We’re chatting with return guest Glynn Stewart today. He’s the author of three space adventure series and recently launched an urban fantasy/superhero fantasy series. Despite genre hopping, he did great with the urban fantasy launch, so we asked him about his strategies for getting the sales rolling with a new series in a new genre, and we also had him compare his launch experience with superhero/urban fantasy versus space opera/military SF (he also launched a new military SF series over the summer).
Some more details of what we discussed:
How Jeff’s Amazon account was canceled without warning and the hoops he had to jump through to get it reinstated.
What made Glynn decide to start a 3rd and 4th series this year when his old series were still going.
Some of the challenges of publishing in the urban fantasy right now (and why it can be useful if your book can go into another smaller category as well).
Going against the tropes in military SF (and selling well anyway) with a female protagonist.
Some genres Glynn finds interesting but wouldn’t devote time to right now since those categories aren’t big sellers.
The challenges of writing across genres.
Keeping multiple series selling when you’re alternating book releases between four series.
Best strategies for launching a new series right.
Does it make sense to do shared worlds or cross universes between your series when you’ve got different ones going?
On this week’s show, Jo, Jeff, and Lindsay chatted about some of the lessons they’d learned in 2016, some of the ways people are breaking out right now, even while other authors struggle to maintain what they’ve had in the past, and also applying the 80/20 Rule to writing and marketing books.
Here are a few more details of what they covered:
A lot of authors reported 2016 was a down year for them, with more competition in the marketplace, Amazon possibly underreporting KU page reads, and difficulty keeping the momentum they’d gained in past years.
How, despite reports of gloom and doom, some authors came out of nowhere and kicked butt in 2016.
Some of the mistakes our guys made in 2016 and some of the things they got right.
Writing to market and whether it’s a must if you want to break out and sell a lot of books.
The importance of craft and how you may have to hustle more to sell books if you’re not writing to market (but maybe that’s okay!).
Can pre-orders be leveraged to help break out?
Applying the 80/20 Rule to deciding what to write and publish and also how to market.
Tracking your marketing efforts to see what’s effective and what’s a waste of time and money.
How important publishing quickly has been for a lot of the authors coming out of nowhere and killing it (and another nod to Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K book — check out our past interview with her).
This week, we chatted with YA steampunk and non-fiction author Jacqueline Garlick about her experience seeking an agent and a traditional publisher, followed by her decision to self-publish, followed by her signing her YA steampunk series (The Illumination Paradox) with Amazon’s Skyscape Imprint.
Here are are few more details on some of the things we covered:
Learning from trying the traditional route first, and how not getting a deal doesn’t necessarily mean your writing isn’t “good enough.”
Putting together an amazing cover even on a budget.
Getting selected for an Amazon imprint and whether to say yay or nay.
Some of the pros and cons of publishing with an Amazon imprint (Skycape traditionally handles YA stuff, and 47North does adult science fiction and fantasy).
What happens if Amazon picks up the first couple of books in your series but then passes on the next one.
Conventions of steampunk and whether it’s better to stick to the niche when it comes to marketing or to highlight how the story may appeal to a wider audience.
Tropes and things that readers look for in the steampunk genre.
Editing tips for making your work cleaner and more succinct.
Checking for when the “Story Masters” weekend seminar is in your area — Jacqueline thought it was a useful course.
Plotting tips to help you get everything hammered out ahead of time so you can write the novel more quickly.
You can check out Jacqueline’s first steampunk adventure on Amazon: Lumière
This week, we talked to LitRPG author Jayden Hunter about this up-and-coming genre. Several debut authors have jumped into the Top 500 overall on Amazon with their launches, and Jayden hit the Top 1000 with his novel Nagant Wars before unpublishing it to revise it and put out a new copy. We asked him about the expectations and tropes of the genre and how one goes about marketing it.
Here are a few more details of what we covered:
What is LitRPG, anyway?
Some of the rules of the genre, such as that you need to make up your own MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game like World of Warcraft) as an integral setting for the story.
How the main character is expected to play the game and progress, as a video game avatar might with experience points and levels.
Some of the tropes of the genre, such as having a main character who has a rough life but who gets to develop into a powerful player in the game.
Mingling the game story with a contemporary or futuristic (often dystopian) setting.
Some common mistakes writers are making when tackling the genre.
When it comes to marketing, focusing on finding one’s readers and connecting with them before worrying about building a platform or a mailing list.
Figuring out how to place a book on Amazon when there’s not a LitRPG category yet (most are currently putting their books under cyberpunk).
Can the audience for LitRPG expand beyond this particular niche? Can gaming-focused novels appeal to science fiction and fantasy readers as a whole?