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Ralph Rotten
May 30th, 2018, 03:18 AM
I am in the final editing stages of a very big project and I thought it would be interesting if I started a thread that detailed all the crap that goes into Indie publishing a book.
Yes, it is a place for me to rant to other writers about the frustrations of my WIP.
Yes, you are welcome to comment on the thread.
No, I do not want to pull your finger, but I will pull your leg every chance I get.

Ralph Rotten
May 30th, 2018, 03:22 AM
So here is where I am right now:
I just finished the rough draft on a 2-volume book. It's actually 2 books in one, the ultimate binge book, the reader can climb into it for a week.
Problem is that it is so damned big I absolutely cannot fit it into a single print book (Ebook yes, print no!).
This should give you an idea what I'm talking about: This is from a test I did to combine the two volumes into one copy.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DduvtwbV4AAYFQt.jpg:large


No way in hell that I can combine these two volumes into one book, and CreateSpace has no way to sell a pair of books as a set.
So the next step is to see if Amazon Print Services does. Otherwise I will have issues with customers becoming confused by the ebook being called 3.5, and the print books being called 3 & 4.
Arrrrgggghhhhhhh! Why did I decide to take on a project like this? Am I brain damaged??

Ralph Rotten
May 30th, 2018, 03:26 AM
So right now I am going thru volume 1, which I let sit for about 6 months...and it is actually quite good. I am pleased thus far. I already did a first pass on vol 2 as well and it was fun, but not as well written as vol 1 for some reason.

Anyhow, part of the proofing process involves fixing formatting errors. Although I always format the blank document before I start a new book, I always seem to end up with sections that adopt their own line spacing or paragraph characteristics. So as I read I have to be wary of badly formatted pages because they look bad in e-book, and cause more pages in print.

Here is an example:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DeH8BJmU0AEC4t7.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
May 30th, 2018, 03:30 AM
This series of books usually start out with a cover letter from the archaeologist who compiled the material (a prologue in disguise).
I am not particularly happy with this one. I'm going to need to give it some thought before tweaking it. The thing kinda bores me...and I wrote it.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DdPYhq2VQAA96Hf.jpg:large


And apparently I cannot spell guaranteed.

Ralph Rotten
May 30th, 2018, 03:44 AM
Now I don't know how most writers do it, but I absolutely tweak my books to the Nth degree while I am still doing the print version (which I do first.) The reason for this is that I find it easier to find the errors in the print version (because I'm old school) and also because once you start building the e-book, any errors you discover will need to be edited twice...or more. So I do everything I possibly can to find and fix errors, SPAG, typos, formatting issues, and such before I even think about making an e-book.

One time I found an error after the book was fully published on multiple venues, and since I use a different e-book copy for each vendor (the last page of each e-book links to the review page for that vendor) I had to edit the print copy, and 3 different versions of the ebook. What a PITA that was!

But editing must be top shelf, because the minute your reader starts to think that they are smarter than the writer, they begin to view your work in a more subjective light, which is not a good thing. So for the next 2-3 months I will be in a nearly continuous editing phase, tweaking and editing ad nauseum until it is right.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DaqjXNLVAAAdceZ.jpg:large

moderan
May 30th, 2018, 05:52 AM
Heh. Lulu might be a possibility. I have a combo dvd/book package that I used to sell there. That restricts sales though. I don't have an inexpensive solution. You COULD do it as a one-shot. I have at least a score of books that are bigger. Or make the thing larger and keep the print size static, but that's still a big mutha.

Ralph Rotten
June 2nd, 2018, 10:31 PM
Heh. Lulu might be a possibility. I have a combo dvd/book package that I used to sell there. That restricts sales though. I don't have an inexpensive solution. You COULD do it as a one-shot. I have at least a score of books that are bigger. Or make the thing larger and keep the print size static, but that's still a big mutha.


I'm thinking that I'll just use the book blurb as a place to tell them up front about the 2-print-book split. I'll tell them that if they go green and buy the Ebook instead of the print books, they will save a tree as well as twenty bucks. I make way more money on ebooks so I'm good with green. Ebooks link to reviews easier than print books too.

But I think I will browse Lulu and see what they offer. I would never shun a new sales avenue. :)

Ralph Rotten
June 2nd, 2018, 10:39 PM
Whew! I started working at my usual 0400hrs, and by 1000 I had finished a first pass on the first volume (I started 3 days ago). I have to say; I am really beginning to second guess my idea of a double book. The first volume is really good and could easily be a standalone book in the series. The second volume isn't quite a binge book so it would be shorter....

AARRRARRARRGGGHHH!!


Okay, something light-hearted. I made myself laugh with this snippet.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DeNboprVwAAamLP.jpg:large


Okay, now I am back to more editing ad nauseum. It's either that or I nut-up and pick a release date. But then once I set a pre-sale date I'm locked in and the book absolutely, positively must be delivered on time. But that'll stress me out, but if I don;t do it then it holds up the marketing, but I don;t wanna get locked into a date until I'm totally sure and it's a big project....

If I had an 8-ball, I'd be shaking the shit outta the thing right now.

Ralph Rotten
June 5th, 2018, 02:23 PM
Okay, enough editing. I just made first-passes on each manuscript and they looked very good. Granted, this really isn't a first pass because I do doublebacks every 100 pages (or so) as I write. So before I type "The End" at the end of my manuscript, it has usually been tweaked several times as the book evolved. I used to write straight thru, but I found over the years that writing that way creates massive work in the editing phase, and sometimes the repairs show like a bad bondo job. So for a few years now I have been doubling back as I go, tightening up characters and story to make sure the book stays on the right trajectory. Fixing it later is waaaaay more work.

But today, I have finished a rough print formatting for both of the books, and I can order some proof copies just as soon as I have the cover done....

Oh yeah, the downside to my stupid idea for a 2-volume book is that I need 2 print covers, not one. Sure, in E-book they'll have 1 cover, but for print I gotta build 2 separate covers. Oh well, it's preferable to editing. :)
Actually, I enjoy cover design. I'm not very good at it, but I do like to try my hand at it.
Here is a quick peek at one of the covers under construction. I like this graphic, it speaks to parts of the story within. www.canstockphoto.com (http://www.canstockphoto.com) is a pretty good site for your cover art. You can try using your own artwork, but that's a quick way to get your ass featured on www.uglybookcovers.com (http://www.uglybookcovers.com). Actually, you can submit your cover to that site and get honest feedback from a bunch of smug millennials. (But they're usually right)

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/De7a5EpV4AAT1o0.jpg:large


For those first-timers reading this article, when you are creating a cover, you have to make sure that the last thing you do is to save the cover in 2 different file formats. JPG is the format you will upload to createspace, but it is a lossy image so you cannot edit the components within it anymore. Hence, you need to also save a layout copy, like an *.UFO file. These are the layout files in the proprietary format of your photo editor. PaintshopPro and Photoshop both have their own file extentions for this (*.UFO is for photoimpact.) So be sure that you keep both the layout version as well as the JPG. That way if you have to make changes to the cover, you don't have to completely rebuild the whole thing. When you self-publish, plan on having to go back in and fix things after the publishing; there will be mistakes.

Ralph Rotten
June 8th, 2018, 08:35 PM
I've long felt that the fastest way to have your book branded as a self-pub or a vanity press book is to use the templates offered by CreateSpace. They are awful templates. I prefer to use the blank template that requires me to build the entire thing, cover to cover. I prefer that level of control. People realy do judge books by the cover, so you have got to make sure your cover kicks ass.

Not only that, but once you make a cover you have to be sure to check it out at thumbnail size because that's how it will appear on Amazon. Does your cover look good as both a full sized ad as well as a thumbnail?

