A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

Now available on the “A Self-Published Author’s Diary” podcast: my Top 3 self-publishing mistakes…

I have published those top 3 self-publishing mistakes a few weeks ago…before I started my podcast. And I have now uploaded this post as a podcast episode as well…:-)

You can listen to it on my “A Self-Published Author’s Diary” podcast on: SpotifyApple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more



Today, on the podcast, I also mention that I have changed #THELEFTOVERBRIDE pre-order price to $0.99 ( Amazon, iTunesKobo). Come discover this second chance romance (think a sexy Hallmark movie).

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.

Okay maybe that’s the best transition to my top 3 self-publishing mistakes…:-) But before I got into my own self-publishing mistakes, I do want to share this Bookbub article with you: How I Make Six Figures as a Self-Published Author by Ines Johnson.

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.

Quote by Ines Johnson in How I Make Six Figures as a Self-Published Author by Ines Johnson.

You can also follow Ines on Bookbub.


What are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes?

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.

  1. 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…
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

And those are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes.

Again, if you’d like to see my top 5, you can just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…

I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks as well as what has worked for and my current publishing updates…including some stats about my bestselling format and platforms.

Thank you for reading!

Did you enjoy this post? Do you want to help support me and my writing? You can forward this email to someone who might be interested, buy my books and as always, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.

And you can listen to my podcast!

Ep. 14 – Feature Friday: Talking with Katy Upperman about being vulnerable in our writing, her love for the revision process and her dream projects (+ Giveaway) A self-published author's diary

Talking with YA author Katy Upperman (author of KISSING MAX HOLDEN, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US and HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN) about incorporating feedback in her revisions (and how much she loves the revision process), being vulnerable in our writing, her dream projects…We also talk about her life list and true crime (not related). Do you want to win one of Katy's books? Including a signed book if you live in the US. Enter the giveaway here (open internationally): http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/35c42cc24/? In this episode I also give a short update about my writing and self-publishing (newsletter, German edition and more). Would you like to ask me a question about self-publishing or my writing or my books? Leave me a voicemail here: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message As always, you can find me on social media (@enowodazkij on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and @elodienowodazkij on Tiktok). More info on my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 14 – Feature Friday: Talking with Katy Upperman about being vulnerable in our writing, her love for the revision process and her dream projects (+ Giveaway)
  2. Ep. 13 – Feature Friday: Talking with Mona Shroff about writing romance, a baking contest and receiving "the" calls.
  3. Ep. 12 – Before the cover reveal (how to engage readers…maybe) and random thoughts about social media.
  4. Ep. 11 – Feature Friday: Talking with L. Penelope about writing, publishing, patience and perseverance…(and cheesecake)
  5. Ep. 10 – My top 3 self-publishing mistakes (and keywords…)

I have two newsletters!

(1) My weekly self-publishing emails: A Self-published author’s diary…

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.

You can click here to start receiving those weekly emails or add your email below.

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A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: Let’s take a look at the publishing platforms I use for ebooks (and what it means for royalties)

If you’re signed up to receive my weekly emails and you are using Gmail, make sure to check your promotion tab. As always I share exclusive content in the emails (including the full notes of the podcast). If you’d like to support my podcast, don’t hesitate to rate and review and subscribe.

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?

If you start Googling “self-publishing platforms”, you will get more than 30000 results. I guess I’m adding one more with this post and episode. 😊 There’s a post on Redsy Blog, which is pretty good at going through the different ones currently available and their pros and cons.

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:

Royalties: How much per book?

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:

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

Am I happy with the platforms I use?

The answer to that question is on the podcast (choose your favorite streaming platform here or click here for Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts) and in my emails to subscribers. 🙂 You can sign up for my weekly email here.

What about other platforms to sell ebooks?

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….

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with my top 3 self-publishing mistakes, if you’d like to get a FREE pdf of my top 5 self-publishing mistakes and receive weekly emails from me: just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…

Thank you for reading!

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 leave a comment and I’ll make sure to reply in my email next week.

You can click here to start receiving those weekly emails or add your email below.

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A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: a little March recap…

If you’re signed up to receive my weekly emails and you are using Gmail, make sure to check your promotion tab…As always I share exclusive content in the emails. 🙂

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…

Talking about business, 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 or audiobooks or recommend them on Overdrive to your library, (2) forward the post to a friend, (3) sign up to my readers’ newsletter if you’re interested about my books and my writing, (3) subscribe to my weekly emails about self-publishing, (4) talk about my books to your friends/family.

What books and audiobooks did I publish?

