I’m so happy to have L. Penelope on the podcast today. Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Her book Song of Blood & Stone was selected as one of TIME’s Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time. Visit her website: https://lpenelope.com/
Publishing, patience, perseverance and cheesecake…
Today on the podcast (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more), Leslye and I talk self-publishing, publishing, patience, perseverance, hybrid, description and writing processes, how hard writing is sometimes and moments that make us smile and so much more!
Do you have a question for me about self-publishing or writing?
Thank you so much to everyone who has listened and subscribed to my podcast. Don’t hesitate to leave a review and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, follow on Spotify or Google Podcasts…
And thank you to everyone who’s already added #THELEFTOVERBRIDE on Goodreads and those of you who already pre-ordered it (on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo).
I’ve also been sharing little snippets with everyone who has left a comment on my Facebook Author Page and/or Facebook readers’ group. I will also do the same with my readers’ mailing list and Instagram.
A second chance romance set during the holiday season in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: full of laughter and heartwarming moments (and some sexy moments), checklists, family dynamics, a stubborn cat, and a rescue dog.
All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier.
Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist. First, he wants to stay away from Swans Cove. Second, he wants his NHL career back. And third, he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.
Do you want to help me choose the cover?
I have two versions of the cover and in a couple of weeks, I will ask my newsletter subscribers to help me choose...If you’d like to help me choose, just subscribe to my readers’ newsletter before May 15th.
You’ll also receive exclusive access to a bonus content page with bonus scenes, audiobook excerpts and more!
I’ve shared a few excerpts already (including on Goodreads in my status updates).
The first sentences…
“Dear unknown-reader of the future, or alien archiving information on the human race (I have so many questions for you), Christmas is in the air. Well, not Christmas per se. But buttery apples and cinnamon and maybe ginger?”
Meet Ryan…aka #HockeyHottie:
In the past year, I got caught on video bitching about Stevens and how he’s handling the team. I punched my “sperm asshole donor” at a black-tie event. And I was involved in a fight that almost kicked our team out of the NHL.”
Trouble seems to follow me. Or maybe, as Sorcha told me once, it’s not that trouble follows me; it is that I am trouble. But the way she said it all breathy and with that secret sexy smile of hers? It didn’t seem terrible then.
Oh and did you know I have a podcast?
“A self-published author’s diary” is available now!
The behind-the-scenes of self-publishing and writing with Elodie Nowodazkij, author of first kisses, second chances, things that scare the crap out of her and things that make her laugh out loud. Elodie’s been self-publishing since 2014.
This is the first book in a series of standalone romance novels and I haven’t published anything in years and…I will change the price to $2.99 three days after publication. I will let you know how this strategy works and will go deeper into my release plan strategy for #TheLeftoverBride soon.
I have also purchased Publisher Rocket to try to change my keywords and categories. I’ve learned that one of my keywords had almost 0 searches. So, that was helpful to know 🙂
What is PublisherRocket you may ask? Short story: it is a dashboard that helps you search keywords and categories (among other things) and it helps you see how many times people have searched for certain keywords. I’ll let you know if investing in this too is helpful. I have used other keywords search in the past but they were pretty cumbersome to use. So far, PublisherRocket is very easy to use. And again does seem to help narrow keywords and categories.
In it, she shares some of her failures and how she has learned from them and now makes 6 figures as a self-published author. It is a really insightful and detailed post!
I failed. A lot. But each stumble taught me something and brought me closer toward the eventual path to success: I now make six figures as a self-published author. In this post, I’ll outline the top lessons I learned from these failures, so you can learn from my mistakes and get a leg up on your leap to six figures.
How many times can I say self-publishing mistakes in this post? I mean the first one I mention I feel is a publishing mistake many authors can make. And let me preface this by saying that I love daydreaming. I still daydream.
Thinking my book would become an instant best-selling success – just because it was good. Let me tell you, that’s not enough 😊. Rationally speaking, I knew it might not be the case, but I thought that most of the early reviews were so positive, even from people I had never met! That was mind-blowing, and I did daydream quite a bit. I still do daydream very often. I sometimes fall asleep dreaming about my books being picked up by Netflix or the Lifetime Movies Channel. Or I daydream about my Gavert City audiobook series being downloaded thousands of times with people raving about Megan’s narration (which they already do, but now we’d have thousands of downloads daily 😊). Anyways…back in 2014, a little part of me thought maybe I’d be that overnight success. The one people talk about, not realizing that overnight usually means years of writing and sometimes years of publishing. I read at the time about authors succeeding in self-publishing, but (a) I didn’t really define what succeeding would mean, (b) I didn’t have benchmarks.
Don’t get me wrong…I hadn’t left it all to sheer luck. Oh, no, no, no. I thought I had it all under control and was set for success. After all, I had a great cover, early reviews, and a release plan (with cover reveal, blog tours, Netgalley…). This meant I would release it and everyone would want to download it and I’d be set for success.