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DfLY5g3V4AEMLVB.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
June 8th, 2018, 08:44 PM
Okay, this next post is just a rant. This is something that CreateSpace has done since day one, and they seem disinclined to fix it.

Here's the deal, when I make a cover I like to be able to see the spine-lines, the places where the cover folds 90 degrees, because I usually have a demarcation line between cover and spine. But in cover builder they don't show where these lines are, so you have to use the ruler, and do some math to calculate the spine thickness..... What a PITA.

But you can see the spine lines in the digital previewer, but that step comes after submitting the book (and a 24hr wait). So I have to upload a cover, wait a day, then I can see in the digital previewer is my cover is properly lined up with the spine lines. If it doesn't then I go back and upload a new cover and wait 24 hours.......

Auuuuggghhhh!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DfLanLOVMAAkk57.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
June 8th, 2018, 08:48 PM
Here is an important thing many self-publishers didn't know: Choosing the FREE expanded marketing options on CreateSpace adds about $5 to the cost of your book.
Sure, it gets you on some lists...but who is gonna buy your book at that price?

But before you blast CP for this, keep in mind that they are cool enough to give you the option. If you publish on Nook Print you get zoomed for these marked up fees, no option to abstain. No idea how they do it on Amazon Print yet. I'll test them next.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DfLiaDqVQAAmtL-.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
June 13th, 2018, 05:56 PM
So this morning I finally nutted-up and set a date for the new book release. Scheduled the vacation time, set the date on Amazon (which BTW can only be set 90 days out now--no doubt thanks to those smart guys who had figured out how to use a distant release date to keep their books floated to the top of lists.) But suddenly as I'm counting those months up on my fingers it all seems like a really short span of time to finish this much work.



So this project of mine to sell a 2-volume Ebook reminds me of a story about a guy who climbed the Sears tower, jumped out, and as he passed one of the floors he could be heard to say "Well,so far, so good..."
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dfk8zLwVAAAVD_K.jpg:large
It never even occurred to me that I would not need 1 cover, but 3 covers (book 3, book 4, and book 3.5). Also, each of those need a landing page image so I had to build those too (In both print and ebook I like to have a large graphic with the title, copyright, author...BS. I prefer to use a graphic because it stays together better than text, I dont have to worry about font changes or centering issues, just add the info to an image, oversize the image so the reader is forced to scale it to fit the screen, and I don;t worry about centering.)

Oh, and I also have to have 3 seperate blurbs/jacket text.. Arrrrggghhhh. What was I thinking?

Ralph Rotten
June 13th, 2018, 06:00 PM
So, I have a proof copy of one of the books on its way to me. But with this one I am trying something different: I am maximizing the text to fit the publisher's max margins. It reduces page count, and I do not use the top of page headers either (never understood the need for top of page headers--they just drive up the cost of the book). So it looks okay in the digital previewer, but I need to see it in print. If I like it I will apply it to the other 3 books in the series, possibly lowering their cover price. Since I am releasing the last two books of the series I was planning on opening up the first two books and making sure their cover details and formatting are inline thru all 4 books.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dfa3ammUwAEA--N.jpg

Harper J. Cole
June 17th, 2018, 05:18 PM
I didn't have any cover problems with Amazon Print - they put up all the cover lines in the preview, including the spine lines. Score one for that system (I still don't understand why Amazon have two systems; are they trying to be their own competition?)

HJC

Bayview
June 17th, 2018, 06:03 PM
Do you sell a significant number of print books when you self-publish? Are you hand-selling them somehow, or do your readers order them online?

Ralph Rotten
June 17th, 2018, 07:01 PM
I actually sell few print books, mainly sell ebooks. Even when I have a book at the top of its [brief] sales arc, I sell few print books compared to digital books.
I really think we are seeing the death of print publishing.
But this will be good in many ways.

Ralph Rotten
June 17th, 2018, 07:02 PM
Have either of you seen similar results in your book sales?

Ralph Rotten
June 17th, 2018, 07:06 PM
I didn't have any cover problems with Amazon Print - they put up all the cover lines in the preview, including the spine lines. Score one for that system (I still don't understand why Amazon have two systems; are they trying to be their own competition?)

HJC


My guess is that they will wait until they have herded as many as they can into the new platform, then they'll implement the EXPANDED MARKETING plan, that will be mandatory, and jack your book's cover price up. CreateSpace has this feature, but it can be unchecked. In fact, they may use that feature to herd people out of CP and into KDP, then once they're all in the new corral they close the gate and implement Expanded Marketing on the herd. At least that's how I would do it if I were an evil mega-corporation, hellbent on taking over the world.

Ralph Rotten
June 17th, 2018, 07:10 PM
hellbent or hell-bent?

Bayview
June 17th, 2018, 08:13 PM
Have either of you seen similar results in your book sales?

I hardly sell any print with self-publishing; some print with small publishers; mostly print with big publishers (possibly because the e-book prices are so high, but also because they have bookstore distribution).

For myself as a reader, I don't want to wait several days for a book I want to arrive. So I either buy print copies in the bookstore or e-copies online. Instant gratification either way. I think self-published titles will always struggle to sell print because we can't get them in bookstores, but I know some self-published authors who do a lot of hand-selling (to friends and families, at conferences, or whatever) who move a fair number of print copies.

Ralph Rotten
June 18th, 2018, 12:09 AM
My next big marketing decision is if I want to rejoin KDP, or just add a couple books to KDP (Kindle unlimited program). I used to make money there, but they have an exclusivity clause so you cannot sell that material digitally anywhere else. So they sell your books at a discounted rate and demand exclusivity, but KDP makes money and is a great place to pick up reviews. So I have to decide if I'm making enough money in other venues (like Nook & GooglePlay) to offset the revenue lost by not being in KDP.

I should start a thread on that. See if anyone is making money on KDP.

Ralph Rotten
June 19th, 2018, 12:16 PM
Okay, so it's 0410 hrs, I've been up since 0357. I have a 4x cup of coffee so dark that it will leave a ring around your guts (it leaves a ring around the coffee cup), and two manuscripts to edit. I took a few days off to do artwork, but today I am right back at the editing cycle. Fortunately, both of these manuscripts had doublebacks (where I double back every hundred pages or so to tighten up characters and keep the story on trajectory)so the book was never really that rough (each manuscript had 3 or 4 doublebacks during the writing process so they were pretty tight.)

So since neither manuscript needs tons of fixing, they still need character improvement. I am looking out for hum-drum characters, or any opportunity to make a character 'more' than they already are. Characters are the key to any book, so I want to make sure that mine jump off the paper and amaze the reader.

Alright, gotta go. I'm burning daylight here!

Ralph Rotten
June 21st, 2018, 12:30 AM
So even though I have written a few books, I still get a thrill every time I get a new proof copy in the mail. I dunno what it is, but there is nothing cooler than getting a copy of the book that you essentially built from a blank page. With Indie publishing it's especially cool because not only did you write the thing, but you created the artwork, created the cover, created the jacket text...you did everything from cover to cover...and it all started with a blinking cursor on a blank page.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DgK7xu7UYAA5W2P.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
June 22nd, 2018, 05:28 PM
Editing
Editing
Editing
Editing
Editing
Editing
Editing

So you may have guessed that I am in an editing phase. I even caught myself getting editor's elbow the other day.

A lot of lip service is given to the idea of editing, but very little discussion into the deep mechanics of editing.
What exactly am I doing when I'm busy EditingEditingEditingEditing?

