The Indie Author ATSO Guide: 2nd Biggest Mistake Indies Make

Home Forums Writer’s Digest Forum Tips and Advice The Indie Author ATSO Guide: 2nd Biggest Mistake Indies Make

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  GidgetLindley8 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #346483

    GidgetLindley8
    Participant

    Hey there folks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The Indie Author ATSO Guide is back!

    ATSO (pronounced “at so”) is an Air Force acronym for Ability To Survive and Operate.

    What kind of ATSO guide would we be if we let a small set back keep us down?

    Yes folks, just like a weeble wobble, we get knocked down, but we just get right back up again! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Que canned audience applause.

    Welcome to volume 2 of The Indie Author ATSO Guide.

    Today we will cover the second biggest mistake indie authors make.

    Drum roll please…

    The second biggest mistake authors make is…

    They don’t experiment with and tweak their products!

    As you know folks, in the last installment of The Indie Author ATSO Guide we revealed that the biggest mistake indie authors make was that they don’t do everything themselves.

    If you don’t do something yourself, then you usually end up paying someone else to do it for you, and decent results can be quite expensive!

    But what about these results indie authors get after paying others to do such things as: cover design, formatting, blurb writing, editing, and even marketing?

    Will these results get the indie author sales for their book?

    Maybe yes, maybe no.

    But the hard truth is, if the answer is no, then our poor indie author is caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Oh yes folks, it’s quite a pickle being caught between a rock and a hard place. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    Our poor little indie author has spent all that money and the ebook sales are just not coming in.

    Que canned sad audience awwwws.

    But wait, our intrepid little indie author doesn’t give up, oh no, he is a writer and writers write.

    Just like our friend the plucky weeble wobble, our little indie author gets knocked down, but he just gets right back up again!

    Que canned audience cheer.

    Our tough little indie author dusts himself off, plants his feet, puffs out his chest and says “This is a job for the internet!”

    Our intrepid little indie author searches writing forums and finds out that ebook indie authors have an ability that traditionally published authors don’t!

    What!? What, you ask!

    Drum roll please…

    Ebook indie authors have the ability to experiment with and tweak their products!

    Que canned audience oooos and aaaaahs.

    Our poor little indie author is now left with the hard choice of spending ADDITIONAL money to hire more people to tweak his current ebook which isn’t selling, or to just let the ebook be and count all the money spent as a lesson learned, a very expensive lesson.

    Oh yes folks, it’s quite a pickle isn’t it.

    What to do, what to do…

    If only our little indie author had done it all himself, he would have avoided this jam and saved himself a lot of money in the process.

    Que audience mmmhmmms.

    Yep folks!

    Avoiding the biggest mistake indie authors make by doing it all yourself…actually prevents the second biggest mistake indie authors make of not experimenting with and tweaking their products!

    Que audience ooooos and aaaaaahs.

    If our little indie author had done it all himself and properly learned: grammar, punctuation, story structure, cover design, self-editing techniques, ebook formatting, and marketing…it would be SOOOOOO much easier to experiment with and tweak his final product to maximize sales and make adjustments if the sales just aren’t coming in. ๐Ÿ™

    Que sad audience awwwwwws.

    It’s a hard knocks life folks, nobody said it would be easy.

    The learning curve is hard and steep, but it pays off in the end and makes it so much easier to make adjustments in any or all aspects of the product, as experiments to see if the adjustments increase sales.

    Being an indie author is being a self-publisher (in this case of ebooks) and publishing is a business.

    The traditional publishers strategize and plan their business accordingly.

    Why don’t indie authors do the same?

    Well folks, now you have The Indie Author ATSO Guide to give you a small nudge in the right direction.

    But there are no guarantees in this life and if you don’t have the skills…well it ain’t gonna be pretty. ๐Ÿ™

    So that’s all for now folks, tune in for our next installment of The Indie Author ATSO Guide, same ATSO time, same ATSO channel (or not).

    In our next installment of The Indie Author ATSO Guide, we may or may not talk about conversion marketing, loss leaders, and THE POWER OF FREE (it’s more than what you think it is)!

    Or we may just talk about the 3rd Biggest Mistake Indie Authors Make.

    So stay tuned and keep a look out (or not), you never know when the next installment of The Indie Author ATSO Guide will pop up, it could be tomorrow or it could be never.

    Who knows.

    See ya folks (or not).

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    EDITED to add:

    Hey there folks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It looks like a person or two may have misunderstood and have projected their personal biases onto the guide. ๐Ÿ™

    Well folks, I guess it’s time to present a few examples that the guide should have included in the first place, apologies to one and all.

    In the article “Reading the Reader Tea Leaves – Six Tips to Bring Your Book Back from the Doldrums” posted on the Smashwords blog on Saturday, March 2, 2013, Smashwords founder Mark Coker presents “makeover” tips:

    “Six Makeover Tips:ย  How to Bring a Book Back from the Doldrums
    Makeover Tip #1 โ€“ Look at your reviews at Smashwords, Apple, B&N and Amazon.
    Makeover Tip #2 โ€“ Redo your Cover Image.
    Makeover Tip #3 โ€“ Is your book priced too high?
    Makeover tip #4 โ€“ Look at your sampling to sales conversion ratio.
    Makeover Tip #5 โ€“ Are you targeting the right audience?ย 
    Makeover Tip #6 โ€“ Pride goes before the fall. “

    And did you know that there are two versions of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” (or simply, “Frankenstein” for short).

    Yes, yes…I know that one usually italicizes the titles of novels and movies instead of using quotation marks, but this website has lost some functionality and the BBCode that allows italicization (as well as the quote function) no longer works.

    But back to Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein”, there is a version written by her and published in the year AD 1818, and another version also written by her and published in the year AD 1831 (originally you put AD before the year, not after it–who knew).

    “On 31 October 1831, the first “popular” edition in one-volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley.[27] This edition was heavily revised by Mary Shelley, partially to make the story less radical. It included a lengthy new preface by the author, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story. This edition is the one most widely published and read now, although a few editions follow the 1818 text.[28] Some scholars prefer the original version, arguing that it preserves the spirit of Mary Shelley’s vision (see Anne K. Mellor’s “Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach” in the W. W. Norton Critical edition).”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein

    Did Mary Shelley expect readers who already bought the AD 1818 version of her novel “Frankenstein” to also buy the AD 1831 version as well? My guess is no.

    I posit that Mary Shelley only wanted to create what she thought would be a better novel for future readers. And if the readers who already bought the AD 1818 version wanted to buy the new version as well, then they were free to do so, but it was not expected.

    Did you also know that there are two versions of Anthony Burgess’s novel “A Clockwork Orange”?

    The novel’s publisher in America tweaked the novel from the original British version by omitting the last chapter.

    “The 21st chapter was omitted from the editions published in the United States prior to 1986.[8] In the introduction to the updated American text (these newer editions include the missing 21st chapter), Burgess explains that when he first brought the book to an American publisher, he was told that U.S. audiences would never go for the final chapter, in which Alex sees the error of his ways, decides he has lost all energy for and thrill from violence and resolves to turn his life around (a moment of metanoia).
    At the American publisher’s insistence, Burgess allowed their editors to cut the redeeming final chapter from the U.S. version, so that the tale would end on a darker note, with Alex succumbing to his violent, reckless natureโ€”an ending which the publisher insisted would be “more realistic” and appealing to a U.S. audience.” – Wikipedia’s “A Clockwork Orange” article (this website only allows one link per post and I already used that up above)

    Did you also know that Charles Dickens revised the ending for his novel “Great Expectations”?

    “Following comments by Edward Bulwer-Lytton that the ending was too sad, Dickens rewrote it.” – Wikipedia’s “Great Expectations” article

    “In a letter to Forster, Dickens explained his decision to alter the draft ending: “You will be surprised to hear that I have changed the end of Great Expectations from and after Pip’s return to Joe’sย … Bulwer, who has been, as I think you know, extraordinarily taken with the book, strongly urged it upon me, after reading the proofs, and supported his views with such good reasons that I have resolved to make the change. I have put in as pretty a little piece of writing as I could, and I have no doubt the story will be more acceptable through the alteration.”[45][46] ” – Wikipedia’s “Great Expectations” article

    Now Charles Dickens didn’t publish the original sad ending, but what if he had published it before he received feedback from his friend and only received the negative feedback AFTERWARDS? Should Charles Dickens have just left the published novel as it was with it’s sad ending and called it over and done? Charles Dickens sold his writing for money, if he had received negative feedback after publication and thought that he could write a better and in his words “more ACCEPTABLE” ending, I think he would have revised subsequent editions to have the new ending and just added a disclaimer that the ending was new and different.

    Tweaking already “finished” works can also be seen in movies.

    Many movies have “Director’s Cut” editions.

    And how many remakes are there of movies already made that are different from the original, such as “Total Recall”?

    And J.J. Abrams made a “reboot” of the Star Trek movie franchise.

    Tweaking already “finished” products can also be seen in the music industry.

    How many remixes are there of songs that are already “finished”?

  • #654485

    Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing.

  • #654486

    Anonymous

    Props to the Zoomie. Waiting for more.

  • #654487

    Anonymous

    I guess I’d still have to say that the first biggest mistake isn’t, and the second biggest mistake – “tweaking” and “adjusting” – sounds like those folks who go in and change what they’ve already published and then expect people who have already bought it and read it to get a new copy (free or at additional cost?) and then re-read to see what’s changed and if they think it’s better or not. But maybe I’m wrong in that assumption. I hope so anyway. JMO, but a book shouldn’t be published if the idea is “Well, if it doesn’t work I’ll just re-do it”. Publishing should wait until the book is the best the author can make it – and then own it.

    I definitely do agree that too many SPs have not “properly learned: grammar, punctuation, story structure, cover design, self-editing techniques, ebook formatting, and marketing” and that’s where the biggest mistake comes in, IMHO. They really think it should be easy to publish – which it is. The big hurdle, the big job, the tough job, is to publish well.

  • #654488

    Anonymous
    ostarella wrote:
    I guess I’d still have to say that the first biggest mistake isn’t, and the second biggest mistake – “tweaking” and “adjusting” – sounds like those folks who go in and change what they’ve already published and then expect people who have already bought it and read it to get a new copy (free or at additional cost?) and then re-read to see what’s changed and if they think it’s better or not. But maybe I’m wrong in that assumption. I hope so anyway. JMO, but a book shouldn’t be published if the idea is “Well, if it doesn’t work I’ll just re-do it”. Publishing should wait until the book is the best the author can make it – and then own it.

    I definitely do agree that too many SPs have not “properly learned: grammar, punctuation, story structure, cover design, self-editing techniques, ebook formatting, and marketing” and that’s where the biggest mistake comes in, IMHO. They really think it should be easy to publish – which it is. The big hurdle, the big job, the tough job, is to publish well.

    I think kindle always provides the latest version of an e-book for free; and the latest print version if you buy it again. For books that have technical or fact related content that is updated that makes sense. For a novel it should be declared finished and not continually changed. If the book was bad I doubt if anyone would bother reloading a newer version and reading it again.

    I agree, the book should be finished when published. Dont publish an alpha draft and update it to beta versions later and keep tweaking.

    Indeed. Publishing is easy. Too easy.
    Writing is hard. Promotion and marketing is very hard.

  • #654489

    GidgetLindley8
    Participant
    Alice Holt wrote:
    Props to the Zoomie. Waiting for more.

    Hey there sailor and also soldier. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the props.

    I’m glad you like the guide.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #654490

    GidgetLindley8
    Participant
    ostarella wrote:
    I guess I’d still have to say that the first biggest mistake isn’t,…


    And of course you know that because you’re an indie author yourself who has self-published novels for a pofit? ๐Ÿ˜‰


    ostarella wrote:
    and the second biggest mistake – “tweaking” and “adjusting” – sounds like those folks who go in and change what they’ve already published and then expect people who have already bought it and read it to get a new copy (free or at additional cost?) and then re-read to see what’s changed and if they think it’s better or not. But maybe I’m wrong in that assumption.


    The guide never said or implied anything like what you have ASSUMED. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    And you ARE wrong in your assumption. ๐Ÿ˜•

    By making such an assumption, you are projecting your own personal bias against self-publishing as you have shown in the past in other threads that you lean toward traditional publishing and are not a self-publisher for profit.

    I hope your assumptions are also for Mary Shelley, Anthony Burgess, and the movie and music industry at large when they tweak or remake their products (see examples in the edited original post in post number one above), and that your assumptions are not just for poor indie authors who are trying to earn a profit from their self-published work. ๐Ÿ™

    Tweaking or changing cover images, ebook prices, blurbs, and any other aspect of the ebook is for NEW readers and NEW sales. If readers who have already purchased the older versions want to buy the new versions, it’s their choice, but it’s not expected. The original post in this thread has been edited to add examples for anyone who would like to see them. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    ostarella wrote:
    JMO, but a book shouldn’t be published if the idea is “Well, if it doesn’t work I’ll just re-do it”. Publishing should wait until the book is the best the author can make it – and then own it.


    Yes of course, it makes perfect sense. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Own your failed projects and NEVER try to fix them.

    Because, well, why would anyone EVER try to fix a failed project…especially when they are trying to earn a profit from that project.

    And making a book the BEST the author can make it should either happen at the time of FIRST publication or NOT AT ALL. ๐Ÿ™„


    ostarella wrote:
    I definitely do agree that too many SPs have not “properly learned: grammar, punctuation, story structure, cover design, self-editing techniques, ebook formatting, and marketing” and that’s where the biggest mistake comes in, IMHO. They really think it should be easy to publish – which it is.


    Well I don’t know what other indie authors “really think”, but to each their own. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And it was quite difficult for me to learn how to format an ebook for online publication, and making my own cover was no walk in the park either. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ


    ostarella wrote:
    The big hurdle, the big job, the tough job, is to publish well.


    Yes, publishing “well” is the tough job, and no one, including traditional publishing houses (both large and small), should ever publish anything at all unless they can publish it “well”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Who actually sets the universal standard for publishing “well” ? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #654491

    Anonymous

    I’m not sure why the rancor in your response. I thought I had made it clear that these were my opinions. No I haven’t self-published, but I have had discussions with a lot of people who have, and seen these very points made by those same authors. I also don’t know why you think I have something against self-publishing simply because, as I do with critiques, I point out problems that I believe should be addressed, or because I disagree with some of your opinions.

    If you don’t want an open discussion, maybe you should note that from the gitgo.

  • #654492

    GidgetLindley8
    Participant
    ostarella wrote:
    I’m not sure why the rancor in your response. I thought I had made it clear that these were my opinions. No I haven’t self-published, but I have had discussions with a lot of people who have, and seen these very points made by those same authors. I also don’t know why you think I have something against self-publishing simply because, as I do with critiques, I point out problems that I believe should be addressed, or because I disagree with some of your opinions.

    If you don’t want an open discussion, maybe you should note that from the gitgo.

    You mistake sarcasm for rancor. Sarcasm can be an effective way of making a point.

    And stating that those were your opinions shouldn’t shut down a reply should it? So I shouldn’t reply to any post if the poster states that it was just the poster’s opinions? I don’t mean to offend you, but that actually sounds like the way to attempt to shut down an open discussion–just say it was all opinion and be offended if a reply is made.

    When did I say I didn’t want an open discussion? So posting a reply, albeit a sarcastic reply, indicates not wanting an open discussion?

  • #654493

    Anonymous

    I’m just wondering why my response warranted sarcasm at all. That’s not the type of response that keeps the door open for exploring the issues raised.

  • #654494

    GidgetLindley8
    Participant

    As I said sarcasm is an effective way of making a point.

    Oh well. This discussion is probably going to just deteriorate more instead of getting better.

    I edited the original post (post number one) and added some examples of authors, the movie industry, and the music industry, tweaking or remaking their final products.

    I’ll just let that speak for itself, and if need be add more examples if I can find them, but no more replies will be forthcoming from me concerning this particular track in this overall topic.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.