Self-publishing with Createspace

proofI have just self-published a book using Createspace. It was quite easy as I used word to upload my file. Before uploading, I added page numbers to the word document, added a title page with copyright in my name, table of contents and introduction. I inserted a blank page between each chapter because that is how I wanted it. I also made sure that there were no headings at the bottom of a page. I made sure that my text started on the right as this is the norm for non-fiction books. At the end, I had references and an ‘About the author’ page. Once you have uploaded your book onto Createspace, you can see a digital proof of it. Look at this carefully before asking for a print copy of your proof. I made a couple of mistakes at first about how much space I wanted between chapters and headings but this wasn’t a problem as Createspace just allowed me to reload a file. The good thing is that they allow you to change and upload files as many times as you like. I made some more changes after I received the print proof copy of my book. It is worth getting a print copy as there are some things you just don’t notice on a digital proof. I am also really happy that I have a hard copy of my book. I went for a glossy cover and it looks great. Createspace added the ISBN code.

Createspace also creates a Kindle version of your book but I had already done this so I did not need it. I could have saved time if I had use Createspace initially.

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ is for sale on Amazon.

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Thinking of self-publishing? Read Kacie Taylor’s experiences

What made you want to write?

I love to read, especially YA fantasy, and I think reading and writing go hand in hand. I was sure I could create stories that were just as good, if not better, than the stuff I was getting from the library and book stores. So it began.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I submitted my first book to a few large publishing houses, but it was rejected. I haven’t tried submitting anything since, but have continued to write.
After some research online, I found out about self-publishing. One of the first kinds I looked into was POD (print on demand) but this almost always requires money up front. That wasn’t going to work for me. More recently, my husband, who also writes, told me to look into ebooks and mentioned lulu.com. I liked what I saw and decided to give it a try. The next hurdle was figuring out how to convert my manuscript into an ebook ready file. I’m not very tech savvy, so I went back to the internet for more research. I found a free conversion program called Calibre that could produce what I needed. It took a few tries to get it right, but I was finally ready to submit to lulu.com. Soon after, I used the same program to create a file for amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and submitted that as well.

What are the difficulties with self-publishing?

Since I am technically the publisher, I have to find ways to market and promote my book by myself, which is not easy. I’ve joined indie writer’s websites like The Indie Writer’s Network and Kindle Mojo, created a facebook page, started tweeting, and done other things to help get my book noticed. This is by far the hardest part of the whole process. But I’m not going to give up. I have very supportive family and friends, and my passion for writing will not end any time soon.
Tell us about your book.

My first published ebook, The Bride, is a YA fantasy with a hint of Beauty and the Beast, but with my own style and a few twists–

What is a king without a queen? Callia is chosen to be the next potential Bride of the king, a man many call a demon. Will she die like the other Brides before her? Can she survive in a place where nothing is what it seems, facing fear and friendship, love and betrayal? For the castle holds a secret only a Bride can discover.


You can visit Kacie’s blog http://www.kcataylor.blogspot.com and facebook page http://www.facebook.com/kacietaylorbooks for news and updates.

Her book is available at:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D8DYXF4/ref=s9_simh_bw_p351_d4_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1XYCTQZ5P1KSRVJFG314&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1560405502&pf_rd_i=154606011

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bride-kacie-taylor/1115765599?ean=9781304094742

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/kacietaylor

and iBookstore.

If you would like to share your experiences of self-publishing on my blog. Please email me at fayecarlisle at gmail dot com

Why grass-roots advertising is good for self-publishers

Libraries Work Because We Do!

Libraries Work Because We Do! (Photo credit: circulating)

I was feeling overwhelmed by the task of self-promoting my book recently, when another self-published author, sent me an article with a list of things I could do at a grass-roots level to promote my book. It reminded me that social media is not the only way to market my book and while I am building my social media links, I can pursue other avenues.

The article by Shannon Yarbrough suggested that as a self-published author you should invest in physical copies of your book, which you can give to the local library, local book club and local bookstore. Copies of your book can also be given to coffee shops, community centres, the local doctors’ surgery and the local hospital, where people sit around and read what is readily available in the book rack. You can also send your book to literary magazines and review sites.

Although I don’t have any physical copies of my book yet, I plan to look into the cost of producing some. Apparently, Createspace is quite reasonable but I still need to check this out. I have printed lots of leaflets promoting my book and I am slowly giving them out. As my book is a parenting book, many preschools, nurseries and schools have said that they are willing to distribute the leaflets to the children’s parents. I hope that these grassroots efforts will be fruitful especially as printing leaflets is not that cheap. The problem is that it is difficult to know whether the leaflets have actually been given out by the childcare providers so I have started calling them to check.

The other problem is that it is difficult to know what part of my marketing campaign is working. I know that people are downloading my ebook but I don’t know how they are hearing about it. Is it through websites and social media or is through my leafleting? If I knew what was working, then I could focus more of my efforts on that. So I guess what I need to be is clever and give out different coupon codes on my leaflets or tweets so I know which coupon code is leading to the most downloads (Smashwords.com allows authors to give out different coupon codes).

