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Guest Post: Emily Eddins gives 10 Tips for Indie Authors

[note: Sorry if you're getting this in your RSS feed twice. We've updated the website so I have to re-post a few items.]

Hello! Today I'm happy to present a guest post by my former Author Boot Camp student Emily Eddins, whose book Altitude Adjustment just hit shelves and sites. It recently hit the Top 5 in New Releases for short bios and memoirs. 

Here's a free look at the first chapter! Click to download or open and read about how she attacks Wolf Blitzer.

Today she's here to share 10 Great Tips she learned during the self-publishing process. Independent authors take note! 

Top Ten Pieces of Advice for Independent Authors

 

My book, Altitude Adjustment, hit the market this summer. It is a series of “laugh-out-loud funny” vignettes about life in a ski town in California. It took me a really long time to get from writing to publishing – ten years, in fact. Along the way, some of the essays that make up my book were published in literary journals. This helped me gain credibility as a writer. I did this with the help of the very awesome Writer’s Relief submission service. Check them out if you would like to publish with literary journals to build your resume.

 

While I eventually published three of the pieces in different literary journals, I originally created them as part of a collection. I wanted to send them out into the world that way. Rather than spend the next five years looking for agents and publishers, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge as an independent author. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

 

1.Keep your budget in mind before you hire a company to publish your work. Weigh the pros, cons and costs of having a self-publishing company print your work for you, upload your e-books for you, etc. Decide whether you have the tech savvy to do it all yourself, or whether you need help. If you are buying services a-la-carte, they can add up. Estimate how many books you think you can sell.

 

2.Do your research before you hire a company. Check with the Better Business Bureau and other authors who have used them to see if they come recommended or have had problems delivering a satisfactory product in the past.

 

3.Pad your schedule with extra time. I originally thought it would take me around six months to put my finished product out into the world. Due to printing problems and other delays, the reality was closer to nine months.

 

4.Err on the side of caution when timing your media releases and book launch. Due to a printing problem, I had brick and mortar stores lined up to buy books that the printing house temporarily delayed. Some media was launched before bookstores were able to get the books in stock, thus affecting my ability to maximize book sales to my target audience. I should have played it safe and waited to schedule media until my books were all in house.

 

5.Leverage your own network for book sales. Ask all of your friends and family who love you and want to help to forward your Facebook page, Amazon link, etc. Get in touch with anybody you think might be able to help spread the word, like former teachers such as @sethharwood who asked me to guest blog!

 

6.Understand how on-demand printing works. In some instances, large book dealers like Amazon order a small batch of your book right when it becomes available. Until those sell out, they can be sent to prime customers within two days. After that, books can take 1-3 weeks to ship and send.

 

7.Find a publisher and printer near your brick and mortar stores. My publisher is in the mid-west, and my printer is in Tennessee. This added to shipping delays to the brick and mortar merchants carrying my books, who are all in California.

 

8.Don’t be afraid to ask your local bookstore to carry your book in the Local Authors section. Everyone I have asked was happy to do it!

 

9.Don’t get mired in the glitches. Shit happens. Don’t be surprised when it does. If your Twitter link doesn’t work right or your Nook book randomly disappears from the Barnes and Noble website, get into problem-solving mode, but don’t get down in the dumps.

 

10. Celebrate! Bask in the love of your friends and readers who connect to what you’ve written. Congratulate yourself for achieving your dream. You’ve worked hard!

 

[From Seth: Also throw a release party and have a great time!]

Thank you Emily for stopping by!

Digi.Lit Conference 2014 - Panel Discussion Download.

Back in June, I did a panel at LitQuake's Digi.Lit conference called "Do You Read Me? Author Branding and Marketing."

Its description is as follows: Digital authors grapple with the familiar challenges of cutting through the clutter. In this session, you can learn tips and strategies from the experts on how to promote your writing to a digital audience, and how to build the right identity to best can attract readers to your work.

Click here to download or listen to the complete talk. Enjoy!

