Comments: 141 • Responses: 48 • Date: 2017-09-09 12:05:47 UTCsource
fluffton43 karma2017-09-09 12:28:22 UTC
If you're an author why didn't you proof read your title?
View HistoryShare Link
TracieDelaney39 karma2017-09-09 12:33:48 UTC
Ha! I guess that proves we're all human. Thanks for pointing that out. Now if only it would let me edit :-)
Too_Many_Mind_10 karma2017-09-09 15:08:39 UTC
That’s what proofers are for; I assume being a great author doesn’t always mean you have great grammar and spelling... although those attributes probably often go hand-in-hand with being a good writer.
TracieDelaney22 karma2017-09-09 15:10:54 UTC
Amen to that :-)
They're worth their weight in gold. And yes, you're right. It's easy to misspell something or have incorrect punctuation. In this case, I simply typed too quickly and didn't reread what I'd written. Easily done. Sadly can't be fixed. C'est La Vie!
BigMommahFunTimes30 karma2017-09-09 13:31:24 UTC
I just finished high school and have been looking to occupy myself. Ive filled a couple of pages in a notebook of a plot and basic things but I don't know what to do after that, how do I start my book and keep it interesting?
TracieDelaney80 karma2017-09-09 13:40:01 UTC
I study story structure and plot quite a lot. It's one thing to be able to write 60,000 - 80,000 words, but quite another, like you say, to keep the plot interesting and keep the readers turning the pages. Structure and plot development as well as character growth are key to having a good story.
If you have a local library, I'd go along and see if you can hire some books that will give you some background into storytelling. Save The Cat by Blake Snyder is a particular favourite of mine. I also like Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon as, without those three elements, you don't have a novel that will keep things interesting. There are loads more books that can help with how to write a novel - if you search online, you'll find many free resources too. J.A. Huss (jahuss.com) has a series called 'The Perfect Story' which is free online that takes you through writing a novel from start to finish. I highly recommend checking her out.
The biggest thing though, when you're first starting out, is to simply write. Don't worry about anything apart from getting the words down. Try to write every day, even if it's only a page.
And most of all, enjoy it!
The very best of luck to you - and congratulations on finishing high school.
BigMommahFunTimes10 karma2017-09-09 13:43:40 UTC
TracieDelaney9 karma2017-09-09 13:52:32 UTC
testuser5143 karma2017-09-09 15:34:32 UTC
Thanks a lot these seem like really good resources. I feel like the main thing that's stopping me from writing is the discipline, hopefully I'll find ways to overcome that in the future. Just to tack on this thread do you plan out your entire plot from the beginning itself. I've found it pretty hard to establish a storyline/structure when I start the novel.
How do you go about building the plotline for your novel ?
TracieDelaney6 karma2017-09-09 15:59:19 UTC
No. I'm a pantser. I start out with a very rough idea and go where my characters take me. I find I can't outline. It just doesn't work for me. I prefer the fluidity. But I usually know the ending.
marshmally24 karma2017-09-09 15:37:36 UTC
Hi there, congratulations on finding what is right for you!
Bias here: As an editor at a top publishing company, I often find that indie authors severely underestimate the effort we put into design (we have 2x meetings a week for covers, for example, at least) and sales (three sales conferences for over a year prior, plus multiple reps weighing in on things like the cover, title, etc., as well as weekly call reports on what's been sold to accounts), in addition to countless other departments.
Can you detail a little on what your pre-publication process is like? Did you hire someone for the covers and how did you receive feedback on them? Are you only using the Amazon sales channel?
Thank you, and congratulations again!
TracieDelaney22 karma2017-09-09 16:07:05 UTC
Hi. Thank you so much for asking this question!
I am aware there are some Indie writers who design their own covers and do their own editing - and if they have the skills, great. I certainly don't.
I decided very early on that I was going to put the right amount of funds into hiring the best I could afford.
My cover designer is award winning and the cost she charges reflects that, but she is utterly fabulous. We work together very closely and tweak and change until I'm happy (and I take her advice too - she knows what she's talking about). The feedback on my covers has been really positive (I'd love you to take a look and hear your thoughts).
I also hire a developmental editor, and a line editor, plus 2 proofreaders (and I have some very good Beta readers who proof read for me too). I want to make sure that the work I put out there is the very best it can be.
However, I totally understand that not everyone can afford to do what I've done.
Yes, at the moment, I'm using CreateSpace for paperbacks and Amazon for eBooks. I'm also in Kindle Unlimited which means I'm exclusive to Amazon at the moment. My decision on this was based on what channels my readers use. 90% of them buy from Amazon. Kindle Unlimited is also a very good channel to use for new writers. I've found readers more willing to take a chance on a new writer when they can use their subscription to 'borrow' rather than buy.
Hope I've answered your question fully.
marshmally4 karma2017-09-09 16:32:22 UTC
Thanks for sharing!
TracieDelaney1 karma2017-09-09 17:36:33 UTC
teslorenoob16 karma2017-09-09 13:17:26 UTC
What is it that makes you "indie"?
TracieDelaney29 karma2017-09-09 13:33:23 UTC
I am not published through a traditional publishing house. I am responsible for everything from cover design to choosing which editors and proofreaders to work with, to when to publish. It has its benefits (control, keeping much more of the royalties etc), but also its downsides (you have to do everything yourself.) But although I considered the traditional route, the Indie route made much more sense for me personally.
teslorenoob29 karma2017-09-09 13:35:51 UTC
Huh. I thought tht was called being self published. Thanks for clearing that up, and good luck!
TracieDelaney23 karma2017-09-09 13:52:09 UTC
Yes some folks call it self-publishing too so you are completely correct 😊
TheeLinker6 karma2017-09-09 15:36:20 UTC
So, does that mean you need to put up your own money to fund the process?
TracieDelaney8 karma2017-09-09 16:00:48 UTC
Yes. That's one of the downsides to self-publishing I guess. If you go with a traditional (small or large) publisher, they will provide the upfront costs for a larger cut of your profits than if you go Indie. Like I said, it's a very personal decision. For some, traditional publishing is absolutely the right way to go.
Zazenp5 karma2017-09-09 14:12:46 UTC
I'm curious. Did you try the traditional route or did you forgo that completely for self-publishing?
TracieDelaney12 karma2017-09-09 14:14:26 UTC
I toyed with traditional publishing, and I had some interest, but I also did my research. I spoke to a lot of authors, both traditionally published and independent (self-published). For me, independent was the right decision, for many many reasons (it's a very personal decision). I don't regret my decision for one second.
dgraemeb13 karma2017-09-09 13:59:18 UTC
Feel free not to share this but how monetarily viable is the indie author lifestyle?
TracieDelaney31 karma2017-09-09 14:06:12 UTC
This is a great question and I will answer as honestly as I can.
It's not a fast way to make money. Of course there are always exceptions to any rule but mostly any success is down to hard work and having a decent backlist.
Successful Indie authors I've spoken to say it's 3-4 years of regularly releasing books before they saw a return. However lots of Indies are able to make a living writing full time. It is perfectly within reach but those looking to make a quick buck are likely to be disappointed.
I hope that answers your question.
Apidae095 karma2017-09-09 16:40:24 UTC
Having a decent backlist? What does this mean, and can you define the word?
ifellalot3 karma2017-09-09 16:58:25 UTC
Not OP, but here goes. Backlist is all of the previous work you've published. So you can depend on a fairly regular income, even if its small, from a large collection of previously published work. Also, if you publish a book and someone reads it and likes it, they can turn to your backlist (other published works) and buy more.
Basically its saying once you have a lot of books published you'll consistently make more over time.
Apidae093 karma2017-09-09 17:06:16 UTC
Thanks for the explanation. It makes perfect sense mathematically, although it seems a shame that there's such a correlation between an author's volume and success rate.
Would you be able to take a shot in the dark and give a number for how many published works an author should have under their belt before they achieve a decent amount of exposure? Backlist critical mass?
ifellalot3 karma2017-09-09 17:13:55 UTC
Personally, I can't. I'm a currently unpublished author who is almost ready to try and go for traditional publishing. I'll fall back on self publishing if I can't make it work in the traditional world, so I've done some research, but not enough to answer that.
The thing is that some people make it really big from self publishing, like Andy Weir, who wrote the Martian. He self published and sold enough to be noticed by a big traditional publisher and got a wicked movie deal out of it. (That was his first full length novel, btw) Some take a book or two to get big and some never get big big, but have enough of a following and a backlist that they make a fair amount of money from their work.
You could try asking r/writing, there are some self published authors there, but there is a fair amount of stigma attached to self publishing as some see it as a way to get your book published if it wasn't good enough for traditional publishing (not entirely true). There are tons of online forums for kindle and Amazon specific authors as well.
Hope that helps, even if I didn't really answer your question.
Apidae093 karma2017-09-09 17:24:19 UTC
The point you make about self publishing having a stigma is an interesting one. It's obvious, I guess, but I'd never considered it before. Thank you for the thoughtful answer, and best of luck with your imminent launch!
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 17:46:52 UTC
Thank you for answering. Sorry I didn't get to this. Yes, the explanation provided for backlist is spot on.
in terms of how many books, it really is an impossible question to answer. As ifellalot has mentioned, The Martian was Andy Weir's first book, and he nailed it. Others have 30, 40, or even 50 out and aren't making huge amounts.
The point about self-publishing is an interesting one. I read a lot of Indie authors and while some isn't great, there's a huge amount which is amazing. And those authors have self-published as a choice, not because they're not good enough for a trad publishing house. Plus, trad publishers can only take so many new authors in a year. Self-publishing is a real choice these days for authors wanting to put their work in the public domain, but for some, the traditional route is still the right way for them.
Isn't having choice great? :-)
Murdvac8 karma2017-09-09 12:08:10 UTC
What separates a romance novel from written porn?
TracieDelaney12 karma2017-09-09 12:33:10 UTC
Hi! A romance novel centres very much around the relationship between the couple, whereas porn focuses much more on sex between the couple. Although romance novels will have sex in them (unless they are sweet/closed door romance), those scenes aren't the focus of the story. Hope that answers your question
Yarcofin6 karma2017-09-09 17:00:07 UTC
internetperson1043 karma2017-09-09 17:00:15 UTC
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 17:23:59 UTC
I'll try to answer all your questions - if I miss one, I apologise.
The marketing aspect of writing is what I find the most difficult. It is a crowded market and it is hard getting eyes on your book. I have an email list that I treat like gold. I don't constantly hit them with 'buy my book'. I share my life. I do giveaways. I share other authors work. I talk about what I'm reading. I ask them questions.
I have a free short story that is through book funnel that readers can get by signing up to my mailing list.
I am in KU. It's a good format for getting eyes on your books when you're new, although from my understanding, it doesn't work for every genre. But for romance, which is what I write, it's good.
I spend about 30 minutes per day, mainly on Amazon Ads. I don't do Facebook ads. They can eat cash really quickly and unless you have a large backlist, it's very easy to lose a ton of money.
Ranking....that's an interesting one. I've been as high as 5000 in the dot com store, but staying sticky (i.e. maintaining ranking) is difficult. Right now, because I'm four weeks from releasing the third book in my trilogy, sales aren't great. You do have to keep releasing (at least when you're new), and as I only have two books (plus a short), I'm a baby at this game. The more books you have out, the more books you'll sell. A couple of very successful indie authors advised me not to even look at my sales or worry about them for the first 2-3 years. Their advice - keep writing. And that's what I'm doing. I'll have four book out by the end of this year and between 7 and 8 by the end of next year. After three years, I'll assess. Like any new business (for that's what it is), it takes a while to establish. I'm much more interested in writing the best books I'm capable of (again that's something that improves with practice), getting them well edited, having good covers designed than I am about worrying where my sales rank is. With only two books, it's difficult to remain sticky unless you spend a ton on ads. Not impossible mind. There are people who've done fabulously well with only one or two books.
The best thing is build a newsletter list and get your social media in place. Be social. Don't make it all about your books.
In terms of reviews, I have a small ARC team (25) who give their honest review. I also did a blog tour which created some more reviews. I ask for reviews at the end of my books (with a link to make it easy for folks). I put my books on NetGalley which also results in a bunch of reviews.
I think that's it. Hopefully that's helped. Everyone's journey is different. I wish you the best with yours
8andahalfby115 karma2017-09-09 14:33:35 UTC
1) What's the trick to finding a good editor?
2) Do you use a publicist? If not, how are you self publicizing? What methods have proven successful?
3) I noticed that you published through CreateSpace. Why did you decide to forgo traditional publishing, both with large and small presses?
TracieDelaney10 karma2017-09-09 14:38:46 UTC
I was very lucky with both my editors (I have a developmental editor and a line editor.) They came as a recommendation from an author I highly respect. After we worked together on the first novel, I knew I'd hit the jackpot. Recommendations is the best way to find the right editor. Make sure they work in your genre, ask for a sample (all editors should be happy to do this) and ask other authors for their recommendations.
I don't use a publicist. I do all my own marketing. Right now, the best success I'm having is with Amazon Advertising (only available to independent authors). But the marketing is the part I find the most difficult. It's a learning curve. Lots of trial and error.
I toyed with traditional publishing, and I had some interest, but I also did my research. I spoke to a lot of authors, both traditionally published and independent (self-published). For me, independent was the right decision, for many many reasons (it's a very personal decision). I don't regret my decision for one second.
letsreddittwice4 karma2017-09-09 14:04:51 UTC
Good Afternoon! A few questions for you and maybe more if I think of any-
1.NaNoWriMo- seems like a good excursion into writing but I'm not sure if it leads to success. Do you know any NaNoWriMo writers/winners who have benefited positively from the challenge?
I'm looking into a lot of career options once I finish out my contract in the military. I'm weighing medical school but literature has always been a love of mine. I wrote a 55,000~ trash YA romance to prove I could, but I never did anything with it. Do you think full-time occupation dulls creative sense and writing ability?
I'm playing with an idea in my head that I love and can picture, but I'm trying to change how it is written. It seems to be far easier to turn into a movie script than a manuscript for a written work. Have you ever worked with authors who strayed close and ended up in screenwriting instead?
TracieDelaney7 karma2017-09-09 14:12:57 UTC
NaNo is a great experience. I've done it twice. Once I 'won' (which basically means I got 50,000 words down in the month) and once I fell short, but both times, I've met some really great people and had a lot of fun.
The most famous NaNo novel I know that came out of that experience is Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes (a fabulous book if you like psychological thrillers). She wrote the first draft during NaNo and that book has done extremely well. So in answer to your question, yes it is perfectly possible, but don't think you'll have a finished novel at the end of it :-)
Great second question! I also work full time (I estimate it will take me a few years before I can write full time), so no, I don't believe having a full-time occupation outside of writing dulls creativity or writing ability. It's harder, of course, and you have to be much more disciplined, but it certainly isn't a block to success.
I haven't worked with any screenwriters I'm afraid, but what I would say is that if you think your MS works better as a screenplay, then go with that. Write from your heart and you won't go far wrong.
professor_rumbleroar2 karma2017-09-09 16:09:35 UTC
I edit for an indie author who just submitted for the three day novel writing contest and also has a book in a Kindle Scout campaign. Have you participated in either of those, and how did it go if you did?
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 16:15:11 UTC
I've thought about Kindle Scout and I may apply with a standalone I'm currently writing. I've heard really good things about Kindle Scout, and I've voted on a few in the past. The more routes to bring a variety of books to readers, the better :-)
professor_rumbleroar2 karma2017-09-09 16:21:12 UTC
Definitely! This campaign is her second one with Kindle Scout and having gone through it once, she's feeling a lot better this time. Last time she was checking it constantly to see how it was faring and just was a big ball of stress. Now she's just glad it is a great way to get publicity!
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 17:42:45 UTC
It's definitely something I have on my list to look at in the future. Thanks for sharing her experience
WeightAround4 karma2017-09-09 15:45:08 UTC
Have you ever messed around with the order in which you structure a story? For example, starting with an ending or climax & then working out how to get there? If so, was there any pros to that process?
TracieDelaney6 karma2017-09-09 15:57:26 UTC
Yes! I so have. I'm a pantser, that is, I start out with a very loose idea for a story, and then I simply sit down to write and go where the characters take me. I usually know the ending and so, if I'm having a particular struggle one day, I'll write a scene or two either right at the end, or in the climax leading up to the end. I have changed the ending to a story once, but still, those words weren't wasted as it gave me great insight into the character. I think the pros to knowing the ending is that you (kind of) know which direction you're heading in, but my advice would always be find the process that works for you. There are lots of ways up the mountain and whatever you choose will be right for you.
FabioRodriquez3 karma2017-09-09 15:27:31 UTC
I'm an unpublished author, with 3 books to my name that I'm currently reworking. I primarily stick to the fantasy genre with romance elements but have kind of explored other avenues.
My questions are as followed;
Currently, I'm in a bit of a pickle. It's been a month since I wrote anything & I can't seem to shake it. It's not because I lack interest because my brain is still working out plots & how to plug holes to prevent my stories from sinking. How have you dealt with this sort of demotivation?
Admittedly, I've seldom read books & most my inspiration comes from video games. That's not to say I don't read any as I've read the first few books of the Immortal Instrument Series. Do you know any other authors like me? Were you a heavy reader?
Do you have any advice on character development or plot development?
Thank you for doing this!
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 15:36:45 UTC
Hi. In terms of your first question, yes I have been exactly where you are. All writers have at one point or another. The answer? Sit down and write anyway. Whether you want to or not. Push through. Write something different, maybe in a genre you haven't tried before. Even if it's 100 words, it doesn't matter. Think of a scene that you're really excited about and write that. You don't have to write in order.
I would encourage you to read widely in your genre. You'll pick up all sorts of tropes, expectations, style that readers of fantasy will expect. I can't recommend this highly enough. I read as much as I can (at the moment, it's probably 5-6 books per month). Before I started writing and publishing, it would be 5-6 a week. It's absolutely crucial to read if you want to be a writer.
For plot development, I highly recommend Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. It's aimed more at screenwriting but it works perfectly for novels. All novels have an underlying structure (even if readers aren't aware of it) and that book really helped me. See if you can get it from your local library as it may not be for you. But there are loads of books out there on developing plot and character. In terms of character development, they must change throughout the book. If they are the same at the end as at the beginning, they're not developed enough.
Hope that helps.
FabioRodriquez1 karma2017-09-09 17:03:57 UTC
I do find that my mind wanders to a portion of a story that's present in the third book of my series. I never pull the trigger because I'm worried that in doing that, it'll cause me confusion because of my own learning disabilities. Maybe I'm underestimating myself though, but I'll give your advice a try!
