Indie Pub Austin: Open Format Roundtable Discussion for Authors

Meetup #7: Open Format Roundtable Discussion

The following headers each represent a question/topic of discussion raised by the group, followed by my notes of the conversation.

Local signings and reading events — has anyone found success with local signings/readings?

Places in Austin that do local signings: most Half-Price Books locations, and BookPeople.

Conventions for Authors and Readers

No one seemed to have any way to tie convention attendance to any metric for success. Some authors shared that they’ve sold books at conventions. My conclusion: they’re worth looking into if you have some books to market, but set a realistic budget and do your research first.

Have an interesting story about a reader/author convention you went to? Please share in the comments!

Can an indie author make a living publishing just one book a year? One every 2–3 years?

Consensus among the group seems to be “no.”

Some talk of the 90 day amazon algorithm cliff. Learn more about that at the Author Marketing Institute and this blog post.

A strategy: breaking large books up into parts—works as long as there is a satisfying ending/resolution for readers, and allows you to publish more frequently and space them out, building hype and interest.

Even short stuff can satisfy your readers and keep you on their radar as long as it is frequent.

How do you build a mailing list?

There are several ways, but here are some quick-start options:

  1. Give them something of value.
  2. Give them even more value. Some people said they:
    • give their email list every book for free
    • use their email list to find beta readers
    • use their email list to find reviewers (more on this at the next meetup)
    • recommend/give away other author’s books which are like yours (with agreement from said author, of course)
  3. Email regularly (1-2 times a month is a good place to start)

What’s the easiest way to set up an author website?

Third Scribe

(Conversation revolved solely around Third Scribe. That said, others in the group use a self-hosted WordPress site (like this one) and managed WordPress blog.)

How does an author keep producing/motivation?

When/why should an indie author register an LLC?

  • You can give out your EIN instead of your SSN to the companies that pay you
  • To put a layer of protection between you and whatever in terms of liability
  • To avoid paying taxes gifting your IP to the LLC at a later date, after it’s successful.

(Note: Consult a lawyer if you have legal questions, this is in no way legal advice.)

What do authors do with their worldbuilding material (the stuff that doesn’t make it in the text, but which you worked on)?

  • Use it as marketing material
  • Use it to write a nonfiction lead into your a fictional world.
  • Keep an updated glossary/compendium for your own research purposes. (a database, a notebook, a wiki, Scrivener)
  • Author app, cookbooks (using recipes from your books), blog posts (with photos if you have them)

If you were a new author, what’s the MOST important thing to do first? And what’s not important?

Some different opinions, but here are several things you might want to have set up before publishing your first book:

  1. Author website.
    • Set up your blog (if you want one)
  2. Create KDP account and fill out your Amazon author page.
  3. Get two books out ASAP and make your first book free. (i.e. the beginning of a marketing funnel).
  4. Set up your social accounts (if you want/have them)

What would you like the next meeting to be about?

Vote on what topics we schedule in the near future. Here’s the poll is on the Meetup page.

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