SFFMP 23: Marketing Dark Fantasy, Writing in a Series, and Selling Novellas

Tonight we had dark fantasy author Becca Andre on the show. She’s a relatively new author with three novels and two novellas out so far in her Final Formula series (the first ebook is free at Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers if you want to check it out), but she’s gotten off to a great start.

Here’s some of what we talked about with her:

  • Writing and publishing while working a full time job and being a mom
  • The usefulness of writing workshops when you’re getting started
  • Branding the covers in a series and choosing an Amazon category (and even cover design) based on what’s less competitive (assuming a couple of options would work)
  • Novellas related to one’s main series and whether they’re worth doing or if readers are mainly interested in novels in the SF/F genre
  • Pricing for novellas versus novels
  • Effective ways of marketing a series, such as whether to focus on advertising the first book all the time or whether to spend money on plugging new releases too
  • Writing to a “key demographic” versus just writing what you want
  • Launching your very first novel at 99 cents so there’s less of a barrier to entry for potential readers
  • What to do as an author on Twitter and Facebook (i.e. posting snippets, updates, book news, etc.)
  • Using a Goodreads Giveaway (of a physical paperback) to get people to add the book and leave reviews there
  • Trying giveaways at times other than during a book launch, such as between books to generate interest and keep your name out there
  • Giving away a free “alternate PoV scene” to entice people to sign up for your newsletter

 

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Patty Jansen Talks Selling on Kobo, Google Play, and Networking with Other Authors

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?

 

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You can visit Patty on Twitter or on her website. She sometimes blogs about self publishing on her site (check out her recent post,”Kindle Unlimited: a few observations“). The first book in her Icefire Trilogy is currently free on Amazon.

Self-Publishing on a Shoestring, Potential Pitfalls, and Growing a Fan Base with Jeffrey Poole

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
  • Dealing with bad reviews

 

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Check out Jeff’s first novel for free on Amazon, Smashwords, and in other stores.

Selling Fantasy, the Importance of Book Covers, and Commissioning Plush Toy Characters with Joseph R. Lallo

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.

 

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