Popular fantasy author Rachel Aaron joined us today to talk about succeeding with books that straddle genres, launching later books in a series, and turning your writing into a business, among other topics.
Here are a few more subjects that we touched on:
The challenges of writing across genres and marketing books that don’t fit tidily into a category
Rachel’s experiments with advertising and what has worked best
Using a pre-order to increase sales of an entire series and how to build launch buzz over several weeks
Some of the perks of being in Kindle Unlimited (Rachel explains why she believes KU readers are less likely to leave bad reviews)
How audiobooks have become a significant source of income for Rachel
The challenges of maintaining a high degree of productivity after this becomes a full-fledged business
Tonight’s discussion was with the anonymous Data Guy, curator for the famous (or perhaps infamous!) Author Earnings Report. If you haven’t been by the site, make sure to visit and check out some of the reports (you can also grab the raw data if you’re a data person!).
Here are some of the questions we asked Data Guy:
What exactly is the Author Earnings Report, and how do you get your information?
How are you able to look at a book’s Amazon sales ranking and figure out how many books are selling each day?
How are indie authors doing compared to small press, Amazon imprints, and traditionally published authors?
Which genres are indie authors doing best in?
What’s the reception been from the industry? Has Amazon stepped forward to confirm or deny the accuracy of your reports?
Does the data show that authors need to release frequently (i.e. every few months) to stay on the radar and continue selling well?
Are there any correlations between basic stats and overall income? i.e. total number of books, number in series, number of reviews, etc.
How is sales ranking figured? Is it true that it takes more sales to make it to a certain ranking than it does to stick once you get there? How are past sales weighed in to the current ranking?
How does Kindle Unlimited play into your rankings and income reports?
What do you think is the best route for authors starting out today?
Today we chatted with Liana Brooks and Amy Laurens, sci-fi and fantasy authors who both got their start with short stories and have branched out into novellas, novels, and creating their own press: Inkprint Press.
Here’s some of what we covered today:
The differences in marketing when you’re indie published, small press published, and traditionally published, including how much work you can expect to do on your own.
The importance of networking with other authors, especially as an indie author.
Participating in anthologies (bonus points if you can get into an anthology with a bigger name author)
Getting the rights back to previously published short stories and self-publishing them
The challenges of marketing novella-length fiction
Getting custom business cards for each of your series, so you can tailor what you’re trying to sell to the individual you meet (they use Moo.com NFC-chip cards to allow people to hold the card up to a smart phone and automatically get a free download delivered right to the phone)
Aspects of social media that they’ve found useful
Are blog tours still worth it? And organizing one as an indie
Do you run into problems when cross-promoting between indie and trad pubbed books?
World building tips from a science stud (Amy) who has a book on world building coming out in 2016 — you can sign up to hear when it’ll be out on her site: From the Ground Up, notification list.
Tonight, after dealing with a few technical difficulties, we interviewed up-and-coming epic fantasy author Claire Frank. She got started in December, 2014, and did well enough to attract a publisher (Realm Walker Publishing), and we asked her about what it’s like for new authors getting started today. When our guest went AWOL briefly, Lindsay started talking about pre-orders and some of her notes from panels at the big RWA Con; we’ll continue discussing pre-orders, iBooks, Facebook advertising, and some of those other interesting topics in next week’s show.
Here are some of the highlights from Claire’s interview:
Finding time to write when you’re homeschooling three kids and working a part time job
Some of the perks of bouncing ideas off your Lego-loving significant other
What made Claire decide to sign on with a small press versus sticking with indie publishing
What can a small press offer, and are they more flexible with contracts than the Big 5 publishers?
Getting invited to cons and onto panels with a publisher’s help
Getting reviews as a first-time author
Finding cover art designers and how a good cover can help with everything from reviews to sales
Participating in anthologies to increase awareness of all authors under a publisher
Who should consider a small press publisher, and how do you get in touch with one if you’re interested?