Indie Publishing: Create and Sell Digital Products

By Susan Neal

Do you have a product that’s not long enough to be a book but would still be valuable to a reader? You can easily create a digital product and sell it on your website or through a link in an article. This blog post will provide step-by-step instructions on how to create digital products, so you can start earning money.

To make a digital product, you need to properly format the document. First, develop a front matter page with a disclaimer, copyright, and notice that the buyer may not reprint or give away this product. Construct a table of contents to correspond with the content of your product. Insert a header with page numbers and title of the product and a footer with a copyright symbol “©—all rights reserved” and your website.

Next, build the back matter including an about the author section and a blurb regarding any other books or products you sell. Include your social media links. Finish up with a colorful cover just like an e-book because the cover is the first thing a potential buyer will see. I use Pro_Ebook Covers on Fiverr.com to design my covers for a minimal cost.

After you format your digital product upload it to Gumroad.com. I have used this company to sell my products since 2016. This business’s website is simple and easy to use.

It is free to create an account and make as many digital products as you want. You are not charged until you sell a product. Gumroad’s fee is 8.5% of your selling price + $.30 per sale. To create a product, click “add a product” under the products tab, and follow the instructions to upload your PDF and cover. Add a compelling description of your item and a price.

Gumroad takes care of the financial transaction and deducts their fees from the payment that they receive from the buyer. You are paid on a monthly basis and the money is electronically deposited. It is that simple, and you do not pay anything until you make a sale.

One of my best selling digital products, How to Prevent, Improve, and Reverse Alzheimer’s and Dementia, contains 24 interventions to prevent these devastating diseases. Every week I receive an email from Gumroad notifying me that another one of my products, like this one, sold.

To add your newly created product to your website Gumroad provides embedded coding for you to install. You copy and paste the code into your site. This company also provides a link for you to use in emails, blogs, and articles, so you can advertise your products.

It is up to you to do the marketing. You can check out four digital products that I sell on my website at http://christianyoga.com/dvd-products. I include links to my digital products in the bio section of my articles and blogs.

Check out my two best selling products on Gumroad:

How to Prevent, Improve, and Reverse Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Eat to Live: with a Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Glycemic, Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Now you can begin selling your digital products as well. For fiction authors, you could sell character sketches and the backstory for your heroine and hero. What other type of digital product could you create? Please share below.

Writing Prompt: What type of digital product can you create?

Click to tweet: Do you have a product that’s not long enough to be a book but would still be valuable to a reader? You can easily create a digital product and sell it on your website or through a link in an article. This blog post will provide step-by-step instructions on how to create #digital products, so you can start earning money.  #IndieAuthors


7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates (back cover description)

Over half of Americans live with a chronic illness, primarily due to the overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Seven Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates provides a day-by-day plan to wean your body off of these addictive products and regain your health. These changes in your eating habits will start your lifestyle journey to the abundant life Jesus wants you to experience. Not a life filled with disease and poor health.

You will learn:

  • how to eliminate brain fog, cure diseases, and lose weight
  • foods that damage versus foods that are beneficial—the ones God gave us to eat, not the food industry
  • healthy food alternatives and menu planning
  • the science behind food addiction, Candida, and emotional reasons we overeat
  • to identify food triggers and use God’s Word to fight impulsive eating
  • resources—educational videos and books, meal planning, support organizations, recipes

Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (TLB). Are you living life in its fullness? Is your health or weight impeding you from embracing a healthy, bountiful life? Take these simple seven steps and regain the life you were created for. You will love the new you! Link to Susan’s book: Amazon


Susan Neal’s mission is to improve the health of the body of Christ. She has her RN and MBA degrees, as well as a master’s in health science. She is a Certified Christian Health and Wellness Coach with the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Her book 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates won the Selah award. Her most recent publications, Christian Study Guide for 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates and Healthy Living Bullet Journal release in August 2018. Susan blogs and provides healthy menus, recipes, and corresponding grocery lists on HealthyLivingSeriesBlog.com.

Susan lives on five acres and grows her own organic fruits and vegetables. She loves swimming, horseback riding, and gardening.

You can follow Susan on:

her Facebook

Scripture Yoga Facebook

Healthy Living Series Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Pinterest

Instagram

linkedin 

Google plus

What’s the Best Way for an Indie Author to Promote Their Book?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Maybe we should start with why authors want to sell their books.

Don’t give me that blank stare. I know it seems like a given but many writers go to all the trouble to put a book together then only do a little marketing. Either they are fearful of what people will think or they lack the skills to market, or maybe they wonder if they even should laud the praises of their own work.

Authors should not skimp on marketing.

