Add your notes from the sessions and share resources.

27 thoughts on “Notes

  1. These are my rough notes from Your Best Book Launch. If others have notes we can gel them altogether to make more sense:

    Your Best Book Launch

    Jami Albright (has been published since 2017) Kindle Unlimited

    Pamela Kelly (since 2013) Wide


    Had 1200 people on her newsletter list before her first book

    How? She did preview promos with 12 other authors (organised by Pam)

    Pam has done the same for a friend of hers doing a 10% preview of the book with 15 other authors and it was very successful for a first book.

    Did newsletter swaps over 9 days before book release

    12 Giveaways (items related to bookover 9 days.

    Also does facebook ads

    When do you start doing ads?
    2 months to 6 to 7 months during the pre-order I do keyword ads

    Book Shares in different author groups and does author swaps

    The lower you can keep you books in the ranks the more page reads.
    Launches at $2.99 or $3.99


    Believes in a slow launch strategy with preorders.

    They do ads for a new release for 2 months before the release.

    It takes 4-5 days for the ‘Also boughts’ to kick in.

    Increase ad spend once the book is launched. When book goes live she doe AMS ads and spends $10-$15 per day.

    Increase a month after release. (Important) This keeps book sticky.

    She goes super narrow with keyword ads (100 keywords include Also bought authors with some of their book titles)

    Facebook ads also

    Back to back Good Reads giveaways before book release

    Has a Reader Group and has a shared Reader Group.

    On the shared reader group she does a giveaway on a Wednesday and says if you missed this one then go over to my Reader Group where I have a giveaway on Friday. There she says If you missed this then join my newsletter list as I’m doing a giveaway on Sunday.

    Jami mentioned: Lisa Susan? as another example. She released 5 books (Romance) in rapid release. She released 32 on the dame day and then 1 per week (fact check?) after that.

    Group promos with 99c for first book in series.

    All ad money spend on first book in series.

    Direct to Series link in FB ad.

    Join reader group and then connect to the author group.

    Jami does a newsletter every two weeks. She writes about life and book recommendations.

    Releases paperback first to get reviews in.

    Arc team with Book Funnel

    Jami’s free launch plan is linked on her FB group.

    Pam believes in Bank over Rank.

    Look for writers who write in the same POV as you as readers often like reading the same POV.

    • These are fantastic, thank you.
      Jami’s group is Jami Albright Brights on facebook
      I loved Pamela’s point about reading the look inside on the books to make sure tone/pov/subject are a match for your comps.
      I think that it was Lucy Score that Jami was talking about but not 100% since I was working and could not take notes
      I do want to dive deeper into what Pamela was saying about the types of AMS ads and WHEN she turns them on, it was very specific

  2. Demystifying Audiobook Production: Andi Arndt

    It was after 3AM so I didn’t take a load of notes but here’s what I’ve got from memory this afternoon. Interested to see notes from anyone who took them during the talk.

    Word count / 9300 × rate for full production = cost

    Audiobook narration companies set up by narrators
    One Night Stand
    Lyric Audiobooks (Andi’s company)
    Blue Nose
    High Gravity
    Pink Flamingo

    Narrators and authors research each other in the same way – via also boughts. If you get an email from a narrator with voice files out of the blue, it’s not weird. They’ve done their research and decided you’re the type of author they’d like to work with.

    Some narrators work in quarters only, but best to get in touch with producers sooner rather than later.

    Can choose narrators for their audience too but also with the pandemic more stage/film/tv actors are getting into the space so a new author could grow with a new narrator. If going with a producer, they may handle the casting process free of charge.

    Better to focus on front list and work backwards through backlist, starting with high sellers.

    PDF file 8 weeks before release but better to have it sooner.

    Doing edits on individual lines and paragraphs isn’t advisable because the flow shifts and is noticeable. Giving notes to narrators needs to be focused more on the emotion and character rather than micro corrections. Best given via a producer who knows how to translate the notes.

    Always do samples. Don’t want to get through a whole book recording and realise the narrator doesn’t fit or the book has shifted. Similarly, don’t book narrators too far in advance just in case the book shifts while writing and the casting no longer fits.

    Audio Samples company – Headliner

    I had the realisation about 10 mins in that Andi voices all of Kylie Scott’s books (my faves and the author who introduced me to rock star romance). Best way to keep me awake 😀

    Now I’m going to resist searching for Welsh narrators while I finish writing my book.

  3. Dora Blume says:

    Did anyone take notes on Lyz Kelly’s answer to the first question about finding your why- my audio went out and I only caught the end. It would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Dora Blume says:

    Bookbub for Launches

    Value Proposition- What are you sending them? Box set, Free, $0.99
    Bookbub is there for the deal. Send them to the deals.
    Know who you are targeting- Wide authors- free first in series
    Ads- Clean with low text- make sure to have what you are offering.
    Limited time author and Free tend to be the best.
    Focus on the value propositions
    Target those who are doing what you do.

    Test- Make sure to test all the things.

    Don’t target trad if you are not trad. Poor ctr
    Target mid-list or medium indie authors- Target “dukes and Duchesses”
    Smaller authors’ conversion isn’t as great but test.
    80% of time should be spent on targeting.
    Look for those also-boughts in book 2 or 3 or later.
    Tier 1- Fundamentals of book- 10 or so generic qualities.
    What makes it unique
    What are the dominant tropes, style, setting, etc…
    Find similar stories/authors- midlisters-indie
    Look at their book 2 and 3 to see who they are converting.
    Don’t target books that are against what you are writing- clean UF vs RH. If you’re not targeting RH- don’t target them. Lands you negative reviews.
    Boxsets- Targeting
    Target those who are doing well with boxsets.

    ADS- The templates suck!

    Setting up ads-
    Target one author.
    CPM-$3.00 to test.
    Ramy does $30-40 CPM- rarely spends those numbers.
    If you are able to redirect through your website or landing page- you will lose people- but it’s your own asset- capture pixel data. Do custom ad based on page visits. AMS targeting to optimized to train amazon.. (Use negative keywords to keep those out who you don’t write like you do)
    Aim for 3% or higher CTR- otherwise kill the ad- if you are not getting 3% there is a problem with image or targeting.

    Launch- Bookbub for launch- TEST!
    Ad conversion worse when put $0.99 on ad- test to see what works for you.
    Spend the first 10 days testing images.
    $3 ads and test 3-4 images. Create 30-40 images.
    Once he has images that work- test text/font/etc.
    Always ask for wrap around for cover without title.

    Left third of image- image heavy- value pop in right top and bottom left corners. A little text on lower right.
    If things aren’t working- try something very different- see what happens. Wake you up to the problem with the cover.
    Usually only lasts 3 weeks before you have to stop ad or stop altogether for a few weeks.
    (Sorry, it didn’t keep the bullets.)

    • Tina Porubsky says:

      Thank you Merri. I was driving and could not take notes. This session has been one of my favorites.

  5. Tina Porubsky says:

    Editing and Revising Your Novel with Bre Lockhart & Michele Chiapetta – June 6, 2021

    NOTE: I typed this up on a Google doc. If anyone wants that version, I am happy share since the formatting looks off below.

    Start by reading the genre you want to write
    Helps you find what readers are looking for
    Create a style guide
    Oxford comma
    Your style helps your editor
    Learn what you what you want your prose to look like
    Hot words
    so, that, just
    things that indicate passive actions (was, be)
    Local slang/regional accent
    Use find/replace feature
    Editing for a series
    Making a series bible
    List of plot lines
    Character names
    Helps editor especially with fantasy, military
    Story mapping
    Write out plot points after first book
    Scrapple from Scrivener is good resource
    Refresher for past books without having to read whole book
    Helpful if there are multiple series in the same world
    Editors may or may not use it – ask them if they want it

    Autocrit has values
    Try free versions before investing
    Formatting issue for writer moving from Word to proof pages
    Lost indenting when info was transferred
    Can be common per Bre – tell editor if you notice this issue
    First draft review
    Passive verbs identified and it should be played by ear
    Do not overuse because you want to help reader along
    Ex: The dog jumped over the fence vs. The dog was jumping over the fence
    Due diligence for new genre vs existing genre
    Bre would go to a book she thinks is similar such a “portal YA” and dropped bits into a Word doc that could be cleaned up later
    Categories, blurbs
    Are there enough reviews and are reviews reliable
    KU, endings are areas to “mine for”
    Blurbs will tell a lot: tropes, is it a series, expectations of that genre
    If there is nothing comparable
    What makes it different
    Highlights in Kindle reader
    Amazon market research

