Thanks for writing – and letting me know how you found me.
I’ll post this as an article on VernLovic.com because there is no way I’m going to write this entire thing just for you. I might like you and all, but still.
How to get started writing?
The first thing you’ll want to do – is change your name. My given name is not good for selling books and nor my friend, is “Phoebus”.
There are so many changes happening right now, that it is by far the best time to get into writing books – in the whole history of mankind.
I am an average writer. I have a unique style that FEW people really get. Once I get a following – a group of people that love my stuff, I’ll go somewhere. As it is I don’t write for the masses.
IF you write for the masses you can do really, really well. But, you’re competing with everyone that is doing the same – and that’s most writers.
If you write for a niche – you’re better off in the long run because your following will be a group of rabid fans that can’t get enough of you.
Joe Konrath writes very simply and appeals to many people. He’s making $200,000 selling ebooks mostly at Amazon. He was a mid-level writer for years and years. Now – he’s more widely read because of Amazon and other online outlets for his work.
I strongly suggest you forget about paperback publishing – completely. It’s out the window. Since you already have an interest in computers (read your bio), you have a jump on every other writer that can’t send email, or at most – can send email. You have a big jump start. Joe Konrath is a very average writer with great ideas for books. He also knows what to do online – and is absolutely KILLING IT.
How to start?
Start looking at Amazon Kindle books and sort by “Bestselling”.
Figure out a topic for your book based on the absence of books in that topic, and the huge number of sales (see reviews over 100 for top books). I sell 100 books for every 1 review I get. I seem to get the assmonkeys that review my books for some reason too. Probably it was partly because I was selling them for $11.99 and $14.99. They expected to get a book that fit all their expectations. When it didn’t – it was a poor choice and they raged at me through Amazon. That blows because there is NO WAY FOR AUTHORS TO RESPOND to jackassed reviews on their books unless you start another account name and buy your own book, and then comment in response to the idiot’s review of your book.
Add to that the fact that the reviews are completelyfuckinganonymous (CFA) and it’s just a dorked system altogether.
Price your ebook at $2.99. Joe Konrath has great ideas about this – read his blog.
Craft a great description, and even pay for a cover if you can’t do it yourself and make it great. A couple of my covers suck, and some are OK. A good graphics guy is $300 per cover. Joe uses a guy that charges that much. Joe’s “The List” cover is AWESOME, and probably part of the reason he sells so damn many books.
Ensure your book is formatted correctly for Amazon’s Kindle by downloading your preview and editing it to be perfect. Many Kindle books are fark-formatted and get returned. I have 1 return out of 50 books sold typically. That’s a low rate (I think). Before I was QC’ing them I had a 30% return rate. Go figure, reading the books is annoying if they are not formatted correctly. How many times have you seen even one spelling error in a print book and thought – this book is JUNK!
Create an author site where you attempt to share your personality and what you know about writing and other topics with visitors. Build up a following. You get no lead information from Amazon for buyers of your book, so you better have links to your author site sprinkled throughout your book. Have a section at the end telling about your site, your other books, and plead for positive feedback at Amazon and through email. Feedback is really nice to get.
On your author site setup Paypal and take orders directly there. You can’t price lower than you did at Amazon, but no matter, you’ll make all the $ from the sale, minus Paypal fees.
Offer discounts, specials, free ebooks, and a mailing list members can get on to receive new or privileged information first.
Collect email address using “Aweber.com”. They are the standard. If you don’t understand it – Find someone to set it up for you for $100. It’s a $20/month charge – ongoing.
Join Twitter, Facebook and all that – and try to get people to come and see your author site, and buy your books. I do little of this – I burnt out on it. I get more bang for the effort by targeting Google to bring me traffic through SEO. Once I get some sort of following – I’ll hit Twitter and FB harder. For now – it’s pointless.
Be in it for the long-haul. I’ve been writing for 2+ years now and just getting the hang of it. Just finding my style, my voice, the tone… I’ve tried fiction, and action guides, travel guides, and stories. I’m probably going to focus on fiction.
Write fiction series books and you can really be crushing it. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest – and The Girl that did this, The Girl that did that… that guy, though dead, is destroying the competition with 3 books as top sellers. His family is no doubt really loving him right now.
There are many areas in Kindle that are poorly represented. Find areas that are untouched and get in now while there are lots of Kindle owners and few books (300,000 ebooks at present I heard). When the big publishers finally get their act together and get ebooks into the Amazon store it will be a book cluster-F and the small-time authors (us) will be lost unless we really crank up the effort.
Write books in a way that sounds like conversation. Don’t use big words. Write at a low level and hit more people. Come up with unique ideas like Joe Konrath’s “The List.” I guess that’s unique. I’ve never thought of something like that. Write at a level no higher than Joe. It’s working for him. No need to outdo him and write like Thomas Harris’ Hannibal – which is my favorite book of all time, btw. There is just no need to write like that unless it comes naturally. For me – too much effort.
If you find some success – share it with the rest of the other struggling authors because you were in the same soup not long ago.