Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Indie Authors

#SelfPublishing Writers Need All the Help They Can Get


I’ve periodically shared various writing tools and different writing software… 

Selfpublishing Writers Need All the Help They Can Get

Image Courtesy of Ivan Soares Ferrer ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ivanferrer-35808

I’ve never quite known what to say about these writing aids, mostly because writers are so different in their needs and habits

One thing I think I do know, since I am a self-published author, is that we Indie-types really do need a lot of help (I mean, we’re up against the Big Houses with their huge staffs and loads of money…).

So, when I saw, Writing and Editing Tools for Self-publishing Indie Authors, on the ALLi site, I decided to share a few links (do check out the full article for more info on these tools…).

As indie author, Karl Drinkwater, says at the start of the article, he’s giving a summary of Writing Analysis Tools

editMinion (Free) which checks on such things as adverbs, “weak” words, dialogue “said”s, passive voice, prepositions, homonyms, and cliché.

And, another free tool that also helps you spot various “problems” in your writing

Hemingway App “Select the sample text, delete it, paste in your own. The tool is live…”

And, something a bit different than those first two…

Online Consistency Checker “As the name suggests, this is purely for consistency…”

And (perhaps to encourage you to go to the full article) here are the others with no commentary…

AutoCrit

ProWritingAid

WordRake

Grammarly

Finally, just before Karl shares four valuable Tips, he says:

“Tools are not a cure-all, and amongst the useful suggestions there will be many false positives. Tools are also not a replacement for the human touch. However, they invariably provide some useful insight. Why not try some of them out on your current or past works and see what they flag up? As indie authors it’s easy for us to edit and upload improved versions of our books at any time.”

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Independent Bookstores ?vs? Indie Authors


Ever heard of Joe Konrath?

Independent Bookstores and Indie Authors

Image Courtesy of Brendan Gogarty ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/brendan76-44966

If you take that last link, you’ll find 34 past posts that feature him

He’s a rare bird who was doing quite well in traditional publishing, had some difficulties that clearly disturbed him, took to Indie publishing and hasn’t looked back since.

If you need advice to navigate the life of Indie authorhood, he’s one of the top sources for reliable information.

A necessary word of caution: Mr. Konrath has “made it”—he works tirelessly—even if you follow his example you may never “succeed”—do read my most important post for writers

There’s a recent post of Joe’s called, Konrath’s Advice For Indie Booksellers.

He happens to have sold over 2 million books through Amazon.

He recently sent a newsletter to a large group of his readers (he hadn’t sent one since 2014…)

He received the following response from an Indie bookseller on his list:

“One of the first rules of marketing is know your audience.

“It is not the best technique to send an email soliciting orders for Amazon and their related products to Independent Bookstores. This is not the way to win friends and garner bookseller support.

“Knowing that you are putting your personal efforts into Amazon guarantees that your titles are  special order upon request only for my store.”

After he relates much more surrounding his relationship with booksellers and with Amazon, Joe says this:

“The above email…took me to task about one of the first rules of marketing. Well, what is one of the first rules of retail? Isn’t it stocking items that customers want to buy?

“In my novel ‘Dirty Martini’, I thanked over three thousand booksellers, by name. But once I signed with Amazon, these booksellers considered me the enemy, and refused to stock my books.

“Is that the way to compete with Amazon? By driving your customers to Amazon.com because they can’t find what they want at your bookstore?”

There’s also a link to a post from 2011 that had some suggestions Mr. Konrath had given Independent bookstores.

If you’re an independent author (or, want to be), I suggest you read both posts, carefully

But, just in case you don’t like taking links out of blog posts, here’s a list of his recommendations:

Remember why people shop indie
Hold author events
Start publishing

By the way, some bookstores have already become their own publishers… 

And, here’s one of Joe’s closing remarks to Indie Booksellers:

“Nobody wants to see the Indies disappear. There is a tremendous opportunity here, but it starts with taking the emotion out of how you view self-published authors and looking at it with an eye to what customers want.”

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Something for #Readers & #Writers . . .


This blog is like me—more maverick than classifiable

I report on Reading, Writing, and Publishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I Re-Blog others’ posts on those three topics the other days of the week.

I am an author and I like to give my stuff away…

Of course, if you’re a regular visitor, you know all this; but, I get most of my traffic from unsuspecting folks putting words into search engines

There are two other kinds of bloggers who authors and readers especially like—Book-Bloggers & Bloggers-Who-Do-Book-Reviews—sometimes a person is really both but some folks want to be one or the other (and, finding clear definitions for either is difficult…)

I’ll share two sites that cater to these types of blogs.

First, The Book Blogger List:

What they say about themselves:

“We have created this site to help book bloggers find like-minded bloggers and help authors find book bloggers that might be interested in their book.”

I’m really surprised they don’t mention Readers………

Perhaps they feel it’s way too obvious that a reader would like a place to find blogs about books…?

