Indie authors, listen up!

Authors are offering advice in ‘What I wished I’d known before I published’ all through January

Part One

Before publishing I wish I had known about self-publishing and the many great programs that can be used to do so. There are pros and cons to using a publisher, it can get costly and frustrating with the time consumed in the communication during the process. – Anna Othitis

Don’t rush to get out there. First impressions are everything. Cover, blurb, opening pages.
You only get one chance at a first impression so make it count. Also, don’t
think that just because trad books “have a few typos” that it doesn’t
matter if yours does too. It does
Debbie Bennett 

Agreed, don’t rush, get someone else to edit for you and get
beta readers! Then, listen to other writers and use the common information they
are giving you before pushing that publish button. In other words, do NOT do
what I did! LOL – 
Linda Zukowski 

sure your book blurb is the best it can be before you press publish. It goes
without saying that editing, formatting, cover and presentation is as good as
it can be too. – 
Pam Howes 

I wish I had been told, sternly, that a social media platform
is essential for building your author brand but you have to discipline yourself
in ring-fencing time to continue writing creatively. – 
Ruby Barnes 

I wish I’d known that by reading a printed proof I’d notice
literally dozens of errors that I’d missed on-screen, despite reading the
electronic document many, many times. – 
Peter Reynolds

Don’t write for money, fame, or accolades. If you do, you’ll
be disappointed. Write because you love it.- 
Simon Parkinson

Focus on writing more books. You don’t realize how much having a second book helps until you have a second book. Promotion is helpful, but if you spend more time promoting than writing your next book, you’re not spending your time well. –  RJ Crayton

Matthew Wayne Selznick – A month of planning before you type “Chapter One” will save reams of paper and hours of editing after you type “The End.”

Rachel Eliason –  Publishing your first book is the beginning of the process of becoming an author, not the end of it.

Jolea M Harrison – Don’t rush to publish. It’s easy to do when the thrill of finishing a book is swimming through your head. After you’ve finished that final edit, step back at least two weeks, then reread.

Mandy White  – 1. Ebooks are where the money is. Ebook first, print after, not the other way around. Only do the print version AFTER it’s been edited by a professional.
2. Don’t waste money ordering a zillion copies in print of a book that you haven’t even seen yet. There WILL be things you want to tweak before you distribute it to friends, family and local readers. Take your time and make sure it’s perfect. Your credibility as an author is at stake.
3. Readers can and will judge a book by its cover. Make sure your cover is a good one.

4. Understand that other writers are busy with their own projects. If someone offers to use their valuable time to read your work or offer advice, express your appreciation.

Deb Nam-Krane – 1. I want to take off on what Mandy White said: order a print copy of your book BEFORE you publish the e-copy and read it through. Plan on doing it twice, because you’ll find things you’ll need to change, no matter how many times you and your editor looked at it. Make the changes to the e- and paper-versions, then put them up for sale. I cannot tell you how much less angst I had with the second than the the first doing it that way rather than publishing the e-version and then going through the print.

2. Outsource anything you can’t do well yourself (for most of us that’s the cover and for all of us that should be the editing), but if there’s something you *can* do yourself, do it. Learning to format your own book can save you money as well as worry if you want to make small changes.

Mandy White What Deb Nam-Krane said is also true – to proofread a print copy because the book will look different on paper than it does on the computer. You will see typos that you missed on the computer. The reason I said ebook first, print second is that I skip the paper-proof step by reading it on my Kindle. I find the Kindle works just as well as a paper copy and it costs nothing to put my book on it.

More author tips all through January on WWBB in ‘What I wished I’d known before I published’.

Is twitter driving you demented?

that demon, right here!
guesting posting today is 
Social media fads come and go. Remember MySpace? A few
months ago Google+ was to be the next big thing and the predicted demise of
Facebook has had people scrabbling for footholds on Pinterest, Tumblr,
LinkedIn, Stumbleupon and goodness knows where else. Everything is becoming a
bit blurred in a whirl of social networks, blogs, photo collections, discussion
forums, online chat and update feeds.

