Ask ALLi August – Your Self-Publishing Questions answered by Joanna Penn and Orna Ross
Each month Joanna and Orna answer Member’s self-publishing questions. Before they kick off the Q&A segment, both hosts let us in on what's been consuming their time recently.
Orna published her “Secret Rose” special edition book that was part of the #Yeats2015 festivities.
It was an interesting journey that started with a Crowd Funding event and culminated in an Irish launch at Sligo and a UK launch in London in August.
Orna is also spearheading the ALLi rebranding activities to incorporate the new tag line of “How-To for authors”.
Our existing ALLi publications are being upgraded and a couple of new self-publishing advice books are being launched later this month.
Things are all-go on this self-publishing blog, and behind the scenes the team are restructuring and reorganising our wealth of content available to make it easier for indie authors to navigate to the self-publishing segment they need help with.
Joanna has had another multi-tasking month. She launched “Deviance” in ebook and print and is about to come out in audio book.
She's also developing a Creative Freedom course that focuses on how to make a living with your writing. It's a culmination of 7-8 years of personal learning to guide other writers through the process.
A day doesn't go by without at least one conversation about Amazon KDP Select, and our Ask ALLi is no exception. Orna and Joanna discussed the possibilities of making money with KDP Select, and the different strategies available to authors.
There were words of wisdom about “not putting all your eggs in one basket”.
Indies have to decide what's right for them. Based on their genre and how many books they have.
Whatever approach you take, you need to know why you're doing it … and enjoy the ride.
Books are not a short term thing. Building a business or readership as an author is a long term commitment. Short term thinking … is shortsighted.
After discussions around indie platforms wrapped up, Orna and Joanna moved onto answering Members' questions. Below is the You Tube Video and the Podcast will be available shortly. There's also a summary of some of the key talking points that Orna and Joanna touched on.
August Ask ALLi Q&A Video via YouTube
August Ask ALLi Q&A Podcast via Soundcloud
Ask ALLi Question Summary
Q: How should authors deal with lines from songs… what is fair use?
Music companies have been very vigilant about their lyrics. If it's not necessary (summarize, play around with the words). Fair use becomes quite tricky. Keep to a line or two.
Watch ALLi Insights “Legal Essentials for Authors” with Orna Ross and Helen Sedwick
Q: For a 1st time self-publishers, how many months out should you advertise your first release
As soon as you know what your books about your can start promoting it. But you need to know what it's function is and what you're trying to achieve.
Orna and Joanna discussed different strategies based on whether your first book is fiction or non-fiction. And KDP Select discussions reared its head again.
Don't load too many expectations with your first book. Relax and write your next book…
Q: How can I boost my sales? Releasing a new book in January with a preorder in October. First book didn't do well, how can I promote my second book better?
Orna and Joanna cautioned about the timing of a January release for YA, and offered some alternatives. They also talked about ebook and print strategies, and discussed the benefits of taking a strategic approach for developing a preorder strategy.
Q: Why aren't my keywords working for me?
Joanna was recently sent a list of keywords, and had one question:
Why are you only using keywords and not keyword phrases?
If you haven't picked your keywords strategically with your ideal categories in mind, you should listen to this segment to make sure you're making the most of your keyword selection.
Did you know that “supernatural mystery action thriller series” counts as one keyword?
Joanna shared tips on how to leverage Amazon browse categories to select your keywords .. so if you're not confident of the keywords you're using .. maybe it's time to take a look. Authors are advised to go as small as you can, not as big as you can when it comes to keywords.
This is an Indie Super Power, and increases you chances of getting found.
This is just a taster of the topics and discussions in this month's Ask ALLi. The complete event is available via You Tube and SoundClound.
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.
If you are an ALLi member, click here to submit your questions
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- You can catch up on all of our videos on ALLi’s YouTube Channel
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Meet the Ask ALLi Hosts
Joanna Penn is a London-based 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 @thecreativepenn
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 @OrnaRoss