If a person goes to the trouble of completing a book and then publishing it, whether traditional or Indie, it seems they should get it in front of readers. And at least that gives people a chance to decide whether they want to read it or not.  

Now that the why is settled, let’s look at what ways are best. Here are some positive steps to take in the promotion of your work:

  • Start by building a blog or website or having one built for you. You need a landing page for your readers to find you. Yes, it’s good to create an author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and other places but make sure if a reader Googles your name, they can find you.
  • Email list. You need to have an email list of your readers and potential readers so you can reach them with news. Not spam them with constant bombardment. My favorite way to accomplish this is with my email newsletter. And people love presents so be sure to include a gift for the sign-up: a recipe, chapter of a book, short story, etc.  (You can subscribe to mine here for an example plus get a gift of ten of my favorite recipes. 😊Just look for the pop-up.)
  • Social media. There are all kinds of social media you can market your book through. I’d pick two or three and build a presence. Remember to build relationships with people and your books will sell. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as my main three. Experiement and find what works for you.
  • Speaking/book signings. You’ll want to have a few events to allow the people in your area or areas you’re visiting to meet with the author. You can arrange to speak at a church, social club, library, or school. Make sure to set up a book table and sign books. Also have something set up to show people how to order the e-book if they’d rather read on the Kindle or Nook. Book stores are great places to have a book signing since your potential readers are already there.

Here’s our own Betty Thomason Owens at a book signing.

I also have four tips to speed up marketing:

    1. Be reliable and ready. Set up a pattern in the beginning and keep your name out there. You want people to know that you’re serious.
    2. Book links. Make sure you have book links on your blog/website, all social media, your signature in emails, and any guest posting you may do. If someone is curious, you want them to have a link to click on.
    3. Everyone loves a sale. I once bought a mystery e-book for 99 cents and liked it so much that I paid regular price for the next five just to see what happened. It really works.
    4. And finally, the most important tip of all: The Golden Rule. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT) Be good to people. Sow seeds of kindness and I believe at some point you will reap a return. Build a network with other authors and promote them the way you would like to be promoted. It will bring a positive investment before it’s all over and you’re sure to make some lifelong friends.

Start today to put some of these principles in practice. Find what works best for you, then be consistent. The readers are out there and waiting for the next author to follow.

Show them where you are.


Writing Prompt: Jillian reached into the mail box and snatched the book-shaped package, clutching it tightly as she ran toward the house. She’d finally get to see…

Click to tweet: What’s the best way for an Indie author to promote their book? You might be surprised. #marketing #IndieAuthors

First Saturday Extra: Indie Author Traci Tyne Hilton

Today, we are super excited to welcome popular Indie author, Traci Tyne Hilton. She’s published over 20 books and teaches publishing at conferences and writer’s groups around the country.
Traci, tell us a little about yourself.
Traci: I’m a mom first, publishing nut second. My two daughters are teens now, but when I started writing novels, they were toddlers! Everyone told me time flies, but I had no idea. Keeping that balance between mom and obssessive publisher is hard work. My indie friends harass me for not having good enough focus, and my kids ride me for being on my laptop all day long. But what can you do? I wouldn’t give up either role.

When and why did you decide to go the Indie publishing route?

Traci: I fell into indie publishing. The short story is that I participated in Nanowrimo for a few years as a young mom. In 2009, I completed a novel and achieved my award of a free Createspace paperback. After you make your paperback Createspace asks you if you want to make your book available for sale on Amazon. I said: “Why not?”

A few months later I was encouraged to make it an ebook, so I did that, too. It sold ten thousand copies that winter and I was hooked.

Do you hire an editor or use Beta readers to try and perfect your work? 

Traci: Not the first time! Whoo-boy, did I learn my lesson!

But even now I seem to have a hard time keeping a good proofreader–the really talented ones book up fast and get too busy for my somewhat spontaneous needs, lol.

Please share three marketing tips for our friends considering Indie publishing.

Traci:

  1. Buy ads.
  2. Buy ads.
  3. Buy ads.

and a bonus for you all: Buy ads. Buy all the ads you can at all the sites you can. Keep close track of sales on the days your ads run to figure out which sites work well for you, then buy more ads at those sites.

What mistakes did you make when you first started out?

Traci: Well, I already mentioned I didn’t have any editing whatsoever when I launched my first book!  Don’t do that! The indie world is way too competitive for that kind of rookie mistake these days.

Also, take your work seriously as a business. Have a plan and work it. Your success will come from the consistent release of quality books, and that, in reality, is just a lot of work.

 Any final words?

Traci: I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of both the indie literature community and the Christian literature community. It’s been rewarding, challenging, and immensely satisfying. If I could do anything different at all it would be to spend every penny I have ever earned on editing and advertising. Thanks so much for chatting with me today!

