Do You Have a Publishing Plan?

by Jami Gold on May 7, 2015

in Writing Stuff

Field of daisies with text: Can You Daisy Chain Your Release Schedule?

Those of you who have been following my publishing process might be wondering why the one book I have out so far—Unintended Guardian—is free.

After all, it costs money—potentially lots of money—to publish a book. On that short story, I paid for editing, cover design, and formatting, and now that Amazon has caught up with the freebie price in all their stores (except for Germany, Mexico, and Japan—the slackers), I’m not making any money to recoup those costs.

That sounds like a good way to go broke, right? *smile*

Well, let me fill you in on my publishing plan, and we’ll take a look at when it might make sense to give our books away for free…

The Six Elements of Success for Indie Authors

Over a year ago, I ran a couple of posts with insights from a survey of self-published authors. Beverly Kendall conducted a survey with questions to dig into whether self-published authors who strive for professional quality find more success.

Her survey results indicated that those who received professional editing and have a professional cover are more likely to earn more money. Duh, right?

But her survey revealed other surprising insights as well. In particular, her report delved into the six elements that help maximize income for self-published authors:

  • Write a series (or market loosely connected books as a series)
  • Make a series-related short story, novella, or the first novel free
  • Include excerpts of other stories, especially at the back of the freebie
  • Price novel-length books in the $2.99-$4.99 sweet spot
  • Build a backlist of quality stories
  • Don’t expect success overnight—think in years

Of the respondents who did all those things right, 81.82% earned over $10K and 57.04% earned more than $50K. That sounded like a good plan to me. *smile*

The Power of a Freebie

Notice that the second item on that list specifies that we should offer a book related to our series for free. From Beverley’s survey, for authors with an income:

  • Under $10K: 32.53% offered a series freebie
  • Over $50K: 68% offered a series freebie
  • Over $500K: 88.24% offered a series freebie

In other words, freebies correlate to higher incomes. We can understand the psychology of that effect by examining other aspects of our life.

Grocery and warehouse stores give away free food samples to get us to try new items all the time. Smartphone apps often have a free version to entice us to get hooked on a function or game where we pay for add-ons.

This approach is known in marketing terms as a sales funnel. The Copyblogger site has gone so far as to say that 100% of authors with a sales funnel will make more money.

From Copyblogger:

“Simply put, a product funnel is a way of organizing your works so that one product leads logically into another.

You do this by setting up a series of pointers (in the backs of books, in product descriptions) in order to steer readers to the places you want them to go, and to give them compelling reasons to do so.

Products at the top of the funnel must be easy to consume. Product A, which casts your widest net and scoops in as many prospective readers as possible, should ideally be free. Product B can be a bit more expensive.”

When Doesn’t a Freebie Make Sense?

As  the purpose of a freebie is to direct readers down into the funnel, we need other books to direct them to. It doesn’t do us any good to give something away and not use that page right after they finish our story to try to sell them something else where we can make money.

For a freebie to work, we need to have more than one book for sale. So this brought me to the first specifics of my plan:

  • Offer a freebie, but…
  • Have another book for sale first

More Books for Sale Equals a Backlist

As of a year ago, I’d completed three novels in my series and one short story. I could have gone the route of Liliana Hart and put them all up for sale at the same time. Ta-da! Instant backlist—like one of those other bullet points.

However, I’m a slow writer, and I didn’t want to hold my books back that long. Courtney Milan’s advice of doing something every 90 days to increase visibility and take advantage of Amazon’s 30 and 90-day algorithms was closer to what I felt capable of.

