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In the United States, a violent crime occurs every 26 seconds. Police officers take an oath to protect and to serve, but the laws they uphold bind their own hands. Justice is blind, so evil perseveres. Mason Stone is a decorated war hero, and a respected S.W.A.T. Commander. He’s also an unhinged lunatic and a psychopathic vigilante. He believes society has evolved, but humans have not. He is a demon to some, a saint to others, and a savior to all. One man’s struggle to cleanse the world, is also one woman’s struggle to save him from himself.
A thriller. A love story. A lesson for us all about the human condition.
Today, I learned yet another lesson in self-publishing and I’m going to share it with you. As you may know, KDP Select allows a five-day free promotion period for ebooks. You can schedule it whenever you like using the Manage Promotions link from your Bookshelf. I’ve been extraordinarily busy and my three month term has almost flown by so when I realized this today, I decided to pull the trigger on the 5-day promo. Easy and simple to do.
Then I realized that as with everything else in self -publishing, the key was promoting it. Why would I want to give away free ebooks, you ask? Mostly because I hope to generate interest in the book and garner more honest reviews on my Amazon and Goodreads pages. I approach the book promotion process exactly the same way as I manage my social media platform – I seek to slowly and intentionally build a strong network of followers. I try to effectively utilize every tool available to me. I give more than I expect to get.
So…how to maximize my 5-free days? I found some places to promote free books and I quickly realized that last minute isn’t the best way to do this. Next time, I’ll plan better. It might sound like a lot of work, but I suggest that about a month before you plan to offer your ebook for free on Amazon, you do some research and sketch out a general marketing plan.
There are lots of places which will accept your submission and add your book to their sites and feeds, but the rules vary from site to site. Some require that you submit 14-days ahead of time while others will not even accept your submission until the free offer is live on KDP. Some have very strict guidelines about genre, content, number of reviews, and the score of your reviews. For instance, I ran across several places which would only accept a submission if your book has a review score of greater than 4 based on a set number of reviewers.
I’ll leave you with some ebook promotion links and the suggestion that you plan ahead for your free book promo with KDP. Also, don’t forget to utilize every other social media channel available to you – Twitter, Tumblr, FB, etc.
The good news is that as soon as I began submitting, I started to see my number of downloads climb. It works.
The above list is just a starting point. A simple Google search will yield hundreds of sites willing to promote your free ebook. Pay close attention to their rule and guidelines. Don’t waste your time (or theirs) submitting to those which aren’t suitable for your ebook.
The art in this post was created by Tessa Pearson, one of Ink & Alchemy’s Featured Artists. Click any of the pieces to go to her website. If you have art or writing that you want to share with the world, consider submitting to me. Click here to access the form.
Love & lit,
“Did you use a real publisher?”
“Is it a real book?”
I’ve heard these questions and other similar queries many times, and not just from those dissociated with the writing and publishing industries. What kinds of people ask these questions? Traditionally published authors. Struggling writers. Non-writers. Friends and family. The guy at the bus stop. Basically anyone.
This is rude and thoughtless. It’s akin to walking up to a set of new parents, gurgling baby in arms and asking, “Can you trade it for a real one?” “Will it get any cuter?” Inherent in those questions and especially in the particular phrasing which uses the word real is the assertion that a self-published book isn’t valid. Dead wrong.
Self-publishing is a perfectly acceptable way to get your book into print. It’s quick and inexpensive. What it isn’t, however, is easy. It still requires the same hard work. You still need to write on your lunch hour and burn the midnight oil. You still need to write, write, and thump on that manuscript until it doesn’t make you want to choke with embarrassment. Then, you need to find a trusted cadre of readers brave enough to give you true and harsh feedback. Rewrite again. Find an editor. Rewrite again. Proof that sucker multiple times.
The process of writing hasn’t changed a bit. It’s still really hard to do it well and terribly difficult to find success. The good writing will hopefully get noticed and the bad writing will sink to the bottom. Note that this is just a general rule and isn’t necessary true in all cases – see The Cuckoo’s Calling and 50 Shades of Grey.
You finally drag your tired carcass across the finish line with this raggedy-ass manuscript in hand and guess what? More work and lots of it. You either need to hire someone to design your cover or get very familiar with GIMP or Photoshop. You need to navigate the idiosyncrasies of .mobi files versus .epub. You must slay the dreaded auto-indent that lives in KDP-land.
I’m not saying that every self-published book out there is a sparkling, beautiful gem, just waiting to be discovered. Sub-standard work exists and the fact that anyone can publish pretty much anything they want means that the publishing world has drastically changed. We need to change with it. We need to accept and understand the new paradigm and begin to strengthen it.
What I’m saying is a self-published book doesn’t suck simply by virtue of being self-published. It very well might be poorly written and ill-imagined, but you must read it before you make that determination.
Self-publishing isn’t new, it’s e-publishing that’s new. Proust paid his own bill in order to get Swann’s Way published . Many familiar authors such as Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, Benjamin Franklin, and Edgar Rice Burroughs (among countless others) utilized some form of self-publishing.
So your manuscript is finally ready. You go through the steps required to turn it into an ebook and then a physical book. Are you finished?
HELL, NO. You are not even close to being done.
Now you must market this thing. You must network and promote. And lest I be misunderstood, let me clarify something here – when I speak of marketing and promoting, I mean you will spend months, maybe years, building a platform and maintaining it.
This process is not for cowards. It isn’t going to work for those who lack initiative, follow-through, or tenacity.
So – have some respect, please. The next time you speak with someone who just self-published a book, think about the tremendous amount of perseverance, hard work, and sheer heart that it took. Congratulate them on their huge accomplishment. Give that author a big old bear hug from me!
If you wish to have an opinion on the book, you will need to do one of two things:
1.) Go buy the book and read it.
2.) If you don’t want to buy the book, ask the author if you may receive a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I guarantee every single author will agree immediately. Now go home and read that book.
Finally, go to Amazon, Goodreads, and B&N and review the book. Be kind but give them your honest opinion. These reviews are invaluable for several reasons. Remember I said anyone can publish and they do? This means that the market is glutted and one of the important ways that authors differentiate themselves is using reviews.
Yikes! I can hear everyone out there clamoring and shouting questions about the current state of book reviews.
Are they trustworthy? Can one pay to get a review?
Answers: I don’t know. Yes, I suspect so.
This is a topic for another post and I will table it for now and come back to it at a later time.
Let’s just focus on HONEST REVIEWS. If you can deliver them with clarity, honesty, and specificity, they can serve to help the writer better understand her readers. That is worth it’s weight in gold. If you have something to say that might seem a little harsh to just toss out there into the cyberworld, limber up your fingers and send that author a kind but honest review of his book. This is a kind and generous, and something that most people don’t take the time to do for writers.
Criticizing or diminishing the efforts of self-published writers weakens the industry. Instead, let’s take a positive approach. Encourage and applaud self-published authors. Review. Refuse to give anything but an honest review.
By the way, most of these principles also apply to indie artists who are trying to make their way. Let’s lend support and love to all creative people brave enough to put their work out there.
P.S. If you choose not to read the book, you only have one option. Kindly shut up about it until you have something informed and useful to say.
These gorgeous collage pieces were brought to you by one of Ink & Alchemy’s Featured Artists, the talented Emilia Elfe. Clicking any artwork will take you to her website.
As always, thanks for spending time with me. If you wanna hang out some more, visit my platform.
Kyoko M has a terrific blog about writing. She recently published her debut novel, The Black Parade, which has a really bad-ass cover, if you ask me. Pay her a visit. Let’s band together as writers to learn from and support each other.