    Craft tips – Michele
    Adding to Genre research
    What agents and trad publishers would be looking for since they know what readers want
    Writing craft and readers talking about what they like to read
    Ex. what did readers like or expect by reading their blogs
    Developmental edit level – how to fix big picture problems
    Get feedback on what’s working, but making those corrections can be a challenge
    Pacing – if it feels off, then it is (go with gut)
    Is scene structured for slowing pace or speeding as it applies
    Add to description- what can be seen, heard, how things look & feel, taste of food
    Good to slow down before big reveal
    To speed up so readers don’t get board
    Is there too much description or repetition
    Look for areas in scenes or chapters where time came be tightened up
    Tightening adds pressure and tension – common in TV shows
    Write a list of events – where & when they happen; if too much time in between then shorten from 24 hrs to 2 hrs.
    Regionalism and slang will slow reader down
    Ex. going to vs. gonna
    If phonetics are more complicated, they make it harder for reader to read; possibly creating a stereotype (negative)
    Fix it by asking yourself what character would say that is easily recognized
    Lift in UK would lean toward knowing this is a British character
    Lad & lassie would indicate Scotland
    Trust reader to pick up these cues
    Characters and their motivations
    If action is not hitting the mark, ask if it is believable
    Readers feel like everything is inevitable and this outcome is the only option
    Have I as an author created a sense of inevitability leading to reader’s sense of motivation (even if it is not logical)
    Think horror when character goes exactly where you wouldn’t go, but it’s the only option – Have you built up to where this is the character’s only option
    Foreshadowing – worth doing in editing stage
    Plant seed of what’s to come
    Character thinks of one thing and has reason it can’t work
    Craft books
    Writer’s Digest had series: Conflict Action Suspense; Plot:Beginnings Middles and Ends
    Writing the Breakout Novel – covers big picture items agents want
    Story Genius
    Understanding How Screenwriters Write- good for pacing (no link found)
    Save the Cat – helpful with placement of foreshadowing
    Character motivations (using three-act structure) – Where should foreshadowing be placed? How do they figure what they need if they can’t get what they want?
    No hard and fast rules & varies by book
    Make sure first chapter has little hints, ok if they are small
    Ex. Character needs to learn trust so have small moment where they distrust someone
    “This costs $5”. Character wants to check shelf for price anyway which shows distrust.
    Largest market is US reader, how to help UK
    Know most of your readers are American and will flag spelling; it is author preference
    A UK editor may edit in US, Australia, etc.
    Neither is better but experience helps the most
    Sentence variation – how to break it up
    Can be related to pacing
    Shorter sentences help with fast scene such as fighting or car chase
    Elegant mansion where a murder occurs – look for longer, more complicated sentences
    Genre expectations, reader age (adult, YA, younger readers)
    Formatting – are there programs to help scene breaks
    Author preference to use hashtags or swishes

    Michele: Keep writing and editing. Editing is a craft and it’s own mindset. The more you do the better you get.

    Bre: Just like you learn your craft you learn how to revise and get better in time.

  6. Eric M Hill says:

    Win With Wide
    Author Monica Leonelle and Tara Cremin from Kobo Books

    • Wide channels should not be seen as one and the same.

    • Kobo constantly innovates.
    • You don’t have to stay wide forever.
    • Helps to not change back and forth all the time from wide to exclusive. May lose readers.
    • Keep books consistently available.
    • Place links in your books to all the stores that list your books.
    • Kobo Writing Life team is available.

    • Kobo has a bunch of partnerships with retail stores.
    • Kobo focuses on bringing print readers into e-reading.

    • Kobo partners with booksellers in Mexico, among many other countries!
    • There is a boom in European readership.
    • Can make your translations wide. Consider doing this even if your English version is exclusive.

    • Google Play Books

    Google Play may give your book away free for folks using “points” earned through Google purchases. You’ll still be paid.
    • Tons of readers not buying e-books in Asian countries. Reading very short or serialized fiction instead.

    • Google is putting more effort into their book store.

    • Google has renewed interest in indie authors.
    • Google and Apple own the global phone market. See phones as reading devices.
    • Amazon owns about 40% of audio book market.
    o Google wants some of this market.

    • (Kobo) French, Italian, Dutch big e-book/audio markets. Big spikes. Some authors sell more in French than English.
    • Generally, all genres do well in Kobo. Romance does exceptionally well in Kobo. Thrillers in Italy doing exceptionally well. Sweet Romance would do well in French market.

