Tips For Writers

Bestselling Indie Author: Liliana Hart



Author Liliana Hart

Author Liliana Hart

All of us at BookRix are self publishing enthusiasts, so when we hear indie author success stories, we’re elated! We recently read an interview on Alli with indie writer Liliana Hart and loved how honest and upfront she is. Unlike some other independent writers, Liliana approaches book writing with a “strictly business” attitude that we find admirable. Her determination and hard work have paid off, and now her mystery and romance books can be found within the bestseller lists of the New York Times and USA Today.

Despite her busy writing and traveling schedule, Liliana was able to carve out some time to answer our questions about the start of her writing career, how she uses social media and what she’s learned over the years.

When you wrote your first book in college, did you consider publishing with a traditional publishing house or were you drawn to self-publishing from the start?

When I first started writing, self-publishing wasn’t even available as an option. There weren’t eReaders and Amazon was a new company. Traditional publishing was all I knew and I worked toward that goal for several years. I never had a problem finding an agent. I’ve had four in my career, each one contributing in some way to my overall success. And though I had several books that were very close to being acquired by publishing houses, it never happened. Once self-publishing came along and I discovered I could have success and make a good living from it, I stopped trying to go the traditional route. Though I no longer seem to have any problem getting offers from traditional houses now that they know I can make money and sell a lot of books.

We love that you dedicate time to write, even when you’re not feeling creative. Would you encourage other indie authors do approach it the same way?

Absolutely. This is a business. It’s not a hobby. If I only wrote when the mood struck I’d never get anything finished. If writers want a career and they want to be taken seriously then they’ll treat what they do with respect, just like they would any 9 to 5 job. You have to sit in the chair with your fingers on the keyboard. Every. Day. Even if you’re writing crap it’s better than nothing. You can always go back and fix crap. You can’t fix nothing.

Addison Holmes Series: Book 3

Addison Holmes Series: Book 3

Your reviews on Amazon are all 4 and 5 stars. Do you think these have helped increase your book sales?

I’m not sure. I think people probably read them before purchasing, but I don’t know that they make that big of an impact. I’ve got great fans, so I always appreciate the positive reviews, but I never pay much attention to them. And if I’m being honest, I think the one star reviews can sell a book just as much as a four or five star review. The things some people hate are often things other readers love, and one star reviewers are much more vocal about giving that information in the review—not that I want an onslaught of one star reviews, but I think you have to have a good balance of good and bad reviews to appeal to a broader audience. I think word of mouth is far more important than any Amazon review.

Which social media outlets do you enjoy using to promote your work and engage with readers?

I love social media. I enjoy getting the chance to interact with my readers on a daily basis, and I love getting their comments and seeing their posts about my books. I use Facebook and Twitter mainly, and I make it a point to post at least a couple of times every day, even when I’m traveling or in the middle of a deadline. I also use Google+, Wattpad, Shelfari, and Goodreads. It’s all about being visible and giving people the opportunity to recognize my name when they’re browsing books on Amazon or one or the other sites. It’s a subconscious thing for them to see my name and think, “Oh, I recognize that name. She must be a big seller, so I’ll give that book a try.”

J. J. Graves Series: Book 3

J. J. Graves Series: Book 3

Which series do you feel most proud of and why?

Gosh, that’s like asking me to choose a favorite child. I’m not sure I can do it. I really love writing the Addison Holmes series. I have a blast writing them from start to finish. But I’m probably most proud of my J.J. Graves series. I love the way that series is evolving and the character growth I’m able to weave into the stories.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your writing career?

To never quit. There have been times I’ve wanted to—when the writing got too hard, or back when I was going toward the traditional path and couldn’t sell. If you want it bad enough you’ll keep going. Just write the book. And then write the next one after that.

If you’re a sucker for romance and mystery books like us, check out these bestsellers by Liliana. Whiskey for Breakfast is the second book in her Addison Holmes Series and is available now! But when it comes to a series, you always want to start at the beginning. So download the first book, Whiskey Rebellion, for free on Amazon Kindle Edition by clicking here (we did!). Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, the 3rd book in her J. J. Graves series, will be available on November 5th. So now is the perfect time to catch up on Dirty Little Secrets (book 1) and A Dirty Shame (book 2).

Thanks again, Liliana. You rock!

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We love indie publishing

Valuable Twitter Tips for Indie Authors






With social media dominating the internet, many rush to create accounts on popular networking sites to stake their claim on that coveted screen name or handle.  Seems easy enough, right? You fill out the basic info section, upload your most flattering photo and choose a fun background image. You’re on fire! Now it’s time to start marketing, right? Not so fast.

Yes, setting up a Twitter account is easy. That’s what Twitter creator Jack Dorsey had in mind: Simplicity. But there’s more to building out your profile than spamming your feed with 140 character “buy my book” promos. Here are some simple steps to follow to ensure your social media experience is a positive one.

Handle it – Your Twtter “handle” is basically your screenname. Kind of like an email address, but only accessible on Twitter…. and it’s public. If you want to keep your personal profile separate from your author profile, we recommend adding “author” to your name. For example: Author_JaneKim, or DougScholl_Author.

You’re unique. So be YOU! – We’ve all heard that saying “don’t try to be something you’re not”. Well, in Twitterverse, that saying is unequivocally true. Be open, be honest, and be real. When you’re trying to build a fan base, its important for them to identify with who you are as a person, not just the characters in your book. Self published author Amanda Hocking (@amanda_hocking) is a shining example of a writer who showcases her personality.

Avoid an empty content nest – When determining whether or not to follow you, many people will review the last 3-5 tweets you’ve made to see what you’re all about. So before you start building out your follow list, make sure you have content on your profile to entice potential followers. You don’t have to have a lot. But space out a handful of posts (not made within the same minute) so users will associate you with an active profile and not a ghost/spam account.

Build a followingWe don’t recommend following anyone and everyone. Quality over quantity is essential when creating a list of followers. As a self published author, you should probably add people associated with the publishing industry. Fellow indie authors, popular authors, literary journalists and bloggers, etc.

Be engaging & participate – Read through your twitter feed and see what interests you. Join conversations by replying to tweets and ReTweet posts you particularly agree with or enjoy. These are simple ways to interact and get noticed.

#Hashtags are your friend – And they make finding content a whole lot easier. They can be used to tag your own tweets and they can be entered into the search field to locate tweets containing that hashtag.

Don’t be spammy! – We understand you want to sell copies of your book. We want that for you, too! But solely tweeting eBook links and “buy [insert title here]!” content isn’t how you go about it. Get creative! Talk about the plot (no spoilers!), how you developed the characters and came up with their names, the idea behind your cover design or who created it for you (make sure to @mention them so they receive credit), what you plan to write about next, some of your favorite quotes from your work, your ‘dream cast’ (who would play which character if made into a movie), etc. The possibilities for content are endless.

If you have questions about Twitter or marketing, leave a comment below and ask us! We’re happy to help!

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We love indie publishing!

Avoid Copyright Infringement: What to consider when using third-party images



A great book cover is essential to attracting readers. After all, first impressions are everything! But how do you find the perfect image? Many turn to Google by entering a variety of keywords, clicking the ‘Image’ tab, and sifting through endless options until the perfect selection is made. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Not so fast. When you factor in the consequences and fines associated with copyright infringement, you should think twice before you using an image that doesn’t belong to you.

How would one know if a photo is protected by copyright? Essentially, ALL photographs are protected by copyright. No matter how good or bad the image quality, someone either took that photo or digitally created it, therefore it is owned by that individual or business. Copyright laws protect the owner for the duration of their life, and up to 70 years after their death.

Here is some important information about copyright protected images and how you can avoid nasty fines or negative repercussions from using an image protected by these laws.

Can I use a photo if the owner isn’t listed or credited?

No. Even if an image isn’t imprinted with the standard copyright © symbol and the photographer or artist is unknown, you are not authorized to use the image without receiving the appropriate rights and/or permissions.

What should I do if I want to use an image from the internet?

There are various images available online for free or for purchase at reasonable prices that can be used commercially. Both http://www.istockphoto.com/ or http://www.shutterstock.com/ are credible sites that offer endless image options that can be purchased legally. But it is imperative that you adhere to the copyright laws of each website. Always stay informed regarding the copyright information necessary to use an image. When in doubt,  ask the artist or photographer associated with the image you intend to use.

Can I use any image listed under a Creative Commons license?

Please note: the additional “license-free” associated with an image does not automatically mean that you can use it wherever and whenever you want. Images listed with “Creative Commons” may mean they are free, however that does not mean they are free of copyright. This also includes “public domain” images. To use these types of images, you should always look for the individual license agreements and follow them carefully. If these license agreements cannot be located, attempt to contact the rights holder directly.

What if I alter an image? Can I use it then?

The act of copying or adapting someone else’s work is a breach of copyright. Any adaptation will be legally regarded as a derived work; so if you simply adapt the work of others, it will still be their work, and they have every right to object, and are also entitled to any compensation you make from their work. The only safe option is to create something that is not copied or adapted from the work of others.

What if I’m unable to locate/contact the image owner?

Since you are unable to get permission or obtain the appropriate rights, you should not use the image. Claiming ignorance after the fact will not help you.

How do I get a quality image for my eBook cover?

There are various ways this can be done. You can create an image yourself by taking a nice photo or creating an image using your computer. But if you don’t feel you have the skill set to pull off a high quality book cover, we suggest purchasing images from stock photo sites or hiring someone to create a book cover for you. When choosing this option, remember to obtain the image license and verify what information is needed to legally use the image. Typically, websites will list the license rights of each image next to the picture itself.

I don’t even know where to begin. How can I obtain a nice cover?

Not all of us possess the creative streak necessary for creating a killer book cover. But not to worry. Our BookRix community is full of creativity. The members within our Art Writers group are always willing to help, provide tips and tricks and can assist you with your eBook cover design.

If you have additional questions about copyright, feel free to contact us at Support-en@BookRix.com and we’ll be happy to help you.

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We love indie publishing!

How To Market Your eBook Using Cover Design

And he's not alone...
GUEST POST

Today we are featuring an article by Amber, owner and co-creator of Me, My Shelf and I blog, MMSAI Designs, and Book Nerd Tours.  Amber has a lot of great insights about the art of marketing and selling eBooks, and the eBook self-publishing world in general, so we’ve asked her here to shake some sense into you. She wants to share some wisdom, gained through years of experience with Independent Authors, hopeful that it will rub off on at least a few of you.

WHY YOUR COVER MATTERS

I’m going to tell you something that might come as a shock to you, and maybe sound even a little harsh. But it’s the truth and frankly someone needs to say it. No matter how well your book is written or how intriguing your synopsis is, no one is going to even think about buying your book if you have a poorly crafted cover.

No one is going to even think about buying your book if you have a poorly crafted cover.

I know, I know, we constantly spout the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ but let’s face it, when it comes to using this phrase about actual books, and not as just a vague mantra about life, everyone really does judge a book by its cover. Book Buyers. Book Readers. Book Bloggers. Book Sellers.

Think about it, it’s the books first impression. When someone is scrolling through an eBook store, what do they see? Not the synopsis, not an excerpt. They see the cover. Your cover is the difference between someone clicking on your book to see that masterfully crafted synopsis, and them scrolling past and never thinking another thought on it again. First impressions are everything and if you are not using the cover to your advantage, you have no one to blame for poor book sales but yourself.

Independent Authors have a wonderful opportunity that traditionally published authors don’t – they have 100% full control over their cover art. Do you know how many traditionally published authors would kill to have even a tiny say in their cover?
Independent authors constantly waste this opportunity by looking at their cover as a way to save money. Instead of spending a few days looking around the millions of able bodied and extremely well priced graphic designers on the internet, they blow the dust off that version of Paint Shop Pro that hasn’t been used since Madonna had her last top 40 hit, and put something together themselves.

Independent authors constantly waste this opportunity by looking at their cover as a way to save money.

These very same people who would never consider doing heart surgery because they weren’t trained as a doctor. People who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of teaching an advanced English class because they do not possess an English degree. These very same people are more than willing to jump into the shoes of a Graphic Designer without batting an eyelash and think they can do that job, maybe not as well, but well enough. In any job, “well enough” is never a good option and it never works.

Not only can this be detrimental to your book sales, but quite possibly to yourself personally. Did you know nearly all photos on the internet are copyright protected in some fashion? If you’re just grabbing things willy-nilly you could get sued. And that if you are buying stock images, you could be wasting money. A designer already has accounts with all these stock places, they get the images for far less than you would and generally they come as part of the cost you pay said designer!

I know you believe you book is great, and if people could just read it they would love it. I don’t doubt you – but let me share with you something to think about before you dismiss the thought that the marketing that comes along with a book cover isn’t as important as I make it seem. Before you fully subscribe to the idea your writing style alone will carry your career remember this: JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter Series published a book under a pen name recently. Even her fantastic and multi-award winning writing could not sell more than 1500 copies of that book in 6 months. When it was leaked she was in fact the author her sales jumped 500,000% in 48 hours. That day JK helped prove that writing doesn’t sell books – marketing does. You’re not JK Rowling, yet. Your name alone won’t sell your books, and it’s not ever going to if people don’t want to read them in the first place.

That day JK helped prove that writing doesn’t sell books – marketing does. You’re not JK Rowling, yet.

- Amber



Check out these links for more author tips about:
Marketing your eBook
eBook Cover Design
Creating an eBook

And make sure to stop by the Art Writers group if you need help with your cover!



Marketing Indie Authors: Find readers for your eBook



As an Indie author, you are in charge of everything: Self-publishing your eBook, creating your eBook, and of course, marketing your eBook. One of the more fun methods of marketing is to send your book on tour. Book blog tours are becoming increasingly popular, with great guest posts, interviews, cover reveals, book news, and giveaways for the new readers and fans. With our $5,000 Indie Author Writing Contest, marketing has never been more important!

BookRix would like to thank you all so much for participating in our third book blog tour, featuring The Long Way by BookRix author Aaron Redfern. We’re pleased to announce the three winners for the big Between the Lines Blog Tour Giveaway:

Congratulations, Glendalys Hernandez! You are the FIRST PRIZE WINNER! You have won a $100 Amazon gift card, a BookRix Sampler Pack (several great eBooks published by BookRix members), an eBook copy of The Long Way, and also some great swag!

But it now!
Congratulations to Pauline Jim Creeden! You are the SECOND PRIZE WINNER! You have won a $50 Amazon gift card and two free eBooks!

Congratulations to Mary Preston! You are the THIRD PRIZE WINNER! You have won a $25 Amazon gift card and a free eBook!

Winners check your inbox for an email notification from the author!

The sequel to Aaron’s book – The Forgotten Way – is now available in the eBook stores. Check out the blurb:

Two years after the events of The Long Way, Spiff still bears his scars both outside and in. Haunted by his memories, he is compelled to leave the peaceful existence he has known and set out on the second great journey of his life, accompanied by his friend, the Merai girl Miriel. Together they strike out, knowing only that they travel south–to the end of the world if they must.

Stories never really end. The Forgotten Way is about what happens after the world is saved and everyone else has gone home.


Aaron Redfern’s The Long Way will be offered as a free eBook for a limited time, starting next week in the eBook stores!


Another way to market your book is to find blogs and websites that feature eBooks by Indie Authors. Like BookRix, there are many sites devoted to helping unknown authors make their way in the all-encompassing world of publishing. Me, My Shelf & I is a great example of an Indie friendly site, offering a variety of features such as reviews, graphic design services, and our personal favorite – My Indie Monday – featuring a new book and author each week.

BookRix and Me, My Shelf & I have decided to become friends, and this past Monday our very own Aaron Redfern was featured and next week, our very own AnnaRose Vittoria will get her moment to shine. Check out the site and support Independent Authors.

Create a Perfect eBook Using Our Simple Document Uploader




Upload and Formatting

With the BookRix self publishing platform, we have made the creation and selling of eBooks effortless. If you’ve been looking for a simple way to create the best eBook and distribute it to as many online shops as possible, then you’ve come to the right place.

Our BookRix support team recommends that our authors utilize the document upload option, as it properly prepares your eBook. Most authors maintain a backup copy of their work in a program like Microsoft Word or Open Office. Doing so provides ease of storage as well as a sense of safety. If your manuscript is already formatted within the Word doc, then you can easily upload it as is. The advantages of doing this are:

-              Fewer clicks to get your eBook published

-              Automatic creation of table of contents

-              Ability to edit uploaded document

-              Avoid annoying formatting errors that can arise from “copy & paste“ functionality

How do I make my document ideal for uploading?

The chapter title of your document should begin with the heading styles in Word or Open office. When you use the “Heading” feature in the tool bar (NOT to be confused with “Header”) to format each chapter title, the chapters will automatically be created in the editor when you upload the file. The chapters will create a table of contents and are clickable, taking you directly to the selected chapters. It’s that easy.

What else is taken from formatting?

If your document includes images or photos, these will be included in the eBook and will appear centered below the text or on a new page. The formatting “bold”, “italic” and “underline” will also be accepted as well as the text alignment “centered” or “flush right”. In addition, paragraphs and line breaks are detected and incorporated as well.

Why is “copy and paste” not the ideal method to create an eBook?

Although this functionality is still available, our support team advises against it. Creating one chapter at a time often causes formatting errors that are annoying and unnecessary. Many of these errors are manually created and time consuming to fix. Do yourself a favor – try the file upload option. You’ll be pleased you did.

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