The harsh reality is that many of us rack our uncooperative brains for weeks in a fruitless search for a title. And when divine inspiration doesn't appear and we're nearing the point of desperation, we clutch at a semi-random title that feels only mediocre. We settle. But if you're in that latter category, take heart: every book in the history of literature is a lesson on how to choose a title. Let them guide you, and you'll find a title that fills you—and your readers—with delight.
Each month Orna Ross and Joanna uenn join forces to bring you The Self-Publishing Salon, a live online broadcast where they discuss what’s going on in the publishing industry, and provide an update on the latest tools and techniques that are helping them achieve their writing and publishing goals.
Our Salon is skewed towards more experienced authors who have already mastered industry terms and are familiar with the basics of self-publishing.
If you’re committed to being a successful indie author, this conversation between The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing” and one of the Guardian UKs “Top creative Professionals” shouldn’t be missed.
Self Publishing Salon
Here are the YouTube video and Soundcloud podcast, and below I’ve summarized the Salon topics that resonated with me. Listen or watch the broadcast for the full conversation.
Self Publishing Salon Video
Self Publishing Salon Podcast
Subscribe to our Ask ALLi podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud of via our RSS feed:
Self Publishing Salon Event Recap
Bare Bones Publishing
Last month Orna was speaking at the San Francisco Writers Conference. This is a regular event on Orna’s schedule because of the strong self-publishing track. One of the panels that got the most buzz was one about “Bare Minimum Publishing”. This approach applies the tech beta-release approach to books, where “good enough is good enough and we will fix the mistakes later”. So what is mandatory and what is a nice-to-have? Not surprisingly, a major part of the discussion was whether an Editor is a nice-to-have or, as Orna attests, an Editor should be considered an essential part of the bare bones minimum BEFORE you publish.
Here at ALLi we strongly believe that having your book edited is what elevates it from a hobby project to a professional publication (that and a great cover). All too often new authors skip editing as part of the publication process because of the cost. But as soon as an author determines that they want to make a career out of their writing, they need to invest in a good editor.
FYI: At next week’s Indie Author Fringe event Reedy’s Ricardo Fayet is hosting a session called “Editors Discuss Where Writers Go Wrong”.
He’s joined by three professional editors, Rebecca Heyman, Michele Matrisciani, and Jim Spivey who will be covering all the most common writing mistakes authors make in their first drafts.
Our usual Self-Publishing Salon is scheduled for the last Tuesday of the month, but this month’s event was pushed to earlier this week because of Joanna and Orna’s travel schedules. Joanna spent time in both New Zealand and Australia, her adopted homes for eleven years between 2000 and 2011. Back then, self-publishing was an absolute no-no in those territories, and Joanna was a publishing pariah and the proverbial black sheep in the industry.
But this industry has changed significantly. Six years have made all the different, and now there are many more indie authors. There’s a shift towards self-published authors who make a healthy living out of being an indie author and are known to their own tribes of fans and readers, but who the rest of us maybe haven’t heard about.
Author Earnings Report
The new report came out, and you can read the full report by clicking on this image below.
Joanna and Orna also discussed the key points of interest from the report, and provide their take on the Top eBook sales and some of the international market share metrics.
Amazon Publishing & Advertising
Amazon got quite a few mentions in the Author Earnings report discussion (of course), and Joanna is going to start experimenting with Amazon KDP Select.
Kindle Unlimited is now paying Indie Authors twice as many dollars as Nook is paying to all publishers combined. Joanna
So much of what Amazon do is interesting and innovative, and Indie Authors who are their own publishers need to be nimble enough to experiment with all of the different self-publishing options available and find out what works best for them. But,
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” Orna
Subscription models were also a topic of conversation, and our duo are watching the launch of Kobo Plus in the Netherlands with interest.
Kobo Plus eBook is a subscription that gives you unlimited access to titles from every genre that can be read on any device.
Kobo are living up to their “Read Freely” business model and making their subscription service non-exclusive. Whereas Amazon’s KU is offered in return for exclusivity.
FYI: Kobo and Draft2Digital are hosting a joint session during Indie Author Fringe called “Get Your Book Out There. How To Be Everywhere.” Draft2Digital and Kobo can both help you take your book to international markets but they work in very different ways. Mark Lefebvre and Kevin Tumlinson explain the difference between an aggregator and a retailer and how important it is to go wide.
Joanna’s books cross genres, and she’s found it challenging to find the advertising sweet-spot for her library of books. So she is returning to her Content Marketing roots to reach readers, by creating niche-specific content that will appeal to her book’s target audience, and supplementing it with a “Free Book” pop-up.
FYI: Next week Orna is going to be hosting an AskALLi Member Q&A session with Mark Dawson, which will be included as part of the Indie Author Fringe event on Saturday 18th. Mark will be discussing all aspects of book marketing, but specifically Facebook and Amazon Ads. So if you’re still pondering what marketing techniques to employ, this session will be of significant interest to you.
No matter what trends or hot new approach indie authors are distracted by, Content Marketing is foundational for reaching readers. It’s not going to go away, and if you’ve strayed too far from this core element – it might be time to take a look at the content you’re writing and publishing on your blog.
This content marketing approach is one also favored by Orna, and it will appeal to introverted indie authors who want to attract an audience without being sales-oriented and pushy. Giving value, rather than hard selling is a slower audience-building strategy, but, as Orna says, it has a higher intrinsic value for you and your reader.
When you’re building your mailing list, quality of the list is sometimes overlooked in favor of volume of signups. Use Content Marketing to stay close to what you value, and offer content that is of value to your readers.
Publishing Mergers and Acquisitions
Hachette UK, the second largest publisher in the UK has acquired Digital-only publisher Bookouture. This is reminiscent of last year’s news when Macmillan has bought Pronoun, a self-publishing platform originally founded as Vook, which was one of the early e-book and multimedia technology producers.
Is this part of a growing trend where traditional publishers are acquiring rather than growing their own digital expertise?
As a side note, if don’t already use Pronoun’s free Keyword Tool, you should check it out. You don’t need to be a Pronoun customer to use it, but you do need to sign-up for an account. Just paste the link to your book on Amazon and they’ll send you updates about your rankings and make recommendations about which category you should be targeting to increase your rankings.Keep your fingers on the pulse of our #indieauthor world with @OrnaRoss & @TheCreativePenn Click To Tweet
Indie Author Fringe Free Online Conference
It’s a busy week in London next week. The London Book Fair will be in full-swing and many ALLi members and other Indie Authors will be milling around Olympia. Most of the indie action will be taking place at AuthorHQ, and ALLi will be featuring the best indie-centric sessions from London Book Fair in the Indie Author Fringe agenda.
If you haven’t already registered to attend our Indie Author Fringe event, what’s stopping you? It’s free to register and free to attend.
Our next Self-Publishing Salon is on April 25th
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 @