I get lots of emails a week asking me questions about self-publishing…I spend a lot of time personalizing each answer to these emails but most of them ask the same things and so I decided to do a blog post answering the most general questions. After reading them, if you have more specific questions, feel free to email me…
Q: Where did you get the ideas/story from?
A: That’s not something I can really answer. Ideas were just kind of there and the more I thought about them, the more the story unfolded and changed.
Q: How did you do it?
A: I sat down, outlined (which is my process and is conducive for all authors), and then wrote. My biggest advice is to write, write, write. The more you write the better you become. (Look at the progression of my writing from Driven to Fueled to Crashed.)
Q: How did you get people to read your books before publishing them?
A: I researched blogs that featured my genre for a while. Then about 30 days prior to my release I emailed them (or submitted via their website – each blog has their own specifications so make sure to take note) – a personal email (not a blanket email to 50 all at once) saying something specific about their blog and gave them some info about Driven (blurb, genre, release date, title, length, cover picture) and asked if they’d be interested in reading an ARC (Advanced reader’s copy) in return for a review. A review = visibility = readers seeing it and possibly buying it.
I contacted about 325 blogs for Driven. (Yes, it took forever). I received about 50 responses saying yes, they wanted an ARC.
Another way is to do a blog tour (look at your fav sites and you can see the companies they use or tour with)…this helps with exposure too.
There are also groups on Goodreads. You can see which reading groups fit your genre and contact the admins and see if you can offer copies for free to their members in exchange for a review.
Q: Did you hire someone to edit and format it for you so it’s ebook ready or did you do that yourself at first?
A: I did hire an editor with all three books. Editors are worth their weight in gold and there are definitely good ones and bad ones out there. I hired someone to do my cover design as I’m graphically disinclined. I formatted the e-book myself for Driven (and have since had it redone to be more fancy looking). The KDP website explains how to do it and if you google e-book formatting, there are tons of helpful websites on how to do it.
Q: When did you start promoting Driven before you published it?
A: When the first ARCs went out or about 30 days out I established a FB page, a Twitter Account, a Goodreads account, started my Amazon author page, etc.
Q: What are betas and where can I find them?
A: Betas are readers who read your book and tell you their thoughts on it. Some authors have people beta it as they’re writing their novel, others wait until the very end. I’ve done it both ways. For me, the most important thing for a beta is honesty regardless if it hurts my feelings or not. Where can you find a beta if you do not already have friends in the book community and don’t want to ask family? Try Goodreads. Look up beta groups there and there are people that offer to read your book and give you feedback.
Q: How quick until an agent will call?
A: There is no guarantee an agent ever will. There are plenty of successful authors that are self-published and prefer to stay that way.
Q: A blogger gave me a bad review, what now?
A: Well, we all get bad reviews. Of course they are hard to read but try to take something from them to make your story better. But remember bloggers are your friends. It’s not wise to badmouth a blogger because they dislike your story….don’t bite the hand that feeds you and all that…
Q: How do you get reviews on Amazon?
A: You can never ‘get’ reviews…you have to hope your book is good enough that readers chose to leave them or post gentle reminders about how reviews are important for all authors.
Q: What is the average word count on your books?
A: I’m a bad person to ask that question to because my self-published books are long. Like Driven was 125k words, Fueled 143k words, and Crashed 162k words…this is not typical of the industry. An average words count on a traditional published book is 90-110k words. Some are more and some are less.
Q: How much should I charge for my book?
A: I can’t tell you that. Look at similar books to yours, look at your word count (i.e. book length) and decide.
Q: Why did you only use Amazon when you started out?
A: Honestly? Because I never thought anyone was going to buy it. Amazon has the easiest guidelines and instructions of all of the platforms out there and if you enroll in their KDP select program, you get special benefits…but with that said, the other platforms have their benefits as well.
Q: Do you edit as you go?
A: That’s a personal style that’s different with each author. I do edit quite a lot while I write but each author has their own way of doing things.