Indie Publishing: Here to Stay

By Jennifer Hallmark

Wow. We’ve had so many good posts this month concerning Indie publishing that I dislike seeing it come to an end.  In case you missed any, here’s a quick review…

Betty Thomason Owens started our month on July 3rd by discussing her own road to Indie publication with her fantasy novels: A Month of Indie Publishing.

On July 7th and July 11th, Susan Neal shared not only how she Indie published her book but how she took it to a number one Amazon ranking: Make Your Dream Come True and Self Publish Your Book, and How to Obtain an Amazon Best-Selling Ranking.

July 10th rolled around and Gail Johnson pointed us to some good ideas while Trekking the Indie Route.

On July 14th, Tammy trail asked an important question, “Is There Room for Indie Publishing?

Harriet Michael “Declared Her Independence” on July 17th with her Indie publishing journey.

On July 21st, I interviewed Hallee Bridgeman, an “Indie Author Extraordinaire”, who shared how she sold over half a million books.

Sherrie Giddens wrote a guest post titled “Take the Steps to Self-Publish Your Books” on July 24th of how she Indie published her books.

And Betty Boyd ended our month with an interview with blogger, author, and life coach Nancy Colasurdo and her Indie published memoir.

As you read each of these articles, I believe you’ll understand why Indie publishing is here to stay. The reasons behind the decision may vary but each person seemed happy with the results.

Next month, we’re taking a totally different road and discussing favorite books of the Bible. Don’t miss it!

Click to tweet: Indie publishing is here to stay. #IndiePub #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Bob stood facing Lil, hands on his hips. “Why would anyone want to read your memoir? And who’ll publish it?”

Lil snorted. “Haven’t you ever heard the word Indie?”

 

 

Take the Steps to Self-publish Your Book

By Sherrie Giddens

Over the last several years, many of the walls between authors and self-publishing have come down. As a result, it is easier than ever for a determined writer to become a published author. However, knowing exactly how to go about the process of self-publishing can be an overwhelming task. I can remember the first book that I self-published. I followed the path paved by those who went before me and took some of the stress out of the process. I would like to share that path with you today.

Once you have written your manuscript, the real work begins. It is time to go back over your work and edit, edit, and edit again. Once you have completed your editing, it is important to turn the manuscript over to someone who can do a more thorough job of editing. They will look for spelling and grammar issues, sentences that do not flow easily, and holes in the plot and story line. This is an important step and should not be skipped, if you intend on having a professional piece of work to publish.

After your manuscript has been edited, you’ll need to consider where you want your work to appear. Many choose to publish their eBooks through Amazon on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Doing so will require preparing your document. You can find information on document preparation, by following this link to the information page. There are no fees associated with uploading your document to KDP and the process is not a difficult one, when you follow the guidelines provided.

You might also consider the publication of your document as a paperback. Amazon owns Createspace, a company that many self-publishers use to create their paperbacks. If you choose to use Createspace as your self-publishing solution you will be given a few options.

  • They will provide you with a free ISBN or you can purchase one through them.
  • If you are having difficulty with your document, you can pay for their services, which include editing and formatting.
  • You will need to download a template for your manuscript. Templates are designed to work with the various book size options. They are easy to use and make the process less time consuming
  • Createspace also offers a free cover creator.
  • Unless you choose to use their services such as editing, there are no fees for creating a paperback through Createspace.
  • You will be given the option of ordering a proof copy of your book. There is a small fee for this service, typically less than $10. I highly recommend ordering a proof copy. Once it arrives, check it over, you will be able to make any changes needed before you publish your book.

It is important for your eBook and paperback to share the same cover image. Whether you choose to have someone create your paperback book cover, or you use the free cover creator offered by Createspace, once your book is ready, Createspace will provide a cover that can be used for your eBook as well. Download the provided eBook cover and save it to your computer. Then you may upload it to the KDP edition of the book. This will provide a uniform look for both the eBook and the paperback. Here are some of my covers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with every program, there can be some glitches. Createspace is no exception. You will be given the option of allowing them to upload your eBook to KDP. This option can lead to issues with extra numbers and letters showing up throughout your document. I would recommend taking the time to upload the document yourself. Doing so will also give you more control over the process.