  1. 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.
  2. Published a new German/English bilingual book: announced it to the German subscribers of my newsletter, announced it to my blog, and am currently boosting one of my Facebook posts to an audience of English-learning and English instructors in Germany also interested in reading and romance novels on Facebook.
  3. Published another new bilingual book (French/Italian). I still need to announce it on my French website.
  4. Put up Eine Zweite Chance (Always Second Best in German) for pre-order.
  5. Published a new English/Spanish bilingual book: announced it on my blog.

What courses did I take in March?

  1. Marketing-related: I’m still listening to Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors course.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. This post by Erin Bowman on publishing on Instagram: Author Friends, are you okay?

What marketing/advertising did I do in March?

  1. Boosted a few posts on Facebook – it created more traffic towards some of my books.
  2. I changed some of my books to Kindle Unlimited and ran a free promo on them (more info in my weekly email. :-))

Sales data such as info on which format/countries are currently my best-selling countries are available to my weekly emails’ subscribers.

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.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with my top 3 self-publishing mistakes, if you’d like to get a FREE pdf of my top 5 self-publishing mistakes and receive weekly emails from me: just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…

Thank you for reading!

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.

You can click here to start receiving those weekly emails or add your email below.

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A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: The Groundhog Day of Formatting and lip synching…

If you’re signed up to receive my weekly emails and you are using Gmail, make sure to check your promotion tab…As always I share exclusive content in the emails. 🙂

Sometimes, formatting bilingual books feels like a Groundhog day. It starts over and over again and even if I feel like I have perfected the process, there are still issues. I have files that are called UPDATE 1, UPDATE 2, UPDATE 3….and so on and so on. Formatting bilingual books is slightly more complicated, in my view, than formatting my regular manuscripts, just because I have to ensure those pesky page breaks actually happen when they’re supposed to.

And some of you might ask, “But Elodie, why don’t you use all of this time to write and publish original content?” And this is a great question. Because I have plenty of ideas. I have ideas about a series, I’m finishing writing my first rom-com and I’m planning this as a series of standalone novels. So, I have ideas. And I am writing, albeit maybe not as much as I’d like to.

But I know that my bilingual books generate income.

And while I am developing a strategy (which I will share with you on this blog and more in detail in my weekly email) for my upcoming novels and series, I know that working on those bilingual manuscripts is helpful to my business. And as a language learner (currently learning Russian on Duolingo for 250 days straight :-)) and former language teacher, I love that those bilingual books might help people who are learning a language.

Talking about languages, I saw this post on Instagram the other day that really resonated and thought I’d share it with you all. It says, “If someone is speaking to you in a foreign accent, they are smart enough to know two languages and brave enough to do their job in their second.” 


Anyways…I spent a lot of hours this week finalizing another English/German book and this was only a tiny portion of the work that I needed to do for this particular book. And I’m happy to report that I did manage to publish EINE ZWEITE CHANCE (TEIL 1) / A SECOND CHANCE (PART 1) – Zweisprachiges Buch Deutsch / Englisch – Bilingual book: German / Englisch. (Amazon.de, Amazon.com, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo…)

To publish this book, I needed to:

(1) Using the manuscript in English and the manuscript in German, format the bilingual edition (manually) with one page in German and the corresponding text in English on the other side.

(2) Have a freelancer language specialist proofread the German translation one more time.

(3) Go through all the changes, review and implement the chances in the translation.

(4) Ensure that the pdf interior has the correct formatting. (that took FOREVER as every single time I would upload the word document, there was something wrong with it…one tab too many and that can really mess with the formatting. I use Draft2Digital to make the interior of the book.

(4) Design the cover.

(5) Add a series page on Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital and Google Play for “Zweisprachiges Buch Englisch Deutsch Nick & Em”.

(6) Add all the metadata on all platforms (summary, keywords, categories and so on…)

(7) Upload the files for the ebooks.

(8) Create the paperback in Kindle Direct Publishing…

As mentioned…the formatting can be slightly frustrating at times. If my husband would read this, he would chuckle at the “slightly”. 🙂

Some videos of the actual process are included in my weekly email...

But the process can also be fun. 🙂 While I cannot listen to music when I am actually in the process of copying and pasting the German text to fit the English text and vice versa, I do sing very badly or lip synch in this case, when I’m making sure the format is correct (headings where there’s supposed to be headings, page break at the right spot, no extra paragraph…).

I am sharing a video of my lip synching one of the Bridgerton’s musical demo song in my weekly email too..:-)

And this was a bit of behind-the-scenes of a tiny portion of the work behind my latest bilingual book.

