Today’s interview with with Tim Long who is a hybrid author (traditional and self publishing). He writes both action/horror and comedy. We talk about the benefits of being a hybrid author as well as taking part (and running) online self publishing events which have been a boon to him in terms of book sales.
Permuted Press – Publisher of some Tim’s work.
BookBlast.co – A site Tim used to advertise with.
Bit.ly – Allows you to see how many people have clicked on the advert you have posted somewhere.
KBoards – Yep, again, great place to hangout.
BookBub – Tim didn’t get in, but got shot down several times. Still a popular marketing channel (if you can get in…). Super expensive for free books ($1000+). The big player in self publishing marketing right now.
Self Publishing and Traditional Publishing
Tim believes there is a lot of strength in being a hybrid author. He knows that most people are not going to make a fortune self publishing and thinks that a publisher can bring a lot to the table. They give you a great edit, a professional cover and can afford more marketing that you can. They have also done translations of his work into German, done audiobooks without him having to do anything which are things he might not have pursued on his own because of the large time and money commitments required.
Tim started writing Z-Risen Outbreak as a way to promote some of his other work. It was a weekly serial he would post online for free and has now changed it into a full length book – the first in a series.
Tim was approached by an agent after he had a publishing deal in place. They managed to get him a slightly higher royalty rate, but overall he was no better off because they took 15% for themselves. The problem was that after a while they stopped being professional – not replying to emails, not doing anything with his manuscripts. Eventually he ditched them and the work they were sitting on back and self-published it himself.
Has found Facebook ads for his self publishing to be very ineffective, so has stopped using those. He did say that you can get your book in front of a lot of people right now if you pay for a boost to your post, but whether they convert is a different matter.
For Z-Risen he used some of the techniques that Darren Wearmouth told us about in episode 7. The value Tim got from that episode lead to him implementing some marketing that lead to him getting $1000 of sales in one week.
He priced the book at 99 cents for the first week, noting the special price in the description. He accepted the fact that he was going to get less of a royalty share but knew it would be worth it for pushing him higher up in the rankings.
He also had some advertising set up with BookBlast.co, but struggled to get into some other self publishing advertisers Darren mentioned. Tim perhaps put this down to the fact that many people have listened to Darren’s show and now those channels have become more popular and selective!
He also mentioned it to his social media following, but he found this to be largely ineffective, much like “shouting into the wind.”
He has a lead in the end of his first book to his site where there is the first few chapters from the second book.
He organized a event on Facebook bringing self publishing authors in his genre together for Q&A. He reached out to every author he knew in his genre, just trying to get as many as possible together for it. With people wanting to attend, he had some graphics made for the event. As part of the event all of the authors were discounting their books to 99cents for the day. Readers get an opportunity to talk to the authors and pick up the book at a bargain price.
When the day came they had nearly 800 guests. These came from the various self publishing authors promoting their event to their lists. He saw a big uptake in sales since that event and can’t be sure it’s from that, but it sure is a big coincidence if not.
Tim also attends real word events, like conventions, to get to hang out with authors and get the latest information. Tim has been amazed by the number of fans that he has gathered from conventions – very worthwhile for him.
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