Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #41

by Joel Friedlander on February 23, 2014 · 4 comments

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Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for February, 2014. We welcome your submissions on topics related to writing, self-publishing, book design or marketing books.

A collection of outstanding articles recently posted to blogs, your reading here will be richly rewarded.

See the end of this post for links to submit your blog posts for the next carnival, or for participating Bloggers and Featured Bloggers to grab your sidebar badges. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Featured Posts

self-publishingShelley Hitz presents 60+ Facebook Groups for Authors – Promote Your Books, Blogs, and More posted at Training Authors, saying, “I have found that building relationships and posting occasional promotions and giveaways in Facebook groups has been an effective way to market my books. I have gathered and researched a TON of Facebook groups for authors and have listed 60+ of them out according to categories in this post.”

book marketingKimberley Grabas presents Get Reviews for Your Book posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, “So you wrote a book. And it’s truly a thing of beauty. Prose polished to perfection, you’ve lovingly crafted your masterpiece in the stolen moments around an impossible schedule. You’ve commissioned the most beguiling of covers, invested in an ace editor and painstakingly tweaked the interior formatting to ensure the delicate sensibilities of your reader will not be unexpectedly jarred by a rogue font pairing or flubbed folios. It’s time. Time to share your creation with the world. Time to receive the glowing appraisals and positive feedback from your appreciative fans and the top book reviewers in the industry. But hold up a minute. You know your book is the cutest, smartest, most precocious book in the world–obviously–but, how will top reviewers or your adoring fans know, unless they read it? And how will they know to read it, if there are currently no reviews encouraging them to do so? Gnarly catch 22. How on earth do you get reviews for your book (so you can sell more books, so you can get more reviews to sell more books)?”

book marketingFrances Caballo presents 9 Free Social Media Analytics Tools for Writers posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “The only way we can know whether our social media marketing efforts are working — meaning whether we are engaging our audience — is to use analytics tools. These applications show us which messages trigger engagement and conversion. Without an analytics program, we won’t know how to improve our efforts, reach more readers, or sell more books.”

Book Design and Production

Belinda Pollard presents The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading posted at Small Blue Dog Publishing, saying, “If you puzzle over the difference between editing and proofreading, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common confusions. Editing and proofreading are two separate parts of the publishing process. As an indie publisher you will need both editors and proofreaders — whether paid or volunteer — and this is what they do…”

Corina Koch MacLeod presents Why Authors Should Care About Editing posted at Pubslush, saying, “Carla Douglas and Corina Koch MacLeod guest post on Pubslush. You care about your readers. You want to give them a good reading experience and leave a good impression by meeting their expectations. What exactly do readers expect when they read a book? Editors know. Read on to find out…”

Corina Koch MacLeod presents Why Authors Should Crowdfund for Their Books posted at Beyond Paper, saying, “Justine Schofield guest posts on the Beyond Paper blog. Launching a book is no small feat. And each stage—from first draft and on through editing, revisions, design, marketing and beyond— will have expenses attached. Here’s one way to deal with those expenses.”

Kate Tilton presents Amazon, B&N, Kobo…oh my! A Look into Formatting. posted at Kate Tilton, Connecting Authors & Readers, saying, “Formatting an ebook (or a print book) is one step most do not think of when they initially set out on the path to publishing. Here are some tips to help you find the best formatting method for you.”

Katherine Pickett presents Quiz: 10 Questions to Help You Choose Your Route to Publication posted at The POP Newsletter, saying, “There are many viable paths to publication. The key to success is choosing the route that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. This quiz can help.”

Lorna Reid presents Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace: Fight! posted at Just One More Writer, saying, “One of the biggest questions faced by indie publishers – including myself – is who to use when it comes to print. I tried the two big names, along with a well-known UK POD firm and chronicled the results, listing pros and cons of each.”

Randy Stapilus presents Judging a Book by Its Cover posted at BookWorks, saying, “Even if you engage a professional to design the cover of your book, you still need to be able to evaluate whether that cover will work for you. Here are some ways to decide.”

Sara C. Snider presents A Nitty-Gritty List of Ebook and Print Book Distributors posted at Sara C. Snider, saying, “A list of companies that can help you produce your book and distribute it to retailers. I include a bulleted list of cost, royalty payout, and distribution for easy reading.”

