Well, if you’re like me, trying out Kickstarter was a roller coaster full of emotions. Plus, all that marketing? And putting yourself out there? Challenging to say the least. One day, I thought I had the best carefully-crafted plan, the next I thought: what am I doing? I really believed my Kickstarter would get funded. Yet, here I am. The kickstarter was funded at 48% and it had 23 amazing backers.
When your Kickstarter doesn’t get fully funded, you do not receive any of the pledges.
Part of my process…
Also part of my process…
I am so grateful to everyone who backed this project for believing in it and me and Megan.
But now that it hasn’t been funded, what do I do?
I will do a root cause analysis of why I think it wasn’t funded. And what I might do differently should I ever do a Kickstarter again. If you’re an author, there are many free resources available (podcast, blog posts and more that talk about kickstarter for authors – I’ll make a list when I do an episode on my podcast about it).
And when it comes to one of the major next steps: before the Kickstarter announced it wasn’t funded, I updated my online store to offer some of the rewards. For example, readers and audiobook listeners can pre-order #TheLeftoverBride audiobook directly from me (helping with increasing the royalties), they can name a character in #SweetsForLove, get their names in the credit and chat self-publishing with me if they wish. 🙂
And in case you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about when I say that my Vella story lost its crown…
What is Kindle Vella?
Kindle Vella brings you stories released one short episode at a time, available on the web at http://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella and in the Kindle app. The first few episodes of every story are always free–after that, purchase Tokens and redeem them to unlock episodes. The first few episodes of every story are always free — after that, readers can purchase Tokens and redeem them to unlock episodes. As readers, you can follow the stories you like to keep up with, give an episode a Thumbs up, and when you unlock episodes, you receive one Fave a week you can award to the story you’re enjoying most that week.
I do not know yet what my bonus will be for April 2022 as there’s always a delay between the month when the reads happen and the announcement of the bonus.
Near the 20th of each month, we’ll post the previous month’s bonus amount in your Kindle Vella Dashboard. We will pay your bonus with your total KDP payments approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which the bonus was earned. For example, if you earned a bonus in July, it will be paid with your September payments.
I am thoroughly enjoying writing serialized fiction. Publishing every week is fun for me. And having that schedule is giving me more consistency in the way I write. Plus, I think it’s helping me write in a different way: I’m raising the stakes faster, digging deep into the characters and I am definitely learning how to write very strong endings for each episodes.
And I love love love knowing people are reading my work. The thumbs up? The polls at the end of each episode? It’s a plus for me.
And you know what else was a plus?
Having one of my story with a crown…
I am currently publishing two stories under my pen name and one of them had a crown for three weeks. It took me totally by surprise and when the crown stayed days after days, week after week, I was stoked.
First, that means readers are loving the story. They only have one crown to give and they chose my story? Awwww!
I have no idea who reads my story (except maybe one wonderful reader who got the link from my newsletter). I do videos on TikTok (flip pages) and that’s it. Since it’s a pen name, I don’t post about in Kindle Vella Authors Readers groups. I don’t share the link on this website. I don’t talk about it on my other social media.
And yet… Yet, people who have never read my other books are finding them and giving them thumbs up and crowns?
For three weeks!!!
How many crowns? I have no idea because the Kindle Vella dashboard doesn’t show that info… (and yet it’s used in the calculation of the bonus. Hmmm).
Those crowns should help my May bonus (which I will only find out about next month).
But… today…. today, I checked to make sure the latest episode was published.
And the crown is gone!
I mean I know there are hundreds and hundreds of stories readers can choose from. And maybe they fell more in love with another story last week. Or maybe I didn’t release enough episodes. Or maybe the episode wasn’t their favorite ones.
I am thinking of releasing another episode tomorrow as I ended the last one on a pretty big cliffhanger.
And the latest episode is getting a lot of thumbs up, so I think the story is going in the right direction.
And who knows? Maybe releasing that episode on Sunday (or at the beginning of the week) might keep the story fresh in their mind as they decide on which story to give the crown to.
On the podcast Friday, I talk about “Preparing for a bestseller or how I’m adapting my self-publishing mindset, exploring my strengths for #TheLeftoverBride and no spoilers…”
I don’t know if “adapting” is really the correct term. I’ve been thinking about preparing the launch of #TheLeftoverBride and preparing for it as if it will be a bestseller so taking all the necessary steps so that if it does, my other books (my backlist) are also ready.
Following my conversation with Ines Johnson about her use of social media as author and Erin Bowman’s Instagram post about her own use of Instagram, I’m exploring my strenghts and putting the focus on my characters, creating social media profiles for #TheLeftoverBride, detaching myself a little from my book in a way.
Oh and I also talk about not reading spoilers anymore, and the struggles and smiles of my self-publishing and writing week.
Today, on the latest episode of “A Self-Published Author’s Diary” podcast, I am answering two questions I’ve received from a reader named Amanda (Thanks, Amanda :-)):
Did I always know I would write for readers?
