Dana Michelle Burnett's Books on Amazon.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

When to Start Marketing Your Book

How about an information overload?  One quick search on the internet for tips on when to start marketing your book and you'll get hundreds of different answers.  The more answers you get, the more questions that come up.  Launch week?  Hard launch?  Soft launch?

I prefer to stick with the easy answer when it comes to marketing my books.  I start immediately.  It doesn't matter if I have written one word or a complete novel.  It is never too early to start marketing yourself as an author and your work.

When writing, I keep two notebooks handy.  One for notes regarding the story itself, and another just for marketing ideas that pop into my head.  I try to market during every stage of creation, but it really gets easier once I have my cover art designed.  There is just something about having a visual that makes it easier.

So, what sort of marketing can you do before your book is finished?  Well, let's see.  You can build your followers on Twitter and Facebook, you can blog about the current progress of your work, you can update your website to show you have a new project underway, and you can tell everyone you know about your new book.

What about after the book is published?  All of the above, plus more.

See why it's a good idea to get started early?  What are some of your favorite marketing methods?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A New Twist on Marketing

JA Konrath has discovered a wonderful way to reach the elusive top 100 at Amazon.  He offered to donate $500 to the charity First Book if his novel Origin made it into the Amazon top 100.  Guess what?  It worked and now he has a top 100 book and that lucky charity is $500 richer.

He's doing it again, this time with his Jack Kilborn novel Trapped.  If it reaches the top 100, he'll donate $500.  A new twist is that if his book hits the top 20, he'll donate another $500.  This could mean $1000 for the First Book charity.

So, while some may say that this is self promotion that takes advantage of our desire to help others, others will say that since both sides are benefiting, who does it hurt?  What's your opinion?

Check out JA Konrath's blog Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Not to React to a Review

As an Indie author, reviews are the key to your success.  Since none of us have the marketing budget of the large publishing firms (neither do they anymore), we rely on book bloggers to help spread the word about our books.  What we have to remember is that these bloggers are not obligated to give us glowing reviews.

We slave for months, sometimes years, crafting the perfect story into the perfect novel.  We want the world to fall in love with the characters that we have spent so much time creating.  This novel is an expression in some way of how we see the world.  This makes it art.

The hard part for some of us to remember is that while we see our novel as art, the truth is, our novel is a product.  It is a product to be sold and we ourselves are a brand to represent that product.  Nothing will destroy a career faster than you, the brand, behaving unprofessional to those that have done you the kindness of reviewing your work.

For an example of how not to react, check out Big Al's Books and Pals.  The reviewer was fair and professional in his review, but the author....Well judge for yourself....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Interesting Note About NYT

I was just reading one of my favorite publishing blogs, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.  This is a great blog from author JA Konrath and it should be required reading for every writer.  Anyway, he notes that one of his books is outselling the New York Times, but yet he never hits the New York Bestseller List.  You won't find Amanda Hocking on there either.  Why?  The New York Times doesn't list Indie authors on their bestseller list.

Now if that is their policy, fine, but it is still amusing that Indie authors are outselling the paper itself.  Take a few moments to read the blog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kindle Success? Take Advantage of Your Backlist

I think anyone that is self-publishing their books on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords is 1)Very wise considering the atmosphere in publishing today, and 2)Looking for the success denied us by traditional publishers.  So we, in our optimistic states, upload our books and wait for success.  Then it happens....Nothing.

Our first thought is that there must be something wrong and start the crazy process of checking our sales every hour.  Then we go into the crazy state of telling ourselves what bad writers we are.  Then we go even more crazy by coming up with crazy promotional ideas that rarely sustain long tern results (i.e. Amazon Bestseller Campaigns).

So what is the problem?  Who knows!  Some can break in and find their audience with one novel while others are not so lucky.  One thing to consider is virtual shelf space and how to make your backlist work for you.

Now, you may be thinking, if my first novel isn't selling, why would I add more?  Well, because you can use your unpublished back list to promote other books.  How hard is it to add an excert of another of your books at the end?  Then you are not only taking up more virtual shelf space, but also using your books to advertise your other books.

So what are the keys to success on Kindle?

