Hi there! Duolit is on hiatus, but please feel free to explore our extensive archive of posts and our free Weekend Book Marketing Makeover. Thanks for visiting!

How Do You Define Success As an Indie Author? [Discussion]

In its second weekend of release, The Avengers made over $100 million here in the US. Add that to its ridiculous total from last week, and the movie has made almost $400 million in two weeks. By any measure, I think we’d call that a success!

But, what about you as an indie author? How do you measure success, both for yourself and your book? While most of us don’t expect careers or sales along the lines of those richie-riches on top of the New York Times’ Bestseller List, we would like to feel as if the time, effort and money spent publishing our work were worthwhile.

We’ve talked a little about this before on the blog, that setting reasonable expectations and planning ahead can make that road to success easier. After all, if success is selling 100 copies of your book, that’s a heck of an easier goal to achieve than selling 10,000.

Success, however, isn’t always a sales goal (or even a number). So, we want to know:

  • What has to happen for you to consider your book and/or writing career a success? Do you have more than one measure of success?
  • What obstacles to success have you come across so far? Has anything made the path easier?
  • How did you settle on your definition of success? Has it evolved over time?
  • Does your definition of success differ from that of your author friends?
  • What advice would you give to other authors struggling for that sweet moment of success?

We can’t wait to hear your responses! To join the discussion, please leave a comment below addressing any (or all) of the above questions. Also, mention the discussion to your indie author friends — we’d love to hear from everyone!

Do you find the book or does the book find you? [Discussion]

As authors, it’s nice to know that we can chalk up an obsessive reading habit to research, right?

I’m always involved in one book or another — often one or two on my kindle, two or three in paperback and then suddenly I’ll shove all five of those aside to indulge in something else. It’s not my fault! These books just seem to find me!

Between recommendations from you guys, my aunt (a volunteer librarian), my mom (from whom I get my insatiable reading habit) and those tempting covers sitting on the shelves at the grocery store, the library, the used bookstore, etc. I can’t help but dive in!

I’ve been on an Elmore Leonard kick since January (thanks to Justified), but as the weather has turned warm my interests changed and I became desperate for a great summer read (currently being satisfied by Elin Hilderbrand’s The Island). In the midst of that book, however, I started planning a trip to Yellowstone next month and became consumed by travel guides. I can’t keep anything straight!

So I want to know — am I alone here?

What are you guys currently reading and how did you find it) (Or did it find you?) More specifically, I’d like to hear your thoughts on any of these questions:

  • Do you read more than one book at a time?
  • Where do you go to seek out new things to read?
  • What makes you decide to start reading a new book — especially if you’re already in the middle of something else?
  • Do you read the same genre that you write in or something entirely different?
  • Who gives you recommendations for new books to read?
  • Have you read something lately that you loved and would recommend to someone else?

Shout out in the comments below so I’ll know I’m not the only crazy person who gets wrapped up in a million books at once!

Book Trailers — What Do You Think? [Discussion]

Let’s face it: much of book marketing is rather, well, static. Enter book trailers — much like the familiar trailers (previews) you see for movies and television shows, book trailers bring your book to life with visuals and a soundtrack. The best trailers build anticipation and encourage sharing by offering the viewer/reader something capitvating, unique and different.

Book trailers come in all shapes and sizes, from professionally-edited in Premiere to a slideshow in Windows Movie Maker. We want to know: what do you think about these prolific promotional tools? Tell us:

  • Have you created (or do you plan to create) a book trailer for your book? If so, what tools did you use? How long did it take you?
  • Has a book trailer motivated you to check out a book? Has one ever turned you off of a book?
  • Are book trailers an effective promotional tool? Are certain genres better suited for book trailers?
  • Why are book trailers growing in popularity?
  • Are the most effective book trailers those professionally made? Can you tell the difference between professional and amateur trailers?

We can’t wait to hear your responses! To join the discussion, please leave a comment below addressing any (or all) of the above questions. Also, mention the discussion to your indie author friends — we’d love to hear from everyone!

Do You Read Indie Books? [Discussion]

Good news: the online writing community is, for the most part, extremely supportive of indie authors and self-publishing. Bad news: it can still seem like a very “every man for himself” world out there, even within that community.

When’s the last time you gave a fellow indie author a shoutout on Twitter? Left a comment on his blog? E-mailed her a note of support? As anyone who has been down the indie publishing path knows, it can seem ridiculously lonely and all help is appreciated. In the past we’ve discussed how you support your fellow indie authors, but today we want to be a little more specific and ask: do you read indie books?

We want to know:

  • Do you read books by your fellow indie authors? What was the last indie book you read?
  • How do you find indie books to read? 
  • Have you been surprised by the quality of an indie book you’ve read? How about disappointed (no names necessary)?
  • What would increase the likelihood of your reading more indie books?
  • Do you read indie books in paperback or eBook format?
  • Which indie book is the best one you’ve read? What did you enjoy most about it?

We can’t wait to hear your responses! To join the discussion, please leave a comment below addressing any (or all) of the above questions. Also, mention the discussion to your indie author friends — we’d love to hear from everyone!

Apple eBook Pricing Controversy:
What do you think? [Discussion]

By now you’ve surely heard that Apple and several major book publishers have been sued by the U.S. government this week because of their alleged collusion to raise eBook prices, a violation of antitrust laws. It’s really a pretty sordid story (as sordid as it gets when it comes to the topic of eBook pricing).

photo by edvvc

In a nutshell, a few of the major publishers were unhappy with Amazon (who was dominating the eBook market at the time with the success of the Kindle) setting the average price of eBooks at $9.99, a figure the publishers felt was too low, especially since Amazon was taking a big chunk of the sales for themselves. Apple was aware of the discontent and decided to take advantage of it when they entered the eBook race with the iPad. They secretly conferred with the publishers and together decided to raise the publishers’ cut which drove the rate of eBooks to around $14.99.

Now it seems with the government stepping in for a severe wrist slapping to all parties involved, readers will earn a small victory with reduced eBook prices in the future.

So what do you think? As indie authors, eBook sales are a huge part of our livelihood. And even if you haven’t published an eBook yet, you’ve probably bought and read one on your eReading device of choice.

Here are a few questions we’d like you to answer in the comments:

  • Was Apple wrong to raise the price of eBooks?
  • How much profit should a publisher keep from an eBook?
  • Is it fair for Apple and Amazon to take a big cut from eBook sales?
  • As a reader, how much are you willing to pay for an eBook?
  • Will this affect the way you price your eBook?
  • Do you think Amazon’s average of $9.99 is too high too?
  • How can the eBook market be adjusted so the pricing is more fair to everyone?

Jump in the discussion and let us know what you think!