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How to Find Your First 10,000 Readers via @jfbooks The Book Designer #h2e

Editor’s note: This post first appeared in a slightly different form here in January, 2016. However, its lessons are still as valid as they were last year, and Nick has recently opened enrollment for his groundbreaking course, so I thought it was worth repeating for authors today.

One of the reasons it’s so exciting to see new people coming into the indie publishing field is that they are constantly re-imagining the processes and strategies we’ve been using in new and useful ways.

Nick Stephenson is one of the most exciting authors to “crack the code” on how to build your readership, often quite quickly. There’s simply nothing that will help you reach your publishing goals better than a robust author platform, and that requires people—lots of them.

Nick’s system is so solid, and has worked wonders for so many authors, I’ve partnered with him to bring his course to my readers. He has opened enrollment for the course and accompanied it with some bonus materials that will be very helpful to you going forward.

I invite you to find out more about this opportunity while it’s available: Find Your First 10,000 Readers.

I asked Nick to tell us a bit about how he put his system together, and here’s his report.

By Nick Stephenson

A few years ago I launched my first book. A novel.

I had been holding onto the book for a while. I had decided it wasn’t good enough. Then I decided it was.

Then I re-wrote it.

I uploaded everything to Amazon’s KDP dashboard and sat back, mouse hovering over the “publish” button.

I waited 48 hours to click it.

During that 48 hours, I decided I didn’t want to find out what it felt like to have a failed book. A book I had spent close to a year writing, re-writing, and obsessing over.

Then I decided I didn’t want to find out what it felt like to have a successful book, either. I wasn’t used to people paying attention.

At the 47th hour, I realized I had found myself at a roadblock. I was scared of failure, but I was also scared of success.

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Please Do Not Support My Patreon @WriterUnboxed #h2e

Note: Before I post this, OMG! I was laughing hilariously by the end of the article and I just wish I could’ve mustered up $1000 a month for this guys Patreon.


Please Do Not Support My Patreon

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.

Have you heard of Patreon? It’s a company that empowers crowd-sourced patronage of the arts, including but not limited to authors. By pledging monthly support at one of various patronage tiers, each with its own level of perks and rewards, you’re able to support your favorite writers directly. I have recently started my own, and it is my fondest wish that your patronage does not include me.

You may know me as famous author Bill Ferris. But I am also a single dad with a full-time job and not very much time to write. By supporting my Patreon, you’re just one more person for whom I must drop what I’m doing and cobble together your monthly rewards, which are terrible. Worse, this busywork distracts me from my main writing projects, to say nothing of spending time with my family or doing my mentally taxing day job.

However, it has come to my attention that you don’t like me, or are at the very least indifferent to my suffering. You are willing to prey upon my greed and bottomless need for praise and validation in exchange for a few lousy entertainments once per month, to diminishing returns. So be it. Behold, the instruments of my destruction. Do your worst, patrons.

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How to Choose and Set Up a Pen Name via @janefriedman #h2e

choosing a pen name

Photo credit: Thomas Rousing Photography via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Today’s guest post is by attorney Helen Sedwick (@HelenSedwick) and is adapted from her newest edition of Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook.

Choosing a pseudonym can be as daunting as naming a character, especially since the character is you. The simplest pen name would be a variation of your own name, such as a middle name, nickname, or initials. Many authors change only their last name so they don’t have to remember what first name to use at conferences. Once you decide on a list of possibilities, do the following.

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Anthologies: Joining With Others In Marketing To The Masses #DigitalBookWorld #h2e

A lot of people that ask me how I got started marketing my books. There are so many options out there for marketing your books, and as you probably know, some are effective, and some… not so much. I’ll tell you about the number one way I marketed my books early on when I didn’t have a list or a fan base.

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Sell More Books with a Kickass @Amazon Book Page #AuthorMarketingExperts #h2e

People often ask me what Amazon Optimization entails and I tell them that when I do it for an author, I look at things like their keywords, their categories but also, I look at the real estate that Amazon has given each book because in 90% of the optimizations I do, their Amazon book page isn’t being used to its full extent.

Optimizing your Amazon book page isn’t just about the things you can’t see, like keywords – but also about the things you can see. A book description, and beefing it up, is an obvious fix but what about promoting your other books? Or a giveaway you’re doing? Or promoting your social media? All of these things are possible and all of them are within the guidelines of Amazon’s Terms of Service. So let’s take a look at what some creative authors are doing with their book page and discuss how you might incorporate some of these ideas into your own Amazon real estate!

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Give Away Books to Attract Bulk Orders, But Have a Plan #PublicityHound #h2e

When I speak at author conferences, I usually end up with an armload of books I know I won’t read but will donate to Goodwill.

Authors foist them on me, even after I decline politely, tell them I have little time to read and that if I did read, it would be a magazine or a mystery novel.

Still, they think that giving away copies of their books—even to people like me who aren’t interested —will somehow make them sell more.

