How to do Book Marketing as an Indie Author

They say writing a book is extremely hard. That part is true. What they don’t tell you is that just because you wrote something, doesn’t mean people will read it. The harsh truth is that a big part of the battle and the difference between a bestselling hit and a dud that nobody reads is the marketing.

Even the best author won’t succeed if she can’t get the book into the public.

Start with a marketing plan

The bare minimum you should put together after you write your books is a basic marketing plan. Figure out your target audience and places you can go to reach that audience.

For some, it may be book tours. For others, it may be PR. In some cases, advertising or influencers will be the best path. Scary stories often do really well with influencers because there have strong hooks.

Every book has a target demographic, even if you’re open to anybody reading it. If you are targeting everybody, then you are really targeting nobody.

Free Ways To Promote

As most authors aren’t sitting on mountains of cash, here are some basic free ways to get some free marketing. Not all these tactics will work for everybody, but it’ll be a good start.

1) Try promoting on social media platforms

For sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, look for good hashtags and engage with influencers in your space. The more you talk to people, the more people will take notice. Don’t spam! Post organically and try different content formats (like live video for Facebook) to see what works.

2) Post on dedicated writing communities

There are a number of popular reading apps, poetry sites, and writing apps. Try posting there and interacting with the communities. You’ll often see a nice bump in readers who will eventually buy your book. Post a snippet of your stories, not the full book. You can find a full list of writing communities here.

You might even be able to get creative on some writing sites. Maybe try getting people to create fanfiction of your works. Perhaps you can run a flash fiction contest. Get people to write short stories around the theme of your book. The important part is to try to get the community involved. The more involved they are the better.

3) Try PR

Find a list of local press writers who might be interested in covering your book launch. Maybe give them a free copy of your book. Try sending them an email and seeing if they’d be interested.

Newspapers, blogs, and journals are all looking for more traffic, so if you have a good story for them to share with their readers, they’ll promote your book for you.

Do not get a PR firm. They are very expensive and at this stage will waste your money. More on this on Commaful.

You can also consider doing a press release. You can submit your press release to PRWire for more reach (involves a small fee).

Short love stories tend to do well with blogs as there are many book blogs specifically targeting love.

Paid Ways To Promote

Amazon and Facebook have great ad platforms for promoting books. There are many great tutorials but the key is to run a lot of tests. Don’t stick to one advertisement or visual. Try a lot of ideas and see what sticks. Find the ones that work and put your money into that. Use Canva to create your visuals and then promote away!

You can also try influencer marketing if you know that your demographic follows a specific influencer. Influencers with less than 100k followers will likely be your best bet as larger influencers will charge an arm and a leg to work with you.

Conclusion

By writing a book, you’ve already put yourself in a small class of people. It’s hard. But no to really stand out, put your marketing brain to work and crank that marketing plan out!

The Top 5 Writing competitions of 2019

The Top 5 Writing competitions of 2019

Are you an aspiring writer? One of the best ways to get recognized by the international writing community is to enter a competition. It doesn’t matter if you specialize in short stories or lengthy manuscripts, there’s a competition for your specific skillset.

Take a look through these 5 writing competitions and enter one, or all of them. Winning any one of these prestigious contests will increase your credibility and reputation as a writer, why not give them a try?

1. Gotham Writers Past-Year Memoir Contest

There’s no reason why you can’t find the time to enter this competition. All you need is 16 words to complete your entry. Yes, you read that right; 16-word entry limit.

Gotham writers are looking for ultra-short stories that can have any theme, from the hilarious to the heartbreaking. Write out the last year of your life in a few sentences, the winners chosen based on the most captivating story told within the contest guidelines.

The competition is free for anyone to enter and the winner receives an entry into their Gotham writing course where you’ll learn writing skills from the masters.

2. The Reedsy Weekly Writing Contest

The site for writers, Reedsy.com, hosts a weekly writing contest with a cash prize of $50. To register, open a free account at Reedsy and sign up for their newsletter. Reedsy publishes the competition every Friday and sends their subscribers 5 subject prompts for writers to use in their submissions. Your submission must reach their editors before Friday the following week.

Winners also receive publication on the Reedsy Medium blog, where their work has the potential to be read by thousands of Reedsy subscribers, how’s that for an added incentive?

3. ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

The Australian Book Review’s Short Story Prize honors celebrated Australian author, Elizabeth Jolley. The winning piece features in the ABR, one of the southern hemispheres leading arts and literary reviews.

On top of that, a cash prize of $7,000 is up for grabs for first place, with second and third place receiving $2000 and $1000, respectively. It’s $25 to enter this competition, and your submission must be between 2,000 to 5,000 words.

4. Keats-Shelley Prize

The Keats-Shelly Memorial Association offers poets and romantics the chance to enter this dual essay and poetry competition. Winning will earn you a £3,000 prize. However, all shortlisted candidates will receive publication online, or in print, at some stage in the future.

