Indie Waffle

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My Facebook cut-back is slowly working out. I still have a pile of things to catch up on, but it’s getting smaller now, and not always growing like it used to. My internet signal is still pretty rubbish but at least now I know my regular catch ups will be doable, and at this rate I should have at least one foot on the ground in a few weeks. My excessive reading lately, of things related to SEO and the best ways to market books as an indie author has also led to me reading other related things.

Random House has changed in the royalty payment department, making it appear to be much more author friendly and, for some, make the decision to go indie a little harder. Facebook has been shutting down pages where giveaways are happening, and Amazon now appears to have removed the “Like” button on books. I think that you can “Like” a book if you buy it legitimately though. I’m sensing winds of change coming. Some indie authors who have been working their little backsides off are saying that they’ve had enough of it all. They’re tired. I’ve seen one or two get off the merry go round in the last few weeks, and been very sad to watch them go.

I’ve read articles with opinions on self-publishing that are polar opposites. Some say that reviews are key, and to be obtained at all costs. Others say that reviews have to be honest and freely given – never asked for. Some say that free promotion days are key, and the more books you give away, the more you’ll grow your readership base. Others say that the free days are killing the industry, and that if you wait long enough, you can get any indie book you like for free anyway, so why pay for it in the first place? Some say that books downloaded on free days don’t count as “sales” and should never be taken into account when talking bestseller status. Other’s say a sale is a sale even if the price is $0.00. I’m nowhere near finished my research into all of this, but I’m slowly starting to form opinions. I try never to say never, so they might – probably will – change. I haven’t yet implemented these opinions yet. I’ll wait a little till I’ve read through my whole pile.

With the Amazon search engine, your tagging when you load your book is important. It’s a good idea to have keywords in your product description, and if you can, also your title. This will put your book ahead when anyone searches for a genre or name. Don’t use the names of other already famous authors though – Amazon doesn’t look fondly on this. Or on any other obvious ploys to get good tag words into your title. You need to be clever about the whole thing. Indies are, so you’ll figure it out I’m sure.

My opinion on reviews isn’t properly formed yet. I haven’t actually asked for reviews yet, but I’m thinking that I will, as long as they’re honest. On that subject, and while I’m here, if anyone would like to review Shadow People, please give me a shout, and I’ll happily and speedily send you a copy. jorobinson176@gmail.com Still on the subject, if you spot a typo it’s nicer to tell the author rather than announce it to the world. Typos can be fixed in a jiffy, and a heads up in that department is always appreciated. Even the big guys have gremlins in their e-books – I’ve spotted them in quite a few. Unless a book is absolutely riddled with these little devils, I always focus on the story when I do reviews.

As far as free days are concerned, I do believe that they are very important for indie writers to get their scribbles out to the public. I don’t believe that you should make all your books free though. Short stories are brilliant as freebies, to give readers an idea of whether or not they’d like to read more of what you write, and maybe have one novel, or first book in a series, that you regularly give away for free. There’s not much point in putting in the amount of work that it takes to write, edit, and publish books, if you’re going to give them all away for free.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook shouldn’t be used for hard marketing of anything, including books. Being a writer in a writer’s world, I will share my author friends books and freebies on occasion, but personally, I’m going to use it for what it was created for – socialising. Groups are good for writing talk, but mainly I’ll stick to the friendly waffle on my newsfeed, and use my pages for book related posting.

Twitter so far for me, is the best marketing tool a writer can have. I’ve found friends and readers there, and picked up on a lot of information that I would never had come across anywhere else, or even thought of looking for. I love the 140 letter allocation too – it makes for lots of funnies, and keeps most chats light and easy.

I’m just sticking my toe into LinkdIn groups, and PinInterest and the other social sites are still on my To Do list, so no opinions there yet.

Google right now is a lovely, friendly place to be, and even though there is book marketing going on, it’s not encroaching on our happy chats and posts. The +1’s there are working towards getting our book and blog links out there in the public stream, which is something Facebook can’t do, so that is indeed a bonus. I enjoy socialising on Google, and I love the friends I have there. What we have done is create a community that is all about readers getting to have one on one chats with authors and bloggers if they want to, or even just hang around in the background and watch our antics. Watching writers in their natural environment must be fascinating for “normal” people. Free days and promotions there can only be good, because books and writing in all its forms is what that community is all about. I have a feeling though that us indie authors should be wary of flooding Google, or any other site for that matter, with only book link plugs. Interaction is the key and I believe we’ll get where we’re going there.

https://plus.google.com/communities/115573021758683598908

So. Tagging and patience seem to be the way to go for right now. Tag the crap out of everything you put out there, and be patient. Some books will never be successful and make millions of dollars. Very few have overnight success. Not many authors hit star status, but quite a lot live very comfortably from the sales of their books. What you put into your marketing campaign is your personal choice. I know that some people set out to write something particular, in a specific genre, specifically to make lots of money, and not necessarily for the love of story telling. And they do make lots of money. You can pay for marketing, you can buy reviews – good ones – and I’m very sorry to say, bad ones too. I read lately that this method of nobbling the competition is not at all uncommon. Most uncool! You can even arrange for thousands of books to be “bought” to lift you up in the rankings – only to be returned shortly afterwards. Again – this is not right. With Amazon and other places apparently trying to level the playing field, I’m sure that new ways of getting readers and sales will be found.

