Handling finances when you’re collaborating or paying other authors for multi-author boxed sets
Some of the challenges of approaching higher selling authors and getting them to be involved in boxed sets or joint projects
Whether multi-author boxed sets are still effective, or if the market too saturated
Boxing up your own trilogies or series starters and making it look like an even better deal by adding some related short stories or novellas
The more options you have for marketing and promotion as your back catalogue grows (the more titles you have, the less emotionally attached you are to one)
Tonight we discussed Lindsay’s foray into serialized fiction, how it went, what she learned, and whether it’s better to go wide right now or stick that serial into KDP Select so it earns money for page reads in Kindle Unlimited. Some of the specific questions: are serials trickier than novels, should new authors avoid them, and what do you do for cover art when you’re publishing in installments?
We also talked about when it makes sense to quit the day job and become a full-time writer. Jeff is thinking of making the jump soon, so we asked Jo questions about his experiences, how much he saved up, setting aside money for quarterly taxes and health insurance, and how long you should wait, even after you’re earning a good income from your writing.
Tonight we chatted with fantasy author Abigail Hilton about making money from Patreon, audiobooks, and web comics as well as full-length novels. She doesn’t write in the most popular subgenre of fantasy, and she creates anthropomorphized characters for her adventures, but she’s diversifying her income and making notable money from her work.
Here’s a bit of what we covered:
Supplementing your monthly income with Patreon
What Patreon is exactly and how it works
Patreon versus Kickstarter
Getting people to sign up for your Patreon page and asking for tips versus monthly payments
Choosing rewards that don’t require extra work on your part, because they’re things you would do anyway
Using Podiobooks to find an audience versus publishing audiobooks straight to Audible
The expense of doing full cast recordings for audiobooks and is it worth it?
Finding artists to illustrate your world (and to create extras for Patreon rewards)
Creating web comics as an add-on for your regular fiction series
Hiring reliable artists and whether the expense can be worth it
Facebook ads when you’re an author in a small, less popular niche
Split testing Facebook ads for covers (figuring out which is your most popular cover option before even publishing the book)
Thanks to Abigail for all of the great information. You can visit her website, where she has free ebooks and audios available, and check out her books on Amazon.