That’s why I was pleased when client Kathleen Watson, who published her book “Grammar for People Who Hate Rules,” bought a Rent My Brain hour just before she launched. She sought my advice on a variety of book marketing ideas, including whether she should give away a lot books.

Proceed with caution, I told her, or before you know it, it will be time for another print run and you’ll have little to show for your efforts.

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Staging a Book Blitz @WriterUnboxed #h2e

When I’m in the middle of the book, there nearly always comes a time when I have to sit myself down and go all the way in—just write and write and write for 5 days straight, shutting out all outside distractions.  I’m there now.  I know a lot of what needs to happen, but there is a lot going on and I need to just go over into that world and let the story roll out. I need to do this without the distractions of my ordinary life, social media, or even my beloved partner.

I need to go all in.

My name for a week like this is a book blitz. When I posted on Facebook that I was going to do one this week, writer Lexi Ryan said she was going to do Camp Book, same idea, showing up for the book and letting other things go for the week. Loreth Anne White also said she had to do this, and she’d join in. She’s calling hers Book Boot Camp.

Whatever you call it, the idea is the same: for a period of a week, the book comes first, all day long. No appointments, no external commitments, just writing. Lexi is setting a time goal. I like a word count goal, something that’s much higher than I would ever do in an average day, in this case double my usual 2500 words per day, or 5000 words.

Some writers go for the full seven days, but you might, like me, find that too intimidating or exhausting. I go for five days, Monday through Friday, with the happy reward of getting the weekend off when I meet my goal.

The trick to making this work is to figure out what gets in your way, and then set yourself up for success. Some things to consider are family obligations, appointments that might break your concentration, and that old favorite, the Internet.

But the main stumbling block many of us face is simply not giving the time to writing that we give to other things. Drafting a novel is challenging work, and it requires a huge amount of mental and emotional focus. It’s exhausting to live all those lives, think the thoughts of all those people, arrange their tables and drive with them to their assignations and make love with them. A couple of hours is usually about all most of us can manage if we want to have any energy or emotion left for our real lives.

A blitz week reverses that equation. You give the book world all the mental and emotional energy, the focused attention, the physical showing up that your ordinarily save for your actual life. You let the housework and other mundane matters of real life go.

In a way, it’s a bit like NaNoWriMo, but a book blitz week is much more concentrated and demanding. It also only lasts a week, which is a lot more manageable. How do you go about setting such a week up for yourself? A few tips:

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How Indie Presses and Authors Can Collaborate on Marketing Campaigns via @BookBub #h2e

At Tule, our main goal is to publish fantastic stories by the best writers. We want to delight our readers and satisfy our authors’ desire for creativity, freedom, and commercial success.

By working collaboratively with our authors on marketing campaigns, we’ve been able to successfully drive buzz and increase sales for their books. Here are a few ways authors and independent publishers can work together, along with example book marketing campaigns that we’ve run in collaboration with our authors.

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An Introduction to Self-Publishing Fiction via @Kristen_Kieffer

Do you want to build a writing career? Self-publishing is an awesome option. But how does self-publishing work? Come on over to the blog for an overview!

Hey, writer! Have you considered self-publishing your work?

Welcome to the 4th installment in our publishing series! As I mentioned in our introductory article, there are many reasons why a writer may choose to publish. But if you’re hoping to build a career from your writing, you’ve come to the right place!

When it comes to building a writing career, self-publishing is just as valid a publishing route as going the way of agents, book deals, and publishing houses.

Despite the stigma, many authors have found success in building personal self-publishing empires, including fellow writing bloggers K.M. Weiland and Joanna Penn, as well as authors like Hugh Howey, H.M. Ward, Amanda Hocking, and James Redfield.

So how can writers use self-publishing to earn a full-time living? Let’s break down an overview of this topic today!

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As you have probably noticed, I have switched my blog commenting system from native Squarespace to Disqus. And you have also probably noticed that if you hang out on my site for a while, a popup will tell you not to kill me for a popup but instead to subscribe to my fabulous newsletter. This is all part of what I told you I’d do: focus on selling my books. You see, this May 15th it’s been 5 years since I started writing full-time, and though I soared at first (there was lots of interest in my first trilogy, even from agents), I then painfully crashed into the gulch of despair of not-making-money-as-an-author. For a while I waited for something miraculous to happen, as in, somehow magically Rosehead would get on all bestsellers lists and I wouldn’t have to do squat. Well, no miracle happened, and eventually I had to collect myself back together, bone by bone, and climb out (the perfect crisis of the Hero’s Journey, by the way). And now I’m on my way back up. I’m not up yet, but I’m getting there. Because my plan is to:


To do this I have dusted off my rusty start-up brains, and lo and behold, even though I’ve been only flexing my marketing and selling muscles for two weeks, my numbers are climbing! In the last 4 days, since I put up a popup, I got 14 new subscribers to my newsletter at 12% conversion rate, which is at the top bracket of the industry standard (2-12%). Well then. Let’s see what happens when I get my entire system running. And that is:

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