Quill Publishes on Amazon

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Quill
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Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » September 23rd, 2012, 4:13 pm

Finally: Quill's Book Released Into the World!
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Published Sept 18, 2012 in ebook format on Amazon.

Paperback available in October.

Editing and formatting by the amazing Yoly at House of Lit

Check out my new website!

Greetings All!

I've been mighty busy this year completing the edits, cover, and layout for my long awaited Historical Fantasy, BARBARA REILLY.

First of all, here I am revealing Carl Grimsman as true name of Quill!

Secondly, in this thread I will share some of my thoughts on my self-publishing experience.

So stay tuned, feel free to add your own thoughts, and, in the spirit of BARBARA REILLY, have a magical day!

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by MattLarkin » September 23rd, 2012, 4:16 pm

Awesome, Quill. Congrats!
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » September 25th, 2012, 3:17 pm

Thanks Matt! I see you've gone the self-pubbing route yourself. Congrats on your two books. You got that second one out pretty fast after the first. I plan to do the same, relatively (my first one took years!).

I think Margo is right when she says self-publishers must think in terms of quick releases to build visibility and audience. I'm on a different time track from her, but I do respect the idea, and obviously you do, too.

How are you (and others) finding your self-publishing experience? I'm finding it very rewarding so far, but finding also that the learning curve is steep. Not only is there much to learn as a beginning writer, and by that I mean beginning to achieve professional-grade prose (I've actually been writing for years). There's the whole publishing thing, and not only e-book, but I'm getting my print version up, too. Book design, formatting, cover art -- even if we don't do all of these ourselves, we need to know a lot about them, even just to know what we want to see. And then there's marketing: website building, promotion, networking.

I wonder if younger writers have an easier time of this, having been raised with the technology. I'm a bit older and I embrace it, but there's a lot to learn. In any case it stands to reason that one's first book is the toughest. After that the structures we have built are in place, even down to how we outline the next book. It's got to get easier.

On another note, boy, Bransforums have sure slowed down since I've been posting. I realize Nathan's in process of moving to New York, and Sommer's been taking care of personal things, but wow, posts and views are way down. Oh well, I've been browsing more or less regularly, and I see a lot of the old faces still here and a few new ones. Onwards and up!

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by MattLarkin » September 25th, 2012, 6:38 pm

I published book 1 in February, and that short story in August, so I was actually pretty slow. I do, in fact, need to get titles out much more quickly to build an audience. I hope to release book 2 in October (yup just a few weeks from now). Otherwise, even with some good reviews, sales have slowed down from launch months. Of course, they say summer is slow.

The first is the toughest, for sure. After that, it gets easier. I've done the print route, myself. At first, I had someone format for print for me, but now I'm going to be doing it myself. I do pay a graphic designer for covers, though.

I'd noticed it'd been a bit slower too, but maybe that's to be expected in summer.
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Ryan » September 26th, 2012, 10:55 am

Congrats on gettin' her out in the world.

When I was a teacher it felt like I could always be doing something else to help the cause. Now that I'm a father of two and a self publisher I feel like that times ten. It never ends but it's rewarding.
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » September 27th, 2012, 12:41 am

MattLarkin wrote:I published book 1 in February, and that short story in August, so I was actually pretty slow. I do, in fact, need to get titles out much more quickly to build an audience. I hope to release book 2 in October (yup just a few weeks from now). Otherwise, even with some good reviews, sales have slowed down from launch months. Of course, they say summer is slow.
Oh, right, Matt, I'd checked out your new one but forgot it was a short story. I was thinking of that huge push you did a few months back to crank out the first draft of your next book (that was you I'm recalling, right?). So I guess you've been working on the editing.

Man, tell me about the editing. I took mine through many drafts. (Don't tell Miss-clean-copy-Margo, okay?). Oh well, I'm still learning my craft, and the book came out great. Next one will go easier I'm sure. For one thing, I'm going to outline!

And yeah, the sales issue. I don't think one can rely on multiple books alone to build an audience, unless one is lucky (or writing in Quit-my-dayjob-Margo's secret category). I think one needs find ways to go out and find one's readers. Go where they are type of thing. Which I'm just starting to figure out how to do. Perhaps you and others here can relate.
Ryan wrote:Congrats on gettin' her out in the world.

When I was a teacher it felt like I could always be doing something else to help the cause. Now that I'm a father of two and a self publisher I feel like that times ten. It never ends but it's rewarding.
Thanks Ryan, and I hope you're doing well with your book. I know it's a unique book and I hope it is finding its audience. I believe that these things take time, but its one of the advantages of being an indie author: one's book is forever. We have the rest of our lives to market it, tweak it if needed, and reap the rewards. Patience is a virtue in this business, but at least we don't have to worry about going out of print.

Congrats on your father of twoness. Not sure exactly what you mean by your cause. Do you mean you are more motivated to promote your book now that you have a family to look after?

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by bcomet » September 29th, 2012, 1:17 pm

Carl/Quill,

Congrats!!!

And, like others here, thank you for your generosity in sharing your ongoing experiences. Together we can learn to lift this (self-publishing) ship off the ground well. (All the difference from the wobbly sci-fi space ships of ye early movies where you could see the strings attached.)

Please keep us informed.

It's also nice to see your smiling face behind your handle here. Both uses are understandable, but this is always welcome.

And, best of forward movement!

