I use StoryOrigin a lot. For a while, I used both SO and BookFunnel, but I found I preferred SO for a variety of reasons. It used to be free, and I was actually happy when it went to a paid service because even a very low cost of entry helps weed out the no talent hacks. Yes. I said it. (There are a great many folks who will load up newsletter swaps—as many as 70 of them per NL Swap—with really bad DIY covers and questionable content.)
Authors who use newsletter services like StoryOrigin, BookFunnel, Prolficworks, etc. are very familiar with “Freebie seekers.” They eventually get purged from our NewsLetter Lists… likewise with unscrupulous swappers who steal access to your list or repeatedly beg to swap their garbage books that they’ve invested $0 into in hopes that you’ll prominently feature that terrible cover to their audience even though your $600 pro cover (and $400 edit) will be at the bottom of a 30 book catalogue email on a NL list with a 2% open rate out of 212 subs (and one of those recorded opens was the author just testing the link).
You can see I have an ax to grind with NL swap partners who act like hacks. Even though SO is a paid service, it is still free, but with limited features, just like bookfunnel is. I could talk about why I think SO is superior, but I’ll leave that for another time.
However, I’ve run across a great many folks with great covers for books that have decent reviews and they still look like hacks. It’s not their fault (actually it is) but they might have never wrapped their head around how the process works—that ignorance leads them to miss out on swaps and inclusion with group promos so I thought I’d write a hand guide. Ignorance is easily cured so long as a person wishes it so. Sidenote: you may have gotten this link emailed directly to you if you tried to swap with me on SO or enter one of my group promos. Please pay attention to this article’s contents as the things discussed in it are the norm for both SO & BookFunnel. If I sent this to you, take it as an indication that potential swaps may happen further down the line so long as you start using the system correctly.
Without further ado, let’s discuss How not to look like a hack on StoryOrigin.
I stumbled upon this video while in the midst of writing my MilSF book with a kind of Star Trek/BSG vibe and I fully agree with this guy. Kudos to youtube for an excellent video suggestion. If you’re writing space battle sci-fi, you should watch this video and pay attention to what he talks about regarding stakes, movement, and knowing who’s in the battle.
Through writing newsletters, growing subscriber lists, and looking at data I discovered I’ve gone through multiple stages and seen many shady characters out there trying to build massive newsletter lists at unprecedented rates, but this game is about consistent, manageable growth while building relationships with actual, interested readers.
It is very possible to do this with some speed, but as you do so, beware of list leeches and newsletter stuffers. Below are three distinct stages I saw while growing a newsletter list with both Storyorigin and Bookfunnel.
There’s one simple rule authors have to follow in order to have complete pricing control over your book at Amazon. It is especially helpful to be aware of this rule for Children’s book authors, graphic novelists, and books with multimedia content (many nonfiction books) as it can affect launch and pricing strategies.
I recently bumped into this rule, even though I write novels, and here’s how I discovered the need to watch for this rule.
I am a member of several online groups that helps authors. One of those groups purposes revolves around cover design. There are a lot of DIY people in there… most of those people know the value of hiring professionals or seeking advanced skills and learning the real elements of what makes book covers sell.
Sometimes people insist on doing themselves and don’t understand why covers are perhaps the most important marketing piece for your book. I taught a workshop at a regional library just yesterday afternoon and my sternest warning was against doing a DIY cover. Here is some of my advice that I recently gave in a cover design group where I used an Easy Bake Oven analogy to explain what a subpar design really tells potential readers. (Also, I talk about selling Bible’s in a porn shop… I’m not surprised that so many people dislike me, lol.)
One thing is always good advice: get insights from those who have gone before us.
I mentioned yesterday that I do consultations for authors who have questions or want to get feedback/improve sales, clicks, marketability, etc. I’ve often found it helpful to get feedback… not always does it need to be mine, however. One of the most valuable things I’ve taken from author conferences is public reviews/manuscript critiques from industry pros of attendees’ works. I take the relevant info and apply it to my own works and have learned a lot.
My state of Writing posts have become pretty infrequent as of late. Many irons in the fire, plates spinning, etc. This blog is not abandoned, however, and I have been working on some new content between writing projects. one of them is a graphical layout of my marketing plan that is organized like a flowchart. I was hoping to put it together as an online course this year… but I’ve not quite put it all together, yet. That’ll happen with a huge writing load. I will have written something like 9 books in 2020 (thanks for the downtime, coronavirus.)
I’ve also done quite a bit of consulting with authors on how to improve their books and/or get their book into print or republish books.
Anytime Reviews, or http://www.anytimereviews.com is like a zombie plague for authors; it keeps resurfacing after its death. I’ve said it before, but you will never be cold-called/cold-contacted by a legitimate service or publishing agent/publisher unless you’ve sold a million books (and likely in a single title).
I was BCCed by somebody with the address firstname.lastname@example.org… That’s a suspicious start—not exactly the email address you’d expect from a legitimate book review company. A little internet research on the old google box brought me down the rabbit hole.
I Know, it’s been a while since I last blogged about anything writing related… I’ve been, well, writing. And learning a lot about marketing. My books are selling quite a bit better than ever online, which has been helpful due to the pandemic situation and the cancellation of all my in-person events (I estimate a $30,000 net loss from the shutdown.)
Anyway, I’ve still been pretty active and responding with questions on the blog and doing some consulting. I’ve also been working hard to grow my newsletter list to 4,000 subs and monetize it. Currently in the middle of FOUR books! A nonfiction one, two more books in my new high fantasy series (the Esfah Sagas) though one of those is co-written, and another one that is a rough outline.
Just thought I’d pop in because I do have a new blog post coming out this week!