Lessons I learned From Publishing Fiction (pt. 2)
  1. Amazon & Google Play – It’s easy to get into these stores directly.  You don’t need an ISBN number for those properties, but when you don’t have an ISBN number, it makes tracking your sales for that property difficult.  I personally prefer having them because it gives proper credit to my publishing company, Karasi Media Group and I don’t have to worry about someone trying to claim my book as their own (also what a copyright is for and I suggest getting that done as well.) 10 ISBNs are about $250 and 100 are $575. In some countries the ISBN number is free….sometimes I wish I lived in those countries just for that purpose, lol.
  2. Copyrights – A copyright is automatically applied to anything you write but to officially say, yeah this is my work if there’s a legal debate–it’s best that you just go on and get that done.  It’s $35 if you send it in online and that’s a small price to pay to retain your legal right to your own work.
  3. Editing – Critical.  I’ve had three different editors over the course of the seven books I wrote last year.  Each one had their own strengths, but it’s best to find an editor that can do what you need done period.
  4. Read your book like a reader after you finish making your edits.  Don’t read it as the author.  See if you enjoy the story–if not, put the story down and walk away for a while until you can figure out how to fix it.  I’m not an advocate of throwing words away, but I can see the reason for it (recently ran into a snarl with one of my new titles and I’m considering trashing those words.)
  5. Cover design– I know some people think they can do it themselves.  I can do my covers myself and sometimes I get tired of that.  However, due to the cost prohibitive rates charged by a lot of cover designers, it looks like I’ll be designing my covers for a long time to come.  For those of you that aren’t designers–please get a cover designer.  I look at some author covers and I cringe.  Someone is out there that will fit your budget, always.
  6. iTunes, Kobo and B&N – I’ve used both Smashwords and D2D.  Some authors don’t want to use D2D but honestly, it’s the fastest turnaround I’ve seen to get into those three distributors.  Yes you can go direct with B&N because they have a publishers store but for some reason I signed up twice and forgot my previously entered information.  So if you’re as absent minded as I am and have that problem, there is an alternative.  SL SerialYou can also go direct with Kobo and iTunes.  Kobo has a beautiful interface, but because the company is Canadian (I think) they ask for some kind of wire bank info and I could never figure that part of it out to make it work.  So there is a reason for D2D.  I haven’t even tried to broach the  maze that I hear iTunes has–don’t need the hassle. Smashwords takes FOREVER to send your titles to the stores they aggregate to but D2D doesn’t.
  7. Reviews-They push you up the Amazon ecosystem as do sales.  You won’t make sales without reviews unless it’s friends and family.  The same friends and family won’t review your books, lol.  Some of them may with enough harassment but generally they don’t realize how important it is to have reviews.   Don’t respond to reviews, no matter how asinine and immature, childish or petty they are.  It will make you look the same.  If you do review someone’s book–no spoilers.  Seriously.  It ruins sales for the writer and they spent a lot of time on that book.  I know in your enthusiasm, you may not realize that’s what you’re doing but it is and the next reader will probably read the reviews before purchasing the book.  Your spoiler just ruined the read.  You must seek out reviews in any way you can and you will figure out your way of doing that.  I sent out 30 ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) for Soulphisticated Ladies Episode 1 (which is free on all platforms) and I have 9 reviews.  I think 2 of those came from the ARCs I sent out.  Thank you to those reviewers that did go through and review the book.  Reviews are important as well because some sites won’t let you advertise if you don’t have a certain number of reviews on your book.  Those numbers vary per site.
  8. Disclaimers– I don’t know when readers became so dependent on disclaimers but I am so not a fan of them.  I do know things like prescription drugs and food need to have the ingredients spelled out on the packaging so you know what’s inside, but a book?  I’ve never gone into a library or a book store and had a disclaimer on a book.  I’ve done the only other reasonable adult thing–if I don’t like it, I stop reading it.  The book isn’t going to come after you and demand you open it and read.  But in this digital age, apparently disclaimers are needed. I don’t think disclaimers are even used on the news and it has the most heinous crimes announced with details there. Go figure.  But I do recall there being disclaimers on Scandal (which returns from winter break on February 27th!  WOOP WOOP! The Scandal Podcast returns on 2/28.)
  9. Study your craft– For years, I’ve been a voracious reader.  The Kid is so used to me listening to a book on cd as we travel and do errands, that she asks me what she missed while she was out of the car.  We discuss books and plots at my house.  The Kid also has a couple books that will be released this year and I’ve written descriptively for as long as I can remember.  I also take note of what I like and what I don’t when I read.  I’ve long said one of the reasons I do the Scandal Podcast and structure the discussions more around plot and what is going to happen next is because I dissect the show in a way because of the way it’s written.  That’s why I wrote Soulphisticated Ladies the way I did.  Shonda Rhimes’ work influenced me as well as the cut ins and cut outs of soap opera scenes.  If a soap opera is drama, Scandal is high octane drama and I wrote Soulphisticated Ladies to be high octane drama as well.
  10. Know when enough is enough – Know yourself.   Know what will block you from writing, remove your excuses and get to it.  Every writer can write EVERY day.  Saying you can’t is an excuse.  The more you write the better you are at writing.  I like to tune out of social media when I’m writing a book (which is difficult when you maintain and promote a blog at the same time). But as much as I can, I do. I DVR most tv shows that I want to watch and I have scheduled times for breaks.  It is all reasonable when you’re delving into your world to create characters and situations that are relatable or fantasy.
  11. Write the next book – Every indie author I know says the best marketing for your book is to write another book.  Readers that are real fans will read all of your work or readers that are fans of one work will come back and read the next season/book in a series.  They want you to write it so get to it.

So those are a few of the lessons learned during my fiction publishing journey.  Soulphisticated Ladies Episode 1 is free on all retailers.

 5.0 out of 5 stars And this is just episode 1, WHAT!!!  Are you serious? Jaha Knight’s Soulphisticated Ladies: Episode 1 will leave you begging for more. Props to you Jaha, I was glued to this book from page one and begging for more at the end. Please hurry and publish the second episode.This novel brings it with a capital “B.” It has drama, comedy, romance,action you name it is in here. The characters that make up the Soulphisticated Ladies are for the most part strong black women. Strong in their careers but the novel would be an eye catcher without a little conflict. These ladies test of friendship stands up to domestic violence, work abuse, emotional abuse, adultery and more. Whew this book, will not let you down trust me on that! 
The full Season’s links are also on the link for the free episode.  Check it out and tell me what you think.
19.9.2014