Last week, I shared with my top 3 self-publishing mistakes, if you’d like to get a FREE pdf of my top 5 self-publishing mistakes and receive weekly emails from me: just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…

Thank you for reading!

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.

You can click here to start receiving those weekly emails or add your email below.

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A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: my Top 3 self-publishing mistakes…

My top 3 Self-Publishing Mistakes…

Thanks for reading this post… If you just stumbled on this blog, I started self-publishing in 2014, so I got quite a few years of experience and made many mistakes along the way. And while I’m sharing my top 3 self-publishing mistakes on this blog, I am sharing my top 5 self-publishing mistakes in my weekly email. If you’d like to receive those as pdf and join my weekly email, just click here.


Before getting into my top 3 self-publishing mistakes, I’d like to share information on how to help stop hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The rise in hate crimes against AAPI in the US has been staggering, but it’s not a new phenomenon. This post by USA bestselling author Tif Marcelo on Instagram is a must-read: “Don’t Avert Your Gaze” (please read it, and please don’t avert your gaze). As I was looking for more resources to share, Susan Dennard’s newsletter landed in my inbox with those words and the links below: “Please, educate yourself on AAPI racism. Please, speak up when you see it in action. And if you can, please donate to causes that can help.” I know I’m planning on doing all of those things. And I will keep on looking for resources as well. If you have any, don’t hesitate to let me know.


What are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes?

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.

  1. 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…
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

And those are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes.

Again, if you’d like to see my top 5, you can just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…

I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks as well as what has worked for and my current publishing updates…including some stats about my bestselling format and platforms.

Thank you for reading!

Did you enjoy this post? Do you want to help support me and my writing? You can forward this email to someone who might be interested, buy my books 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.

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A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: What is that “back matter” you speak of?

Updating the back matter of my book…what do I even mean when I say that? Let’s talk a closer look, shall we?

Important: If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ve already gotten the full version in your email. Make sure you check your promotion tabs in gmail as this is where I received mine. 🙂 This blog post is a truncated version of what my newsletter subscribers have received, meaning I share more information with my “A self-published author’s diary weekly email” subscribers. You can subscribe here…When you subscribe you will receive access to past issues as well. 🙂

A. Update the “Little message to my readers”

In almost all my books, I have “A little message to my readers” at the end (I’m sharing that letter with my newsletter subscribers – don’t hesitate to subscribe here and I’ll make sure you receive it :-)) This email is not only thanking readers for their time (which I do truly appreciate)…I mean did you know there are more than 48 million books on Amazon. And while it seems very hard to get yearly data on how many books are being published each year, an article on PublisherWeekly based on Bowker’s data indicated that the number of self-published titles jumped 40% in 2018...So, yep, I am super grateful readers did pick mine up in an ocean of almost endless possibilities…

My “Little message to readers” aims to encourage readers to:

  • leave a review. Why oh why do I ask for reviews? Because reviews really help other readers discover new authors. Annnnnnd….it also helps get more visibility. Reviews don’t have to be raving for this to be true. One of my first review one of my best-selling book basically says, “this book sucks.” But the overall rating for that book is a 4.3 out of 5, so that means that even though someone clearly didn’t like it very much, it doesn’t deter other readers to pick it up. Sometimes, those bad reviews actually help other readers pick a book up. One of my low rating review for ALWAYS SECOND BEST mentioned it wasn’t the equivalent of an Oscar-nominated book but rather a Danielle Steel novel. And let’s face it, this was actually a pretty big compliment to me, because I’d love to have Danielle’s Steel career and her books are beloved by millions…Another one noted that my Gavert City series reminded them of Lifetime movies…which, again…yes, please! Those reviews actually helped me gain more readers and even narrow my marketing.
  • susbscribe to my newsletter: Subscribing to my author’s newsletter is very very important to me. Why? Years ago, I remember hearing how important it was to have your readers’ emails because you can contact directly with them. And I’ve seen in the past few months how true this is. Algorithms change and people may like your page that are also no longer interested in your books…So the audience might be slightly skewed…In a newsletter, if someone doesn’t open your emails for months or years, then you can remove them from your audience but even more importantly, they receive the news directly into your inbox. You don’t rely on boosting a post or crossing your fingers you’ve understood how to use social media, especially when changes are implemented about who sees what and what posts are given priority.
  • Follow me on social media. You might think, wait, you just mentioned how important it is for you to grow you subscribers’ list. True. But for people who might not feel like they want to receive an email from me, then they can check out my social media. It is true that social media definitely isn’t one of my forte (and I’ll go into details about that at another time) but if someone likes my page, I can at least have one more opportunity to interact with them and build a link with them and maybe, they’ll love another one of my books.
  • Create a connection. By adding a little message to my readers, I may create a first connection with a reader. And maybe they will follow my BookBub page or maybe they’re going to be more enclined to recommend one of my books. I do believe they’ll pick another one up if they loved the one they read but maybe they might remember that little message and talk to someone about the story they’ve just read…