So that brought me to the second specific element of my plan:

  • Create an “instant” backlist, but…
  • Spread releases out over 90 day increments

Meet My Daisy-Chain Plan

This year’s release schedule is insane for me, and as a slow writer, I’ll likely never have another chunk of releases like this again. But this insanity was all part of my plan. *smile*

  • In Advance: Have a “base” of three novels completed to create a backlist and one story to use as a freebie.
  • In Advance: Hold back releases long enough to get the first novel and the freebie ready to sell (covers, formatting, etc.) and the other novels close (i.e., they can be polished and formatted within their 90-day window).
  • Day 1: Set up first novel for pre-order 90 days out.
  • Day 5: Offer freebie for sale with cover, excerpt, and buy links for the first novel in the backmatter.
  • Day 6-85: Finish editing, cover design, etc. for second novel, and set up for pre-order with a 90-day window.
  • Day 75-80: Submit final draft of first novel with blurb, cover, and buy links for the second novel in the backmatter.
  • Day 90: First novel releases.
  • Day 86-170: Finish editing, cover design, etc. for third novel, and set up for pre-order with a 90-day window.
  • Day 160-165: Submit final draft of second novel with blurb, cover, and buy links for the third novel in the backmatter.
  • Day 175: Second novel releases.
  • Day 171-255: If we were ready with a fourth novel by this time, we could keep the chain going.
  • Day 245-250: Submit final draft of third novel with blurb, cover, and buy links for a potential fourth novel in the backmatter.
  • Day 260: Third novel releases.

In other words, the backmatter of each book leads to the buy links of the next book. From the very beginning, my freebie readers had someplace to go as soon as they finished reading, and the readers of each novel will have someplace new to go as well.

My Crazy Schedule

So if I haven’t answered your email, or if I’ve been incommunicado on social media, now you know why. I have a book coming out every 90-ish days this year:

That schedule sounds impressive except for the fact that it took me years to complete those stories. It’s just the release schedule that’s fast. *smile*

While I’d love to keep the chain going with a fourth, fifth, etc. novel, I’m not sure that will happen in time to leave the chain unbroken. (I’m only halfway through drafting the fourth novel and writing time has been non-existent.) Come November, I might just collapse for a while and come out with books four and five later next year.

The Pros and Cons of a Daisy Chain Release Schedule

The benefits of this daisy-chain plan are that it combines the quick-ish backlist of Liliana’s plan with a nod to Courtney’s plan for making the most of Amazon’s algorithms for slow writers. In addition, it creates a sales funnel of four products with a place to send our freebie readers right away.

Obviously, this plan won’t work for everyone. It requires several books to be written in advance (unless we are are a fast writer), and it takes money to get those books ready to go before any royalties are paid. However, with planning and advance preparation, this plan can work.

For me, writing those other stories kept me busy while I was trying the query route, and my plan was that I would try to fight the “dead genre” issue only until I’d finished the third novel. So other than the usual procrastination problems, none of the time writing, waiting, or holding back was “wasted.” *smile*

I came up with this plan several years ago, and those delays were part of the plan. Going back to the six bullet points of success, I figure I’m not doing too badly:

Yes, I really am this much of an over-thinker and planner in normal life (yet I write by the seat of my pants—go figure). Time will tell if my plan works, but at least no one can say that I didn’t think things through. *smile*

Do you have a publishing plan? What is it? Which of those six elements of success is your strongest? Which is your weakest? Do you have any suggestions or questions about this daisy-chain plan?

Pin It
36 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Ella May 7, 2015 at 7:19 am

My plan is close to yours, only I guess I’m a fast writer. What that really means is that I have no life. 🙂 My goal is a novella every 30 to 60 days after the initial novel, with random short novels in there if they pop up after NaNo. 🙂 It may take longer than I like to get the first one online, though. I’ve had a hard time finding beta readers, so I’ve been putting chapters up on Scribophile and the Critique Circle to try and polish up the first one. My main issue is trying to figure out if I can publish out of order in my series without confusing people too much… I have a long series planned, and I know I won’t get all of the books written (well, highly unlikely, at any rate). I have a few novellas done, but one is pretty far in the future of the series (#417) – but I feel that it’s also the best so far (the latest one written).

I like the idea of using a short story related to the series as your freebie lead-in. Wondering if I could use a mid-series for that. Give them an idea where it’s all leading to, even if it does spoil a little bit of the first few books.

I love your posts. They always make me think!

