My author, Patricia A. Knight, has courageously charged ahead in the production of her first audiobook and lives to tell the tale! We got the first 2 days or her documented excursions before illness stabbed her in the throat.
From Wednesday afternoon on, PAK has been down with a severe cold and no matter how she tries, she couldn't duplicate the same voice when she started on Monday.
So, for those following her on her blog, that's why she hasn't given us more.
Now as a publisher, I'm amazed and proud of Patricia for wanting to under-go voicing her own audiobook. I don't think many authors have the ability to make the recording sound professional, but after listening to her short excerpts, I'm confident she can pull it off!
Now, finding a recording studio was easy. Simple ask your VA--I mean, go to Google and search for recording studios in (your city here). Now, if you're close to Seattle, and like your studio in a treehouse, you might want to check out Bear Creek Studios. (See the video below.)
While I had to find a place that was closer to my author, I might have tried to send her to this one if she was in Washington. However, we found Sunfire Studios and the guys there have treated PAK with professionalism and kindness.
But before I hired them, here are the questions I asked:
1. Have you had authors come in for audio recordings before?
2. Are you able to meet the requirements needed by ACX to upload the audio files?
3. What format will I be receiving the audio files in?
4. What is your price per hour for my author to come in and do the recording? Does that include editing?
5. How long will it take you to wrap up and complete the project?
I was also required to give 50% deposit of an estimated amount. I figured it might take Patricia 12 hours to do a 60,000 word recording. Since this is my first audiobook, it was only an estimate. As of Wednesday she had it half completed and she'd been at the microphone for approximately 12 hours.
Patricia will be returning when her voice resumes its usual work. Also, I think the guys at Sunfire Studios want to know how the book ends :)
ACTION ITEM: If interested in seeing the journey of an author make her first audiobook, check out Patricia's blog HERE!
We've been friends now for some time. I'm so glad we're friends!! But I need help and therefore I asked...for a VA.
The experience has been very positive. My new VA/project manager gets it done! He makes me look good! Like, I actually have my act together.
Really, it's a race against my Ultrachron timer going down the to-do-list to get everything done in a day. The VA is taking quiet the load off my plate so I'm able to do more and blog again!
Marketing is a constant, you can't stop. It reminds me of writing. But there are questions I've found helpful in my search of finding help. If you get the chance to hire a VA...here are some questions you might want to ask them and yourself:
1. Do they have experience in writing?
This actually is a big one. You have to like their work. They just might help you with your blogs.
2. Do they know how to market books?
Not necessarily a bad thing if they have a background in marketing, but haven't learned how to market a book. Be prepared to teach or send them on learning expeditons, even if they do know what they're doing. Learning is vital in marketing and writing!
3. What is their idea of communication?
Once a week is great for the proactive VA. Sometimes an email daily report is better. Depends on your micro-management issues.
4. Are you ready to let go?
You want help, but can't see anyone doing it as good as you. This is a tuffy. Actually giving the torch to someone else is like losing a huge chunk of time and effort, and if they fail? You'll blame yourself.
Marketing is hard stuff. Sometimes you need help -- as indie authors you're use to doing it yourself. There are somethings you should do yourself. It's up to you on what to give and when to know what to let go of.
ACTION ITEM: Find yourself overwhelmed? Maybe a VA to help you for a few hours every week might give you that time to write.
I'm with him on that...you can! Everything I do, you can do. Everything Joel does--you can do. And below is a link to another of Joel's articles on why you should be aware and maybe why you should consider DIY:
Wednesday's Book Signing of John Daly's ~ The Key Class: The Keys to Job Search Success at Granada Books in Santa Barbara went rather well! He's such the fabulous speaker!! See for yourself...
If you are an author, you need a team. My team consists of:
You can do it all, but how effective are you?
Plus, while you are creative, another creative person will drive you forward and give you more ideas.
I bring this up because if you have a team, you need coordination. But somethings are easy to track. I'll give you an example.
One author has a bookmark with a QR code on the back. this QR code lets me know it's been "hit" thus seeing if a sale was made by that link.
Another, bitly and other url shorteners, allow you to track how many times they've been "hit" as well.
But the real answer to making sense out of promotions is planning. Have you heard that one a million times already? If you have, there's something to it.
Going into promotions willy nilly doesn't pan out. I've purposely tried both to see results. When your KDP free days come up, do the planning 4 weeks before-hand. Sometimes even a few days is okay, but really, you need to stop "doing" things and plan them. Honest to GOD that is the secret.
There is such thing as the long tail in which I whole heartedly believe in, but people react pretty fast and make decisions TODAY so today's twitter will be seen today. So you know it worked if you (measure) see a rise in sales the day of.
Yes, momentum is valid. I've watched the snowball effect take place. But, for the most part, I've watched promotions go by and notice that people are fast to react.
Your book against the horde of Amazon
When a new book comes out in a series, I do a few changes to the previous book of the series. My checklist is as such:
1. Did I add the title of the new book to the back?
2. Did I attach a link to the new book?
3. Did I add an excerpt of the new book?
4. Did I add a personification (a "Dear Reader" note) at the end?
5. Did I leave a link to my email list?
These 5 very small adjustments create sales for your book, how?
