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 99: A Quick Release Schedule with Traditional Publishing + Rocking Patreon with Seanan McGuire

Today, Seanan McGuire joined us on the show to talk about her urban fantasy and her science fiction, her rapid releases (under two different names) with traditional publishing, how she got started, and what led her to explore Patreon, where she is currently earning nearly $8,000 per short story.

**Note: a few curse words slipped out during the interview, so you might want to listen to this one with your earbuds in! 

Here are a few more details on what we covered:

  • How writing Buffy porn led to Seanan landing an agent
  • Publishing quickly even with traditional publishers
  • Why she has two pen names (Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant)
  • Seanan’s experiences with two different publishers, each with different ways of going about the business (she’s with Daw and also with Orbit)
  • What kinds of marketing things she does on her own, what she pays for, and what the publisher pays for
  • Why she decided to start a Patreon campaign and how she got the word out
  • Why she feels like you should submit to agents and try to make it through the gauntlet of traditional publishing even if you don’t ultimately sign
  • What a launch of a new book looks like for Seanan these days

For a limited time, grab Seanan’s first October Daye urban fantasy novel for 1.99 at Amazon. Visit her anytime at her website or on Twitter. You can also take a peek at her Patreon campaign.

 

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SFFMP 64: Rachel Caine Talks Urban Fantasy, YA, Traditional Publishing, and Rocking a Kickstarter Campaign

Today’s guest, Rachel Caine, has been publishing urban fantasy and YA fantasy since 1991. She’s been traditionally published throughout her career, but she recently decided to self-publish a new book in her long-standing Weather Warden series. She launched a Kickstarter to help finance the project, asked for $5,000 and ended up earning $18,000+. We asked her about the Kickstarter and also what she’s seen as far as changes in the industry, along with the differences in self-publishing and traditional publishing when it comes to marketing and more.

Some of the things we talked about were:

  • The state of urban fantasy today and how trends wax and wane
  • Creating a successful Kickstarter campaign (and some tips for how to save more of the money that people pledge to you).
  • Building a mailing list as a traditionally published author (she uses Mailchimp and has done giveaways with Rafflecopter).
  • Creating items for physical giveaways at signings and conventions (Rachel mentioned MakePlayingCards.com for doing character cards and ClubFlyers.com and Vista Print for bookmarks, postcards, and the like).
  • Visiting schools and marketing to librarians to help sell YA fiction
  • What kind of help you can expect from traditional publishers when it comes to marketing and what’s most likely going to be up to you.
  • The challenges of participating in such common self-pub marketing tactics as multi-author bundles and price-related promotions when your books are traditionally published
  • Whether social media and “having a platform” are important when it comes to getting a traditional deal
  • Being careful about signing a contract and watching out for rights grabs

You can find Rachel at her website, on Twitter, and you can visit her author page on Facebook.

She has lots of new books coming out for you to check out. She has a story coming out in the new X-files anthology, she has a collection of short stories from her Morganville Vampires series, and the next book in her Great Library series will be out this summer. Check out the first here (visit her site for more news and links to other stores).

 

 

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SFFMP 54: Marketing Books on a Long Release Cycle with Moses Siregar III

We chatted with Moses Siregar III tonight, a busy epic fantasy author with two novels out. Like many folks in our audience, he has a lot on his plate, and it takes a while for him to write, edit, and publish new books. We talked about whether it’s better to self-publish or seek a traditional deal with this kind of schedule and what kind of marketing you can do when you don’t have the momentum of frequent releases behind you.

Moses also talked about his experience with podcasting (he was a host on Adventures in SciFi Publishing for some time) and how he met other authors and made some helpful contacts through seminars and conventions. When trouble with wrist problems bothered him, he became a fan of walking around the neighborhood and dictating his story. He used a service called iDictate which, for a reasonable fee, transcribes what you dictate into your phone.

We discussed some of the challenges, both of marketing and keeping the momentum going, when you write long epic fantasy novels. Since he doesn’t release his novels that quickly, Moses decided to make preview novellas for both of his books, as a way of getting something out there during the in-between years.

Check out the rest of the interview for more!

When you’re done, you can visit Moses’s SciFiFantasyBooks YouTube Channel or stop by his blog and visit him on Facebook. Grab The Black God’s War on Amazon or Smashwords, or try out his latest, The Ninth Wind.

 

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SFFMP 32: Traditional Publishing, Indie Publishing, and Writing More Words Per Day with Rachel Aaron

Today we chatted with Rachel Aaron on the differences in marketing between traditional publishing (she has two series out with Orbit Books) and indie publishing (she went her own way last year with Nice Dragons Finish Last). She’s also the author of the popular 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, a book that has helped a lot of us, one of your hosts included, get more words down in a day. Lastly, Rachel blogs about writing and marketing, so check that out too.

We chatted about a lot of topics, but here’s a look at some of what we covered:

  • How Rachel got her start and first signed on with an agent and Orbit
  • What traditional publishing can bring to the table in terms of marketing
  • Differences in earnings between trad publishing and self-publishing
  • How Rachel went from writing 2,000 words a day to 10,000 words a day in roughly the same amount of time (she breaks down the three keys to success that she talks about in her book and on her blog)
  • Addressing the myth that faster writing means shoddier writing (as Rachel and Lindsay have found, they write better when they’re in the flow and get the ideas out quickly!)
  • Rachel’s experience with KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited, and some of the patterns she discovered with Amazon’s algorithms (i.e. how Amazon picks a winner and helps it sell more books)
  • Pricing ebooks, traditional vs. indie
  • Longer books, versus shorter books, versus just writing what the story demands and not worrying about the market
  • What aspects of self-publishing that she finds most appealing and most difficult
  • The importance of not worrying too much about numbers and keeping it fun

 

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SFFMP 16: Marketing and Promotion for Traditionally Published Authors with Beth Cato

Today we had Beth Cato on the show. Her steampunk novel, The Clockwork Dagger, is published with Harper Voyager, and she’s had numerous short stories published in semi-pro and pro magazines, including Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She’s also sold numerous non-fiction tales to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. We chatted with her about what her publisher brought to the table, in terms of marketing and selling books, and also what she’s done on her own to help promote her stories and her world.

Here are a few of the topics we touched on:

  • How and why Beth got started with short stories and how writing and selling them helped her improve her craft, gain confidence as a writer, and eventually find an agent and a publisher.
  • Selling stories to popular fiction podcasts as well as magazines and anthologies.
  • How her publisher helped get her books off on the right foot (she has awesome covers, so take a look).
  • What promotional expectations publishers have from an author when it’s time to release a new book.
  • Book signings, yay or nay? (Here’s the link I promised to Parnell Hall’s musical rendition of his book signing experiences)
  • Whether publishers ever lower prices for sales/promotions and if authors have any say in that.
  • The pros and cons of having a new book included in Amazon’s Vine Program (where it receives pre-release reviews).
  • The Holy Taco Church and networking Beth has done with other authors.
  • Beth’s stance on social media and how much marketing she does there.
  • Tips for new authors.

Click to download the mp3.

 

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For more about Beth’s books, you can visit her website. You can also download some of her shorter works for free. Red Dust and Dancing Horses is a story delivered in podcast format, and Stitched Wings is a free steampunk story up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

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