So here is a list of things I am looking for when I edit and tweak my work.
1) SPAG Basic spellng, grammer, punctuation, homonyms, synonyms, antonyms, and the usual mechanical stuff
2) Does it flow? The reader should be able to read at a consistent, flowing pace without having to slow down for rough spots.
3) Do the characters pop? Are they consistent? Are they fun? Do they each have a unique voice (or do they all talk the same?) Could they be more than they are?
4) The interactions: Have I maximized the interactions between my characters? Was it dynamic enough, or a boring interaction?
5) Repeat word usage: I avoid using the same word or terms within too small of a span.
6) Repeat character references: I like to have multiple ways to refer to major characters. He, him, his, and John get old quick. I define these alternate characteristics during their character introduction; tall mechanic, redheaded mechanic, big guy, etc. During editing I look for patterns where the same terms get overused.
7) Boring patches! I usually find these because my mind wanders and suddenly I forget what I was reading. If I am losing interest, then the scene needs work or amputation. Possibly it needs more of #3 and #4 above. Building better characters makes better interactions.
8 ) Layout and presentation of the text. Okay, writing is a literary art, but it is also quite visual. Sometimes how you display something, the font, the caps, the italics, the hyphens, can make the difference between the passage flowing logically, and it slamming into a weirdly formatted word. Ebook or E-book or ebook or e-book? WOPR or W.O.P.R.? How you lay out text can mark interrupt the story.
9) Am I rushing to tell the story? It is real easy to get focused on telling the story at the expense of the characters. Resist the urge to be the young bull on the hill, tis always better to have the mindset of the old bull when telling a story; take your time, walk down into that valley, introduce those characters, make them real, make them interesting, and tell the story as you bring them to life.



So right now is a first for me; I am editing 2 books at the same time. I have a print copy of book 3 that I am marking up when I'm offline, and a digital copy of book 4 running on my laptop. I go back and forth on them throughout the day. I start writing/editing every day at 0400, and by 1900 I'm brain dead so I go play L4D2 and smash zombies with a frying pan until bedtime.

Gotta go fix stuff. Laters.

Ralph Rotten
June 27th, 2018, 02:53 PM
Still editing ad nauseum, and I emphasize nauseum. The thing that sucks about editing your own work is that it can make you question yourself a lot, it can be a very negative experience. I try to break it up with other activities like cover design, marketing, etc. Too much editing at a stretch can make you loco for lithium. One time when I was a kid I read three Heinlein books in one weekend...then I had Heinlein in my head for a #[email protected]! week. :miserable:

I just thought I'd post this passage. I mean, how often do you get to use a phrase like explosively disassembled, eh?

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dgs16X9VQAYg51I.jpg:large

Harper J. Cole
June 27th, 2018, 08:45 PM
So even though I have written a few books, I still get a thrill every time I get a new proof copy in the mail. I dunno what it is, but there is nothing cooler than getting a copy of the book that you essentially built from a blank page. With Indie publishing it's especially cool because not only did you write the thing, but you created the artwork, created the cover, created the jacket text...you did everything from cover to cover...and it all started with a blinking cursor on a blank page.

I know the feeling! Your cover looks good too, nice work. :thumbl:

HJC

Ralph Rotten
June 30th, 2018, 02:10 PM
I like the Act 3 cover, but I have yet to thumbnail test it. I was gonna do a section this weekend on the differences between building a print cover and an eBook cover.
Lots of times a cover that looks great full-size, looks like guano when it gets thumbnailed.

Here are the covers at 250pixel height (what people would see if they were on your books page on Amazon.)
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dg8LzziUEAICKwz.jpg:large


And here is 180pixel height, roughly the size it would appear on a browsing page with dozens of other books.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dg8L590VQAAoofy.jpg:large


So when I evaluate a cover for the thumbnail image, I am looking for a few things:
1) Is the name and author legible against the background?2) Does the image become confusing?3) Does it catch your eye?

I'd say that these covers failed #1 once they got to 180p. I can fix that with a thicker border on the text.
I think the Act 3 cover became a little confusing at 180p,
The image for book 4 has been used a bit in the dystopian community, so I think I need to find something better. [ugggghhhhh!]

Only 66 more working days before the book(s) must be completely finished, assembled, and submitted to Amazon.
"So far...so good" says the guy plummetting through the air.

Harper J. Cole
June 30th, 2018, 04:16 PM
Looking at the smaller size images, maybe the colours need tweaking; the cover image has reds and yellows in it, so the text is blending in a bit.

Ralph Rotten
June 30th, 2018, 11:36 PM
Cool info. I'm colorblind so I do not see those things right away. I actually have special sun glasses that let me see colors, but they are for outdoor use.

But you see the point I was trying to make? An Indie writer needs to pay attention to how their cover looks when you make it small, because that's how it will be rendered most of the time. The idea of using the same cover for print & media does not always work out well.

Harper J. Cole
July 1st, 2018, 02:58 PM
Yes, I did test my cover at various sizes before committing - simpler images probably do better at small sizes, I think.

Ralph Rotten
July 1st, 2018, 05:05 PM
It's a good design for a cover. The central image and title are all visible at low resolutions, name is legible down to about 120px. Who did your artwork?*





*That's the sound a writer makes when they are trying to avoid real work.

Harper J. Cole
July 1st, 2018, 11:07 PM
The website was goonwrite.com. You can choose your own image from shutterstock as the basis.

Ralph Rotten
July 2nd, 2018, 10:19 PM
So you found THAT image in shutterstock? Or they added the hoses in her back? :)
Someties I am surprised what I find on Canstockphoto.com
What had the artist been thinking of when they painted it? Y'know.

Harper J. Cole
July 4th, 2018, 08:23 PM
Here's the original ...

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/futuristic-female-robot-silhouette-on-golden-539227177?src=W48cZ4Fq6Gek__6NdByZuw-6-17

I picked out a different background and the guy put them together. I like the artist's style a lot, so I'll probably keep using his work for consistency's sake.

HJC

Ralph Rotten
July 5th, 2018, 01:41 AM
See what I mean?
What the hail was that artist thinking of when they assembled that.
"Honey, I'm going to work to make some random clipart of a chick with tubes coming out of her back while she floats in space. Be home in time for dinner."
Y'know?
[whispers] I think graphic artists do a lotta acid.

You musta been like "Holy cow, someone actually made exactly the picture of a chick with tubes coming out of her back while floating in space that I was imagining."
The market is really nice for professional grade clip art right now.

Pete_C
July 5th, 2018, 08:40 AM
I like the Act 3 cover, but I have yet to thumbnail test it. I was gonna do a section this weekend on the differences between building a print cover and an eBook cover.
Lots of times a cover that looks great full-size, looks like guano when it gets thumbnailed.

Here are the covers at 250pixel height (what people would see if they were on your books page on Amazon.)
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dg8LzziUEAICKwz.jpg:large


And here is 180pixel height, roughly the size it would appear on a browsing page with dozens of other books.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dg8L590VQAAoofy.jpg:large


So when I evaluate a cover for the thumbnail image, I am looking for a few things:
1) Is the name and author legible against the background?2) Does the image become confusing?3) Does it catch your eye?

I'd say that these covers failed #1 once they got to 180p. I can fix that with a thicker border on the text.
I think the Act 3 cover became a little confusing at 180p,
The image for book 4 has been used a bit in the dystopian community, so I think I need to find something better. [ugggghhhhh!]

Like you, I designed my own cover despite all the advice to not do so. Iíve just followed your advice and done the 180 pixel test. The title works but the author name is too small. However, Iím loathe to change it because right now it looks balanced to my eyes, and theyíre the only eyes I have!

Ralph Rotten
July 8th, 2018, 12:43 PM
Like you, I designed my own cover despite all the advice to not do so. I’ve just followed your advice and done the 180 pixel test. The title works but the author name is too small. However, I’m loathe to change it because right now it looks balanced to my eyes, and they’re the only eyes I have!

