Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #39

POSTED ON Jan 1, 2014

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

Home > Blog > Self-Publishing, Social Media > Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #39

Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for December, 2013. 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-publishingLivia Blackburne presents My Traditional Debut and My Indie Debut: A Case Study Comparison posted at A Brain Scientist’s Take On Writing, saying, “I’m in the interesting position of being a first time author in both traditional and self publishing in the same year. My novel Midnight Thief comes out with Disney-Hyperion in July 2014, and I’ve recently self published Poison Dance, a prequel novella. Since there’s so much discussion of traditional vs. indie these days, I thought it be interesting to do a step-by-step comparison of the process for both books.”

self-publishingNina Amir presents 4 Branding Tips for Nonfiction Writers and Authors posted at Write Nonfiction Now, saying, “Most writers don’t think about branding. Branding represents an essential element of how you market yourself as a nonfiction writer, and, as such, it should be included in your early success planning. That means it should be part and parcel of your business plan.”

self-publishingAndré Klein presents Turn Your Research Paper Into A Book: 5 Reasons To Self-Publish Your Work posted at LearnOutLive, saying, “Why write for the drawer when you can self-publish your research paper and turn your thesis or dissertation into a book?”

Book Design and Production

Colin Dunbar presents Format a Book In Word: Introduction posted at Format Book In Word, saying, “Just follow along here, and I’ll share everything I know about formatting and designing books, and give you the tools to easily format your book in Word. I look forward to your visits, and hope to hear from you.”

Katherine Pickett presents Why Does Editing Take So Long? posted at The POP Newsletter

Leslie Lee Sanders presents Getting Started: Cover Art for Self-Publishers posted at Leslie Lee Sanders, saying, “In an article by Terri Giuliano Long on, founder of Smashwords, Mark Coker, says, “Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something.” A great cover can “help the reader instantly recognize that this book is for them.” Here’s how to do just that.”

Steven Saus presents I Made A Lousy Book Cover Once. Learn From My (and Other’s) Mistakes posted at ideatrash, saying, “I’ll admit it. I made a bad book cover. Learn why I did – and what mistakes to avoid by seeing my (and other people’s) mistakes.”

Y. K. Greene presents Book Interior Formatting: The Dreaded Page Number posted at Blargle Splect, saying, “One in a series of posts that I recently made to help Indie Authors format their novels for paperback publication. This particular article deals with how to number the interior pages of the book in a way that, if not easy to implement, looks professional.”

Ebooks and Ebook Readers

Nate Hoffelder presents Indie Authors Are Getting Clobbered by Big Name eBook Discounts – But Not For The Reason You Think posted at The Digital Reader, saying, “If you’ve been following ebook news over the past 6 months then you’ve noticed that ebook prices have tended to drop. In fact, the average prices of ebook bestseller lists have shown a fairly consistent downward trend for the past year as more and more titles exit agency price controls and enter the free market.”

Indie Author

Geraldine Somerset presents Authors: How to Reach Readers in the Age of the Algorithm posted at Self Publishing Advice, saying, “”It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says ALLi’s US Advisor Jane Friedman, in this comprehensive article on how online search algorithms are changing the challenges of book marketing for self-published and trade-published authors alike. This piece is substantially longer than our usual blog posts, but is well worth reading for its detailed insight and advice.”

Geraldine Somerset presents How I Do It: Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This week: Orna Ross posted at Self Publishing Advice, saying, “What’s the secret of your success? I don’t think it’s much of a secret. I write, I share what I write by publishing it as well as I can, and I encourage other people to write and publish well too.”

Geraldine Somerset presents Opinion: If Indieland Must have Gatekeepers… Dan Holloway posted at Self Publishing Advice Blog, saying, “Indie author and poet Dan Holloway considers whether it’s possible to implement quality control standards in the world of self-publishing without changing the nature of the indie community. Whatever meteorological metaphor you use to describe the proliferation of self-published titles, if you are a serious-minded self-publisher you will probably be relieved at the growth of websites that promise to sort out the very best from the tsunami/flood/avalanche/deluge of also-rans. Sites like Awesome Indies and Compulsion Reads do what all the best inventions are supposed to do.”

Geraldine Somerset presents Opinion: Why Amazon Bestsellers Don’t Impress My Dog posted at Self Publishing Advice Blog, saying, “Indie author Michael N Marcus explains why he’s not impressed by his own bestseller status, or anyone else’s. Hunter J Marcus can read the New York Times upside-down – but he doesn’t care that Michael is a bestselling author. If you’re a new author, you probably dream of becoming a bestselling author. I’m a bestselling author and, believe me, it’s no big deal. I’ve stopped counting, but at least eight of my books have been on Amazon bestseller lists, a few have been on multiple Amazon bestseller lists, and one on was another bestseller list.”