Spoiler alert: In June 2014, when I published ONE, TWO, THREE, I sold 45 copies…So. Not an overnight success. 😊 Granted, that book has now sold many more copies. It has also been picked up by a French publisher, and I even received a message from a French teenager who mentioned that this book, this little book of mine, has gotten her to love reading!
Sometimes, it feels that self-publishing is a sprint. And maybe sometimes it is. But not always…And marketing doesn’t stop with release month…
Advertising to the wrong audience. When I first started self-publishing back in 2014, I thought it was essential to have a Facebook page with lots and lots and lots of followers – which may have been true if I had first analyzed the audience that would be most likely to buy my book. I went for a worldwide audience at a time where my books were (a) only in English, (b) on platforms that weren’t necessarily accessible to readers all around the world. And at that time, I was not really targeting my ads…
So yes, I had many followers, but not an enormous audience of readers interested in my books. This is a mistake I’ve made again but more structured, as I’m still trying to see what ads work the best for different audiences. I’ve succeeded in France (and I’ll get into it in my weekly newsletter in the coming weeks), but my conversion rate (how many people actually buy a book after clicking on a link) is still too low for the US market. But nothing…nothing compared to 7 years ago.
Not focusing on my newsletter. I remember reading years ago…and I mean yeaaaaaaars ago how important it was to have a newsletter because social media algorithms change (and man, do they change). That way, you may build more of a connection with the reader. Some newsletters I subscribe to are only letting me know when the author has a new sale. Others are expanding on the books they’re reading, how they’re writing, maybe movies or podcasts they’re enjoying, or other things going on in their lives.
Have I ever bought or reviewed a book based on a newsletter? Yes. Yes, I have. I have a Facebook readers’ group (if you’re on there, thank you 😊), but I haven’t been spending a lot of time on Facebook. And I don’t have Facebook on my phone. And every single time I post something on my Facebook group, the reach (people who may see it in their feed) is about 35 to 50 out of more than 400 Facebook group members). More people open my emails. And it feels like people unsubscribe more when they’re no longer interested any long…. Still, I’m in Facebook groups I haven’t checked in probably years…so…yep, I’ve been refocusing on building my readers’ newsletter.
I do wonder about that new platform Facebook announced on March 16th. They’re getting into the newsletter subscription area and do mention also the use of groups in there. So, will that change the algorithm? Apparently, it might give writers more tools and could help in audience growth…but again, one might be dependent on changes…
Not like we’re also not dependent on changes with emails. When Google introduced the tabs in Gmail, some newsletters ended up in the Promotions tab, which is not necessarily read as often…Anyhow…😊
Not focusing on my newsletter was one of my self-publishing mistakes, mainly since I don’t publish a book every two months or so. Newsletters help me stay in touch with my readers in-between (which I love doing) and grow my audience.
This past week on Instagram, I’ve shared some travelling pictures I’ve taken some years ago and I figured maybe you too might want to do some #ArmChairTravel … One of the places I’d love to go to is Ireland. I shared a picture on my feed from another photographer (crediting him of course) and this has become one of my most liked picture. For this blog, I’m sharing his picture from a gorgeous cottage in Ireland from his account directly (in case you want to follow his Instagram account).
Before starting, I am very excited to share books I should be receiving very soon. I ordered them on One More Page Bookstore’s website and I loved the commented that those books are great choices. 🙂 I agree of course but it was a nice touch to see those words as I opened my email…
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.
I’m currently still reading CINDERELLA IS DEAD (and loving it). Next, I have a loan from the library: PRETTY LITTLE WIFE and then I’ll read those two. 🙂
On another note: Did you know you can send me audio messages for my podcast via the message button on anchor.fm? That means you can also send me questions. Don’t hesitate. Or you can leave me a comment or send me an email (authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com).
Over the years, I’ve given quite a few interviews to bloggers, reviewers, even journalists (like the wonderful Brittany Britto when she worked for the Baltimore Sun). I still remember driving early Sunday morning to several gas stations to get copies. And yes, it hangs over the computer in our office.
I’ve also written quite a few blogposts so for a little flashback Friday, here are some of the questions I’ve received most often over the years.
What was the inspiration behind ONE TWO THREE?
If you do not know ONE TWO THREE was the first book I published. The tagline to that book is: When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.
I used to love dancing ballet as a kid, and I won a writing contest to go see the Opera de Paris. We saw the dancers train, it was magical. Those moments stayed with me. Then, one day, I was talking about the movie Center Stage on Twitter and Natalya’s voice came into my head. At first, all I knew was that she was seventeen and an accident had killed her hope of becoming a professional ballerina…The accident turned into a car crash that also took her father’s life…
Her voice was full of longing and full of hope and I had to tell her story.
Tea or coffee?
I drink both. If I had to choose, probably coffee.
Dog or cat?
I will not choose.
Are your characters inspired by people in your life?