Add a border to the name so it'll standout more. Either that or switch to a contrasting color.
My own covers also faded during the 180px test, so I'll need to throw a border around the name.

Ralph Rotten
July 8th, 2018, 12:50 PM
So I've been in editing mode for the last week, just plowed through the print copy of Act 3.
See, I'm old school that way; I still like to have a print copy to edit because it gives me a better feel for the book.
So every few editing passes I order a printed proof and edit that.

Odd thing: Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I see more in a print version than on a screen. Here is an example: The pic below is from a book that had 4 doublebacks and a couple of read-thru edits. Yet even after that level of attention, I still find things that need fixing. Am I the only one that likes to have print copy to edit during the process?
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DhhxyaIUYAElfUj.jpg:large

Harper J. Cole
July 8th, 2018, 02:47 PM
To be honest, I find new problems every time I read through my books in any format, even with others helping to error check. I shudder to think how my first draft must have looked ... :1stars:

Ralph Rotten
July 9th, 2018, 03:39 PM
To be honest, I find new problems every time I read through my books in any format, even with others helping to error check. I shudder to think how my first draft must have looked ... :1stars:

Been there, done that.
It's handy being an obsessive type personality for that kinda work. :)

Ralph Rotten
July 9th, 2018, 03:47 PM
So normally I start writing/editing at 0400 every day, 7x a week...in theory.
But the reality is that about once a week I stay out late drinking & whoring*, so I sleep in until 5 or 6 the next morning.
Usually after a night out I'm a wreck, brain power critically low, cpu cheksum errors....

But today I put on my big-boy pants (fuzzy pajamas), drank a half gallon of muddy coffee, and got my ass into a chair by 7.
So this is my writing perch today. I have 477 pages of edits to apply from the hard copy to the digital version, then create a new landing-page graphic.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dhq6NkfU8AIznxZ.jpg:large










*at my age the whores are only on Netflix, but it's all about the intent in these sorts of things.

Darren White
July 9th, 2018, 05:05 PM
Gumby will be so happy she's hanging on your wall :)

Ralph Rotten
July 9th, 2018, 08:00 PM
Gumby & Pokey.

Ralph Rotten
July 14th, 2018, 10:21 PM
Editing
Editing
Editing
I slept in until 0500 today. Such sloth!
I have some Nina Simone on the jukebox, and am on page 403 of 475....on volume 1.
Volume 2 is tomorrow. It takes me about a week to make an editing pass on each volume.

But I came across this fun little interaction.
Remember: Safe writing is boring writing!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DiEWgW5U0AAQnHZ.jpg:large

Dormouse
July 16th, 2018, 12:10 PM
I find I canít edit on screen very well unless I read it out loud. I tend to backtrack as well and if I donít read out loud I tend to Ďreadí what should be there not what is.

Give me a print copy and the red pen comes out. It maybe my proofreading training coming through, I donít know.

Luckily(?) I have only written short stories and flash fiction so far.

Ralph Rotten
July 16th, 2018, 01:41 PM
I find I can’t edit on screen very well unless I read it out loud. I tend to backtrack as well and if I don’t read out loud I tend to ‘read’ what should be there not what is.


According to most reliable sources, reading the story aloud is the way to go. You detect more errors, and hear the flow better...
I read aloud in my head. It's faster but takes practice.
Tis why I can't listen to music while editing.

https://www.standoutbooks.com/reading-aloud-improve-writing/

Harper J. Cole
July 17th, 2018, 12:26 PM
I use text to voice software - I read along as I listen, and it really helps to find those errors.

Pete_C
July 17th, 2018, 03:21 PM
One last writing binge for me, either tonight or at 3am tomorrow morning, and then I'm joining the ranks of the editing folk!

Ralph Rotten
July 21st, 2018, 02:14 PM
Dang it!

I'm supposed to be writing but I am held up by technical issues.
I was switching from laptop to desktop and noticed that there were changes missing.
Apparently Dropbox had not updated yet.
So if I had clicked on that save button I woulda wiped out a week's worth of edits....Doh!
It is one of the few problems with storing files in the cloud. Though I gotta say that Dropbox is usually very reliable.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DioZzSJVMAAcpd3.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
July 22nd, 2018, 06:59 PM
Started editing at 0400 as usual. My brain doesn't understand that it is Sunday; it wakes at 0400 every day. I have not used an alarm clock for years.

So at this point I am on a countdown until Aug 31st. The final manuscript must be uploaded by Sep 1, so I am aiming a day earlier.
That means that by Aug 15th I need to be totally done with all editing and artwork so I can start building the eBook.
Sure, 15 days seems like a long time to build an eBook, but this is 900 6x9" pages. The ebook reader calls it 1200 pages.
That's a lot of book, 4.5mb before I start compressing the artwork.
Maybe I should aim for starting the eBook by the 10th....? :???:


I needed a break from editing so I reworked the eBook cover. I think this one helps readers understand this is a 2-volume book, and it thumbnails nicely.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DiuhMTlUYAAGjfD.jpg:large


Later today when my brain starts to fade, I need to do some marketing work---find addresses to send copies of the book to (like the radio station mentioned in book 4,)
I peeked at my pre-sales and they were not where I wanted them to be. Although we have all talked about how there are no absolutes in writing, there are in fact 2:
1) Books don't write themselves.
2) Books don't sell themselves.
So I need to get out and do more shameless self-promotion.

Other things I need to do today:
I need to find an artist to recreate a picture I found on the internet...but cannot determine ownership.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DiultyJVMAAsitH.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
July 22nd, 2018, 07:03 PM
So to any of the new writers reading this thread, this is the shit-soup that we like to call Indie Publishing. It is a lotta work, and sometimes pays off if you work really, really, OCD-like hard.
Some books sell, some just stink up the place.
Sometimes you get good reviews, other times you get reviews so bad you have to report them to Homeland Security. :pale:

Think carefully about becoming an Indie.
You'd be better off picking up a drug habit. At least that's recognized as a mental disorder.

Ralph Rotten
July 25th, 2018, 02:19 PM
Working since 0400hrs,I just completed a final pass on the 4th book. Next, I'll go thru the manuscript from front to back looking for any orphaned headers or graphics that have slipped out of place. Once everything is ship-shape I will upload a copy, order a new proof, and start sending out advanced copies.

It occurred to me the other day that as of Sept 5th, I will have published one million words. Kinda a cool milestone; 1,000,000 words.
Note: that includes work I have published under other names.

Originally I was on a 5 year plan; I intended to go from part time writer to full-time author. Still working on that. :(

Here is a quick snapshot of my work this morning. Nothing glamorous. I just have to go from start to finish and make sure each and every page is properly paginated, and that all images are where they should be. Also have to ensure that there are no orphan headers (this series uses a scene header, and if I am not paying attention sometimes the header gets left on one page, and the story on another.)

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Di88j8TUwAMV5J5.jpg:large


Oh, great...it's time to go to my OTHER job. It's a damned good thing I'm so #@$!! obsessive-compulsive or I woulda cracked years ago.

Jack of all trades
July 31st, 2018, 11:32 PM
I needed a break from editing so I reworked the eBook cover. I think this one helps readers understand this is a 2-volume book, and it thumbnails nicely.


For what it's worth, I don't get from the cover that it's a two volume book.

How's it going to work? For one price the buyer gets both volumes? And the ebook version? Is that also split? How does Amazon handle that?

Just wondering.

Ralph Rotten
August 1st, 2018, 02:44 AM
For what it's worth, I don't get from the cover that it's a two volume book.

How's it going to work? For one price the buyer gets both volumes? And the ebook version? Is that also split? How does Amazon handle that?

Just wondering.


If they go green and buy the eBook (for a mere $6.99) they get both books (340,000 words total).
But if they buy the print books they have to buy both (for roughly $14.99 each.)