Most people I've spoken to say reading is crucial to being an author. I disagree with that personally because I believe a creative person shouldn't be held down because they don't have a prerequisite. I do look at other literature to see the techniques they've used though. Perhaps I'm an odd duckling because I don't find reading most that fascinating to me. Yet, if there's something to learn, I'll read bits of it to get acquainted with their style.
I will definitely look into that book, thank you. I find most good stories have a romance in it, despite it not playing a huge role. But maybe this opinion is biased since I'm in a certain genre lol.
I have a bit more questions!
Do you give yourself writing goals each day? I know that Steven King for example tries to write 6 pages a day.
Who/What is your biggest inspiration/motivation?
How do you approach writing dialogue? For me, I like to present it as I'd say it so it doesn't come across as mechanical. But I know several authors have a different way of doing it so what's yours?
Last one, I promise! So, while writing, I've found that I inherited an OCD type habit. For example, when I write, all lines have to be even. Thankfully, justification is a God-Send but for something like the dialogue, it'll stretch it out too much. Have you ever found that you gained an OCD habit?
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 17:42:15 UTC
I'll number these to make it easier.
Yes. I try to write between 2k and 3k words per day. Some days I don't make it. Some days I write more. Some days I write nothing. But having a goal is important for me.
My husband. He is hugely supportive.
Ah, now I've been told I'm pretty good at dialogue (whether that's true or not, I leave to my readers!). I think it's important to make it sound natural. It's also important to make the voices sound different so the reader can follow who is speaking. But yes, natural sounding dialogue is how I do it.
I don't believe I have. When I first published, I would constantly check my reviews, but now, I rarely look so that might have been a temporary habit born of being a newbie author and putting my baby out there to be judged!
bibliomasochist3 karma2017-09-09 15:29:31 UTC
He do you market and gain notice for your work?
TracieDelaney5 karma2017-09-09 15:41:50 UTC
I find marketing tough. I doesn't come easily or naturally to me. I'm learning all the time.
I take part in newsletter swaps with other authors in my genre, I advertise on Amazon (a service only available to Indie/Self-published authors), I have a Facebook page, where I interact with my readers, and I also am on Twitter and Instagram. But when it comes to social media, it's important to be social. ie. make your posts about more than selling your product. Interact. Be interested in the lives of your readers. Tell them what's going on in your life. There's nothing worse than those constant 'Buy my Book' posts. Of course, they're necessary as you have to tell people when you have a new book out, but they should be far outweighed by other types of posts/interactions.
It isn't easy to get noticed though. I try not to get too hung up on sales at the moment - and focus on writing and publishing the next book!
IggySparkleBooty3 karma2017-09-09 16:37:50 UTC
Is there any advice you were given that you wish you hadn't taken? Maybe not necessarily bad advice, but perhaps advice that just didn't work with your writing style?
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 16:46:07 UTC
Good question - and no, I don't think there has been. However, I would say it's important to make sure you stay true to your voice which is hard when you are new. If you ask the same question to 10 people, you may get 10 different answers, and it's about not getting pulled in different directions. I definitely found myself doing that in the early days. Now, I'm much more confident in my voice and the story I want to tell.
IggySparkleBooty2 karma2017-09-09 17:11:20 UTC
It's interesting you bring that up. Back in grade school I had no problem following my own voice, but nowadays, being more self aware of what makes a story worth reading I have tremendous difficulty writing past the first couple chapters. I find myself in a horrible loop where I just can't stop editing and trying to perfect those first couple of chapters, even though I know perfection is impossible. Have you ever had an issue similar to that?
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 17:32:22 UTC
I think every writer suffers from self-doubt one time or another. I bet even JK Rowling sits there sometimes and thinks this is rubbish. But in terms of the specific issue you mention, no I haven't had that issue. I tend to say to myself 'yes this is rubbish, but that's what rewrites are for. Get the story down and fix later'. However, I have a very good friend who has the exact issue you mention. She can spend hours over one sentence, trying to make it perfect. She knows the issue. She's aware of it. She tries to manage it. You're not alone with that issue. Have you tried writing a completely different part of the book, like the ending, or a scene that you've been simply dying to write? That might help, but as it's not an issue I suffer with personally, I can't offer detailed advice on how to overcome it.
IggySparkleBooty2 karma2017-09-09 17:34:18 UTC
Ah, yeah. No worries. But that's an interesting tactic. I've never actually tried that before. I think I'll try that next time. Thank you!
TracieDelaney0 karma2017-09-09 17:57:17 UTC
You're welcome. Hope it works
SantosLHelpar3 karma2017-09-09 16:31:07 UTC
Hey, just had my first book edited, any advice?