Ummm, yes and no. No and yes. Some things might be inspired by real life. The mom’s perfume in ONE TWO THREE is Chanel 5 which might be the perfume my dad has gifted my mom for many years. And the mom in ONE TWO THREE is named Natalya which is my mother-in-law’s name.
In FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT the main character’s name is named Erin like one of my nieces and the book is dedicated to her. There may be a beagle mix in FMFMN. I have a beagle. In one novel, I think I named a dog Friday. And Friday was a wonderful lab. In A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER, you meet Svetlana…which is my husband’s aunt’s name.
The siblings dynamics (the healthy ones), the ones I get complimented on a lot is inspired by both my sisters who I love very much and are amazing.
Oh and my husband will tell you he has inspired a lot of my characters.
And so much more. Really, I could share a lot more. So again it’s not really a moment, it may be a feeling or it may be something specific or an Easter egg.
In three words:what do you enjoy about self-publishing?
Flexibility, control and creativity.
When you think about writing, what three words come to mind?
When I think about writing, the three words that come to mind are: balance, patience and love.
And I am so so happy to let you know that in the coming Fridays, I will share interviews with wonderful writers at different stages in their careers. Some are traditionally published. Some are hybrid. Some are self-published. Some are not yet published…Some may not even think about getting published…
Next week, I will be chatting with the wonderful L. Penelope.
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(2) A newsletter for my readers: full of bonus scenes, updates on my books, shows I’m watching, books I’m reading, exclusive giveaways and more…
Click on this link and just add your email and you’ll receive access to a page full of exclusive content! Plus my emails include pictures of my cat and my dog…and they’re pretty adorable…:-)
First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who’s been reading these posts and listening to my podcast “A Self-Published Author’s Diary”. This blog post is also available as episode and you can listen and subscribe and review to “A Self-Published Author’s Diary” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more…You can also become a monthly support of my podcast by clicking here.
And thank you to everyone who’s already added #THELEFTOVERBRIDE on Goodreads and those of you who already pre-ordered it! If you have already added it to Goodreads and or pre/ordered it (on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo). I’ve also been sharing little snippets with everyone who has left a comment on my Facebook Author Page and/or Facebook readers’ group. I will also do the same with my readers’ mailing list and Instagram.
On Friday, I talked about The Ulman Foundation and how much their work has meant for me, they have a wishlist if you’d like to donate items for the Ulman House in Baltimore. At Ulman House they provide free housing for young adult cancer patients, and their caregivers.
A couple of months ago, I shared the fact that A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER had 115 reviews on Amazon.com…and guess how many reviews it has now? It now has 155 reviews!
The quick hook for A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is:
She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all. They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting. It’s going to be A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER.
Did you know I wasn’t planning on writing A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER? Did you know that this is the book that got the attention of a French publisher, got picked up by said-publisher and enabled me to be in French bookstores? Did you know this book now has 155 reviews on Amazon?
I published A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER in July 2015. Almost six years ago.
I sold more more than 1300 paperback copies of the English edition of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER since 2015. And it has been downloaded for free more than 17000 times. I haven’t advertised this book in English for years and just last July, 400 people downloaded it and I sold 56 paperback copies.
The French version has even much better numbers: both for the paid e-book and for the paperback version. Especially since the French paperback version was picked up by a French publisher and was also sold in bookstores and supermarkets and Cultura and la Fnac and in libraries…:-)
I have sold more than 4000 copies of UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES . I have sold 2992 copies (ebooks + paperback) through my different publishing platforms as well as 1011 paperback copies through my French published (those numbers are from 2019 – I haven’t gotten my 2020 sales numbers from them yet). And this doesn’t count the pages read when UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES was in Kindle Unlimited.
It is truly the little book that could. 🙂
How do I track my sales…
I track my sales mainly using TrackerBox and BookReport and my wonderful husband, The Chemical Engineer, has also started helping me analyzing some of the data. He’s very very very busy so I do appreciate whenever he takes the time to help me out with some of the business side of things. I mean, yes, he also does inspire some of my characters (as he will tell you) and does listen when I’m talking about plotting my novel…
In TrackerBox I can add all the sales report from all different platforms and I can see all historical data, revenue data, unit data and everything. In BookReport which is a browser extension, I can see my Kindle Direct Publishing Data.
The problem with TrackerBox is that again it uses the monthly report data and some of them (like KDP) do not report that data by day. You can access the historic data by day on BookReport for Kindle Direct Publishing but I’d really like to have the data by day for all e-retailers.
Why? Because as I’m starting again to lean into doing advertisements for several of my books, I need to know what my Return On Investment Is.
In the Ads for Authors class I’m currently taking by Mark Dawson, he provides students with an excel list on how to keep track of Facebook Ads and sales. Buuuuuut, in one of the groups I’m in for the 5 Days Amazon Ads challenge (that is a free class), someone has shared a screenshot of their excel list and it looked great to keep track of all ads and sales and ROI. I’ve tried throughout the years to come up with different tables and such but nothing that really worked for.
