Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #42

by Joel Friedlander on March 30, 2014 · 3 comments

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Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for March, 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

blogs for self-publishersM. Louisa Locke presents Is Kindle Countdown the new Free? Keeping books visible in 2014 posted at M. Louisa Locke: The Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series, saying, “We are all struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing publishing landscape, and this is my analysis of what has worked and not worked for me in the past year.”

self-publishingDavid Bricker presents Not Selling Books? Did you do the Math? posted at The World’s Greatest Book, saying “You threw a grand party but nobody came. Your novel is so good but you’re not sell­ing books. What hap­pened? You were sup­posed to appear on Oprah’s show. Terry Gross isn’t call­ing you for an inter­view. You may be an ace at man­ag­ing dia­log and avoid­ing clichés in your writ­ing, but what do you know about the pub­lish­ing busi­ness? Did you do the math?”

kindle selectBen Zackheim presents Prepare your book for its KDP Select free promotion days posted at Ben Zackheim, saying, “A step-by-step guide, with best practices! Yup. Blog posts about Amazon KDP Select free promo days are as common as bad drivers on I84. But I want to do something a little different here. I want to lay out steps and include details about why they are important. I’ll also give you a basic overview of boosting posts on Facebook.”

Book Design and Production

Corina Koch MacLeod presents Scrivener Cheat Sheet: Start Using Scrivener Now posted at Beyond Paper, saying, “Have you considered using Scrivener for writing and book production? Not sure how to get started? With this cheat sheet, you can begin using Scrivener right now.”

Erica Verrillo presents 10 Sites Where You Can Get Fabulous Free Photos posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “If you are designing a cover for your book, there is nothing that attracts readers more than a fetching image. Eye-catching images not only draw the reader’s attention, they establish a mood, set a tone, and express what you can’t say in words. A great image will also inspire a reader to linger, and to want to learn more about you and what you have written. Fortunately, finding beautiful images has never been easier – or cheaper. You can, of course, purchase stock photos from any number of services. However, if you are on a limited budget, you can get great photos for free. These are some of my favorite sites for finding fantastic free images. [Note: I update this list regularly as I find new sites.]”

Ebooks and Ebook Readers

Ian Martyn presents Is e-publishing changing the length of a book? posted at Ian Martyn – science fiction writer, saying, “Since about the 1970s in science fiction and fantasy, for example, it seemed to be the accepted norm that they had to be at least 400 / 500 pages or more, sometimes leading to a tortuous read. With the advent of e-readers the physical size of a book is no longer obvious. I think stories are returning to their ‘natural’ length, whatever that might be. I welcome this change.”

Indie Author

Alexander Zoltai presents Is The Success of Indie Authors Just A Bunch of Hype? posted at Notes from An Alien

Art Edwards presents The Slow Book Movement posted at Word Riot, saying, “Joel, here is my self-publishing essay THE SLOW BOOK MOVEMENT (1,500 words) for Carnival consideration. My third self-published novel, Badge (2014), was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s literary contest. Thank you for all you do. Art Edwards”

Bethany Brown presents The Self Publishing Process posted at The Cadence Group, saying, “Identifying, and understanding, the major steps in the self publishing process is important so that authors can plan and budget for success. Authors should have all of the pieces in place, or at least planned, prior to embarking on their self-publishing journey. It will save time, money, and, in many cases, heartache.”

Richard Levesque presents Write, Yes. Publish? Maybe. posted at Richard Levesque, saying, “Write to your heart’s content. Write as though no one is going to read it. And then for pity’s sake sit on it for a few days. Get someone else to read it. Get feedback from people you trust. Then revise. Let it sit some more and go through the whole process again. Revise some more. Then edit. If you can’t edit, find someone to do it for you. Then, and only then, should you call it done and move on to the next project.”

Sabrina Ricci presents Writing a Strong Book Description, a.k.a. The Blurb posted at Digital Pubbing, saying, “After the cover, a book description may be the most important tool in selling a book. On a print book, the blurb appears on the back cover. For ebooks, this is the description that appears on every sales page, usually below the cover and just before the reviews. Concise tends to be better, and for books sold both as print and ebooks, it’s easier to use the same description. Therefore, it’s helpful to keep in mind the restrictions on both formats.”

