Friday, April 3, 2015

Guest Post: Kristin Ravelle

How Not to Self-Publish (& Other Ruminations of a Newbie Author)

There are many miles along the road to becoming a self-published career writer. Like many writers, mine began when I was young, at age 12. I wrote, and then produced, a short play for my school class. The following year, it was a novella for the school library, The Mystery of Azalea Mansion, and later came an article about a local haunted house (currently posted on my website).

The Everlasting Spell, a paranormal, urban novelette, is my first online self-published work (available on both Amazon Kindle and Smashwords). A fellow author had helped me with editing, and I was just thrilled to be able to conquer the technical aspects of formatting to specifications. Okay, I had an ISBN number from Smashwords and I was self-published!  Right.

The work really begins here as marketing and making yourself known are perhaps even more important than writing in this very competitive business. I’ve summarized my current efforts by points. You might consider doing it in the reverse order that I did (i.e. publish last)!

Start an Author Web Page or Blog to Establish Author Presence
I chose Blogger as it’s free, and I wanted to run Google AdSense ads to see if I could make additional revenue. I chose to blog as I wanted to do book reviews for other authors as a way of learning about the community and what else was being published. Learning curve is forever!

Get a Goodreads Account
Get busy with doing reviews of the books you’re reading and connecting with other writers on Goodreads (over 10 million members!). They also have an Author Program that I haven’t even started to learn about yet.  I do find the platform awkward to navigate but they have something neat called a reviews widget that I’m currently using on my blog to show a Goodreads reviews feed of the book I’m reviewing as an added feature. I’ve also read that Goodreads was instrumental in helping Hugh Howey reach a new level of success.

Start an Author Pinterest Page
Pinning is addictive so I really try to limit my time on Pinterest, but you can also connect with others by following their boards, etc.  to increase your visibility. I love book covers and adding them to my book cover board. I also added my Pinterest widget onto my blog to bring in added visual appeal and awareness of my Pinterest page.

Learn to Use MovieMaker
MovieMaker by Microsoft Windows is a free download from the internet and it’s really easy and intuitive to use to create your own movies. I made my own video trailer for The Everlasting Spell by using free music and images from the internet which is perhaps not as professional as it could be but I really like that I made it myself! Save to your YouTube account for easy access.

Learn How to Use Photoshop
If you’re graphically inclined and have the resources to buy Photoshop and time to learn to use it, this is a great tool for making your own book covers. I’m a long way from doing this, but it’s on the list!

Learn About ISBN Numbers
Be aware that when you publish on Smashwords they will assign an ISBN to your Smashwords publication but that for each identity of your book (a Kindle e-version, a CreateSpace hard copy of the same book, etc.) you will require a different ISBN. In Canada, you get them free at Library and Archives Canada.

Join Twitter
At first, I had a very negative view of Twitter. I couldn’t understand why it was so popular with people tweeting little snippets of nothingness as I thought initially. On the strong advice of a fellow author, I eventually caved and joined, worried that between Pinterest and Twitter I would never emerge from my home office to see daylight ever again…

I discovered there are endless possibilities to be mined from Twitter. I found publishing houses, editors, other writers, reviewers, and bloggers all tweeting about everything to do with publishing. What a gold mine! I found lists of reviewers who are kind enough to do free reviews for indie writers (nothing beats a first review 4/5. Thank you to Tina Williams at A Readers Review Blog!).

I also found Larissa at The Howling Turtle. In response to my query, she offered me this guest post. Thank you Larissa! It’s so valuable to get exposure for new authors.

And Twitter is a place where you can shamelessly self-promote your books to the online community so research all the hashtags to figure out the community to tweet to where you can get the best reception for your work.

Engage in the Community
Recently I joined Xpresso Book Tours as they were looking for more blog reviewers on Twitter. The benefits are that I receive new books just about to be published to read for free, and increased traffic to my blog for the reviews and cover reveals that I post, and exposure. I’ve also joined Book Blogs a resource for book bloggers, and I know I will discover many more opportunities.

All of these activities require work, but are a framework that will help give credibility and exposure so I think using as many of these tools as possible will help authors on the road to success.  When I’m ready to publish my paranormal trilogy, the Iron Web, I plan to be in much better shape for self-publishing. I’ll probably even test the waters on Twitter’s #pitmad for agent interest!

Hopefully this ramble has provided ideas to those who hung in there to the end. To contact me:

The Everlasting Spell at Amazon

Oh, yes, and Write Another Book!

Kristin Ravelle 

About her book, The Everlasting Spell:

Urban, paranormal, romance novelette.

Casting a full moon spell to capture the love of Justin Rokoff seems crazy to college psychology student, Sabina Clair.

When she overhears a conversation about a powerful Celandrium Shop love spell, Sabina decides to take desperate measures to attract Justin, the captain of the men’s rowing team and her unrequited crush since starting college.

The bliss of Justin’s immediate and undivided romantic attention very quickly turns to dread when the antique spell works perfectly, with unexpected, sinister results.

Sabina must now find a way to reverse an irreversible spell before it undoes her!

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

1 comment:

  1. Appreciate the guest post, Larissa! Have a wonderful Easter weekend to all.


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