And where does that confidence come from?
I go back into my junior high writing of poems and my high school writing of romance and my later years of fanfiction writing to answer the first question. And when it comes to the second question and the confidence aspect, I try to analyze a bit where that confidence comes from. 🙂 And how fleeting it is throughout the process.
I talk about my very scientific writing process of “ooohhh” and “yay” and about my love for romance books. Readers pick up those books knowing what the ending will be and yet we still get so enthralled by them. I think that’s really a testimony to the magic and the art of writing romance.
I also mention the podcast “My Imaginary Friends with L. Penelope”‘s latest episode which I recommend for all writers struggling with their manuscript: https://lpenelope.com/podcast/
And I give an update on my upcoming plan for #TheLeftoverBride cover reval…Don’t forget #TheLeftoverBride is available for pre-order for only $0.99. Choose your favorite e-retailer here: https://books2read.com/TheLeftoverBride
As always, thank you for subscribing, rating and reviewing!
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): firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Good morning…I don’t know why I start with “Good morning”. Especially because I’m writing this post (and email) during a stretch of several days. Like, right now, when I’m adding this sentence, it’s evening here.
Plus, you may be reading this in a lot of different places and time zones…But anyways, here is it is “Good morning”: the sun is shining through the window, Plato the Dog is snoring on the couch and I have a lot of things on my to-do list. Including starting this weekly email…which will also be available in French.
If you’re interested: you can sign up here. for the English version and here for the French version…I’ll be sharing parts of this newsletter on my blog but I might not share it on my blog every week, while when you sign up for my weekly email, you’ll receive that weekly email directly to your inbox…
Why start a weekly email about self-publishing?
After all, I am not one of the big names nor am I making thousands dollars a month and the main reason I am able to still focus on my business is thanks to my husband and his job. I mean, granted, there’s also a pandemic and due to my stem cell transplant, I’m still considered to be in the segment of the population that needs to be extra careful. But I am able to take all necessary precautions thanks to my husband and his job. Others might not.
I’ve been sharing some behind-the-scenes in my Instagram stories but (a) the reach very much depends on the algorithm and I don’t post regularly enough on social media I think to make the algorithm work in my favor, (b) After not being on social media very consistently over the past several years, it sometimes feel I need to start from scratch, (c) this might be helpful and/or entertaining and/or interesting to my readers, (d) I am currently changing the way I am working on my publishing career, (e) And yes, since I will also be talking about my books, maybe I might gain a few more readers. :-), (f) sometimes it feels like I’m talking in a void…
And did I mention there is a pandemic and that I haven’t interacted face-to-face for more than 15 minutes with more than 4 people (counting my husband) in almost a year?
And at least, when I write a blog post or a newsletter, it feels like my words may reach someone,
I feel the same way about writing my books, but there’s no instant gratification when it comes to writing novels or even short stories. I don’t publish them right away. There’s an entire process behind them.
I do receive emails from readers and I need to print out them and make an album out of them, because reading them always makes me smile.
And I know that for some authors, where I am at my career is a place they long to be. And for some other authors, they wish for something different. It’s all about expectations and I guess where you are in your writing journey.
Some self-published authors who started publishing around the same time I did have quit (for many different reasons – have I mentioned how lucky I am for my husband and his support?). Other self-published authors have risen to the top of the charts, mostly due to their hard work and business savy and marketing strategies and yes, a bit of luck. But honestly, that bit of luck wouldn’t be anything without the hard work they’ve put behind the scenes and the amount of novels they have written that are so good readers can’t get enough. And some are like me, continuing to write and publish, trying out different avenues and strategies, readjusting their goals…
See? I am musing right now. Thinking out loud. Typing…out loud? I thought about starting a patreon or a podcast, but writing seems to be my favorite mean of expressing myself and sharing information. Don’t get me wrong, I can talk, talk, talk about a lot of different subjects. And since I used to work as a press officer and an adjunct, I am used to and enjoy presenting on a variety of topics. And I am good at it. But…musings in writing? That seems more like something I can do on a regular basis. And I might read this out loud and actually add it as an audio file at some point.
What do you think? Would you like this as an audio file too? Let me know 🙂
What I am currently working on:
Switching some of my French-speaking, German-speaking and maybe Portuguese-speaking books to Kindle Unlimited. Why? I haven’t published a new original book in more than a year and so the sales have been dwindling on all platforms and I am getting the rights back on some of my German and Portuguese translations. Plus, by looking at the overall sales and revenues in the last three years for my books in French, I did have a jump in revenue a few months after the hype of release week when I put those books in KU. By the way did you know that Kindle Unlimited has a different name in France and there’s a whole legal story behind it about the right of publishers to set e-book prices and there were quite a few articles about it back in 2015. I found this fascinating and will definitely read more about it. The TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT French version has also never been in the French equivalent of Kindle Unlimited soooooo…waiting for the other platforms to delist LA PEUR DANS LE SANG, LA PEUR DANS LES YEUX and LA PEUR EN PLEIN COEUR and off they go into the French equivalent of KU.