So glad you dropped by! We loved having you as our guest and I know our readers will gain a lot of insight from the interview. Thanks again!

 


Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Maura Garrison Mysteries, The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven Romantic Mysteries. When not writing she has been known to knit socks, play the spoons, and teach Sunday School.

She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. She blogs at TheWriteConversation.blogspot.com.

An active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Oregon Christian Writers, Traci teaches publishing at conferences and writer’s groups around the country.

Traci attended Fackelbararnas Bibelskola in Holsby Brunn, Sweden, and earned a degree in History from Portland State University. She lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy teens, and their pets, Doctor Watson and Kitty Biscuits.

Learn more about Traci at www.tracihilton.com


The Book of Judges

All things work together for the good for those who believe. Too bad Maura Garrison, a private investigator, isn’t a believer. The murder she was hired to solve hinges on its parallel in the Old Testament book, Judges, but she was just dumped by her pastor-husband so the Bible is the last thing she wants to turn to for answers.

Rick Styles, Maura’s husband, is a popular marriage and family counselor with a thriving writing and speaking side business. He’s also the member of a city council committee dedicated to getting homeless children off the streets of Portland, Oregon, a worthy goal that seems to have attracted the attention of a sick and twisted killer.

She’s working the hardest case she’s ever faced during the hardest time of her life with few friends she can count on and only her cat Rhoda for support. Solving this crime means digging deep into issues Maura wants desperately to avoid, will she be able to see her way through this tangle in time to stop a serial killer?

The Book of Judges: A Maura Garrison Mystery is classic Christian murder in the spirit of Chesterton, Sayers, Peretti, and Rushford.

Hilton’s prose is beautiful and clever. She draws readers into the story with vivid descriptions of places and emotion states. –The BookLife Prize

Hilton opens up a thought-provoking mystery in The Book of Judges, exploring the idea of forgiveness and belief through Maura’s personal relationships. A must-read for mystery lovers! –Reader’s Favorites

Links:  Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Indie Publishing: My Journey

By Gail Johnson

If you google indie publishing, you’ll find umpteen dozen sites offering advice on how to publish your book. There, you’ll also find an opinion on why, where, and when to do it. Believe me!

Warning: You can spend years obtaining endless trails of information, or you can write a book and publish that puppy. One thing is certain, you’ll have to make your own decision on what is the best technique for you.

TreasuresofHopeFrontFinalIn 2017, I published my memoir, Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past. In this article I will share a little of the process and some surprises I encountered through that experience. Note: I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert, so I’ve added links for you to discover your own path. Let’s get started.

Write

The first step is obvious. Write your story.

Editing

The second step should be obvious. We are not perfect. We will make mistakes. The more eyes you have on your story the better to catch those mistakes. Hire an editor. Apply those edits. I hired a developmental editor and a copy editor. It was one of the best decisions I made during my journey.

Formatting

Some writers hire formatters while others do their own formatting. I did a little of both. For the print book, I used a template by Book Design Templates. For my e-book, I hired a formatter. The reason for that was I ran into problems on the e-book that neither the template techs nor Amazon techs could figure out. As weeks turned into months, I chose to hire someone to do the e-book. (I would like to add, a friend used Book Design Templates for her historical novel and had no problems.) I still recommend the templates.

Covers

You can order e-book covers any time during the writing process. But a print book cover must have several elements in place before ordering. Formatting your book will give you the needed page number to determine the width of your spine. No guessing. The page number must be exact.

By now, you should have the title and an idea what you’d like the front of your book to look like. To choose your photo you can visit the following sites. You can either choose a free photo or you can buy one. The main thing is to make sure you get the rights to the photograph. The following sites were suggested to me.

Bigstockphoto.com
Depositphotos.com
Unsplash.com
Shutterstock.com
Fotolia.com
Istockphoto.com
Dreamstime.com
Peopleimages.com

Another thing you will need for your cover is a blurb. A blurb is a description of your story printed on the back of your book. Psst. I had someone to help me write mine. You will also need an author picture and bio.

The last thing to think about for your print cover is the ISBN number. Some authors buy their own while others use a free CreateSpace ISBN. Read more here.

Now you are ready to order your cover or make your own if you so choose. I’m not that creative. I hired a cover designer.

Categories and Keywords

While you wait on the cover, think about your categories and keywords you’ll use once you’ve uploaded your manuscript. Categories describe the genre while keywords are the words you think people will use when searching for your book.

For instance, my book is a memoir, but it can be, and has been, used as a devotional and a study guide. So, three out of the seven keywords were memoir, devotional, and study guide.