So, why bother with Twitter? What is the point of a
140 character message which might not get read by anyone before it sinks into
the 340 million daily tweets? On the face of it, unless you are a microblogging
wizard and manage to get your tweet to go viral through retweeting or on TV
shows, Twitter doesn’t seem to offer much. Unless you are a blogger.

Content is the key to good blogging. Some folk blog
about their daily life, others  about a
book release / product review / competition. Authors engage in round-robin
writing challenges, give updates on their WIP and share writing tips. People
tend to follow or bookmark the blog if the content has value for the reader:
well written, entertaining and pertinent.

If you write a good blog post it can pull in
considerable traffic to your platform and you might even sell the odd book or
two (although the jury is out on whether there’s any real correlation between
blog traffic and book sales). Write a great or controversial blog post and it
could go viral, even be the catalyst that catapults your writing from relative
obscurity to Amazon top 100 (John Locke, of purchased review infamy, believes
his viral blog post about baseball was the tipping point for selling a

The killer is this: when you’ve written a good blog
post, it’s still there and will pull some traffic through tags, keywords, SEO
stuff, but it soon becomes old news, after a week or so. Right? Wrong. How many
people viewed that post? A hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand? That’s
peanuts. Goodreads alone has 10 million members. The majority of your target
audience haven’t read your stuff. My Compulsive
Communication Syndrome
post has had over 10,000 views but, until I start
getting irate emails telling me to shut the hell up about those elephants, I
haven’t reached saturation with it. That post is still news.

So how best to leverage all that great content you’ve
slaved over when you should have been writing your latest novel? Send a killer
tweet. Use keywords, hashtags and a link to the blog post. Sounds easy, it can
be done. Did anyone spot it on Twitter? Any increase in page views? Now it’s
disappeared again into the 340 million daily tweets.

Author Ruby Barnes

You need a way to share your best tweets about your
best blog posts with people around the globe, in different time zones and on
different days. I discovered (yeah, discovered
– I’m always the last to know) how to do this while away from home having a Bunfight
at the Breaffy House Hotel
on the west coast of Ireland. Trawl through your
old tweets and find the best one you sent for that post, the one that was
retweeted and favorited by others. Do that for all your best blog content and
build up a list of tweets in excel, notepad or similar. Make sure you check the
tweets don’t refer to expired competitions or offers, and click all links
through to be sure they still work. Now you need to schedule those tweets using
something like Hootsuite. Watch the stats on your blog and see the numbers
grow. Try scheduling at different times to catch the Americas, Europe,
Australasia and Asia. Look at the audience and work out what’s effective for
you and your content.

Your blog traffic should have multiplied with this
little exercise, but your twitter dementia will be escalating. Try scheduling
nothing for a couple of days (if you can bear it) and see your blog traffic
drop. You’ll soon be back on the scheduling, trying to build the numbers back
up and keep your content live. Oh, talking of content, shouldn’t you be writing
a new blog post? And how’s the new novel WIP coming along? Feeling stressed? Don’t
panic, we have a couple more cards up our sleeve that will exorcise this
compulsive communication demon.

Feed140. How about if you could take your list of top tweets
and schedule them in a never-ending loop? Even better, randomise the sequence
in that loop / play list. How many of these great tweets do you have and how
often are you prepared to repeat them? Say you have 100 in your list, that’s
enough for one an hour spread over four days. You’ll repeat them after those
four days but the random order will probably put them in a different time zone.
That’s what Feed140 can do for you. All your back catalog of blog content
getting Twitter airtime. You’ll start to find comments appearing on posts you’d
forgotten existed. Tweeps will begin to retweet and favorite your tweets when
they enjoy the blog post or even just the content of the tweet itself. Now you
have time to get back to your new blog posts and, even more importantly, your
novel WIP. When you write a hot new blog post go revise your Feed140 playlist
to include a tweet for the new post. (Note: Feed140 is in beta phase. If you
can’t join without an invitation code then drop me a line, I have some codes.)

