While I always encourage writers, self-published or not, to write concisely, even a book without wasted words may run long. All the better, if you have an epic story that’s full of nothing but the good stuff! Still, you don’t want to overcharge readers no matter how good the stuff is, and after all your hard work, you’d probably like to earn a reasonable royalty per copy sold. Luckily, you can make this happen with a few simple adjustments to your formatting. When calculating royalties, CreateSpace (like Lulu) deducts from the author’s share per page. Thus, books with a lower pagecount get a considerably better share of royalties, and can even charge a much lower cover price. This is a win for both self-publishing authors and for readers, not to mention it saves a few more trees from early death.
As an experiment, I ran one of my own manuscripts through a number of formatting changes and kept track of the pagecount. I managed to cut it in half (more than half, actually—from 634 to 250) without doing anything particularly arcane or painful. And the final formatting looks much more professional!
The entire walkthrough, with pictures, is here on my blogspot: http://theresearkenberg.blogspot.com/2013/09/print-on-demand-formatting-for-better.html
I am a major fan of crowdfunding as a way for writers to spread the word and get some startup funding to launch self-published (and even conventionally published) works. Here's a postmortem--well, given how successful the campaign was I guess it's a "debriefing"--of my own Kickstarter, with some thoughts on crowdfunding platforms in general and what my major traffic & funding sources were.
Anatomy of Successful Crowdfunding (or, How I made 700% of my Kickstarter goal despite a godawful cover image)
Maybe it's just my ego, but I think handing out promotional bookmarks is one of the most fun aspects of being an author. I'm not sure how effective they are (I think they help readers remember your book, but they won't sell the story on their own), but they're not too difficult or expensive to make. Mine came from VistaPrint. I used the postcard template, since VistaPrint doesn't have a template specifically for bookmarks, and cut two bookmarks from each card using a library papercutter. In hindsight, I do wish I'd had a Vistaprint coupon or other deal to use, because they add up, but my overall investment was around $30 per 100 bookmarks.
Pictures of the orientation and formatting for the bookmarks, plus a little more information and musings on the process, are here on my blog.
The most up-to-date listing of my fiction in print is now available, along with a general blog, at theresearkenberg.blogspot.com (publication listing at http://theresearkenberg.blogspot.com/p/publications-list.html).
As you can see, I haven't been the most faithful updater of this blog lately. It isn't that I haven't sold more stories--I have!--but I've failed to keep track of them here. Partially this is the fault of school, the pressures of exams, research projects, and my preparations to apply to graduate school. It's also partially because I've been keeping track of my publications elsewhere, in my Absolute Write Water Cooler Library Thread. That's where I suggest you go in the future to keep track of me and my work. Now that I have a book published, I'm also considering developing an author's website, although that will probably have to wait until I get more time.
Thank you, most sincerely, for following this blog!
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