Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tips: Top 10 Common Book Mistakes

Between the submissions we receive here at Indies Unlimited and the ones I receive for consideration for the Hurricane Sandy Library Recovery project, I’ve vetted close to 200 books in the past two weeks. Yes, my eyes are tired, and there’s a slight chance I may be just a teeny tiny bit cranky.

I’m noticing a lot of common errors while reviewing the previews of these books, which I’m going to list below. People complain (no, I don’t know which people, just people, all right?) that indie and self-published books don’t meet the same level of quality as traditionally published books. I don’t believe that can be made as a blanket statement. What I will tell you, however, is that these errors are DEAD giveaways that a book is a not-so-high-quality self-published product. Isn’t the goal ultimately that someone can pick up an indie book and a traditionally published book and not be able to tell the difference? Well, let’s do away with the issues below and we’ll be well on our way.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Advice to a First-time Indie Author

How tight does it need to be?
Last week I received an email – a cry for help – from a new Indie Author. He had a number of questions about how he should proceed with his manuscript. I told him he came to the right place – because, as you know – I’ve been doing this for a REALLY long time. Here are his questions, and my responses.

The only person other than me who’s read my very first book is my Mommy. I’m a little uncertain of my skills – should I get someone outside of my family to reassure me that the book is good BEFORE I publish it?

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Author Tools: Help a Reporter (HARO)

Help A Reporter (HARO) is a handy tool for authors in two ways. HARO can help you find a source to interview when researching a book, and it can provide you with publicity and other related opportunities that you couldn’t have found on your own.
HARO Email
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Signing up for HARO is free. Just go to their home page and click “sign up today.” Yes, HARO does now offer pay packages, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page – you will see the Basic page is still available for free. What does this mean? Well, three times a day you will receive a HARO email with a list of stories being worked on by reporters who need sources to interview. Not all of these are newspaper reporters – they are bloggers, authors, television shows, magazines and more. The stories are organized according to category, and if you see one that interests you, just click on it and it will bring you to the details further down in the email. The key to getting reporters interested in your “pitch” is to make sure you respond immediately. These emails go out to thousands of people, and whoever replies first is going to get their attention. Be concise with your pitch and be quick.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tutorial: Building Your Video Empire

Mr. Pish with Jessica Biles of Busy Bee Videography
Now, now, Indies Unlimited is “Safe for Work.” Goodness no, I’m not talking about secret sex tapes or video from the hidden camera in the ladies’ locker room. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

I do want to talk about book trailer videos. Those are for your book. Let’s stay on topic here, shall we?

Why have a video trailer? Really, now – a video trailer is like a commercial for your book. It’s a multimedia bubble-gum for the eyes attempt at getting someone interested enough to purchase your book. Some potential customers like static magazine ads, some like flash, color and motion. Magazine ads cost money. Making your own video trailer costs you only time. We’ve had posts here on IU explaining how to make a trailer on and Animoto. Take the time to read those. Animoto is an amazing tool and has a much shorter learning curve than xtranormal. I’ve made trailers using both and in my humble opinion, Animoto’s where it’s at. Read the tutorial. Trust me.

So, now you’ve made your video trailer. Congratulations! I’m sorry, what? What do you do with it now? That all depends on how ambitious you are. Here are my recommendations.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Blog Nobody Wanted to Publish (Except Indies Unlimited)

Today, Indies Unlimited ran an article by best-selling author Martin Crosbie that made me want to jump up and shout "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Martin takes on the fear-mongers and doesn't pull any punches. The only gatekeeper now - is fear. EVERY author should read this.