There are a wide range of factors that come into play for achieving success as a self-published author. Obviously, the biggest is probably just plain old writing talent. Having a good story to tell is helpful too. An insightful group of beta readers, an understanding of the importance of proofreading and editing, an eye for cover design, the ability to write a kick ass book blurb and a knack for social media won’t hurt your cause either.
But there’s one other element that’s rarely talked about and, in my experience as a book blogger, is often ignored by many indie authors to their great detriment. Sadly, this aspect of authoring is actually quite simple and takes very little effort. Why so many authors overlook it is baffling to me. And if I’m being honest, it’s also a bit irritating to see so many otherwise talented people just shooting themselves in the foot by disregarding this one thing. So what is this mysterious key to self-publishing achievement? Read on and find out.
Christine Carbo is the author of The Wild Inside, Mortal Fall and The Weight of Night (Atria Books/Simon and Schuster) and a recipient of the Womens’ National Book Association Pinckley Prize, the Silver Falchion Award and a finalist for the High Plains Book Award. After earning a pilot’s license, pursuing various adventures in Norway, and working a brief stint as a flight attendant, she got an MA in English and linguistics and taught college-level courses. She still teaches, in a vastly different realm, as the owner of a Pilates studio. A Florida native, she and her family live in Whitefish, Montana. Find out more at ChristineCarbo.com.
Regular readers of this blog are well aware that we're huge fans of Stephen King. Like, really huge. In fact, it was just a few weeks ago that we ran a list post entitled 10 Books recommended by Stephen King. We make no secret of our geeky fandom for the modern master of horror or the fact that we own hardback editions of all his books and seen every movie based on his books (including the remakes). No, we don't apologize for any of that. The only thing we're truly sorry for is that we haven't shared more of his genius wisdom. Hopefully, these wonderfully insightful quotes from some of his best novels will help us rectify the situation ever so slightly. Enjoy, faithful and constant reader.
Ana Grigoriu worked as an art director for more than 7 years in some of the most creative-driven advertising agencies in Europe, before she decided to create books-design.com. Now, 6 years later, she’s collaborated with countless amazing people all over the world, authors and publishers alike. Her passion for book cover design runs in the family, as her mother has designed cover art for more than 30 years. Ana chats with Knockin’ Books about how she got into book cover design, offers advice for authors looking for a cover designer and talks about trends in the industry.
Since there's a pesky 24-hour time limit, you'll only be able to read so many books on any given day (even if you could eliminate the need for eating and sleeping). Clearly you don't want to waste a single precious second of reading time on books that are, shall we say, less than one would hope for. Which is why it's critical to build a TBR list of only premium quality, best-of-the-best, deliciously breath-taking stories to feed your insatiable reading appetite. Luckily for you, we have a selection that includes something for everyone. Trust us, you're gonna want to loosen up your Amazon buy button finger. This list will test its endurance.
As a literary agent in major trade publishing at the Trident Media Group literary agency, I often have to explain the elements of a good query letter to new clients. This article is intended as a description of what goes into a good query letter, for new authors unfamiliar with what literary agents and editors are looking for in a query letter intended the book-publishing world. For a writer who might be currently querying literary agents, or even contemplating that process, this might be interesting reading. Considering the high rejection rate in the book publishing industry for writers trying to become debut authors, this article will hopefully be enlightening for the countless writers who are experiencing rejection due to a poorly-constructed query letter.
I've been a professional graphic designer for over two decades but had never tried my hand at book cover design until a couple of years ago when a friend asked me to design the cover for a book she had written. Honestly, I didn't think it would be much of a challenge. At that point in my career I had extensive experience in a wide variety of complex design projects so designing a book cover seemed relatively simple by comparison. After all, it's just one page with a limited amount of type. How hard could it be, right? As it turns out, I quickly learned how humbling book cover design can be. Done right, it can make all the difference in the world. But if you don't pay attention to the details, it can be a disaster. With all this in mind, we'd like to share a selection of book covers we've noticed so far in 2017. They cover a range of genres but share one thing in common: the ability to stop our eye from scanning through the endless stream of thumbnails on Amazon and draw us in. Enjoy.
One of the best parts about being a book blogger is getting to know the folks who run other book sites and blogs. Although many of us are competing for the same audience, our common love of reading and books almost always trumps any desire to jockey for viewers. In addition, there are so many awesomely talented and creative book bloggers it's hard not to be impressed and inspired by their work. One of the sites we particularly admire is Reedsy. They offer a range of services for authors but as you can see from the infographic we're sharing, they also have a fun and extremely creative blog as well. Enjoy.
I don’t know about you guys but when I sit down to fire up the Kindle app on my iPad, I tend to keep a snack or two nearby so I can nibble as I read. Given how often I read, it’s important to change things up on a regular basis. Fortunately, I have a rather diverse taste in snacks. Salty, sweet, savory, you name it and I’ve probably tried it.
