Monday, January 19, 2015

#Sparkanauthor IG Video Campaign

Authors, you have 15 sec to shine for a chance to be promoted! Show us what makes you special. Hashtag #sparkanauthor How it works: 1. Record: •Yourself promoting a newly released #selfpub #eBook. •#Writing tips. •Introduce your characters. •Your writing space. •Interviews or Blogs. •Online #marketing strategies. •A fun glimpse of your life as an #author 2. Edit & upload videos to IG 3. Hashtag #sparkanauthor *Winners are posted daily on #sparkauthors social media, weekly on our YouTube channel, and monthly on our upcoming Spark Authors Magazine. #amwriting #authors #readers #bookworms "We make eBook discovery fun" Share & follow us!

Spark Authors

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Discovery as the Next Big Obstacle of Self-Publishing"

Spark Authors
“Discovery as the Next Big Obstacle of Self-Publishing”
So you think you’re an author?
Yeah! I'd love to write a story, I’ve been thinking about it for years. I’ve even played out the scenes and the characters in my head. Self-publishing seemed like the best way to go, but who would read my book? How would they find it? Would I have to learn how to create an eBook or online distribution platforms? Without reviews, would anyone bother to read the about section of my book? How do I discover my audience? Must I blog, post, and create marketing campaigns to target these Individuals? Do I really have a chance to be discovered as the next big self-publisher? Have I got what it takes…?
Ok, that wasn’t meant to scare you.
These are valid questions to ask, as a writer or aspiring author in this new era of self-publishing. It will help equip your mind to think and strategically plan for the challenges you’ll face when published.
There’s thousands of How to Publish For Dummies articles to help achieve your dreams of getting your story to market. Instead, I believe it is more important for my first blog to draw attention to the issue of discoverability for self-publishers who are or will be facing an even greater challenge in expanding digital markets. I will also share how this led to founding Spark Authors Inc. in an attempt to tackle this burning hair problem.
The good old days of traditional publishing
Traditional publishing provided answers to many of the questions asked above. Big publishers, with their army of literary professionals and connections, mastered the art of getting author’s stories from rough draft, to market ready, to mass production.
I’ll spare you the details of the long, drawn out traditional publishing process and attempt to give you the condensed version.
You’ve worked hard to remain focused in the “authors’ zone”, writing word after word, determining the best sentences, characters, scenes, and plots to generate a compelling story. Finally, you think your work is market ready and scramble to find a literary agent. The agent goes from publisher to publisher, facing rejection after rejection, in hopes of getting you a deal.
Your luck has changed! A big house publisher believes in your story. Your agent negotiates a deal and you sign a contract. Then the real fun begins.
Your manuscript goes through the chop shop. The publishing house edits the content, and makes decisions on formatting, designs, titles, covers, print, pricing, distribution plans, and finally, so called marketing. Though you may have a say in this process, you will have little influence on the final choices.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Uh, not so fast!
The time for this process can range from 1-3 years before publication. The publisher bought control of many of the rights, and thus, can choose to proceed how they wish. More painfully, the publisher keeps a large percentage of the royalties, usually 60-80% depending on the authors’ popularity or the agents’ negotiation skills.
Some would call this fair. “Come on! I mean look on the bright side”.
You received an advance. They took on the heavy load of publishing. You can be distributed domestically and internationally. Best of all, the big publisher’s name holds weight and can go a long way.
Yeah! Ok. Are there any other options out there?
Great time to self-publish an eBook
Then, Self-publishing arrives, giving author the complete freedom and control to manage their success, due in major part to the success of eBooks. Though still an infant, it’s proven to be a disruptive force for the traditional publishing model that once dominated for decades.