 And MAN, did I get Zen up on it. What the crap? Anyway, maybe it's funny or helpful, I hope. (Maybe both!) If you want to jump to where I start speaking, it's around the 22:30 mark. Just saying. The payoff of listening for you if you're not a writer: I drop a number of hints about the content of the new Jack Palms thriller. You with me? Get it in your ear!

Many thanks to the other great authors/speakers on the panel: Elise Cannon, moderator, Nina Amir, and the wonderfully awesome and insightful Jane Friedman.

 

Sports Interlude: Liveblogging NBA Finals game 5

What can I say? Once in a while I have to try something different. Last night I ended up doing a liveblog of the NBA Finals' last game. Starting midway through the third quarter. Enjoy it.

I'd definitely be interested to know what you thought, so please leave a comment after.

3rd Quarter

6:35 Patty Mills full-on blows by LeBron James. Finishes with layup. James has scored 3 points since 1st Quarter.

Climbing the Charts: In Broad Daylight!

The good folks at Thomas & Mercer purchased a promotion for In Broad Daylight today (April 25) on the site BookBub. Have you heard of these guys? Do you BookBub? They're basically a promotional site for books with a big following. They're similar to the Kindle Daily Deal, but are not a part of Amazon.

On Twitter alone, @BookBub has 97.5k followers. Today they tweeted:

So that's something. They also have an email list that goes out to a ton of folks. Today I found out I was on it for Thrillers. Huzzah! What's followed is another awesome ride up the charts. At the time of this posting, I'm in the top 100 Best Sellers in the Kindle Store. It's 9:30. What's next?

That's right! There I am next to Nora Roberts! Woo ha! And they must mean 6 days in the top 100 TOTAL. Well, well. It's all good to me. Enjoying the ride! 

Want to help out? Just tell somebody you know will like In Broad Daylight. It's actually just $1.99 for the rest of April, so they have a little time. You can also ReTweet the above tweet or share this post on Facebook. Here's BookBub's pitch: 

Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Karin Slaughter: FBI agent Jess Harding returns to Alaska to track a sadistic killer under the ceaseless midnight sun. Now she must find a way to crack the secrets of the northern wilds — before the hunter becomes the hunted.

On Kurt Vonnegut's Passing (April 11, 2007)

As I'm sure you've now heard, I recently waded deep into Kurt Vonnegut land/world to write my recent novella As Much Protein as an Egg. I have a short story coming in the same vein soon as well. But what you may NOT know is that yesterday marked the 7-year anniversary of the great writer's passing. It got me to finally post what I've been meaning to for a few weeks. I encountered the following quote in his non-fiction collection PALM SUNDAY, published in 1981. Boy, did he hit the nail on the head. Read it, see what you think, share your thoughts. I'm eager to know what you think:

I am a member of what I believe to be the last recognizable generation of full-time, life-time American novelists. We appear to be standing more or less in a row. It was the Great Depression which made us similarly edgy and watchful. It was World War II which lined us up so nicely, whether we were men or women, whether we were ever in uniform or not. It was an era of romantic anarchy in publishing which gave us money and mentors, willy-nilly, when we were young--while we learned our craft. Words printed on pages were still the principal form of long-distance communication and stored information in America when we were young.

No more

Nor are there many publishers and editors and agents left who are eager to find some way to get money and other forms of encouragement to young writers who write as clumsily as members of my literary generation did when we started out. The wild and wonderful and expensive guess was made back then that we might acquire some wisdom and learn how to write halfway decently by and by. Writers were needed that much back then.

It was an amusing and instructive time for writers--for hundreds of them.

Television wrecked the short-story branch of the industry, and now accountants and business school graduates dominate book publishing. They feel that money spent on someone's first novel is good money down a rat hole. They are right. It almost always is.

So, as I say, I think I belong to America's last generation of novelists. Novelists will come one by one from now on, not in seeming families, and will perhaps write only one or two novels, and let it go at that. Many will have inherited or married money.

