SFFMP 123: Gail Carriger on Transitioning from Traditional Publishing to a Hybrid Career

New York Times bestselling steampunk/fantasy author Gail Carriger joined us this week to talk about writing and marketing for traditionally published novels as well as her experiences self-publishing novellas and short stories. She’s very proactive in interacting with her fans and had a lot of great information for listeners.

Here’s some of what we touched on:

  • Gail’s path to traditional publishing and how her books came to find an audience.
  • What her publisher has done as far as marketing and what she’s been expected to do on her own.
  • Why she decided to branch out and start self-publishing some of her novellas and short stories.
  • How she uses social media and her newsletter to interact with readers between releases and keep them excited about being a part of her fandom.
  • Using Amazon affiliate links to monitor what other things your readers are buying after they pick up your books (and why it might be useful to know that).
  • Gail’s experiences with book tours and whether it’s worth it for newer authors to try to arrange local book signings.
  • Is there anything you can do to make a publisher want to spend more money on you when it comes to their marketing/advertising budget?
  • Suggestions on what to watch out for with cover art.
  • Adult fiction versus young adult fiction.
  • What to watch out for when signing a traditional publishing contract, especially if you think you’ll want to self-publish on the side.

You can check out Gail’s books on Amazon and on other retailers, and you can find her on the web at GailCarriger.com or on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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SFFMP 115: Amazon’s Publishing Imprints, Self-Editing, and Better Plotting to Finish Books More Quickly

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

Also look into her books for writers: Tick-Tock Edits: How To Edit Your Own Writing: Ten Quick and Easy Tips To Strengthen Any Manuscript and Tick-Tock Plot: How to Speed-Write the Next Blockbuster eBook.

You can also visit her on her website: http://www.jacquelinegarlick.com/

 

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SFFMP 80: Dissecting Steampunk + Creating a Multi-Author Anthology in a Shared World

Today, we had a podcast first: three guests at the same time. They are all steampunk authors and are a part of a shared world anthology called The Faraday Cage. (If you happen to catch this in the next few days, head over to the site; they’re doing a book giveaway.)

Steven Turnbull was the editor and publisher of the anthology. Peter A. Smalley and Virginia Marybury were contributors. We had them on to talk about the steampunk genre and how to go about putting together an anthology full of shared world stories by different authors. It was a little different from our usual interviews, but we hope you find it to be interesting.

Here are the authors’ links if you want to check out more from them:

The book website is: http://the-faraday-cage.com

The Amazon page (geolink): http://bit.ly/the-faraday-cage

And the authors:

Rob Harkess

http://www.amazon.com/R-B-Harkess/e/B0070CCSFG

Social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RBHarkess

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rbharkess/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114351001736513757578/about

Peter A. Smalley

http://www.amazon.com/Peter-A.-Smalley/e/B0055QE0MS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peter_Smalley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterasmalley/

Google+: https://www.google.com/+PeterSmalley

Virginia Marybury

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VMarybury

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaMarybury

Katy O’Dowd

http://www.amazon.com/Katy-ODowd/e/B006292ELG

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katyod

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katy.odowd

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109100749123016978303/about

Steve Turnbull

http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Turnbull/e/B00H20G7P8

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adaddinsane

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steveturnbullwriter

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SteveTurnbull-Writer/about 

 

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SFFMP 69: Foreign Translations, Pen Names, and Keeping a Long-Running Series Fresh and Selling with Shelley Adina

Steampunk (and Harlequin and Amish romance) author Shelley Adina joins us today to talk about managing multiple pen names and genres, keeping a long-running series fresh (and selling), paying for foreign translations of indie books, and working the cons to get in touch with more readers (and take trips you can write off on your taxes!).

Here are some more specifics of what we covered:

  • An MFA program that was actually fun (and taught genre writing)
  • Going indie in genres where the publishers aren’t interested (and making more money as an indie than in trad publishing!)
  • Writing a free short story to entice readers to sign up to your newsletter
  • Selling in Germany as an SF&F author (and whether it’s worth doing translations)
  • The high cost of paying for translations on your own
  • How to use your blog as a marketing method and what to write about as a fiction author
  • Keeping your author voice consistent when you’re switching between pen names and genres
  • Not just relying on ebooks and making extra money by doing paperback and audio versions.
  • How Shelley got a deal with Blackstone Publishing to handle distribution of audiobooks and get into more stores than when using ACX.

Like what you heard? You can check out the first book in Shelley’s Magnificent Devices series for free. Stop by her website to learn more!

 

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SFFMP 36: Susan Kaye Quinn on Tips for Going Pro, Genre Hopping, and Selling Lots of Science Fiction

Today we chatted with best-selling science fiction author Susan Kaye Quinn, and she had a lot of amazing advice. Here’s a look at some of what we covered:

  • How important the science is in science fiction (Susan has a PhD in engineering, so she knows her stuff, but says she puts emotion before tech)
  • Trying to develop new worlds and plots versus using popular tropes
  • Blurbing: do you use your own words or fall back on taglines like (this is Jo’s contribution) “Indiana Jones meets Firefly in a submarine” (FYI, Lindsay would totally read that.)
  • Some of Susan’s favorite marketing tactics that have worked over the years and that continue to work (she talked about big levers versus small levers, choosing to do things that get a big response)
  • Genre hopping — avoid or do it if you like it?
  • Kindle Unlimited and thoughts on serials now that the KU rules have changed
  • Overrated and underrated types of marketing (Susan isn’t a big fan of Facebook advertising and doesn’t think social media matters much when it comes to selling books)
  • Strategies for getting readers to pick up other series you’ve written
  • Getting more people onto a mailing list and how often to email them once they’re there
  • Tips for keeping everything in perspective once writing is your full-time job

For more great advice from Susan, check out her books for authors:

Also check out the video Susan mentioned, Facing Your Fears in Indie Publishing.

 

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SFFMP 28: Marketing Steampunk and Working with a Small Press with AW Exley

Tonight we talked to AW Exley, the author of the popular steampunk adventures, The Artifact Hunters. She hails from rural New Zealand and signed on with Curiosity Quills, a small press, to start out. She’s since started publishing some of her work independently and spoke to us about the differences in marketing and control. Here’s a quick look at some of what we covered:

  • Advantages of going with a small press when you’re starting out
  • Why AW Exely decided to self-publish her more recent books
  • Spending time on social media and marketing versus just writing the next book in a series
  • The challenges of growing a private mailing list when a publisher is handling the backmatter (and putting their own newsletter link in)
  • The advantages of wearing a corset when pimping books to the steampunk audience. 😉 (And will Jo buy a corset or will he not?)
  • Tips for new writers
  • Dealing with bad reviews
  • Thoughts on what makes a good cover in the steampunk genre (and overused images/ideas)
  • Being the big fish in the small pond and choosing a smaller category on Amazon

You can check out AW’s first book, Nefertiti’s Heart (The Artifact Hunters Book 1), and visit her on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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