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 16:35:22 UTC
I'm not sure what type of editing you've had done, but if it's developmental, the firstly, breathe. It can be overwhelming.
Read through your editors comments, then let it sit for a day or two. Then go back and re-read them - and then start the work of re-writing.
Listen to your editor. They are experts. Unless you vehemently disagree with something they suggest (and that's okay), then take what they say seriously. They do this for a living.
Editors make books sing. I wouldn't ever publish a book without one.
Enjoy the process. And massive congratulations on your first book.
tmfp3 karma2017-09-09 16:19:00 UTC
I'm a photographer who travels and collects stories from experiences and people. I've been Journaling everything and wanting to put a book together.
I love and romance the idea of a publishing company and seeing my name in a store, but I know in this day and age (and with as many writers as there are) self publishing seems to be the best option.
With that said, what are some of the negatives and positives you've come across?
If you had to start over again, but this time with the option of a publishing and printing company, would you do it the same or go with the other option?
How is amazons marketing or is it all on you to get the attention on it?
I hope I haven't flooded you with too many questions but I don't often get this opportunity! Any time I meet a writer they're much older and we're printed generations ago and don't work for me in 2017
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 16:29:10 UTC
Thanks for your questions - ask as many as you like!
Self-publishing is a choice - it's not the only choice. Some writers prefer to go down the traditional route, but it can take some time (and some never get accepted) so that's something to consider.
I'll do the positives first:-
When you're a control freak (like I am), the thought of not having the decision over the cover, the editor I choose to work with, how my book will be launched, the launch date, the ability to change pricing as quickly as it takes Amazon to update, meant that self-publishing was the right choice for me. I like having the ability to control everything and to make all the decisions.
It's all on you. Writing, hiring and firing, marketing, website design, the list goes on and on. But for me, this is fun (well, except for the marketing!) and I've learned a lot that I wouldn't have if I hadn't chosen this route.
If I had to do it all again - I'd choose exactly the same. Indie works for me.
In terms of Amazon pushing your book, it's a bit of a mystery. There's belief that the number of reviews matter (ie. if you get over 50, Amazon will start including you in their newsletters for example), but no one truly knows the Amazon algorithm and how it works. At the end of the day, it's down to you to get eyes on your book. If Amazon include it in one of their emails, great, but that's not something to be relied upon.
Have I answered your questions? Feel free to let me know if you have more questions
justmarty3 karma2017-09-09 15:43:00 UTC
What are the advantages to publishing through CreateSpace rather than starting your own imprint and being publisher of record then using CS to print and distribute?
Do you publish through any other devices? Why or why not?
Thank you, Tracie, and continued success!
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 15:54:15 UTC
Starting my own imprint is on the 'to do' list (I never quite seem to get to it lol).
At the moment, my books are available in paperback (through Createspace) and Amazon (Kindle). They are also in Kindle Unlimited which means I have to be exclusive to Amazon (so I can't publish through iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, B & N etc). It was a conscious decision to do this as 90% of my readers buy through Amazon and so it makes much more sense to get the additional exposure being in KU affords me.
And thank you for your good wishes. That means a lot :-)
justmarty2 karma2017-09-09 16:03:45 UTC
I'm writing a non-fiction book and I'm at the stage where I need to plan on how to publish. I'd been weighing self-publishing against publishing with a niche imprint. I'm leaning towards self-publishing primarily because I'm a graphic designer by profession and like you, I want more creative control over how my published works will look. This to me outweighs the benefits of going through one of the niche imprints in my genre.
That's interesting about Kindle Unlimited. How did you determine where most of your readers buy your books from?
Thanks again, Tracie!
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 17:36:22 UTC
I asked them :-) It's one of the important things about building a newsletter list (I gave away 10% of my book through InstaFreebie which is all Amazon permits me to as I'm exclusive). And then I polled them. I asked all sorts of questions, but one was around where they buy their books from. It's really invaluable to get direct feedback like that from your readers/newsletter subscribers (not all NL subscribers are readers)
TalkingBackAgain2 karma2017-09-09 16:53:45 UTC
Tracie, I want to publish a book, I have no idea where to start, where do I start? What do I do? What do I certainly not do?
/I don't need ideas or plot pointers. I'm fine with my ideas. I don't know anything about publishing a book.
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 17:12:48 UTC
There's lots of information online. Start in Google with 'self-publishing'. There are also lots of fabulous websites and podcasts. The Self Publishing Formula is a great place to start.
I would highly recommend sourcing a really good editor and putting some funds into cover design (unless you're an expert in that field)
The very best of luck to you.
Tefur2 karma2017-09-09 16:51:19 UTC
I made an adult's "children's" book for my uni course and I'm looking to get it published. I was wondering what the process was like? Did you go to any reading groups or agents before the publishers, etc? Any advice would be appreciated!
