Yes, I’m so behind it’s not funny.
I declared my intention to write Gareth’s story for NaNoWriMo but all I did was create that cover and teaser and called it a day. I haven’t done a thing. At least, not for his story. It’s just not coming.
Instead, I’ve been writing stories for my naughty pen name. She just released her second book today and it’s a quiet launch because I need the ASIN number to put in the first book so readers can continue the story seamlessly. I can’t promote her yet because I want her to have a few more books under her belt before I do. And that’s the thing with self-publishing these days: one book isn’t enough. You need to have at least three books in a series at best (and then you can bundle them together as books 1-3 and sell that separately!). And did I mention that my naughty pen is an experiment on how to launch a nobody in self-publishing?
Yup, she sure is.
These were the things I had to do to set naughty pen up:
- Write the first story. Then the second, and I’m currently working on the third.
- Make sure it’s edited properly. If you can’t afford an editor, try services like Grammarly or ProwritingAid. There are also Hemingway and Ginger. Can you believe I have all of them? I don’t use them as much as I should though.
- Find good covers for each book. If you’re not sure, check to see the top sellers on Amazon for an idea of what’s selling and what those covers have in common. Probably man abs for erotic romance, but when it comes to straight erotica, I’ve noticed it’s women. Some of the cover designers I’ve used are GoOnWrite and SelfPubBookCovers where you can buy the cover you want and put on the title and author name yourself right on their site. No one needs to know! I also just discovered this one on Fiverr. One usually has to be wary on Fiverr because sometimes they don’t own the license on the images or they’re outright stolen off the web, but this one seems legit.
- Format your book as an epub or mobi. You can do that for free by setting up an account at Draft2Digital and using their formatting tools complete with beautiful templates without publishing through them. You’ll need to upload either a docx file or RTF – check their site for additional formats. Then when you’re satisfied with the ebook (preview it on your browser or your e-reader to be sure), download it and upload it to Amazon or wherever you want to publish it. Draft2Digital is an aggregator (like the middleman between you and retailers) and they earn a 10% commission from the royalties they collect from the retailers. Just don’t hit the Publish button unless you know you’re ready to go “wide,” meaning you’re publishing your books on platforms outside of Amazon. If you plan to only publish on Amazon, then you’ll just need to download the mobi file. There is also Smashwords which distributes everywhere but Amazon, and they also have their own online store.
- Set up a website which features the books and a link to the Amazon store where they currently reside exclusively. Apparently having to set up separate accounts with other retailers is too much for me right now. I’m so afraid I’ll accidentally write my name instead of naughty pen’s! As far as paying for a website, you don’t have to unless you want to. Set one up using WordPress or Blogger. They’re free. You only start paying if 1) you want your own domain name (which I recommend) and 2) you don’t want ads when you write a blog post.
- Set up a mailing list. You can set up a free account on MailChimp or Mailerlite. It’s free up to 1,000 or 2,000 subscribers, I think. I then created a webpage specifically for the mailing list sign-up. What’s the use of mailing lists? Have you looked at your email lately? Are you a member of one list or a few? Or many? Well, a mailing list is your direct line to your organic readers, especially the ones who sign up from the back of your books. So when you have a new book out, or are having a sale, you can send them an email letting them know. Just don’t abuse their trust and send them an email a day.
- I set up a Facebook Page for naughty pen. It only has 12 followers right now but that’s okay. I’m focusing on writing more books/stories for her backlist.
- Make sure each book has a link to the mailing list and the website. And for the first book, make sure that there’s a link to the second book!
- Set up a welcome email for those who joined. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to do this one and it’s high on my list today.
- Write that third book and publish. Repeat.
Whew! That’s a long list of things to do, right?
Besides writing my NaNoWriMo book, I’ve also been scheduling promotions for next week, which is Thanksgiving here in the US and Black Friday. Yup, as much as I will not be shopping for Black Friday (or so she says, at least not joining the crowds), as a self-published author, I still have to be prepared. It’s a never-ending to-do list, honestly. No wonder authors want to just write and delegate the job of promoting to someone else.
And then there’s this new free platform called Book + Main. Or BookandMainBites.com and the link will take you to my profile but just click on the left-hand corner to go to the main page and explore. As a reader, it’s free to use and you get to sample “bites” from romance books of every flavor. You do have to follow the author to see their bites though. Otherwise, you can “discover” what bites to read based on meta tags and categories/tropes.
If you’re a romance author, it’s definitely worth a look. It’s free for 30 days for verified authors to post their bites, and after the free trial, it’s $197 a year or $17 a month or something like that. If a reader likes your “bite,” they can click on the linked book and purchase it from Amazon or iBooks. It’s also available on iOS and Android.
EDITED TO ADD: Book+Main is now free for authors until they release version 2.0.
So that’s my day so far. Nothing much written as far as stories are concerned. Just a lot of behind the scenes business stuff.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering if my day did get better based on my previous post that was me bitching before my coffee, yes, it did. And the new release is doing swimmingly well. Knock on wood.