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Share Your Self-Pub Launch

Hi all,

When you self-pub your novel, let everyone know! 

Add your cover, the description, and even the link. Even better share something you've learnt in the process 😁


What I have learnt from self-publishing The Pharaoh's Curse ...

First, a quick thank you to Jericho Writers. Without your editing services and exquisite writing courses, this could never have happened.

So, the thing that struck me as a real curveball, having launched my book 4 days ago, is that there is still a real technology barrier regarding e-books. I'm talking people, even in their mid-twenties, being absolutely clueless about how to:

  1. purchase an e-book when given the link
  2. understand that they can read it on just about any device they so wish via apps and cloud readers

Advice: Be as explicit as you can. This may take phone calls and personal messages to friends and family. They need to know that every sale can help push you into the path (screen) of an organic reader.


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After the death of a beloved pharaoh, Egypt is on the verge of imminent invasion and ruin at the hands of the bold Hittite Empire. Merkhet, a young and tentative prince, is rushed upon the Golden Throne, following an unprecedented intervention from the gods.

Navigating the intrigue of court politics is far more difficult than he could have ever imagined. All the while shadowy forces are plotting against him. And how will he manage the expectations of his jaded brother, Peronikh, who was the legitimate heir to the throne?

When the annual floods reach the lowest levels ever, all faith in Merkhet's rule is abandoned. Can he overcome the gods' anger-and finally prove he is not the Cursed Pharaoh-before his homeland is lost to famine and devastation?


Happy writing,

Cameron

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Replies (33)
  • I am poised to self-publish in the next few weeks. Here’s what I have learned so far.

     1. Get a JW edit (3 weeks)

    2. Re-write as required (6 months)

    3. Ask two creative friends for cover designs (nada)

    4. Play around with CAVA myself  to design cover. Three atempts. (1 month)

    5. Use reader friends to gauge reaction to the title. Three changes!

    6. Post Beta draft on Bookfunnel. 15 friends and colleagues read and gave useful feedback (1 month)

    7. Attend JW Festival of Writers and find an interested Agent (2 days)

    8. Agent gets new job (no longer an agent). ☹

    9. Send submission to 6 more agents (6 weeks, no response)

    10. Start to learn Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and load up and review e-book. Great fun and surprisingly easy (1 day).  Start to feel real!

    11. Wrestle with formatting a print book. Takes much longer (3 days). Have 3 attempts at formatting and buying a few copies of print preview copies. This cost less than £3 per book and copies arrived in UK, printed in Poland, in around 5 days. Third attempt, got it right!  Brilliant to hold a physical copy.

     12. Prepare marketing strategy. (More later).

    13. Bite the bullet and press the button  Watch this space.

     In summary you probably need to allow 2-3 months beyond final draft to get everything ready. But unless you know how to promote your book, then it will be struggle. Look at the excellent JW videos on this aspect.

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    • Interesting summary, iain. Thanks for sharing. I'd add two comments; You don't mention proof reading and line editing - maybe it's covered in (6) but that reads like a rather higher level check to me. You really can't have too much proof-reading - it's amazing how many silly little mistakes can escape one, two or even three or more proof-reads.

      The other thing is that I've found that once I have paid for the first proof copy of the printed book and made any necessary adjustments to fix anything that doesn't look quite right, I have been able to check the results of the fixes by using the online proof-checker before clicking on 'Publish'.

      From my experience, learning the procedure for the first time, I agree with you about the 2-3 months from having the final draft ready to actually getting it self-published. (I have since done the technical self-publishing bit for two other books - not my own - and the process gets quicker with experience.)

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      • Hi Tony, yes indeed, most of the copy proof checking came from 6. - my Beta readers. Interstesting how few of them picked up on the same mistakes, so it was a great and useful spread of corrections.  
        I concur that it is like building Ikea furniture. My first attempt at a 'Billy' bookcase took over 2 hours, but now I can knock 'em out in under 25 minutes. 😉.

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        • 😂

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        • Great (and entertaining) summary, Iain. As I near the finish line with my final draft, I already think I know the editor I'm going to send it to. (Someone I met at last year's FOW, actually.) But all the stuff after that has me nervous. 

          Uncharted territory...

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          • Jordan, no need to be nervous. Just sit in the privacy of your own home and press buttons!  

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            • What Iain said 😉

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            • Got it done with help from Hybrid publishing partner. Took way too long but I learned a lot over a year (finished the novel in 2018 with several self edits) and so many re-reads and publisher edits. It is finally available on B@N in print editions only ( about a month before publisher promises e-reader versions)   


              https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/white-bird-blaine-wright/1134159774?ean=9781645444060

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              • Love the title. 'Spect you realise that 'Little White Bird', published by J.M. Barrie in 1902 was the forerunner of one of the most enduring fantasy mega-sellers, 'Peter Pan'.  The character was  introduced in this earlier novel. 


