Episode # 33 – Hybrid Deals and Online Self Publishing Events with Tim Long

In Communities, Launching, Marketing, Networking by Simon Whistler11 Comments

Tim Long cover

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.

Links:

Z-Risen Outbreak

Amazon Profile

Tim’s Website

Facebook page

Mentions:

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.

Show notes:

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.

Serials

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.

Agent

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.

Marketing

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.

Event

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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Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Simon WhistlerEpisode # 33 – Hybrid Deals and Online Self Publishing Events with Tim Long
  • R.M. Prioleau

    Another great podcast! Thank you for doing this interview! And it’s nice to see another author writing about necromancers! 😀
    That was crazy that Tim’s publisher pretty much sat on his book for so long after he’d written it. I guess it’s one of the frustrating things about going traditional. I would love to be able to straddle both sides of the fence and dabble in both indie and traditional publishing.

    • SimonRSP

      I’ve talked to a few authors lately who are either hybrid or looking to go that direction! Eggs in many baskets and all that :).

    • Timothy W. Long

      Just a quick clarification. It was my agent that sat on the manuscript. 6 months was kind. They had it for over 9 months before I gave up and took it back. It was 6 months without a single call or email with the agency despite many many attempts to reach them.

      • SimonRSP

        Thanks Tim. I just got an email from a listener (thanks Kirk!) asking about the “Vice” Facebook page you mentioned (the page that was going everything right). I wasn’t sure which page this was, do you have a link? Thanks!

  • Nicola Lane

    I have a slight correction for you on the costs of Bookbub ads:

    The most expensive ads are for mysteries (that is because their mailing list for mysteries has nearly 900,000 subscribers) the prices depend on what you sale price is so for mysteries they charge:

    Free – $290
    Less than $1 – $580
    $1 – $2 – $870
    More than $2 – $1,450

    So you are not spending $1,000 advertising a free book.

    • SimonRSP

      Wow, I did mean to imply that $1000 was the high side of things, sorry for the confusion there :). Interesting to see on the site the estimated downloads for each type of ad! https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing

  • Victoria Danann

    THANK YOU, Tim. I have organized this fabulous event and just had to let you know that I got the idea here. Every one of these authors has a significant following to bring to the table and I’m expecting great things.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/513710218748485/

    • SimonRSP

      Haha, Tim is responsible for spawning so many Facebook events. I just attended one by future guest Bryan Cohen last Friday! Yours might be a little late (11pm here) for me to attend but I’ll try to drop by 🙂

      • Victoria Danann

        Just wanted to let Tim know that his sphere of influence grew immeasurably as a result of his interview on RSP. Applying one of the fundamental tenets of marketing – that clustered interest businesses fare better – to book marketing? Brilliant!

        Felicity Heaton, one of the authors we were THRILLED to get, is in London, but I guess that’s a couple of hours earlier. Will let you know the result, but I’m expected this to be a HUGE success.

        • SimonRSP

          It’s in my calendar :).

        • Timothy W. Long

          Wow. This is incredible. So sorry I didn’t stop in earlier to catch this post. Thank you very much, @victoriadanann:disqus.