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Street Team

Street Team

A Street Team is one of the most valuable things an author can have, according to Kevin Kruse. Other writers have stressed this to me over and over again, and yet, I’ve never been given a clear plan on how to actually create one. A few days ago I got my hands on a plan from Kevin Kruse that makes sense, and I’ve been eagerly waiting to share the most important points from his video with all of you.

But first, some of you might be wondering what is a Street Team. It is a group of people who are willing to read the work of an author, often before it is released to the public, and give feedback to the author. Sometimes they catch typos or errors, if that’s how the author wants to use them. But more often than not, they’re people who are ready and willing to leave reviews and “hit the street” for the author, promoting their work as readers and fans.

So how do you create one?

Some ideas:

  • First, authors are always talking about how important a newsletter is. Well, it is important! You can hit up this list, and email everyone on it, looking for people who want to be a part of your Street Team.
  • But how can you get people to sign up for your newsletter? Offering a free gift of some kind, like a book, or goodies, is a great way of encouraging people to sign up.
  • You can also use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to simply ask for people who might be willing to join your team.

I’ve started working on my own Street Team, although I’m just starting out. I’ve placed links all over my website, encouraging people to sign up, and offering them a free gift (one of my short stories) for joining. Once I get a good list of people on my newsletter, I’ll reach out to them about joining my team. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Would you like to join my Street Team?  Click here to sign up for my newsletter.

Want to see more of what Kevin Kruse suggests? Check out his video!

Like my post?  Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Kindle Countdown- A Promotional Tool

You never know if you don’t try. That’s definitely my philosophy when it comes to marketing my work. So this week, I’m trying something new, combined with something I’ve had moderate success with.

Promotions:

  • I’m doing a Kindle Countdown for To Kill a Wizard, which means I’m reducing the price from $2.99 to .99 for one week only.
  • I’m also making The Sea Goddess free tomorrow.
  • (Both of these tools are available for books placed in the KDP Select program.)
  • I’d love to run a promotion for Realm of Goddesses, but it is not currently in the KDP Select program.

In the past, I’ve seen the following results from the giveaways:

  • For every twenty copies I give away, readers buy about one copy of another work.
  • I wouldn’t be too impressed with this, but I always keep in mind that there’s a difference between people downloading my work and actually reading it. Chances are that a lot of the people who picked up free copies still have them sitting in their Kindles, unread, so this isn’t a strategy I think will make me an overnight success.

As for the Kindle Countdown promotional tool, I’ve never used it before. The idea is that Amazon should hopefully have it visible in a few of its lists, and I may get some readers willing to take a chance on my book for .99 versus $2.99.

But as always, I’ll let all of you know how the promotion goes. Have any of you tried it? And if so, did you consider it successful?

Today Only “The Sea Goddess” Short Story FREE on Amazon

The Sea Goddess

For today only, I’m going to be giving away my short story “The Sea Goddess” on Amazon. As with all my experiences, I’ll write a blog about this later and let all of you know if it was successful or not. I’ve already had a giveaway for my novel, but I’m curious whether or not a short story will “sell” better or worse than a novel. And I wonder if, because it takes less time to read, I’ll have a better chance at getting more reviews.

Either way, feel free to check it out! Here’s the link: The Sea Goddess on Amazon

Kindle Select- One Day Giveaway (My Experience)

Kindle- Goddess of the Sea Photo

The most important thing to me right now, as a new writer, is to get readers. I want people to enjoy my writing, and I want to hear their feedback, so I know what I can do to continue improving as a writer. So far, I’ve given away a short story on Smashwords and had about 300 downloads over the course of a couple months. Then, recently, I gave my novel “To Kill a Wizard” away for one day on Amazon, and received about 100 downloads. Of all those downloads, I’ve only had a handful of reviews.

So, I’m torn a little (so far) about what I think about giving away my work. It is possible that 400 people have read and loved my work, read it and hated it, or that it is just sitting on their Kindle, waiting to be read. But what I do know, based on my experience, is that giving away my work didn’t have a significant positive impact right away. My hope, at this point, is that these attempts to get my work into readers’ hands will be like everything else in writing, more of a long-term battle.

Like my post?  Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Navigating Kindle Direct Publishing

KDP

Learning to use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish my novel To Kill a Wizard wasn’t nearly as hard as learning to properly format my book for Kindle readers. Both, however, had their challenges, which I’ll share here, as well as, some tips on how I formatted my novel.

Things I learned:

  • First, I uploaded my book and made sure there were no basic issues.
  • After that, I looked at how my book actually appeared on my Kindle Previewer. I found I needed to adjust my spacing, indents, and font size, depending on what I thought looked best.
    • In “page setup,” I changed the page size to be six-by-nine.
    • Then, I had to select a “custom margin” based on the size of my book. I believe I went with the “top,” “bottom,” and “outside” being .5, the “inside” being 0, and the “gutter” being .75.
    • I selected “mirror margins” and applied it to the “whole document.”
    • But these numbers vary based upon the number of pages in your book.
    • A lot of writers also choose to space their lines by 1.5, but I found that it looked like way too much, so I played with it until I found the perfect number (for me) 1.35.
    • I finally changed my “style set” to “simple.”
    • (For more information on formatting these areas for Kindle, check out: Createspace Help.)
  • Youtube was my friend for the next step in formatting. Creating a table of contents within the novel, with links to each chapter in my book, sounds like an easy process, but it wasn’t. I used buttons in Microsoft Word that I’ve never used before. I’ll sum it up below:
    • I changed the “style” of my document to “simple.”
    • Then went to “Insert” and “Table.” It then warned me “No Table of Contents Entries Found.”
    • I highlighted each chapter title, clicked “Heading 1” under the “Home” menu in Microsoft Word.
    • When I was done highlighting each chapter, I hit “Update Table,” and it all showed up.
    • Finally, I highlighted “Table of Contents” and made a “Bookmark” (Found under the “Insert” menu). When the box pops up, name it “toc” for table of contents.
    • And that’s about it!
    • (For more information on formatting your table of contents, check out: YouTube Video.)
  • Finally, I uploaded my cover. The first time, I included the entire cover. But then, I realized that the image people saw when searching for my book was the entire cover, including the back, so I had to reload my image with just the front of the cover.
  • After that, I had to determine the cost for my book, the channels I wanted it distributed on, and whether to join KDP Select. I think these options are personal choices, so I won’t go into that.
  • One thing I will say, however, is that because I was setting things up for pre-releasing my book at the end of June, it seemed I had a lot of options. Most everything appeared like it could be adjusted up until right before the date the novel would be available. So, I selected July 4th as my release date, thinking I could change it later. Turns out that’s a big no, no. I contacted Amazon who explained I could move it up once, without penalty, but not back. Next time, I’ll make sure I am 100% sure about my date before I choose it.

So overall, Kindle Direct was really easy to use, but it did require some internet research, random texts to my good friends Amber Kallyn and Aeon Igni, and picking the brains of several other writer friends. I’m sure many people have done this completely on their own, but there is nothing better than an assortment of awesome people to help make the process easier.

Like my blogs? Follow my personal blog at: Lisa Morrow

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

Publishing My First Novel, Using CreateSpace

Amazon CreateSpace

Publishing a novel really does take an entire team, or a writer willing to learn a lot of new skills. Recently, I published my first novel (which is available for pre-order): To Kill a Wizard, through Amazon. Even though I’m definitely not an expert, I thought others might benefit from my experience with CreateSpace.

CreateSpace:

  • This is an author friendly program, if you know how to use it. Otherwise, make sure you’re a member of some author groups where you feel comfortable asking questions.
  • Youtube is your friend. After reading a number of step-by-step guides, I found it so much easier to visually see what I needed to do.
  • Use their cover creator program. I uploaded a completed cover and struggled with why it wasn’t meeting their requirements, because I couldn’t actually view the issues with it. In the cover creator, they have a template for covers that are completed. It was much easier to use. I will say, however, I still had my cover rejected twice, before one was accepted. Each time it took about a day to discover if I’d been approved, so leave yourself some time.
  • The inside of the book requires a certain structure, including making sure you have mirror indents, so it actually looks like a “real” book. You might also need to spend some time messing with the font size and spacing. After asking a number of authors, I realized everyone sets their books up differently. Some people use size 14 font, others use size 12. Some people insist it must be double spaced, others use single space, and still others use whatever looks right. But playing around with everything takes time. And sometimes everything looks perfect to your eyes, but it won’t pass review for one reason or another. I know I uploaded at least ten different versions of my document before everything “looked” right and passed their requirements.
  • After you’ve created your book, you can order a proof. This was the most exciting part for me! I’m still waiting to actually be able to hold the book in my hands, but I’m beyond excited about it. This is the moment when everything becomes real.

I’ll continue to share my experiences with the publishing process, even though right now I’m working on the two short stories I plan to release before my novel is available to order at the end of June. If all goes well, I’ll have my hands full with a lot of fun projects!

Like my posts? Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

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