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Indie Publishing Tips from Texas by Emily Evans

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Emily Evans

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Emily from Houston visiting today – thanks for having me. I’ll put the kettle on (see how I’ve assimilated). The Irish Writer’s Centre and Writing.ie kindly asked me to share some cool indie publishing tips. So here goes:

We focus on money, but it’s reaching a reader that’s amazing. Someone gets you, they get your story, and they want another … bliss. As an avid reader, I should have known it would be other readers who’d change my life.

Stop gushing, tell us something good. Okay. Okay.

Don’t re-invent the wheel. Learn from the authors who are doing it well. Trust yourself. Be brave.

What have I learned from indie publishing success Hugh Howey this week? Three genres make up 70% of the top 100 bestsellers on Amazon. Three. They are mystery/thriller, science fiction/fantasy, and romance. I love them all, but I love romance best. I write young adult (YA) romance myself.

How are the sales with YA romance? My first book sold about three copies in six months. My second book sold 5,000 copies in one month. The sales go like waves. I stopped counting when I hit 70,000 sold. But I will count again because despite a lifelong habit of calling this a lie – math can be fun.

I hire professional editors (developmental, line/copy, and proofreading). These are three separate, critical steps and should be at least three separate humans. You can barter or pay for these, but the person cannot be someone who loves you. I know. They just can’t. They won’t tell you your love scene is bad. They just won’t. I use the Elance website and editors I find at conferences. I keep a list. I judge them. I make notes about them. They make me better.

For e-book formatting, find a vendor you think did a good job on a self-published book and use them. I pay $70 per book and make sure that my final proofed draft includes back matter and front matter so it resembles all the rest on the market. I email the Word document to the formatter. He returns files labeled Apple, Kobo, Kindle, Nook, CreateSpace…I upload and sell on:

  • https://www.nookpress.com
  • https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin/
  • http://www.kobo.com/writinglife
  • https://itunesconnect.apple.com
  • http://www.smashwords.com/
  • https://www.createspace.com/
  • http://www.acx.com

emily_evans_photo 140x210Our fellow writers are incredibly generous. They blog, tweet, write books, write articles, upload YouTube videos… Learn from them. Join professional writer’s associations, go to workshops, join a critique group….See what leaves you inspired, dump the rest. I belong to Romance Writers of America, Houston Young Adult/Middle Grade, the Irish Writer’s Centre, and attend the MFA program at American College Dublin. These writers inspire me. Oh, and I read. A ton. In my genre and out of it. So please write your novel, your reader is out there and is dying to read it.

There’s no better use of your time than writing the next book – it’s how you learn and get better, it markets the first book, plus, it’s writing and you love it. On the subject of marketing, ask yourself how you find new books? Use those techniques. There are endless free marketing opportunities and paid ones. Key social media include: Amazon’s Author Central, blogging, Twitter, book trailers, your author website, interviews, Facebook, GoodReads, ads, newsletters… These are time-sucks, so set a limit. Don’t let marketing take away from writing. Pick the ones you love and do those, or contract this out. If I could only recommend three: a) have a website b) write the next book, and c) write the next book (other authors say newsletter here).

With indie publishing, change is your advantage. If the price isn’t working, change it. If the cover isn’t working, change it. If the book description isn’t working, change it. If your family isn’t being supportive…just kidding, that one may involve compromise. To get the best product, compare your title, cover, and description to the top 100 in your genre. Make your title and description catchy, but make it fit in.

Your cover should fit but stand out for quality. Paste the top covers in your genre into one file. Place yours in the middle. Compare. I’ve paid $0 to $50 to $600 for a cover. My $100 cover sells the best. The gold standard software are Photoshop and InDesign. Have the cover artist give you all the files.

If your indie experience sucks, learn more, change your pen name, and go again. Remember, the majority of e-book bestsellers are indie published that’s on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. (source: 2014 Publisher’s Weekly and the Author Earnings Report)

Um. Tea. Lovely. The Irish are so right about that…But you know (runs for ice tray)…ooh, look how fast the cubes melt and how cold the china cup gets. Yum. You might like iced tea, okay, maybe you won’t, but self-publishing…yes! There’s a lot to like there.

Thanks for letting me visit both your wonderful country and your invaluable website,

Wishing you the utmost success,

Emily Evans

(c) Emily Evans

Emily will be discussing her self publishing experiences at the Irish Writers Centre  on 31st January 2015, check their website for more details. Joined by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin from Writing.ie and The Alliance of Independent Authors who will explain your self publishing options, Robert Doran from Kazoo Publishing Services will also be on hand to discuss best editorial practice. The final line-up will be announced very soon.

About the author

Emily Evans writes fun, escapist Young Adult romance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in History from Texas A&M University, and is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at American College Dublin in Ireland. A native Houstonian, she loves travel, movies, and books and may be found at www.EmilyEvansBooks.com.

Books by Emily Evans include: The Accidental Movie Star, Accidental TV Star, Accidental Action Star, The Prince with Amnesia, The Boarding School Experiment, Prep School Experiment, Do Over, The Kissing Deadline, and Whenever. Her newest release is Accidental Rock Star (December 2014).

About Accidental Rock Star

Imagine the hottest rock star on the planet. Do you see the girl next to him, the one teaching him to play guitar? Yeah. That’s Aria.
Aria knows that the new guy’s picking up the guitar fast. She knows he wants to start a garage band after school. And she knows he can sing. Man, can he sing.
Senior year’s rocking.
Until Aria figures out the true identity of the hot new guy…He’s Sax Grayson. Freaking Sax Grayson!
She’s dating a multi-platinum artist. She’s kissing a Grammy-award winning singer. She’s in a garage band with a rock star!

Standalone, fun, young adult (YA) romance this is book 4 in the Accidental Series – pick up your copy online here.

  • allianceindependentauthors.org
  • www.designforwriters.com

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