B. Update the “Other books by” and maybe the sample at the end.

C. Make sure all the social media info + newsletter info is correct, as well as the short bio info had been updated, if needed: I mean for a while there, I had the wrong link to my Facebook Author Page. I had updated the handle for my Facebook Author Page to match my other social media but hadn’t updated that info into my books…DOH! By the way, if you’d like to like my Facebook Author Page it is: www.facebook.com/enowodazkij

So what am I doing.did I do this week? (I’m starting to write this on Monday and will update it throughout the week…)

  1. Upload the bilingual version of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER (English/Spanish) onto Google Play and contact Kindle Direct Publishing about the metadata of that kindle book. I have chosen to list the language as “English” (I cannot list two languages for those books right now), but they got back to me saying the metadata indicated the language was Spanish. I just double checked using Calibre and it still says “English”…so trying to figure out what is happening and if I could indeed list this book as both English and Spanish. Once that it is resolved, announce the book on my blog and on social media. –> I did the first part. Still need to announce the book…
  2. Do some promo for the audiobook of SEE ME, SEE ME NOT. Share the full bloopers to my readers’ newsletter (if you’d like to subscribe to that one, you can do so here…) –> Did that and also shared one deleted scene of Megan singing.
  3. Finish formatting the ALWAYS SECOND BEST bilingual books (German/English) and review it. I have made some changes to the ASB manuscript and I have to make sure it is updated in the German version as well.–> I have formatted the first part of the bilingual book and am currently interviewing some proofreaders to ensure everything is correct before uploading it on all platforms.
  4. Enroll my French Gavert City series into Kindle Unlimited. –> Well, I did update the back matter for some of my books and enrolled LA PEUR EN PLEIN COEUR in KU, buuuuuuttt I need to wait for
  5. Finish this round of revision fo UNNAMED PROJECT (Actually it has a name. A name I kind of love) –> Still working on this. I really need to focus on this next week. It will be my main focus so that I can finally send it off to my wonderful wonderful critique partners. I started writing this book
  6. Announce ONE, TWO, THREE in Italian and boost one of my Facebook posts. I did! Yay. I’ve announced it on my blog and I’ve also announced it on my Facebook and boosted one my posts. I’ve shared a video on Instagram which you can also see below.

My newsletter subscribers will get more information about some of the results of that particular post boosting and what I’m learning about the particular audience I’m boosting it to.

This creative was done with BookBrush…

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Self publishing, Self-pub corner

The One Where You Can Ask Me Self-Publishing Questions…

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.

Whatever you thought NaNoWriMo was, it is more than that. (Source: https://nanowrimo.org/about-nano)

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.

Uncategorized

FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT has a cover and a giveaway :)

Facebook Cover

My new book, a YA romantic suspense novel FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT has been in the making for several years. I could say I wrote it in 3 months, but it’s actually taken me 3 years to get the story where I wanted it to be. It will be published on September 27th, 2016 and you can already pre-order it here. 

While browsing the pre-made covers of Najla Qambers , I came across one I fell in love with for a book about another character. The photographer was Lindee Robinson, so I reached out to her to see if I could see more pictures of different couples and I found Erin and Dimitri 🙂

Thank you so much Najla and Lindee!

Fear Me, Fear Me Not Cover

SCREAM meets FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS in this new young adult romantic suspense novel by Elodie Nowodazkij.

Fear is power. They fear me. They don’t fear me enough. Every year a girl disappears in Gavert County, Texas. Their bodies are found days, sometimes months, later with an angel wing carved on their face. They call me “the Angel Killer” and I’m on the hunt again. But this time, it’s personal.

Seventeen-year-old cheerleader Erin Hortz has been warned about the Angel Killer all her life. She never walks alone in the dark. She doesn’t talk to strangers. She doesn’t accept drinks at parties. All she wants is to finish her senior year with a win at the Miss Junior Queen of Hearts pageant, capture the perfect light over the lake with her new camera, and finally catch the attention of her best friend Nadia’s brother—former football star Dimitri Kuklev. Since his injury, they’ve been spending a lot of time together. And getting to know the real Dimitri—not the one she put on a pedestal in her diary is better than she could ever have imagined. And she’s falling hard.