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 17:11:14 UTC
Hi. Yes, I worked with a mentor for four years. I'm also a member of Facebook groups where I listen, learn and ask lots of questions. There's also a ton of stuff online - and the writing community is really helpful.
MissSwat2 karma2017-09-09 16:44:03 UTC
Hi Tracie, fellow indie author here! I find one of the most difficult things to balance is marketing and day to day activities, like having a job to fund this crazy venture. At this stage I've published two in a 9 book series. What are your marketing strategies? What sort of resources do you employ to get your name out there?
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 16:48:57 UTC
Oh, I hear you - and feel your pain. Marketing is the one thing I dislike about this writing business. It doesn't come naturally to me at all.
With only two books out, I think both you and I need more to really see the marketing efforts take off. A nine book series is good - kudos to you.
For me, I do NL swaps with authors in my genre and AMS ads mainly. For the release of my third book in October, I'm doing an ad stack on the first to hopefully drive read-through (as the story will finish with this third book).
Good luck on your series.
Cormandy2 karma2017-09-09 16:35:14 UTC
Thank you so much for doing this AMA.
You said that you still work full time. Can you tell your other occupation? Or if not, then give an idea of stress levels, mental preoccupation, hours per week, and the like?
My wife would really like to transition into writing full time, and her motivation has come and go over the years. But I suspect that the root of the "goes" is that her current work is still satisfying to her, and occupies her mentally even when she's not "on the clock". I appreciate your thoughts!
TracieDelaney4 karma2017-09-09 16:42:23 UTC
I work in financial services as a Commercial Manager. It can be stressful at times. I work, on average (including my commute time), 50 hours per week.
It isn't easy doing both. There are sacrifices. I get up at 5am to write, or to do something else to do with my author business (yes I treat it like a business). I take my computer to work with me. I write during my lunch break. I write every weekend.
But I wouldn't change a single thing. I love it. And one day, if I work hard, keep going, remain focused on the end goal, and keep putting out books people want to read, I hope to write full time.
Good luck to your wife. If her desire is strong enough, she'll make it work :-)
RadishDuel2 karma2017-09-09 16:30:19 UTC
Was there a certain point when you thought "I am going to be a writer" or did it just kind of happen to you? I've thought about doing some writing, but I'm not 100% on it because I know it takes a lot of time to develop the skill and I would be just starting out at this point.
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 16:37:02 UTC
I've always read very heavily, from a very young age, and I've dabbled in writing, but never took it hugely seriously. Then six years ago, I got an idea for a novel. Those characters would not let go (I have no idea why it happened - it just did). I wrote the book, and got myself a mentor (an ex editor who mentors newbie writers). I worked with her for four years. She taught me heaps.
It is hard, but it is also hugely rewarding. Why not give it a go? We all have to start somewhere.
Wizard_DeCroz2 karma2017-09-09 16:28:23 UTC
Is writing your dream job? If yes, how does it feel to pursue that? If no, what is your dream job?
Thanks! This has been a great AMA so far!
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 16:31:07 UTC
Firstly, thank you! I've absolutely loved doing this. I would definitely do something like this again. It's been super fun.
Yes, writing is my dream job, but for now, I also have a day job. Does that make life hard (and busy)? Yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely. I hope one day to be able to do this full time, but for now, I'm juggling. And still loving every minute :-)
Telandria2 karma2017-09-09 16:19:36 UTC
I read a lot of online-hosted original webfiction from authors who use things like Patreon as well as self-publish portions of their using platforms like Kickstarter.
Did you ever consider taking that route or tried it in the past? Why or why not?
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 16:21:47 UTC
I'll be honest - I haven't heard of those platforms (scrabbles for pen to note them down). I'll be taking a look now. Thank you!
Guruking2 karma2017-09-09 14:19:09 UTC
How often do you look back at some of your work to think it's garbage, but others seem to enjoy it?
TracieDelaney4 karma2017-09-09 14:23:17 UTC
For my published work, I don't think any of it is garbage. I made sure I wrote lots of novels before I published anything (of course not every novel will be for every person so I'm sure there are people who may think exactly that about my work). However, some of my earlier (unpublished) work is truly terrible. But it's all part of the learning curve. There is a belief that you need to write a million words before you start producing really good work. I'm close to that number. I've read many times that you should never publish your first novel. Reading my own first novel, I couldn't agree more! :-)
drjonesdrjones2 karma2017-09-09 13:32:52 UTC
Do you tap your own life for romantic stories? Are you married? Committed? Or are you single running around always needing new material?
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 13:54:34 UTC
I am married, but no. All my stories are completely fictional although I take inspiration from everywhere. I have more stories running around my head than I will ever have the time to write though.
Cormandy2 karma2017-09-09 17:02:34 UTC
Thanks again for doing this!