The rewards ceremony of this prestigious competitions takes place at the classy venue of London’s Royal Festival Hall. Make sure your submission is limited to 3,000-words, and no more than 30-lines.

5. National Flash Fiction Youth Competition

Organized by the University of Chester and the International Flash Fiction Association, this competition is free to enter for international writers, but all submissions must be in UK English, and limited to 360-words.

This opportunity suits youth writers looking for recognition of a prestigious writing authority to boost the start of their writing career.

Understanding .mobi and Other EBook Formats by IT Support NYC

here are a lot of different eBook formats out there, and understanding them is important because if you are self-publishing then you are probably going to publish in at least one – or more likely more than one. Understanding why there are so many different formats and what they refer to is vital to understanding the self-publishing process. While there are many little-used formats out there, only a few of them are mainstream, and they are the ones that we are going to be discussing here.

Mobi

The .mobi format is the format that Kindle uses most of the time. They do have another format, but when you see a Kindle book format being referred to, it is usually this one that people mean. The .mobi format is not compatible with any of the other eBook readers that are out there like it is with the Amazon Kindle, although there are some applications that can read .mobi books, either on your computer or mobile device. However, the formatting is usually off with these programs. You also are not able to read other eBook formats natively through the Kindle device, although you can install third-party software on a Kindle that will allow you to read eBooks in other formats.

ePub

The .epub format is sort of the universal format if you are not including books for Amazon Kindle. This format is the one that you will find across the board for most of the readers out there. For example, if you want to read a book on Kobo or download a book from the Apple bookstore, both of them are going to be in this format. In addition, the Barnes & Noble e-reader device the Nook reads books that are in this format as well. There are lots of other programs that are lesser-known but read this format natively, some of them also including the ability to read Kindle books, although not nearly as well as the Kindle devices themselves do. Reedsy has a pretty nifty epub to mobi converter.

Lit

The .lit format is something that Microsoft has taken for their e-readers. This may explain why Microsoft e-readers are not very popular out there, coming in last in a race between the Kindle, the Nook and Apple’s iBooks app. This was a lot more prevalent when it first came out, but now many authors do not even publish in this format, which makes it very difficult for the Microsoft reader to get a foothold in the self-publishing world.

PDF

The .pdf format is the same one that you’ll find on your desktop computer, usually using the program Adobe reader to view. PDF books are not nearly as popular as the other formats. But in some cases, such as where an e-book was never created specifically but where a digital book was created from images of the print books pages; the PDF can be extremely useful. You can usually read a PDF on any device with a third-party program such as Adobe reader or Adobe reader mobile.

Post contributed by IT Support NYC

Discussing Upmarket Fiction

Discussing Upmarket Fiction

Upmarket Fiction is a relatively new genre – we can say that it’s not nearly as old as straight horror, or even gothic horror. Not even the hardboiled detective fiction genre is quite that recent. Upmarket fiction has only come to the writing world in the past ten years or so, and this means that many authors are still trying to find their feet around the genre.

And that’s okay. We’re here to help. Upmarket fiction has been widely discussed amongst authors, and that might give you some really valuable tips about the rest of the industry – and what you should be doing if you want to get into the game of writing upmarket fiction.

You might think that upmarket fiction is too hard to get a handle on, but you might also be surprised to find that you have been writing upmarket fiction all along and just didn’t know it.

Here’s what other writers have been saying about upmarket fiction over the internet.

Upmarket Fiction? Kboards

https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=139591.0

Kboards is the official message board for Kindle users and fanatics; here, someone asked for some great suggestions for upmarket fiction – and if you’re researching upmarket fiction as a writer, then this is the perfect thread to read through to find out what you should be reading more of to get to know the genre better.

Absolute Write: Definition of Upmarket Fiction

https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?90147-Definition-of-Upmarket-fiction

The Absolute Write forums are an excellent resource for authors looking for new exposure to their work – and useful connections with other authors. Here, they’ve got a thread discussion just what upmarket fiction is defined as.

Query Tracker: Looking for Upmarket Fiction Agents

Here’s a great thread on Query Tracker about where you can find upmarket fiction agents if you need someone who is willing to represent your work.

Upmarket Romance Group

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/150888-upmarket-romance

Are you a sucker for romance? Then you’ll love being part of the Upmarket Romance Group on Goodreads: Again, this makes an excellent place to start for authors who feel that they are still trying to find your feet in the upmarket romance genre and want to get to know it better.

Cuebon

www.cuebon.com/ewriters/genres.htm

Here’s a very, very useful list on Cuebon that’ll tell you just what you need to know about the different genres. They have comprehensive definitions of each genre on the website, and you can find literary upmarket fiction if you scroll down on the page. Another great, similar website is The Book Genre Dictionary, which is available over here and should give you a clear breakdown of work by genre in case you aren’t sure.