Geraldine Somerset presents Writing craft: The challenge of writing an opening line of staggering genius by Kathryn Guare posted at Self Publishing Advice Blog, saying, “Indie author Kathryn Guare shares her thoughts on the importance of opening your novel with a memorable, brilliant first line. I’ve been thinking a lot about first lines, lately. Creeping towards the publication of my second novel in a planned series of suspense thrillers, I’d already been obsessing over every comma, every unnecessary occurrence of the word “that” and every instance of throat-clearing phrases my fingers automatically type while I’m puzzling over what I’m really trying to say.”

Ian Martyn presents I’ve finally e-published! – 13 things I’ve learnt posted at Ian Martyn, Science Fiction Writer, saying, “This is the second blog I’ve entered. As the title suggests I have finally e-published my first two novels. It’s included a lot of learning, some of which I share here. I hope it will inspire and help other indie authors. I would add that I used one of your templates to publish (and I do mention and link to you in the blog) which worked perfectly and I love the result. Thanks”

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli presents Are you a writer or an author? posted at, saying, “This article explores the difference between being a writer and an author regarding the extended meaning of these two words, which refers to the approach of the person in respect of their work (writing-oriented vs. promotion-oriented), and it shows how this approach can be different for an indie author if compared to a traditionally published author.”

Steven Saus presents Are You The Gatekeeper?- A Guest Post by Neal Litherland posted at ideatrash, saying, “Neal has done some freelance work for me, as well as writing a story for Sidekicks! earlier this year. He’s definitely been dealing with the rough-and-ragged world of freelancing and doing-it-yourself, and he has some words of advice and encouragement for the rest of us still wondering if we’re “really” doing it.”

Marketing and Selling Your Books

Ben Zackheim presents WordPress themes for writers and authors: Build a website with WordPress posted at Ben Zackheim, saying, “There are a lot of beautiful WordPress themes for writers and authors in the wild. Once you determine what your author site is for (Selling? Newsletter sign-up?) you can start shopping for templates that will complement that goal. I’ve played around with many free and premium products and I want to share my research here.”

Denise Wakeman presents How to Get Reviews by the Truckload on Amazon posted at The Future of Ink, saying, “What’s an aspiring publisher or author to do to get discovered by readers? Well, it’s time to get serious about being seen in places where your reader will find you. It’s time to realize the things that are important to your reader: reviews and engagement. Authors who focus on those two things alone are head and shoulders above the rest. Penny Sansevieri’s outstanding article takes authors through a repeatable process to get more reviews on”

Dr. Judith Briles presents Amazon Matchbox posted at Author U: Where authors go to become seriously successful

Dr. Judith Briles presents Hashtags…Oh my, They are Everywhere! posted at Author U: Where authors go to become seriously successful

Frances Caballo presents Manage Your Author Marketing Platform with 4 Easy Steps posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “Getting lost in the vortex of social media time suck — while trying to sustain an author marketing platform — is easy and it’s the greatest fear among writers who are new to social media. But there are remedies. There are four basic principles to social media that will help you to save time and become more efficient when marketing your books. In this post I outline the four-step formula and include a 34-page SlideShare presentation that further elaborates on the apps and tools writers can use to be more efficient on social media.”

Heather Hart presents How To Write An Effective Book Tweet posted at TrainingAuthors, saying, “Have you been using Twitter to market your books? You may be wondering how to write a tweet that will actually help sell your book. In this post, we’ll cover some Twitter basics to help you write tweets that will effectively market your books – from hooks to hashtags to tweeting it further.”

James Moushon presents Authors: Finding Your Readers On-line: A group of Award-winning Authors speak up. – A Study posted at The eBook Author’s Corner, saying, “One of the major problems facing authors today is finding their reading audience. With the marketing burden being placed more and more on the writer’s shoulders, building an on-line presence and interacting with readers is becoming the popular way to go. But if you are like the most of the authors in today’s market place, finding readers and building a relationship is the key to your sales success. Authors are setting goals and trying to use social media to accomplish them. They are joining groups of all kinds and using on-line tools to find their readers. Authors have to overcome problems but they find out quickly they must take action and work hard to succeed. It is study time again and I am fortunate to have a group of outstanding, award-winning authors whose opinions I value highly. Over 30 authors helped me with this study.”

