The Writers' Forum 2022 - October
♦ Amazon Bugs: Price Increases, Categories and Terminations
♦ KU vs. Wide: Should You Be Exclusive to Amazon (Kindle) or Not?
♦ What Counts as a Bestseller
♦ Publishing Wants to Cash in on BookTok. Creators Say No.
Amazon Bugs: Price Increases, Categories and Terminations
Jason Hamilton writes for the Kindlepreneur website on the latest glitches on the Amazon platform which have included random price increases, books not showing up in categories they ought to be listed in, and an increase in author account terminations. Just reading this list makes me nervous, but this article has some solutions for each situation if you’re finding yourself a victim of one of Amazon’s glitches. The good news is that Amazon knows about these glitches and appears to be working to fix them. Read the full article.
KU vs. Wide: Should You Be Exclusive to Amazon (Kindle) or Not?
This is a question authors often struggle with. I was initially exclusive to Amazon and then I went wide with my books, yet this year I will return to Kindle exclusivity. This article also by Josh Hamilton for Kindlepreneur walks through pros and cons of each option. The interesting news is that the Publisher Rocket program has a new feature which can tell you what percentage of the books in a category are exclusive to Amazon. This will tell you if you’re less competitive by maintaining wide status if a high percentage of your genre’s books are available through the Kindle Unlimited subscription program. Interesting read!
What Counts as a Bestseller?
You might be surprised by the answers in this article from Public Books which details the history of how bestseller status is calculated. I definitely learned a few things. https://www.publicbooks.org/what-counts-as-a-bestseller/
Publishing Wants to Cash in on BookTok. Creators Say No.
CT Jones for Rolling Stone Magazine writes that Penguin Random House has introduced a new feature on TikTok, “allowing TikTok users to link books directly in the app . . . The problem? You can only link to books published by Penguin Random House, which many creators say will lead to more exclusion for smaller writers, and less pay for BookTok.” Yeah, I can see that’d be a problem. This is part of a larger discussion about how creators are compensated on TikTok.
WRITING CRAFT / PROCESS / PRE-PUBLICATION
You Have a Great Idea for a Story. Where Do You Start?
Joni B. Cole pens a humorous article about how we can paralyze our writing by trying to come up with that perfect opening scene . . . becoming “stuck before even getting started.” Pssst. Guess what? You don’t have to start writing with the opening scene of your story. https://www.janefriedman.com/first-things-first-not/
Guilt: How Shame, Regret, and Guilt Shape a Story
Kristen Lamb tackles how these emotions are important for building many stories and the arcs of characters. It’s an interesting look at how these emotions shape actions/reactions in our stories.
Motivation Doesn’t Finish Books
Allison K. Williams writes this post for Jane Friedman’s blog acknowledging that there’s a whole host of barriers that can prevent us from getting our writing done – AND – just as many support mechanisms that can help us get across the finish line. We’ve all been there and will likely see ourselves in parts of this narrative.
Book Cover Design . . . Yes, we covered this (yet again) last month, but there’s never any shortage of articles about this important element of your book’s success. So why not two more articles?
The 5 Most Common Book Cover Mistakes and How to Avoid Them from Written Word Media is a quick, easy to digest list to set you on the right path. And Penny Sansevieri brings us Book Cover Ideas & Design Tips for More Sales Conversions, which has smart tips—but my two favorites are about picking your typefaces carefully and remembering to check that the cover works as a small thumb-nail sized image. (We often forget that most books are viewed on a computer screen at this reduced size.)
BOOK MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
Marketing and Branding Books Quiz: Why Isn’t My Title Selling?
This is a fun (but short) quiz to take that might help you determine why your book isn’t selling. It focuses on all the moving parts that make up your branding/marketing efforts. I appreciate the interactive nature of this approach to the topic.
How to Sell Your Self-Published Books to Bookstores
This is a smart list compiled by the team at IngramSpark and shared via the Author Marketing Experts website. These are all important considerations, and many are easiest to address in the pre-publication phase (rather than trying to fix things post-publication)--like making sure you're priced right for your genre. I also love the suggestion to make sure your books are listed on Indiebound.com. The one item they don’t discuss here is the idea of consignment agreements with your local stores, which I find to be a very viable option for sales.
Optimizing Your Author Newsletter
Dan Parson’s article for the Self Publishing Formula gives a good guide to managing your email list and newsletter with a few easy steps that include how you definitely need an email subscription system (like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Mailer Lite etc.) to make easy work of maintaining your list and creating well-formatted newsletters and how you should utilize the automated sequences to help you save time but keep your audience engaged and more. If you haven’t done this as well as you would have liked (hmmm. . . I’m kind of talking to myself here), this is a great goal for the beginning of 2023.
5 Good Reasons to be an Author Who Is a Public Speaker
Public speaking is often most closely related to nonfiction topics, but even if you write fiction, you can be a public speaker about your writing, your research, and more. Sandra Beckwith discusses how lucrative an endeavor public speaking can be and how it can lead to even broader opportunities. I couldn’t agree more!
19 Cool Podcast Facts Every Author Needs to Know
And as a continuation of the previous article from Sandra Beckwith, she points out the audience growth of podcasts and how they can intersect with your writing world. I encourage every author to seek out opportunities as a podcast guest. You’re able to reach a much broader audience and gain new readers for your books. Check out all the stats here: https://buildbookbuzz.com/authors-and-podcasts/
How a BookBub Featured Deal Revived My Writing Career
This is a super interesting article by Ada Bell on the power of a BookBub deal. She shares her sales stats and Amazon rankings before and after the deal. But what you might find most relatable here is how she had nearly given up on her author career before this.
In a related article, if you’re lucky enough to get a BookBub Featured Deal, Shailee Shah presents a Featured Deal Checklist: How to Prepare and Promote a Deal. Great tips—many of which are also applicable for any kind of sale or deal – like stacking promos for a Kindle Countdown Deal.
Open Road Integrated Media eBook Promotions
Have you heard of Open Road? I am really curious about this book promotion company and may give them a try with my own titles to gain some first-hand experience. https://openroadintegratedmedia.com/ebook-promotions/
Mike Shatzkin for the Ideal Logic Company shares his assessment of their services here:
17 Instagram Book Promotion Ideas from Publishers
Somehow, I feel like I might have shared this article before, but I cannot find any evidence of it. I think I’m getting from all these lists that start with numbers and they’re all beginning to blend together. But this IS an interesting list of ideas you might incorporate for promoting your books on Instagram. Sometimes we just need a little nudge on content creation to shake things up.
Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie