Hello Writers of Bloglandia!
It’s time for a new feature on the blog!! Since I know I have a fair number of followers who are also writers, I thought I’d start sharing some of the resources I’ve used to help y’all in your own writing and publishing pursuits.
If you want to skip right to the resource, go right ahead and scroll down to it. But if you want to know what this is all about and how you can get involved, keep reading.
Turning Lemons into Limoncello
Part of this stemmed from a failed project and some poor behavior on the behalf of the person who came up with the project. This was to be a website dedicated to reviewing books written for writers. I signed on to write on review a month and did so diligently for four months.
But still the website hadn’t launched. When I finally pushed the guy, he said he’d given up on it because he didn’t have time for it, but had been afraid to tell anyone involved because he didn’t want us to get mad at him.
To which I said, “WTF, dude? You’re an absolute chicksh!t who has just wasted my time.” To myself, of course. To him, I remained professional and told him thanks for finally letting me know. I then started plotting how to use my work on this blog.
And so, the Resources for Writers feature was born.
What’s This Going to Involve?
This won’t just be book reviews. It’ll also be my experiences with book promotion sites, and I’ll share with you some other tools and goodies I’ve found that might be useful in your writerly life.
I haven’t sorted out the exact timing of this feature yet. I’ll probably send out several of Resources for Writers posts this month (that’s December 2020 if you’re reading in the future) just to give you a taste of the tone and what the feature’s going to, um, feature.
After that, it will likely be a biweekly deal in addition to my own scattered bits of writing news.
You Can Share the Love (or the Hate)
You can get involved! If you’re a writer, especially an indie author, and have a book on marketing or craft, a promo service, or a tool you think would be helpful to other writers (or one you want to warn your fellow scribblers away from), please contact me to tell me your idea and I’ll send you some guidelines….you know, as soon as I come up with them :))
Let’s Get the Show on the Road!
So enough preamble, let’s get to the first review. And that review is (cue fanfare trumpets)…
Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
Rating: Hells Yes!! Read This Now!
Let’s Get Digital has recently been released in its fourth edition. Written by David Gaughran, the book guides the reader through ten essential steps to go from unpublished scribbler without a clue to self-published author basking in a strong foundation.
David, a self-published author himself, has gained a reputation for providing solid advice ranging from building a following to untangling the mysteries of Amazon to running ad campaigns. He points out from the very beginning that it was easier to get noticed when he first published, but he’s taken input from newer authors to revise this book to fit the needs of today’s self-publisher.
As with the older editions, Let’s Get Digital walks you through the steps to complete your book, the various types of editing, what you need to format your book, the pros and cons of exclusivity, and the process of placing your book onto all the major platforms. With this newest edition (released June 2020) you’re also provided a section about building a following before your launch and keeping readers engaged. Throughout the book Gaughran points you to his resource page that’s brimming with loads of valuable goodies.
Although I’ve self-published my own books, I read Let’s Get Digital with the frame of mind of someone just starting out. It only took reading the first couple chapters before I felt a twinge of annoyance that this book wasn’t around when I did start out. The advice is clear, spelled out in steps that keep it from being daunting, and most importantly, includes reasons for why the advice is being given.
At its core, Let’s Get Digital is a self-publishing guide for writers just starting out, but with advice (often given with a delightful dose of humor) on completing projects, accepting that fame isn’t going to come in an instant, and realizing that writing isn’t as glamorous as we’ve been led to believe, it’s also a mindset book.
David’s writing style can get a little long-winded at times, but overall it’s conversational and funny, making even the long-winded bits easy to read. He’s also upfront and wickedly honest, telling the reader there’s no one magic bullet to win this game. It is going to be work, but it’s all doable.
I found the section on pricing and managing promotions to be especially insightful. With so many other books giving rather vague advice about a book’s best price points based on studies done years ago, David’s glimpse into what works now and why had me jotting down notes like mad.
Who’s This Written For?
Of course, the whole book will be of value to newer authors who might not have a clue about what’s involved in self publishing your own work, but in my opinion, the most vital portion for beginning authors is Gaughran’s emphasis on maintaining control over your own book and watching out for scams.
And while intended for newbies, Let’s Get Digital should also be seen as a treasure trove of help for anyone rebuilding their career and for someone who might want help identifying the failed aspects of their first attempts and how to start again the right way.
Not Everything’s a Gem
One piece of wisdom I found myself balking at was Gaughran’s advice not to do pre-orders. Although other sources have pointed out that pre-orders don’t provide much benefit on Amazon, several indie advice groups, podcasts, and books emphasize the benefits of putting your books up for pre-order on the other retailers both for marketing purposes within those retailers and for sales boosts on release day.
I also felt myself resisting Gaughran’s advice against reusing content on your blog, newsletter, and social media. Certainly, an author should find ways of tweaking content to avoid saying the exact same thing on each platform, but recycling content is a major timesaver for many authors.
Still, both pre-orders and the use of content are decisions authors can change and re-evaluate as they move along in their careers and certainly aren’t “make or break” issues, so these two sections shouldn’t be seen as detractors from the rest of the terrific advice in Let’s Get Digital.
Should You Bother???
The ebook of Let’s Get Digital is free on Amazon and most other retailers so there’s no barrier to “buy” the book, but should you waste your precious time reading it? Yes! Without a doubt.
From the very beginning you feel like you’re in good hands and you’re going to have snarky fun along the way. Just be sure to have a notepad ready because you’re going to fill it with plenty of helpful take aways.
Have you read the latest edition of Let’s Get Digital? If so, did you find it useful? If not, are you planning on grabbing a copy? Let me know in a comment!!
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