So I went and got a KU membership a few weeks back. Part of this is because my partner had dropped off on reading and isn’t the most tech savvy person, so this option was practical. But I have to admit the idea of consuming as many books as I can on a monthly basis at a flat rate certainly appeals to me. In the past, I have stuck with iBooks and hadn’t considered downloading the Kindle app, I was happy with that. What was difficult was using iBooks from the one iTunes account on multiple devices, so the change has been good.
Having had little education on the subject of writing and hearing so much talk online about the world of self-publishing I scoured the KU library on the subjects. It occurred to me that at the rate I was reading these books I should be recording what I took away from each of them. Having Goodreads record what I have read makes for a good start but I am liable to ask ‘Where did I read about the thing with…?’
So here are four books available in KU and what messages I took away from them.
Becoming a Successful Indie Author: Work Toward Your Writing Dream, by Craig Martelle.
I picked up a lot from this book, knowing next to nothing about the world of self-publishing. I must admit, I did fly through this book as it was very engaging and succinct. Aside from getting familiar with terms like ‘back matter’ in books I also got good information on;
– Newsletters and how Craig puts them to good use
– Reader magnet giveaways at places like Bookfunnel which not only brings people to your books but trades their email so you can add them to your list.
– The reasons why you should have different lists for newsletters, particularly around superfan readers and early review crews.
– Lot’s of insight into marketing Craig uses for his own books and references to other books more specific to those aspects.
– Directions on where to find the 20booksto50k Facebook group where he is an admin. I am now a member and the group is filled with people providing advice, support and inspiration.
Writing and Releasing Rapidly, by Elana Johnson
This one was fantastic. Elana explains blow by blow how she went about rapid releasing several different series with different timeframes. I got through this one quickly as well, and whilst the subject was pretty specific I learned;
– Not all book releases are created equal. Which books she favours in a series when it comes to doing a marketing push, and those she quietly uploads to find it’s readers on it’s own.
– Tracking what you did differently on all book releases to find what works in finding your audience and what outside factors are impacting on your sales.
– Pricing and what she has discovered pricing her books at full price as opposed to the 99c range.
20k a Day: How to Launch More Books and Make More Money by Writing Faster, Better and Smarter, by Jonathan Green
This book was… tedious in a lot of ways. This guy decided it would be a good idea to dictate this book while out on his tropical island somewhere (no joke) which really resulted in him saying the same things, over and over. I must admit, I can see why he is successful, the magic bullet to how to churn out 20k a day seemed just a few pages ahead the entire way through. I got through it, albeit with some eye rolling, and have done a few things as a result of his book;
– Tracking your numbers. I do have a word count goal which I had been aspiring to each day, but Jonathan encourages you to keep records of this. I have put together a small spreadsheet with basic things, but he encourages people to note things like time of day writing, length of session, mood, location etc to really nail down into where and when you write best.
– Buy a Kindle. Seriously. I read from my iPad but the man does make sense here. A lot of the people reading Ebooks on Amazon are purchasing direct on their Kindle. This means you have to know what it looks like once formatted, and you need a cover which stands out even if it’s in greyscale. He also encourages proofing on the Kindle and using the highlight function to note errors.
– I have yet to try this, but the idea does interest me. He talks about transcribing from a novel into a notebook to improve your writing. He insists that this uses another part of your brain and that your writing will improve as a result.
The Everything Guide to Writing Your Own Novel: All the tools you need to write and sell your first novel, by Hallie Ephron
This book was pretty basic, nuts and bolts of the writing process. Some of it was a little slow for me but I did cement some knowledge that I already had and picked up some new things along the way. It’s difficult to really pull out what I learned from this as it was a lot of small ‘ah ha’ moments, but what I liked about this book was;
– It had a general description by genre of what books set out to do and how they get there, along with how readers can be let down in a genre. An example was around a reader getting annoyed when information is withheld from them when the narrative is in the first person.
– There was a comprehensive list of the major publishers and their imprint presses with a list of what they generally publish.
– There was a general respect throughout the book that everyone will come at writing in a different way and that people needed to find a process which worked for them.
I’m sure there were many more messages in those books, but this is what I have taken away personally. The first two books I would highly recommend, but there was definitely value in all of them.