Corey Corcello, author of ‘Change Myself’, ‘Second Time Around’, and ‘Honey In Your Back Pocket’ http://circelloc.wix.com/author says, ‘I think the most rewarding part of self-publishing is that you finally get to see your hard work in print. Authors don’t self-publish just because they did not get accepted by a publisher. I have had two offers from different publishers to pick up my books, but right now, I like to keep the rights with me. I like to control what everything looks like and what goes into my books. It may be a little harder to get your name out there without an agent, but I feel like it is so much more rewarding to get your name out there just by word of mouth.’

7 tips on how to promote a book using SEO to get more traffic

 

English: A person navigating through a Chilean...

Many self-published authors have a website or blog to promote their book but it can be difficult to get people to your website to even see your book.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. You can maximise the chance of your website or blog appearing high up on a search engine list by making your site more visible to search engines.

How can you make your site more visible?

  1. Have 500+ key phrases (rather than key words) that relate to your website/book. It is easier for a search engine to find your site if you use a phrase such as ‘Psychology for parents’ rather than the single words ‘Psychology’ and ‘Parents’. Use lots of alternative phrases for the same thing. You can use keyword suggestion tools such as wordtracker.com, keywordspy.com and seobook.com. Use a few of these key phrases on every page of your website.
  2. If you have your own website, you can make sure that the first page that visitors land on contains your most important key phrases. It should also allow visitors to buy your book straight away. The headers and key phrases should be in bold, italics or underlined so that the search engines recognise these phrases are important.
  3. Page titles should include your most important key phrases. If you can adapt your website, then change the homepage to your book name and your about me page to your author name. This will help search engines to find you.
  4. Add ‘Meta‘ tags to every page of your website and make sure they are relevant. These are key phrases again.
  5. Add small images to every page, which will load quickly but still enable search engines to find you. Put a descriptive alt image tag on every image.
  6. Update the content on your site regularly and include links to other pages of your website. For example, I wrote a blog post on ‘Mindfulness techniques for children and teenagers’ and I linked this to an older post on ‘Mindfulness in schools’.
  7. To keep  people coming back to your website, make sure your content is engaging and interesting. People won’t buy your book, if you only consider optimising your site for search engines.

If you have wordpress blog like me, you can see the search terms people are using to arrive at your site in the stats section. It is helpful to know how people are finding you i.e. which key phrases they are using, so that you can work out how to improve your visibility on search engines. There are free web analytic tools such as Google Analytics, getclicky.com or piwik.org that enable you to see site stats if you don’t have it already built-in to your website/blog.

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How much does an author make per book?

My Books

My Books (Photo credit: Jennerally)

Self-publishing a book is not easy and can take a lot of effort to get the word out. However, there is the potential to make a greater return than the traditionally published author as you can keep between 70-90% of your sale. Amanda Hocking, the self-published author of paranormal romance for young adults and EL James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey are examples.

I read on Amazon that a traditionally published novelist will get between 7.50% and 10% of the price received by the publisher. i.e. if a book costs £10.00, the bookseller gets between 50% and 65% per copy so average that at 55% which = 5.50 of the £10 leaving £4.50. If an author is on a 10% royalty they get 45p  per book sold therefore. The average sale of a first novel in hardback by an unknown author at the moment is 400 copies. A mid-selling author ( ie. not the first novelist nor J K Rowling) would maybe sell 2,000… so it can be concluded that there is not much money in being a typical traditionally published author.

Self-published authors should not get too excited though as the average author earned just $10,000 (£6,375) in 2011 and half made less than $500.

The figures show that getting rich from writing books is like winning the lottery but with a lot more hard work. However, as a newly self-published author, I want to take my chances.

 

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How to write a press release to promote a self-published book

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

One of the first things I have started doing to promote my book is releasing press releases. I have registered at Prlog.org, which offer free press releases. It was relatively simple to register although you do need to have a business email (not a gmail or hotmail account) and you do need to verify your contact telephone number.

Other free press release sites are:  Open PRPR Fire, News Wire Today, PR Zoom, Idea Marketers

I have had between 30-90 views so far for each of my press releases on Prlog.org. Although this is a relatively small audience, I hope in the long-term I can build the profile of my book.

So how do you write a press release?

Here are some tips:

1) You have to write your press release in the third person.

2) Include quotes from you/your book.

3)Include links to your book but try to make your press release engaging and newsworthy.

4)Give your press release an attention grabbing headline.

Here is one of my press releases

Heading: Parents confused by conflicting advice in parenting books

Subheading: Parents are increasingly using parenting books to guide them in bringing up their children.