To self-publish means an author needs to learn the skills of traditional publishers and to use these skills to achieve equal or greater success in his or her print or eBooks. With the aid of computers, smart phones, tablets, and future electronic-papers, this industry is growing with unforeseeable potential. Though there is still a relevant demand for print, eBooks have been the more popular choice for self-publishing, surpassing hard covered books for the first time in 2012 Q1. The market size and growth opportunity are evidence that the writing community values this new age publishing. E-Book sales are projected to grow from the current $3 Billion to $11 Billion by 2016, with over 300,000 new self-published e-books per year.
Sounds like the perfect time to get in on the action.
Self-publishing may seem easy for a segment of “tech savvy” individuals; it’s not so easily grasped by a great deal of authors. The industry has evolved, giving birth to a fleet of companies like Amazon KDP, Createspace, Barnes&Noble, Fastpencil, wattpad, LuLu, Smashwords, Bookbaby, BookShout, iBooksAuthors, Red-Staple, and BibliCrunch, just to name a few. Writers can receive editing, eBook conversion, formatting, cover/interior designs, print, distribution, and marketing on these platforms. Thanks to these companies, self-publishers can step their game up to provide quality eBooks for readers. This was extremely important for self-publishers to gain respect and marketability among readers and fellow authors alike.
Trouble in paradise for self-publishers
Putting to rest the dogma of self-publishers lacking the ability to provide quality material was a victory for self-publishing. As readers adapt to the popularity of eBooks (shown by the data above), authors will gain confidence to publish content once filtered by traditional publishers on their own. This, in turn, will expand the virtual library of eBooks; consequently increasing competition, and the difficulty of being discovered.
Authors scramble for recognition with few tricks up their sleeves. Popular promoting strategies include obtaining high ratings and written reviews, entering a contest, getting on the best sellers list, lowering book prices, giving away free books for a period of time, giving away older books for free, joining book clubs, or having a press release. Online promoting strategies includes having websites, social media platforms, email lists, blogs, banner ads, keyword tags, or paying for expensive marketing that may or may not increase sales.
Sheesh! All you wanted to do was be an author, not start a business.
With this entire arsenal to choose from, first time self-published authors will still face an increasing challenge to gain popularity in the midst of an expanding eBook content market. Retail giants are going global in an effort to capitalize on this growing trend. This can be viewed as an opportunity for both established and first time authors to increase sales in the global markets. Nevertheless, it still remains an uphill battle for first time authors with no “street cred” wishing to enter the playing field.
Is there still a room for innovation in self-publishing that improves discoverability for first time authors?
Discovery Model: No Author Left Behind
It’s easier for an established author such as J.K. Rowling, E.L. James, or Amanda Hocking to gain online exposure if they publish a new eBook. These authors require little to no marketing due to their household name recognition. How do we give new writers who choose to self-publish a chance to be discovered?
Discovery must begin from the very inception of writing a story. Authors must provide an experience for readers that generates a buzz during the birth of story process. They must build a brand that readers desire to be part of. Granting readers exclusive access to join in on your experience of creative writing where they can collaborate, get points for rewards, and discover new talent from the very start is a model that benefits both parties. Acquiring loyal fans and providing an incentive for readers to share their experience online will launch a viral campaign for your story, thus increasing your chances of discovery.
By introducing these gamification elements, we at Spark Authors want to create a fun platform that helps readers discover new authors and rewards them for collaborating.
Sounds awesome, where do I sign up?
Spark Authors Inc. is building a gamified ebook community where readers help writers get discovered! Collaborate with friends or Share stories you love for points, rewards, badges, achievements, leveling, stats, and rank.

We use game mechanics in order to influence readers to perform actions neccessary for an ebooks success like reviews and social sharing.  Points are given to users as incentives for virtually every type of engagements on eBooks (e.g., commenting, liking, following, reviewing, editing, creating story topics, reading, but most of all sharing). Authors can add cool rewards on their eBooks’ to enhance the experience.  Our mission is to increase discoverability by stimulate peer-to-peer word-of-mouth marketing on social media.

Sign up @ Create or Discover Self-Pub Stories for Points!