1.  Write a great book
2.  Have a great cover
3.  Write a great description
4.  Price it right
5.  Promote it on your blog or website
6.  Promote it using social media
7.  Promote it using excerpts in your other books

Just remember that by taking advantage of your backlist, not only are your spreading your work out across Amazon and other outlets, but you can use your work to introduce people to your work.  So not only should you get to writing, but also get to uploading!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

10 Reasons It's Great To Be An Indie Author

Being an author is great, but being an indie author is a whole different ball game.  Here are 10 reasons why it's great to be an indie author.

10.  You can tap into hot markets while they are still hot!  Being an indie author means that you can release your book faster and take advantages of the ever changing popularity of different genres.

9.  Indie authors have more creative control over cover design.  As an indie author, your book can be presented exactly as you pictured it.  Do yourself a favor and study other covers in your selected category.

8.  Indie authors have control over the pricing of their novels.  As e-readers and POD books become the industry standard, indie authors are ahead of the game by pricing their work competitively against traditionally published books.

7.  You can make money from unpublished novels wasting away in your desk drawer.  Put those stories to work for you by uploading them to your favorite e-reader distributer!

6.  There are no deadlines!  You can work as fast or as slow as you want!

5.  You can be as creative as you want with marketing!  As an indie author, you can host your own contests and giveaways to promote your work!

4.  Indie authors are being recognized with the same artistic admiration that in the past was saved for indie film makers.  Enjoy the artistic title and show your unique personality no and then to keep people on their toes.

3.  As an indie author, you don't have to wait for a good book to come out, you can write one yourself.

2.  If you weren't a writer, then those characters making all that noise in your head would just be voices.  How creepy would that be?

1.  Being an indie author gives you the ability to enjoy creative freedom at its best.  Be proud of your indie status!

I'd love to hear your ideas on your favorite part of being an indie author!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Indie Author Amanda Hocking Makes News

My favorite fellow indie author Amanda Hocking has made her local news.  Hocking's books are an excellent read and her story should be an inspiration to all indie authors out there!  Check it out....

Amanda Hocking on KTTC- eBook eVolution
Amanda Hocking discusses her success.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

5 Tips on Writing Fiction

Fiction writing. What is more frustrating and fulfilling than writing a fiction novel? It can be a drawn out and long task, but these 5 tips for writing fiction makes it somewhat less painful.

Brainstorm-Ideas may come from anywhere. Don’t get hung up on the notion that your ideas must shape a whole novel right away. It can be a discussion you want your characters to have or just a spot you want your main character to visit. A proven way of generating some new ideas is to work with a group of five to ten random phrases and then composing a paragraph utilizing all of those words. You might be astonished where it leads you!

Outline-This is something that I’m going back to with my current project. There are some definite positive aspects to outlining your fiction novel. Most apparent, you know what comes next every stage of the way. By building an outline, you can resolve plot troubles before you even get to the writing stage. Another great thing about outlining your book is that this isn’t high school. You can outline your work in the formal way of headings and sub headings, you could just make a simple list, you can use index cards (one for each scene), or even post-its. It doesn't matter how you do it, get it all layed out so that you have a specific plan to follow.

Find Your Holes and Fill Them-Put your project away for a few days. When you come back, take a look at your outline. Take off your “writer” hat and put on you “reader” hat. Review your outline and ensure you have solved any queries that a reader may have about a story. Why is this happening? Why does the character react this way? Once you find the problems, think of ways to fix them..

Break a Few Rules-Often the most difficult chapter to write is that first one. You know so many other aspects of your story backwards and forwards, but that first chapter has you stumped. You could possibly throw away days looking at a blank page fighting to find the “perfect” opening. Well stop! One of the advantages to outlining is that you don’t have to write in order. Pick whatever scenario you want and write it. Don’t get caught up on order. The first chapter will be simpler to write once you have a few others under your belt and have experience with the tone and voice of the book. Don’t think it’s possible to write a story this way? Gone with the Wind was composed this way with the author completing the last chapter first.

Write Everyday-To be a writer, you have to write. To be a successful writer, you have to write everyday. Make some time each day to write. It can be hard with your “real job”, loved ones, and other duties, but you can’t be a writer if you don’t write. Guard your writing time and explain to your friends and family that your writing time is yours. By writing every day, you will find that your mind is producing ideas in your “off time” so that when you sit down at your specified time you are able to be more productive.