Jason Kong presents Are You Missing Your Best Fiction Marketing Opportunity? posted at storyrally, saying, “Your best window for marketing impact occurs way before your fiction is published. Did you miss it?”

Joseph C. Kunz, Jr. presents Direct Mail Marketing For The Self-Publisher posted at, saying, “When it comes to marketing your self-published book, there are a number of options open to you. One of the most ignored marketing methods at your disposal is direct mail marketing. For a small cost, you can reach your sales prospects in a short space of time. Many self-publishers have probably forgotten the power of this marketing strategy – or don’t believe that this method can work for a tech-savvy self-publisher. And, online and social media marketing strategies have, for the most part, replaced what was once viewed as the most effective marketing strategy. But, a complete and successful marketing plan cannot ignore direct-mail marketing.”

Kate Tilton presents The Balancing Act of Author Street Teams posted at Rachel in the OC, saying, “Ever wonder what street team are? Here is a run-down on street teams and the balancing act to getting it right.”

Kate Tilton presents What is a Twitter Chat Anyway? posted at Pubslush Blog, saying, “Twitter is a great tool for connecting with readers and other authors. A Twitter chat is a great way to utilize Twitter but what exactly IS a Twitter chat? Here is a breakdown with a few chats you should check out.”

Kevin Johns presents Ebook Authors: Are We Pricing Ourselves Out of a Living? posted at The Page Turners Trilogy Blog, saying, “Hi Joel, I’m a big fan of your blog. It has been hugely helpful as I have been putting together my debut novel (for the last nine months!). Both the ebook and paperback were finally released last week, and I just put up this blog post inspired by having to decide what price to charge for my ebook. As you undoubtly know, it can be quite costly to put together a book, and having to price the ebook so low, due to industry standards, was a little heart breaking for me! Anyway, thought you might want to include the post in Carnival of the Indies. Cheers, Kevin”

Kimberley Grabas presents To Blog Or Not To Blog: Is It Really Necessary? posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, ““There are millions of blogs out there. What’s the point of adding another to the mix? What are the chances that my blog will stand out from the hordes of others competing for the limited attention of readers?” Sound familiar? Many writers feel this way, but is it a sound argument? Go ahead and change “blog” to “book” and re-read the above three sentences. Uh-oh. See what happened there? You’ve just argued yourself out of a career in writing. So, let’s assume that if you feel your book has a chance of standing out, despite all those that came before, then so does your blog. But the bigger question that I think writers are really asking is this: will the results I receive from a blog be worth the time I put into it?”

Lisa Lawmaster Hess presents Redefining the Shameless Art of Self-Promotion posted at The Porch Swing Chronicles, saying, “While there are some parts of book promotion that are fun, most make me feel uncomfortable. Thank goodness for the generosity and camaraderie of other writers!”

Michelle Weidenbenner presents How Much Should You Charge For Your Book? posted at Random Writing Rants, Teaching Teens and Adults How to Get Published, saying, “Amazon best-selling author shares tips on pricing strategies.”

Nina Amir presents Why a Blog Inspires More People to Change than a Book posted at How to Blog a Book, saying, “Many writers feel a strong desire to impact readers, communities, organizations, or the world in a meaningful or positive way–to create change. A blog offers a great way to become a change agent, or to author change. And a successful blog provides the perfect platform for successful authorship. You can even turn your blog into a book.”

Patty Jansen presents Before you even start self-publishing posted at Must Use Bigger Elephants, saying, “I recently attended an event for extreme newbies in self-publishing, and came away with a couple of thoughts that are fundamental to anyone considering self-publishing, but don’t seem to be understood by some people who are just dipping their toes in.”

R.J. Adams presents 5 Things For Authors To Tweet About (That Aren’t “Buy My Book!”) posted at Book Marketing Tools Blog, saying, “A major trap that authors fall into on Twitter is trying to get too many people to buy their book. That can cause readers to stop following you. Here are 5 great things you can tweet about that aren’t just “BUY MY BOOK!” to help you not fall into that trap!”

Shelley Hitz presents How to Design Infographics and Use Them to Increase Blog Traffic posted at Training Authors, saying, “I have to admit that I really like infographics. There is something about them that draws me in and helps me consume information. It probably has something to do with the fact that I tend to be a visual learner. But, I also know that infographics can be an effective part of a book marketing plan. However, very few authors are using them. That’s why I created this post to share this tutorial with you on how to design infographics.”

Steven Saus presents he Write Agenda Can Teach You How To Avoid Untrustworthy People… Like Themselves. posted at ideatrash, saying, “Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the newer scams is to post as an anti-scammer. The Write Agenda helpfully demonstrates (through their actions) how to determine if a source is trustworthy when getting advice.”

Self-Publishing Success

Erica Verrillo presents Anatomy of an Amazon Bestseller posted at Publishing … And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “The received wisdom of self-publishing is to place your book everywhere, and in all formats. If we obeyed received wisdom, not only would writers have no time to write, we wouldn’t have time to breathe. That’s why I opted to enroll my book in Amazon’s KDP Select program. And it worked! Each time I scheduled my free days, I hit #1 Bestseller in my category, and I enjoyed a real boost in sales. Let me tell you how I did it…”

Guy De Marco presents 5 Lies That Self-Published Authors Tell posted at Guy Anthony De Marco

Kyoko M presents The Top 8 Self-Publishing Myths posted at She Who Writes Monsters, saying, “I’ve heard way too many sleazy people hawking books about how to become a self-publishing bestseller. I want to set the record straight and help new authors avoid those nasty pitfalls and scam artists who are looking to make a quick buck at their expense.”

Nina Amir presents Why You Need a Business Plan For Your Book (Before You Blog It) posted at How to Blog a Book, saying, “Most indie authors never bother to create a business plan for their books. However, it’s essential you have a plan. In this post I discuss the reasons why you should do so when you blog a book, but the reasons remain the same no matter how you choose to write, publish and promote your book. Every book needs a plan to succeed.”

Writing Tools and Tips

adrienne morris presents A Desk of One’s Own posted at Books at Middlemay Farm, saying, “We all need to carve out a comfortable place to write.”

Alexander Zoltai presents Games for Writers ( or, really, anyone :-) posted at Notes from An Alien, saying, “With so much press about the dangers of video games, it’s important to see their benefits—especially for writers…”

Andy Decker presents The Shibboleth of Symbolism posted at Jonah2Eight, saying, “Just a few cautionary words on the importance of symbolism.”

Carla Douglas presents How to Keep Track of Your Elements of Style* posted at Beyond Paper Editing, saying, “Do you use a style sheet to keep track of details as you’re writing? Almost any writing project will benefit if you do — recording stylistic preferences gives you a tool to tame your information and ideas and retain control of your writing.”

Corina Koch MacLeod presents Collaborative Writing: Why Writing Together is Better Than Writing Alone posted at Beyond Paper Editing: Editors’ Tips for Writers, saying, “Do you write alone? I used to, but not any more. Here’s why I decided to stop going it alone, and why writing collaboratively might work for you.”

Erica Verrillo presents Ray Bradbury’s Words of Wisdom – Write Like Hell! posted at Publishing … And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “We’ve heard it before – practice makes perfect – but nowhere is this message delivered with greater honesty, more clarity, and deeper conviction than when it comes out of Ray Bradbury’s mouth.”

Ian Martyn presents 5 Reasons why writers should blog. posted at Ian Martyn, Science Fiction Writer, saying, “Blogging for a writer is much more than a means of getting your name out there. It can help you develop your writing skills”

Kelly Gurnett presents 3 Ways to Turn Your Blog Posts into a Rockin’ Ebook posted at Writer’s Bucket List, saying, “In her blogging column at Writer’s Bucket List, Kelly shares 3 ways to augment your blog topics and enhance your readers’ experience by turning that content into an ebook.”

Steven Saus presents 7 Things I Knew About Women posted at ideatrash, saying, “This is a longish worldbuilding post, but when you go back and review your NaNoWriMo manuscript (or any manuscript), these are the kinds of things that you have to keep in mind about your characters and how they are the same – and different – than you are.”

Steven Saus presents Finished Your Novel? Good. Now You Need An Editor – Here’s A Convenient List of NaNo-Friendly Editors posted at ideatrash, saying, “I asked editors who were willing to work with NaNoWriMo folks (and others!) to submit their names and some basic information, which I collected here for your convenience.”

Steven Saus presents The Idea Kitchen – A Guest Post by Justin Swapp posted at ideatrash, saying, “Author Justin Swapp contributed this guest post on where he gets his ideas… and it’s not a mail-order catalog.”

Susanne Lakin presents The Sound of Sound in Novels posted at Live Write Thrive, saying, “Few fiction writers think much about sound in their stories, other than the obvious, like noting a car honking or a baby crying. But there is so much more writers can do with sound! By looking at cinematic techniques and ways sound is conveyed for specific effect in movies, fiction writers can see how to do similarly in their stories.”

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 January 26, 2014 and the deadline for submissions will be January 20, 2014. Don’t miss it!

Here are all the links you’ll need

Joel Friedlander

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Joel Friedlander

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