Once the eBook and the paperback have been completed and uploaded, they will automatically be listed for sale at Amazon. Amazon tries to link both editions within a week or so, but it doesn’t always happen in the way that it should. By creating your author page, through Author Central, you will be able to initiate this process on your own.

I know this information can seem a little overwhelming. I thought so until I took the plunge and began preparing my document. Step by step, while following the guidelines, the feeling of being overwhelmed was replaced with a feeling of relief and accomplishment. Take a deep breath and dive in.

There is much more to discuss when it comes to self-publishing, but with the basics that have been offered in this article, you are well on your way to living your dream. My wish is that you find self-publishing to be a fulfilling part of your writing career.


Sherrie Giddens is the author of several titles for women and their families. Her latest book is designed to help lesser known authors fill their schedules with book signings and events.

You can find Book Signings and Events for the Lesser Known Author at Amazon.

Declaring my Independence

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By Harriet Michael

I started writing in 2005 when God laid a burden on my heart and a desire to understand prayer better. By 2009, I had a 63,000-word manuscript written but no idea how to get it published. I attended a writers’ conference and came away having formed a few conclusions: 1) the only way I could get my book published at that time would have been to go the Indie route, which I was not comfortable with, and 2) even though my book was not going to be a reality any time in the near future, I could try my hand at freelance writing (articles and devotions). writers conference

In 2015, I picked up a traditional publisher for Prayer: It’s Not About You , my book on prayer, and it was released by Pix-N-Pens Publishing a year later. And the freelancing has worked out quite well for me too.

Why was I afraid of Indie publishing? I knew very little about it, and I have a weak area in my writing—I need help editorially.

But since 2009, I have learned a lot more about Indie publishing and have, in fact, published two books through the Indie route. One is no longer for sale, but will be back up on Amazon soon. The other is: The Whisper of the Palms.

My concern? I didn’t want to put a book out there for the public to read that was not a professional-looking piece. What have I discovered that made me change my mind? Two things: freelance editors, and freelance cover artists.

My opinion of Indie publishing now? There are some real advantages, but you need to be careful who you work with (if you choose a subsidy press to help you) and how your book is set up. One of my Indie books is set up under my name instead of the subsidy press name and I am extremely happy with that one! I can see the sales reports myself, and the payments come directly to my bank account … and of course, you earn a higher percentage of the royalties since you do not have to split it with a publisher. 

My advice to anyone considering Indie Publishing is, be willing to pay for a professional editor and a professional cover design.

Click to tweet: My advice to anyone considering Indie Publishing.


Writing Prompt: What do you want to do to declare your independence? Write about what you have longed to do but you were afraid. How do you plan to overcome the fear, and make your desire a reality?

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How to Obtain An Amazon Best-Selling Ranking

By Susan Neal

My previous blog post here on Writing Prompts, Make Your Dream Come True and Self Publish Your Book, described how to self-publish a book on Kindle, CreateSpace, and IngramSpark (Barnes & Noble). Today’s post will walk you through the steps to obtain an Amazon best-selling ranking. You may need to read the previous post to understand Kindle categories, KDP Select, and some other terms.

In 2016, I self-published two books, Scripture Yoga which was a #1 Amazon best-selling yoga book and Yoga for Beginners which ranked #3 in the yoga book category.

How?

First, publish your e-book on KDP.Amazon.com, otherwise, known as Kindle. Choose KDP Select because it allows you to lower your price during your book launch. Your subscription lasts for three months, and during that time you cannot publish your e-book on any other platform. However, you can publish a print book on another site. I unsubscribed from KDP after three months.

Be sure to include a request for a book review, along with a link to your Amazon book page, at the end of your Kindle e-book. The link becomes available after you have published your book. So remember to go back and add this link into your formatted book and reload it into KDP.

When choosing your Kindle categories, select a broad and a narrow category. The narrow one is key to obtaining the high ranking because you do not have as many books to compete against. For example, the broad category for Scripture Yoga was Christian Living which included a large number of other books. However, the narrow category, Yoga, contained fewer books to compete against for the Amazon ranking.