Reply

Jami Gold May 7, 2015 at 9:20 am

Hi Ella,

LOL! Yeah, my life balance is being shot to hell this year, and I’m looking forward to having it back. 🙂

I’ll probably do a post in the future about how well all this is working for me, as there are more to the pros and cons than I could get into here. But so far–with my low expectations! LOL!–this is all working as I’d hoped. 🙂

Good luck with your plan! I’m jealous of fast writers, but it makes me feel better when I get messages from my copy editor “complaining” that she made it through 2 whole chapters without any errors. I take my silver linings where I can get them. *snicker* Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Reply

Anne R. Tan May 7, 2015 at 7:37 am

Hi Jami,

You should consider bundling your books into a box set. Voila! Another product to release after Book 3 comes out.

I’m a slow writer too. So if I don’t finish my novella by the 60 day mark after the release of Book 2, I’m bundling my two novels together for a “double play” bundle. This will give me three products to sell: Book 1, Book 2, and Bundle.

Annie

Reply

Jami Gold May 7, 2015 at 9:32 am

Hi Anne,

Yep! That’s in the plan. 😀

The post I did about Courtney Milan’s advice for slow writers was based on a workshop I went to with her. And she shared lots of ideas like that: bundling the first 3, writing short stories or novellas for anthologies, bundling 3 previously released shorts into one independent ebook and print, etc.

I came up with the details of this whole plan when I worked out my strategies in my business plan last year. So I know first-hand how helpful it is to come up with these long-term goals. 🙂 Good luck with your plan, and thanks for sharing!

Reply

Peggy Bjarno May 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Jami, your posts are always full of information that is useable, thank you so much! I am assuming that the post and the Beverly Kendall survey is for ebooks. I have a friend who has done a fantastic trilogy, he’s self-pubbed them (great covers, expert editing) but he’s not selling. His books are also available as ebooks, but he’s selling them at $9.99. I keep telling him that he’s priced them beyond what most buyers of ebooks are willing to spend. I intend to share this post of yours with him, as well as Beverly Kendall’s survey, in hopes that he will see that it’s “not just me talkin’ here!” I also think the idea of a freebie short story is fantastic! Now THAT might just get him going.
So how and where do you post a freebie short story?
Many thanks for your efforts on behalf of other authors!
Peggy

Reply

Jami Gold May 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Hi Peggy,

Yes, I’d guess that most of the focus for the survey and the respondents was for ebooks. And you’re right, that $9.99 price is going to distance him from most of his market. The first post I did about Beverley’s survey has more details about ebook pricing, as well as all the links to Beverley’s survey report and insights.

For my short story, since I wanted it to be the same level of quality as my novels, I treated it the same as far as distribution. I chose to go very wide distribution with it to make that funnel mouth as big as possible: Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, GooglePlay, Smashwords, Wattpad, etc. (And listing it for free in other places allows you to ask Amazon to price match so they’ll drop it from their usual minimum of $0.99.)

I hope that helps. 🙂 Thanks for the great questions!

Reply

Ebony May 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Dear Jami,
I would most likely be quite lost without you and your blog. This is pure genius, and revealed at the perfect time(as always). I may just end up borrowing your plan…with a few tweaks, of course. As of now, publishing is a few years away, but it’s always good to have a plan in advance. As always, thank you for posting this advice.
-Ebony

Reply

Jami Gold May 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Hi Ebony,

*blush* Thank you for the kind words!

And yes, definitely make tweaks to fit your situation, goals, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

Reply

Tamar Hela May 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Okay, this was insanely helpful, Jami! Thanks again for your words of wisdom! I’m now traditionally published, but toying with the idea of releasing romance novels under a pen name and keeping them indie so I can be a hybrid author. This publishing plan is totally doable! You ROCK! X

Reply

Jami Gold May 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Hi Tamar,

Yay! I’m glad you found this helpful! If I’d overcome the “dead genre” issues and gone the traditional publishing route, I would have gone hybrid as well to take advantage of the best of both worlds. 🙂 Good luck and thanks for the comment!

Reply

Serena Yung May 7, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Hey Jami,

Haha I need a backlist too. But apart from the story I am writing now, I only have two completed novels, one of which is already self-published, but not in ebook form because I don’t know how to make the map fit on the screen without jumbling it up. :O

For the making the first novel free method, I know full well what the author is trying to do, but it still works on me anyways, lol.