Marketing and selling your books


Yvonne Wu presents Reach for the Stars with Google Analytics posted at The YP Publishing, saying, “Reach for the Stars with Google Analytics”

Dana Lynn Smith presents How to Use Subtitles for Targeted Book Marketing posted at The Savvy Book Marketer, saying, “Book titles are an important factor in how books appeal to readers, but don’t forget about the power of subtitles!”

Denise Wakeman presents The Publishing Business Plan – 7 Essential Elements posted at The Future of Ink, saying, “Featured writer, Nina Amir, addresses the importance of understanding that when you self-publish, you become a Publisher and that means you have a new business… If you are like most aspiring authors, the idea of becoming a published author probably excites you. Even if you are planning to produce an ebook to boost your business, adding “author” to your credentials could represent the fulfillment of a dream you’ve had your whole life or might catapult you into the ranks of the other authorities and thought leaders in your industry. It’s important to realize that you are not just becoming an author. You are also becoming a publisher. And with that new title comes a new start-up business.”

Erica Verrillo presents Are the Horror Stories About Traditional Publishing True? posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Dana Weinberg has done another survey analysis, this time of author satisfaction. While her results were ambiguous at best, I have some reservations about her conclusions. The “horror stories” one hears from those who have published through large publishing houses are not horror stories at all – they are the rule. Thinking otherwise is delusional.”

Frances Caballo presents How to Market Your Books to a Worldwide Audience posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “I recently had the honor and pleasure of teaching at Stanford as part of the Self-Publishing Road Map Series the school offers through its continuing education department. In my talk on social media, I gave an overview of how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest; recommended best practices; and shared some of my social media time management techniques. If you’d like to take my class from the comfort of your own desk, here’s my PowerPoint presentation.”

Halona Black presents How to Market Your Self Published Ebook (Part I): One Freelance Writer Shares the Biggest Mistakes She’s Made posted at Inkwell Editorial, saying, “This is Part I in a 4-part series of guest posts on marketing an ebook I published one year ago. The intent is to share what I did wrong when I first wrote the book and the steps I took to improve sales.”

Heather Hart presents 4 Tips For Using Facebook Events to Their Full Potential posted at Training Authors

James Moushon presents Your Book Launch: Marketing Methods and Ideas Used by Outstanding Authors – A Study posted at eBook Authors Corner, saying, “Book Launch Study: Planning, the Process, and Marketing by a group of Award-winning Authors”

Kate Tilton presents Authors on Instagram (Master List) posted at Kate Tilton’s Blog, saying, “We all know social media is a powerful way to market your work. But with all the social media platforms it can be overwhelming. Now authors can easily connect with other authors on Instagram with this master list, making things a little easier.”

Kate Tilton presents Book Bloggers on Instagram (Master List) posted at Kate Tilton’s Blog, saying, “Social media is a powerful way to market your book. When starting out on a new platform it can be difficult to know who to follow and connect with. Now with this master list of book bloggers, authors have the perfect place to start on Instagram.”

Laura Pepper Wu presents How I Sold 10,000 Books – and Surpassed the Income from my Day Job posted at 30 Day Books Blog, saying, “An account from Ernest Dempsey, a high school counselor and author of thrilling fiction, on how he has sold 10,000 copies of his self-published books in the last 12 months. His income in January surpassed his salary showing us all that a transition from a job to a full-time indie author is possible!”

Lorna Reid presents Does Facebook Marketing Work? posted at Just One More Writer, saying, “After reading mixed experiences about the worth of running a Facebook campaign to advertise my book, I decided to give it a try and see what happened.”

Mark Coker presents Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders – A Guide to Preorder Strategy posted at Smashwords Blog, saying, “Ebook preorders are one of the most powerful book launch tools introduced over the last five years. This post and its accompany online presentation teaches indie authors strategies for preorder success.”

Michelle Weidenbenner presents Public Speaking Tips for Sissy Authors posted at Random Writing Rants, saying, “Public speaking sells more books. Ann Lee Miller shares how to find cheerleaders, ways to promote public speaking, what to talk about, and how to overcome stage fright.”

