Monday, September 23, 2013

The Colorado Gold Handouts!

Hi all,

As promised, below are the outlines I used for my talks at the 2013 Colorado Gold Conference. There's also a list of additional resources. The outlines are pasted into this post and also provided as documents for download - the links are down below. If I've forgotten anything or if there are any other questions that I can answer, please don't hesitate to ask. You can email me at jeffreyshelby at gmail dot com or you can reach Beth at eapple at aol dot com. (Sorry for the spelling out of the emails, but you know - SPAM!)

One other thing - we were asked several times over the course of the weekend if we do edits. We don't run a formal editing business, but we have done edits for folks in the past on a less formal basis. If you can't find anyone you're comfortable working with, let us know and if our schedule allows, we might be able to work something out or we can put you in contact with people who might be a good match for you and your work. And if you just need some eyes to read and vet a book blurb, we are always happy to take a look and offer any help that we can.

Jeff and Beth

 Making a Living in a Wide-Open Market.
Location: Telluride, Atrium Level.

Intro – My History – From Traditionally Published To Left For Dead To Traditional To Indie

Learn which genres seem to perform better in the e-publishing market and learn which ones have yet to gain a foothold. Find out who is buying e-books and what they are looking for.

The Changing Marketplace
What's changed?
Fewer places to sell books
Publishers buying fewer books
Promotion of authors has changed
Consumers are reading differently
Consumers are balking at prices
CONCLUSION: It's harder to make a living in publishing

Traditional Vs. Indie
- It's NOT a competition – both have their place. What works best for YOU?
- What's the difference?
-money upfront, focus on writing...but you lose control
-agent/editor plays a larger role
-book will hopefully show up in a bookstore
-less money upfront, more work...but you retain control
-agent plays smaller role, if any
- Don't listen to the so-called experts. YOU are the only that knows what works for you.
-How do you know which is best for you?
-HYBRID is best – Get a foot in both worlds!
-If you have to choose, how do you know which route to choose?
1. How do you work?
2. What's your income goal/financial situation?
3. How fast can you work?
4. How hard do you want to work?

Changing Your Perceptions
- Your book no longer has to be in a bookstore to sell
-Authors now act more like publishers
-Writing isn't just the focus
-Roles are changing
-You must be willing to do MORE to earn a living

What Can You Expect to Earn?
-Average price of ebook bestellers over last five weeks was $5.81
-Sharing sales numbers
-Beth and I have given away over 100K at this point. For free.
-We've SOLD in the neighborhood of 50K over 18 months
-Best month – FEB of 2012 – sold 6K
-Our numbers are average
-To get into the top 50 at Amazon, you're looking at sale of 1K per day
-Top 10, roughly 5K/day

-ebooks are forever – they don't go away – they will earn for you for as long as you'd like them to.

What will you have to do?
-Write the book
-Cover Design
-Write the NEXT book

Where To Publish?

Hot Markets
-New Adult
- Books featuring 18-25 yr olds (roughly)
- Covers
-Writing is...different
- This morning, 11 books in Top 100 at Amazon
-Still the ultimate winner
-This morning, roughly 65% of Top 100 at Amazon
- Second place behind romance
- Roughly 15% of the Top 100 at Amazon
-Readers want MORE of the characters they like

Who is buying these books?
- 1 in every 3 people now owns some sort of e-reading device (TC, Dec 2012)
-60-70% of people who buy ebooks are women
-The numbers have jumped every year for the last four years

Where Will You Find Your Readers?
-Social Media
-Building relationships with your readers
-Writing good books

Why Facebook and Twitter Matter in the E-Publishing Game and How to Use Them
Location: Telluride, Atrium Level.

If You Want To Be Your Own Boss, You MUST Learn To Market Yourself
-You are the publicity and marketing department
-You are the one that must let people know your books are available
-You are the one that must connect with your readers

-FB isn't easy to use
-Do you know what people actually see when you post something?
  • -The average is 10%. Number increases as posts are liked and commented on
-How can you maximize your visibility in FB?
- get people to ENGAGE. Ask questions that people will comment on
- ask people to like your status (“Like this status if you wish it was Friday.”)
-Do you want a separate page meant for your readers?
-FB treats that page as a business and discourages visibility
-Pages can't “friend” people so interaction is different
- Allows you to keep personal/professional life separate on FB
-Interaction with people is key
- Facebook is a community
- People come to you and like your page. Treat them as friends, not as customers.
- Fans want to get to know you. Demystify yourself and share. Be goofy-be you.
- There's such a thing as too much sharing. Don't clog their newsfeed. 3-4 posts a day is ideal.
– Learn how to schedule posts. This means you're not tied to FB all day long.
- Respond to people. Like their comments. Comment in return.
-How can you take advantage of the connections you make on FB?
-Cover Reveals, Teaser Tuesdays
-Contests (you can now legally run contests via FB. Just need a disclaimer in the text of the contest that says “FB is not affiliated with this contest.” Ask people to comment for “entries.”
-Find beta readers and a “street team” that will promote your work.
-Drive them toward your blog/website and/or newsletter
-Paid advertising on FB
– the jury is still out on whether or not it's worth it.
– you pay a certain dollar amount to reach more of your “audience.” By asking people to share your statuses, photos, etc., this will be done automatically with FB's algorithms – you don't need to pay for it. One caveat: you can not ask people to share as a contest entry – that is against FB's newest terms and conditions.