Nineteen-year-old Dimitri’s injury brought him from football superstar with universities from all around the country knocking at his door to not knowing what he wants to do with his life. Taking classes at the local community college is supposed to get him back on track, but all he wants is to be on the field again. The only person who seems to understand him is the one he swore to keep in the friend zone: Erin. His sister Nadia’s best friend and the reason why he can’t keep a girlfriend. Between their early morning jogs, their time spent at the lake laughing, and their late night conversations, he’s having a hard time remembering why it’s such a bad idea.
But when Nadia doesn’t come home after a party, Dimitri and Erin know they must find her before it’s too late—even if that means risking their own lives and everything Erin’s ever known.

Because the main suspect is Erin’s father.

Amazon preorder

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Annnnnd you could win a $50 Amazon Gift Card by participating in The Cover Reveal Giveaway…

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THANK YOU 🙂

Blogging

#Selfpub corner: Seven truths (at least my truths :))

#Selfpub corner button

 1. I wouldn’t be able to publish my fourth book in less than 3 weeks without the support of my husband (both emotional and financial). Me going the self-publishing road was a common decision, something we’ve talked about and agreed on.

2. It’s definitely not a sprint, but a marathon. My sales are definitely better than last year, but I’m still struggling, I’m still not making a living out of my writing. But I’m trying to make sure it happens very soon.

3. I am so grateful for all the support and the sharing of knowledge. Honestly, you have no idea how Riley Edgewood is amazingly kind and wonderful. I’ve found out so much about the industry thanks to her and her ever-inquisitive mind ❤ And I’m grateful for the encouraging words of my friends. And for my husband telling me at least once a week. “I believe in you.”

4. I’m still learning. Trying to get more involved in publishing, trying to give back more. I’m also taking writing classes.

5. This is my job. I wake up at 5.15 every day (yes I do go to bed super early). I work around seven hours a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. And I do work on certain weekends.

6. At least 30% of my working time is not spent on writing. It’s spent learning about the craft, learning how to write better, learning about the industry, trying to make sure I find ways to connect with my readers.

7. I love my job. And again I know how lucky I am.

Ready Set Write

Ready. Set. Write! #RSWrite – 10th update!

RSW9

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman and myself. (For the detailed information about RSW, including  the wonderful buttons created by the lovely Jaime, click here)

Disclaimer: I’m in Europe this week, so I might be slow making my way through the blogs. Sorry about that, but I’ll try to do a bit of cheering each day!

IMPORTANT REMINDER –> The last week of Ready. Set. Write! (8-24 – 8-31) we’ll be holding a fun virtual event called Manuscripts and Manicures. We’ll each be painting our nails in a way that reflects our current WiP, then posting a photo of our manicure creations.

And don’t forget, if you’re on Twitter, we check and cheer each other on using #RSWrite

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

  • Finish drafting this manuscript. –> ALMOST. I wrote about 5000 words last week which isn’t too bad, since we left for Europe on Tuesday.
  • Finalize its blurb for the cover reveal. –> NOPE.
  • Send the feedback on a wonderful manuscript I’m beta reading. So. Good. So so so good! –> YES (and this book is simply AMAZING) I finished reading it on the plane from DC to Frankfurt and I couldn’t put it down. Loved. It.

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

  • Blurb
  • Finish drafting. I’m going to write at least 1000 words each day.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

And he kisses me. Tender and passionate. Desperate and hopeful.
I forget myself into his lips. Into the way he tastes, the way my entire body reacts to his, the way his arms tighten around my waist.
“What do you think you’re doing?” My father’s voice booms.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

I’m currently in Europe and want to enjoy every second of it, but I also need to make sure I finish drafting this manuscript…

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

That a scene unlocked itself.

Are you participating in RSW? 
Don’t forget to link to your  update below!

It’s time for our third giveaway! This lovely package has been assembled by Katy

GIVEAWAY Winner

The winner of Alison’s wonderful giveaway package is Crystal Schubert 🙂 Congrats Crystal!

And it’s giveaway time again!

This time the lovely package has been prepared by the wonderful Katy!

Giveaway
“If You Obey All the Rules You Miss All the Fun” journal, floral mini sticky note pad, lined floral note pad, Jelly Bellies, starry pencil pouch, Honey Pear hand cream, Lavender Lemonade candle, peppermint mints, various washi tapes, Eos Strawberry Sorbet lip balm, writerly quote pencils, Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea, and Twizzlers.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

(giveaway is open internationally – to RSW participants only)