Now that you have a few tips on fiction writing, why not begin writing that great novel that you have inside of you?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How It Works: Publishing to Kindle

Leap on the hottest writing fad and discover how to post your content to Amazon.com’s Kindle platform.

The publishing market has changed, and as writers we need to learn how to change with it. The trend has changed from conventional books to the eBook and Amazon is in the lead. The retail giant just recently reported that Kindle books have officially surpassed paperbacks for the first time. Leap on this fad by publishing on Kindle.

How To Get Started
Amazon makes it easy to start. To start with you will have to have an Amazon Direct Publishing account. If you are an Amzon.com customer, you'll be able to even use the same email and password. You are going to be required to key in your name, address, and tax information. You can expect to also be asked the most crucial question which is how you want to be paid.

No degree of publicity or promotion can improve a badly authored and edited book. Publish only your best possible story that has been read numerous times by many people. A part of the preconception attached to self published titles is the inferior quality of the copy editing. Do not be part of that problem. Make an effort to edit your book extensively.

Create Your Cover
In spite of all the warnings, people do judge a book by its cover. Sure, you are able to design your own or hire someone to do it for you, but don't forget that this is different than print. Your cover must jump out from others on a page, that’s a little different than sticking out on a shelf. Your mission is to make your cover so interesting that consumers just have to click the title and discover more. (Hint: Try out potential cover designs on your blog or website and allow your readers choose the best one, the answers will amaze you.)

Upload Your Content
Kindle Direct Publishing makes it simple and easy to add your content by accommodating many document formats such as .zip, .doc, .pdf, .epub, .txt, and .mobi and .prc. Pick your format and add your book and cover where advised. It couldn’t be easier.

Publish Your Book
Publishing to Kindle calls for little or no effort once your content is uploaded. You are going to be asked about digital rights management, royalty preferences, book price, and a description of your book. There is a question as to the best price for Kindle books, but most self published authors agree that sales are better when books are listed below three dollars.

Publicize Your Book
All that is left to do is for you to promote your writing. This may be as uncomplicated as telling your friends and family or it may be as complicated as a ten page marketing and advertising plan. The thing is that the financial success of your writing is based not only on the caliber of the writing, but also that amount of effort you put into getting the word out. And you thought the hard part was writing the novel!

Now that you know the basics to publishing on Kindle, why don’t you get started living the life of a Kindle author?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Welcome to the Indie Author Guide!

I've started this blog to share my experiences as an indie author. I'm not one of the overnight success stories, but I haven't done bad.  I'm just starting my journey into life as a published author and decided to write about my experiences on this blog.  It will be much more casual than my professional blog http://www.danamichelleburnett.com/blog.html

So, how did I come up with the blog name?  Well, I like the term "indie author".  I'm not against "indie publisher" or even "Kindle author", but I guess it's just me, but I like to avoid the term "self published author".  There is a whole image that goes with that term that doesn't even fit into the modern world of publishing, but it's still there.

I released my first Kindle book in November 2010.  I had no previous book deals.  The most work I had done was in a few literary magazines.  Though I am extremely proud of that work, it wasn't going to pay any bills.  I wrote and published a few short stories up until I took over the family home decor business NanasAtticStore.com.  At that point, I pretty much kissed writing good-bye.

I distracted myself with learning about decorating for a few years, then the nuts and bolts of running a business, and finally internet promotion.  That's when writing came back into my life.  To promote the home decor site, I submitted articles to article directories.  Bit by bit, my business (and me), gained a following based on my home decorating articles.  One customer sent me an e-mail stating that she wished there was a book with all of my articles.  The light bulb went off.

After a little bit of research, I discovered the Kindle platform and Createspace.  After some small success with Home Decorating for the Real World, I decided to dust off some of those stories gathering dust in the back of my filing cabinet.  It was fun to revisit characters and fine tune the stories after so much time.

That pretty much brings us up to date.  I released my first fiction novel Ghost Country in December.  I'm still in the trial and error process of book promotion while still working on developing more stories.  It struck me one day that this is the life of the modern writer.  Gone are standard publishing contracts and the old way of thinking.  A writer today has to be not only the creator of excellent stories, but a cut throat editor, cover designer, marketer, and business person.  Ahh, the life of the indie author.