The eBook cover shows both print covers. It will make more sense when the print books are online because there will be a line of books under my name. I have actually toyed with the idea of delaying release of the print versions (since CP does not offer presales).
I wonder if Amazon Print offers presale?

Ralph Rotten
August 1st, 2018, 03:34 AM
So, for the safety of the forum, I have been away for a few days while I resolve a severe chemical imbalance. I have a tendency to lash out and say the most regrettable things when I am drying out.


Anyhow, the good news is that I finished the print books 2 weeks early! That means that I have the whole month of Aug to put together 1200 pages of eBook!



So before I start blabbing endlessly about making eBooks, I think I need to lay down one of those Surgeon General type of warnings:
This is MY process for making an eBook. Just because I post this stuff does not mean that it is the one true ring of power. There are many ways to make an eBook.
In fact, if you know a better way than by all means; post it. I am always open to new ideas, and anything you post will help countless new writers who stumble across this thread.





So my process for making an eBook is a little strange.
Step 1: Chop the book into chapters
Step 2: Convert them to HTML
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjWsFM1U0AA3-kC.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
August 1st, 2018, 03:40 AM
Why convert it to HTML? For one, ebooks are essentially html. But the biggest reason is to strip off all the MS Office tags and superfluous crap. MS Word is a really great program, but it embeds a TON of stuff in a story. When you add a pic to Word, the file size actually increases more than the sum of the two parts because of all the extra code around the photo.

So once I chop the book up into chapters, I save each as WEB PAGE FILTERED HTML. This makes the manuscript nice and clean, and leaves only the essential formatting.
Now a word of caution: Stay alert when you do this part because it is real easy to get the chapters out of order and hose-up the whole book.
You need to be very organized during this part of the work.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjWtn3oUcAAP4mZ.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
August 1st, 2018, 03:53 AM
Once you have your chapters all laid out in their neat folders, the next step is dealing with the images.
Even if you do not have a lot of graphics in your work, you may consider having a landing page.
Essentially a landing page is the first page of the eBook. It will have the title, and some artwork similar to the cover, copyright, etc.
I use a landing page because some readers show the cover when you start, and some do not. The landing page is there for those that do not.
Also, when you use a graphical image, you don;t have to worry about their kindle making a mess out of the copyright notice and such just because the customer changed the font. With an image, no matter what font size they use, it all stays together nice & neat.

So here is the deal with graphics: If your ebook is >1.5mb in size, Amazon charges you an additional download fee. It is a scant fee, nothing big, but when you are an Indie, every penny counts. Something else to consider, with eBooks the reader can double-tap a picture and get a closeup (that can be pinch-zoomed). So there are some really great advantages to having high quality artwork in your book.

So this is where you need a photo editor with good web-compression tools. Personally I prefer PhotoImpact 12 over PSP and Photoshop. It is much cheaper, and the web compression tool is better (in my humble opinion.)

Look at this example: PhotoImpact was able to shave a third of the weight off this image with no discernible loss of image quality.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjbsDbPUwAEaKFp.jpg:large


NOTE: After converting your chapters to HTML, the pictures are placed into those folders that you saw in the previous post. However, when WORD converts the files, it also ruins your images by over compressing them (and even reduces their resolution) so you will want to replace them with the originals (after they are properly compressed.) The pics in the folder will look like crap so don't bother to use them.

Ralph Rotten
August 1st, 2018, 03:59 AM
I am a lousy artist, so I cheat and use a special program called SmartDraw to create many of my floorplans and images. It is expensive software (I got mine on sale for $200!) but verrry awesome. It has a massive clip art archive, and can make all sorts of images.

For the Calizona series, I love to use the bunker floorplans to help tell the story. Essentially they are survivalist porn. ;)

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Djb2XFHUwAIws6D.jpg:large

Ralph Rotten
August 1st, 2018, 04:04 AM
So there are some rules to web compressing photos:
1) Never photo compress a picture more than once.
2) Always assume that the reader will pinch zoom your image--so use high quality stuff.
3) Always use reputable software for photo editing and compression.

Here is an example of what bad photo compression looks like (left) versus a properly compressed image.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Djb7b2-UUAA2CMm.jpg:large





Your artwork can either lift your book, or bury it.

Ralph Rotten
August 4th, 2018, 02:00 PM
So I finally made it through all 34 chapters (yes, this monster of a book has 34 friggin chapters, some of them as big as 29,000 words).
Here is a quick screen grab that shows the general settings I use to format the html chapters.
Formatting an eBook is waaaaay different than a print book.



https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjraCIJUYAEII2o.jpg

Ralph Rotten
August 4th, 2018, 02:08 PM
So now that the formatting is all done, I am working on the landing page.
I like to use a solid image for the landing page, that way no matter how the reader is configured, regardless of font or pitch settings, the first page will stay together.
That is also where I let the reader know that they can zoom in on the images if they simply double-tap on the pic.
Remember that with eBooks you can do things with your images that are simply not possible with a print book.

So anyhow, today's quest is to find the Holy Grail....no wait...that was yesterday.
Really, today I am looking for the perfect image for the landing page.
Here is an early candidate, but I'm thinking it's sorta Meh, so I'll keep looking.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Djwf9o4VAAU4RIJ.jpg

Ralph Rotten
August 4th, 2018, 02:10 PM
It is this part of the creation process that I begin to feel like Michelangelo painting that damned ceiling!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjmZo0zVAAEih63.jpg





What you prolly don't see is that in the background I am also writing letters for the advance copies that will be sent out to radio stations, NPR, as well as writing a press release for the local papers.

In addition to all that I need to:
1) Update the web page
2) Update my twitter header
3) Start hitting the survivalist/prepper/he-man forums and shamelessly self-promote the new book (emphasis on the shameless part.)




I really think that before anyone becomes an Indie author, they should be Mirandized!
"You have the right to write, but anything you write may be taken out of context. You have the right to a publicist, but if you cannot afford one then none will be appointed. Your hours will be long, the rewards small and sublime, and there is no guarantee that anyone will ever read your crap. Do you understand these non-rights as I have explained them?"

Ralph Rotten
August 5th, 2018, 01:58 PM
So after hunting for artwork for 2 days, I stumbled across the perfect image this morn.
Yep, this is just the right image.
Now I just have to decide if the fonts are right.
But on the bright side, now I have the last piece of the puzzle, so I can begin assembling the eBook finally.



https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dj1mZ4KU8AA_i6A.jpg

Ralph Rotten
August 5th, 2018, 03:38 PM
So building the eBook is where the rubber meets the road.
I am a big fan of WonderShare's MePub eBook builder.
Very robust piece of software; I once dropped a 5mb Word document into it and MePub didn't even hiccup, just turned 900 pages of text & graphics into a functioning eBook.
Yes, I also use Sigil. It's free, very capable, and negates the need for FrontPage or other html editor.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dj1sleDV4AE6A2n.jpg




So if you have been following this thread, you finally get to see why I chopped the book(s) up into chapters: So the eBook index will work properly.
With MePub you chop the book up, and MePub puts them back together. All I have to do is edit the chapter names and compile the thing.
MePub allows you to compile the book on the fly; you can edit the html source pages, then click BUILD and it will re-compile the book.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dj1xDhXUYAMFo8y.jpg





Uh-oh!
I think I may have gone a little klazy with the graphics because the completed eBook is over 6mb.
Not only will Amazon charge me an extra fee for anything over 1.5mb, but a file this large may cause serious problems with some older readers.
Anyone using a 1st gen Nook will prolly have trouble with this book.
If people can't read your book because of technical issues, they won't blame their vintage reader, they will blame your book.
They will either return the book (yes, you can return eBooks) or they will trash you in a review.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dj1zDx9UUAEfV8P.jpg




Not only is the file size waaaaayyy too big, but once I get it into the previewer everything is AFU!
It's a good thing I blocked out a whole month to get the eBook right.
Holy bat guano is this thing messed up.
It looks like it was built by a stable genius ;)

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dj16mk1U8AE0AP6.jpg





I think I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue. :(

Bayview
August 5th, 2018, 04:13 PM
When I've made e-books, I've just uploaded a .doc file and a cover to Amazon and moved on. Is your book more complicated because of the images, or because you're a perfectionist, or some combination of those and other factors?

