3 S.R. Johannes: More Questions Answered

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

More Questions Answered


All giveaways from Jan and On The Bright Side launch will be shipped this week. I try and ship once a month.

Have you heard of The Reading Room? It is similar to Goodreads but with some additional benefits. They are hosting a Valentine's Day author chat next Tuesday, Feb 14th at 7PM EST. I will be there talking about indie pubbing, my book, and marketing. Mark your calendars and sign up for free to join. The brains behind starting The Reading Room will also be here this Thursday on Bookanista Day to tell you more about The Reading Room.

You can also win one of 5 $50 book vouchers by inviting 5 friends to join or by joing the live chat. I will also be giving away prizes during the chat.

More of your questions...

I would like to know more about book covers: hiring a graphic artist versus doing it yourself. 

I know tons of indie pubbers who get art online or have graphic designers photoshop for them. I personally want to stuff to be original and reflect what I'm trying to get across. 

Here are some viable options that depend on preference and budget:

  1. Purchase art "as is" online and put your title on it without changing it. But you risk someone else using it. (under $100)
  2. Find a graphic designer student or art student and see what they can do ($100-$300) 
  3. Purchase art online and pay someone to do the design and cover art - but having them photoshop to add originality ($100 - 500$)
  4. Pay for an original photo shoot and cover design ($500- 1000)

I used Vania @vlcphoto.net. Not only does she take great pictures but she also does amazing photoshopping, which is hard to find. You can find her at her web site or email her at Vania Stoyanova <vandsmedia@gmail.com>if you want more information.

How did you get such a huge following on your blog?

I started this blog in Jan 09 and got 100,000 hits within the 18 months. I don't necessarily think it was because of me but here is how I started blogging:
1) I commented on blogs and always answered comments. I try to still do that though I don't get to as many as I used to :(
2) I tried to help people by running agent contests and giving away ARCs I received from publishing houses.
3) I created a niche for myself around offering free marketing advice to writers and authors
4) I participated in comment contests and blog hops to meet new people and find new blogs.
5) I tried to blog at least 3 times a week.
6) I added my blog signature to my email.

I just try to be genuine and help others. That was my only "strategy" behind even starting.

Have you worked/or do you ever attempt to get your work into libraries/bookstores/large chains, etc? Is that possible, is it advantageous, or not even worth the effort? What is your opinion/experience?

I have not tried yet. I have been focusing on my ebook experiments. But I have just been accepted into Lightning Source who uses Ingram as a distributor. Most bookstores order through Ingram, Book depository overseas, and Overdrive for libraries. That is my next phase. Though seeing how my paperbacks sell (probably only about 10-15% of sales), it might only be worth it from a monetary perspective but it is a way for me to support indies and support the physical book. 

That's it for now. 

Feel free to leave more questions and I will continue to answer them. :)


K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

I think the cover is someone's first impression of a book and that it's worth spending some money on.

I'm bad, but I generalize that if the cover is cheap, the writing will be too. :/ So much for "Don't judge a book by its cover."

I'll usually read the jacket and first chapter before buying something, but then I'm overcoming a negative impression rather than building off something positive.

Danyelle L. said...

Great ideas for cover art. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I agree with K. Turley that the cover is hugely important and worth the money to do it well and make it original. :-)

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Overdrive sells audio and ebooks to libraries, right? So, is it possible to get into the libraries as an ebook if you're indie or small press? Your answer seemed to be about the physical book.

Linda Jackson said...

Hi Shelli,
I indie-pubbed, i.e. self-pubbed, my first novel 10 years ago. My husband was insistent that I get the book into bookstores, which I did through Ingram like you are doing. Initially, that step didn't result in a lot of sales. But at just the right time, I did a school visit where a teacher suggested they use grant money to buy a copy of my book for the entire school (a middle school of around 450 students). The grant was from Barnes and Noble. Fortunately, I had placed the book in our local B&N. And when I called the store manager, he told me about other schools in the area that had been offered the same grant. He gave me the names of the schools and the contacts, which boosted my sales to over 1,000 copies. So you never know where getting your book into stores might lead to. For me, it provided both a boost in sales and validation that my book was legit, even though it was self-pubbed. And this is just one example. It would take too long to list the many benefits I received from getting my book into bookstores and libraries.

Much success to you!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome questions and answers. I think you should try to get your books into libraries because especially for your new book, it may be easier to get it to middle graders.

Loved your post at The O.W.L. BTW.