Each month, Orna Ross, ALLi Director, invites a special guest into the indie author hot seat to answer ALLi Members’ self-publishing questions. This month's special guest is ALLi Member Paul Teague.
This was a fabulous event. Darren from Amazon KDP was a great host, and it was a useful author networking opportunity. Paul Teague
Author Katharine Smith also attended the same Manchester Amazon Academy and shared her opinion of the event in this week's Opinion post.
Our monthly Ask ALLi broadcasts are an ideal way to keep learning about being an indie author and the skills you needed to become a successful self-publisher. If you missed our live Q&A session you can listen in on the conversation between Paul and Orna here:
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Summary of our Ask ALLi Broadcast
If you prefer reading a summary of the Ask ALLi Broadcast, here are some of the key takeaways that resonated with me and a recap of the questions that were posed by ALLi members.
Q: I’m printing and distributing through Ingram Spark. What's the best way to set up returns?
Trade Publishing is a difficult business to be in if you’re relying on print sales. Trade Publishing have economies of scale, and nobody in the chain is making money.
55% is the largest discount available, and if you set that up as “sale or return” it's a big financial risk. The best option is Returns Allowed, but Destory, or No Returns, but lots of retailers won't take a book if returns aren't allowed.
Print on Demand pricing isn’t competitive, so although Paul makes his books available in print, he focuses he marketing efforts on his ebook.
Q: Amazon has it’s own imprint. Will they end up only selling books from Amazon Publishing and and ignore Indie Author's books?
Amazon Publishing is different from Amazon KDP. It's doubtful that Amazon Publishing become the only path. Self-publishing is Dragon's Den for writers, it makes sense for Amazon to keep KDP as an incubation area for it's Publishing business.
Beginning in the last half of 2016, many indie authors reported sharp declines in their Amazon sales. Some wonder if a global slump in sales could be to blame, while others point to the rise of Amazon’s imprints as a possible cause. More than a possible cause: I’ve heard authors express absolute certainty that Amazon is using its corporate might to shoulder aside non-Amazon imprints. John Doppler
More information on the topic in this enlightening and inspirational article:
Q: What are you top tips for using LinkedIn to develop your author brand?
If you are in business or an employee. you should be on LinkedIn. You can change your profile settings to decide what gets shown publicly, so that it gets indexed by Google. Having a LinkedIn profile helps establish your professional presence and credibility. One of the benefits is that you can use rich media (slides, videos, book covers) to illustrate your bio. You can also publish posts (like blog articles) to showcase your knowledge and expertise.
Q: I have a WordPress website hosted on Bluehost, where can I host a test site so that I can design it before I publish?
Paul shared the different options available to create a test/development site, and also tips on which cloning tool to use to duplicate your site quickly and easily. Listen to the podcast for all the details.
At our March Indie Author Fringe event, Paul shared how you can set up a pro author website in an hour using WordPress:
Q: I'm setting up my own imprint to publish my own books, and considering using it to publish books by other authors. Here's four questions I have:
Q1: Can an ISBN owned by my imprint be placed on a book written by somebody else with me as a publisher?
Orna confirmed that when you publish other people's books under your imprint, you become the publisher of record and can use the ISBNs you own.
If you're publishing your own books, make sure you're happy with how their performing before you get distracted by publishing other author's books.
Q2: What are the minimal submission guidelines I should feature on my imprint site to make them legally binding on both sides?
Submission Guidelines aren't legally binding, so what you include in them is up to you. But the key is that they're guidelines.
Don't reinvent the wheel, learn from the indie authors who are running their own imprints and have a set of submission guidelines on their website.
Why beat a new path when somebody who has beaten it already. Paul
Q3: How do I set up my imprint financial model?
There are so many moving parts when you publish and distribute a book, so make sure you have a conduct a profit and loss evaluation for your business model. Each book you publish should also have it's own P&L.
Q4: When I release other author's books under my imprint, who is responsible for the book marketing? The author or the publisher?
In a word, both! So make sure you're confident in your marketing abilities (or use a competent freelancer). The key is to make sure you have experience in the book's niche.
Q: I submitted my self-help book to BookBaby last week. How do I find marketing plan help?
Before you start outsourcing your marketing tasks, make sure you have established your online presence (website and social media), so that you have landing pages to drive your readers too.
Get a free Amazon Author Page.
Get a free Mailchimp account to build your mailing list, and use InstaFreebie to help you build your mailing list. If you only have one book available your can create a digital version of a small segment of your book (say 10% in a word file) and make that available in return for names and emails. Add a page at the end of your file directing the reader to your Amazon page or website to buy the full-version of your book.
Some ALLi members who write in the same genre are collaborating on joint InstaFreebie promotions that are proving to be a successful way of boosting their mailing lists. More InstaFreebie information will be featured in our next Indie Author Fringe Event.
Find out how Katherine Hayton uses Insafreebie to grow your mailing list:
OUR NEXT ASK ALLI EVENT IS WITH CARLA KING ON MAY 9TH.Learn and grow from this Ask ALLi #selfpub advice from @ornaross & @PaulTeagueUK Click To Tweet
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
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Meet the Ask ALLi Host & Special Guest
She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing.
Connect with Orna on Twitter: @
Paul Teague worked for the BBC for 18 years as a reporter, presenter and online journalist. He left the BBC in 2010 to become an online marketer, selling thousands of digital products and creating a Facebook software before deciding to leave that ‘get rich quick’ marketplace and try his hand at writing.
In the past three years Paul has self-published thirteen books. He has written The Secret Bunker Trilogy and The Grid Trilogy, as well as How To Build Your Author Platform and six social media & web guides. He is just about to publish his first thriller trilogy at the end of March 2017.
He teaches social and digital marketing to local businesses via the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and this is how he bootstraps his writing activities. Paul is also the host of Self Publishing Journeys at https://self-publishing-journeys.com the weekly podcast for new & aspiring indie authors.
Connect with Paul on Twitter: @