Next, choose two dates to have a $0.99 sale within KDP Select. This sale will show up in the Kindle store on Amazon. The first period should be at the beginning of the three-month subscription to KDP; this is the date you ask your book review team to purchase your book and submit a review. The second date will be your official book launch with the goal of increasing your Amazon ranking and it should be toward the end of the three-month period after you have several book reviews.

Book reviews are an important component of your marketing plan. Create a book review team by asking several individuals if they would like an advanced review copy of your book in exchange for a book review or they could purchase your reduced price book for $0.99. It is best to have at least 7–10 reviews before your book launch. Also, ask your team to share your book’s promotional materials you have created on their social media sites during its launch.

Your book launch goal is to obtain a ranking within the top 100 Amazon books in your category. If this occurs, you can publicize your book as an Amazon best seller. To accomplish this goal, lower your Kindle book price to $0.99 (usually for 3-7 days) after you have at least five reviews. You want to try to get as many purchases as possible within a short period of time for the Amazon ranking to rise. During your launch, monitor your book’s ranking which is listed at the bottom of your book’s Amazon page and take a screenshot as it increases.

There are many of things you can do to plan for this date. However, the most important thing is to pray and ask that your book glorifies God. Next, notify all of your family, friends, social media contacts, and email subscriber list that your book is on-sale. You could raffle a prize, and each person who verified that they purchased your book would be entered into the contest.

At the same time as your book launch, advertise your KDP Select promotion dates on BargainBooksy.com, ReadersInTheKnow.com, and FreeBooksy.com. These websites have access to large numbers of readers who want to purchase books at a discounted price. These promotions will drive up your book sales. At Bargain Booksy, it costs around $25 to run a one-day ad which would be well worth it to attain the best seller status. Whereas FreeBooksy charges a higher price to promote your book, and Readers In the Know allows you to promote your book for free while it is at the discounted price.

There are numerous websites available to market your book including CrossRoads.com, ChristianKindleNews.com, GospelBooks.net, FaithfulReads.com, GoodEbooks.net, and EbookChristian.com. It would be prudent to choose a few of these sites to promote your book during its launch.

Also, advertise your book on KDP.Amazon.com by clicking the “Promote and Advertise” button next to your published book in your account. Select “Create an ad campaign” and click “Sponsored Products.” Sponsored ads show up at the top of a similar themed book’s search results and the very bottom of a competitor’s book product detail page. It is the only ad that is displayed twice. Choose automatic targeting which allows Amazon to choose the keywords.

For my Scripture Yoga ad, I set a bid amount of $.25 and an average daily budget of $2.00. You can increase from there. You only pay if someone clicks your ad. If you monitor this a couple of times a week, it is easy to determine if an ad is working or not. If an ad is spending more than it is making, you can simply pause or terminate the ad.

The morning of my book launch I was at my 88-year-old mother’s home. I woke up early, and for about three hours I sent out many emails and posted to my social media sites. Then I saw a peer’s Facebook post for her book launch and how she was praying for its success.

I realized I had not prayed, so I got on my knees and asked God to forgive my oversight and bless this book’s launch. I felt reassured that it was in his hands. So I drove my mother and three daughters to Homosassa Springs for the day. When I got back to my mom’s home, my book was #1. Praise God!

It takes time and some work, but it pays off when your book is an Amazon best-seller.

Click to tweet: Let me walk you through the steps to obtain an Amazon best-selling ranking. #IndiePub #Amazon


Susan Neal-RN, MBA, and MHS has a passion for inspiring others to be healthy and grow in their faith. Her article, Eatin’ in Eden was published in Clubhouse magazine. She published two books, Scripture Yoga and Yoga for BeginnersHer hospice C.D., Bedside Encouragement: When You Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye, two Christian Yoga DVDs, God’s Mighty Angels and What the Bible Says About Prayer, and two Christian Yoga Card Decks, “Fruit of the Spirit” and “How to Receive God’s Peace” are available on Amazon.com and ChristianYoga.com.

Susan’s two digital products, Eat to Live with a Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Glycemic, Anti-Inflammatory Diet and How to Prevent, Improve, and Reverse Alzheimer’s and Dementia are available at ChristianYoga.com and Gumroad.com. Susan is a member of Word Weavers International and has been interviewed on Moody Radio, Blog Talk Radio, and Premier Christian Radio of the UK.

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