Indie Author

Amy McElroy presents “It Takes a Collective” posted at Indie-Visible: Literary Justice for All, saying, “The article addresses many of the categories. I picked the Indie Author category because it seemed the most general. But if this doesn’t seem to be the best fit, please let me know.”

Deborah Jay presents Sharing my traditionally published book earnings – or why I went Indie posted at Deborah Jay, saying, “As many authors have no idea of the reality of being traditionally published (for the average author) I shared my experiences in this post, then followed up with a second at http://deborahjayauthor.com/2014/02/03/my-first-6-months-as-an-indie-publisher-sharing-figures/ for contrast to show why I favour the indie route.”

Erica Verrillo presents What Authors Want posted at Publishing … And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest recently conducted a survey of 5,000 authors – “What Authors Want: A Survey of Authors to Understand Their Priorities in the Self-Publishing Era.” The input of 5,000 self-published, traditionally published, and hybrid authors provided information useful to the publishing industry (which, for some reason, does not already understand what writers want). It also provided useful information to writers – especially aspiring authors, who, hopefully, will one day join the ranks of the published.”

Jordan McCollum presents Are You Good Enough? Evaluating Whether You’re Really Ready to Self-Publish posted at Janice Hardy’s The Other Side of the Story, saying, “In this inaugural column of Janice’s weekly Indie Author feature, we look at how an indie author can be sure they’re not one of those people hitting Publish too soon. Honest introspection about your writing and yourself can help you find the right answer.”

Nate Hoffelder presents Debunking the “Self-Pub Shit Volcano” – Not Shit, Nor a Problem, And is it Not Going Away posted at The Digital Reader, saying, “Some pundits claim that self-published ebooks are a tidal wave of crap, but in reality self-published ebooks as a whole are no better or worse than any other type of user-generated content (Youtube, blogs, Tumblr). And as anyone could tell you, 90% of anything is crap (Sturgeon’s Law).”

Richard Sutton presents Quaint, Old Tools… posted at Saille Tales, saying, “The image is my photograph, so you can use it with no repercussions.”

Marketing and Selling Your Books

Denise Wakeman presents Authors – How to Use Pinterest for Dull Topics and High Search Ranking posted at The Future of Ink, saying, “Authors, don’t ignore Pinterest as a source of great traffic to your book or author blog. If you have a topic that is not easy to illustrate, Joan Stewart, shows you step by step how to create pins that drive traffic and help you rank higher in search engines.”

Erica Verrillo presents How to Get Reviews For Your Book (Without Begging, Bribing or Resorting to Subterfuge) posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “If you have published your book on Amazon and have signed up for the KDP Select program, you are probably wondering how you are going to let the world know that you have giveaway days coming up. In order to get downloads on your free days, you need to make sure your book has reviews. You also need to make sure your free days are advertised. Fortunately, you can do that for free.”

Jo Michaels presents A Look at Blog Tour Companies posted at Jo Michaels Blog, saying, “After reading some rather strong comments in a book, I decided to delve into research about blog tour companies and how tours help Indie authors. What did I find? I think you’ll be surprised (and maybe a bit angry). I had to share. It’s a long post, but well worth the read.”

Joanna Penn presents How To Use Wattpad As An Author With Ashleigh Gardner posted at The Creative Penn – On Writing and Creative Entrepreneurship, saying, “Social media is great for finding fans of you, but what about fans of your writing? Wattpad might be a great option to try and in this interview, we go through how you can use it as well as tips for success.”

Kate Tilton presents 4 Easy Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following posted at Bad Redhead Media, saying, “Twitter is my absolute favorite social media platform. As a reader, I find I connect with more readers and authors on Twitter than on any other platform. Here are four easy tips you can use today to grow your engagement and following on Twitter.”

Mark Coker presents Farewell Sony Reader Store (Sony’s departure from the ebook market) posted at Smashwords blog, saying, “They say pioneers are the ones that get the arrows in their back. Sony, an early e-reading pioneer, is bowing out of ebooks. While Sony’s exit from the ebook market will have minimal short term impact on indie authors, the loss of Sony is a reminder that retailer consolidation could strip indie authors of independence.”