Working on two new bilingual books…I had a lot of foreign-languages editions of my books up on Babelcube. And I got a lot of the rights back on those books. And my revenue currently comes mostly from my bilingual books. So this means, I need to format, format, format and publish, publish, publish. I’m currently working on the English/Spanish version of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER and the German/English version of ALWAYS SECOND BEST.
Started Mark Dawson’s class on Ads for Authors: I have been wanting to take this class for years. Literally, years. It is definitely an investment. But it has already helped me, when it comes to my newsletter and making efforts to expand my newsletter subscription in other countries, such as France, where my books have been selling the best – especially as I’m currently drafting several stories. Some of which I am planning to release this year.
Trying to find ways to reach more audiobook listeners. Megan Carter narrated FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT and SEE ME, SEE ME NOT and those audiobooks are good. Really, they are really good. She’s an amazing narrator and I am so so looking forward to have more listeners discover those books. You can just listen to the samples (FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT sample and SEE ME, SEE ME NOT sample). From a self-publishing/business perspective, I also want to make that Megan gets her fair share of downloads. We did a Royalty-Share Plus contract on ACX, meaning that I paid her a lower rate PFH (per finished hour) but we share the royalties on the books. So for me: I want to (a) recoup my investment, (b) make a profit, (c) make sure Megan also makes on this book at least what she would have earned if I had paid her her regular PFH rate.
Going wide with the audiobook of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER: what does going wide mean for an audiobook? That means that instead of listing my audiobook via ACX (which is the Amazon platform and only makes it available on Amazon, iTunes and Audible), I am using Findaway Voices and it will be available in libraries, Google Play and so many more places.
Back to training my dragon…I bought a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking back in 2016 and didn’t use it a whole lot. As I am currently writing short stories (ghosts! witches! vampires!) with Susan Dennard’s story-a-month challenge and want to write a prequel novella to the rom-com I’m finishing revising, I need to draft faster. Drafting faster means getting the story out faster because I have noticed that I do much better in revising if I figure out the novel as I draft it. Yes, I am now more of a plotter than I used to be but there are still areas that I discover only once I have the story drafted.
So, this is what you might expect in my weekly email. More info about what I’m reading about the self-publishing market, results in some of my marketing methods and trying out different platforms…Some random thoughts about going wide / Kindle Unlimited, writing methods.
I’ll be sharing more about training my dragon (the transcription …), the ups and downs of self-publishing, more of a glimpse behind-the-scenes…and I’ll be crossing my fingers that, that way, I can connect more with readers and writers and people around the world, wondering about self-publishing or my experience with self-publishing…after all some people still find this blog by looking up ideas on self-publishing from years ago. A lot of things have changed in the self-publishing landscape. A lot of them haven’t. I’ll share with you how I think I became somewhat of a success in France with my self-publishing books (it has to do with a lot of luck and timing).
Okay, that’s it for now.
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, sign up for my newsletter ( sign up here. for the English version and here for the French version), buy my books…
Or simply leave me a comment…
Don’t hesitate to ask a question in the comment and sign up for my weekly newsletter. I’ll answer questions weekly as well. 🙂
I’ve decided to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a slightly modified version to fit my November goals. You can find me here if you’re on the NaNoWriMo website. For those of you who may not know:
National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.
Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand-new novel. You may know this mass creative explosion by the name National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo—but that’s not all that NaNoWriMo is!
(…) It’s a start-up incubator for novels (books like Water for Elephants, Fangirl, and WOOL began as rough drafts in November!). It’s a teaching tool, it’s a curriculum, and its programs run year-round.
Right now I am still finalizing my adult rom-com and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. However, I am planning on also writing a few short non-fiction books about self-publishing.
This won’t be about how to become a millionaire thanks to writing or how to become a bestselling author (because I’m neither of those).
It will be more related to questions you may ask yourself before self-publishing (why, how, is that right for me, what are my expectations and what are my goals and what are my dreams), during self-publishing (the process, the options…), looking at foreign markets, what has worked for me, what hasn’t and what I have learned.
Because I’ve learned a lot in the past six years. About a lot of things, but I’m still talking about self-publishing here. 🙂 I’ve become a hybrid author (self-published and tradionally published). I’m getting a lot of my rights back from my translated works in the coming months.
I’ll share some of my stats (paperback vs ebook, countries where I am currently selling the most…), definitely a lot of behind-the-scenes and reality-checks and hopefully usefully answers some of your burning questions (again…about self-publishing).
So…do *you* have any questions about self-publishing? Or about my years as self-publisher?
Don’t hesitate to add them as a comment to this blog post or fill out the message form below to send me an email.
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