Ralph Rotten
August 6th, 2018, 04:05 PM
When I've made e-books, I've just uploaded a .doc file and a cover to Amazon and moved on. Is your book more complicated because of the images, or because you're a perfectionist, or some combination of those and other factors?



You can do that? :shock:
Does it format your book okay? I just figgered it would maul my manuscript in the conversion process.

But yes, I am a bit of a nut for making sure it is built exactly right. Between the images and the scene headers, there is a lot to be broken during conversion. Mebbe I'll try that sometime.
Figures, I been doing it the hard way this whole time.

Bayview
August 6th, 2018, 04:12 PM
You can do that? :shock:
Does it format your book okay? I just figgered it would maul my manuscript in the conversion process.

But yes, I am a bit of a nut for making sure it is built exactly right. Between the images and the scene headers, there is a lot to be broken during conversion. Mebbe I'll try that sometime.
Figures, I been doing it the hard way this whole time.

I've never tried to do a table of contents (I don't use them when I'm reading fiction, so I assume others don't either?) and I don't have images, so... I'm not sure if it would work with those features. But in terms of standard chapter breaks, etc. it seems fine...

Ralph Rotten
August 6th, 2018, 04:18 PM
I've never tried to do a table of contents (I don't use them when I'm reading fiction, so I assume others don't either?) and I don't have images, so... I'm not sure if it would work with those features. But in terms of standard chapter breaks, etc. it seems fine...


Have you tried that at B&N or Googleplay?

I stress over the index because I have actually seen reviews where they talked smack about the lack of a working index.

Bayview
August 6th, 2018, 04:39 PM
Have you tried that at B&N or Googleplay?

I stress over the index because I have actually seen reviews where they talked smack about the lack of a working index.

I've never uploaded directly anywhere but at Amazon - I've only used Createspace and Smashwords for mass distribution. The .doc upload has worked okay with them, as I recall? (It's been a while since I've done this. Sorry!)

Ralph Rotten
August 6th, 2018, 04:46 PM
How is Smashwords? I have never tried them.
I wonder if we couldn't create a whole thread just dedicated to the pro's & con's of different places to publish.

Dormouse
August 6th, 2018, 05:24 PM
How is Smashwords? I have never tried them.
I wonder if we couldn't create a whole thread just dedicated to the pro's & con's of different places to publish.

Yes please I think that would be helpful and not just to newbies. It could also be of use to more established authors.

Bayview
August 6th, 2018, 07:07 PM
How is Smashwords? I have never tried them.
I wonder if we couldn't create a whole thread just dedicated to the pro's & con's of different places to publish.

I never had a problem with them.

But I think I'm spectacularly non-picky about the details of self-publishing. I hate it so much I just sort of slap everything together, shove it up some sites, then shake my fist at the universe and yell "There! I did it - are you HAPPY now?!?".

So I'm probably not picking up on the subtle nuances of the process...

Ralph Rotten
August 10th, 2018, 01:58 PM
Okay, I have scheduled 10 minutes this morning to update this thread. In an average day I only have about an hour of free time. Normally I work >14 months a year, in addition to writing. So the only way it all works is if I strictly partition my life.



So today I am working on the final tweaking for the new eBook due out Sep 5th. Bayview asked why I don't just upload a *.docx file, and I didn't really give a good answer to that.
The short answer is that this is a fairly complex book due to both artwork and special fonts.
Not only does the book have a lotta artwork to help tell the story, but every scene has a scene header (this is a mockumentary), so each header has to be formatted so that it stands out from the rest of the text.
The story also includes a number of faux news articles which actually require a special font (courier) so I have to add special formatting to override the Kindle's preferences.
Seems simple enough until you factor in a 1200 page burden (Kindle pages).
Also, the graphics are a PITA to work with (and they increase the file size, but more on that later...)

Also, an eBook has to be tested in all available formats: kindle, phone, tablet. That's 3x1200 pages.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkH4KE0V4AEI81v.jpg


There are also a ton of other details. Here is something no eBook should be without: A link at the end of the book so readers can post a review. Amazon's algorithm determines how high on the list to float your book based on basic criteria: Sales, reviews, and activity. If you want reviews, then make it easy for the reader!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkH3WW9UwAAzx1h.jpg






But Bayview is right; If you don't mind your index being broken, and you have a simple-text book then you can upload your word file directly to Amazon.
As I mentioned before, the app I use (WonderShare MePub) is powerful enough to digest a 5mb Word docx (with pics!) and turn it into a functioning eBook that will work at 99% of the sites that sell eBooks (GooglePlay is persnickety!)



Special note: I actually do most of my work in FrontPage (Microsoft's web building app) and compile it in MePub. Many eBook authors simply do it all in Sigil, which is free. MePub costs about $40.

Ralph Rotten
August 10th, 2018, 02:09 PM
So the next thing to worry about is my 6.3mb file size.
Here is how Amazon works on large files:

If you choose the 35% profit plan then they don't charge you for large files, but you only get 35% of the cover price.
35% profit plan is good if you wanna sell a 99 cent book (actually it is the only option if you wanna sell a book that cheap.)

If you choose the 70% profit plan, then you are subject to a few additional fees.
For books like mine they charge $0.15 per megabyte of book (rounding up to the nearest mb)

So this book is selling for $6.99
70% of that is $4.89
The filesize is 6.3mb (before they add back the cover you uploaded in a separate step), so my download fee is $0.90
My take-home profit is roughly $3.99 per copy.
I prolly shoulda priced it a little higher...

Here is a link to a very hard to find page on Amazon that explains the many fees you face with Amazon.
The download fee used to apply only to books >1.5mb, but now seems to apply to all books.
Bastages!

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200634500

Ralph Rotten
August 11th, 2018, 05:15 PM
Okay, I have been working since 0430hrs (yes, I slept in...such sloth!) so I guess it's time to stop and take a break.

For those new writers who think being an Indie writer is all about writing; guess again.
Like I have mentioned before, there are 2 indisputable rules of professional writing:
1) Books don't write themselves
2) Books don't sell themselves

So today I am working on marketing BS. First I had to send off a press release/announcement to the local paper. I need to do a few more of these for the regional papers. This is nothing but shameless self-promotion; not something for the faint of heart. I've had practice from selling cars, software, contract security, and a few other things I prolly should not mention here. Still, sales sucks. I hate it.

But the bulk of the morning has been spent on rebuilding the Rotten Apple web site from scratch.
The old one looked like deep-fried ass, so I just built a new one.
However, that also required fresh artwork, so I threw out the old images and cut new ones from the master copies.
Here is a view of my desktop, so you can see that this was not a quickie. :(

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkUywBZV4AgS2lR.jpg


I am posting this stuff so that writers considering becoming an Indie have a full understanding of all the crap that is involved.
Worse yet; even if you do all these things I'm showing you, there is no guarantee that you will succeed.
Indie publishing is hard work, and the writing industry is fast becoming a gig-economy.

The new website is up at www.RottenApplePublishing.com

Ralph Rotten
August 14th, 2018, 02:00 PM
Since I am 15 days ahead of schedule on the new book, I get to work on marketing.
Uggghhh I hate marketing. Can't I just publish a book and hope it sells on its own?
The short answer: NO!
Remember rule #2 above: Books don't sell themselves.