As for my publishing plan, though I’m not planning on selling my books, it was still very fun to read this post. Also, I have a sort of unique problem where my story will take many books, probably at least 9 books in total where each book is 300 ish pages. If I order them from Amazon.com (I.e. the States) to Canada, with my member discount, where we assume I only have 9 books, each 310 pages (it’s size 5.5 X 8.5 inches), then it will be USD$65 to order these nine books including shipping (doesn’t include any import fees though…).

And if there will be 12 books–hopefully not–it will be about $79!!! (And many friends and family live in countries even farther from the States than Canada. Nearly all my family live in Hong Kong…)

Not that many people will be willing to pay that much, haha, even friends and family. But my story isn’t the Harry Potter type of series where each book is also a self-contained, finished story, I.e. for my story, you need to get the whole 9-12 books to finish the story (like with the Lord of the Rings series, where you need to read all three books to know the story). So, since I figure most people can’t afford it, and CreateSpace, because of minimum paper, printing, and handling costs can’t let me charge at any lower price, I will ALSO sell them as ebooks.

Unfortunately Amazon direct Kindle doesn’t support Chinese books at the moment, so I will use SmashWords, which does. I tried downloading Chinese books from their site, and whilst the PDF format messes up the Chinese characters, the epub, mobi (kindle), and rich text format show the Chinese words perfectly on my kindle, so this encourages me. I know not all friends have kindles or other ereaders, so I could always do it the old fashioned way and simply send them my original MS Word docs, lol.

As for pricing, it’d be cool to charge it at the sweet spot, e.g. $3, but with at least 9 books, that would be $27, or $24 if I give the first for free. Many people don’t want to pay $20 + even if it’s for a long series of 9 books…I could charge it at an even lower price or even have it for free, but then there might be that problem we talked about where a very low or free price would make it look “cheap”, no pun intended. So I think I can do the “reader-sets-the-price” option that you can select at SmashWords.

What do you think of my ebook and reader-sets-the-price plan to make it more affordable to people?

Reply

Jami Gold May 8, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Hi Serena,

LOL! I take it your book keeps growing? 🙂

So it sounds like your book is following the model of a serial. All the serials I can think of are mostly ebook format, maybe because of that price issue.

However, if readers know a book is part of a serial, they’re generally willing to pay for the word count. In other words, as long as they know the book is part of a serial, they’d be willing to pay $3 for the ebook equivalent of 300+ pages–even without a defined ending. Yes, it adds up to a lot for the whole series, but they’re getting a lot of words too. Also, after all the parts have been released, many authors will offer the entire long story with all the parts as a single book for a discounted price (like $9.99).

As you said, the bigger issue might be that Kindle doesn’t support Chinese books. As for the “reader sets the price” aspect, I think that’s going to be purely your call. Only you know what your goals are for the book. 🙂

I just know that a big price for a serial isn’t unusual, so don’t let that be the primary worry driving your decision. Hope that helps! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

Reply

Serena Yung May 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Yes, it keeps growing and this makes me both anxious and thrilled at the same time. :O 😀

Very interesting! That’s very nice to hear that readers are generally willing to pay for each if they are part of a serial. And that is a great idea offering all for e.g. 9.99 dollars. Though I wonder if I can fit 2000+ pages on my MS word doc without crashing the computer =_= but I’m sure there’s a solution. Maybe I could check on the SmashWords website or email them to ask. Yeah I’ll have to rely on only SmashWords and not Amazon kindle direct for Chinese, haha. But at least SmashWords is a fairly popular place for getting ebooks too, I believe.

Hmm as for my goals, I do mainly want it for any interested friends and family (who can also read novels in Chinese…i.e. a minority of my friends only, unfortunately), yet charging them e.g. $3 per book and $9.99 for the whole set DOES look better than reader-sets-the-price, haha. Hmm, so I could do that and for any friends and family who want to have it free, I can still email them my MS Word docs, lol!

Oh about ereaders being able to read Chinese or not, I BELIEVE everyone’s Kindles should be able to, since my Kindle was bought from Amazon.com, which I don’t think was specially tailored to be able to read Chinese or other non-alphabetic languages, but I can still manage to read Chinese properly on my kindle anyway as long as I convert it to a mobi (kindle) file. I don’t know about other ereaders, though…

Speaking of, I have no idea why I can buy and deliver ebooks from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca to my kindle, yet I can’t do this for Amazon.cn (China.) :/ This is such a shame, as I have to order the books in paperback form and ship them all the way to the other side of the planet (from China to Canada, hahaha.) The shipping costs are obviously very expensive, but thankfully the book prices on .cn are amazingly cheap.