I get addicted to a series and if I can just buy the next one after I've finished the last...I've just bought that book without you having to promote, send an email...nothing.
People love convenience.
Actually, let me rephrase that:
People will not go out of their way to buy your book.
I'm sorry, they won't. I LOVE Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs. I consider myself an avid fan of these authors because I actually go OUT OF MY WAY to actively seek their new books...eventually.
You see, I love their books, but do I buy them right away. You see, it's not convenient sometimes to buy their book when it hits the shelves.
I don't have enough money, it's not in the format I want, I don't have time, I'm stuck in Facebook land...whatever.
Don't sneer at me! You don't stalk your favorite author either...and if you do...seek help.
It took me a year to pick up Kim Harrison's latest book and I was waiting for it. But, if she emailed me or if I had a link to the next book when I finished the last--she would've had the sale *BOOM* right then and there.
At the very least link your back log at the end of your latest, greatest novel. The best promotion of a book is a book. Meaning, if you have two, three or sixty-nine books those other books are the best ways to say, hey, I have others...start thinking that your backlog is the payoff and you latest greatest will grow wings, save the world and make it a better place!
ACTION ITEM: Re-upload your kindle book with 2-5 five of the items listed at top.
The following have been screamed over and over:
YOU MUST BLOG
YOU MUST USE SOCIAL MEDIA
YOU MUST BE EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME
YOU MUST START NOW!
Wow, really? I must?
I don't subscribe to that so much.
Just because I love to do everything all the time doesn't mean I can or that you should.
Of course all these wonderful marketing tools are only as good as your enthusiasm for them.
People forget that enthusiasm is the key factor that makes something great.
I blog because I love to blog. Look at my stats--nobody pays attention to my blog, but I still blog because I love it!
I do use social media because my fans love me and talk to me and it's fun. And just so you know, I didn't start my blog or do anything to ramp-up my author social media before my book was done and I don't regret it.
If you're in a rush, if you're dying to do everything and you just can't wait--go for it! Hard-core research predicts that going this route will cause burn out in no more than 3 years time.
Long haul takes mental stamina, a plan and patience. Do your research on what action you want to take. You can see the pros and cons but I have a chart for you to consider:
Marketing needs to be fun for you or you need to make it fun. That's the only need-to-do in this game.
ACTION ITEM: Figure out how you plan on marketing.
My overview take is that KDP Select is good for new authors with a little bit of a funnel but once you get more known, you want to give your book value by not giving them away free.
I think there is a threshold where you can only give away so many books before it doesn't justify the means.
Here is what I've found ~ with some promotion, a little hype with twitter we were able to get one under 10,000 downloads with one title and we so far have gotten an extra 13 reviews (so far) from the effort.
I don't think KDP Free is what it was, and it may continue to decline, but doing free in a smart way is still the way to attract new readers to you. I still do a free promotion, but in other forums.
ACTION ITEM: Try FREE in places like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Kindle.
I love bookbaby. I was totally planning on using bookbaby to distribute my author, Patricia A. Knight. I had everything just about set.
But I couldn't click the button to finalize the deal!
And I've finally figured out why.
I want control. Simple as that.
~ Downside; I have to check on 20 different dash boards to see sales.
~ Upside; I get to check on 20 different platforms to see sales.
Stephanie--WTF? What do you mean you don't want to have all the dashboards convieniently in one place?
Ummm...that's an upside to bookbaby, but what I realized while filling out the ONE form was--every platform does things a little bit different. How can ONE form complete everything for all platforms? For instance, Kobo allows me 3 catagories. Amazon 2. All romance is a different story as well.
And what if I want to update the book? I'd have to pay for each upload. Another deterrent (for me). I upload my author's books 6 times every month because "we found a comma out of place - fix it!"
See--who says publishers don't listen to their authors?
But I started hyperventilating because I have to get this book on all 200 sites TODAY!
No, Stephanie. No you don't. So I'm taking the advice I give my authors. One thing everyday. <--- ACTION ITEM.
I can do that. In a month the book will be everywhere. Once it's in place, the terror trio can slay the world!
Just like in your Bio, don't start with "I..."
Instead, tell them how Vampires taught you to write. Or not. Remember you are selling your writing and it's on display from your bio to your portfolio, and each bid. Instead concentrate on what you will do for them.
Decide on what you want to be paid--both hourly or salary because you don't want to limit yourself from either one. Then go to "Find Work" and "Search Jobs".
On the left hand side you'll want to choose Writing & Translation (or whatever profession you chose). Now, go to the search box above the job listings.
What's your niche? Copy writing? Editing?
I put in horse and got one job. Nothing for dressage, but 23 results for animals!
Ghostwriter Wanted for Writing Fantasy/Sci Fi Books!!!! OH, stand back ya'll that one is MINE!
Content for a Dolphine Website!!! Whaa! Can I swim with the dolphins! Oh! Oh! Mine! Mine!
Know this. These jobs come in every day. Tomorrow there will be 20 more. Oh, I just searched dogs and got 11 results. Hell yeah! If at first your search does not succeed--try another! Be creative! Be the ball!
Action item: Bid on 5,10 or 20 jobs. Repeat every day. Go!
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
Books on Kindle