Looking for more practical places to submit your fiction? Take a look at Reedsy’s directory of literary magazines to find just what you’re looking for. You can also take a closer look at their definition of upmarket fiction, what we like to call ‘the forgotten middle child of the publishing world.” If that sounds interesting to you, keep reading and we’ll tell you everything that you need to know.

Standard Book Sizes: Trade Paperbacks

There are lots of different book sizes out there. One of the things that you will notice is that there are two different terms for paperback books. One of those terms is the trade paperback. Strangely enough, this is not likely the paperback size that you are used to. Most people have read more mass-market paperbacks than they have trade paperbacks. But if you have purchased a paperback book from a bookstore, or checked one out from your library, then you have read a trade paperback.

Understanding what this term means and why trade paperbacks are important to publishing is vital to being an author – whether you are self-publishing or traditionally publishing. If you want to learn more about trade paperbacks and other publishing terms, heat up some food in one of the best microwave ovens 2019 and let’s talk publishing.

What is a Trade Paperback?

Trade paperback books have specific sizes and are generally the second stage of life for books. Most books are published in hardcover – assuming you are talking about traditional publishing – and then later on they are published again in paperback in order to sell for a lower price and get widespread distribution. In addition, advance copies that are sent out for reviews are often in trade paperback format. The book is published with a limited number of these for advance reader copies, but then comes out and hardcover first.

Why is Choosing a Standard Trade Paperback Size Important?

It is important to choose a standard trade paperback size because if you do not, the industry catalogs like Ingram and Baker and Taylor will not carry your book. Ingram serves bookstores and without being in their catalog you have very little chance of getting on the shelves, while Baker and Taylor is the standard industry catalogs for libraries and schools to purchase from.

Understanding Trim Size

Another term that you might hear and publishing circles is the trim size – particularly when you get to the printing stage. The same goes for self-publishing. Some people get confused by this term, but the truth is, trim size is just referring to the dimensions of your book. Trim size and book size are exactly the same. The reason it is called the trim size is that books are trimmed all at once – and with paperback the cover is included – so that the pages have a smooth surface when the book is closed.

Trade Paperback Sizes

There are two different major trade paperback sizes; the first is135mm x 216mm. This is the most common trade paperback size, and the one that purists refer to as the actual trade paperback size. However, there is also another paperback size that publishers refer to as a trade paperback known as the B-format. The size for this, sometimes nicknamed the smaller trade paperback, is 129 mm × 198 mm (5.1 in × 7.8 in). If you self-publish, you may notice that some printers and self-publishing companies like CreateSpace have other paperback sizes that they considered to be standard. However, if you want to be safe you should just go with the two sizes that traditional publishers use.

5 Ways to Get Inspired for a Genre Short Story in Your Own Home

Writing exercises are often useful when you feel like you are out of creative juice in cannot come up with a good idea. If you are in the right frame of mind, then short story ideas seem to come from everywhere once and appear and disappear faster than you can write them down. But sometimes, your mind feels just like a sludge factory and nothing comes out when you want to write. Of course, creative assistance always helps, but here are some writing exercises that are inspired by locations around your own home. They had been divided into five different genres so you can either choose the genre that you want or try to make the writing exercise listed fit into your own genre.

Horror: What’s in the Corner?

When it comes to horror, all you have to do is turn off the lights and you will get plenty of inspiration. Anyone with a vivid imagination can look around a dark room and imagine all kinds of monsters and terrifying things just by the shapes that exist before their eyes of adjusted to the dark. You might try this a few times and see if you can come up with something. Imagine there is something in the corner. Try to see what it looks like. Try to figure out what it is doing there. Try to think of a character who is lying in bed and rolls over to see that monster in the corner.

Fantasy: What Lives in Your Garden?

If you are looking for a fantasy story, then consider what kind of creatures might be living in your garden. Consider what clues they might give about who they are based upon the damage that they do to your plants and what they eat. Pretend that you caught a glimpse of them and then imagine where they went after they left your garden. Is there a secret portal that connects your backyard to some fantasy world? Do they live underground in a never before explored part of Earth?

Mystery: Who Keeps Digging in Your Yard?

If you keep noticing that someone is digging holes in your backyard while you are asleep at night, consider what kind of mystery you could make out of that. Did the person that owns your house before you rob a bank and then bury the lit underneath your yard? Did they just get out of prison or escape and are looking for it? These are all great ways to start a mystery.

Science-Fiction: What Are You Building?

If you are writing science fiction, then pretend you just got inspired to create some kind of never before seen or imagined device. What parts you use to build it? How long will it take you? What will the device ultimately do?

Humor: What Funny Stuff Happens around the House?

If you are trying to write humor than just walk around your house and observe the people interacting with you. Family can be one of the best sources of humor. Just look at the writings of Jean Shepherd.