I checked on Etsy to see if anyone had made such an excel table available but I still need to dig in other places to see if I can find the excel worksheet that will enable me to be even more strategic and more aware of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to advertising.
155 reviews on Amazon.com and counting…
I mean, granted, not all reviews are raving…the one on top of the Amazon page is a one-star review, telling readers not to read A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER because it will make you angry. And another one on the German Amazon site talks about the fact that this book isn’t Oscar Wild-esque and lacks moral…
I wanted to share those full reviews, but apparently, Amazon reviews belong to Amazon due to copyright? Something else to check out in more details later.
Why am I sharing that this book has some negative reviews? To show you that all books get negative reviews. And that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone will like what you’re writing. Not everyone likes what I’m writing.
And some of those negative reviews might actually help your sales, believe or not. The sales of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER didn’t dwindle since that 1-star review took center stage on the product page.
And while, I still get these little moments where my stomach clenches as I release a new book…wondering about those first reviews trickling in, checking my book page to see if anyone reviewed it or what readers thought about the story I spent months on…I don’t dwell on them as much. Right now for #TheLeftoverBride I am at the very excited stage because I believe in that story, in my writing and this upcoming book has been with me for the past year and a half…
And fine it’s also true and easier not to dwell on them when most reviews are four and higher, and some readers call A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER the greatest book they’ve read or that they fell in love with the characters.
And did you know A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER got reviewed in The Guardian? I mean that’s pretty cool.
The story behind A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER…
I wasn’t planning on writing A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER.
My goal was to write ALWAYS SECOND BEST as a standalone companion novel to ONE, TWO, THREE. But as I drafted ALWAYS SECOND BEST, I kept on thinking about that summer between Nick & Em. I kept on thinking I needed to really get to know them better. I kept on thinking maybe I should write it out.
So, I did. I did it as a way to really get to know Nick & Em and to make ALWAYS SECOND BEST stronger.
It was only supposed to help me understand the characters better, but I fell in love with that summer story.
And I drafted it very very quickly. It took me a few months only between the moment I started drafting it and the moment I sent it to my copy editor.
My critique partners loved the story and this was one I didn’t need to revise a lot. I had been thinking about it so much while I had started drafting ALWAYS SECOND BEST that I couldn’t wait to dig deeper into their summer.
And it ended up being A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER (Nick & Em #1). And the rest is history…
Languages and more languages…
A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
I even signed with a French publisher!
The French version of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER was translated by Edith Girval. No, I do not translate my own books in French, but I can re-read them and talk to my translators through the process. Me translating my own books in French would take me forever and would require a lot and I mean a lot of editing after. Not because I don’t speak or write French but because I’ve been living outside of France for more than half my life. I’ll discuss this in more detail later. I think it can be an entire blog post or podcast episode.
The reason why UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES did so well in French is that I think I got into the French-speaking Facebook Ads when there weren’t yet a lot of authors who were advertising on Facebook in France. My cost-per-click was very low (less than ten cents and is still to this day about 17 cents) and converted very well into sales.
I mean look at this…And the ad got so much traction at the time, even though it has text on it which is usually said to not be great for conversion…I replied to all comments and answered questions readers had about the book, about follow-up books and so on…
I released ALWAYS SECOND BEST in French not long after and it also did very very well…and that’s how A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER caught the attention of a French publisher. And made me a so-called hybrid author (self-published and traditionally published).
On November 21st, 2016 I received an email from a French publisher, who contacted meto see if I would be interested in signing with them for the French versions of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER & ALWAYS SECOND BEST. Plus a possible option book.
At first, I thought it was a scam.
I don’t have an agent and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I don’t recommend selling your foreign rights without an agent. An agent may have been able to negotiate different aspects of the contract for me. I got lucky, I think. One, because I speak French 😉 and thus, I was able to do my research, see the story of their imprint, look at the other authors they had signed with, and negotiate with them directly. I only sold the rights to the paperback version and not other format or languages. Two, they have been very good with all follow-ups. They, unfortunately, no longer carry the YA line but they were part of a bigger imprint and thus, I still am receiving royalty information and everything.
They also ended up buying the option book! And they acquired the French version of ONE, TWO, THREE as well.
I got an advance. I got author copies. I got promotion. I even saw my books in French bookstores and grocery stores! Kind of like one of my books making it into Target-level of excitement!
Writing this still feels surreal, even though I signed the first contract for UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES and UNE SECONDE CHANCE more than 4 years ago.
A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is available in several bilingual editions (I really need to add a tab on my blog for those 🙂 – coming soon!):
Thank you to everyone who has given this little book of mine a chance, from my critique partners to my French publisher to all the people who have read it in whatever language and format. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review it. Thank you to all the readers who have sent me an email to let me know how much they loved this book…
Please subscribe, rate and review, it really helps.
It already has several episodes available…including an interview…with…The Chemical Engineer!
My podcast also a trailer…which you can watch below!
