What’s Up With PhotoBucket?

Photobucket.com is a cool site that allows people to upload and edit pictures in a library. I signed up mainly because it’s a free service. Plus, I needed to find a way to link photos to my sidebar on my blog.

The main reason I joined PhotoBucket–to resize images for headers and book cover dimension specifications on different ebook sites.

Yesterday I went through the routine of downloading my new Something’s Amiss ebook cover to my computer, then uploading it to PhotoBucket. I appreciated Sandra Giles’s hard work, but I wanted something that conveys the women’s fiction/romance genre. When I see ‘customer also viewed’ tabs on Amazon, the covers looked nothing like mine. I’m all for being different, but when you’re trying to sell books, sometimes it’s best to fit in.

I edited the photo like I usually do by resizing it, then saved the changes. What the–? I got a notification saying the picture can’t be over like 800 pixels. That’s not even close to ebook specifications on websites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. I almost panicked, thinking I can’t use book covers anymore unless I buy some expensive software or use the cover creator on the websites.

Load and behold, I don’t give up easily. I went to my dashboard on KDP (Amazon) and hit the basic cover creator option. I downloaded the image after picking one of the templates. It was fairly simple to remove the text the creator supplied. By saving it, the cover looks exactly how I wanted it. Yea, I found an affordable way to use book covers without having to resize. This will be handy in case cover designers don’t send the right measurements.

For all the writers out there, have you found any secrets useful in publishing your ebooks at an affordable cost?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

A Day In the Life…Celebrating Anniversaries and Making Executive Decisions

TODAY AND TOMORROW ONE BY ONE IS FREE ON AMAZON

How is that possible? Because I decided to take both of my books off of Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. The majority of my sales come from Amazon, so I might as well benefit from their awesome program they have for authors called the KDP program. This means I can determine when I want a book to be free or discounted for only .99 cents with a countdown. My books are also available in the Kindle Lending Library, meaning prime members can borrow it for free.

May 20th was my one-year anniversary of being a published author! So that was also a factor in my decision-making of giving readers a free gift. When I first started, I said that I would never give my book away. The most I would offer is a .99 cent sale. I learned along the way that offering your book free can actually be a benefit.

I lose out on getting royalties from those downloads, but I’ve reached readers willing to take a chance on me. Recently I checked Amazon, and my free ranking was #313–#10 Thriller and #13 Suspense with 762 downloads!!! That blew my mind, considering I hardly promoted the way I should have.

Maybe I’ll get reviews, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll gain fans, maybe I won’t. Maybe by the time they read my book I’ll already have something else available, maybe not. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

I thought it’d be fun to list the things I’ve learned from my first year as a self-published author. Here goes:

  • Appreciate all readers and authors who reach out to you. Staying in contact with authors who write in your genre can provide great networking opportunities concerning guest posts and sharing tips on how to reach readers. And, staying in contact with readers (without spamming) is a good way to get a feel for what they like regarding what type of stories they’d like to see from you.
  • Have patience. It takes time to build a readership. Success isn’t calculated by how many books you sale. Success means you were vulnerable to put yourself out there. You were brave. But trust me, it’s always fun to keep checking  your stats on your dashboard and see readers buying your books!
  • Research different marketing strategies. It’s not a bad idea to jump on the bandwagon if something is popular. However, you must realize that promotion/marketing doesn’t work the same for everyone. Tweak ways to make it fit your comfort level. Remember DON’T SPAM.
  • Respect readers’ opinions. If they took the time to write a book review, thank them. Don’t harass them if you didn’t like what they said. Learn from their constructive criticism and keep it moving. Reviews are for readers, not authors. You wouldn’t believe how some authors go crazy over certain wording of a book review. Not everyone will love your book. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
  • Last but not least, view the experience as a marathon, not a race. Have fun with it! Keep an open mind and you’ll be all right.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

It’s Early Christmas…Professional Editor Offering Reasonable Price: Reasonable Means Deeply Discounted

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’m always giving the writing forum Absolute Write it’s props. Well, yesterday I found a gem under the beta-reader section. It’s probably every writer’s dream to get their work critiqued by a professional editor, one who has worked for publishing houses, one who has a critical eye to help improve their manuscript to the publishing industry’s standards.

