What Works for Indie Epublished Authors? Write the Next Book…and the Next…and the One After That…

TGIF, WG2E-Land!

Last week, WG2E Team Member Talli Roland asked y’all “What Do You Want” more of on The WG2E. And wow did u give us some terrific ideas! Thanks bunches!!! (If you missed the post, check it out here, and feel free to add your ideas to the mix: http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/wg2e-what-do-you-want )

WG2E-Land Peep, Riley Ford, made a wonderful suggestion. She said:

A great post might be one that compiles the “best of the best” of what has worked across the board for the most people (maybe a poll?), and “worst of the worst” experiments that have failed. That would be a very interesting read!

Not only would it make a great post…it makes for a fabulous series of posts too!

I’ll kick-off this idea by sharing with you that of all the A-mazing promotion and marketing strategies I’ve employed – FREE Ebooks, 99 Cent Ebooks, Boxed Sets, Social Media and more, the one thing that I can say is my BEST OF THE BEST is this:

Write the Next Book…and the Next…and the One After That…

The compounding effect of sales, as you add each new book to your cyber backlist, just can’t be beat…over the long-term.

So, fill up your cyber shelves!!!

What’s terrific is that you can watch certain titles soar, for no apparent reason, while others cycle down for a bit. Soon though, the tides change, again for no apparent reason, and the books that were moving slowly all at once hit their stride, and your bestsellers take a back seat for a bit.

I’m up to around 30 titles available now, and I can tell you what that means in dollars and cents: my slow months have gone from $1500 to $2000 per month to “slow” at $3500 to $5000 per month. Not bad, right?

What you’ve got to do is keep on crankin’ out great books for great prices.

On that note, once you’ve got several Ebooks out there, you can play with your prices so you have a variety of choices for your readers – from FREE all the way to fabulous Boxed Sets where they can get lots of books for every dollar they spend. Right now, my price range starts at FREE and goes as high as a new Boxed Set with 9 Ebooks for just $4.99. ***Note: In its first 10 days out, with no advertising, that new Boxed Set made me another $300…again, in just its first 10 days.

Now then…here are a few of my fave non-fiction, on-writing books to help y’all with the “great” part of writing great books for great prices:

1. The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley

2. Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton

3. Goal, Motivation and Conflict (GMC) by Debra Dixon

4. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

5. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

These will all teach you story structure and help you find your unique voice.

If you need help reigning in your muses, dive into my #1 Amazon Bestselling Book on that very thing:

Muse Therapy: Unleashing Your Inner Sybil

And, if you need great info on the Indie Epublishing World and Promo and Marketing in general, here are a few of my faves:

1.  The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success by WG2E Friend and Contributor Scott Nicholson

2.  How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! by WG2E Friend and Guest Blogger John Locke

3.  How I Sold 200,000 E-Books, A Guide for the Self-Published Author by my superfab Facebook Friend H.P. Mallory

4.  Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by the superfab David Gaughran

5.  Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author by WG2E Team Member Bob Mayer

6.  We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by my Go-To Social Media Queen Kristen Lamb

7. APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by my friend Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

8. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

9. Primalbranding by Patrick Hanlon

10. I also wrote about my Indie Epublishing Secrets to Success:

10 Years and 24 Hours to Indie Epublishing Success

Okay, WG2E-Land: Share with us the fabulous books you’ve read and applied to your Indie Epublishing Journey…also, how are you doing when it comes to “Writing the Next Book…?”

The Best of The WG2E Best of The Best Wishes — D. D. Scott

D. D. Scott is an Amazon and Barnes and Noble Top 100 Bestselling Romantic Comedy and Humorous Mystery Author. She’s also a Writer’s Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy and Indie Epublishing, the Co-Founder of The WG2E- The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, and the Founder of The RG2E – The Reader’s Guide to E-publishing.  You can get all the scoop on her, her books, her Online Classes and Live Workshops, plus juicy tidbits too from her new cyber home…D. D. Scott-ville.