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                • White Bird has so many parts. It was the name of a famous chief of the Nez Perce as well as the name of the town named after him.  The "Battle of White Bird" took place in 1877 and is the only time in history that an outnumbered native tribe defeated a larger contingent of US troops (they took zero casualties) and outfought troops several times on their run to freedom into Canada).It is also the name of an old and very dangerous Pass across a small mountain that was replaced with a superhighway in 1975 but still exists today. I hope this series does well.I have plans for Daniel Knight AKA White Bird well into the 21st century and into science fiction ( Book five or six is already titled as "Ark of the Covenant").

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                • Picking up on TonyL's comment, and Iain Charles' description of his experience with the line-editing / typos, I would definitely add a distinct step in for that. Especially if, as Iain experienced, the beta readers come back with a different spread of errors. (Basic statistics: two readers, each reporting 50 errors, with only a 50% overlap tells you they've left another 25 on the… page. More readers with less overlap says a lot more unfound errors.)

                  A technique to find them that I came across years ago… read your work backwards. A paragraph at a time. Even a sentence at a time if your paragraphs are long. This interferes with the automatic correction-by-expectation mechanism that hides so many of them when you read normally.

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                  • Brings a whole new meaning to "I know my book backwards"...

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                  • I never read mine backwards but I read it intensely four times during a long and arduous edit process. Here is the Amazon link. I love the prominent way they showed the back cover synopsis.


                    https://www.amazon.com/White-Bird-Among-Nez-Perce/dp/164628836X/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=Blaine+Wright&qid=1571773357&s=books&sr=1-11&fbclid=IwAR3Vmcp0PJOJyLUNjI2eGZa-qyzD95VY8Vq7kY-CKovMB8zpQugI4Vdgd98

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                    • OK, took the plunge and pressed the button late on Thursday. Set up a website. Constructed a Facebook ad. to target only those employed by the major airlines. Emailed a small list I already have.So far, 9 sales. Hmm. It's a start. 😲

                      Smartest thing I want to share, is an app at bookliner.net This lets you construct a single universal email link that will take readers, wherever they are, to their closest Amazon store.

                      So now available as Kindle or paperback from here. 


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                      • I thought that was a service Amazon themselves offered.

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                        • Could be. But the advantage here is you can see the analytics on the number of clicks and their location.
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                          • Great stuff, Iain. Best of luck!

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                          • Correction - the link app is at booklinker.net

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                            • Thanks, Iain. I've now grabbed a link for my just-published novel: an alternate-history comic psycho-techno-thriller: mybook.to/hammondconjecture

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                              • Glad that was useful. Sci-fi not really my thing but your blurb sounds interesting. I will download and give it a go! Read your bio, so you might be interested in mine as part of the action takes place in Papua New Guinea. Never bin there myself!
                                cheers,
                                Iain

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                              • UPDATE.
                                I'm fascinated by those Amazon bots and how they review sales every couple of hours. My short term targets are
                                a) Sell 50 books. That is the threshold for being eligible to appear in the 'also bought' linkings i.e. a reader looks at book that has been 'also bought' by one of my readers and they get encouraged to buy mine.
                                b) Get inside the Top 100 for one category, so the book gets featured on the best seller lists for that category.

                                Results so far, Day 1.
                                Sold 4 copies in the first few hours and that got the book to no. 627 in International Mystery & Crime
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                                Now, Day 9. Sold another 4 yesterday, and now at 28 total sales.  Inside the Top 400 in the category. Yay!  Way to go...
                                image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=38&dpx=1&t=1572601078...to be continued....

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                                • Updated UPDATE:

                                  5 weeks in. 60 sold. Plus another 85 shifted in a free flash sale. Is this good? No idea. Would be happy to hear some comparisons.

                                  Promoted originally via Facebook and LInkedin groups then moved on to a few days of KDP Amazon ads. Have pulled everything for now to avoid the Black Friday madness....just too much noise. Hence no sales for the past couple of days.
                                  What now? Maybe get started on Book 2?

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                                  • How's it going, Iain? Have you reached any of the goals you set yet? Hope it's going well.