R.J. Adams presents 6 Ways to Get More Book Reviews posted at Book Marketing Tools, saying, “Every author could use more reviews for their books, but it can be like pulling teeth to get more reviews… Here are some great ways to get more book reviews.”

R.J. Adams presents Social Media for Authors – The Author Hangout (Episode 1) posted at Book Marketing Tools, saying, “This was the premier episode of The Author Hangout, a bi-weekly Hangout on Air on G+. This episode focused on the topic “Social Media for Authors”. See the reactions from authors who watched, watch the video, download the audio, and read a summary of the main points, tips, and advice!”

Randy Ross presents Facebook for Writers: Gripes, Tips (Part1) posted at The Loneliest Planet, saying, “Recent changes to Facebook make the social media site even less useful to writers looking to promote their work for free. This article includes an overview of the changes, plus some tips on how to use them to your advantage.”

Randy Ross presents One Writer’s Platform (Part 2) Events and PR posted at The Loneliest Planet, saying, “Sick of social media? Promote your writing with special events and readings, and let the venues promote you.”

Shelley Hitz presents 29 Networking Tips for Live Events posted at Training Authors, saying, “I recently attended a conference for authors and wanted to share with you some research I did on networking tips for live events. Here is a compilation of 29 tips I have gathered from friends on Facebook as well as my own online research to help you have even greater success at your next live event or conference.”

Steven Saus presents What I’ve Learned About Crowdfunding: Work With The Attention Span of the Internet posted at ideatrash, saying, “Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular option for getting paid for your work. And there’s one quick way to make sure people don’t see your video – make it too long.”

Toni at Duolit presents The Author Monthly Planner: A Freebie to Organize Your Writing and Marketing Life posted at Self-Publishing Team, saying, “Do you ever look at your to-do list with disdain? Find yourself looking for excuses *not* to work on the overwhelming number of tasks? Me too! Check out our discussion of why to-do lists don’t work and how taking a birds-eye view of your writing and marketing tasks will help you achieve success. Plus: a free printable (score!)”

Self-Publishing Success

Bethany Brown presents Remember the “Self” in Self-Publishing posted at The Cadence Group, saying, “Self publishing has taken on a life of its own in recent years and, generally, that’s been a positive thing for authors and readers. However, as co-publishers, vanity presses, and self-publishing companies have multiplied, much of what has become lost in the self publishing movement, is the “self” in self publishing. And that has done harm to many authors and books alike. It’s vital that author’s take back the control over their book and publishing programs so they can be positioned for success.”

Mark Coker presents 10 Reasons Indie Authors Will Capture 50% of the Ebook Market by 2020 posted at Smashwords Blog, saying, “Indie ebook authors are poised to capture 50% of the ebook market by the year 2020. This post explores the 10 reasons why indie authors will dominate the ebook market. It also includes a fun downloadable spreadsheet so anyone can create and publish their own ebook market forecast.”

Michael Holley presents Author Earnings.com – A Real Game Changer posted at Michael Holley, saying, “An article discussing the impact of Hugh Howey’s recent statistical discovery.”

Randy Stapilus presents Self-publishers on their own bestseller lists posted at BookWorks, saying, “You may know that many best selling books were launched as self-published titles – everything from Mark Twain classics to Irma Rombauer’s “Joy of Cooking” to E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” to James Redfield’s “The Celestine Prophecy.” But did you know there are bestseller lists specifically for self-published books?”

Writing Tools and Tips

Amy McElroy presents Do No Harm: To Publish or Not to Publish posted at Write Livelihood, saying, “As memoir writers, we must navigate the often paradoxical goals of publishing our deepest, most painful truths, while trying to “Do No Harm,” particularly as we explore that most basic parent-child relationship.”

Andy Decker presents Editing is important, last… posted at Jonah2Eight, saying, “Just a reminder about a sometimes overlooked element in the writing process. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and then discover we’ve fallen behind.”

Belinda Williams presents Story and plot: why they’re not the same thing posted at Belinda Williams Books, saying, “It’s easy for writers to confuse story and plot. In this blog post, Belinda outlines the difference and explains why starting the story too early can lose you readers.”