Personally, for now, while doing everything I can to become visible to first time readers of my scribbles, and carrying on with my big digs into how to sell e-books in general, I’m taking the patient route. I want people to want to read my next book, buy it, and with a bit of luck review it. All I’ve picked up from the madness so far, is that apart from doing all you can with the technicalities of search engine optimisation with tags on Amazon, Google, blog and Twitter posts, and being active on Goodreads and related readers sites, the things most beneficial to indie authors are genuine and friendly interactions with your readers, and patience. I’m thinking that slow and steady wins this particular race. Oh – and have more than one book out there, so you can keep some to actually sell, and only one or two for the free. That’s my opinion anyway. Now to get to doing all of these things myself.

Till next time friends. xxx

Van Gogh pd book

26 thoughts on “Indie Waffle

    jonwoodcraft said:
    March 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Twitter is much more powerful for promoting your own work; Facebook slowly dying anyway. Good luck!

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      March 14, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Thank you! I think you’re right about Facebook. It seems to have gotten out of control and nobody is having much fun there any more. Twitter is brilliant – the best site out there – I agree!

      Like

    LucyPireel said:
    March 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Again you are right. Jo, I don’t know how you do it, but each time I read one of your posts I can’t do anything but agree. But that tagging business is something I should really look into, because I fear that’s something I might drop the ball on, so to say.
    And The book? It’s that I like the Writers of mass Distraction, but other groups? I simply haven’t the time to really interact there. And Our G+ group? I luv it and drop in daily to either read and + posts or post something/comment.
    So I try to limit myself to Twitter, G+, and the WMD on FB, and the occasional visit to Goodread, but how to interact with readers there?
    In other words, you are way ahead of me in this matter, but I’m glad you are, it gives me tools to work with
    xoxo

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      March 14, 2013 at 8:54 am

      I’m still learning too Lucy. I haven’t done all these things myself yet, but I’m going to. The problem with the sheer volume of books on Amazon is that quite a large percentage probably never show up at the top of searches – that’s why we need the tagging with keywords. I’m still setting up my profile on Goodreads, but I’ve been watching the chats and activity there and it looks like good fun, so I’ll definitely be spending more time there. LinkdIn has started groups – I’ve joined a couple of writers groups there, but not sure of how it all works yet. I’ll share more after my learning trip. 😀 xx

      Like

        LucyPireel said:
        March 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

        And I’ll try to be more n the look-out for other venues which might help us in finding readers, ecause those are who we want, readers. Where are you hiding?
        I am on Goodreads too, but not very active. Throw me a link if you have an author page and I’ll become a fan. 🙂
        xoxo

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          March 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

          My Goodreads page needs lots of work. I’m going to trying and get everything nice and up to date this week. I’ll look you up on GR. It’s not the easiest site to operate, I don’t think. 🙂 xxx

          Like

            LucyPireel said:
            March 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm

            That is just the reason why I’m not very much on there. I even mostly forget to updat the books I’m reading, because it’s not all too clear how to go about that. Could be me though. Wheeeheee!
            xoxo

            Like

              jorobinson176 responded:
              March 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

              It’s hard work to start with – I was on there all day yesterday – but totally worth it my friend! xxx

              Like

                LucyPireel said:
                March 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

                Jo Deary, I know, I should make time to dive into Goodreads more. I’m getting there, slowly, but I’m getting there. 🙂
                xoxo

                Like

                  jorobinson176 responded:
                  March 20, 2013 at 8:47 am

                  I couldn’t open anything yesterday. Not a lot better today with the internet but I’ll try and find you there too 😀 xxxx

                  Like

    T. A. Woods said:
    March 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

    This was a great post. I haven’t started publishing yet, so there was some information at the beginning that I hadn’t explored yet. You’ve given me food for thought. Thanks.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      March 14, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Thank you and my pleasure! I’m still hoping to find the magic formula, so I’ll keep on reading and sharing.

      Like

    adelesymonds said:
    March 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    An excellent exploration of marketing options for Indie Publishers. Go Jo!

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      March 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Thank you Adele. There’s such a lot of info out there – lots more to learn. x

      Like

    angus48 said:
    March 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I think it is pretty awesome when Jo dons her super-hero outfit and a cape to give us the low down on the mechanisms supporting indies.

    Like

    Opinionated Man said:
    March 14, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Interesting, I enjoyed reading this. I personally decided to attack this battle a different way from other writers and have yet to see if it works. I wish you well and am open to dialogue on the topic if ever you want to discuss. Very well written post.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      March 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thank you! I’m very interested in your battle plan, and would love to discuss it. Will you post on your site? That would be great – I love the amount of comments you get.

      Like

        Opinionated Man said:
        March 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        Well, it is really kind of apparent. I asked myself why write a book and hope it sells if I can first get an audience through a blog. My initial goal was 100, 000 followers before I wrote my first book.

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          March 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

          This is very clever. For what it is though, I really do love your blog posts – you have great style – so I imagine you wouldn’t have much trouble finding an audience for anything you write. 🙂

          Like

            Opinionated Man said:
            March 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

            Perhaps, but why write great stuff and hope people read it. 😉

            Like

              jorobinson176 responded:
              March 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

              Ha haaa! I can’t argue with that. You’re right. I’m building up to publishing more than one book before I worry too much about selling any of them. I don’t believe that any of the greats had success with their first books – not saying that I’m great. I don’t expect success from my first or second books. I’m hoping though that they will bring me success with later offerings. I’m thinking now though, that I should be working on getting 100 000 followers for my blog first. That should take about seven years for me. 😀

              Like

                Opinionated Man said:
                March 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm

                Funny, 100k is my goal too.

                Like

                  jorobinson176 responded:
                  March 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm

                  I swiped that figure from you. I think you’ll get there in no time. I hope you understand that it’s not a formula, but because a whole bunch of people really think you’re cool. Even though they argue a little sometimes.

                  Like

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