David Penny stepped in to help Joanna answer Members' self-publishing questions this month. Orna is attending NINC where she's speaking about ALLi on re 3rd October and “Getting and Staying Creative in Writing, in publishing, in life” on the 2nd.
David Penny was a traditionally published Sci-Fi author who strayed from the creative path for many years, only to return as an indie author writing historical thrillers. He's published two books in his Thomas Berrington series, and the third is in development – and apparently it's darker than it's predecessors.
Joanna is knee-deep in her first co-writing adventure with J. Thorn, writing a dark fantasy called “Risen Gods”. She's energized by the process of co-writing … so it looks like this will be the first of many collaborative endeavours for Joanna.
As well as keeping us abreast of their current areas of focus, our duo covered the industry buzz around Oyster Books folding. Does this mean new changes are in development at Google?
Our Ask ALLi team also chatted about the impact not having an ISBN on an ebook has had on the Author Earnings Reports, and the scaremongering about the fall in ebook sales.
You can hear more about these topics and the answers to your self-publishing questions in the YouTube and Soundcloud recordings of our live Ask ALLi event.
(A summary of the questions are listed below)
September Ask ALLi Q&A Video via YouTube
August Ask ALLi Q&A Podcast via SoundCloud
Ask ALLi Question Summary
Here's a summary of the questions covered in this month's Ask ALLi, plus a few previews of the answers, but for full details of the advice from Joanna and David .. you should watch the video or listen to the podcast.
Q: Is there an Indie Book Fair event planned in Australia?
This year's Indie ReCon at the London Book Fair was really successful and next year Orna Ross, David Penny and Jay Artale are co-producing the next generation of Indie Events under the rebranded name of Indie Author Fringe.
They'll be three online 1-day conferences around the time of the London Book Fair, the Chicago Book Expo and Frankfurt Book Fair 2016. They'll also be one live event.
ALLi are also in the middle of setting up an ALLi Umbrella structure over on Meetup.com so that members can run global meet ups. This gives members an opportunity to get involved globally and the local level.
Q: The Legal Deposits Library has requested 5 copies of my book, do I need to send them?
If you own your own ISBN, there's legal requirements to provide copies of your book to a central repository, and the requirement differs by country.
The Way Back Machine popped up in the conversation, so if you need an excuse to procrastinate on writing your daily word-count, this is the excuse you've been looking for.
What is the Way Back Machine? It's a fabulous tool for looking back at an historical version of a website. Just type in the website and select a date in time to see what that website looked like. If you've been running your author website for a while … take a look at where you started and how far you've come.
Q: I've written 5 short stories, how many should I have in a Collection?
Joanna and David are both experienced short story writers and provided advice about leveraging the short stories individually vs. bundling them together. Short stories have been making a resurgence and are ideal for creating a promotional tool to sell your novels, and our duo gave some stellar advice about pricing strategies to get the most out of your short stories to build your author brand.
Q: What is the typical length of a book blurb?
Different approaches apply for non-fiction vs. fiction and David and Joanna gave their perspective on the criteria for a successful book blurb. You need to grab your readers' attention with your book blurb, but that isn't the only element they use to determine whether to buy your book or not. Find out how to hook your reader with your book blurb, but also Joanna explains how to leverage the 4,000 word book description on Amazon to increase your chances of showing up in the search results.
Q: What Writing Craft Resources would you recommend?
Based on his response to this question, if you want David to buy your book, you just have to write one on the Craft of Writing; he has quite a collection.
Here's a couple of writing craft books that came up in the conversation:
- The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know by Shawn Coyne
- Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
- Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing and Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland
- Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker
Q: How should Authors leverage a Mailing List?
Whether you're building a following for non-fiction or fiction, the key to building your mailing list is to offer something for free to encourage your readers and fans to sign up. Then you can continue to build the relationship with a regular newsletter.
Many authors are introverts and struggle with the type of content to include in their newsletters, but Joanna discusses an approach that works for her, and can be adopted by any author looking to build their author brand.
Q: I'm a new author and published my book 3 weeks ago. How long does it take to see Kindle Sales on Amazon?
Write more books. Take is slow.
Q: When is the Showcase up and running again?
The ALLi technical team are currently working on the long-term solution for automating the ALLi Showcase, which will involve an easy to use form to enable members to submit to the showcase.
Q: When should you start thinking about promoting and marketing your book?
It's basically never too early or never too late to start promoting your book. According to Joanna:
“marketing is sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it”
You don't have to promote overtly .. a subtle approach also works.
This is just a taster of the advice dished out by Joanna and David, 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.
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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