Indie Author Weekly Update – September 28, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - September 28, 2018

Thank you for checking out my new Indie Author Weekly Update. There were so many posts this past week that it’s difficult to select one or two that were my favorites. But if I’m pushed, and if you only have time for one post to read, then don’t miss Anne R. Allen’s phenomenal post on how to self-publish successfully. Her advice is priceless.

Well, fall is officially here, which means that we are in my favorite season. Who doesn’t love seeing leaves turn color or feeling the chill in the air first thing in the morning?

Want to Self-Publish Fiction Successfully? Follow These 9 Tips by Anne R. Allen: “Back when the new-fangled Kindle was flying off the cybershelves and Amazon had no imprints of its own, indie authors were Amazon’s darlings. That’s no longer the case, so selling self-published books is more difficult than it was. But “more difficult” doesn’t mean impossible. Plenty of indie novelists are starting out right now who will make the bestseller lists.  Some will make considerably more money than their traditionally-published counterparts.”

Pre-Publication Marketing: A Van Tour to Bookstores by Jane Friedman: “In November, Weather Woman by Cai Emmons will release from Red Hen Press. To spread the word this summer, Cai drove “the Weather Woman van” to independent bookstores in the Western United States, distributing advance reader copies and chatting with booksellers.”

How Authors’ Openness on Social Media Makes Reading Better from Book Riot: “There’s a lot that’s toxic about social media, for authors, fans, and reviewers alike. But one thing that’s really rewarding for readers and aspiring writers is the transparency that many published authors have brought to Twitter and Instagram about the writing and publishing process, in all its good, bad, and in-between.”

How to Market Your Books with a Specialist Blog  from Alliance of Independent Authors: “It’s received wisdom that every indie author should have a website as the central and authoritative source of information about their books and their writing lives – but how does an unknown author attract potential readers to that website? British crime writer B L (Barry) Faulkner shares his lateral thinking solution that has helped him raise the profile of his books a different way: via a specialist blog about a subject that will appeal to potential readers, including those who have never heard of him.”

6 Ways Video Blogging Can Save Your Author Promotion by Penny Sansevieri: “If saving time isn’t a sweet enough payoff, here are a few more benefits to adding video blogging to your author promotion.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – September 2018 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Amy Collins: “I recently met with a Chicago-area author for breakfast who was concerned that she was doing something wrong. This author had written a terrific book, designed the cover properly, promoted the book heavily, placed ads on Amazon, got reviews and consistently worked to sell her book to stores, libraries, online and to organizations. So what was the problem?”

How To Put Together An Indie Author Street Team from Writer’s Edit: “There’s a lot for indie authors to do when it comes to book promotion and marketing. In fact, there’s so much to do that it can often get a little overwhelming. But while being an indie author is largely a solo pursuit, you don’t have to tackle everything entirely on your own! Enter: the indie author street team.”

Quote of the Week

indie author

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99! But the sale price won’t last forever so get your copy now! 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Online Book Marketing Solutions for Writers

Meet Rebecca Vnuk of IndiePicks Magazine

Rebecca Vnuk


Rebecca VnukToday’s blog post is an interview with Rebecca Vnuk, Editor in Chief of
IndiePicks Magazine. Rebecca was most recently the Editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach with Booklist Publications and has an MLIS from Dominican University. Before her editing career, Rebecca worked for a decade as a public librarian, in a variety of positions from Readers’ Advisor to adult services management. She is the author of three reference books on the topic of Women’s Fiction, as well as a best-selling book on weeding library collections.

Please explain why IndiePicks was formed and what it hopes to accomplish.

Our publisher, Naomi Blackburn, is a huge fan of indie authors. She noticed that the review magazines she’d look at in her local library rarely mentioned indies and never mentioned any self-pubbed authors, so she decided she wanted to create a review magazine that would.

Do you see IndiePicks as filling a void in the industry?

Yes–it’s hard enough for librarians and readers to keep up with what the “Big Five” are putting out there, and many times, libraries won’t/can’t order books without a professional review.

Which categories or genres does IndiePicks consider? Are there genres that IndiePicks won’t consider?

Right now, we have started with ten reviewers who cover General Fiction, General Nonfiction, YA, Children’s, Romance, Horror, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers. We hope to grow in the new year to separate out even more fiction and non-fiction categories. We’ll consider any book that’s well-written!

What is meant by the statement that “IndiePicks is a recommended-only resource”?

Some review sources do offer negative reviews, but we’d prefer to use our space to promote only books that our review team would recommend to readers or purchase for their own library collections.

Why don’t libraries include independently-published books? Or, do some libraries carry these books that you know of? Is there a process for considering them?

Some do, many do not. There are a lot of factors at play, from whether or not they are getting requests for these books to whether or not they are seeing reviews for them (can’t buy them if you don’t know about them!). That’s where we’d like to think we come in. Several of our reviewers are actively adding indie books to their public library collections, and that’s part of the reason they’ve been selected to review for us!

Why do you think some libraries are hesitant to include independently published books?