On today’s episode I not only interview The Chemical Engineer, I also share about Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Awareness Week and talk about the Ulman Foundation and their conversation with Tamika Felder. They talked bout her experience with cervical cancer and what led her to inspire others to share their stories as well. They also talked about racial disparities in healthcare and other factors that impact AYA cancer care and will continue to share part of that discussion on their Instagram throughout the month. The Ulman Foundation means a lot to us as Megan, Director, Service & Care Delivery at the Ulman Foundation, was part of our support system during my treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
If you’d like to know more about the behind-the-scenes of launching a podcast, you can read one my recent blog posts on the topic (or listen to it on my podcast). And don’t forget about signing up for my weekly emails about self-publishling if you’re interested in receiving the links and the topics I am discussing in the podcast directly in your emails.
ANNNNNNDDDD BOOOOOOOK NEWS!
I might be *slightly* excited about this.
Are you ready to (a) read more about my upcoming novel #THELEFTOVERBRIDE, (b) pre-order it maybe (you can do so on Amazon , Kobo, iTunes, (c) Add it to Goodreads, (d) Join the first readers group (just subscribe to my newsletter as I’ll send more info in the coming weeks)?
I have set the pre-order date for August 18th, 2021. Why? Because it’s my birthday. And I’m going to turn 40. And I feel like releasing a book would be a pretty awesome way to celebrate. I’ve started writing this book in December 2019, not long after my autologous stem cell transplant. It has been a book that has been taking me so long to write and revise. It’s going to be the first book (original) that I’m releasing since September 2019.
And as an indie author, I get to decide my release date. Plus, that will give me time to draft the second one in the series and the prequel short stories and start drafting MISS ME, MISS ME NOT (the story of Nadia and Gabriel will be coming your way soon-ish).
Here’s the summary for #THELEFTOVERBRIDE:
A second chance romance set during the holiday season in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: full of laughter and heartwarming moments, checklists, family dynamics, a stubborn cat, and a rescue dog.
All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist. First, he wants to stay away from Swans Cove. Second, he wants his NHL career back. And third, he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.
When wedding dress designer Sorcha O’Connor got stranded at the altar and went viral as #TheLeftoverBride, she lost everything: her fiancé, her thriving business, her glowing reputation, and her dreams. To forget the upcoming first anniversary of that fateful day, Sorcha is ticking items off her “31 Things to Do Before the 31st” list and creating new dress designs—working day and night to get her life back on track. Not on her list? Falling for her former best friend —at one point more than best friend—hockey star Ryan Sawyer. Especially since he’s now known as the #HockeyHottie; Sorcha’s got enough hashtags for a lifetime.
Ryan Sawyer skated out of Swans Cove right out of high school. And since then, he stuck to the one item on his wishlist he could control. He busted his ass, making sure he always had the perfect excuse for avoiding Swans Cove: hockey. But thanks to his injured shoulder, rumors about his uncertain future at the Washington Angels, and his mother’s birthday, he’s back for a quick visit. His publicist was crystal clear—Ryan’s got to lay low and avoid stirring up trouble or risk losing his spot on the team. But he can’t stop thinking about Sorcha, the redhead who knows him better than even his therapist. Ryan wasn’t there for her when she needed him most, and for that, she might want to shred him with her dressmaker’s shears, though… Maybe he could just pass by and say hello?
When Sorcha’s former #RunawayGroom becomes the Most Coveted Bachelor in America, virtual eyes focus on Sorcha again. This time, Ryan’s not going to bolt—even when Sorcha blurts out on national TV that both she and Ryan are working on their so-called “Happy Lists”…together.
Will the spotlight finally work in Sorcha and Ryan’s favor? Or will their past—and their hashtags—get in the way of their Happily Ever After?
A week after it releases, I will move it to Kindle Unlimited, so make sure you pre-order it on your preferred platform.
My podcast is called “A Self-Published Author’s Diary”. And in it, I discuss the ups and downs and everything-in-between of my self-publishing adventures. I’ll also chat with writers at different stages of their writing (published and not published).
I even have a trailer…
Why did I decide to launch my podcast?
Several reasons. I may have mentioned some before but here’s a recap: (1) I was inspired by L. Penelope and her podcast My Imaginary Friends, which I really enjoy listening to; (2) being behind a mic and yet connecting with people, giving me an outlet in a way, because yes, I’m an introvert but connecting with people is still important; (3) hopefully be helpful to others and interesting and entertaining; (4) talk about writing with other writers and have more people discover them and their books; (5) yes also have more readers discover my books; (6) Keep track of my progress; (7) My husband encouraged me to do it, so while I had been toying with the idea. It’s great to feel the support.
What are my goals?
Some of my goals are mentioned above: provide helpful information, keep track of my writing and all.
When it comes to my podcast stats, I’d like to have 50 “followers” in the two weeks (after my official launch) and at least 5 reviews. And then grow, as I release more episodes.
