Random Inspirations

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5 Fabulous Insider Tricks for Success as an Indie Author

on October 14, 2013

This Saturday, Antonio and I had the pleasure of attending the Digital 2.0 Self-Publishing Conference in LA. This conference included writers of all levels, from brand-new (i.e. “I’m thinking I want to be a writer but don’t know how”) to established and successful.

There’s something magical about networking with writers from all stages of their journeys. Seasoned authors make for perfect mentors, while new ones inspire us to recapture our passion for the written word.

I also witnessed the beauty of collaboration — the participants in the conference were not competing, but learning from each other. One of the best things about being a writer is that we’re like snowflakes: no two of us are exactly alike, which cuts down on the odious comparisons of who’s the “best,” and keeps us focused on working together.

It was a beautiful day for a writing conference this past Saturday in LA!

It was a beautiful day for a writing conference this past Saturday in LA!

The conference centered on how each writer can make his / her individual voice heard in the self-publishing world. It was not the place for writers who were looking for intensive technical workshops or story-structure hints, but it was the perfect place to learn about marketing, promotion, and all those things that generally elude writers. Here are five new insider tricks I picked up at the conference.

  1.  Publishing on KDP select is the recommended 1st step in self-publishing. Roughly 85% of eBook sales are through Amazon, so KDP select is the perfect venue for new indie authors to build their names. After the period of exclusivity, authors can move on to publish on Smashwords premium, which distributes eBooks to other platforms such as Kobo.
  2. 25 customer reviews on Amazon is the sweet spot. We all know how important it is to get a few customer reviews, but authors who reach 25 reviews, especially by top-rated reviewers, are considered to be successful and will be recommended to readers more often by Amazon. Jackpot!
  3. There is a system for choosing free days on KDP select. Don’t use all five free days at once — it’s recommended to schedule them two at a time. And Fridays are the best day to choose because of all the Free-Book Friday promotions.
  4. Schedule free days during the “soft launch” of your book. During the soft launch, writers work on gaining reviews and building sales momentum. That’s why making the book free during this time is so important — more people will download the book, which leads to more reviews.
  5. Most of us are tweeting wrong! We all know that Twitter is an incredibly effective medium for promoting self-published books, but many of us send tweets like, “Check out my free book…” These can be a huuuge turn-off, and can come off as spammy and self-serving. A better technique is to structure tweets around a specific topic found in your book, with a link to the book or an excerpt. Tweets should be leading questions with interesting buzzwords. It’s so common-sense, but so overlooked!!



6 responses to “5 Fabulous Insider Tricks for Success as an Indie Author

  1. All good tips. Thank you for sharing, Kristina.

  2. Thanks Jason. I enjoyed talking to you and some of the other presenters on Saturday — so many great tips!

  3. Fox says:

    Thinking about the ‘we are Tweeting wrong’ comment: if you get a chance, check out the book Unmarketing by Scott Stratten. I saw him speak at a blogger conference last summer and got a copy of the book. Not only is he hilarious, his advice about social media promotion is SO spot-on and sensible. He’s totally nailing it. Reading much of it gave me that same ‘this is so common-sense, why haven’t I thought of it?’ feeling.

    Such a cool event that you got to attend!

  4. You hit some great points here, Kristina! So glad you enjoyed the conference – quite a savvy group. 🙂

  5. Thanks August! It was great, and very informative.

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