I would wager that it’s mostly because they don’t know enough about them. If they aren’t getting professional reviews, then librarians don’t know if they are any good or not. We are in tough times right now for most library budgets, and many librarians simply aren’t comfortable spending precious dollars on unproven works or unknown authors. It’s a difficult spot to be in.

What is your vision as editor for IndiePicks Magazine?

I hope that we continue to grow and add more reviewers, which equals more books that we can review each month! I also would love to see us branch out into a one-stop shop for indies. Who knows? Webinars? Lists? All kinds of opportunities await.

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Platform Building & Media Relations for Indie Authors

Chris Well recently joined me on a Conversations with Frances broadcast. Hear what he had to say about media relations and platform building for indie authors.


Chris started young in the media; by college he was writing for national magazines. Later, he worked in radio and worked as an editor with a magazine. Over the years, he has accumulated 25 years in the media working with a number of brands. This is what he had to say:

The right email to the right reporter will get you coverage. That said, any author can find media coverage.

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How to Sell More Books with Less Social Media with Chris Syme


Last week, Chris Syme of CKSyme Media Group was my guest on Conversations with Frances. The hour-long webinar was wide-ranging but mostly focused on Chris’s belief that social media needn’t be time consuming as long as you have goal-focused strategies.

Here are a few notes from the webinar. Be sure to watch the video to hear all of Chris’s advice and suggestions.


The best ways to use social media to sell books: Use social media wisely. Social media is just another tool; a community-based tool that has revolutionized everything. It is a powerful tool for both sales and engagement. It’s the only tool that does that.

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Protecting Your Rights and Your Wallet with Helen Sedwick

In this hour-long webinar, attorney and author Helen Sedwick reviews a wide range of issues from intellectual property, copyright issues, publishers to be wary of, and fraudulent entities wanting complete control over your book and its film rights.

Here are a few notes from Helen’s presentation:

  • Intellectual property is a product of the mind.
  • You can protect intellectual property just like you can protect your car or home.
  • There are people and companies who will try to take control of your intellectual property from you.
  • Some of the worst entities are contests where the prize is the content sponsors get the right to publish your book, merchandizing rights, film rights, etc.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – June 16, 2017

ndie Author Weekly Update

In this week’s Indie Author Update, bloggers write about book launches, legal myths, how to write remarkable content, and how to pitch your book too media. Great topics, right?

Meanwhile, summer is here and I’m thrilled. In Northern California where I live, our winter and spring consisted of one rain storm after another. While our water-starved state needed those downpours, I’m so happy that summer is here and with it, warm, dry weather. What’s happening in your world?


Indie Author Update

Launch Higher: How to Get Book Reviews Before Your Launch Date by Kate Sullivan: “We all know that reviews sell stuff. After all, when’s the last time you took a chance on buying something online, sight unseen, without checking the reviews? You want to know what other people who’ve already bought it think so that you can be sure you’re making the right choice.”

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Secrets of Successful Book Launches with Howard VanEs

In this webinar, as part of my Conversations with Frances series, I interviewed Howard VanEs about successful book launches. A master at selling books, Howard shared some of his best strategies.

Here are some notes from our conversation:

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Indie Author Weekly Update – May 12, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

Enjoy this week’s Indie Author Weekly Update with posts from Brooke Warner, Joanna Penn, BookWorks, Rebekah Radice, and Adam Connell. You’ll find information on Amazon’s new strategy, a new app for authors, image editing tools, and more!

Summer is almost here and after the rain we’ve experienced in Northern California, I can hardly wait for the warm, dry days ahead. What about you?


Indie Author Update

BuzzTrace: New Social Media Software Review from BookWorks: “BuzzTrace is a new software program to help authors and independent publishers manage and grow their platform. BuzzTrace accomplishes this by giving suggestions about what to post online and sending alerts when someone is talking about your book online.”

How Amazon, once again, is driving down the value of books and undermining authors by Brooke Warner: “On March 1, while the only people paying real attention were hypervigilant third-party sellers and book geeks on Reddit, Amazon enacted a policy change that allows third-party sellers to compete for the Buy Box for books in ‘new condition.'”

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What It Feels Like to Be in the Zone with Lisa Tener

My interview of author coach Lisa Tener was perhaps the most unusual webinar I’ve ever been a part of. But to find out why, keep reading!

Lisa started us off with explaining what it feels like to “be in the zone” when writing: “You have this sense that you can be there forever. You have a heightened sense of flow. It feels inspired. You feel like you captured something.” Yes!

When you sit to write, be mindful that you're entering sacred spaceClick To Tweet

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Blockbuster Author Kevin Tumlinson Reveals His Writing and Book Marketing Secrets

Kevin TumlinsonSeveral months ago I used Draft2Digital to convert one of my books to an ePub and distribute it to online book retailers. I was impressed by the customer service I experienced and how easy the staff made the entire process for me.

Then, I recalled hearing Kevin Tumlinson of Draft2Digital speak on Joanna Penn’s podcast about eight months ago and decided to invite him to join my Conversations with Frances webinar series.

Earlier this month I interviewed Kevin Tumlinson, marketing director for Draft2Digital and a bestselling author. We had a wide-ranging conversation about Draft2Digital and Kevin’s writing and book marketing tips. Here are some of the points we covered:

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