Publishing

This part of the journey was a surprise to me. When my covers arrived in my inbox, the e-book was a jpeg, and the print copy was a pdf. Who knew? Next, I visited my friendly neighborhood publisher, such as KDP, CreateSpace, BN, IngramSpark. Again everyone has their opinions.

As with every new project, we may feel apprehension in the doing. I did! So, let me encourage you. It isn’t as hard as you think. Once you create your account, you’ll be taken to a dashboard that will lead you through the entire process. Just follow the direction and you’ll do fine. And if you run into any problems, contact the publisher. I had no problems getting my questions answered.

After uploading a pdf of your cover and manuscript to CreateSpace, they will review, print, and snail mail you a copy of your book. You will need to proof it. If you find a problem, correct it, and reorder. They will send you another proof. When you are satisfied with the result, you are ready to share your story with the world.

So there you have some of the interesting things I learned while publishing my book. If you’re an indie, what things would you add? If you published your book, what were the surprises in your journey to publication?

Click to Tweet: “So there you have some of the interesting things I learned on my publishing journey.” @GailJohnson87 for @InspiredPrompt #indie #author

Writing Prompt: Today, make a plan and add a date to publish your book.

3 Questions Wednesday with Jackie Castle

Jackie CastleToday we welcome Indie author Jackie Castle to Writing Prompts.

Hi, Jackie! Let’s get started by finding out which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Jackie: I’ve read so many books, it’s hard to pinpoint just one. Authors I’ve read several times over are J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Tolkien, and Lewis. Some authors who I found that started off or are still currently independent authors are Amanda Hocking and Rachel Morgan. There’s more, but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

I found Morgan on Wattpad – which is a great place to find new writers – and I simply adore her Creepy Hollow series.

What I love most about these authors is their uncanny ability to create striking worlds that jump off the page and live on in my imagination, even after the last page is turned. The ability to do that is truly a gift. They’ve each created a world I want to return to again and again and again.

I, too, love it when an author can make an imaginary world so real. In the world of fictional villains, who is your favorite?

Jackie: This is an even harder question to answer. The villians I’ve found most interesting are Gollum from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The Smeagol/Gollum duel personality – which was shown more in the movies than the books, I think–but I found it fascinating. Gollum’s desire to be free of the ring, yet entrapped by its power, made him a terrifying foe because we were never sure which side would win out in the end.

My other villain would be Snape from Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I didn’t care how despicable she created him because I kept thinking there was something deep down that would redeem him in the end, and that things weren’t quite what they seemed.

I like both heroes and villains that aren’t simple cardboard cut-outs with only one side, while the other is blank. No human is all good or all bad. I like characters that are a mixture of a little of both. It’s that battle of good and evil in everyone that influences the choices we make.

Good choices! I agree, the battle of good versus evil creates believable characters. Can you tell us what project are you currently working on?

Jackie: I’m still working on my White Road Chronicles series and will soon be starting the fifth book. I’m debating on the title at the moment. However, I’ve begun a new series aimed for younger readers called The Sentinel Archives. The first book,Through the Portal, will be released on the first of October. Right now, chapters are going on up on Wattpad for those who would like to check it out here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/JackieCastle


 

Welcome to the kingdom of Alburnium  If the Wizard of Oz swept you away and Narnia enchanted you, then follow the White Road Chronicles for a new kind of adventure.  Illuminated: Book One- begins with a girl in search of the truth.  Alyra, mockingly known as Princess, was captured at an early age by the evil ruler, Darnel, and brought up in the dark land of Racah. Now, at the age of seventeen, she considers herself nothing special. She has no recollection of who she is or where she came from. Her hope of ever finding freedom dims.  Until the messenger arrives. Until he brings to light the meaning behind the medallion she’s kept hidden. Until she accepts the blinding truth.  Now she flees for her life.  Alyra’s journey leads her down a narrow road with strange traveling companions. Together, they encounter a kingdom where nothing is what it first seems.  Illuminated is the first book of The White Road Chronicles followed by:  Luminosity: Book Two; Emanate: Book Three; Radiance: Book Four.

www.jackiecastle.com (author website)

www.jackiecastlebooks.blogspot.com (The White Road Chronicle series site)

http://thesentinelarchives.blogspot.com/ (The Sentinel Archives – still under construction, but there is information about the books available.)


 

Jackie Castle graduated from UT Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas. She lives in Texas with her husband, children, and dog, Ginger (aka ginger-roonie).  Her favorite pastime, besides reading, is traipsing through the worlds of Alburnium or Fay in search of another story. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences. Find out more about her shenanigans over at Jackie Castle’s Story World: http://www.jackiecastle.com