Patty Jansen presents Self-published book quality. Again posted at Must Use Bigger Elephants, saying, “The quality argument is moot an unimportant. People do not go to Amazon and randomly start browsing from the bottom ranks up. The books that are badly formatted and badly written will just not be found.”

Phyllis Zimbler Miller presents Evaluating Amazon Book Promo Campaigns posted at Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Author

R.J. Adams presents 8 Twitter Resources for Authors posted at Book Marketing Tools Blog, saying, “We have collected 8 great resources for authors to learn a little bit more about connecting with readers and other authors on Twitter.”

Rinelle Grey presents Series vs Standalones – Which Sell Better posted at Rinelle Grey, saying, “After releasing two books in my sci-fi romance series, I put out a single, standalone fantasy romance. I was interested to see the difference between a new series book, and a standalone, though I can’t say I’m terribly surprised at the results.”

Sabrina Ricci presents 7 Strategies and 94 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers posted at Digital Pubbing, saying, “Self-publishing is growing, and with it come new resources. One of the biggest hurdles of being an indie author is finding readers and getting reviews (which helps find more readers). With that in mind, here are 7 strategies and a list of 94 tools indie authors can use to help promote their books and find new readers and reviewers.”

Sandra Hutchison presents Mulling results from a Kindle Countdown Deal posted at Sheer Hubris Press, saying, “There has been a fair amount of interest in this compared to other posts, and it’s fairly recent, so you might find it of interest for your readers.”

Sarah Bolme presents Is Your Book Endorsed? posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Endorsements sell books. Have you pursued getting this valuable marketing help?”

Self-publishing success

Byteful Travel presents Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: Free Publicity for Your KDP Select Free Days posted at Aravinda Publishing, saying, “Today, I’d like to share a visual example of something I’ve learned over the last few months: the importance of putting reviews on the back of your paperback! In retrospect this seems fairly obvious, but you may be surprised how many books don’t do it. Reviews are key because they provide extremely helpful “social proof” for the book, and can be key to self-publishing success.”

Heather Hart presents The Benefits of Publishing a Book Series posted at Training Authors

R.J. Adams presents 5 Things You Need On Your Author Website posted at Book Marketing Tools Blog, saying, “Your author website is one of the tools you have to sell more books. Make sure you have everything set up right on your website to sell more books!”

Writing Tools and Tips

Alexander Zoltai presents Just A Bit of Sane Writing Advice . . . posted at Notes from An Alien

Belinda Williams presents It’s time to get over it…write now! posted at Belinda Williams Books, saying, “Time can be a writer’s biggest challenge: managing the lack of it, while also trying to maintain a long term view when writing projects can take months, even years. Belinda reveals three things to help your time issues become a thing of the past.”

Belinda Williams presents Why is plot more important than characters? posted at Belinda Williams Books, saying, “Belinda takes a looks at characters vs plot in your story, and why plot is essential to following that well-known piece of writing advice of show, don’t tell. She also reveals what Aristotle has to say on the subject, which has surprising relevance for today’s writers.”

Carla Douglas presents Deciding What Matters When Writing for a Global Audience posted at Beyond Paper Editing, saying, “Do you write for a global audience? If you do, your readers could be anywhere in the world — and they’re probably used to speaking and reading a particular variety of English. How do you handle variations in spelling and punctuation? Do these audience-specific conventions still matter?”

Charmaine Clancy presents Sizzling Romance – 10 tips to write love scenes posted at dream… write… publish, saying, “Tips from Australia’s leading romance author, Anna Campbell, on how to get your love scenes to sizzle. Not just for romance writers!”

Connie Dowell presents Yeah, Verily: Beware These Often Confused Words posted at Book Echoes Media, saying, “There are a few word mix-ups I see frequently that are particular to dialogue writing or conversational-style nonfiction. Don’t make these embarrassing mistakes.”

Dana Sitar presents 10 Free Ebooks to Motivate, Inspire, and Guide You in Every Writing Adventure posted at Writer’s Bucket List, saying, “Free books and guides with unique advice to guide writers through freelancing, writer’s block, self-publishing, and more.”

Ellis Shuman presents How to Cure Writer’s Block posted at Ellis Shuman Writes, saying, “There is a disease that frequently strikes authors and writers and which occasionally may appear to be incurable. A cerebral blockage prevents ideas from making their way via cortical and sub-cortical networks over a large part of the brain to a person’s hand and finger muscles, where said ideas can be transferred via mechanical devices such as pens and keyboards to paper and/or computer hard discs. This disease is commonly known as Writer’s Block. I am happy to report that a cure for this disease has been found!”