If you’d like to already help me with that, you can go onto your podcast platform, the one you use to listen to this and click on “follow” or “subscribe”. And then you can also leave a review on the show on Apple Podcast. It really helps.
I did set-up the podcast to be able to have “monthly supporters”, but I don’t have a goal with that in mind. At least, not yet. Here’s the link for it in case you’re interested in becoming my very first monthly supporter. 🙂 : you can give $0.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month and stop at any time, of course. I am not planning a patreon at this stage, because between podcasting and writing and my part-time audiobook narration jobs (which are not regular but still happen here and there) and my research part-time freelance gig, I don’t think I could give enough of my time to truly give content to a Patreon group right now.
I’d really like to see readers discover new authors and again to have writers feel like they’re having coffee with me by listening to my podcast.
What podcast platform do I use?
Anchor.fm They distribute the podcast for me and I use their podcast creation platform. So far, it has been pretty cool: they have transitions and background music and all…
The questions I’m wrestling with…
How often should I publish episodes? Consistency, I think, is key. I know exactly when the podcasts I listen to release episodes and I look forward to the episodes dropping.
When should I publish the episodes? I’ve been reading a lot about this. There are quite a few articles explaining when you should publish episodes (Podbean Blog, Medium...and more) and they all seem to agree that the best days are between Mondays and Wednesdays. However, I also read one (which I think was on Anchor and I’ll link to it when I find it again) that mentioned that the best days were Mondays and Fridays.
I asked the question on my Instagram on Sunday (see video capture from that particular Instagram story below).
And there is no consensus.
I talked to the Chemical Engineer about it. My husband…not just a random chemical engineer who nicknamed himself The Chemical Engineer. And he mentioned something about how if a listener really enjoys your podcast, they will listen whether you publish on Monday or on Friday. Which, true. And several articles do agree with him. I do listen to the podcasts I love (currently: True Crime Obsessed, My Imaginary Friends with L. Penelope, Noble Blood, The Murder Squard, My Favorite Murder) on the day of their release or whenever I have time that week and I do go to their podcast to get the latest episode. But some people might just listen to the top one of their list, the one that just got uploaded. The good thing is I can readjust those days too…but I need to be consistent at the beginning.
I think that to keep track of the week Mondays might be better. But to give me more time, Tuesdays might work best.
So, my episodes will be published on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Fridays, I will publish the chats I have with authors and on Tuesdays, the diary of my adventures: the things I’m learning, the things I’m trying, the things I’m writing, my weekly goals.
Yes, I’m an author, I use the word “thing” a lot when I’m not writing.
All my episodes will be published early mornings (East Coast time) because that makes sense to me. While my audience might be worldwide (I’m crossing my fingers it will be), I am guessing a lot of my audience will come from North America. If my audience ends up being mainly in Australia, I’ll adjust the timing I think. You know, if people decide to listen to the episodes when they’re having breakfast or drinking their coffee or tea or getting ready…And then on Friday, it is the same thing. And on Fridays, technically, there would be two audiences maybe listening: my own regular audience and the one of the writer I’m talking to. 🙂
And it does give an episode for the Friday itself and for the weekend as well. Maybe it’s because I listen to podcasts on the weekend too, when I’m cleaning or getting ready.
Launch plan. What is my launch plan?
I’ve been doing a soft launch in the last week. I’ve let some of my closest friends and my family know. I asked for feedback and incorporated said-feedback. I’ve added one link in my blog and in the blog articles where I do have that blog article as an episode. I’m writing this blog post right now about it.
1. The logo of the podcast. I used Canva to create the artwork. It’s based on the logo I had created for my blog articles for the A Self-Published Author’s Diary.
2. The logo for each episode: easily changeable so that I can edit it for each episode. Based on the logo of the podcast. For example, here’s the graphic for the March recap episode:
3. A trailer for the podcast.
4. A list of writers/authors who are interested in chatting with me. 🙂 I am so grateful that some authors I was going to cold query in a way already mentioned they wanted to learn more about my Five Questions Friday feature.
5. Several episodes are already published. Not only did it help ensure me that everything was going smoothly in terms of production and feedback but…it also helped ensure the podcast is available on all main streaming platforms before launching.
Here’s a list of the episodes already published:
Ep. 1 – Do you want to learn more about my adventures in self-publishing?
Ep. 2 – Let’s start, shall we?
Ep. 3 – The One with The Interview with Audiobook Narrator Megan Carter
Ep. 4 – A little March recap: keeping track in an ocean of to-do lists…
Ep. 5 – Self-publishing platforms and…cicadas?
Ep. 6 – The One With the Behind-The-Scenes of Launching A Podcast
6. I have an official email (in addition to my regular author email): email@example.com
7. I have purchased the domain: aselfpublishedauthordiary.com and it is linked to my website. I still need to add a button to the right of my website with the different subscription possibilities and work on my podcast page. Currently, the “podcast” link you can see in the menu above links to my Anchor.fm podcast page which, to be fair, links to the streaming platforms, has the trailer and so on…
1. I will launch it with the episode on the chat with my husband. He’s my first official interviewee.
2. Emailing my author list announcing I have a podcast and then emailing them again on the day of the official launch. And email my self-published author’s mailing list. (They already got a little preview).
