I’ve been working on and off on a book that is motivational for authors who want to write for passion. Since some authors who love writing for passion check out this blog from time to time, I thought I’d ask for any topics you’d be interested in me discussing in this book. I’m going to make this book free, so there’s no sense in holding back on a topic that interests you. It’s also going to be a quick read. I’m looking at anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 words.
The goal of the book is to embrace a positive mindset about writing for passion. It’s not a “How To” book. It’s a motivational book.
I’ve just got through a couple of chapters. Here are the topics I’ve already covered:
- A brief history of indie (aka Self) publishing over the past decade. (Basically, how writers went from a passion mindset to a “I need to make money” mindset. In other words, how did we get to the place where the focus went to money rather than the simple enjoyment of telling a story.)
- Why chasing money won’t make you happy
- Why looking to outside sources (awards, bestselling lists, and others’ opinions) don’t lead to happiness
- Guarding your writing heart from the critic
- Putting yourself in the best financial position you can to be less dependent on sales
- Thinking like a writer instead of a publisher
Anyone see anything on the list they would like to see me discuss?
What a commendable project to do! Also, I think you should do a section on settling down to write in the first place and setting down to write (a major barrier to getting work done). Maybe also a section on research, because that’s a big part of the writing process before and after starting a story.
This sounds like a developing a routine and setting goal type of thing. Am I right? If so, I have started work on that book, too. 🙂 I want to work on that after I get the first draft of the Writing for Passion book. I want to offer this one free, too. My goal with these is to help authors as much as I can. Plus, I enjoy writing stuff like this from time to time. 🙂
The research angle is an interesting one. I think that one could fit into the Writing for Passion book. I think research can help inspire writers while they’re letting the story develop in their minds. Do you have anything specific you want to know about the research process, or would a paragraph or two on the topic of receiving inspiration for your book via research be sufficient?
Nothing specific. I just think it’s important to have a short section about checking your sources and how to conduct research in a helpful manner.
One of the things that has often frustrated me with research is that no matter how careful I try to be, someone will find something I missed. I guess all we can do is the best we can and hope for the best. This might be best placed under the “perfectionism is a myth” chapter. I do think it’s important to make an effort in our research. Thanks for the idea! I’ll mention it somewhere. 😀
I actually ended up sticking the research part into the storytelling section. It seemed better there after I thought over what I wanted to say on the topic. Thanks for the idea!
what do you think is the best way to get your book out there once it is done
Your question is more of a marketing/promotional one. I don’t plan to write a marketing/promtional book, so I won’t be answering this question in the book. However, I think the question is an excellent one and is worth answering. I’ll do that here. 🙂
The very best way to get your book visible is by offering it for free. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. I’ll further explain below.
Way more people will take a chance on a free book than paying for it. Even $0.99 is proving to be difficult to convince people to try out an unknown author. Back in 2009 through 2012, such wasn’t the case. The $0.99 price point was an excellent way of getting the most attention on a book. Today, things are different. The $0.99 price point is seen as “too much” to some people. I’ve had people tell me I’m “breaking their bank” by asking $0.99 on my books. So the mindset has shifted. This is due to a couple of factors. One is the increased supply of books available for them to read and two is the subscription model.
Hitting on number one really fast, a reader could download 2-3 free books every day for the rest of their life and still not run out of books available for free. There’s no reason why any reader would have to ever buy a book. The only thing that I feel can convince a reader to buy a book is to write stories that are so compelling they can’t put them down. Even as I say that, you will find a segment of readers who will NEVER buy a book, no matter how much they love the author’s work. I get more people telling me they bought my books after reading the free ones, but I also get people who say that even though I am their “favorite author” and they just “love” my books, they “can’t afford to buy them”. So you will never be able to convince everyone to buy your paid books, no matter how good of a storyteller you are. Also, there’s a segment of the population who won’t buy a book unless it was published with a publisher. This is why publishers will never go away. A publisher offers a form of perceived worth to a book that does convince some people to buy it. I have received a couple of emails over the years from people saying, “I will never buy your book because you self-publish.” So that, right there, are some barriers you’ll run into when trying to sell books. That’s why I say free is the very best strategy at your disposal.
In addition to the amount of free books already available in the market, you also have subscription services. Amazon has Kindle Unlimited (KU) and then there’s Scribd. A reader pays a fee (like $9.99 a month) for the access to read as many books as they can find within these programs. There are A LOT of books in these places. I am in Scribd. I’m not in KU, at least not at this point in time, because KU requires the author to ONLY be on Amazon. You can’t have your book anywhere else. (A quick note: you can be on Amazon without being in KU. That’s what I do. I have books on Amazon, but I do not put them in KU. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with KU, but some authors mistakingly think they have to be in KU in order to sell a book on Amazon, and that’s just not true.) The KU program is the most popular subscription-based service for readers currently available. If a reader could pay $9.99 a month, why would they buy individual books? A reader who is conscious of price will be attracted to something like KU. As long as the book is in KU, they can borrow it for free. It’s like a library. This doesn’t mean that authors in KU benefit from being in the program. Most KU authors aren’t making much money. (Also, most authors, in general, aren’t making much money. It’s a small segment of authors making the “six-figure income” we all hear about.) But let’s say you want to join KU. Just having a book in KU isn’t enough. It was back in 2014 through 2016, but Amazon has offered ads, and that has hurt the KU author’s ability to find readers organically. Now, a lot of these KU authors are buying Amazon ads (AMS) in order to fight for visibility in the Amazon store. Those authors who have an ad on their KU book will have the best exposure on Amazon. I have an author friend who ran an AMS ad on a KU book and on a non-KU book. She’s found that her visibility was way better with the KU book. So Amazon, essentially, will boost KU books over non-KU books. However, even if you ran AMS on KU books, it’s not a magic bullet because there are other authors also running these ads, and you’re competing with them. Again, we’re looking at the problem of visibility. You have to find a way to get noticed by readers.
All ads (in general) offer very short-term results. This is true for Amazon ads or ads in places like Facebook, Bookbub, or Freebooksy. If you set out an ad, you will probably see a spike, but that will quickly taper off. In order to keep the spike going, you have to keep pumping money into ads. Also, some authors experience better luck with ads than others. I’ve heard of authors who’ve run ads that did them no good while other authors see a tremendous boost. I think this is where free can help as long as you have a book that the reader finds compelling. If you have a series and will put your first book for free, you can run an ad on that first book. This way, you get readers to take a chance on the free book. If they like the first book enough, they may go on to buy the other books in the series. I have had most of my success this way over the years. Having a series multiplies the effectiveness of these ads. Overall, I’ve noticed series is one of the best tools an author can use to help increase sales. I haven’t heard of many authors who write standalones having the kind of success that series authors have. If running ads sounds like something you want to try, my favorite site is Freebooksy. Other authors swear by Bookbub Feature Deals (not their click ads).
Going back to free, it used to be that you could post a book for free and people would download it like crazy and read it. This is no longer true. While free is still the best way to get your book out there, you will probably need to do some promotional work. On the cheap, I would mention the book on your blog or website, on social media, or on a website that posts free books that authors voluntarily put over there (like Wattpad). Also, if you can find authors who write similar books to yours, see if they’d be willing to promote your free book if you promote their free book. Oh, there are also sites like BookFunnel and StoryOrigin that help authors offer free books and newsletter swaps to help get noticed. BookFunnel offers sales, but those aren’t as effective in getting attention. I have used BookSprout to get reviews on books. I offer a free book in exchange for a review over there. But I don’t think it has led to a single person buying any of my other books. So only use BookSprout if you’re looking for reviews.
That’s all I can think of on this topic. If you have anything you’d like to ask or add, I’d be happy to hear it. 🙂
thank you so much for your time it did help so thank you
You’re welcome! 😀
I was just thinking over your question. I thought I’d offer the other side of the coin. At first, I assumed your main objective was to write for passion. The best way to get your book out when writing for passion is to put the book up for free.
But then I thought you might be wanting to write for money. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I take no issue with a writer who is writing with the goal of making a living wage. If you can write for passion and make a living, that’s the best of both worlds, but this isn’t easy to attain. It’s possible, but it’s more likely, you will need to write to market or trend in order to bring in income.
Writing to market is picking a genre like romance that is evergreen popular and tailoring your stories specifically to that market. Writing to trend is writing whatever genre happens to be wildly popular at the moment. For example, back in 2010-2012, vampire romances were hot. So you would hop on that train and write a vampire romance. When the trend shifted to something else, you would drop vampire romances and go to that next big thing. Writing to market is more stable because it’s not dependent on fads within the culture.
Writing to market is, however, about knowing what is hot within the market you’re writing to. You pick out the top selling books within that genre and study them for key themes. Are there any recurring plots? Are there recurring character tropes? For example, in Regency romance, the hero who is a rake is a very popular trope. it’s been used for as long as I can remember. A popular plot is the “hero wants revenge on heroine’s brother/father, so he uses her to get his revenge but unwittingly falls in love with her; hence the conflict”. I see these all over the place. To get a more detailed approach to the writing to market method, I recommend Chris Fox’s videos and books on the topic. His books will narrow down the specifics on what you need to do in order to maximize the effectiveness of this writing strategy. This is a good video to get your feet wet on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7y8qXrp0qY You’ll want to dive further into the technique to get the most effectiveness from the strategy.
But once you have picked your market and have written the book, I advise you to go into KU. KU is more favorable toward market and trend books. I would make sure to run AMS ads to increase visibility. You will still need to get discovered, and those ads will be better on KU books (as I mentioned in the other comment). You can run other ads as well if you want. Some authors find success on Facebook. Maybe try a couple out and see how things go.
Also, I would advise a rapid release schedule, especially if you’re in a market like romance where readers are reading 2-3 books a day. Series are a must in romance. I don’t know what you’re genre is, but from what I hear from other authors, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and even thrillers go better with series. This is for both adult and young adult books in those genres. I’m not sure what the release schedule should be with other genres. All I know is that the romance authors performing the best are those putting out 1-2 books a month. These are in the 20,000 to 40,000 word range. Being all in KU with these books. KU readers will want to go from one book right to the other. They won’t be happy if you have a book in the series that is not in KU.
As a final note, make sure your cover is professionally made. You want the cover to be like the others in the same genre. Also, your formatting has to be clean and neat. The description has to hit your key tropes and sound similar to other books in the same genre. The game has been vamped up a lot in the self-publishing community. Everything needs to be as professional as possible.
Writing to market is all about presentation and hitting the popular tropes and plot points that readers expect. This is why writing to market ends up selling much better than writing for passion does. You are tailoring your book to satisfy the reader.
When you write for passion, your motive is not book sales. Your motive is telling a story that you want to read in the future. This method sells way less books.