SFFMP 154: Getting into Libraries, Urban Fantasy Launches, and Writing Tips from the Donald Maass Workshop

Today, we were joined by librarian and urban fantasy author Dale Ivan Smith who launched his first series, The Empowered, earlier this year. He talked about the challenges of writing across genres, getting into a crowded subgenre such as urban fantasy, and why he started in Kindle Unlimited and later went wide. We also asked him how one can get self-published books into libraries and what he learned from attending the Donald Maass workshop on the emotional craft of fiction.

Here are a few of the specifics we touched on:

  • Pricing your ebooks to be attractive to librarians.
  • Talking to local librarians and what it’s good to show them (i.e. reviews, awards) when you’re pitching your book.
  • Asking your readers to put in requests at their local libraries for your books.
  • Whether libraries cycle books out of their system based on popularity.
  • Whether workshops are worth the cost and travel expense.
  • Creating protagonists that the readers connect with right away.
  • The challenges of creating an antihero protagonist.
  • Launching an urban fantasy series as an author starting today.
  • Writing the story of your heart (as many authors start out doing) versus one that’s to market and perhaps more likely to sell.
  • Whether to launch into KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited or to take an urban fantasy series wide.
  • Promotion sites that accept a new author and that Dale found worth it.
  • Tips for other newer authors.

Please visit Dale on his website or Twitter, and you can currently get his first novel, Empowered: Agent, for free everywhere.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 153: What to Do When Your Book Isn’t Selling + Selling Direct from Your Site

Today, Jo and Lindsay talked about their experiences selling ebooks and paperbacks directly from their sites, along with some of the pros and cons of doing so and tax considerations. They also ran through a checklist of things to look at if your book isn’t getting the sales you were hoping for.

Here are some of the highlights of the show:

  • Jo talked about why he took one of his recent titles out of Kindle Unlimited after a quarter.
  • Lindsay talked about buckling down and knocking out ten thousand words a day to meet some goals.
  • Selling signed paperbacks direct from your site and also doing special editions or early releases of ebooks from your site when you have a fanbase eagerly waiting for new material in a series they love.
  • Some of the pros of selling direct (keeping a higher percentage on each sale, getting the email addresses of known buyers, and not relying completely on any one store).
  • Some of the cons of selling direct (few people make it work for fiction ebooks, it’s not as easy of a process for the readers, dealing with customer service, and the extra work of installing and maintaining an e-store).
  • Tax considerations (keeping receipts and when Paypal will send you a 1099 if you use them for your direct sales).
  • Checking your cover and blurb if your book sales are anemic. Links to Libbie Hawker’s ebook on blurbs (Gotta Read It) and her two-part video instructions on the same topic (Write an Awesome Blurb or Query Pt. 1 and Write an Awesome Blurb or Query Pt. 2).
  • Avoiding slow pacing, editing errors, and infodumps in the sample pages (and ideally everywhere!).
  • Creating stories and characters that people fall in love with.
  • Not having too high of expectations!

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 152: Pricing, Category Stuffing, Launching with Three Books, and Marketing Cross-Genre Novels

This week, we answered some listener questions that had been piling up. We touched on a variety of topics, such as…

  • Should you try to put your books in as many categories as possible, and what can we do about books that shouldn’t be there knocking us out of our Top 100s on Amazon?
  • Amazon’s page of keywords for getting into unlisted categories: Selecting Browse Categories.
  • How many downloads a day can you expect from permafree titles?
  • Is it worth trying to sell English novels in countries where English isn’t the primary language?
  • How can trad publishers get away with charging 9.99 or more for ebooks, and can indies do this if their books are well edited and professionally done?
  • How do you market cross-genre books that fall into more than one category?
  • How do you guys feel about killing characters, and does it ever get easier?
  • How does your plotting process work?
  • Has anyone tried Kobo Plus yet and gotten results?
  • Where you can advertise as a newer author with less than twenty reviews on your book? Here are the links to the spreadsheets Lindsay mentioned (that C. Gockel maintains). We’re not sure if they’re up to date though, so let us know if you know of a good and recent resource. Where to Advertise Free Ebooks | Where to Advertise 99 Cent Ebooks.
  • How did Lindsay relaunch her pen name successfully after a long gap between releases?
  • If you want to write three books before launching any of them, can you use novellas as part of the plan?

Jeff and Lindsay are working on new projects, but Jo has some links if you want to check out what he’s up to right now. Here’s his serial-in-progress: The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy. Also, he’s recently done a series of “How I Write” blog posts, which cover his plotting process, among other things.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.