Yes, he wrote this in 1981 or likely earlier. What do you think? Is it true? 

Sure looks to me like he knew what he was saying.

Bay Area Residents: Join me for a Crime Novel course at The Grotto!

Writing the Crime Fiction or Thriller Novel: Practice Makes Plot Perfect with Seth Harwood (4/26 & 5/3)

Hey folks, this month I'm teaching a class on how to write the first draft of your novel (crime or otherwise) at the legendary SF Writers Grotto in downtown San Francisco. I'll be talking about how to develop a practice for your writing that both keeps you producing new pages and helps you explore the story of your novel when you may not even know where it's headed. What's really exciting is that you can find your own novel's story just like a reader does -- and that it can be just as thrilling!

Here's further info on the class: (feel free to comment here or email me for more information)

Number of sessions: 2
Meeting times: 2 Saturdays 10:00AM to 1:00PM
Dates: April 26 and May 3
Class Limit: 15 students
Course Fee: $165, $100 required to register
Description: Do you outline and pre-plan your novel or write boldly into the void? This class exposes the reality that you can write a book when you don’t know its ending. What’s more, this practice will generate lively and exciting writing for writer and reader alike. Don’t let your book idea die on the vine because you haven’t envisioned where it leads. This class goes over the steps to writing a novel and demystifies the process of finishing your first draft. By challenging you to write 5-days a week to a reachable goal each day, you’ll see the way to uncover your book sentence by sentence.  Come to believe and trust in your own creative process; stop staring at your screen and start getting your book done.Readings from Stephen King, Frank Conroy and Flannery O’Connor accompany in-class exercises, lecture and examples from published work.

Instructor Bio: It's your boy! Seth Harwood has published four crime novels—Young Junius, This Is Life and the bestsellers In Broad Daylight and Jack Wakes Up, as well as the short story collection A Long Way from Disney. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught creative writing at Iowa, University of Massachusetts – Boston, Stanford Continuing Studies and City College San Francisco. Serialized versions of his work as audio podcasts have been downloaded over one million times.

Bonus Content: Protein Prologue (Vonnegut World)

In the next few weeks, I'll be dropping bonus content from As Much Protein as an Egg into the feed--both as audio and as free text files. I hope you'll enjoy them.

The hottest news of all is that there's a new Jack Palms short story in the works. I hope to be bringing it to you this spring in audio. Stay tuned!

If you haven't already downloaded As Much Protein as an Egg, you can get it for Kindle only here.

Click here to listen to me reading the book's Prologue, which isn't featured in the Kindle version. It's a special bonus just for you guys!

You can also download the Prologue as a free PDF to read on your devices OR as a Free .mobi file for your Kindle right here. That, or just start reading...

“As much protein as an egg” is an expression used on the front of cereal boxes in the year this book was written. It is the property of the Kashi brand company. This use is not meant to imply any relationship, impropriety or connection to the good people at Kashi. They do make a nice breakfast cereal. {Read MORE}

Amazon talks about As Much Protein as an Egg

While I'd bill As Much Protein as an Egg as a mashup of Vonnegut, 9/11 novels, the quest to be a famous author and a love story, Amazon says it's this:

Artemis Kellog struggles to write his first screenplay, find love in San Francisco, and maintain his coffee consumption. Bainbridge McGee aspires to play golf, write his fourth Great American Novel, and dabble in the online dating scene. Each man is indebted to and inspired by Vonnegut, a passion that plays out as McGee works on his masterpiece and Kellog finds writing is his true religion. When they both land on a select committee tasked with choosing the winner of a prestigious sci-fi and fantasy writers award, the choice is clear—to them—and both become determined to ensure Vonnegut is honored with the award. At turns spellbinding, suspenseful, and full of love, this story comes down to the finish to reveal if, on science fiction’s grandest stage, Vonnegut will be remembered with the appropriate reverence the master deserves.

Sound good? Buy it, rate it and Facebook-like it here. Rock on! Listen here to get my pitch for the contest I'm running now.

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