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Old 03-05-2012, 04:01 PM   #16
anamardoll
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Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
Here's an idea:

(I imagine someone else has thought of it before, but if not, I'll take 5%. ;-) (Okay, not really, but I might want in when my book's ready.))

How about putting together an omnibus with other indies working in a similar area? You could charge actual money for it, to avoid the problems of freebies, but make it very good value, to get most of the benefits, and you'd get some cross-promotion. Fans of the other writers would get to see your work, and vice versa.
A friend and I have been trying to put together a group to do short stories. Each story would be framed by a little one-page bio of the author and where to find more of their work.

The problem is, the book almost has to be free. Partly to bring in readers, but also because divvying up the sales of a 99 cent book 13 ways is a nightmare.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:49 PM   #17
davidwfleming
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There's some great discussion on here today!

Here's a couple more things that I believe may be related to indie success:
1. producing actual, physical books (to get word of mouth buzz going and give to book bloggers - plus it shows that you have confidence in your work.)
2. having a good short story, novel or collection free on smashwords and keeping it free.
3. don't scatter your force across a million different social media sites - do one or two really well for a substatial duration of time.
4. figure out who the key players are in your niche and be generous with them.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by davidwfleming View Post
There's some great discussion on here today!

Here's a couple more things that I believe may be related to indie success:
...
Just a note about 2 of your points above:

#1: Feelings of confidence aside, a few of us produce ebooks only because we don't want to create the environmental waste of printed books. For me, it is a source of pride that I can produce books without chopping down trees, polluting forests and burning oil to run factories, drive trucks and climate-control warehouses.

#4: Identifying the "key figures" in your niche can be tricky enough; some of them look like insiders, but are anything but. Finding one who's willing to accept your generous offering is even harder. More than once I've tried to submit something to these "key players," only to be told that they are not accepting submissions outside of a very tight circle (translation: from known publishers and agents).

Essentially, they know we're coming--all few hundred thousand of us--and they've already barricaded the doors to keep us at bay.

What authors need today is a variation on "the pizza gambit," that is, attaching your book/presentation to a carrot in order to get it past the initial gatekeepers and inside that inner circle.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:27 PM   #19
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I sympathize with your objection and clarification to points 1 & 4. Point number 1 is a personal decision. Also, I feel I have been duped several times on the Internet as to who is a key player and who is not. (the name of the game is to make as good of an impression on the web as possible)--which brings me to point number 5 (Honestly, I'm not claiming to be an expert here since I'm obviously just getting started).

My latest target to determine who's legit at indie ebook selling is to look at Amazon paid sales ranking. In reference to your concern about the big shots being too busy, my proposed solution is to target people who's sales rank refect that they are 'just about to make it big' in your category of choice.

What's everybody think about that strategy?

Anyone have any other strategies to offer up?
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:47 PM   #20
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1. producing actual, physical books (to get word of mouth buzz going and give to book bloggers - plus it shows that you have confidence in your work.)
I personally feel like this is a waste. That is unless you plan to go to small local book stores in person and try to get your books on the shelf. (I am considering trying this) I have generated at most 2 non-family/friend sales because of my print books. To compare, book one of my series has generated over 15,000 "sales" as a free ebook. That has created a demand which has lead to book 2 and 3 selling at $2.99 a copy, as ebooks. Not best seller's, but enough that I can now afford a professional editor and pay my cover artist. I also bought my wife an iPhone with one months check.

Keep in mind, I did not dream up with this plan. I merely figured out it our by watching what other people did that worked. Sure it won't (and hasn't) work for everyone, but it does work for me. Each will have to find what works for them and work it.

That being said, I will continue to produce print books ONLY because my mother wants one for her shelf.

Also I think we may need to define "success." Is success being the next Rowling or King? Or is it having a following that pays you to do what you love to do, which in my case is tell stories? My current sales show I have accomplished that much. People would not be buying book three if I had not. So am I a success? Guess that is in the eye of the beholder.

Am I looking for ways to increase my readership, and do better marketing? Of course, which is evident in my hiring of an editor for book 3. I love to read others ideas (like this thread) to see how I can improve what I do. It be cool to quit my second job and just write... but that is a long way off. For now I do my best, and am blessed with some level of results.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:45 AM   #21
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Originally Posted by davidwfleming View Post
In reference to your concern about the big shots being too busy, my proposed solution is to target people who's sales rank refect that they are 'just about to make it big' in your category of choice.
I'm unclear on this: Are you talking about publishers seeking out writers based on Amazon sales rankings? If so... this presupposes the writer's goal is to be handled by a publisher. (That would not be my choice; I'd rather work independently.)

