Hello, my name is Leena Korhonen and I’m the author of the children’s book called Mister Frog Collection, Vol.1 Sunny. It’s available in French and English on Amazon and other online retailers, as well as in some local bookstores. It will soon be also stocked in my city’s three libraries.
My adventure as a self-published author started in December of 2015. I had been telling goodnight stories about Mister Frog to my six children for years, until one evening, my six-year-old daughter suggested that I write them down. So I did.
After few weeks, I noticed that instead of a book they had become a series! My sister, who is an artist, offered to illustrate my stories. First I thought I’d contact big publishers with my book, but after some research I discovered they’d have all the rights to it. I heard horror stories, where the author did not have any control over their own artwork or the editor distorted the original text to something unrecognizable. In some cases, the author didn’t know that his or her book was a best-seller in another country and did not get paid.
So I decided to do it on my own.
1. What advice would you give to authors who want to self-publish?
The advice I give to anyone who’s going through this for the first time is be diligent in your research and shop around. Find out about the companies, look deeper into them than what is on their website and when you’re talking to them, ask specific questions. Ask about their policies on royalties, printing rates and what kind of transparency they have when it comes to who’s going to be working with you on the project.
These are all really important factors as you enter into the publishing process. There is an investment required by authors to move forward, so there’s really no room for error when choosing which company to work with to bring your book to market.
2. What is a common misconception authors have about self-publishing?
One of the common misconceptions is that their book is going to land on shelves of bookstores across Canada and around the world. Another is once they sign up and their book is available for sale, they want to know what we are going to be doing to market their book and make sure that the whole world is aware that it’s there.
It’s important for authors to understand they need to be willing to put in some effort in promoting and marketing their book. A book is like a brand and authors have to put in the work to build their brand. It should be a fun process. With all the tools available at our disposal these days, marketing and promoting can be really creative and enjoyable, and of course, we can certainly help immensely in that regard, but their involvement is imperative.
In three years, Jeana Deal went from working as an administrator at a post-secondary institution to quitting her job to trade stocks full-time, making enough money to live off her investments and even holding a semi-retirement party.
“I needed something a bit more spectacular, a bit more exciting, and something that gave me the freedom I was looking for in terms of making my own decisions instead of being bound by a budget,” she said.
Instead of working a 9 to 5 job, Deal sets her own schedule, balancing investing with book marketing and developing content for her website. She has the freedom to decide how much she wants to work and when, but to get to that point took a lot of education and dedication.
Deal and her spouse dreamt of opening a bar together and in 2007, they began taking business and accounting courses. But they didn’t have enough capital to start a business so they added on investing courses and workshops.
The defining moment came at a conference when they stumbled upon a live trading show and watched the speaker make a $1,000 right before their eyes. They forgot about the bar, and decided to focus their efforts on learning everything they could about the world of stocks.
Tens of millions of passionate readers use Goodreads to search for new books, read and write reviews and connect with authors and other readers. Unlike other social media platforms, this one is exclusively dedicated to reading enthusiasts! It’s the perfect platform to promote your book and build your reader fan base.
Becoming a Goodreads author comes with privileges such as the ability to add book cover images, post events, write a blog, upload videos, start author groups and launch a giveaway campaign.
You’ll also have access to a special author dashboard that contains useful links and statistics about your books. For example, you’ll be able to track reviews and see how many people added your book to their “to-read” shelf. You can also upload an excerpt from your book or the ebook in its entirety.
Many readers will check the Goodreads reviews and ratings of a book before deciding to purchase it. You want to do what you can to have a strong presence on Goodreads!
What an incredible two years it has been since we launched Tellwell. In November of 2014, I set about writing a book aimed at freelance editors and other publishing professionals. The purpose of the book was to give editors a better understanding of the indie publishing industry and the opportunity it represents to them. I wanted to teach good editors how to connect with and help the growing number of authors choosing to self-publish.
Indeed, the self-publishing industry has grown remarkably in the past ten years. Back in 2006, about 80,000 ISBNs (the unique number for each book) were issued to authors who self-published in the U.S. Fast-forward nine years and over 700,000 ISBNs were issued in 2015 alone. That’s an 800% increase.
Three technology changes facilitated this growth: print-on-demand, ebooks, and e-commerce. All of these changes reduced distribution barriers, making it easier to sell books. But, these technology changes did not reduce the need for a good editor, a good designer, and help with marketing.
While the self-publishing industry has gotten bigger, in some respects it hasn’t gotten better. Amazingly, just five companies account for over 80% of self-published books. After working in the industry and studying the major companies closely for many years, I came to the conclusion that the industry has two serious problems.
Alberta-based author Sharyl Rains said response to her newly published book, The Holy Tudors: Inheritance, has been much more than she anticipated, even overwhelming at times.
“With all the signings and appearances I’ve done, I’ve had a great turnout for pretty much all the events I’ve held for the book,” said Rains.
She is in the middle of her five-month Canadian book tour, holding events in libraries and book stores.
“People’s feedback has been really great. I love answering questions, interacting with people and talking about my characters.”
Her efforts are paying off. Rains is impressed with how well the book is selling and sees a spike in sales after each event.
The Holy Tudors: Inheritance is a historical fiction novel set in the 1500s. It follows three boys of the Tudor Dynasty – Prince Arthur, Duke Henry Fitzroy and King Edward VI. Rains found a fascinating connection between all three. They died at very young ages and that’s when she began to craft a story around that idea.
Twitter is a powerful tool to spread the word about your work, and interact with readers, other authors and publishing professionals. This guide will give authors insight on building a following and promoting their work.
1.Choose a useful handle. If your name is already taken, try a variation of your name, include a middle initial, add numbers or an underline. You could also add key words about what you do in your handle such as writes, books, or author. For example: @Oliverbooks, @Jacqwrites, @aharmon_author.
2. Choose a good profile pic. Your followers will want to see who you are, so pick a high quality head shot that clearly shows your face. If your Twitter page is specifically about your book, you can use your book cover as the profile image. Keep in mind that the profile image thumbnail will be square so you may need to edit your book image to fit the format.
3. Fill out your profile. A strong Twitter bio narrows your specialty, tells the Twitterverse why they should follow you, and shows personality. You have 160 characters to sum this all up. Not an easy task, we know. Your Twitter bio will show up when people Google your name, so put some thought into it. If you have a personal Twitter account and a separate one for your book, make sure you are tagging each account in the bio using the @ feature.
In this example, best-selling author Renee Ahdieh promotes her latest book, and the next one, with the release date. She’s tagged her publisher, agent and included her place of residence and author website.
Independent authors may want to include popular hashtags such as #indieauthors and mention their book is now on sale at #Amazon.
4. Pick a background image. The background could be the cover image, a photo or illustration from your book. It could include text that highlights your website, your achievements, or lets people know where to buy your book.
5. Provide a link to your website. Twitter has a distinct field to add your website. If you don’t have an author website yet, add your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or Amazon page. Provide a link for people to learn more about you or your book.