Body: In the past, mothers often lived near their own parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who were readily available with parenting advice. Nowadays, people tend to live further away from where they grew up and may not have family around to help them make childcare decisions. Therefore, many parents turn to parenting books for guidance. However, as the number of parenting experts out there rises so does the amount of conflicting advice, which creates confusion. Parents may worry whether they should or should not sleep train their baby or whether they should be following a strict routine or not. At one extreme there is the rise of attachment parenting books, which suggest that parents should carry their baby around at all times and sleep with their child. At the other extreme, there are books telling parents to get their baby into a routine straight away.
One book ‘Psychology for Parent: Birth to teens (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Psychology-parents-Birth-teens-eb…)’ tries to cut through the conflicting advice offered by parenting experts.  Carlisle says that her inspiration for writing the book was to provide evidence-based parenting techniques rather than opinion-based advice. She presents psychological research on parenting in an accessible way, so that parents can make decisions for themselves.

One controversy, Carlisle feels strongly about is whether breastfeeding affects the mother-baby bond. ‘I know that breastfeeding has important health benefits for babies but some mothers are made to feel awful if they can’t breastfeed and that is wrong. Many of my friends had problems breastfeeding their first child for various reasons, having a premature baby, having a baby with tongue-tie (a condition where the underside of the tongue is too tightly bound to the floor of the mouth for the baby to breastfeed easily), getting mastitis (inflammation of breast tissue) or not producing enough milk. I heard many comments when my son was a baby about breastfeeding leading to a better bond with your child but I was pretty sceptical about them.  In my book I discuss evidence, which shows that breastfeeding does not affect the mother-baby bond.’

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ covers a wide range of topics including attachment, discipline, mindfulness, giftedness, language development and special needs. ‘It is not just a book for parents of new-borns’ Carlisle says ‘My book is a reference guide that will last parents until their children are teenagers.’

Have you asked yourself the questions: Is it better to be too strict or too lenient with my child? Is it okay to smack? How can I help my child to read? How can I get my teenager to talk to me? What should I do if my child has dyslexia? If you want answers to these questions grounded in psychological research, then ‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ may be the book for you.

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ is for sale as an e-book on Amazon, smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/psychology-for-parents-fa…), Kobobooks (http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Psychology-for-Parents-Bir…) and Apple ibookstore.

Advertising your book when it is free

various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...

various e-book readers. From right to left iPad (Apple、2010) kindle DX (Amazon、2009) kindle 2 (Amazon、2009) kindle 1 (Amazon、2007) PRS-505 (Sony、2007) PRS-500 (Sony、2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below I suggest a number of websites where you can list your book when it is free.

I am not able to make my book free on Amazon for a selected period of time because I am not with the KDP Select programme. Many of the free book lists are for books going free on Amazon Kindle only. I now realise that there may have been an advantage in going with Amazon KDP select initially rather than going for non-exclusive promotion of my book on Amazon and Smashwords.com. 

If you are not in Amazon KDP select then you can advertise your book as free in different formats at these websites:

www.ereaderutopia.com

http://freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions This website allows you to advertise books, which are free on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Apple

http://blog.orangeberrypromo.com/sign-up-sponsorship-2/ Scroll right down to the bottom and you will see the orangeberry newbie promotion, which is the only free one. Your book has to have been published in the last 30 days and be free.

www.greatbooksgreatdeals.com You need to have 20 reviews with a 4+ rating or more to advertise on their free book list. However, you can advertise your book when it is free on Amazon and in the Barnes and Noble Nookstore.

http://ereadergirl.com/submit-your-ebook/ Your book has to be non-fiction, a children’s e-book or Christian fiction to advertise on this website. You can add your book to their list when it is free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nookstore and as a PDF on your own site.

http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/ You can use their free submission tool. It links to all the free listing websites easily.

http://blog.booksontheknob.org This site offers listings of free books in multiple formats-Nook, Sony, Kobo, Apple, Kindle.

Other websites where you can advertise your book when it is free on Amazon only are:

www.pixelofink.com

www.bargainebookhunter.com

http://bookgoodies.com/submit-your-free-kindle-days/

http://ereadernewstoday.com/ent-free-book-submissions/

http://snickslist.com/books/place-ad/

http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html You can post your book here when it is free on Amazon Kindle or any other Kindle website.

http://kindlebookpromos.luckycinda.com/?page_id=283

http://www.itswritenow.com/submit-your-book/

http://freediscountedbooks.com/submit/

http://digitalbooktoday.com/12-top-100-submit-your-free-book-to-be-included-on-this-list/ You have to have 18 + reviews  with 4+ rating to advertise your free book here. It also has to be a full-length book.

http://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/

http://www.theereadercafe.com

http://thefrugalereader.wufoo.com/forms/frugal-freebie-submissions/

http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/for-authors/ You need to have reviews with a 4+ rating

 

So where can you advertise when your book is not free?

https://www.facebook.com/galleycat/app_362465080506455 You can put any new book up here.

http://addictedtoebooks.com/submission Your book has to be under $5.99 and have at least 5 reviews on the US Amazon website.