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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Madelle's Self-Publishing Strategy

Madelle Morgan

Last year I decided to relaunch my writing career and self-publish. I had to make several decisions; i.e., what sub-genre to focus on, the length, the series setting, the target market, the distribution, the formats, branding, the marketing approach (including pricing), editor and cover artist selection, and on and on...

The publishing industry is evolving so quickly. What’s an author to do when the ground keeps shifting? What was good advice three months ago is contradicted by other authors’ recent experience. That being said, I found a few e-resources super helpful. The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing, by The Indie Voice, a collective of ten bestselling romance authors, was very informative. The e-book How We Made our First Million on Kindle by Bob Mayer and Jen Talty caught my eye, because who doesn’t want to make a lot of money?

After countless hours of reading and listening to many well-informed romance authors and publishing experts over several months, my decisions were informed by these pearls of advice, in no particular order of importance:
  • Series are hot.
  • Have three or four books in a series available right away. Don’t make readers wait too long for the next one.
  • The more product authors have out there, the better the sales and impact on distributor algorithms.
  • Plan for but don’t expect overnight success.
Amazon has invested heavily in audio books. It owns Audible.com, which in turn owns Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX.com).
  • Amazon’s WhisperSync for Voice makes an audio version easily available to readers who buy the e-book.
  • Audible.com prices audio books by length. Shorter is more affordable.
  • In 2012 ACX.com gave self-published authors the opportunity to create and publish audio books.
My strategy, you ask? I plan to self-publish a series of hot contemporary romance novellas set in a beautiful lake district. In 2014 I resolve to release three novellas back-to-back in e-book and print, and follow that with audio versions. I’ve completed the first, Sex and the Screenwriter, and have started to write Caught on Camera, with Director’s Pick on deck. 

I’ve mapped out several more in the series in blocks of three to facilitate boxed sets, and have enough books planned to keep me busy for five years.

This strategy assumes audio is going to be very popular as prices become more affordable.

Readers, how likely is it that you will take advantage of the opportunity to buy the audio version along with the e-book?

Self-published authors, are you planning to publish audio books?

Find Madelle at www.madellemorgan.com and on Goodreads.

15 comments:

Sue Gibson said...

I like your ideas and enthusiasm. Writers need business goals as well as writing goals. I completely agree with your suggestion of adding audio books into your plan. Unless things have changed in the new year, I was informed by Amazon that the audio book option was not available to Canadian authors just yet. I haven`t found anything in Canada that suits. If you have any updated info on the subject, I would love to hear about it.
Sue Gibson

Madelle Morgan said...

Hi Sue,
I'll check into that. Note: what's true now may not be true in a few months. Things are changing fast.
Madelle

Sue Gibson said...

Thanks.
Sue

Madelle Morgan said...

If you'd like to try an audiobook or see how narrators enhance a novel, here's a list of Top 10 romance audiobooks for 2013, complete with samples:

http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=11312

Sue Gibson said...

Great. I would like to check them out. Thanks again.
Sue

Sarah Raplee said...

As a reader, I would be more likely to buy an audiobook to listen to while on the treadmill or cleaning house or making a long trip than I would be to buy one because I was reading the ebook, at least at today's prices.

Sarah Raplee said...

As an author, audiobooks are definitely in my biz plan.

Lucy Carol said...

Madelle I think audiobooks are a wise decision. I have enjoyed reading an ebook till I fall asleep at night, then the next day on the treadmill the audiobook picks up where I left off in the ebook. Later, the ebook syncs up to where I left off in the audiobook! That's what I love about the whisper sync feature. The audiobook was only $1.99 because I purchased the ebook.

As an indie publisher I have plans to make the audiobook version of my first book and will later make others. I think this is a wonderful way to maximize the earning potential of each story we write. :)

Maggie Lynch said...

Audiobooks are definitely in my plans for this year.

Paty Jager said...

My first audiobook is being narrated right now. I'm excited and intrigued to see how it pans out for me and if ACX will pay another stipend to get the next book in the series made.

I just purchased a book and it had the whisper sync for $1.99 more so I bought and downloaded it to my kindle to see how it works to listen to it while I'm flying this week.

Judith Ashley said...

While I most likely will include audio books in my publishing plan right now my focus is getting the first 3 completed ms. published and the next 4 written.

I don't listen to audio books and when I did listen to workshops/books it was when I did more driving. I don't think I'd listen while doing housework or taking a walk. Too distracting...

I do like your thinking about publishing in threes - I've been trying to decide what is better - putting the remaining books in the series out as I finish them or holding them back and putting them out in a group like I'm doing this time.

Judith Ashley said...

Publishing is changing so fast we have a plethora of choices to make - at times they can be overwhelming. Thanks for sharing your plan! May sales flow to you!

Diana McCollum said...

In answer to your questions: I would not buy an audio book at this point. I use to listen to books when I had a commute, and I no longer have one. It is too distracting to listen while on the treadmill. I prefer to read on my Nook.
As a soon to be published author I will eventually have audio books available.

Margaret Tanner said...

Great post, very interesting. I hadn't really thought about Audio books, but now I will.
Thank you.

Cheers

Margaret

Madelle Morgan said...

Thanks for all the comments! I do know that some people are primarily auditory (like my husband) and actually prefer audio books, and others are visual (like me)and prefer reading.

However, I think visual people can enjoy audiobooks when they are doing some activity that does not require focused attention.

Judith, as for novellas in sets of three, I decided to do it this way so as to publish only one POD book containing three linked novellas (not 3 separate print books). That assumes each novella will be about 30,000 words. Of course, that means paying for an extra cover.