Welcome to part 3 of our "Self-publishing mistakes killing your book sales" series. Check out parts 1 and 2 here and here. Now that we have that minor housekeeping out of the way, let's start the show.
Just about any profession has a phrase or two that people in those jobs hate. For a delivery driver, it may be “flat tire.” For a school principal, it might be “food fight”. For many self-published authors, the phrase “social media” seems to fill them with a stomach-churning sense of dread. Not because they’re unfamiliar with the various social media platforms (most people have a least tried Facebook or Twitter). But unless you happen to have a background in marketing or advertising, most people simply don’t have the knowledge or experience to use social media as a tool for marketing their book. Not to worry, the Knockin’ Books crew has folks with decades of experience in marketing, including a bestselling self-published author who knows a thing or two about how to get readers to click that all-important BUY button.
You’ve been stuck inside for months, slogging through the cold and gloom of winter. Thank God, spring has finally arrived and it’s time for a well-deserved break. Whether you head for a beach resort, a cabin in the mountains or just take a stay-cation right in your own home, you’re going to need a good book or two (or ten) to help you relax and enjoy some quiet “you time.” Sure, you probably have a few titles already on your Kindle but why not take this opportunity to try a few genres outside your normal comfort zone. We’ve got a diverse list of page turners covering everything from romance to mysteries and ghost stories to thrillers. There’s a little something for everyone and more than enough to ensure your spring break will be filled with memorable reading.
At some point, every self-published author gets to a point in their book writing and publishing process when they begin thinking about the cover. For many authors, it can be one of the most stressful parts of the entire process, even more so if it’s your first book. Despite the fact that most authors have seen thousands or even tens of thousands book covers over the course of their life, few have ever given any thought as to how they’re created. For many, facing the prospect of developing a visually pleasing book cover that will actually help sell books makes them feel like they fell out of the clueless tree and hit every stupid branch on the way down. No worries though, our buddies at Reedsy reached out awhile back to share a handy infographic that breaks down the entire book cover design process into seven easy steps. And, being the “givers” that we are, we decided to share it with you, our loyal readers. Enjoy.
Achieving a high level of success as an indie author is tough gig...like really tough. Besides the actual challenge of writing a book, you have to navigate all the countless other tasks, including editing, proofreading, cover design, book launch, social media, website and on and on and on. Even if you do everything right there’s still no guarantee of success (and certainly not much profit to speak of). For the average indie author, selling anything more than a few hundred books is considered very good. Only a very small percentage ever sell more than 1,000 books.
Which is why the amazing few who beat the odds and actually make it to the big time should be acknowledged, celebrated and studied by the rest of us. With that in mind, we’ll be presenting some of the hottest and most talented indie authors in the business. But, since there are so many amazing writers these days, there’s no way we can cover all of them in a single post so we’re breaking things down by genre (sometimes even by subgenre). We’re starting things off with suspense/thrillers, but watch this space for more awesome indie authors coming soon.
Guest post by author Liza Street
Two years ago, I was desperate to find a job that would allow me to work from home. An avid fan of writing guru James Scott Bell, I discovered freelancing sites through one of his books, and a dream was born. While writing the copy for my profile, I looked at other successful freelancer profiles and tried to emulate their professionalism and confidence.
Despite my professionalism, confidence, and the experience I brought to the table, the work did not start rolling in immediately. I bid on everything related to editing, no matter how small, no matter how bizarre. My specialty, I thought, was young adult fiction, but here I was bidding on copyediting for health blogs, collections of sermons, and real-estate themed PowerPoint presentations.
We like to think we’re a good judge of character. That we know and understand the people in our lives. In truth, it’s impossible to really know a person completely no matter how close you may be to them. Everyone has thoughts, desires and animosities they keep hidden away—sometimes even from themselves. For most, those feelings tend to stay right where they are, concealed from the rest of the world, never to be revealed or acted upon, at least not seriously. But every so often, people let their lusts and spite leak out and cause real damage. If you’ve been on the receiving end, then you’ve felt the sharp knife of betrayal as it sinks into your back even though you likely never saw it coming. (Or maybe you were the one who held the knife.) Most of us have felt that way to one degree or another which is why we can all relate to these nine tales of treachery.
