Monday (uh, Tuesday) Must-Reads [11.13.18]

mm 111318 image.jpg

Productivity Tips

Ksenia Anske/Blog/Imagine yourself dead often

Train Your Mind Using the Puppy Method : zen habits

Why Is Writing So Difficult? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

How to Use Scrivener for NaNoWriMo — Guest: Gwen Hernandez | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

Confessions of a Slow Writer: Why it's okay to fail NaNoWriMo

Adapting Writing Routines – Elizabeth Spann Craig

Sailing into the End of the Year | Writers In The Storm

How Writers can Breakthrough Being Stuck | Writers In The Storm

The magic of diner booths

Ksenia Anske/Blog/Take a day to do things twice as slow

4 Foolproof Methods to Become a Prolific and Successful Writer | Writers In The Storm

Writer Productivity: Who Needs a Magic Wand? — Guest: Pascale Kavanagh | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

Challenge: Create an Iron Will with Consistent Daily Meditation : zen habits

A note from 2030 | Seth's Blog

Writing Tips & Inspiration

4 Tips to Overcome Creative Burnout | Writers In The Storm

Why Do You Write? – Chris Fox Writes

Context, Text, and Subtext: What They Are and How They Help Storytelling ~ WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

Fiction University: 6 Questions to Help You Gut Check Your Story Structure

Fitting in a New Project – Elizabeth Spann Craig

$100 Giveaway and Writing Great Heroes – JA Huss

$100 Giveaway and Writing Great Hooks – JA Huss

Ksenia Anske/Blog/It doesn’t get easier, you just get better at it

Ksenia Anske/Blog/Allow the story to come to you, not the other way around

Delivering Scares in Cozies and Other Genres – Elizabeth Spann Craig

The 4 Levels of Transformation - Michael Hauge's Story Mastery

Writing Tips: Mastering The 3 Stages Of Manuscript Editing | The Creative Penn

Having Fun Advice

Inciting Incident: Definition, Mythbusting, and Examples • Reedsy

Fiction University: Shh! It's a Secret: How to Raise Tension and Conflict in a Scene

Ksenia Anske/Blog/Collect paychecks or connect hearts?

Author Platform & Book Marketing Tips

Fiction University: Simple Steps to an Author Auto-Responder

3 More Things You Should Do on Goodreads – Elizabeth Spann Craig

How to Use Swag to Support Your Book Marketing | Jane Friedman

7 Surprising Perks of Recommending Books on BookBub

The Ultimate Guide to Promoting a Book Launch [Free Download]

Facebook Ads Performance: the 10 Things to Check To Boost your Results (Forever)

7 Reasons Your Facebook Ads Do Not Convert : Social Media Examiner

7 Ways To Market Books For Children | David Gaughran

Publishing News & Tips

5 Tips For Successful Publishing And Book Marketing. Lessons Learned From The Independent Author Conference. | The Creative Penn

Book Cover Design Tips with Stuart Bache | The Creative Penn

Why Authors Should Think Long Term || BEST SELF-PUBLISHING ADVICE TIP #3 - YouTube

One Of The Toughest Truths About Self-Publishing || BEST SELF-PUBLISHING ADVICE TIP #2 - YouTube

Why Comparison Kills Your Joy As A Writer || BEST SELF-PUBLISHING ADVICE TIP #1 - YouTube

So You've Gotten Your Rights Back – Elizabeth Spann Craig

Business Musings: Getting To The Stories You Love – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

KDP Books Unavailable To International Readers | David Gaughran

Ksenia Anske/Blog/How coachable are you?

Crisis Management For Authors | The Creative Penn

Publishing Trends: Tropes Readers Adore Across 15 Fiction Genres

Amazon and the Also Bought Apocalypse | David Gaughran

Ksenia Anske/Blog/College education is dead

How To Sell More Books on Kobo with Camille Mofidi | The Creative Penn

Why I’m Going All In with Amazon KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited (Should You?)

In October, along with un-publishing my entire backlist, I also went all in with Amazon KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited.

October ended up being my best month ever just due to doing that and telling my email list.

I couldn’t believe how much I started making right away. Double or more what my daily sales had gone down to after launching in August.

Even with a Bookbub, my sales at the wide retailers were never amazing, and then they fell right back to where they were before the Featured Deal. I was bringing in $200 or so every month total on wide retailers, but it just doesn’t compare to being in KU and getting those page reads.