STILL if I could get the ebooks, I wouldn’t have to wait a whole week or more to get the books…(Yeah, I know, I’m so impatient. XD) I should maybe email Amazon.cn to see why their ebooks can’t deliver to my Amazon.com purchased kindle—yikes I’ll probably be emailing them my question in Chinese. D: (Though they probably accept English emails too.) It still feels really weird emailing a customer service in Chinese, as I keep feeling that I’ll have problems expressing myself, though for the previous few times I’ve emailed customer services in Chinese, they were able to understand me perfectly and I was able to understand them perfectly, so that was reassuring. Maybe it’s just my insecurities in Chinese acting out again, haha. Yes, for some reason, I actually feel that it’s a lot easier to write a 2000+ pages “novel series/ serial” in Chinese than to write a simple email in Chinese asking about a technical problem. I know this feeling doesn’t make any sense at all, lol, but…I’m weird? XD

Oh BTW, would Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) count as “serials”? Since they are split up into multiple books but none of the books have a sense of an “ending” like the Harry Potter books do? (Yet each of their books has an individual title…) If so, maybe I should start calling my “novel series” a “novel serial” or just a “serial”, lol! It’s just that on Wikipedia, they list LotR as an example of a special type of sequel, so I was confused.

Anyway, thanks so much for telling me about these pointers! I really didn’t know that readers would generally be willing to pay $3 for each book in a serial, haha. I could also make the first book free, maybe. And I’m still pondering on whether I should give each book its own name aside from the overall serial’s name.

(My “serial” is made even more complicated as I will have a sequel serial starring the hero and heroine’s son, so it will be a family saga—a family saga serial? LOL!)

Reply

Jami Gold December 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Hi Serena,

The line between a series and a serial can be very narrow. Personally, I’d say that it comes down to story structure. Do each of the stories have a Black Moment, Climax, and Resolution (at least of part of the plot)?

In other words, serials always end in a cliffhanger, as they’re truly just sections of a single story. Thanks for the comment!

Reply

Julie Musil May 7, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Girl, you blow me away! I got dizzy just looking at that schedule!

I’m also a slow writer AND a slow publisher. But hey, I’m working on my third book right now. They’re standalone books, which of course isn’t the golden ticket. But that’s ok. I’m doing what I love 🙂

Reply

Jami Gold May 8, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Hi Julie,

I wonder how much you could market them as a series though. If they’re in the same genre, you could put an advertisement for one of your other books (or an upcoming book) in the back matter.

That’s really one of the major draws of a series–leading readers from one book to another–and if your books have the same target market, it might work even without the series label. 🙂 Good luck and thanks for the comment!

Reply

Sophie May 7, 2015 at 10:07 pm

I was a little hesitant to comment on this, but it makes sense. This kind of advice could prove handy if and when I get to that stage! Gives me something to think about…

And good luck with the schedule! It looks jam-packed for sure!

Reply

Jami Gold May 8, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Hi Sophie,

Yep, most of my plans came from me filing ideas away over the years. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

Reply

Evolet Yvaine May 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

The only publishing plan I have in those six elements is writing a series. I plan to write a couple as well as anthologies. But I like this “Daisy Chain” idea and plan to steal it when the time comes. LOL Thanks for the post.

Reply

Jami Gold May 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Hi Evolet,

LOL–steal away! That’s why I went into the details. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

Reply

shah wharton May 11, 2015 at 4:55 am

Not for the first time I wish I could swap brains with you, Jami. If for no other reason than for your ability to overthink *wink* plan, and organise.

I’m hereby pinching your publishing plan because stealing one is as close as I’m going to get to having one. My ‘plan’ so far has been scatter-brained, inconsistent, impulsive and regretable. But I have learned A LOT since I started this journey. The biggest lesson, unfortunately, is that I was no where near ready to publish when I first did. Lol!