    • Apple Books.
    o Draft 2 Digital easiest way to get into Apple Books.
    o Apple favors series. Series will give access to their promotions.
    o Promotes books that are new.
    o Can list pre-orders for at least a year.
    o Some romance authors list a series on pre-order (e.g., Jul 2021, Oct 2021, Jan 2022).
    o No penalty for rescheduling around pre-order.
    o Apple has small e-book team. Looking for more established authors.
    o Likes you to also have audio books.
    o The more you look like a traditional author, the better your chance of getting promotions (e.g., quality).
    • Kobo does a lot for promotions.

    • Kobo has “no” limitations on pre-order timelines. But be reasonable.

    • Kobo. Pre-order. Must have a file attached to pre-order. Can even be a letter to the reader. Add the real file later.

    • Kobo uses Book Industry Standard and Communications (BISAC) codes. This is used to generate genre categories.
    • Kobo does big multi-author promotions.
    o Kobo then makes a temporary genre list that acts as a work-around to missing genre categories.

    • Can get into other Amazon categories by emailing Amazon.

    • Kobo. Make the price as attractive as possible. For instance, 4.99 vs 5.28.
    • Kobo. There are 16 currencies available on Kobo.
    o Don’t forget to check your prices in all countries.
    • Kobo. Metadata. Use same metadata in all series.
    o This links your series together.
    o Must use exact verbiage to link series.
    o Allows .5 for novellas, prequels, etc.
    • Uses key words in description.

    • Google Play Books.
    o Series. Metadata must be correct.
    o Uses push notifications based on correct data.
    o Put keywords in subtitle.
    o Look in Google Play Books search bar for verbiage ideas.
     Can use info in your metadata.
    o Use search box to discover categories.

    • Kobo sells in 190 countries.
    • Main market Canada

    • References.
    o “Wide for the Race” on Clubhouse.
    o The Creative Penn podcasts.
    o “Get Your Book Selling Wide” by Monica Leonelle.
    o “Wide for the Win” by Mark Lefebvre.
    • Take it slow. Choose one retailer at a time.

    • Reference
    o Kobo Writing Life podcast.
     Great episode
    • Interview with Michael Tomlin, CEO.
     Every Tuesday.

  7. Merch for Authors
    With Dropship, you don’t carry inventory. You don’t have a heavy investment, and the bulk of your investment comes from your own sweat equity to setup the channel where you’ll sell. Most of what we focus on is selling from your own website, but you can dropship through Etsy and Amazon, too.

    Instead of buying inventory, you signup and partner with a dropship company, like printful or artofwhere and they do the heavy lifting of creating and shipping to your customer, as if they are you.

    I love printful mostly because there’s a ton of choices and it integrates with WooCommerce, which powers our websites and shops. You can take a look at them at

    Most dropship companies have the ability for you to upload images and place those images on products like:

    Wearables: Hats, t-shirts, hoodies, tanks, and even shoes
    Accessories: mouse pads, phone cases, jewelry, tote bags,
    Home & Living: mugs, water bottles, blankets, pillows, notebooks, magnets & stickers

    So, why would an indie consider merchandising? There are two main reasons:

    Expanding their brand – creating superfans, which become “brand ambassadors” – these are folks that like to be “in the know” and on the bleeding edge of trends. If you have a world or a character that’s cute or appeals in a broader sense, you can market it.

    And when someone wears something branded, they’re marketing for you.

    And don’t wait until someone asks for it — you can create imagery and look bigger than you are. Pictures of book covers aren’t generally things that people purchase – but they can be given away.

    Most dropship companies allow purchases at net rates — and they get lower the more you sell — which is similar to authors buying author copies to sign and give away.

    Just know there are some companies that run periodic deals that are cheaper, for example I stock up at sticker mule whenever they sell 50 magnets or 50 stickers for $20 and that’s what we have on our tables at conferences. Those are great for brand awareness or catchy hashtag worthy distribution.
    Creating another channel of income – since authors are now in charge of their own careers, their content is an asset and they can make money on.

    Make it legal –
    Image copyright – you don’t own the copyright for something just because you’ve purchased it. Technically, you’re licensing that image for a stated purpose.
    Layers of potential copyright in an image:
    Designer – for the design
    Font foundry – for the typeface creation
    Images – photographer
    What the images are of – the people, places, things
    Stock licenses – standard not generally allows merch – need extended license for each image used
    If you are commissioning artwork – ask your artist what they allow
    You don’t need to OWN the copyright – the appropriate license is sufficient.

