Jilly: Ten Great Indie Publishing Resources

One of the most interesting changes at this year’s RWA National conference was the increased focus on indie publishing. For me, the timing was excellent.

Four years ago, when I attended my first Nationals, I was only vaguely aware of self-publishing. I fully intended to pursue a traditional publishing career and I found plenty of workshops to help me understand the role of agent and editor, to perfect my pitch, and to polish my query letter.

As I started submitting to agents and entering contests with my dream industry judges, I also began to seek out sources of information to educate myself about the industry I was planning to join. To my amazement I found a freely available treasure trove of solid, actionable information and over the last couple of years I’ve gradually come to believe that independent publishing will be a better match for my personal priorities, timelines and ambitions.

I attended a number of the indie-focused workshops in Orlando, and I was surprised to discover how much I already knew. So instead of recapping my learnings from the conference, I thought perhaps I should share the online resources I find most valuable: Continue reading

Nancy: Selling Your Book in 150 Words

There’s been a lot of buzz here on the blog lately about upcoming book releases from several of us here at 8LW, This includes my own Victorian Romance series, with the opening novella tentatively slated for a late October release. One of the realities of publishing these days, whether via the traditional route or self-publishing, is the requirement for authors to market their own books. With that in mind, expect to hear a lot about book marketing here on the blog over the next several months to a year.

Today, I’d like to look at one of the basic marketing building blocks every writer needs that has dominated my brain-space for the last several days: the pitch. You’ve probably heard of it. But what is a pitch? How do you use it? And is it really necessary?

That last question is the easiest to answer: YES!

I’m going to glom together the answers to the other two questions because, in reality, there are different types of pitches, and they’re used for different purposes. Continue reading

Jilly: Fantastic Free Resource–Alli Independent Author Fringe

Alliance of Independent Authors Indie Author Fringe–London Book Fair, March 2017

Big thanks to Kay for alerting me to this great resource: the Alliance of Indpendent Authors (Alli) is holding an online conference this weekend to tie in with the London Book Fair.

By 10am London time today, they will have uploaded 24 hours’ worth of great presentations on topics like understanding the writing process, perfecting your first 50 pages, identifying and eliminating the biggest mistakes most fiction writers make, and all kinds of advice about self-publishing including writing better book descriptions, advertising, and audiobooks.

Best of all, the sessions are archived for you to view at your own convenience, and they’re totally free.

Check out the conference agenda here.

And find the links to the presentations here.

I’ll be catching up on some of the technical ones later today, but I already watched and really enjoyed fantasy author KM Weiland’s one-hour talk: Are You Making These Common Fiction Writing Mistakes?

It’s worth noting that Alli will be hosting a further two conferences this year, to coincide with the major book fairs, so if you find these presentations useful, it might be a good idea to sign up to be notified of future events. I did 😉

Enjoy!

Jilly: When is a Bestseller Not a Bestseller?

 BestsellerDoes the description Bestselling Author positively influence your book-buying decisions? Especially New York Times Bestselling Author?

I ask the question because as a non-American I’m trying to get my head around the furore over the recent decision by the New York Times to eliminate a number of categories, including mass-market paperbacks and e-books, from its bestseller lists. Click here for Publishers’ Weekly’s report on the changes. As far as I can tell, going forward only one list (Top 15 Combined Print and E Fiction) will include novels in e-book format.

Romance Writers of America, Horror Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Sisters In Crime and Novelists, Inc. have released a joint statement condemning the decision and describing it as a “tremendous mistake.” Click here to read the full statement.

I have to say it seems rather counter-intuitive. Continue reading

Nancy: The Value of Good Writing

Write a Good OneIn the years since indie publishing has gotten a toe-hold, there has been a debate raging in the industry about the quality, viability, and even the right of this form of publishing to survive. Traditional publishing has trumpeted the importance of selectivity, of professional gatekeepers who  keep unskilled or ‘not-ready-for-primetime’ writers from taking up readers’ valuable time and physical bookstores’ coveted shelf space.

Indie publishers, who are themselves authors, have decried a system that depends on just the right story in just the right genre crossing the desk of just the right gatekeeper on a day when said gatekeeper hasn’t had a fight with his/her spouse or child or family pet…you can see where this is going. The odds of getting struck by lightning often seem higher than those of being plucked out of writing obscurity and dropped into a publishing contract. It is not only poor writing keeping writers out of the market, indie supporters argue; it’s also publishers with myopic vision who tend to chase one trend to death, then drop it like a hot potato for the next must-have trend.

And even for writers who’ve made it past the gatekeepers once, what are the odds of getting struck by lightning twice, in the form of a decent marketing budget and time to build a name and a following? Not great, and getting worse by the day, along with the onerous terms and conditions of publishing contracts.

And among all this hub-bub and hallabaloo are the readers, who have taken a firm stand in the traditional versus indie Continue reading

Nancy: The Three Bs

novellaSome years ago, I had a boss who talked about the three Bs: be brief, be bright, be gone. This was in reference to business proposals, presentations, and communications. To make his point even more succinctly, keep it short. Less is more. You get the idea.

In the business world, I’m pretty good at following the three Bs philosophy. In fiction writing…not so much. I’m an 80k-100k-word kind of girl. And that’s usually after overwriting my stories and cutting 10% during revisions. That’s why it was such a big thrill for me when I finished my first honest-to-god, not-a-vignette, not-the-beginning -of-a-novel, shorter work of fiction. It’s a novella, told in less than 25k words. It has a beginning, a middle, and even an end!

Novellas are becoming part and parcel of many novel writers’ lives, whether self- or traditionally-published. You might be thinking about writing a romance novella yourself. If you’re not thinking about it, you probably should be.

Why Write a Novella?
Continue reading

Kat: The Interview Series: Bella Andre

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Courtesy of bellaandrew.com

Today, my plan was to feature a video interview with a newly published romance author, but as we all know plans have a way of changing (particularly when we’re surfing the web). My research for newly published authors led me to e-publishing which led  me to this interesting video interview with Indie Bestselling author Bella Andre on “Self-publishing, community, and marketing”. Since two of the ladies plan to attend an e-publisher reception at RWA this year, I found this interview particularly interesting. In fact, I’ve begun to rethink my (old) mindset that self-publishing=vanity publishing.

If you have ten and a half minutes to spare, have a look. And hey, if you have a few minutes, come back and post your thoughts on e-publishing and self-publishing. Would you consider it? If so, why? If not, why not?

Here’s Bella Andre.