I imagine you’ve never been in that position, which is why I want your brain. Give it! 🙂

shahwharton.com

Reply

Jami Gold May 11, 2015 at 9:59 am

Hi Shah,

LOL! Nah, my brain is overworked and sleep-deprived. It’s really a wonder that I ever manage to sound coherent. Trust me, you don’t want it. 😉

I’m glad I could help give you ideas for your publishing plan though! 😀 Good luck and thanks for the comment!

Reply

Serena Yung May 13, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Hey, it’s me again! I just finished reading the last book of a fantasy series, and the marketing techniques it used are absolutely brilliant! They definitely worked on me, haha. Anyway, during this last book, there were these two new teenagers introduced in the story, and both are very likable and interesting people, and I’m very very interested in their relationship (especially the potential romance part, lol.) As well, there was an adult couple in the story; the two appeared in previous books, but we didn’t know anything of their backstory and only just learn that they were lovers in this last book.

And after I finished this book, I immediately saw an ad for the sequel series that will star the two teenagers whose romance I was very intrigued by! And I went: OH MY GOSH I NEED TO BUY THIS!! (Or preorder it.) There was a short excerpt from this sequel series, and clearly that tantalized me even more. Afterwards, there was an ad for a prequel series talking about the romance between that adult couple aforementioned. Now, I heard of that prequel series before, but wasn’t super interested in reading it yet, even when a friend of mine said she likes the prequel series more than the series I just finished; but now that the author advertised that this prequel series starred THAT particular adult couple that I was interested in, I was automatically more motivated to buy it later. There was a considerably longer excerpt from this prequel series. I was less compulsively “omg I have to buy this right now!!” about the prequel series, as I was a lot more crazy fascinated by that teenage potential couple than this adult couple, but still the ad made me want to read the prequel series because I now know who the stars of the story are.

Afterwards, there were more ads about other sequels, prequels, and side stories and side short stories about other characters I liked. The sequel to the aforementioned prequel but was still a prequel to the series I just read (I.e. there was prequel 1, prequel 2, the series I just read, then the sequel I was crazy enthusiastic about; I’m talking about prequel 2 right now.) This prequel 2 talks about the children of the stars of prequel 1; next generation sequels tend to interest me too, haha, especially as the children of prequel 1 protagonists are probably the parents of characters I know and love from the series I just read.

There was also a page that summarized and showed us the chronology of the series, and lastly there were buy links! I didn’t use the buy links, but just went on Amazon to check and buy stuff. At the moment, I only preordered that sequel series, and for the other sequels, prequels, and side stories, I will read them in the future and am looking forward to them!

So yeah, I thought that marketing strategy was brilliant since it worked so well on me. (The author is great at writing too, as she wrote in a way that made me really interested in and curious about those characters in this last book who will star in that prequel 1 and sequel series.) The strategy is similar to one you described in this post.

Reply

Jami Gold May 13, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Hi Serena,

Thanks for sharing that information! Yes, that sounds like smart marketing. 😀

Reply

Luca Thrace May 14, 2015 at 6:50 am

Wow! Jami, when do you have time to sleep?

I’m a sloooowww writer. My first novel is on the brink of being ready for Kindle and I have others in draft form. I hope the following books won’t take as long. The first novel has been a learning process.

Thanks to pressure from my local writers group, I do have a short story that I can publish once I get the novel online. Unfortunately, it’s not related to the novel except in voice.

The supporting characters in my novel have colorful backstories that could easily springboard into a series. Later. I have other stories in draft form that I plan to polish up for Kindle.

Maybe I could do it in 90 days if I do nothing else but write. (I’d have no money for food, so that would save time buying groceries, cooking, and eating.) *smile*

I was planning to set my first novel price at $1.99, but I will consider your suggestion of $2.99. At the end of the ebook will be a scene from the next book that’s in the works.

Kindle will let me edit the ebook after it’s published (I need to double check that) so I can add a link to my free short story, too.

Excellent article, Jami. Thank you for this valuable information!

Reply

Jami Gold May 14, 2015 at 10:26 am

Hi Luca,

Sleep? What is that? LOL!