Now I see why the vast majority of the top indie authors in my genre are in KU. Our readers are essentially voracious romance readers, even if it is YA. They like KU.

So these top authors are killing it in KU and most importantly, staying sticky. That was my biggest challenge before. I could pull off a big and successful launch, but then my book inevitably sank.

I don't like the thought of putting all my eggs in one basket, especially with some of the horror stories you hear, but I thought: hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Being wide is hard. If your genre generally does well in KU, it’s even harder. It’s hard to figure out how to promote or get visible on the other sites when they don’t have the same charts and algos that Amazon does.

it is possible (I can think of one author in my genre who is absolutely killing it with Apple), but right now it's easier for me in this season of life to just go into KU and get the huge added visibility and promo you get with being exclusive.

I also have plans to do a big monthly promo to keep my books up in the charts along with releases every 2 months. Maybe alternating the two. But I need to build up my backlist again. :)

I still don’t love the idea of being exclusive with Amazon. So I’m hoping for the best (and working for it) plus planning for the worst. I’m paying off my business credit card and also setting aside money each month into savings in case something big and bad happens to me or a ton of people.

I think we all know it’s not a perfect program, but here we go.

why i'm going all in with ku image.jpg

How do you decide if you should be in KU?

Here are some things to consider.

  • Are the top indie authors in your genre in Select or wide?

  • What are they doing?

There’s something to be said for zigging when everyone else is zagging,  but you also don’t want to reinvent the wheel especially when you have limited time and energy if you’re like me and are a mom or have a full time job still.

You can be successful wide, but it usually takes more time making ads, having a huge backlist, asking for promos there, etc.

KU has so much marketing built in, like the popularity list and the boosted rank, not to mention the page reads income (which can be a big chunk of money).

But so much depends on your genre, what’s working there right now, your values, and how much work you’re willing to put in.

Either way, set aside money in case something happens to you or everyone. Be ready to pivot (PIVOT! Lol), and have a mailing list, so if the worst does happen, you can let your readers what’s going on and where to find you.

Got any questions? Want to see me cover a specific topic? Let me know in the comments!

Monday Must-Reads [10.29.18]

Monday Must-Reads [10.22.18]

Why I Un-Published My Entire Backlist

Eight books across two complete series. Written and published between 2013-2017. All young adult romance.

They helped me start a small fan base, which proved crucial when I launched my written to market series this spring. They used to make an average of $600-$1000 a month.

And I just un-published them. Why, you ask?

Good question.

They used to make between $600-$1000 a month. But YA contemporary romance is a hot genre lately, and these books fell down in the charts a lot. Before I hit un-publish the books were well into the six-figure ranks. Not good. Even AMS ads weren’t helping anymore.

So for several months, my entire backlist was hardly selling at all. They definitely weren’t pulling their weight. Between all 8 books, they were only making $100 a month if that ever since I released my new series. Before the new series came along, these books were bringing in around $300-$600.

Like I said, though, YA romance has gotten incredibly competitive recently.

All of these books weren’t written to market. They were written for love and before I learned everything I know now about story structure, craft, tropes, marketing, and launching properly.

At first, I thought maybe they just need a facelift. New covers and titles, a little polish on the first few chapters.

So I made a plan to reread them, diagnose what was going on, and get them going again.

Well, I began reading and was like WHOA.

And not in a good way! Haha.

I have come so far since writing these books. My craft and writing style is many times better. So is story structure. I know how to start the story in an engaging way now. Kind of important. Not to mention my covers and titles are so many times better.

Plus these books had a tiny bit of steam and a few curse words in there. They just were not ideal for my new readers who’d loved the tropey and clean cute romances I was writing.

And that was another HUGE thing. These books weren’t really tropey at all. My initial fan base had fallen in love with them and raved about the characters, but the stories definitely weren’t reaching their full potential.

And I realized it would be much easier to scrap them and try again. Same characters but focus on the tropes. Writing to market. Titling and covering to market. All that jazz I now know how to do.

It’ll be a huge endeavor but I’m super excited and now I know what I’m writing when my current series is done!

Plus I’m actually at an advantage. I KNOW these characters. I know the tropes I can use and use well. I know so much more now.

So I feel like a complete newbie again with only two published books (LOL), but they’re already making great money on their own.

I’m actually making more money with these two books right now than I ever did with all of those 8 backlist books combined.

I can’t even imagine what’s next for me once I have two more written to market series in the same genre.

I almost can’t believe how far I’ve come since 2013. But all of this to say: if I can do it, SO CAN YOU.

