It's a New Year. The gamer in me appreciates that it's going to be a good year because it's 2020. I'm not going to explain the joke, sorry.
Since launching Dragon's Voice in November, I've been compiling a list of things I wish I had known before publishing. These are the little things that some people may have told me and I forgot, or no one said and I didn't know to ask. So, here are "More Things we Learned" It's a continuation of the "Things we learned today" Blog from October 2019. Read that one HERE first, then come back.
Done? Ok, here's the new stuff.
1. Make sure your word document has "keep lines together" UNCLICKED on the paragraph settings. This means the program will NOT bump your paragraph to the next page to keep it together. That way you won't end up with a huge dead space at the end of the page when the paragraph falls across it. It DOES mean you'll have widows and orphans (a single word or sentence on a page followed by a break like a chapter). Now you have to find those and fix them.
If you fail to do this, correcting it later will mean you will suddenly SHORTEN your book and may have to redo your cover (because the spine is now a different thickness).
2. Don't put a subtitle in Amazon for the paperback. The ebook from Draft2Digital doesn't do subtitles, and now your two items don't match by way of description. No, you can't edit the paperback after it's up. You could edit the ebook, but D2D doesn't do subtitles, so you are stuck. Amazon won't help you by matching them.
I ended up removing Amazon from D2D's distribution and loading the doggone thing myself. It worked, but defeats a bit of the purpose! On the plus side, the ebooks count towards the Amazon total now, and since they payout when I hit a threshold, it may help me reach that threshold sooner and actually get paid. So, maybe a good thing?
3. Make a file for your links. Yes, D2D has a new "universal link" feature, but you'll still want the paperback one, and your website, and your event link and whatever else. If you have a single file with it on, it's easy to click and connect the icons to the page you want. But some links are too long… so I learned about Bitly. It shortens links for you.
4. Sell author copies to sell to family and friends, those who would buy MY book but not really likely to buy a fantasy novel. This means you will not confuse the algorithms online. Apparently, Amazon and such are using your sales to categorize your book (so they know who to show it to in the "you may be interested in" parts. If all my friends buy it, but they are not fantasy readers, then it doesn't show it to the right people.
The downside to this is that these sales do not count towards my rankings or online presence. Pros and cons to that one.
5. I sold 25 books easily. I should have brought in more.
6. Reviews. Please, if you remember only one thing from this, let it be; "support your author with reviews." Online reviews drive sales. They let people know the new book by an unknown person is legitimate. If you have thirty seconds, go write a review. Even if it's not for me, write one for another author you love. It doesn't matter as much to the multi-million sales top-seller with thousands already (but they would probably like to hear from you!), but it is a HUGE thing to an author just starting. You can write reviews on websites, Goodreads, Amazon and more.
I didn't do a good job of setting up reviews. I have to play catch-up now. It's hard to have reviews without having readers. I should have requested reviews from early readers (eARC), but that's a work in progress now.
There you go! Hopefully, someone can learn from my oversights and have a smoother publishing run!
Overall, I was floored by how well Dragon's Voice did. I called the book my "Training wheels book" because I knew it would be a bit wobbly, a stepping stone along the path to publications, but it was smoother and better received than I had ever expected.
If I did my job right, the people who enjoyed Dragon's Voice will be excited to know Dragon's Talon (following Sair's descendant through starting a war) is aiming to be released in May 2020. It'll be going to Beta Readers no later than mid-January.
Happy reading and Happy New Year!
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.