Each month, Joanna and Orna answer Members’ self-publishing questions during our regular Ask ALLi event. If you missed this author Q&A you can watch the video and listen to the podcast here. We’ve also included a summary of the questions that were asked and answered this month.
Orna and Joanna began the Ask ALLi discussion by sharing their current priorities, before moving onto the members’ questions.
What are Orna and Joanna working on?
After a well-earned break, Orna is going full-steam ahead with the planning for our Frankfurt Bookfair Indie Author Fringe Event, which will be held on October 22nd.
Make sure you stay tuned for more information, there's exciting sessions and speakers planned.
This is ALLi's third and final 24-hour self-publishing conference for 2016, and if you you haven't already signed up to receive updates about this Free Online Event, you can do that here.
Joanna has launched her “Successful Author Mindset” non fiction book, and now she's taking the experience she's accumulated during the process of writing of her 11 fiction books to create a book on How to write a Novel.
In the News
There's a exciting collection of indie author news to announce this week:
- Draft2Digital have launched a universal book links functionality. We asked Kevin Tumlinson, Draft2Digital’s new Director of Marketing, to tell us more about it here. It's available to Draft2Digital, AND non-Draft2Digital authors, and is free to use.
- Scrivener is now available on iOS devices, so if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can now use your devices to access your Scrivener writing app.
- Barnes and Noble are now offering a Print on Demand service. If you already publish via IngramSpark or CreateSpace and chose expanded distribution, your print book with also show up in B&N.
- Nielsen have started selling ISBNs at a smaller scale to target authors. You must be based in the UK, Ireland or a British Overseas Territory to purchase these from Nielsen.
Not to be missed … Romance Report
- Even if you don't write Romance, it's worth reading the 2016 Romance Writers of America RWA PAN Presentation from the Author Earnings Report. Here's some interesting metrics from the report:
- 89% of all Romance sales are Digital
- 50% are Indie Authors
- 67% of ebook Romance sales are NOT being reported. (This puts into perspective the “sky is falling, and ebooks sales are declining” news that often surfaces).
August Ask ALLi Author Q&A
Watch the You Tube video to find out the answers to the self-publishing questions that were raised at this month’s Ask ALLi Author Q&A, or listen to the podcast here:
Watch the Ask ALLi Video
Listen to the Ask ALLi podcast
Subscribe to our Ask ALLi podcast on iTunes or Stitcher
Ask ALLi Self-Publishing Questions
Here’s a summary of the questions and a brief synopsis of the answers in this month’s Ask ALLi with Orna and Joanna (for more in-depth answers – you should watch the video or listen to the podcast):
Q: What exactly makes a piece of fiction, Literary Fiction?
Literary Fiction is defined by an attention to language and form and sentence structure, but the definition is subjective and there are no clear boundaries. It's a challenging genre to write it, and you need a passion for Literary Fiction to succeed in this genre.
Q: Should you use Scrivener to get your books accepted by distributors?
For creating basic ebooks, Scrivener is a slam-dunk. But if you're creating books like picture books or more complex non-fiction books, you might want to consider another tool. POD interior design layouts take more work, as you have to pay close attention to print dos and don'ts to make sure your books achieves the foundational level of professionalism.
Q: How can you generate an ebook review copy?
You can export an ePub or Mobi file from Scrivener, or use a paid service like Bookfunnel.com to deliver your books to readers.
Q: What's the difference between pre-orders and a soft launch?
For pre-orders, you make your book available for pre-order, and it goes live on the date you set as your launch date. For a soft launch, you make your book available to your Advance Reader group, and in return they leave a review on the day your book is available. This means you get reviews showing up on your books's page on its launch date.
Find about more about the ramifications of not meeting an Amazon pre-order date, and what Joanna's strategy is for handling the pre-order set up across multiple direct distributors.
Q: What are the advantages of using both CreateSpace and IngramSpark for creating your POD print book?
Find out what Orna has to say about this frequently discussed approach for getting your books into Print, and if you want more information don't forget we have lots on this topic on this blog:
- Watchdog: IngramSpark vs. CreateSpace for Self-Publishing Print Books
- How to use CreateSpace and IngramSpark together
- More tips on using CreateSpace and IngramSpark together
Q: Why does Joanna only use CreateSpace for her POD books, and not IngramSpark?
Joanna discusses her go-to-market strategy, and why she is focused on ebooks rather than print books. At the end of the day, it's all about efforts vs. rewards, and each author needs to determine the best approach that works for them.
If print is important to you, then ALLi recommend using CreateSpace and IngramSpark in tandem. But, and it's a big but, new authors should focus on digital. Get your ebook out there and start building your readership before you even start going down the POD route. Leave POD for a year – or even longer.
Q: When you get really burned, how do you stay motivated enough to keep writing?
In short, you need to look at:
- What's driving you to writing in the first place? and,
- How are you defining success?
At the end of the day, be careful with your time, and think strategically.
Q: What is the best way to promote a novel that doesn't fit into a specific genre?
It's less likely that your book is outside a genre, and it's more likely that it's cross-genre, and spans two or more genres.
Genre was a method set up by book sellers so that bookstores and libraries know which shelf the books get placed on. But in today's digital world, it's less about genre, and more about the categories and keywords you use in your book's metadata and distributor set up.
On Amazon you can choose 2 categories and 7 keywords. So even if you think your book doesn't fit into a category, you should look at it's themes, setting, and interesting story elements and showcase those. They need to be representative of what your book is about in order to reach readers.
Q: How useful is it to participate in KBoards?
kboards have lots of useful information, but they can also be a huge time-suck. The most pertinent information will get picked up by website like The Digital Reader or The Passive Voice, or posted on Indie Author Facebook groups. So spend you time writing, and let's others wade through the kboards and see what bubbles up.
What's in the works?
Orna and the team are working on streamlining the ALLi podcast. You can find out how to subscribe or sign up for our RSS Podcast here.
Orna and Joanna are hosting a full day event in London on November 16th entitled “How to make a living (and a life) from writing”.
Monthly Ask ALLi
Our monthly Member Q&A is part of our “Ask ALLi” Campaign: in which ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) commits to answering any question about self-publishing.
Our September Ask ALLi will be recorded on Tuesday August 30th 2016
Where can I watch or listen to more Ask ALLi?
- You can catch up on all of our videos on ALLi’s YouTube Channel
- You can listen to all of our podcast recordings at ALLi’s SoundCloud Channel
Interested in Joining ALLi? Besides being able to submit questions to this monthly Q&A, there are lots of other benefits of being an ALLi Member. Click this banner to find out more.
Meet the Ask ALLi Hosts
Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author, as well as writing non-fiction for authors. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013.
She spent 13 years as a business IT consultant in large corporations across the globe before becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur in September 2011.
Connect with Joanna on Twitter @
Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”.
She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing.
Connect with Orna on Twitter @