It also would suggest publishers would select an author based purely on numbers, not on their actual product (not just what genre they write in, but how they write, what is their output, etc), and in only one bookselling venue, which I don't think is a good idea.

Sales rankings are obviously useful to indicate how something sells. But it provides little actual information as to a product's quality or other aspects... just to its popularity. The big problem with independents is that it takes a lot more to build up enough popularity to even be seen in those rankings, while others who know how to "play the system" can inflate their popularity with no decent product to sell.

Of course, you can take all that as it is: Anecdotal comments from an indie writer who's never had high Amazon rankings...
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:48 PM   #22
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Here's a suggestion:

Do you know anyone at a major newspaper? Prominent online journalist? Booking agent for a genre-related convention or gathering? Use that connection to get an interview or highlight moment set up. Make sure the moment won't be wasted: Discuss before-hand what will happen, what you want to happen (ie, create some promotion for your book, website, etc), anything you want to discuss.

You might need to create a "press-kit" to send to them, especially if they have to answer to someone else about why they booked you. And, of course, if it works, be as prepared and professional as possible; make yourself look good.

That exposure can be a great kicking-off point for promoting yourself and your work. If it works, you might be able to move up in that promotional area, to bigger papers, gatherings, appearances.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:00 PM   #23
davidwfleming
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Unfortunately, I don't have such a contact at present. [But I'm always open to interviews and such! ]

Here's another little 'secret' I'll pass along. Many of us are making our own covers. A big part of graphic design is typography. It's those little subconscious improvements that can make all the difference. Here's a great video on typography I found a while back on youtube:

http://youtu.be/XuTuCmjSbZI
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #24
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Unfortunately, I don't have such a contact at present.
Me, neither. Unfortunately.
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:23 PM   #25
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Every indie author has a blog or a website. But how does one actually attract traffic to one's site. Beyond the obvious plattitudes of 'write good content' obviously. I'm not to much of a fan of Blog Tours or Guest Blogging. This is mainly because I've never heard of anyone making it big doing these things.

Here's some of my experience blogging:
1. "Commenting Campaigns" seem to have a pretty predicatable and dependable 1-for-1, short-term payoff.
2. Google seems to love blog pictures with descriptive 'anchor text'.
3. It can be instructive to mimic more successful blogs working in similar niches.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:29 AM   #26
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I'm trying everything, including kickstarter now and direct advertising. Analytics have been a lifesaver.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:41 AM   #27
Steven Lyle Jordan
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My efforts at paid advertising (2 services used) were akin to throwing money down a black hole.

But at this point, I'd rather spend more time trying to figure out promotion, because I can't see a point to writing if I can't sell the books.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:52 PM   #28
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Anyone considering a sponsorship on Pixel of Ink or Kindle Nation Daily? I'm considering doing some paid advertizing on Goodreads and Facebook.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:55 PM   #29
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Goodreads was one I tried (Google was the other). Both netted me nothing. But take that as it is, it doesn't mean it won't work for anyone. Writing SF that doesn't include aliens or space battles, by a college-unfinished blue-collar worker, is apparently a tough sell all-around.

My concern with these advertising types is, they have to be noticed over the big-money advertising from major publishers (and everything else under the sun) in the same venues, to be effective. I have yet to hear about an independent author who ever made that work, and I know I have yet to buy a book from any such ad. I'm not convinced that that's a winning proposition for a small-time seller with a limited budget.

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Old 03-09-2012, 03:43 PM   #30
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A little more brainstorming on my part: I think it's a given that the writing, the title, the cover and the formatting have to be excellent. I was just over on Goodreads, paging through the amateur sample reads and examining which books had the most likes and comments.

This might seem a little mean-spirited but I noticed that authors who had posted profile pictures of themselves for their work that fit into a clearly defined archtype (brooding artist, innocent young woman, popular Anime cartoon character) seemed to get a good amount of interest.

It reminds me of the story I heard about the artist from maybe the thirties who got into a bunch of NY galleries by pretending to be a brooding Eastern European immigrant with his hair slilcked back. He basically played a hoax on the NY art community to prove that their conception of what an artist is was more important than the hastily prepared "modern art" that he submitted.

I'm not saying this to complain. I'm simply pointing out the reality of the current market.

This leads me to believe that an author's overall image (book blurb, author photo, profile description) are of the utmost importance.

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