“A series can be great for authors because it can draw in readers and keep them. If they like your first book and its characters, they’re likely to forge ahead and buy more books in the series. This is why there are so many series out there.”
The number one problem we run into during the vetting process here at Indies Unlimited is a book’s description, also sometimes known as the book sales pitch or the book blurb. Too long, too short, too detailed, too vague, too too too, blah blah blah. What it comes down to is: many authors cannot write a book description on their own.
K.S. Brooks thinks it might be okay if a writer doesn’t automatically know how to write a pithy, industrial strength description for his/her book. We’ve lived with the manuscript for months, possibly years. We “know too much” about it to create the best 250 or 500 words of description the book needs to sell.
Her article on Indies Unlimited includes links to related how-to articles along with a list of considerations. If you’re publishing your books yourself or going through a small press that relies on you to write the description for Amazon and the back cover, this article will give you a running start.
“I was recently tasked with putting together a publishing workshop for my local library. As I researched and gathered information, I realized everything they needed to know was available right here, on IndiesUnlimited.com.”
As author Melinda Clayton says, there’s a wealth of information stashed under the Knowledge Base and Resource Pages menu selections on the Indies Unlimited main screen. Sometimes I think we become so accustomed to the menu selections on blog-oriented sites, we forget they’re there and miss out on the links and other information they lead to. We read the posts of the day and move on.
In case you’re not aware, Amazon’s Author Central is a FREE service. If you missed our very first tutorial on setting it up, see that HERE. If you haven’t already, read it. Do it. Then come right back here and I’ll show you how to merge your books. I heard that grumble. Yes, you need to merge your books. Here’s why.
Here’s a handy tip for using Author’s Central. If you’re an author and don’t have an Amazon author’s page, you’re missing a free opportunity for publicity. The page displays when a prospective reader clicks on your name on any of your book’s listings. The page not only shows readers all your books, but bio information and your latest blog post.
Naturally, as K. S. Brooks suggests, if you have multiple editions of a book, it helps to link them together on the page.
“A note before we begin: All of the sites request some of the same information, so you will need to have it handy. They will ask for your name, your address, your email address, the password(s) you want to use, and some very basic financial information: your Social Security number for US residents, and the routing number and account number for the bank where you want them to deposit your royalties. And okay, another note – each will have different requirements for
book covers, so make sure to read those on the respective sites.”
“I ran across this question recently in a Facebook group, and noted there was a lot of opinion on it. Some authors are vehemently opposed to using chapter titles, while others adore them. So, what’s best?Well, the simplest answer is that it’s entirely up to the author. However, chapter titles do tend to be more prevalent in certain genres, so if that’s one you write in, you may want to adopt them.”
R. J. Crayton provides tasty food for thought about the use of chapter titles, noting that some genres tend to use them more than others. I tend not to use them because I don’t like to tip off readers about what’s coming up.
Fortunately, Crayton doesn’t suggest a return to old fashioned chapter titles of the sort that were (a) long, and (b) spoilers, such as: Chapter Three – Where Bob Learns That When His Ship Goes Down Near Cuba, There Are Real Sharks in the Water.
Indies Unlimited offers another good post for writers.
The trouble with dreams is that the defy logic. Last night, I dreamt I was at a Shriners convention. When I woke up, I knew it wasn’t true.
When a fast-talking, dirt bag of a publisher says they’ll give you the moon, the sun and the stars, waking up often takes longer. Sure, there can be misunderstandings about contract standards and terms as well as what a new author can reasonably expect. But fraud and almost-fraud are something else.
If you have a book and think it’s ready to publish, do some Google searches (if you think you’ve found a publisher) and see if anything negative turns up. In fact, do a search on “publishing scams” as well. I did a search on that phrase and got 850,000 hits. That alone suggests there’s enough badness out there to curl your hair even if you don’t want it curled.
If you’re unsure about publishing practices and terminology, check Writers Write. They’re a good resource.
If you think you’ve found a publisher, check Writer Beware. In addition to positive resources, the site features a solid list of publishers and problems. Or, as they put it: Writer Beware’s mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry. They do a good job keeping their data updated. Looking here might save you a lot of time, money and heartache, while keeping your dream of track.
Another site with good writing resources is Indies Unlimited. They have a staff of seasoned experts who have been there, done that, and survived to tell the tale–and offer some advice as a bonus.
But there’s more. IU is currently running a series of blog posts called FOULED! written by people have been scammed. Dream-wise, these are sob stories. In many cases, fraud was involved. Unfortunately, fraud is hard to prove and most beginning writers don’t have the money to hire a lawyer, much less travel to the state where the publisher is headquartered and initiate a court action.
Nightmare on Editing Street
Today’s post by Brenda Perlin tells a nightmare story about the author’s experience with an online editing company. The company promised a beautiful manuscript and delivered, well, pond scum (my term for it).
Such companies can take advantage of a problem most writers face: if the publisher doesn’t hire in-house editors to clean up a manuscript, then the writer has to do it. Unfortunately, the cost for editing, say, a 70,000-word book might well be more than most of us can afford; and, statistically, it also may be more than most debut, small-press or self-published novels are likely to earn. This is a sensitive area for writers because they get dinged by reviewers for typos.
Most of us are the last people to copy edit or proofread out own work.
Previously, on Fouled
If you want to read these in the order that they appeared, start at the bottom of the list and work up.
Writing is hard work. Finding the right publisher and then promoting the book is almost harder work. In Blue Highways, one of my favorite books, the author William Least Heat-Moon talks to many people along the road, asking one of them: “Dreams take up a lot of space?”
“All you can give them,” was the reply.
This is how dreams are. How dreams are makes them dangerous because logic and good intentions don’t always mesh well with our journey to make dreams come true. So, as the site says, Writer Beware.
Otherwise, how dreams are is also their magic and wonderment.
There are a lot of sites “out there” that are worth a look if you’re a writer needing advice or looking for a free listing for your book. My friend good friend, author and publisher Melinda Clayton, writes articles for Indies Unlimited, so I’ve been tuning in on that site a lot lately.
There’s good stuff there such as Melinda’s overview of AuthorsDen. Among other things, check out the blog and knowledgeBase. You can also list your books on the site on Thrifty Thursday and Print Book Paradise. These listings work well when you want to publicize reduced prices.
Here’s there’s blurb about the service
On every Thursday at 5 a.m. Pacific time, Indies Unlimited presents a feature called “Thrifty Thursday.” It’s simple: authors can list their free or 99¢ e-books and readers can find a large selection of free and cheap reads in one convenient place. For those of you looking for Freebie Friday, it has now been incorporated into Thrifty Thursday. Click here for the most recent Thrifty Thursday. If you have a print book priced under $15, you can participate in Print Book Paradise (also known as Mr. Pish’s Print Book Party) each Sunday at 9 a.m. Pacific time.