Now, their “rules”:

“Instructions for Authors

“This database of book bloggers is organized by genre of interest. If a book blogger has expressed interest in multiple genres, they will be listed in each category. Any book blogger that is listed here has asked to be listed.  Keep in mind that when approaching a book blogger about your book, use your manners and your common sense. Don’t approach a blogger who only reads children’s lit to read your non-fiction business book. Choose bloggers that are interested in your genre.”

“Instructions for Book Bloggers

“This is a site for you to list your book blog as well as find some bloggy friends. All the entries will be checked every two months. If your blog has not been posted to during those two months, your listing will be removed. If you are taking a blogging break – or going on a really long vacation, let us know and we won’t pull your listing.”

Now, let’s take a look at The Indie View.

First, “Indie” generally means “not from the big, old, traditional publishers”

The Indie View has three main sections:

Latest Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web

The Indie Reviewers List

Indie Author List

If you’re a writer looking for reviews, use their main link and scroll the right side-bar for Registration Requirements.

And, partly because there are so many book-blogs and partly because I want this post to be of value, here’s one more place to visit:

http://bookblogging.net/
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Publishing Predictions for 2015


I have to give a lot of credit to anyone who makes serious predictions about publishing… 

Publishing Predictions 2015

Image courtesy of Tracy Olson ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/designkryt

In today’s seriously frenzied book-world, predictions can be hazardous

However, Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, has the experience and credentials to make credible predictions.

Smashwords is “the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”

And, Mark has a recent article called, 2015 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Slow Growth Presents Challenges and Opportunities.

As usual, I’ll give you a few excerpts that I hope encourage you to read the full article:

“To the extent any of us can predict the future…predictions help stir the imagination, spark constructive debate and assist with strategic planning.”

“I’m confident that decades from now, ebook self publishing will be viewed by historians as no less transformative than the advent of the Gutenberg printing press.”

“Recent years of exponential ebook growth have given way to a new normal of slower growth, greater competition and disruptive business models and power struggles.  These factors create new threats and opportunities for publishing industry participants.”

And, here are Mark’s twelve predictions for 2015 (each header I list here has valuable information in the full article…)—I find numbers 5, 7, and, especially, 10 quite surprising

1.  More authors will aspire to publish indie

2.  Indie authors will capture more ebook market share

3.  Screen reading will increase, but at a slower rate

4.  2015 will be slow growth for most authors, indie and traditional alike

5.  Indie authors face increased competition from traditional publishers

6.  Large publishers step up usage of FREE

7.  FREE will lose more mojo

8.  Many indies will quit in 2015

9.  Time management will separate winners from losers

10.  Amazon Will Use Kindle Unlimited to Pay Authors Less

11.  New VAT rules in Europe will put a damper on European ebook sales

12.  Back to basics:  The bestselling authors in 2015 win with best practices

And, when you go to the full article, don’t forget to read the Comments

Also, if you have any intention of using Smashwords for your own publishing, do check out Mark’s article, Smashwords Year in Review 2014 and Plans for 2015.
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Open Up To Indie Authors


I’ve read so much trash in the news about how self-published authors are ruining humanity’s “Literary Heritage” that I’m convinced certain people are quite jealous of Indie writers.

“How dare they decide to publish without the blessing of the Gatekeepers?!”

Well, simply put, they’re quite fed up with what traditional publishers represent.

If you really have no clue about what’s been happening with the Indie author movement, check out my over-100 posts about self-publishing.

And, if you want a more experienced perspective than mine—a writer who’s always been a maverick—you can read what Orna Ross, Founder and Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has to say in, Why Self-publishing Is So Good For Literary Culture.

To encourage you to read her article, let me share a few excerpts:

“Corporate publishers and agents now scour self-publishing sites, hoping to woo writers away from the indie option.”

“Corporate publishing works from a scarcity model, grounded in commercial principles. It selects a very few books to be published, assigns them a value dictated by publishing overheads and supply chain, and protects their value with copyright.”

“Self-publishing works from an abundance model, grounded in creative principles. All books can be published and it is writers and readers who decide on value, based on a wide variety of considerations.”

“This apparent cri de coeur about literary values is actually fear of change, often from those who are invested in the old order. And fear of the creative. Creativity is never orderly and neat; it’s colourful and chaotic and kaleidoscopic and we need a publishing scene that acknowledges, and is prepared to be more reflective of, that truth.”

This past April, Alli launched their Opening Up To Indie Authors Campaign.

Here’s the campaign in a nutshell:

“Festivals, awards, libraries, bricks and mortar bookstores and writing associations all are traditional bastions of the world of letters and with good reason. Finding ways to build positive connections and relationships with these places can be of huge benefit for you and your books – as they offer your work the crucial exposure to readers who are just waiting to discover their next good read.”

How the Movement aids writers:

  • “By helping indie authors better understand how the book trade operates, including retailers, events organisers, libraries, awards programmes and reviewers
  • “By making clear that the best modern self-published books meet the quality standards expected from the best trade-published work”

I especially encourage you to Sign Their Petition.

Even if you don’t read the book or sign the petition, your ideas and feelings about this movement are very welcome in the Comments :-)
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