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Where realism and idealism meet Tony Brasunas, author of Double Happiness

7 Things To Do if You Publish Your Book Independently

If you want to publish a beautiful and popular book using the powerful publishing tools available to authors today, here are seven things you need to do to succeed.

(This is Part III of an Indie Pub Trilogy.  Part I is an overview of the pros and cons of independent and traditional publishing. Part II recounts my personal journey to publishing independently rather than via a literary agent.)

7-things-to-do-if-you-publish-independently
  1. Write a great book. First, and most importantly, before we talk about anything else, you need to write absolutely the best book you can. Pour your talent and your time into it. Stop reading this article, and go write your tour de force. Right now.Or right after reading this article. You do need to know a few more things.

    The truth is, despite any cynicism you might hear on the interwebs about uneducated readers, dwindling attention spans, or a glut of writers, this is a fabulous time to be a good writer. Both readership and book sales per reader are growing and will continue to grow. Good writing will rise above mediocre writing every time, and exquisite prose that sings like poetry will always rise to the top. Fabulous writing will also make everything about promoting your voice, getting your word out, and selling your book infinitely easier.

    Read, write, revise, repeat. It is the way, it will always be the way. We humans have been telling each other stories at least since there was fire. Storytelling is here to stay. Feel free to get really good at it.

  2. Promote now. That said, start promotion today. Many people told me this, but still I sort of dabbled and waited until I felt done with my book. I finally did start this blog and write occasional articles, but I could’ve and should’ve been doing a lot more via social media and via a newsletter.You don’t have to do everything; don’t get overwhelmed and then never start. See #6, “Focus on you,” below.

    But do something to promote your voice or your writing today, and keep it up. Then do something else. Here are some ideas: (more…)

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Posted in Independent Publishing | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 9:09 am on October 25, 2015

My Long Sweet Journey into Print
 (Part II)

After a long journey during which I considered many options, and not just the main two options we’re discussing here, I realized something: It was going to be hard. It was going to be a lot of work. And I was at a fork in the road.

(This is Part II of my Indie Publishing Trilogy of posts. See Part I  for the pros and cons of independent and traditional publishing. This post covers how I made my choice. Part III lists Seven Things You Need to Do if You Publish Your Book Independently.)

I knew it would be a lot of work either way I went — whether I sold the manuscript to a publishing house, or published my book independently. I was intimidated, but I was optimistic and determined as well. I decided, first, that while writing Double Happiness — during the years of rewrites and revisions — I would also approach literary agents in the hope of landing a publishing deal.

My Long Sweet Journey into Print

I was right. It was a lot of work. I ended up spending almost as much time writing query letters, synopses, proposals, and chapter summaries as I did revising the book. It turns out, you have to know a lot about the industry just to write a decent cover letter.

For all of my work, I did receive significant interest, and many agencies requested partials of my manuscript. Some agencies showed enthusiasm and requested the whole manuscript. Still, all eventually led to rejections.

After nearly a decade of work, as I was completing the final, final revision of Double Happiness, I leapt into exploring the independent route.

What I found was exhilarating and daunting. I still had so much to learn. But I was thrilled and, armed with a manuscript I knew was great, I felt ready to do it. I was ready to publish my book myself.

A Strange Coincidence

Coincidentally, just as I decided to go indie, I was approached by several literary agents who showed real interest. Two agencies went all the way and offered to sign me. It was mystifying. Did they want me now only because I wasn’t seeking them? Had my manuscript improved so much? Were they paying attention to me because I had started blogging?

I had my theories, but I really wasn’t sure. (more…)

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Posted in Double Happiness | Independent Publishing | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 1:50 pm on July 28, 2015

Independent Publishing vs. Getting a Traditional Literary Agent
 (Part I)

Are you a writer interested in publishing your first book, your labor of love, your masterpiece, your tour de force? Or are you perhaps a writer who has published with a small or large private press and is curious now about independent publishing?

What once was called “self-publishing” with a dismissive sniff is now known as Independent Publishing and accounts for a rapidly growing share of books published and sold worldwide. There also certainly remain many advantages to getting a literary agent and selling a manuscript to a large corporate publishing house.

Independent Publishing vs Getting a Literary AgentThere’s a lot to explore on this topic. For the sake of brevity, I’m splitting this post into three parts, a “Trilogy of Posts,” if you will. In this first post, I will outline the advantages both of independent publishing and of going the traditional literary-agent route.