Ian Martyn presents ‘If it doesn’t move the story along, take it out,’ – good advice or not? posted at Ian Martyn, Science Ficiton Writer, saying, “The advice ‘If it doesn’t move the story along, take it out,’ – good advice or not? is often given to writers, especially new writers. In this blog I suggest you treat it with caution.”

Ian Martyn presents What makes agood science fiction read, or not. posted at Ian Martyn, Science Fiction Writer, saying, “I’ve read a lot of good science fiction and fantasy, more and more e-published. But, sometimes I just can’t finish a book. The reasons vary. In this series of blogs I explore why readers might be turned off.”

Katie McCoach presents Being able to do what’s best for your story, and not your ego posted at KM Editorial, saying, “The key to being a successful writer is being able to do what’s best for your story and NOT your ego.”

Leslie Lee Sanders presents How to Improve Your Writing by Reading Your Book’s Reviews posted at Leslie Lee Sanders, saying, “There are three things you can do when it comes to the reviews of your book. Don’t read them, read only the good reviews, or you can read the reviews (the positive and negative) and learn from them. Here’s how I analyze reviews to allow it to improve my writing, and how you can do it too.”

Michelle Weidenbenner presents The Five Elements of Fiction posted at Random Writing Rants, saying, “This is the first post in a series on the five elements of fiction. Tactics on how writers can get to know their characters.”

Molly Greene presents 101 Fabulous Plot Resources For Novelists posted at Molly Greene: Writer, saying, “Thank you for your consideration!”

Paula Casill presents 7 Tips for Non-Fiction Writers posted at Paula Casill, saying, “A well written nonfiction book is a lot like a well performed ballet – it looks so simple, so effortless, that you’d never guess how difficult it can be to get it right. Writing nonfiction at book-length is a challenge. Much of what we struggle with and many of the problems we face are unique to our genre. So here are a few of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned along my own writing journey. I hope they help you along yours.”

Sabrina Ricci presents Writing Serials (Part One) posted at Digital Pubbing, saying, “Indie authors today have an abundance of options when it comes to choosing what to write. But there is also a new(ish) form of writing/publishing: serials. Technically, it’s an old art—Charles Dickens is famous for writing serial novels, including The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, and Oliver Twist. But now with blogs and ebooks, the art of writing serials has been revived. One successful example of a modern serial is Susan Kay Quinn‘s The Debt Collector.”

Simone Pond presents Why writing an outline IS creative posted at Simone Says . . ., saying, “A lot of writers don’t like to hear the word “outline” let alone use one before they start their projects. I’m from the camp of – how will you reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going. This article is about my experience on the subject. Thank you.”

Steven Saus presents Why Donna Noble Is “Stronger” Than Mary Watson – A Practical Example of The Strong Woman Myth Weakening The Story posted at ideatrash, saying, “There’s a lot of talk (still) about the “strong woman” in fiction. I think the most recent season of the BBC’s Sherlock shows how “strong woman” shouldn’t be taken literally… because that makes the character weaker.”

Well, that wraps up this issue. I hope you enjoy some of the great articles here, and let other people interested in self-publishing know about the Carnival—Use the share buttons to Tweet it, Share it on Facebook, Plus-1 it on Google+, Link to it!

The next issue is March 30, 2014 and the deadline for submissions will be March 15, 2014. Don’t miss it!

Here are all the links you’ll need

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    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jo Michaels February 26, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Thanks for including my post in your Carnival of the Indies, Joel. There’s some great stuff in this one (as there always is). I’m happy to be a part of it. Leslie Sanders has some great tips. Wonderful inclusion. WRITE ON!

    Reply

    Michelle Weidenbenner February 26, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for all you do for authors, Joel! I love your site and the resources you share. I appreciate you sharing my tips, too!
    M

    Reply

    Simone February 23, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Thank you for including my blog, Joel. Your website continues to be a phenomenal resource for my writing, as well as an inspiration. Don’t ever stop.

    Reply

    Jeramy Goble February 23, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Thank you again, as always, Joel, for your amazing info and resources.

    Reply

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