And also, PIVOT!

pivot.jpg

Monday Must-Reads [10.15.18]

mm101518 image.jpg

Productivity Tips

How to Automate a Habit and Never Think About It Again

6 Tips for Procrastinators to Finish the Book Already | Writers In The Storm

Ksenia Anske/Blog/Slow down

Paring Down Your Life : zen habits

Writing Process Tips: How to Juggle Several Books in Progress

To Nano or Not To Nano... | Writers In The Storm

15 Day Novel Challenge Update and Parameters – Chris Fox Writes

Writing Tips & Inspiration

Pacing in Writing: How to Keep Your Readers Hooked • Reedsy

Using Styles in Scrivener 3

For World Mental Health Day: When Writer’s Block Is Actually Depression – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

How to Use Focused Brainstorming to Develop Our Plot — Guest: Janice Hardy | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

Fiction University: Outline Your Novel the Incredibly Easy Way

Create Killer Twists: Learn How to Redeem Your Villain ~ WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

Ksenia Anske/Blog/Do what scares you

Writing the Cozy Mystery: Series Tropes and Rituals – Elizabeth Spann Craig

Author Platform & Book Marketing Tips

Twitter: What You're Doing Wrong and How to Make it Right

5 Tips for Selling Your Books at Events—on a Budget | Jane Friedman

They’re Talking About Me! Joanna Penn and Dave Chesson Talk Keywords - The Book Designer

Publishing News & Tips

"What Sells More, Fiction Or Non-Fiction? What Should I Write When Starting Out?" | The Creative Penn

Writing Tips: 4 Suggestions For Navigating The Multi-Genre Waters | The Creative Penn

Doubling Down On What You Love And Opportunities When Publishing Wide | The Creative Penn

B&N In Trouble

Kindle Unlimited – A Cheater Magnet | David Gaughran

Monday Must-Reads [10.08.18]

My Huge Aha Moment Re: Successful Self-Publishing

This video summary is for those who’d rather watch/listen plus I dive a little deeper into today’s topic (yay examples!).

P.S. If you’re not subscribed to the Saturday morning newsletter from WriterMom, you’re missing out. Sign up on the homepage.

huge aha moment image.jpg

What’s some of the most common advice most newbies get when they enter the self-publishing world?

It’s usually: get the best editing and cover you can.

And I agree with that.

But today I’m here to tell you that maybe the #1 advice newbies get should be something else.

It has to do with editing. The focus put on (and money spent on) editing.

And getting the best cover you can. And making sure you have both of those things before you hit publish.

I still think you should pay for the best cover you can. Plus a standard proofread, even if it means taking on a side hustle so you can do it. It’s still a great investment.

The package you present when you publish is so important.

However, I’ve learned recently that a successful fiction book boils down to the story.

Not just an amazing cover and a shiny polish.

More importantly:

  • are you making the reader turn pages?

  • are you hitting the tropes they absolutely can't resist?

You can polish a sentence or paragraph as much as you want, but make sure an amazing story is there first.

The authors who come out of nowhere and make six figures in their first year?

(For example: Anne-Marie Meyer. Check out her interview on the Prolific Writer podcast. Or Chris Fox. Make sure you follow his YouTube channel.)

Those authors figure this out right away, sometimes before they even publish or right after.

Sometimes they get the right cover, right book description, and/or figure out stuff like ads too, and that helps.

But I’ve seen plenty of authors kill it with super sticky books (months and months of charting) with not-so-great covers. And I read the book, and honestly, the writing is okay.

But why are those books selling like crazy?

Because they hit the right tropes. The author’s pacing is on point, which means you’re turning pages and you can’t stop, even though you were supposed to leave your house to head to that doctor’s appointment five minutes ago.

And they know just the right way to end the story (because they know how to nail genre expectations).

It’s taken me eight books across two complete series and almost five years for this lesson to really hit me.

If I could go back to 2013 when I was busy writing my first book with no care or even awareness for story structure or tropes or writing to market, I would tell myself to focus on telling an amazing story, one that hits tropes and keeps readers flipping pages.

Yes, have fun writing. Yes, tell a story that you love.

But figure out what trope it is that fits your story, your genre. Hit those tropes like your life depends on it. Start a scene, end a scene (and every sentence) so that reader can’t help but keep going.

That is what it takes to kill it in indie publishing today.

Monday Must-Reads [10.01.18]

Monday Must-Reads [09.24.18]