Tag Archives: Author tips

Running Out of Steam?

Sometimes being a published author can be exhausting. I often get asked, ‘how are your book sales?’ and my answer really depends on different times of the year as well as my involvement in book marketing activities. When you take your foot off the pedal you see the results slowing, but sometimes keeping your foot on the pedal can be overwhelming.

As an author, like any product, you need to be in front of your readers periodically. New books are being released daily, and the best sellers list changes rapidly. With so many books on the market to choose from, how can I make sure my book stays on the radar. This is a question I’m constantly asking myself.
The process feels literally like a treadmill that never stops.

• Sometimes your efforts feel like they are making no difference.
• Sometimes it feels all too familiar – unsure of whether you are really reaching a difference audience
• Sometimes you feel bored of just doing the same thing – over and over again
• Sometimes you want to try something different – but you’re not sure how to start
• Sometimes you just want time out, and you need a break from it all (have a glass of wine)

Like anything, if you do the same thing day in and day out, results will naturally start to waiver. What I will say is that creativity is key, for your own sanity as well as for the benefit of attracting new and different readers. Find different ways of positioning your book – use review quotes, different cover angles, highlight awards and achievements, a part of the story line that will capture attention. Marketing is about creating angles that will capture attention, finding an interested audience that may not have seen or heard of your book before, and more importantly, creating a following.

Learn from others, seek advice and even join forces with other authors to help your campaign. Sometimes it feels lonely out there on your own, and the treadmill can be much more enjoyable if you have a companion.

Enter your book in the McGrath House Indie Book Awards

A Question of Formatting

So the one thing I have learned very quickly about self-publishing is that there is no one format that works for all channels when launching your book on either paperback or eBook. However, if you get it wrong, it has a major impact on the look and readability of your book, and potentially the response from your readers.

Readers don’t want to figure out the formatting; they get frustrated by page breaks in the wrong spots, and blank pages, or worse, text that is ever-changing in font and style throughout an eBook or paperback. I have learned to become pernickety about how my books are formatted, and I’m still not sure I always get it right. I spend hours launching a draft, checking it page by page, and then re-doing it again, until I’m satisfied.

Then, there are the picture or illustrated books. Now that is a completely different story. It is actually easier to publish in a paperback format, as you can save any file to PDF and voila, you’re done. But… putting these illustrations alongside their text into a kindle or ePub file is another story, and a whole art form unto itself. However, I personally would not want to get this wrong. Firstly, most illustrated books are aimed at younger readers, and attracting and keeping their attention is important to a book’s success. Illustrations that don’t format well with the text of a book, is the first failure in my personal view, and will ultimately lead to disinterest from younger minds and imaginations.

I tried multiple free Internet sites to convert my books, and most of them failed miserably. In the end, I hired someone from Fiverr.com to help me with my quest, and despite the small cost, it was well worth it to know that my book would look the way I wanted it to on an eReader device.

Smashwords will quickly convert most word documents into a good Kindle (.mobi) file suitable for Kindle. If pictures are involved, it may not work as well, but generally the files if checked can be amended (just be aware it may take a few goes). Again, however, I strongly recommend hiring the services of someone who knows their formatting, especially if your book has illustrations or diagrams, to ensure that you get the best effect for your readers.

Formatting is not something to take lightly. The key simple rules I follow for any book are:

1. Chapters should start on a new page.
2. Paragraphs should be clearly defined.
3. The font should be consistent in style and size.
4. Remove blank pages (where possible).
5. Keep it simple (this is the best way to keep it compatible for all eReader devices).

As always please reach out to me if you have any questions or need further information on your publishing journey!