-bcomet

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by MysticFiddler » September 30th, 2012, 2:29 am

Fantastic Quill! Your book looks wonderful. And congratulations on coming out with your real name, so we all can follow your career.
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 3rd, 2012, 8:37 am

Congrats Quill! This is such wonderful news :-) I'm glad we can be a tiny part of your big day!
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » October 5th, 2012, 12:06 pm

Thanks, bcomet, MysticFiddler, and Sommer!

A few words on marketing. I've only been at it a couple weeks since publication but I've already learned a lot. It's funny, after studying so much about it, I'm pretty familiar with the concepts, but the experience is a whole other thing. And for the record, I was not able to do any pre-publication platform-building. I was too busy with edits on the manuscript and climbing the huge learning curve of actual publication -- that being the construction of the books (book design for e and print versions) -- even with the help of an extremely able formatter (http://houseoflit.org/).

What I have learned about marketing so far is that the key word describing it is Discoverability. The task is finding ways to foster discoverability. In other words, helping your target reader find your book. Becoming visible to your reader. Not to ALL readers. To YOUR reader. What does this take. A hundred and one little actions. Perhaps a thousand and one. There is no big reveal, no huge velvet curtain you can hoist up to show your book to the world. It takes daily (hopefully) actions on the micro-level to create the visibility. Researching and contacting book bloggers. Joining and participating in social networks. Building and adding content to one's website. And more. And of course writing.

Writing the next book, because books build a critical mass on their own as well. Increasing one's virtual shelf space in the world helps increase visibility for the author and builds a brand, so long as there is consistency there. Of course this part is still theory for me, since I don't have my next book out there yet. But I'm working on it.

Also, I believe that what we apply toward promoting our writing applies just as well whether we self-publish or seek and walk the traditional publishing path. Traditional publishers applaud and nowadays even expect writers to market themselves. And the tools and methods are the same for both. So it seems there's no avoiding it if one wishes to be a successful writer today. Therefore the best is to try to enjoy the process of marketing. Make it a creative endeavor, a second creative outlet to the writing itself.

Thanks again, everybody, for the congrats. And feel free to chime in with your own experiences and thoughts!

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Margo » October 5th, 2012, 9:35 pm

Quill wrote:I think Margo is right when she says self-publishers must think in terms of quick releases to build visibility and audience. I'm on a different time track from her, but I do respect the idea, and obviously you do, too.
*Brainy Smurf voice* I was right. I was riiight!

Ahem, I mean to say congrats on taking this step. The book looks great. Forget about promo. Write more. :)
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » October 11th, 2012, 11:38 pm

Margo wrote: *Brainy Smurf voice* I was right. I was riiight!

Ahem, I mean to say congrats on taking this step.
Thanks, Margo!
The book looks great. Forget about promo. Write more. :)
Been thinkin' about this since you posted it. And maybe you can speak from experience: How do books and authors get found if not by promo? What lets readers find them in the little cubicles they inhabit at Amazon or wherever? Sure word of mouth can clue others to one's books, once the first people find them. But what starts the ball rolling? And is word of mouth alone enough? I'm sure all authors grapple with this issue. Surely some priming of the well is needed in most cases...

Anyway, thanks for dropping in, Margo. Best of continued luck for your writing (and selling). I trust you are doing well.

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Margo » October 12th, 2012, 2:03 pm

Quill wrote:Been thinkin' about this since you posted it. And maybe you can speak from experience: How do books and authors get found if not by promo? What lets readers find them in the little cubicles they inhabit at Amazon or wherever? Sure word of mouth can clue others to one's books, once the first people find them. But what starts the ball rolling? And is word of mouth alone enough? I'm sure all authors grapple with this issue. Surely some priming of the well is needed in most cases...

Anyway, thanks for dropping in, Margo. Best of continued luck for your writing (and selling). I trust you are doing well.
No, really, promo really really really doesn't work. Three things work. Word of mouth, visibility on keys lists (hot new releases lists, bestseller lists, and Amazon Also Bought lists), and building backlist. I mean, honestly, with all the noise out there, when was the last time you bought an unknown book because they spammed your Twitter feed? How many of us have 60,000 FB or blog followers?

Writing A LOT takes care of the backlist. Writing well takes care of the word of mouth. And luck and persistence take care of the lists. When you earn a real fan, someone who really likes your style, not only do they buy ALL your backlist, but they tell their friends about you and recommend you to their book clubs. When you hit a bestseller list (not the NYT, even Amazon's genre-specific lists), there's a LOT of visibility in that, and it's worth so much more than paid advertisement. (We'll ignore for the moment the selling of bestseller spots on certain lists.)

In the last year, I've sold maybe 100 copies due to social media and more that 60,000 copies because of word of mouth, backlist, and charting (in 6 countries). I did that with a Twitter feed I hit a couple times a month. Same with FB. A website I am terrible about updating. I just started my mailing list. I know people who have done well with that, but I'm just getting started, so I can't offer personal experience. I just started a blog--1 follower. Not selling a lot that way. Oh, and I wrote over 400,000 words.
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Margo » October 12th, 2012, 2:04 pm

Oh, wait, actually, I can give you one more piece of advice. Learn to incorporate SEO into your titles and tags.
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by MattLarkin » October 18th, 2012, 11:03 am

As far as promos, the occasional free day on Kindle Select has done a bit for me. I think getting more releases is key, too. I just put out another short story, I'm putting out a novel on Sunday, and a novella next month. So yeah, you need both quality and quantity.
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