Tonight we interviewed Bryan Cohen, the author of the YA science fiction/fantasy series Ted Saves the World and the co-host of the Sell More Books show. Bryan is a relatively new fiction author, but he’s been publishing non-fiction for a while longer, and he’s sold 35,000 books across all of his titles. He’s definitely got the entrepreneurial spirit, and we got some great tips by talking to him.
Here’s a look at some of what we covered in the interview:
How to run a successful Facebook Event that actually sells books
Starting a YouTube channel to entice more people to check out your work (Bryan’s new video project is the Bryan Cohen Showen)
Tonight, we talked all about editing. We had author and editor Tammy Salyer on, and she answered our dozen-odd questions about copy-editing, proofreading, and substantive editing (the latter being something that proved difficult for some of us to pronounce… not saying any names here!). Since Tammy writes military science fiction and is working on an epic fantasy trilogy, she was a great person to have on our particular show, to give us information about genre stuff as well as regular editing issues. Here’s a taste of what we covered:
What are the differences between proofreading, copy-editing, and substantive editing, and how does an author know what he or she needs?
How can good editing make the marketing side of things easier?
Are there any common mistakes that new authors (or old ones!) make?
What should you do if you can’t afford to hire an editor? Are there are any tips or is there editing software that can help?
What are red flags that you should look for when hiring an editor?
What are samples pages and how can they help you find a good editor?
How slavishly should authors cling to grammatical rules?
For the second time in the history of the podcast, we had a guest on tonight (we’ll be having guests on a lot more often, so if there’s someone you would like to see — who might actually deign to talk to us — let us know). Australian science fiction and fantasy author Patty Jansen came on to talk to us about self-publishing, marketing fads, and how she has ended up selling well on the non-Amazon platforms, especially Kobo.
Here are a few of the topics we covered:
Patty’s publication history (including a Writers of the Future win) and why she opted for self publishing
The benefits of belonging to an online workshop
If there are any specific challenges to selling science fiction and fantasy, as opposed to other genres
What’s helping her to sell on Kobo and some of the other platforms where many authors struggle to gain traction
Some tips for selling books on Google Play
Is it worth following the trends and trying to write what’s popular?
Organizing multi-author promotions and why you would want to
Is it still a good time to be an indie author, even if things may be getting tougher, and it’s not as easy to break in?
We had our first official guest on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast tonight! Jason Chen, the founder of StoryBundle.com, joined us to talk about how he started the site, how he’s gone about creating book bundles full of awesome titles by traditionally published and indie authors, and how he sells upwards of 3000 bundles in a 3-week period over and over again. And these are not 99-cent bundles, my friends. People often pay over $10 for the collections on his site, meaning a nice cut for the authors and also for the charities that Jason works with.
We pumped him for information on:
Creating bundles, including approaching big-name authors
Marketing bundles and ebooks in general
Finding ways to promote on tech sites, as opposed to the usual book venues
Choosing cover art for bundles
His experience with advertising on Google, Facebook, and other sites
Whether StoryBundle still accepts submissions (the answer is yes, but many of their collections are curated by authors who know other authors)
Today we interviewed epic fantasy author Jeffrey M. Poole on his experiences with self-publishing, some of the mistakes he wish he hadn’t made when he got started, and growing a rabid fan base that’s always hungry for the next book.
A few of the specific topics were…
Getting started self-publishing when you don’t have much money to invest
Which kinds of “helpful” companies to avoid
Finding an editor and cover art designer
Using permafree to get people to try a new series (and whether permafree is as effective as it used to be)
Blogging and social media for promotion, yea or nay
Today, we interviewed Joseph R. Lallo, author of the epic fantasy Book of Deacon series, as well as steampunk, science fiction, and super hero novels. He’s been self-publishing since 2010, and he’s really rocked it with his Book of Deacon series (over 1,000 reviews on the first title at Amazon). He recently quit his day job to write full time.
Among other things, we discussed:
How Jo has used permafree to sell his series (and how he’s kept it selling well for over four years)
The importance of cover art and some of the difficulties of finding killer covers in science fiction and fantasy (i.e. is it better to go with custom illustrations, photo manipulation, or symbol-based designs)
How helpful writing and publishing in a series can be for getting to that point where you earn a steady income
What’s working in marketing right now
Making plush toys (and other merchandise) out of book characters (or dragons/familiars/pets) from your stories and whether there’s any money to be made merchandising these things.
Do authors need to file for copyright? What should you look out for when it comes to contracts with publishers? Do you need an agent to handle foreign rights and contracts or is it better to hire an ip attorney? What should you establish upfront before co-authoring a book or series with another writer?
We talked about these questions and more tonight with our guest, urban fantasy author Laura Kirwan. Laura used to be an attorney but is now focusing on her fiction. We pumped her for lots of information on the legal issues authors (especially independent authors) often wonder about, and we also discussed her experiences with KDP Select and writing for (and marketing to) a specific age group with your fiction (hint: Laura’s protagonist is not an 18-year-old orphan destined to save the world).
Do you need to file for copyright for your novel, and if so, how do you do it?
For indie authors, should you create an LLC or other entity to “protect yourself” or are you OK writing and publishing as yourself?
If you decide to take a traditional publishing contract or pursue a hybrid model (some books traditionally published and some books self-published), what should you look out for on those contracts? (i.e. getting rights back in the future, non-compete clauses that could prevent you writing in the same genre, what happens if you don’t earn out your advance?)
If someone comes along and wants to buy your foreign rights in such-and-such-country, do you need to hire an agent or is an IP attorney a better choice?
Do you have any legal recourse if you sign with a publisher or business partner in a foreign country and they don’t follow through?
The things you want to establish before co-authoring a book/series with another author.