-The way to stand out on Twitter is to NOT market yourself
-Connect with people, don't sell them
-Share information
-Make it personal
-Follow, follow, follow readers and writers and anyone that might be interested in your book AND that you find interesting.
-Be nice
-Paid advertising on Twitter
-The paid ads on Twitter are new and very expensive to reach a large audience.

Blog or Website?
-Do you need them?
-What do you want to do with them?
-Selling your work from your own site

Paid Advertising
-Do you have the budget for this?
-The current king is BookBub (price vs. return) (
-If you were marketing a product, wouldn't you pay to advertise it?
-This is, thus far, the the best paid advertising in terms of investment vs. return that we've seen.

Giving Your Book Away
-Why do it?
-Kindle Select
-ARCs prior to publication

    Constructing Your Own E-Book.
    Location: Ballroom B, Banquet Level.

1. OMG I Can't Do This – But You Actually Can

2. Where do I start?
-Write the book the way you always have
-fonts, spacing, chapter heads, etc
-do you need a freelance editor? ($1/page is fair for basic edits)

3. Cover Design
-Can't emphasize enough how important this is
-Readers shop for books differently, covers matter
-If you don't do design or don't feel comfortable learning – then DON'T
-A bad cover will kill a book
-Find a designer
-Good covers can be purchased for as little as $50
-Does your design work as a thumbnail?

4. Write The Blurb
-If cover design is most important, this is a close second
-Again – readers shop differently, they aren't always looking at 1st page
-You MUST grab them immediately
-Get readers you trust (who will tell you the BAD) to read it
-Look at copy of NYT bestsellers
-Make sure it sells

5. Add it to Goodreads
-Do you know a GR librarian? You do now :) A GR librarian can your book and information into GR so that it can be viewed and reviewed.

6. Get the cover OUT THERE
-FB, Twitter, blog, website, etc. Think of it as a movie trailer. It's your billboard.

7. Create ARCS
-Calibre (open source software that can downloaded to your computer and can take any document and turn it into the e-file format that you need.)

8. Upload to your platform
-Don't be. They are user friendly.

9. Price it CORRECTLY
-Don't go above $5.99.

10. Hit PUBLISH. And tell everyone you know.

The Point of No Return: Crossing the Threshold from Traditionally Published to Self-Published

1. Intro – My History – Shortened Version

2. Letting Go Of Preconceived Notions
-Hand Holding

2. Moving From Traditional to Indie
-You're willing to do more of the grunt work
-You're willing to act like your own publisher
-You're willing to market your own work
-You're willing to spend money to make money
-You're willing to fail

3. Cover Design, The Blurb and Pricing
-The three most important pieces

4. Find Your Readers
-Marketing, marketing, marketing

5. What's Going To Go Wrong
-Book won't sell
-Bad reviews
-Glitches out of your control
-But it's not a sprint – it's a marathon – be patient

6. What Matters To This Generation of Readers
-Author Blurbs...NO
-Good story...YES

7. How Do You Build Your Career?
-One word: VOLUME
-Ebooks are forever
-Different formats (novellas, serials. Etc)

8. Pseudos
-Can you write in more than one genre?

9. A Word On New Adult (or maybe a lot of words)
-NA is an outlier
-No rules

Additional Resources

Publishing Platforms (Barnes & Noble)

Free Book Sites (submit to them when your book is free) (this site has links to the other main free book adverstisers)*** (To advertise a free book on BookBub, you will have to PAY – we have not done this, so I can't tell you what to expect here. At this point, we are not interested in paying to advertise a free book.)

Cover Designers
J.T. Lindroos

Regina Wamba

The Cover Art Collective
(This is a group of cover art designers who have put together a FB page to showcase their work. The individual contact info for each designer can be found on the FB page.)

News and Information Sources
Digital Book World
A GREAT source for anything and everything related to e-publishing. Consider signing up for their FREE daily newsletter, which regularly provides great articles, statistics and information.


  1. Jeff, wow, what a list of useful info and resources. Was great meeting you and Beth at RMFW this past weekend. You guys are my new gurus. Thank you for presenting, for being open about everything, and for writing this awesome post.

  2. Thanks for the outstanding information and awesome presentations at conference! So great meeting you!