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                                    • I have sold just over 100, had the equivalent of around another 20-30 read in Kindle Unlimited, given away 85 for free, and had only one bad review (2 stars).
                                      Lesson learned? Writing and publishing are the easy parts. Marketing is the hard bit. Considering I work in marketing I should know how to do it, but hey ho. Certainly if you do nothing, then nothing happens. When I stop promoting then sales dry up. But I am not finding paid advertising works (Kindle, Facebook, etc). Far better to pepper messages via groups I belong to in Facebook and LInkedin. I have also tried Twitter but that does not seem to work very well.
                                      So, in summary, it would be very difficult to make a living from a first book, but fortunately I don't need to worry about that. There is satisfaction in just having done it!

                                      Thanks for asking!
                                      Iain


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                                      • Well done for getting past 100!

                                        Yes, the marketing part sounds pretty awful. I suppose that's why publishing with someone who knows how it's best done is attractive, despite the (equally big) drawbacks.

                                        Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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                                      • Hi! I'm indie published (I set up my own publishing house to get my books out there), and my five-book post-Brexit YA dystopian series is now fully launched on Amazon!

                                        I went from writing my first word as part of NaNoWriMo 2017 to publishing the final book in two years, two months and nine days. I've learnt so much in the process - about writing, editing, publishing, design, technology, social media, marketing, and more.

                                        The most important thing I've learnt? How to shout about my own work! Every time I have a week when I don't get to push my books on social media, the sales drop. I've volunteered to give talks in schools and libraries, I've hassled a literary festival to put me on the self-publishing panel, and I've sold books at YALC and at one of the largest Christmas Markets in the UK. It's exhausting, but I have learnt to be enthusiastic about my books, and gracious if people aren't interested. And I've learnt to enjoy it!

                                        I know the target audience will love the books - I have the blog tour reviews and Wishing Shelf finalist status to prove it. I just need to get it into their hands, and connect with my readers.

                                        Here's my shouting for today: https://tallerbooks.com/battleground

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                                        • The biggest thing that I've learned is that writing the book is the easy part! Don't think that's going to shock anyone! I quite often struggle to find advise and tips on marketing that are specific to non-fiction/memoirs.

                                          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reflections-Mad-Memoirs-Kristina-Bryson-ebook/dp/B0855X89FX

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                                          •  IF YOU DO NOTHING...THEY WILL NOT COME.
                                            I changed my cover, dropped the price and did a spot of promotion last week. Not huge, but, hey, better than it was!image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=84&dpx=1&t=1584465778image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=83&dpx=1&t=1584465740

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                                            • Awesome work, Iain.

                                              I had a recent spike in sales on the back of, well, nothing. Eager to get back behind the promotion wheel though!

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                                            • I should have joined this thread before I first published on Amazon in November 2019. I also learned the hard way, like you here, that marketing is the real challenge. It needs to be planned BEFORE one publishes.

                                              I've tried to add a graph. My sales both paperback and ebook went quite quickly up to 50 odd. I guess mostly friends and relatives. It has 12 excellent reviews. 

                                              I then created little business-sized cards with the cover picture on the front and blurb on the back. These I handed out to the dog walkers on my regular walks/ jogs round the local common. In general, the cards were well received. Only a few absolute rejections per 100. My sales steadied at about to two per day. I had no idea whether this was my cards or simply being on Amazon. Half a dozen sold in the local independent bookshop. I had unsuccessful attempts at advertising on Amazon and Facebook. The funds were not well spent. 

                                              The day I was sent into isolation by the virus and could no longer go on the common, my sales stopped. This convinced me that my little cards had been working but it is no way to get rich.  I am planning to spend the next few weeks of purdah mugging up on various marketing approaches and then attempting a relaunch.

                                              The book, by the way, is Odessa 1919 - the Red Terror. It is a historical biography that tells the true story of a young wealthy Odessa family fleeing for their lives from Lenin's secret police. 

                                               

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                                              • Thank you for the insights into your self-pub experience, Ron.

                                                I have yet to spend any money on digital marketing but would say the opposite has happened for me. I wasted money on physical flyers, seeing no tangible return. I guess my target market of 14+ can be a bit trickier to reach.

                                                Have done a lot of research into amazon ads of late but have now decided to wait until the virus releases its strangle hold on the economy.

                                                Best of luck with whichever avenues you pursue in the future,

                                                C.J.

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                                              • Try joining a FB group called "20Booksto50K". The admin of that group is, I believe, a very successful self-publisher, and his page effectively outlines for other budding authors HOW, step by step, you can consistently make $50K a year from writing 20 books. It does seem like the strategy would work best for authors of series rather than stand-alone books, but nonetheless there are loads and loads of useful tips and tutorials on his page.

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                                                • Will check it out.

                                                  Thanks Emma!

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