3. I have been thinking about a giveaway but am holding off on that because not sure yet what to offer for my giveaway. And I feel like
4. Announce it on all social medias (including one $2 per day add on Facebook for 5 days) + sharing the audio wide.
And then adding content. Like with a book release, the official launch date doesn’t mean that’s once it’s launched I never talk about it. 🙂 I will be adding content to all my social media and this blog…And share what I’m learning and of course share all those chats with the writers I will be talking to.
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Ideally, I would have posted this blog article on Friday morning. My goal is to post my self-published Author’s Diary posts on Friday mornings. By mornings I mean by 9 am my time. And my time I mean in Maryland, where we’re waiting for the cicadas.
You know those millions of cicadas that are expected to rise from the ground mid to late May…where they’ll breed the next generation which will come to the surface en masse in 2038. Every 17 years. I wonder: has anyone read a story where this brood of cicadas comes out of the ground?
Talking about books. I just finished reading Wilde Child by Eloisa James…which I loved. If you enjoyed Bridgerton (the Netflix series or the books by Julia Quinn the series was based on): do read Eloisa James and Vanessa Riley and Tessa Dare and Sarah McLean and Courtney Milan and so many more. I’m currently reading CINDERELLA IS DEAD by Kaylynn Bayron . I’m only at the beginning but the first few pages are so so good. The first line? “Cinderella has been dead for 200 years.”
And here I don’t have a great transition to the next topic but…here we go.
So you’ve decided to self-publish for x or y reason. Maybe you’ve always been intrigued by the idea…or perhaps you have a publisher but would like to branch out or you just want to give it a go. Or you’ve been wondering what the heck I’ve been doing the past seven years. Or you started reading my self-published author’s diary posts, and you’re asking yourself: What on Earth is Draft2Digital? Or KDP? What is she talking about?
This post is a glimpse into the different self-publishing platforms (at least the ones I use) and what using those platforms means for royalties. Keep in mind that those are the self-publishing platforms I use. There are many, many more out there. And thanks to my friend Tonya for letting me she’d really like to know more about what I mean when I refer to “publishing on Draft2Digital”.
Yes, self-publishing is technically easy. You could just go on Kindle Direct Publishing, register for an account, fill out the details of the book you want to publish and then upload a word document and use their “cover design” tool and off you go. It’s published. It’s out there in the world.
And who knows? You might hit the lottery (the odds are not in your favor). Or if your purpose is to have a book available for sale and that’s your one goal and one goal only, then you may not need to go through all the different options and spend hours, weeks, months trying different strategies and readjusting your goals. This is why it’s essential to know ahead of time what your goal is with self-publishing.
Self-publishing platforms: which ones do I use for my ebooks?
When it comes to publishing platforms, some focus on publishing ebooks. Others on publishing paperback/hardback. Some are aggregators (meaning they distribute your book for you to e-retailers). Some distribute solely to the platform they’re linked with. For example, if you upload your ebook on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (their self-publishing platform), it will only be available on Amazon. I’m linking to a Q&A with Draft2Digital on aggregators (keep in mind the source for that one. Of course, they list the positive parts of using an aggregator such as themselves). There are platforms for audiobooks (again, either as an aggregator or linked to the e-retailer). And then there are the ones that do a mix of everything. Some platforms have fees that you do need to pay up-front (like IngramSpark), but there are usually coupons.
I use the following platforms for my ebooks:
Draft2Digital, which, as mentioned, is an aggregator for ebooks distribution to Apple, Kobo, libraries, Tolino and more.
On Kindle Direct Publishing, if you price your book above 2.99, you receive 70% of the price minus the delivery fee. The delivery for example for my 295 pages book is about $0.08. However, on KDP, you will only receive 35% of the ebook’s set price in certain countries (such as Brazil or Mexico)—unless you enroll your book in KDP Select which makes your book available in Kindle Unlimited.
The royalties format in Kindle Unlimited is different as you can make money in 3 different ways. In a nutshell:
somebody buys your book
somebody is a KU member and they read your book (then you get paid per page read)
In the past, there has been a lot of talk about scams on Kindle Unlimited. For example: authors stuffing their books, people being hired to “read” or rather click through the book’s pages, people using pen names and publishing plagiarized content to publish, and publish, and publish more. Here I am linking a The Guardian article entitled: “Plagiarism, book-stuffing, clickfarms…the rotten farm of self-publishing”. This article dates from 2019 and I don’t recall my books in the recent past being automatically in KU so that has changed since.
But some authors (who definitely are not scammers and do not plagiarize) do make quite a bit of money by enrolling their books into KU, even if it’s just for one 90 days.