What stops some writers–the high cost.

Well…

Professional editor, P.N. Elrod, is offering to critique 2,500 words of a novel or short story for only $15 (or more depending on what you’re willing to donate). The kicker–you pay AFTER you receive your critique.

If you’re interested, click the link for more details: Critique Your Writing By P.N. Elrod.

I already know that I’m sending my short story Plenty of Fish because I’d like to publish it soon.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Marketing for Introverts

Tricia Drammeh has a very interesting post regarding helping introverts learn how to market their books. As you all probably know, a lot of authors are shy, so this post is very helpful.

All I Have to Say

If you’re a writer (published or unpublished), I’m sure you’ve heard about or experienced the difficulty of marketing a book. It’s hard to draw attention to your book when there are thousands of other books competing for readers’ attention. I’ve blogged about this topic before, so I know I’m not the only one who struggles to shine the spotlight on my book. There’s no single magical, free, easy way to sell books, but for those of you who have time, energy, and very thick skin, here is a list of marketing strategies that have been very effective for many authors:

  1. Blog Tours: You can pay a tour host to organize interviews, book spotlights, and reviews, or you can contact bloggers on your own. It is possible to organize your own blog tour, but it is very time consuming. Some bloggers have huge backlogs. Others will not respond. (Note: I’ve tried…

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How to Add a Simple Table of Contents in Kindle Books

Found an informative blog post for authors needing help adding a Table of Contents to their ebooks. It’s an easy step-by-step guide, including pictures.

Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t have a table of contents in my books, or at least I haven’t manually put one in. But, a fellow author got a notice from Amazon that some of you may have gotten:

Your book doesn’t have a Table of Contents. A table of contents provides readers with both easy navigation and improved visibility into the contents of the book.  Please see https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2BQILI6OJWLTC for help with creating and formatting a Table of Contents.

So, I thought this might be a good time to discuss HOW to make a table of contents using Word. (I assume other word processing programs are similar but I haven’t used them, so I don’t know.)

There are probably multiple ways to go about this, (for how to use headers, check out THIS POST)  but here is what I did:

1. Since my chapters don’t have names…

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The Plague of Independent Publishers

An insightful post about researching publishing companies before signing a contract. Make sure you do your homework instead of just being excited that someone accepted your work. Being poorly published is worse than not being published at all.

All I Have to Say

Today, we’re going to talk about the plague of independent publishers. There are more small presses than any of us could possibly count. They pop up seemingly overnight, publish ten or two-hundred books or so, and then vanish, often leaving bewildered authors to pick up the pieces of their publishing careers. Though there are vanity presses and scammers intent on defrauding authors, there are many small publishers who started their company with the very best of intentions.

I’d like to believe that most small presses set up shop with the intent to help authors and perhaps make a bit of money in the process. I’d like to hope these well-meaning entrepreneurs have a solid business plan, a proven marketing model, and good financial backing before they undertake such a venture. I’d like to hope the publishing company and their authors will thrive, eventually growing the business and becoming successful, respected…

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Rejection happens. Shannon A. Thompson’s blog has an encouraging post on how to deal with it. Like she states, “When our art is rejected, many feel completely defeated, and they never get out there again. This saddens me. This is how art dies.”

Shannon A Thompson

Quick Update: My author page is now on Facebook. Please support me by clicking here. You’ll get the latest updates, and my current status has a surprise that isn’t on my website yet! I’m REALLY excited, so check it out, and you’ll get an advantage on other readers when I offer an upcoming competition ;]

Rejection is everywhere: we break up, we get fired, we lose friends—and we survive them all—yet, when our art is rejected, many feel completely defeated, and they never get out there again. This saddens me. This is how art dies.

Rejection happens to everyone, and, if it hasn’t already, it will happen to you—but you cannot let criticism get you down.

In terms of the writing industry, many writers, professional or not, already know about the long-hated query letter. My favorite metaphor for writing one is the ballerina having to explain why she can…

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