Bridget McKenna presents Why I Didn’t Keep Reading Your Book, Part 2 posted at Points of View, saying, “Dear Anonymous Writer, Recently your book broke into the top 1000 on Amazon’s sales rankings, and went considerably higher in your subgenres despite having an unprofessional cover and dull, repetitive sales copy. I admit I was curious about such an unlikely combination, but what ultimately steered me inside was the first line of your book description, which reads “Professionally edited.””

C. S. Lakin presents Make Me Like Your Protagonist or I’ll Stop Reading posted at Live Write Thrive, saying, “Can you create any ol’ protagonist? Sure you can—but that doesn’t mean readers will want to read your book. Oftentimes beginning writers have a confused notion about the character arc, thinking that if they open a novel with a really dislikable character who changes by the end of the book into a really likable guy, that’s the ticket. Sorry to say, it’s not. Why? Because readers want to get engaged and start caring for that protagonist right away. Read what’s needed to get that reader hooked and attached to your “hero.””

Connie Dowell presents Humor and Critique: Don’t Go Bonkers Writing Funny Stuff posted at Book Echoes Media, saying, “Getting feedback on humor pieces or comedic scenes comes with its own set of challenges. These are some things to expect whether your readers laugh or the crickets chirp.”

Dana Sitar presents Your Writing Doesn’t Have to Be Good posted at Writer’s Bucket List, saying, “Stop worrying about the rules, guidelines, and best practices for writing – for your writing to be good, it just has to be effective for YOUR audience.”

Donald J. Bingle presents 24 Hours Earlier … posted at Writer on Demand TM

Helen Sedwick presents 10 Tips for Avoiding Defamation posted at Keeping It Legal, Step-by-step guide to the legal issues of self-publishing, saying, “Writers and bloggers should remember the basic writing rule — Show, don’t tell. It helps avoid defamation claims as well.”

J. M. Varner presents Write Tip: Creative Mind vs. Critical Mind posted at J. M. Varner’s Blog

Jordan Rosenfeld presents Fail Up. On Creative Resilience posted at Write Livelihood, saying, “I think Indies, more than anyone, need to be reminded that failure is a learning tool, not a sign to quit.”

Katie McCoach presents Writing Fiction That Is Believable posted at KM Editorial, saying, “How do you write fiction that is believable to the story and for your readers?”

Kyoko M presents Of Monsters and Men posted at She Who Writes Monsters, saying, “The “bad boy” and “villain protagonist” characters have been on the rise in recent years and I think it has a significance in our culture and in the writing world.”

Laxmi Hariharan presents Eyeball Heroin (e)? Hell yes, this is how I write posted at Young Adult Old Soul

Mark Matthews presents 26.2 Ways Writing a Novel is Like Running a Marathon (and 1 discussion on how it really isn’t) posted at Running, Writing, and Chasing the Dragon, saying, “Qualifications to write this include 13 marathons and 4 novels.”

Nina Amir presents 5 Ways to Get Organized to Write Your Nonfiction Book posted at Write Nonfiction NOW!, saying, “Getting organized before you begin writing can be the key to a smooth book writing experience. Here are some tips on getting a good start on your project.”

Stefanie Newell presents Fiction Dialogue Writing Tips posted at The Write One Blog

Stefanie Newell presents The Differences: Substantive Editing, Copy Editing & Proofreading posted at The Write One Blog

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 April 27, 2014 and the deadline for submissions will be April 15, 2014. Don’t miss it!

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    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    Connie B. Dowell April 1, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Great group of posts this time! I’ve got some reading to do! Thanks for including me.

    Reply

    Kate Tilton March 31, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Thank you for including my Instagram lists Joel! I hope they will be a great help to authors and readers alike!

    Reply

    Yuwanda Black March 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for the mention of Halona’s post on Inkwell Editorial Joel in this esteemed list of content. Great roundup!

    As self-publishing is still so new, it’s great to have a lot of first-hand info one can access to make better decisions about everything from the writing process to ebook marketing, to ebook cover design.

    Continued success! :-)

    Reply

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