You've stated that there are specific things that you knew would be worth the investment.
How much have you invested into this venture which you love and are passionate about?
But my real question is, since you love your editors, can you please share their info? Thanks. :D
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 17:26:05 UTC
My editors work for Red Adept. You can take a look at their website at Redadept.com
It cost me c.$1500 to edit and get a cover for my books. Some do it for less. Others spend a lot more. Marketing is on top.
For me, editing and good cover design is paramount.
emmawriter2 karma2017-09-09 17:22:19 UTC
Hi Tracie! You mentioned that you've studied story structure and plot a lot, can you share any other recs? I'm a sci-fi&fantasy writer (trying to level up in romance writing skills!) and structure is a big weakness of mine. Trying hard to get better, and better at making character goals clear to the reader!
Edit: Have read Save the Cat, going to get hold of the Goal, Motivation and Conflict book too.
TracieDelaney2 karma2017-09-09 17:27:48 UTC
Check out J A Huss's The Perfect Story videos. They are really good. She hasn't quite finished them yet, but the ones that are out there are fabulous. She also recommends three story structure books in there - sorry I can't remember them, but if you check out the videos you'll spot them in there.
Enjoy GMC by Debra Dixon. It's a great book.
wvjeepguy811 karma2017-09-09 16:34:49 UTC
Have you considered writing erotica? Either under a different alias or not.
TracieDelaney1 karma2017-09-09 16:38:10 UTC
No. I think I'd be terrible at it. There are lots of brilliant erotica writers out there. I prefer the romance, the relationship building, the conflict, the break-up/make up and the HEA of romance novels. I'll leave the erotica writing to the experts :-)
wvjeepguy811 karma2017-09-09 16:42:36 UTC
You can do all that in erotica, it's just that the romance parts would get a little steamier. Or maybe partner up with someone else? You could write the bulk of the novel while someone else does the "intimate" parts. You could have the next "50 Shades".
TracieDelaney3 karma2017-09-09 16:44:24 UTC
I see erotica as the sex being the main part of the story whereas romance it's the relationship that's the main part. I do have sex scenes in my novels, but they're there to drive the plot forward rather than 'it's time to make my characters have sex'.
I think the 50 Shades ship has sailed - EL James has cornered the market on that one :-)
Ghostspider19891 karma2017-09-09 16:34:05 UTC
What were your initial steps towards getting published?
TracieDelaney1 karma2017-09-09 16:39:44 UTC
Firstly, write the book. Sorry if that sounds glib, I don't mean it to, but you have to have something to publish.
I got myself a mentor and worked with her for four years.
I joined a lot of Facebook groups. I listened. I learned. I asked questions.
And finally....I plucked up the courage to publish - but only after hiring really good editors and a fantastic cover designer.
It's hard, putting your work out there, but when you get an email from a reader that says "I really enjoyed your book", it makes it all worthwhile.
Ghostspider19891 karma2017-09-09 17:59:05 UTC
So how did you find a publisher and what was the publishing process like?
TracieDelaney0 karma2017-09-09 18:00:18 UTC
I'm self published rather than traditionally published
jensZett1 karma2017-09-09 19:34:53 UTC
Hi Tracie, thanks for the AMA. I have published an indie book myself, though it is non-fiction, scientific/philosophy, though it has only sold around 60 copies so far.
Maybe you have done something like this yourself, or know some other author who went into this direction? If so, what recommendations would you give concerning how to market such a book?
TracieDelaney0 karma2017-09-09 19:36:50 UTC
Well done for publishing your book. Sadly I don't have any experience of marketing non fiction and the groups I'm in focus on fiction. However it may be worth searching on Google for groups that focus on non fiction.
I wish you the very best of luck
SkySymphony1 karma2017-09-09 19:20:12 UTC
How do you review your own writing impartially? Often times, I feel my writing is grammatically and logically sound but find it difficult to know how a reader may interpret it. Is it clear to the reader what's going on? Is it interesting? As the writer, I find it very difficult to tell if my writing will come across as interesting or not. Am I being descriptive or giving too much unnecessary detail? Often times it's not until I review my writing many months later that I realize how atrocious it is. It's difficult for me to put myself in the shoes of the reader.
TracieDelaney0 karma2017-09-09 19:21:11 UTC
I have a few Beta readers that I trust enough to give me honest feedback...and I take that feedback in the spirit it's meant
TracieDelaney0 karma2017-09-09 17:59:42 UTC
I think about a very loose outline of plot and then the characters come to me.
Yes without an idea of how your novel will end, you can go down a rabbit hole.
Read a lot in your genre so you can see how others do it. That may help. Good luck
Copyright © 2014 BestofAMA.com, All rights reserved.
reddit has not approved or endorsed BestofAMA, reddit design elements are trademarks of reddit inc.