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  1. Sibel Hodge says:

    Great info, DD. I’ve said for ages that increasing your virtual bookshelf is the way to go. As you say, you can experiment with pricing for different books, and if readers enjoy your books, they’ll look to see what else you’ve written when they finish them. :)

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Exactly that, Sibel…AND…if you can write in several different genres, while you’re at it, you’re picking up entirely new audiences along the way, who will then, like you said, see what you else you’ve written.

  2. 1) A true dedication to daily output, 2) writing in chunks rather than in one session, 3) working out the scene I plan to write first in my head before I actually sit down to write it (saves valuable where-do-I-start? time), 4) Scrivener, and 5) Taking a reasonable break time of two weeks between uploading and seriously–because I’m always doing *some* writing–starting the next project to prevent burnout has equaled success for me. I started, completed, and had editing done on a 65K project and published it within 90 days of starting. A longer project might take more time, a shorter project (I’ve got a 40K novella scheduled for April) less time. But the key is producing words–good words, not just jibberish that gets thrown out–every day, and plenty of them.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      I luuuvvv your approach, Bettye! And thanks sooo much for sharing it with us!!!

      I also work out a ton of what I write before I sit down to write it. And here’s another tip:

      Always leave off knowing exactly where you’re going the next day…that way you’re hitting the screen with gusto from the first letter you tap on your keyboard.

  3. Lois Lavrisa says:

    You are so right and so inspirational- keep writing the best books you can and keep them coming:)

  4. I read “Goal, Motivation and Conflict” and agree that’s a great on-writing book. I had to take a break due to a family emergency, but I’m slowly getting back to writing. I wrote my “Practically Perfect Heroes” series last year, and finished “Sweeter Than W(h)ine”, which went live last month. And my short story collection sequel to the “Practically Perfect Heroes” series just went live a few days ago. Now I’m working on two more short stories, as well as another book.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      I luv using short stories to bridge the gaps between longer novellas and novels, Nancy!

      I also think in our multi-media, fast-paced world that, shorter reads in general are what many readers are looking for! They’ve got limited time and enjoy reading in short bursts while chauffeuring their kids between activities, waiting in doctors’ offices, commuting to and from work, etc.

  5. Tamara Ward says:

    Thanks for this great post! My favorite writing books are The Elements of Style and On Writing by Stephen King. I need to read some on the lists you posted!

    • D.D. Scott says:

      On Writing is fabulous, Tamara! I don’t even read Stephen King’s fiction (they scare the hell outta me), but I love his non-fiction on-writing book. I always visualize his ice picked rejection letter on his wall.

  6. I’ve hit that point of social media/marketing burnout where I just want to finish up the next book in my series and get it out there, whether or not it sells. What is it Clint Eastwood said? ‘You can’t serve God and Mammon … Mammon being money.’

    • D.D. Scott says:

      I hear ya, Anna!

      Social media is my fun time, and I truly luv hangin’ with all of my D. D. Scott-ville Peeps that way.

      I’ll be honest…what wears me out sometimes is the blogging responsibilities. But, I’ll be making some changes soon so I can work on that a bit. :-)

      Don’t get me wrong…I luuuvvv sharin’ the scoop with all of you here at The WG2E and our readers too over at The RG2E, but it’s tough to keep both sites strong and running smoothly. Many authors, for example, don’t keep their commitments, so I’m stuck having to adjust schedules a lot, and others don’t send me everything I need so I’ve got to hunt it down. And I’m not complaining at all…just stating the facts. Blogging itself is a huge time commitment. But yes, it has huge rewards too. :-)

  7. Angela Brown says:

    From what I’ve read through the interwebz, building a backlist really is the key to building a writing career versus having a one/two book hobby. I’ve got my one book out and am slowly making the transition – albeit a tad painful due to my need to keep my paying gig for the time being so I can keep a roof over me and my child’s head lol! – to working on various book ideas to slowly build a shelf for my author name.