    Requirements for good printing
    Svg, png, or jpg
    Svg for engraving or embroidery, jpg or png for the rest
    300 dpi/ppi at the size you want to use
    Most platforms I’ve used have templates to ensure your images are of sufficient size
    I typically create for a t-shirt – 12×18” or 3600×5400 pixels – the largest size I plan on using, and let the platform resize down for smaller items
    Full color is fine for most things – you may want to order sample items so you know it will print as desired since you won’t see the item before they are sent to the customer.

    Once you have your images in your file library, it’s easy to add them to all the things – including new products as the platforms introduce them.

    Take advantage of the white labeling opportunities
    Is there a shop in your world? Brand your merch site as that shop for your fans
    Have sections of your merch site to represent your world – fantasy races? Small town shops?

    Technology Notes –
    WooCommerce is the easiest way to sell on your own website. WooCommerce is a free plugin and the setup takes about an hour.

    Printful has a plugin that creates the bridge that automatically imports the products and images and allows you to set the pricing and categories. If you add new products, they’ll automagically appear on your site.

    Printful’s bridge will quote live shipping rates and options so the customer knows when to expect it. You can add your logo to packing slips to further encourage branding.

    One thing to remember is that communication and support with the customer is your responsibility but my experience is that it’s pretty minimal if you choose the right partner.

    Printful updates the customer records in WooCommerce which trigger messages from your website to the customer when they ship to your customer.

    You pay tax to the Dropshipper unless you setup tax exemption with your governing authority – state sales tax and VAT


    Our mini course:

    The shops we talked about during the presentation: (has the largest variety of items)

  8. Intermediate Tips for Editing and Revising Your Novel

    • Ensure that your key scenes, high moments, or climaxes aren’t rushed.
    • Add lush description to slow the pace. (Don’t forget scent and other senses besides sight as a descriptor!) Cut description to speed things up.
    • Heighten drama by tightening up your time frame.
    • Minimize or eliminate phonetic portrayals of accents and use habitual vocabulary instead. That type of vocabulary is easier to read and helps flesh out the character.
    • If a character’s motivation doesn’t seem strong enough, go back 10-20 pages and see how you can pepper it in and build on it until it is airtight.

    1. Start with Genre and Market Research – prior to the first draft or if your first draft isn’t working like you’d envisioned.
    a. This may not sound like editing, but depending on how it’s done, it can be. Genre-specific research can help the author understand the reader expectations of a particular trope, genre, etc. Knowing this information prior to starting a manuscript can help avoid developmental/content editing missteps.
    b. Along with reading in your genre, use the information from blurbs, categories, bestseller lists, look insides and samples, etc., to gauge what the reader expectations will be.
    2. Make an Author Style Guide.
    a. Include punctuation style, spelling or hyphenation preferences, etc.
    b. Character names and terminology that is unique to your world are also good to add to this resource in order to check spelling consistency.
    c. This can also greatly help your editor or beta readers when you get to that stage.
    3. Make a list of “hot” words.
    a. Examples include:
    i. Words that indicate passive action
    ii. Words you might favor or overuse
    1. Common words might include “just,” “so,” “that,” etc.
    iii. Regionalisms or heavy slang
    1. While this can add dimension to your characters when used in dialogue, when used in the narrative, it can also date a story or confuse readers who might be unfamiliar with certain terms because of geographical location. Use regionalisms/colloquialisms with clear intent.
    4. Find & Replace is your friend.
    a. Check the style guide and hot words using this feature in Word.
    b. If using Scrivener, there are a couple of cool tools to help you better see opportunities with your writing: Linguistic Focus and Word Frequency.
    BONUS: For a series, consider making a series bible or “story mapping.”
    • For us, story mapping takes place after the first draft and is used to outline the plot, almost like a “reverse outline.” This process can help you see plot holes or opportunities to improve the story and characters.

    Craft resources mentioned during the CH talk:
    • BOOK: The Emotional Craft of Fiction
    o /dp/B01MU7GJ8V/
    • BOOK: Save the Cat and Save the Cat Writes a Novel
    o /dp/B078VWDNKT/
    • BOOK: Story Genius
    • BOOK: Writing the Breakout Novel
    • BOOK SERIES: Elements of Fiction Writing from Writer’s Digest

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