So, semi-automated top tweet content, driving traffic
to your blog back catalog. Your twitter and blog followers are increasing, you
use some tool like JustUnfollow to drop unfollowers and follow back new fans,
and everything is dandy. Until someone unfollows you, a someone you value as a
top tweep influencer. Are they fed up with your play list? Are you swamping
their twitter feed? It could be that they followed you for interaction and aren’t
getting it from you anymore. Unfollow them and then follow back, in case it was
a mistake by them. They’ll come back to you if it was. It’s always a good idea
to keep putting those personal tweets in manually, those run-to-the-computer
moments when something great pops into your head. And don’t forget to say thank
you to folks when they mention you and reply to any valid direct messages.

After a while with Feed140 you’ll hear the buzz of
activity coming from your blog. But, like an MP3 player with your entire CD
collection uploaded, it starts to feel a bit stale. And why aren’t you getting
more hits on your latest blog post? You have a twitter following of a few
thousand but that great new post is sinking into the mire after just a few
hundred views.

Triberr can be a bit tricky to get yourself set up and
connected with the right people, but Triberr is a great source of expanded
coverage for new blog posts. Connect your blog and twitter to your Triberr
account (and Facebook and LinkedIn if you wanna go the whole hog). Join a tribe
that has members with blogging interests you want to share on your social media
platform (this is important – their content should be pertinent for the people
in your network). When you post on your blog it will automatically be shared
with the tribes you are a member of. They have the option to share your posts
with their social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Stumbleupon).

Example: I have 3,700 Twitter followers, I’m a member
of four tribes on Triberr with 60 tribemates and a reach of 229,045 Twitter
followers. When I blog around half of those tribemates will share my content to
their networks. Depending upon how well my blog post title works as a tweet
(and it can be edited on Triberr to put in a hashtag or extra keyword) I’ll get
a boost of extra traffic on my new blog post for every day the post remains
active on Triberr.

Conversely, in the spirit of give-and-take that is
Triberr, I go onto the site once a day and share every post in my tribal stream
that has content I consider relevant to my network. I share writing and
publishing tips and news, good book reviews, author interviews, relevant
competitions and beautiful/clever writing on any topic. Those posts enrich my
tweet stream with something new at a maximum frequency of every half an hour. I
read most every post that I share and have benefited personally from a lot of
that content too.

Phew! Sometimes it all just has to come out. How to keep your blog content alive, re-use
your twitter microblog moments of glory and broaden your social media reach.

It’s easy to set the machine running and keep it ticking over. Does it sell
more books? The only way to be sure is to switch your platform off for an
extended period. Are you going to take that risk? See you on the other side.

Ruby Barnes is the author of PerilThe BaptistTheCrucible Part 1 and The New Author

Ruby Barnes’ newest release:
The Crucible
Part 1

Southern Cameroon, West Africa 1936 A virus mutated and crossed the barrier from primate to human. In less than a century it had claimed the lives of twenty-five million people. Africa, a land of natural beauty and riches, ripe for plunder, full of dark menace. 

In a near future scenario of viral pandemic, global religious conflict, climate change and mass migration, America and the Middle East are locked in a religious fundamentalist race to Armageddon, while the old nations of Europe flex their imperial muscles. Will mankind rediscover the Garden of Eden or ignite the crucible of the apocalypse? 

Ruby Barnes – author: Ruby’s top ten tips for ebook publishing

I love finding blogs that share important information for us independent writers. It’s what makes us feel we aren’t alone; other writers going through the same old worries and niggles are just a click away.

I found Ruby Barnes’ blog on Twitter (good old Twitter), and would like to share his wisdom with you. Check him out. 

Ruby Barnes – author: Ruby’s top ten tips for ebook publishing: You’re going to need a good book, one you believe in, one that has your author’s voice. That unique voice communicates your individual tale…

  1. You’re going to need a good book, one you believe in, one that has your author’s voice. That unique voice communicates your individual talent as a writer.
  2. Test your book on honest people before you consider releasing it. Make it the absolute best you can. Don’t regret, be proud.