So here is an interesting item: It's a record of past advertising I have tried on Amazon. I got a lotta impressions (the book appeared on a page) but very little direct sales.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dkj7kbPUYAAzU9D.jpg

Budget=total budget for the campaign [non-refundable]
ACPC=how much Amazon gets paid per click (from your budget)
Est Total Sales: Direct sales from the campaign
Stopped: Campaign cancelled either by me or by Amazon due to not enough click-thrus

aCPC determines how prominent your ad will be displayed--$0.19 is a tiny ad at the bottom of the page amongst dozens of others. $0.89 is a tiny little ad higher up on the page.

Just something to consider if you are thinking of advertising on Amazon.

Ralph Rotten
August 15th, 2018, 02:41 AM
Aaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

I just received 3 beautiful copies of the new book (book 4) and right there on page 124 was a big, fat, open space caused by accidentally hitting the enter key.
Holy [email protected]#[email protected]#!:o !!
Those copies were supposed to be sent out for marketing!!!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkmdslvX0AA2iaH.jpg

PiP
August 15th, 2018, 08:02 AM
Aaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

I just received 3 beautiful copies of the new book (book 4) and right there on page 124 was a big, fat, open space caused by accidentally hitting the enter key.
Holy [email protected]#[email protected]#!:o !!
Those copies were supposed to be sent out for marketing!!!



At least you noticed! What's the plan.


Budget=total budget for the campaign [non-refundable]
ACPC=how much Amazon gets paid per click (from your budget)
Est Total Sales: Direct sales from the campaign
Stopped: Campaign cancelled either by me or by Amazon due to not enough click-thrus

aCPC determines how prominent your ad will be displayed--$0.19 is a tiny ad at the bottom of the page amongst dozens of others. $0.89 is a tiny little ad higher up on the page.

Just something to consider if you are thinking of advertising on Amazon.

This is worthy of it's own thread in marketing.

Ralph Rotten
August 16th, 2018, 02:18 AM
I dunno what I'm gonna do about advertising with Amazon.
I have some book money set aside for ads, and the bigger ads on Amazon actually do help sell, but can I afford one of those ads?
I gotta think about it, but at the same time I need to make a decision soon. I am at t-20 days.
Time to shit or get off the pot, I reckon.

Harper J. Cole
August 18th, 2018, 04:48 PM
It looks like it's been a few years since you tried the Amazon ad campaigns. I'm not sure how much the process has changed since then, but it may be worth giving it another try. Focusing your spending on the keywords that have been successful in the past is worth doing as well.

Something I didn't realise at first is that KU and KOLL earnings are not included, so your actual figures may be more impressive than they first appear.

HJC

Ralph Rotten
August 19th, 2018, 08:01 PM
I'm not currently in KU/KOLL. I don't mind them selling my work at a discounted rate, but the requirement for exclusivity was just asking too much. Also, they were sketchy about the pool of money they make available every month. Seemed like scraps to me.
On the plus side, there are so many shitty books in KU/KOLL that it's not hard to stand out. I dunno if reviews you get from KU readers are considered verified or not.

Ralph Rotten
August 19th, 2018, 08:06 PM
So for the last few days I have been doing a few things:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkzaqzEV4AA88xf.jpg
Press releases: I start with local papers first and work my way outwards. Local papers will often give you a blurb because you are a local writer. But the big papers like the LA Times are great to get listed with because they reach so many people.
Odds are that only 1 in 4 submissions will ever see print, but that's still more than zero.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkzcS1EU8AACGm9.jpg


Although I'm better at writing press releases than queries, this one still needs work. Not only that, but about half the time I forgot to include a picture.
Doh!

Ralph Rotten
August 19th, 2018, 08:14 PM
I saved this part for Sunday because I knew it would take time...and really piss me off.
This is the part where I build eBooks for OTHER vendors besides Amazon.
The reason I make different books for each is the link at the end; the last page of the book should always have a link to review your book.
The link should be appropriate for the venue. So the Amazon book links to Amazon reviews, B&N links to B&N, Googleplay links to....you get the idea.

Anyhow, what I am leading up to is that building an eBook for GooglePlay is a PITA.
No, strike that.
It's a MFPITA!
You'd think that a great software developer like Google would have their shit together, but when it comes to eBooks I think they built the portal, then never beta tested it or even looked back.
My eBooks work everywhere on the net BUT GooglePlay.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dk-B2R2VsAAUu6A.jpg




...and this is why...
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dk-CUW1VAAEsql1.jpg


So this is why I always keep a copy of Sigil handy.
It is free, and does a great job.
Here is what she looks like:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dk-Jbz5UwAAJZb1.jpg



So not only does Sigil do everything that I normally do in MS FrontPage & MePub, but it has a built in file validator.
But the real question is; why do I persist in selling through Googleplay? Their sales are terrible, the uploader is a POS, and I don't actually know ANYONE who buys their books through GooglePlay.

Harper J. Cole
August 20th, 2018, 08:43 PM
I'm not currently in KU/KOLL. I don't mind them selling my work at a discounted rate, but the requirement for exclusivity was just asking too much. Also, they were sketchy about the pool of money they make available every month. Seemed like scraps to me.
On the plus side, there are so many shitty books in KU/KOLL that it's not hard to stand out. I dunno if reviews you get from KU readers are considered verified or not.

I think I found that KU/KOLL gave me about as much money as a regular sale, providing that the buyer read the whole book. About half of my sales came that way. But I only sell on Amazon, so the exclusivity factor doesn't affect me.

Ralph Rotten
August 21st, 2018, 01:36 AM
Actually, this morning I pulled the trigger and yanked the first 2 Calizona books off of B&N and GooglePlay so I could enroll them in Kindle unlimited.
I figure it will be a good way to attract attention to the entire series.
Besides, I just did not feel like building a GooglePlay-compatible eBook just for a vendor that sells like crap.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlCfaIIV4AEgQ0M.jpg

and ten seconds later I enrolled books 1 & 2 in Kindle unlimited.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlCfokwUYAAfiYb.jpg

Ralph Rotten
August 22nd, 2018, 02:14 PM
Uggghhh.
Right now I am doing some grass-roots marketing.
Essentially I go and talk up the books in forums around the net.
But you can't just post a listing and run.
If you want people to notice your book listing then you have to have some credibility, post a few comments, mingle with the locals.

But the downside to this is that it's essentially slumming.
Many of the places where I find the kind of people who read my books are....icky.
Survivalist forums, prepper forums, hip forums, etc...
Many are filled with boneheaded Trumpies and Russian trolls.
Often I run into overly sensitive, entrenched liberals who become offended by the most casual of remarks.
I have to resist the urge to troll the idiots amongst them.

Always remember that when you use social media for your book, the account is for your book.
That means no politiks, no flaming, no trolling.
In fact, you should really have a separate account for your personal stuff and your book stuff.
Don't shit where you eat.

Still, I hate this part of marketing.
Today is a James Brown day.
I turn it up loud, to drown out the morons.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlNOA4EU4AA_2dW.jpg

moderan
August 22nd, 2018, 03:12 PM
I disagree. I don't even resist trolling impulses in places where the red or the blue is dyed in the wool. Either extreme is just fodder, and I don't separate my literary and RL personae. If someone doesn't like my politics, they're not going to be a reader, cuz that stuff leaks in whether you like it or not...plus, I write politics too, in my journalistic persona.

