Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tweaks To My Self-Publishing Strategies

Just thought I'd bring everyone up to speed on some neat little things coming down the pipeline. These aren't huge releases or anything, just a heads up about some new additions to what I'm already doing with my self-publishing strategies. Maybe they can be of use to some of you other indie authors out there. ;)

1.) I received a four star review for Black Earth: End of the Innocence, the first novel in my Black Earth series, from a gentleman who is working hard to read and review indie authors - Four out of five isn't too shabby, but I'm shooting for five stars, so I sat down to evaluate why I only got four. If you take a look at the reviews for my book on Amazon, you'll see that two of them are five star reviews and two of them are four star reviews. The main thing the four star reviews have in common are comments regarding the abrupt ending to the book. Not just the fact that it's a cliffhanger, but no indication of another book in the series. Granted, the second book in the series is out now, but that requires those who finish the first book to take extra steps just to find out if the series continues or not. That's not good.

To remedy this situation, I decided I'm going to revise the ebook edition of End of the Innocence to include the first chapter of The Broken Daisy, the second book in the series. I'll also include a line at the end of the novel explaining that the series continues in The Broken Daisy and include links where to find the book. I think this will be more convenient for my readers and give them a little something extra at the end of End of the Innocence to entice them into the next book in the series.

2.) I've been reading a lot of blogs lately from self-published authors who are really starting to make it big in the digital world right now, especially with their titles on the Kindle. I read a comment the other day giving advice to one writer about how the three books he has in a series should be put in one digital book and made available for a reasonable price. What a fantastic idea! This not only adds product to a writer's marketplace, but I know that if a reader finishes one book on a cliffhanger note and has the second right there in their hands already, they are more apt to start reading it.

In response to this, I am going to be releasing a 'double-pack' of both Black Earth books I have available right now (in ebook format) for a reasonable price - probably $2.99. So you'll have the option of purchasing the first book in the series separately for 99 cents, the second for $2.99, or both for possibly $2.99. I'll probably have this finished in the next week or two, and I'll make mention here when it's released.

3.) For years now, I've been determined to release ebook and paperback versions of my books together at the same time. The problem with this is that paperbacks take longer for me to finalize. The formatting is a bit more complex than the formatting for an ebook, I have to wait for proof copies to be shipped to me, and if there are mistakes, the time to fix them gets added to the waiting period. For these reasons, I've decided to release my novels as ebooks before paperback from now on. After paperback will be audio. In that order. This way my readers can grab my books, dump them on their Kindles, Nooks or other readers, and I can be making a buck off my writing while I wait for the paperback versions to be finalized.

4.) I've been perusing the Kindle Boards a lot lately, especially since most of my book sales right now are coming through the Kindle. I managed to find a forum thread -,52815.msg910174.html#msg910174 - that gave some tips on cover design and although I don't agree with all the points made, one did catch my attention -

Since the beginning, I've focused all of my cover design on printed material, how my book covers will look when their in someone's hands, in front of them. With the digital age taking off, and ebooks become a new wave of the reading future, one has to keep in mind what their covers look like digitally. Not just in the book form, but in thumbnail form, like in your email signature.

If you saw the book covers for my Black Earth novels in thumbnail form,

you can't really make out my author name or the subtitles. Although these items show up clearly and easy to read when you're holding the book in your hands, the small font size does me no good when viewing my thumbnail image on Amazon, in my signature, or on other websites.

For this reason, I've decided to revamp the Black Earth covers - just for ebook format - to include bigger fonts in the subtitles and author name. It's an easy fix, one I will be doing in the next week or two.

So, that's what I'm going to be up to in the next couple weeks in between everything else. Just some minor changes that I think will make a decent impact on my self-publishing strategies.

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