Even after my experience with all the stories I’ve completed, I’m still a slow writer. However, as you said, the learning curve part of the time suck is (mostly) behind you. We can still struggle with certain aspects, but once we’re on the other side of the curve, we usually know how to fix a problem and we just need help having the trouble spots pointed out to us. So that is an improvement. 😉

And I’m with you in being a slow writer. In a focused situation like NaNoWriMo, I can write 50-60K a month–which would work out to 6-8 weeks for a full novel. And then editing, and more editing, and more editing. So not counting the time a story was with an editor, I could potentially get a novel ready to go in 90 days…IF that’s all I did! LOL!

My NaNo month requires me to cut back on blogging, barely eat, stop all pretense of keeping up with housekeeping, give up visits with extended family and friends, etc. That’s not something I can–or want to–maintain on a regular basis. I want the rest of my life balanced for quality of life issues.

That’s why I often stress that we each have to find our own path and figure out what will work for us. We have different goals, dreams, values, story ideas, etc. All I can do is give suggestions that might trigger other ideas that will work better for others. 🙂

Oh, and just to let you know, from what I’ve heard from other indie authors, $1.99 is kind of a no-man’s-land of pricing. It’s too high to get the free/$0.99 buyers and too low to qualify for the 70% royalties on Amazon. The advice has been to either go to $0.99 or $2.99. And yes, you can update the file uploaded for Kindle books after they’re live. 🙂 I hope that helps! Thanks for the comment!

Reply

Serena Yung May 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Hey Jami, sorry, it’s me again. Okay so I just finished reading a book that had another brilliant strategy! Not exactly a marketing strategy, but a great strategy nevertheless, at least to me.

At the end of the book, there were three pages of discussion questions! I normally ignore these, to be honest, yet I was so so so in love with this book, and missed it already, that I read through every single discussion question and tried to answer each one in my head. And through this experience, I find having discussion questions at the end of the book has these advantages:

1) It makes your readers think more deeply about the book (if they read the questions and try to answer them)

2) This helps readers enjoy the book more deeply and gain more from it

3) It points to things, subtleties, and complexities in your story that the reader might not have noticed. (Great if for instance, you had a motif or symbol that people might miss.)

4) It proves to naysayers that we HAVE given much thought to our story, so people can’t say our book is “shallow” or “has no thought or depth” to it—some people are really such naysayers.

There is the disadvantage of making the book look a bit like a textbook or school book though. But I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantage, and I do want to do this for at least my Chinese martial arts story.

What do you think of having discussion questions at the end of books?

Reply

Jami Gold May 18, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Hi Serena,

Interesting! Usually those questions would be found in “book club” versions, but I know sometimes those versions sometimes find their way into libraries’ collections, etc. Or maybe for this book, they decided to make only one version and included the questions for all.

Personally, I wouldn’t include those at the end of my books, but I think for all the benefits you mentioned, it would be great to include the questions on the website. 🙂 Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Serena Yung May 18, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Oh I talked about this with friends, and they pointed out that the author making discussion questions might sound pompous and egoistic (I didn’t think of that.) So I suggested making an “Author’s Questions to/ for the Reader” section instead of a “Discussion Questions” section, which my friends liked a lot more. That way it sounds more modest; it’s just an author asking for the reader’s opinions, and there can be an invite to private message the author. I believe there should be some PM function for Amazon and Smashwords…I hope.

Btw I just bought an ebook from Smashwords and oh my gosh it’s so good!!! The writing (language) flows so smoothly, the plot is intriguing and original, and I love the characters! I’m so in love with and addicted to this book already. 😀 It’s very encouraging to see such great self-published stories. It also shows that this author took their writing seriously, which is very good since not all self-published authors take their work seriously, unfortunately. 🙁

The book is called Between Angels and Humans by Graziella & Mimi Lee. I’m reading the translated Chinese version to improve my Chinese. It’s so good!!

Reply

Jami Gold May 18, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Hi Serena,

Yes, like I said, I’ve usually seen that only with Book Club versions. In which case, it often feels like the questions are coming from the publisher and not the author. 🙂 I like your thought of having questions that open a dialogue though. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

What do you think?

36 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Previous post:

Next post: