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Great Literature Is Surprisingly Arithmetic

A good book evokes a variety of emotions as you read. Turns out, though, that almost all novels and plays provide one of only six “emotional experiences” from beginning to end—a rags-to-riches exuberance, say, or a rise and fall of hope (below, top). Researchers at the University of Vermont graphed the happiness and sadness of words that occurred across the pages of more than 1,300 fiction works to reveal the emotional arcs and discovered relatively few variations.



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What Are You Writing? Word Count. Standalone, Series or Serial

‘What are you writing?’ can seem like quite a simple question until you consider the range of possibilities. I’m currently in the early stages of shaping a new story and I’m still not quite clear on exactly what it is 🙂 Will it be stand-alone, or the start of a new series? What word count should I aim for?

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What IS a Mailing List and Why Should You Have One?

At Self Publishing Formula, we often bang on about the importance of building an email list. It’s the most important piece of digital property you’re ever likely to own as an author – perhaps even more than your books. That’s because your email list is the jump start to every book launch. Up to now we’ve never really gone in depth to tell you exactly what comprises a list and how to build one. That all ends today. This episode of The Self Publishing Formula is the first of a series of podcast episodes that will unpack the mystery of mailing lists and teach you how, step by step, to build your own. It’s the crucial component of a successful author career so listen carefully!

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Getting Book Reviews as a New Author with Derek Siddoway

Book reviews are a critical element in a book’s success, but getting good quality reviews involves a lot of hard work. Derek recommends personalized outreach to top reviewers and book bloggers who have demonstrated enthusiasm for a book similar to your own, which means a lot of research and email-writing. The most common denominator among all authors is we don’t have enough time. Most authors would rather be writing than spending what time they do have painstakingly researching potential reviewers and inviting them to take a chance on their book. Not only does it feel like cold-calling (it kind of is) and is uncomfortable, but their efforts will result in one of probably hundreds of emails that a blogger receives each day. Even so, putting in that extra effort will help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of getting more quality reviews for your book.

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Describing Words Finds Adjectives For the Noun You're Writing About

When you’re writing, adjectives give you the most flexibility to create a vivid picture. It’s also easy to slip into a cliche series of mundane, familiar adjectives. Describing Words helps inspire you with something different. Head to Describing Words and enter the noun you want to write about. The site then gives you a list of descriptors. The list comes from an analysis of hundreds of books and authors over the last century. The creator of the tool used Project Gutenberg as a start for the database, later adding “around 100 gigabytes of text files.” The result is a varied and eclectic list of adjectives you can pull from. Words that show up in blue are used more frequently than boxes in gray.

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How To Get Your Book Sales Moving With Facebook Ads. A Case Study With David Penny

Much of the information out there on Facebook Ads is from people spending a lot of money and from people making a lot of money. We all love to hear the outlier stories, but sometimes it’s more encouraging to hear from those nearer the beginning of the journey. In this article, David Penny shares how he was able to get his historical fiction novels moving by using Facebook Ads. I’ve heard people swear by Facebook Ads, but I’ve heard far more people swear at them. I’m one of the fortunate individuals who falls into the former camp, but it’s not by accident. Joanna has interviewed some of the great success stories in this area such as Mark Dawson and Adam Croft. Sometimes we less stellar individuals view their success and believe we can never attain that position, but I hope to show we can forge success on our own terms.

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Audiobook Options for Indie Authors (and when it’s worth paying for production yourself)

The Final Verdict. Here are my final opinions, now that I’ve done audiobooks three ways: If an audiobook publisher approaches you, and you’re busy with writing and life and don’t mind giving up some control, it’s worth saying yes and handing over the rights for them to produce the book. If nobody has approached you or you want full control over the process, then ACX is an option. But, unless you have money to burn, I’d only recommend it for titles that are already selling well in ebook form (probably sub 10,000 overall in the Kindle Store). It’s not impossible for an audiobook to take off even if the ebook didn’t (Torrent actually sells fairly well for me, given that it’s never been a big ebook seller and I haven’t published a new installment in the series for several years), especially if it has a great cover, but chances are, you’re not going to earn back your investment on books that sell less than 100 ebooks a month.

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Why I’ve Moved From Scrivener To Vellum For Formatting Ebooks

Their tagline is Easily Create Beautiful Ebooks, and that’s exactly what the software does. Here are some of the highlights for me:

It’s incredibly easy to use. You just import a Word docx file and you can basically use it as-is

You can also use the various Book Styles to change the look to something funkier

You can preview the design as it will look in the various ebook readers, within the program

It has template pages like Copyright, About the Author and More Books by the Author which have extra functionality, like areas for social media links and default text.

You can import images and it will format them correctly, with extra text and links and resizing

It makes boxsets REALLY easy. Seriously, if you haven’t done boxsets yet, as a single author or with multi-authors, then check it out.

It outputs the various formats for each of the stores and includes store specific book links in the Back Matter


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Apple launches Enhanced Editions of “A Game of Thrones” on iBooks

I wonder how much of a trend this will become, and is it something self-publisher could take advantage of. Though would require a greater investment of time and money.

“We’re now entering a new period in the history of publishing,” said author George R.R. Martin, in a statement. “The digital book gives readers the ability to experience all this rich secondary material that had not been possible before. These enhanced editions available only on iBooks include sigils and family trees and glossaries. Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips,” he added. This is not the first time Apple has offered this digital, interactive format for a series of popular books. Last fall, Apple released Enhanced Editions for the “Harry Potter” series, which included exclusive animations and author notes. The move was meant to highlight the advantages of Apple’s iBooks platform, and its ability to enhance a novel with animated content, audio, and interactive widgets.

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Book Cover Creator Stuart Bache Tells How to Create A Bestselling Book Cover

_Simple rules to follow for a great book cover: It’s tempting to use all the bells and whistles in a program like Photoshop to create a visual spectacle of a book cover. But Stuart advises you to resist the urge to over complicate your book cover and instead, opt for simplicity. In this conversation, Stuart points out the kinds of things that make for a simple but effective book cover and explains why book cover creators who are successful have mastered the tricky art of keeping it simple. It’s all on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

If you don’t want to create your own book covers, here’s another great option: Stuart understands that up and coming self-published authors might be on a budget, so he’s come up with a way for authors to use his design skills. You’ll be introduced to Stuart’s new design service that offers some of his cool designs in a template style format that can be edited to create a unique cover. It’s a great way to get some outstanding design work for your self-published book.


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