As writers, we tend to cultivate any and all resources in order to help us better understand the business of writing. If you're a writer with a powerful agent in your corner, you may be less inclined to understand the actual business of writing than an indie author facing a learning curve the size of Everest after his or her book has been published.
The million dollar questions for most indie authors are, "Where do I go from here?" or "How do I get my ebook to stand out from the others vying for attention that are just as good as mine?" or "Do I need to release a print version of my ebook to generate more sales?" or "What about advertising - Where do I do it and how?". I have no easy answers to any of these questions but what I do have are a few wonderful gems I've found along the way that have helped me gain some insight and better understand the business of writing:
1. Carolyn McCray wrote a series of articles for Digital Book World in 2011 and 2012 that really explain how Amazon works, how their rankings work, etc. Some of her articles include Best Practices for Amazon eBook Sales, The Anatomy of a Successful eBook Giveaway, Maximizing Digital Book Sales, etc. The link for the last article may be found at http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/maximizing-digital-book-sales.
2. If you've published through Amazon, then you know about KDP Select. In an nutshell, this is a program whereby you list your book exclusively with Amazon for 90 days, making it available through Amazon's lending library. In return, you have five days in which you can give away your book for free. You get to choose the days.
This is a powerful marketing tool and a wonderful way to gain exposure for yourself and your book. However, you have to use it the right way to fully take advantage of its power. When I published my first book TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE, I joined KDP Select and immediately picked two days in which I intended to offer my book for free. My mistake was that I did no advertising - nada, nothing, zippo - so the end result was, I gave away NO books which meant that nobody in Readerland knew I, or my little book existed.
Utterly discouraged, I began trolling through the Internet, read a bunch of blogs and eventually stumbled across the Author Marketing Club at www.authormarketingclub.com. This is a site which gives writers access to other websites where they can advertise their free Kindle books and the majority of these sites let you do it for free! What a find! However, some of these sites require several weeks' notice while others won't let you post until the day of your giveaway. Do your research ahead of time.
I decided to lump my last three freebie days together and went and signed up on every site listed on www.authormarketingclub.com as well as anywhere else I could think of. This time, the results were pretty amazing. Four hours after my promo started, my book had 40 downloads. By the end of the third day, my book had gotten 7,742 downloads and in the three-day period after that, I sold another 170 books. For two of those days, my book was in the free Top 100 Amazon Best Sellers list but what really made my day was when a blogger in Germany contacted me to say that she advertised my book on her German website that promotes free English ebooks and that my book had made the Top 50 Kindle freebies on Amazon's German site! I had no idea how she found out about my book but this just gives you an idea of how far-reaching Internet promo can be.
KDP Select gets even better results if you have a backlist.
3. For a no-holds-barred, take-the-world-by-the-balls overview of indie publishing, a must-read is Joe Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com. Not only is Konrath enlightening but he's also entertaining. Gotta love the guy for his insight and his willingness to share info.
4. My favorite go-to site for all my book questions is Book Blogs at http://bookblogs.ning.com. It's a site with readers, writers, bloggers and book lovers and it's a wonderful place to go if I just want to browse or if I have a question I need answered.
I'm sure that three months from now, this list will probably triple in size.