Book cover design is a tricky business. First and foremost, the main goal of any well designed book cover is to grab the attention of its intended audience. If it doesn’t pull in eyeballs, it’s game over. Second, it should provide a general idea for the emotional tone and character of the story. Finally, a book cover should clearly communicate a minimum of two important pieces of information: the title and the name of the author. That's it, eye-catching, emotions and basic info. Sounds easy right? Yeah, not so much. If it were that easy, everyone would have great covers and I think we all know that's not true.
So how do you design a great cover? Well there are an infinite number of ways to achieve these goals but one of the most important tools in any book cover designer’s toolbox is typography. It’s also one of the most overlooked and misunderstood. Which is why we’re going to spend gift you a few valuable tips that will hopefully help turn your next cover into an eyeball magnet.
The basics of show don’t tell
Hi all; Julie here! Today’s post goes back to basics with a discussion of Show Don’t Tell. (For other approaches to this rule, you can read JJ’s piece on balancing the mix of showing and telling, Pub Crawl alum Susan Dennard’s post on using showing and telling on macro and micro levels, and Kat’s approach to when to show and when to tell.) There are few rules of craft that can be applied to a draft that will lift the level of the writing with the same effect as this simple rule. With every first draft I write, I find I fall into the lazy habit of telling, and with each revision, I look for places I can show more. Some basic rules are basics for good reason.
Originally from Ohio where her Amish thrillers are set, Linda Castillo knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer—and penned her first novel at the age of thirteen. She's published thirty books for three New York publishing houses and won numerous industry awards, including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and a nomination for the prestigious Rita.
Her debut thriller, Sworn to Silence, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and Booklist—and spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The following books in the series also hit the NYT and USA Today lists and became international bestsellers. Sworn to Silence was recently adapted into a two-hour original movie re-titled An Amish Murder and starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder.
In her spare time, Linda enjoys trail riding, and dabbles in barrel racing. She resides in Texas with her husband, two rescued Blue Heelers, and two Appaloosa horses. She's currently at work on her next novel, a thriller set in Amish Country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder.
You know that best friend from high school or college? The one you hung out with everyday, who knew all your most embarrassing secrets (but liked you anyway) and the one who would do absolutely anything for you and you them? Well now that you’re an author, you have a BFF who is supremely loyal, super helpful and there for you 24/7/365. No, we’re not talking about your mom. We’re talking about Amazon. Trust us, they’re a whole lot more than just a humongous online store. They have an almost bottomless toolbox of services and programs designed to help authors promote their books to the millions and millions of Amazon customers worldwide.
But despite all their efforts, a surprising number of authors are giving Amazon the cold shoulder. They’re either unaware or don’t take advantage of all the creamy goodness Amazon is offering. Big mistake. Huge, even. But no worries. Amazon is totally chill. Even if you’ve been blowing them off, you can still swing by the author party. In fact, we’ll be your host for the evening. You ready for a guided tour of the palatial Amazon estate? Great, let’s get started.
Orgasms are good for you. It’s a fact. Go look it up. The oxytocin and other endorphins released during orgasm have been known to have a sedative and relaxing effect. And let’s face it, can’t we all use a little relaxation these days? So, for this Valentine’s Day, we’re suggesting—you know, for health reasons—that everyone have plenty of orgasms. We’ll leave it up to you to decide who to have them with. Maybe you’ll have them with that special someone, or maybe you’ll have them with the person you trust most in the world—yourself. Whatever. We don’t judge. We just want you all to be healthy. We’re givers that way. You’re welcome. So, with that goal in mind, here are a few erotic reading suggestions guaranteed to provide (ahem) inspiration for your endeavors this Valentine’s Day:
We all love to read. But when we’re on the go, what’s the next best thing to reading books? Talking about books of course. This selection of handpicked podcasts is a book lover’s dream. The hosts discuss publishing news, book reviews, preview upcoming books and interview your favorite authors. And the best part? It’s super easy to subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode. Don’t just sit there like a lump on your morning commute! Fire up your podcast app of choice and enjoy a bit of literary pleasure for your ears