This week, we chatted with fantasy/steampunk/fairy tale/memoir author Gwynn White, who has used multiauthor boxed sets to jumpstart her fantasy career and to hit the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.
Here are some details on what we covered:
The fact that you can actually sell travel memoirs as an indie author! (This is how Gwynn got her start.)
The challenges of selling books that are a mashup of subgenres and weren’t written to market.
Using boxed sets for getting your Book 1s in front of a lot of eyeballs.
Gwynn’s experience being in two big boxed sets that hit the USA Today and NYT lists and what she learned that she’s now applying to two sets she’s organizing.
Getting 20 authors involved and leveraging them for mailing list promotions and other types of marketing.
Utilizing pre-orders to help get the necessary numbers to hit the lists.
Setting your goals ahead of time: are the bestseller letters the most important thing, or do you want to make money (especially through Kindle Unlimited page reads), or are you most interested in sell-through to other books in your series?
Going wide with a boxed set (this is necessary if you want to hit lists) versus launching it into KDP Select/KU.
Using Pronoun to get a much longer pre-order period on Amazon (the usual is only 3 months) and also to be able to put huge files (such as you get with 20 novels in one ebook) through at 99 cents (Amazon tends to increase the price to $1.99 with big boxed sets).
Also using Pronoun because you can get 70% even on 99-cent novels.
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.
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
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:
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.
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