    It just takes time and patience, both of which I tend to be very short on, but both will be needed so I can put out quality as I work on my quantity.

    Thanks so much for sharing what has really worked for you, D.D. :-)

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Sure thing, Angela!

      You nailed it, my friend…it’s a slow process. Definitely the marathon, not the sprint. But hey, as long as keep moving, you’ll reach the finish line.

    • SK Holmesley says:

      I definitely agree that having multiple books out there is a key. Even pre-digital publishing, as a reader, I tended to read authors I had already read and enjoyed, above authors I had never read, except on those occasions a friend or colleague recommended a book, because they had read it and enjoyed it.

      I don’t think books going digital has really changed that. Occasionally, though, I have been reading a series by an author and realized that the author had apparently grown bored with their characters. When the author is obviously bored, I tend to loose interest in that author, although if I really enjoyed their previous series I might give him or her a try if they move on to something else, but there have been occasions when it was obvious only a publishing contract kept an author on a given series and that’s unfortunate and a time waster for both the author and the reader.

      So, as well as backlist, I think it’s extremely important that the author be interested in their characters, because if the author isn’t having fun writing (yes, it’s hard work, but there should be an element of joy in the process or why do it at all), then I’ve found that I don’t much enjoy their final product and tend to avoid that author afterwards. That’s fiction, of course. Non-fiction is written for a number of reasons that frequently have little to do with the joy of writing and I typically read non-fiction for information and am pleasantly surprised if the author puts in little anecdotes that make me actually enjoy reading the book, and as long as they still provide the information I’m looking for tend to gravitate towards that author in the future, if I’m seeking additional information or instruction on a subject.

      • D.D. Scott says:

        Great points, SK!!!

        I have noticed though that, unlike in the old days of bookstore browsing, with Amazon’s terrific “Also Bought” streams (Barnes and Noble and Kobo do this pretty well too), I do read a ton more new authors than I ever did before. Why? Because it’s sooo much easier to “find” them now! These algorithms show me that “hey, if you liked this, you might also like this…,” and I try ‘em and usually love ‘em!!!

        • SK Holmesley says:

          That’s true. I certainly find new authors more quickly now than I did when I was only looking at the spines of books on physical shelves. And with the “suggestions”, and the ability to see inside most digital books, can find books for my book “bucket list” more quickly. At the same time, though, more books doesn’t buy me more time to read, so I’ve gotten a little picker probably; so that at the same time I look at more books (options), percentage-wise I pull down fewer than I did before.

          That does bring up a good point, though. Previously, my selections were based very much on the title of the book (that’s all that I see on the spine, so what needed to grab my attention). With digital books, it is much more about the cover than the title to initially grab my attention, although after the cover catches my eye, the title helps draw me in.

          • D.D. Scott says:

            I sooo agree, SK…Covers rule!!! And definitely the titles too.

            The cover and title both have to interest me before I’ll click to see what the book’s about. The tone that both the cover and title treat me to are the keys for me.

      • I agree, SK. When I sold my first book, “Tempting Jonah,” I wrote a bunch of other books about his family (and short stories, too). I don’t think I got broed with the characters–it was just too much. With my e-books, I promised I wouldn’t make the same mistake.

        • D.D. Scott says:

          I’ve always told myself that as long as I’m still luuuvvvin’ spendin’ time with my characters, so will my readers.

          What I’ve found to keep things interesting and fun is to do what I call “spin-off” series, based on the secondary characters I keep creating who really call for their own books too! :-) That’s how I’ve been able to cross-pollinate my original characters – who my readers adore (like my Mom Squad) – into all of my series.

          • SK Holmesley says:

            One of the reasons that I tend to like authors who develop their own “worlds” for want of a better term, even if that world is in current time and space and on earth as we know it. I love it when a character I’ve come to know pops up somewhere else. Kind of like a family reunion. :-) But as we all seem to agree, the author has to still love their characters (or hate them appropriately), but from the reader standpoint, I do love having someone show up that I already know.