Let me know in the comments what I’ve missed.

(Update: I’ve now added Part II of this trilogy of posts, in which I explain which route I chose, and how it’s worked out. Update: And now Part III is done too: It lists Seven Things You Need To Do If You Publish Your Book Independently.)

 

Advantages of Independent Publishing

This is the new paradigm, the way to “own your content” immediately and forever. We can boil down the advantages of going indie to these three primary benefits: creative control, profit, and speed.

With creative control, you get to create the book you’ve envisioned, the masterpiece that inspired you from the start. No months or years of rejection from gatekeeper agents and condescending editors; no crucial paragraphs, pages, or chapters inexplicably removed by a squeamish or distracted junior editor in a shrinking editorial department; no changes to the book’s cover ordered at the last minute by a clueless faraway advertising department who doesn’t understand your book. You have the creative vision, you have the creative power, you have the creative control.

The profits you can potentially receive as an independent author outstrip what can be made under a traditional publishing contract. (more…)

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Posted in Double Happiness | Independent Publishing | Writing
by Tony Brasunas at 12:19 pm on June 30, 2015

Aiming at Amazon

Do you want to know something strange about Amazon.com?

Yes, I did too, since most of my book sales are happening there.

The biggest driver of sales at Amazon isn’t in fact advertising or rankings. It might come as a surprise to you, even if you shop frequently at the online megastore, but the truth is that the biggest driver of sales at Amazon is: Customer Reviews.

I won’t get into what I’ve learned about the powerful ways in which herd mentality still dictates a lot of what we humans deem to be “appropriate,” see as “exciting,” and judge to be “safe.” Suffice it to say, Amazon’s underlying product-display algorithms utilize Customer Reviews, both the quantity and the quality of the reviews. Thus Customer Reviews dictate how often people discover Double Happiness.

I have eleven reviews right now, all good, and I’m very grateful for them. I would love to increase the reviews.

Can you help more people discover Double Happiness? If you’ve finished the book, or read far enough to feel comfortable writing a review, please write a review! It will be extremely helpful.

How to Write an Amazon Review

If you have already written Amazon reviews, go here, godspeed, and my gratitude: www.DoubleHappy.be/review

If you haven’t written an Amazon review before, I’m happy to help you learn this new skill. Think of it like voting; you can write reviews every day of the year and materially affect the success or failure of books, ideas, and products. Here are two ways to write your first review:

Method A: You Like to Write and Type

1. Go here: www.DoubleHappy.be/review

2. If you see a log-in screen, log in with your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an Amazon account, create one. It’s easy and free).

3. You should see the ‘Review Your Purchases’ page. You don’t have to have bought Double Happiness at Amazon to write a review, but it does give your review slightly more weight if you have.

4. Click the number of stars you would like to rate Double Happiness.

5. In the text box write 3-4 sentences, like a short email. Or write more if you feel like it. Pick one or two of these questions to guide you:

  • What did you think of the story?
  • Was it exciting? Thought-provoking? Adventurous? Romantic? Inspirational?
  • Did it provoke emotions?
  • Did you care about the main character?
  • Did you like the writing style?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?

6. That’s it! Press publish.

7. Accept my gratitude and know you’ve helped more people find Double Happiness. I’ll also dedicate a facebook post or tweet to you!

Method B: You Like to Talk and Listen

1. Let’s chat. You’ll dictate, and I’ll type out your words for you!

2. Choose your favorite method of communication and contact me:

3. We’ll say hello.

4. I’ll ask you 2-5 questions, depending on how much time you have.

5. I have a thick skin and can take the bad with the good. Don’t worry about it. Tell me the truth.

6. I’ll take down your answers and then email you your responses and instructions to log in to amazon.

7. You can edit what I’ve written and sent to you, to put the review in your voice of course.

8. That’s it! Press publish.

9. Accept my gratitude and know you’ve helped more people find Double Happiness. I’ll also dedicate a facebook post or tweet to you!

Voila! So grateful for your help.

In Other News: The Fabulous Book Tour

In other news, the book tour has been a whirlwind of inspiration and connection, a sweet ride of unexpected highs and lows. In my next post, I’ll tell you all about what it’s really like to be on a book tour.

Best wishes, and may your journey always be fruitful,
Tony

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Posted in Book Tour | Double Happiness | Independent Publishing
by Tony Brasunas at 10:25 pm on May 11, 2014