Ralph Rotten
August 23rd, 2018, 02:48 AM
Losing readers is only part of it.
Trolling where you are trying to market can get you revenge reviews.
You are extremely vulnerable when you troll under your pen name. All they have to do is buy your book on Amazon, and torch it.
If they happen to be one of the first to review your book, they can murder it in its sleep.
Remember how I said that Amazon's algorithm calculates your float by reviews, sales, and traffic? If you only have 3 reviews on day 1, and two of them are 1 star, no one will see your book...or want to buy it when they do find it.
Also, it takes five 5-star reviews to overcome a single 1-star review (and even then you are only at an average of 4.5 stars.)

moderan
August 23rd, 2018, 06:29 AM
Otoh, a lot of the stuff I've done under pseudonyms cannot be claimed as my work because pseudos (especially the political stuff, some of which was ghosting)). I don't spend a lot of time trolling -- I have better things to do. Revenge reviews are just part of the whole package. I had one, and was able to get it removed...but I wouldn't be caught dead in the kind of forums you're talking about, unless I was researching something. Forums and I in general are not sympatico.
Of course that's me, and you're more speaking in general.

Ralph Rotten
August 23rd, 2018, 09:06 PM
Yep, I hate going to many of these forums. Tis why I need to find better ways to market my books (without spending a fortune.)
I am open to suggestions.



But on that vein, I just checked to see how my free book promo is going, and it has 632 downloads...and it started yesterday.
So based on my half-life theory I should have 300 people read Season 2, and 150 read Calizona 3.5.
Theoretically... [crosses fingers, toes & testicles]



Note: The final tally for the book giveaway was 970. Didn't quite make a grand. :(

Dormouse
August 23rd, 2018, 09:24 PM
Yep it is not normally a book I would pick up. Reading this thread and others it looked intriguing and seeing as I could afford the price tag decided to give it a go.

I am one of those weird people that will read the entire series if I like the first book.

moderan
August 24th, 2018, 06:13 PM
Yep, I hate going to many of these forums. Tis why I need to find better ways to market my books (without spending a fortune.)
I am open to suggestions.



But on that vein, I just checked to see how my free book promo is going, and it has 632 downloads...and it started yesterday.
So based on my half-life theory I should have 300 people read Season 2, and 150 read Calizona 3.5.
Theoretically... [crosses fingers, toes & testicles]

I'll have a think. Usually I do stunts like artwork contests and funding drives that offer the books as an incentive. That last also works to test the market. Twice now it's been 80% (averaged between the two) of the total sales, which is cool. Everyone gets paid that way. I'm gearing up for a third and fourth, novels this round, so I'll have a larger sample size more relevant to this discussion.
Do you do book trailers? I've found them effective...at least reasonably so. People share video easily and those things really get around if they're good. It's going to depend on your target audience, as well. Doomsday preppers aren't likely to be Twilight Zone fans, so any data I have isn't a direct reflection, but more of a funhouse mirror for you. I'm sure there are congruencies somewhere, though.

Ralph Rotten
August 24th, 2018, 10:39 PM
I have thought about trailers but am not currently rigged for them.
I have seen a few trailers and about half looked homemade.

The book giveaway has been crazy good so far. Twas up to over 800 last night.
Hopefully they all read it. Helps that that book had 60+ reviews and a 4.5 rating.
At minimum it'll help sell a few more copies of Season 2.
But I won't see those results start for a week or so since the first book is 255,000 words (it's a binge-book.)
People love to binge on netflix, so I figured they might like books they could binge on too.

Ralph Rotten
August 25th, 2018, 07:26 PM
Okay, today I need to dispel a myth common among new writers.
When people publish their first book they always think that if they do everything right that the book sales will continue to climb, higher and higher (leftmost image)
But that is not how it happens.
Books have a sales arc; they climb to an apex, then descend to a trickle.
And before anyone says: "But Rowling..." or "But Stephen King..."
Even Rowling, King & Patterson's books face the arc.
The difference is that their arc is much, much bigger than yours.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DldvBRlV4AANLV9.jpg


This is why a book launch is so critical.
Always put your book on pre-sale for 90 days, and use that time to market the hell out of your book.
If you wait until release day to start your marketing, then you will have a small arc.
You have got to have your shite together well before release day.
Schedule a day off from work on release day so you can deal with unforeseen problems.
Proof your book ad nauseum, then proof it again.
Make sure your cover is perfect, make sure your book blurb passes the big-announcer-voice test.
And shamelessly self-promote that book (to people besides your family...they are prolly tired of hearing your rants.)
By the time your arc is descending, you should be working on a new book.
Don't pin all your hopes & dreams to that one book. Move on, write more.

Ralph Rotten
August 28th, 2018, 01:38 PM
Today I clicked on the final SUBMIT button for Calizona 3.5 (the eBook version).
So at this point the book is on autopilot until the 5th.
Just FYI; this thread will end on Sep 5th when the book releases.


But here is something for those of you wondering about the differences between Amazon's 35% plan & the 70% plan.
Sure, you get some free stuff in the 35% plan (like no download fees for fat books).
Y'know, I think this image explains it all.
Keep in mind that this was an eBook that was 6.3mb in size (before they add the cover) so it is of interest to note that the conversion to a mobi file (Kindle's eBook format) shaved 2mb off the file size.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dlr9D17UYAE1raN.jpg

Ralph Rotten
September 4th, 2018, 08:23 PM
Okay, the book releases tomorrow...
Actually the print books released yesterday. I clicked the publish button, expecting the usual 2-3 day delay before CreateSpace published them...and much to my surprise they were instantly posted online.
So you can buy the print versions of Calizona Act 3 & Calizona Book 4 right now on Amazon, but the eBook version (Calizona 3.5) is still on pre-order until tomorrow.

So I have today & tomorrow off for the book launch.
Things I have been doing:
-Updated the Ralph Rotten profile on Facebook, and added a Ralph Rotten Page. I am still researching to see if I can delete the profile without effecting the page (I only just learned that there was even a difference.)
-Increasing marketing on Facebook, twitter, and other social media and forums.
-I am also tweeting out about writingforums, as well as Indies United (where my NEXT book will be sold.)
-Checking sales: my free book giveaway got the first book of the series into the hands of almost 1000 readers, and already I am picking up reviews on the first 2 books again, and pre-sales on the new book went up slightly...
-Checking KDP results: I have people reading about 2000 pages a day of my books since I placed the first 2 books in KDP (the new books will not go KDP for a while.)
-Googling my content: This is something all writers should do from time to time. You would be surprised some of the places your books will show up. One time I discovered my book had been panned on lousybookcovers.com.
-Fine-tuning my profile on Amazon & Goodreads. Surprisingly there are still a lotta people who use Goodreads.
-Reviewing other author's books. We live on a spherical planet, so what goes around...






So for those of you new to writing, or thinking of becoming an Indie writer, this thread was written to show just how much work occurs AFTER you write a book.
If anything, this should be a cautionary tale because even if you do all these things, the book could still flop like a fish.
The book industry is klazy right now, in a state of flux as millions of self-pub books flood the market.
Every new book is like a drop in the ocean, so if you are gonna write a book, then swing for the bleachers.
Avoid the safe story, avoid creating inoffensive characters. Write that book like you don't give a damn who reads it.
And when you are done, roll up your sleeves and prepare for the real work of Indie publishing.

Ralph Rotten
September 4th, 2018, 08:27 PM
https://media1.tenor.com/images/4ad6cee33a45879de07fa39004271458/tenor.gif?itemid=5803466

Darren White
September 5th, 2018, 07:09 AM
Thank you for a very informative and entertaining blog (that's how I read it). I keep the link in my favorites because I've learned a lot.
Good luck with your book :)

Pete_C
September 5th, 2018, 08:53 AM
Good luck with the new edition. I downloaded the first one but it’s currently on ice as th least edits of The Devil’s Hairball are in full ahead mode.