By enrolling your book in Kindle Unlimited, that ebook should be exclusive to Amazon. One KU period is 90 days. And yes, Amazon does check. I have received emails about this in the past when one of my books was still available at the French retailer Fnac even though I had take it down from D2D. That process is smoother now in my experience. Kindle Unlimited is a bit like the Netflix of books for readers. Readers pay a monthly price and they can borrow up to 10 books at once.
So, how much money would you get for a $2.99 book?
Let’s take my Gavert City series.
Book 1: Fear Me, Fear Me Not (Dimitri and Erin’s story. Think the movie Scream meets Friday Night Lights mixed with Criminal Minds) I am selling this book right now for $2.99
If you’re buying a copy of FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT on Apple or Kobo for example: my projected royalties through Draft2Digital are: $1.78
If you’re buying a copy of FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT on Amazon.com, my projected royalties through KDP are: $2.04
But let’s say you’re buying it on Amazon.com.br because you’re in Brazil, then my projected royalties at the time of this post with the current exchange rate are: $1.05
But if had it in Kindle Unlimited, then my projected royalties in all countries would be about $2.04 for each sale and if a KU member borrowed my book and read the entire book, I would get paid per page, I would earn $2.14. Here’s a link to a calculator to know how much your book or any book would earn based on their pages (KU calculates the pages slightly differently I think).
If you’re buying a copy of FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT on Google Play, my projected royalties are: $2.09
How much money would I get if I sold one copy of a $0.99 book?
Book 2: SEE ME, SEE ME NOT (Tessa & Luke’s story. Her sister was kidnapped years ago. He just escaped a doomsday cult. Their terrifying pasts won’t let them go. Will they be able to save the people they love before it’s too late?) is currently available for only $0.99.
If you’re buying a copy on Apple, my projected royalties through Draft2Digital are: $0.59
If you’re buying a copy on Amazon.com, my projected royalties through KDP are: $0.35
If you’re buying a copy on Google Play, my projected royalties are: $0.69
There are of course many other platforms you could use for your e-book (Smashwords, Lulu come to mind but there are more, again check that Redsy article I had linked up). And you can also decide to sell your ebooks directly on your website or using BookFunnel for example. Those set-ups would require a fee (either a one-time fee or a monthly fee).
Circling back to the beginning, choosing a platform really depends on your goals and strategies.
Several websites look into the ebooks market…which platform sells the most ebooks? Trying to find the actual market share of Amazon’s ebooks sale in the overall ebooks market is pretty difficult. The numbers I found ranged from 67% to 83% – and it wasn’t evident: how does KU factor in those numbers?
I’ll discuss the different strategies and my own experience with those at some point soon. Because both have pros and cons. Having your books enrolled in KU does offer you promotional tools but so does having your book selected for promos on other e-retailers. KU does let you discount your book for limited periods of times…Did I mention I will talk about this in more detail soon?
Quick reminder: if you want to support me, my career and these weekly posts, the best way to do so is to either (1) purchase one of my books and/or audiobooks or recommend them on Overdrive to your library, (2) Subscribe and rate my podcast, (3) sign up for the monthly support on my podcast, (4) forward the post to a friend, (5) talk about my books to your friends/family….
Today is all about keeping track. Sometimes, I get so deep into all the tasks involved with each project that it can get difficult to remember all those projects that I did bring to fruition within a month, especially since I’m trying to be more strategic…
Published the A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER audiobook narrated by the wonderful Megan Carter. In terms of marketing, I’m trying a Buy One, Get One Free promo. Will keep you updated. I still need to announce it to my newsletter. But I did announce it on my blog and on Goodreads and I took advantage of a very good wordpress deal to make this website.
Marketing-related: I’m still listening to Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors course.
Marketing-related: Took a FREE Goodreads online webinar by Alessandra Torre. I am sharing a link in my email. Will be sharing more about that course soon and some strategies that I am trying. I know. Goodreads. But trying a different approach.
Writing-related: Started reading through the Margie Lawson course packet about visceral rules (beyond hammering hearts).
What movie/post/documentary about writing did I watch/read?
One of my very good friends who also happen to be a writer friend recommended the Naughty Books documentary on Hulu. It was very interesting! Lots of thoughts.
I am also dipping my toes back on Instagram by joining Dahlia Adler‘s #AuthorLifeMonth2021…
And then I wrote. Maybe I didn’t write as much as I wanted to, but I did write. And I think I wrote one of my favorite sentences…I think I am going to be sharing that sentence very soon. But trying to be more strategic about it. (Ha, full circle with the first paragraph). 🙂
Quick reminder: if you want to support me, my career and this weekly posts, the best way to do so is to either (1) purchase one of my books or audiobooks or recommend them on Overdrive to your library, (2) forward the post to a friend, (3) talk about my books to your friends/family.
Did you enjoy this post? Do you want to help support me and my writing? You can forward this blog post to someone who might be interested, buy my books and/or audiobooks and as always, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.
If you have any questions about my adventures in self-publishing or anything I shared with you today, don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll make sure to reply in my email next week.