  8. Julie Day says:

    I love this list, DD. I am building up to higher prices. So far I have got free and .99c as they are short stories or novelettes. My next one, due out next week, is a novelette at 16,000 words so will be at 1.99. Once I finish that series I aim to write a novel so will price it accordingly. I also plan to have out a boxed set of my first 3 YA stories.

    I have often read, probably by Bob, that the best way to success is write and write more books. I have read most of the list you have mentioned, and just bought the APE one, as I plan to be one of those.

  9. Hey, D.D.! How exciting to read your post today and see my name mentioned. I’m famous — whoo-hoo!

    I have to say, writing the next book is the BEST advice, along with your advice to write shorter books. When I released my first book, Into You, in July of 2012, my sales were slow in the beginning, despite tweeting to death and spending oodles of time on social media. Then I released my two-book series, Carpe DiEmily (Parts 1 & 2), and the sales began to slowly pick up. Then Amazon matched my Carpe DiEmily (Part 1) for free (it took some time), and then the free downloads began! I’ve now had more than 35k downloads since December 2012, and I’m hitting about 40 sales a day. Then I released a box set, and more sales. Then I released my short satire, Fifty Shades of Fifty Shades of Grey, and whamo! My sales have taken off with the release of this third book. I have done little to zero social marketing in the recent weeks, and yet my books are still selling at a nice rate. I’ve received emails from readers saying how happy they are that I released a new book right away. That’s wonderful news, and inspiration to get the next book out! I’m currently working on another series of shorter books, and I plan to release the first one next month. There’s no doubt that keeping those readers happy with more books is the best way to become an indie success. I’m living proof!

    Thanks, as always, for your wonderful, helpful posts.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      U betchya, Riley!

      And you nailed it right here, my friend:

      “There’s no doubt that keeping those readers happy with more books is the best way to become an indie success.”

      Cheers to that!!!

  10. DD, I love this site and I really appreciate the time and effort you put into it for the rest of us. I can REALLY sympathize with your observation at how much time it takes to blog, and also with Anna’s comment re social media burnout. I am doing my last KDP free day for my first novel, Quintspinner, today, and when I received a notification that there was a comment on my website that needed moderating, I couldn’t even access my site bc I have forgotten the password, it’s been so long since I wrote anything on it (My bad! :-( ).
    Anyhoo, I am going to recommend this site to all of the members of another one that I belong to (The Alliance of Independent Authors http://allianceindependentauthors.org/) and I am recommending WG2E readers at least check it out too. There is a small membership fee but worth every penny. (It was through them that I got an agent deal to rep me for translation/foreign rights) Every day, on that site’s FB threads, I reap info re how-to’s and also access a running commentary from other authors all over the world about what has worked for them and what were dismal failures.) It was on one of their FB conversation threads that I sang out the praises of THIS (WG2E) site yesterday, but I’m going to do it again today. In my opinion, WG2E and Alli are two of the very most useful sites out there. :-D

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Awe shucks, Dianne…thanks sooo very much!!! I’m thrilled you found us here at The WG2E!

      Blogging can be tough indeed…but then, there are moments, like when reading your comment, that remind me why I hang in there and keep on payin’ it forward.

  11. Orna Ross says:

    Hi DD,
    I’m delighted that Dianne called our attention to your wonderful site — really impressive information — on her recommendation, we’d like to nominate you for one of our \Best Website for Indie Authors/awards. Geraldine will be in touch around this. Thanks for the work you do on behalf of indies.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Thanks bunches, Orna! What an honor!!! :-)

      Nothin’ beats Writers Helping Writers Reach Readers – and that’s what it’s all about here at The WG2E.

      Cheers…and again…thank you…and Welcome to The WG2E!!!