As a reader, I have to admit my tastes aren’t nearly as varied. Sure, I’ve been known to try a good murder mystery every so often. Heck, I even accepted a dare from my blog partner to read a paranormal romance novel. But more often than not, I tend to stay in my wheelhouse of horror, paranormal or post apocalypse. Luckily, there are some absolutely amazing authors in these genres. Some you’ve probably heard of, others maybe not.
To help readers who may not be familiar with my favorite genres, I’ve put together a list of some of the all-time best writers and paired them with a snack that will give you some insight into what you can expect from their novels. Sounds a bit strange, right? Fair enough but stay with me, I think you’ll like where this goes. Worse case, you’ll get a bad case of the munchies.
Guest post by Brett Halbleib
One thing all authors have in common (or will have in common at some point in their careers) is this familiar quandary: should I write for my fans, or for myself?
Author Isabel Jordan is no different. When she was ready to start work on Semi-Human, the sequel to her bestselling debut, Semi-Charmed, she remembered a discussion she’d had long, long ago with her agent. Isabel had casually mentioned to her agent that she planned to kill off a secondary character, Mischa. The agent flipped out, telling Isabel she’d lose a lot of fans if she killed off Mischa. So, in that moment, Isabel had to decide if she was going to write the sequel she’d originally planned, or something altogether different—something that allowed Mischa to find her own happily ever after.
Remember the days when being a book lover meant stuffed bookshelves and stacks of books in every nook and cranny of your house? Some people still love the experience of reading a physical book but with smartphones and tablets becoming so common, there’s just no denying the many benefits and conveniences of having an entire library of thousands of available on these tiny portable devices. Beyond the selection of dedicated eReaders such as the Kindle, Nook and Kobo there are also a wide range of more general purpose smartphones and tablets from Apple, Samsung and Google. By now, we’re all well aware of the free Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and Kobo apps available for every major platform but there’s also a wide selection of options to serve every possible need of an avid bibliophile. Lucky for you, we’ve scoured the iOS and Google Play app stores for some of the very best. Take a look and see if some of them are a fit for you.
One of the best parts about being a self-published author is that no one is the boss of you. And one of the best parts about no one being the boss of you is being able to decide, on your own, how to price your self-published novel. Traditionally published authors are at the mercy of their publishing houses. But you? You’re completely unencumbered. Free to price that precious book baby as you see fit. But before you slap a $29.99 price tag on that bad boy, there are a few things you’ll want to consider first. Here are some price strategy pros and cons to think about:
I don't know why but air travel is stressful. It just is. Maybe it's the pressure of having to arrive hours before your flight is scheduled to actually leave. Maybe it's the impersonalization of being herded like cattle through security. Maybe it's the ridiculous rush to be first to board/deboard the plane. Or maybe it's just the general anxiety of knowing that you'll be 30K+ feet in the air traveling 500+ mph in a metal tube. In reality, it's probably some combination of all these factors. Regardless, that already high stress level often goes through the roof when travelers scan through the airport Departures board and and see "DELAYED" - or worse "CANCELLED" - in the Status column for their flight.
So what's a weary traveler supposed to do when trapped in an airport for several hours? Duh, it's a perfect excuse to do what you already love anyway; read. In this case, it's a good idea to choose a book you can really lose yourself in. Even better if you can find one based in an exotic locale to remind you of the pleasurable side of air travel. We have a few recommendations to consider with a little something for everyone. So before your next flight, we suggest you pick out one or two, get them downloaded to your Kindle (or Kindle app) and make sure you scope out a seat next to a charging station. Before you know it, you'll be an island of serenity in a sea of airport tension and panic.
How bad author behavior can cost you fans and sales
If you're reading this because of the title, you might be disappointed. No, we don’t have pics of JK Rowling flashing the crowd in NOLA for Mardi Gras beads. Sorry we disappointed you. But if you’re an author or aspiring author who is interested in building AND keeping a fanbase, this might be the article for you.
I’m not a big fan of reality TV. In my opinion, it’s cheap entertainment that makes everyone who watches it just a little dumber for sitting around watching “real” people do stupid crap for fame and/or money. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal. I’ll even admit to having my IQ lowered on rare occasions when I was sucked into a reality tv show a friend or family member was watching (Hey, I only watched to be polite). They can be strangely compelling.
Crazy endings are in the same boat. Readers claim to despise them, screaming "WTF" at their Kindles but there are plenty of insane endings on the mega-bestsellers list. Some have even been made into giant movie franchises. Unlike reality TV however, a surprising conclusion doesn't assault your intellect, it comes after your emotions. The grinding pain of not knowing how the story ends—or if the story ends in some heart-wrenching fashion—can be devastating. Not to worry though, every book on our list of all-time great WTF endings is well worth the anguish. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s an episode of Hoarders on my DVR I’ve been meaning to watch.