Growing Your Author Business

This month’s theme: 5 Tips for Growing your Author Business 

In this month’s Advanced Self-Publishing Salon for the Alliance of Independent Authors, Joanna and I share the lessons we learned at Novelists Inc, Digital Book World, and the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera Italy.

We turned it into five tips that authors need to know right now to progress their author business.

Topics discussed this week included:

  • ALLi’s submission to the All Party Writers Group on Author Income
  • ALLi website upgrades and guidebooks update
  • October Member Magazine is out (cover girl!)
  • Jo launched Valley of Dry Bones and completing three short stories in audio by Christmas
  • I’m continuing to work on pre-orders with a marketing method that makes sense
  • Poetry is now the most successful genre on IngramSpark

Advanced Self-Publishing Salon Notes

Theme: 5 Tips for Growing your Author Business:
Lessons learned at Novelists INC and Digital Book World

Updates:

ALLi:

  • Submission to the All Party Writers Group on Author Income, alongside the Publishers Association, Association of Authors Agents etc.
  • Website upgrades and updates on our guidebooks
  • October Member Magazine is out (cover girl!).

Orna:

  • Pre-orders. What you said last time really got me thinking. Conceptualized a marketing method that makes sense to me now, calling it: Attract & Subscribe Marketing (see below). Build launch around having enough subscribers/pre-orders, not a specific date. So now setting up to get the first three Go Creative! Books working in a row — Takeaway re. Trade publishing: takes six months to a year to launch a book — different reasons but think this also makes sense for us
  • Poetry is not what I thought! Stunned at its success, the more I investigate. Poetry is now the most successful genre on IngramSpark. Indie poets now selling in Target in US. Soooo… special tier now for working poets on my Patreon page for poetry, called “Making A Life and A Living In Poetry”. I’ll be interviewing people who are doing just that.
  • Going format crazy. Hardbacks. (Saw them being made in Nashville) Audiobooks: poetry first which I’m narrating myself. Next up: large print. Have to overcome resistance to abundance.

Jo:

  • Launched Valley of Dry Bones – ebook wide, paperback, Large Print, my first hardback 🙂 doing all the backlist in hardback 🙂 Audiobook coming soon
  • Audio coaching – doing 3 short stories in audio by Xmas – decided to just do the short stories myself and leave the books to the pros until I get better
  • My first advance 🙂 from licensing Korean rights in South Korea – limited term – have done foreign rights deals before but royalty only

Topic: 5 Tips for Growing your Author Business:

(1) Embrace Self-Publishing 3.0 – author as maker, manager, and entrepreneur. Consider multiple streams of income and the multipreneur (Jessica Bell).

  • Orna’s talk at DBW – given at 2 different venues – considering the different responses – authors waiting for someone to pick them vs/ the author entrepreneur
  • Jo turning her talks into lectures to sell on Teachable – doesn’t need to be a massive course – can just be a shorter talk
  • Make the most of what you have – e.g. Jo updating backlist non-fiction and narrating that myself and doing hardback editions – created a rights database in AirTable that I’m using for tracking all formats and stores and getting seriously organized re what is exploited where and when contracts expire

(2) Embrace the rise and rise of audio

  • Orna – what happened at DBW with audio – #voicefirst – Convergence of audiobooks, podcasts, and voice assistants. People becoming comfortable with voice.
  • Opportunity to market podcasts/audiobooks which has long been a problem. Opportunity for interactive storytelling — big in children’s already
    New forms/genres – conversational fiction, destiny fiction etc.

Jo – meeting with Findaway Voices at NINC – announcement of Apple’s audio platform coming, and Kobo direct in early 2019

(3) Embrace publishing wide

  • Positive choice to reach more readers in more territories – needs patience but opportunities growing faster than ever before on other platforms
  • Reports of “book a day” publishing with author collectives within KU, payments going down again
  • Inevitable technical problems – Problems with move from Createspace to KDP -> IngramSpark
  • Amazon Publishing –
  • Books disappearing – Amazon’s technical problems
  • Problems with Amazon Ads, changes to categories and saturation on .com -> sell on other platforms, use BookBub ads and other ads to reach other stores

(4) Market in a way that you love – and don’t feel guilty about it

  • If you hate doing ads, don’t worry – lots of us do 🙂
  • Embracing content marketing anew as ads become less effective and more expensive – creating content (blogging, podcasting, images, video) can be rewarding in itself – you can change lives without a book! Especially with non-fiction – and it can also be another source of income in itself
  • Fiction too. And Poetry. Attract & Subscribe Marketing. Not just getting an email address to tell them about launch. Email sequence as storytelling. Subscribers to online events, podcasts, pre-orders. Self-Pub 3.0 where we think about how we build that reader asset. Heart and soul connection

(5) Keep as many rights as possible and think long term

  • Fast pace of tech change e.g. AI translation reported by TNPS – did a whole book in 30 secs and 1 week to edit => possible translation options coming for indies?
  • AI voice narration and voice synth – for audio rights
  • If you do license, make sure they are term-limited and preferably not worldwide

Bonus:

  • Beginner’s Mind – vocabulary, skills, – Jo- Instagram, voice coaching, podcasting

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