Writers' Forum 2022 - July

Just Do It Yourself: A History of Self-Publishing,

Authors Are Protesting Amazon’s eBook Return Policy,

No More Mobi?


Just Do It Yourself: A History of Self-Publishing

From Charles Dickens through the Kindle era, this is a fascinating article about the history of self-publishing from Alan Scherstuhl for Publishers Weekly. (Who knew that there was self-publishing had been around so long?)  

Authors are protesting Amazon’s ebook policy that allows users to read and return.

Here’s the nitty gritty about Amazon’s ebook return policy from Deanna Schwartz from NPR that gives readers up to seven days to return a book—which is more than enough time to read the whole book. This abuse has been amplified lately by it being shared as a ‘reader hack’ on social media platforms—in particular on TikTok. What can authors do to fight back?

The Great Mobi Migration: Send to Kindle Will Stop Accepting Mobi in 2022

So Mobi files (Amazon’s proprietary file format) will soon be a thing of the past. Amazon had already quit accepting Mobi file formats for KDP uploads, but starting in late 2022 Amazon will stop accepting Mobi files through their “Send to Kindle service, which is how readers get books to their Kindle apps and devices.” Read the whole article for why you shouldn’t panic and more about the Kindle specific ePub file format that will ensure that the converting process won’t make your ePub look like garbage on Kindle. And in a related article (also from the BookFunnel Blog) . . . how the ‘old’ formatting system is still in use for the Kindle app for iOS . . . that’s when you’re reading in the Kindle app in your iPhone or iPad.) Read it here: https://blog.bookfunnel.com/2022/why-do-ebooks-look-ugly-on-kindle/


10 Things Beginning Writers Should Do Before Trying to Publish a Book

Anne R. Allen has a great beginners list here and a lot of it has to do with educating yourself and immersing yourself in the genre you’re writing in. Logical, but sometimes missed steps, that can hinder your path to publication. https://annerallen.com/2022/07/10-things-beginning-writers-must-do/

My related article, 7 Steps for the Beginning Writer,” may also be helpful!

World Building: Captivate Readers & Never Let Go from Kristen Lamb

Why your setting is always important to establish (even if you’re not writing fantasy), advice on creating your “world building bible,” why magical elements must have limitations, and more. As always great advice from Kristen Lamb:  https://authorkristenlamb.com/2022/07/world-building-captivate-readers-never-let-go/

Writing Authentic Characters

Writer and member of the Choctaw Nation, Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer talks about cultural sensitivity when writing about Native Americans, including issues around dialogue and stereotypes. Find the transcript here or watch below: https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-338/

Formula: Writing to Formula vs Being Formulaic

Kristen Lamb addresses the concern that being too formulaic somehow hinders the artistic process or expression (it shouldn’t). She explains that you need to know the rules of your art form in order to know how/when to break those rules, how formula can help you out when you’re struggling with your writing, why you need to pay attention to the formula the genre you’re writing in, and more. Read it here:


Amazon KDP Keywords – A Comprehensive Tutorial

I love that Dale Roberts gives two methods for finding the best keywords for your book’s metadata – the hard way and the easy way. No, he’s not being facetious. He explains how you can go about harvesting these keywords the long way, because it aids your understanding of the keyword search process . . . but then he lets you out of the hard work by explaining that if you use Publisher Rocket you can get to the same place in an easier way. I love Publisher Rocket – it saves me so, so much time when I’m working keyword research for both metadata and for Amazon ads, category research and more. Great little product. 

Get Better Book Launch Results by Taking These 9 Steps While You’re Writing

Sandra Beckwith will make your writing life so much easier if you follow her advice to learn about book marketing, find your target audience, build a social media following and an email subscriber list and more . . .. before you’re ready to seek publication! Read her full nine tips here: https://buildbookbuzz.com/get-better-book-launch-results/

Jane Friedman’s Wonderful List of Recommended Resources

You definitely need to bookmark this list of resources that will aid you at every step in your publication process.



Reviewing Your Author Business

Dan Parsons (for the Self-Publishing Formula) asks the important question to help you review your author business. (And YES, it IS a business.) My favorite part is where you need to be honest with yourself about the things you hate doing and whether they’re necessary and if they are whether you can hire someone else to take on those dreaded tasks. Great article.

How Does Goodreads Make Money?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because this BookRiot article by Arvyn Cerézo explains it all. Their revenue comes from three main areas – author or publisher advertising, book giveaways (you pay to run those on their platform), and online advertising. https://bookriot.com/how-does-goodreads-make-money/

5 Make or Break Success Strategies: How to Market Your Self-Published Book

Penny Sansevieri’s quick read on this topic covers some of the areas where authors can fall short and hinder their book’s ability to gain an audience: cover, blurb/cover copy, proper category(ies), author platform and whether the author has more books out. See how and why these impact your marketing efforts here:  https://www.amarketingexpert.com/2022/07/21/5-make-or-break-success-strategies-how-to-market-your-self-published-book/

Focus on Selling Children’s Books

Penny Sansevieri along with Amy Cornell have a quick chat about what Amy learned about marketing books to kids during her stint working at a school book fair. Super interesting and fun!

Listen here: https://www.amarketingexpert.com/2022/07/14/marketing-strategies-for-childrens-books-book-marketing-podcast-episode/

The Self-Publishing Show Podcast:

Author and illustrator Daniel Jude Miller has traded a Manhattan office for school classrooms and he’s loving it. He talks about being thrown in at the deep end with his first school visit and how his love for the visits has grown from there, especially as they help him sell books. See show notes and transcript here or watch below:

17 Brilliant BookBub Ad Designs Promoting Books in a Series by Carlyn Robertson

If you have a series, please take a moment to see how you can promote it with BookBub ads. Super smart tips for many different genres and price points. Note: If you’re using ad blocker on your browser, you’ll need to disable it to see the ad examples in this article.


The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing for Authors by Clayton Nobbit for Written Word Media

From the definition of what a book market influencer is to how you can work with them and what you might expect out of the collaboration. Even if you don’t plan on doing this any time soon, this is something every author should understand.


How to Create Instagram Reels When You Don’t Have a Video Team

Ha/ha - -this made me laugh! Who has a video team? I mean – I want one – but I sure don’t have one, so I guess this article is for me. After reading this, I actually think I might be able to start doing this sort of short video sharing on a regular basis, taking their seven content ideas and turning them into short videos. There’s hope!! https://later.com/blog/instagram-reel-ideas-for-businesses/

15 Types of Content to Post on Social Media to Keep Your Feed Fresh

And just like the previous article, sometimes we just need some suggestions to help us with our social media content. Barb Drozdowich’s content list might help you to freshen up the kind of social media content you’re offering.

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  

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