Self-Publishing Success & the Launch of Paragraph Press

Joe Evans, succesful writerOn a drizzly autumn evening it was a relief to step inside the Little Man Coffee Company (a quirky, retro and super friendly venue) for a night of entertainment and insight into the world of self-publishing. The highlight of the event was hearing from Joe Evans, successful full time writer (author of the Young Adult Science Fiction series – The Seckry Sequence), who began his career, after being rejected by every agent and publisher in the UK, by self-publishing his first book on Kindle.   

He began by explaining that he had never thought of self-publishing as a realistic, financially viable option, but his own experience has proved him wrong. He now earns enough to make a full time living from writing. After describing how simple it is to create an ebook and sell it on Amazon, he gave us his top three tips for unpublished writers who are willing to give it a try…

Tip Number 1 – Contact book bloggers

Obviously, I liked this tip. Basically, Joe spent hours seeking out and contacting book bloggers in his genre, asking for genuine, honest reviews in return for a free copy of the book. This, apparently, led to massive spikes in sales on Amazon.

Tip Number 2 – Fluctuate between charging for your book and offering it for free

Paragraph Press magazineIt seems there are numerous companies out there, willing to send emails to their subscribers with all the latest ‘free book’ offers on Kindle. This is something Joe did four or five times a year, offering the book for free, just for one day. The impact would go on for many days after that.

Tip Number 3 – Use Twitter as a promotional tool

Joe would spend time every night for a couple of years, searching for similar authors in his genre and following 100 of their followers. Around 40 or so would follow him back. He used an automatic direct message to then promote his book. Personally, I find automatic DMs quite irritating, but there’s no denying it, this method clearly works.

Joe went on to explain that, after a couple of years, this intense online marketing needed less input, and word of mouth began to take over. He printed paper copies of his book (which he designed himself) and now has that elusive literary agent.

singer Rosie SmithParagraph Press is all about encouraging people to go for the self-publishing route, and their free magazine (The Pilcrow, which you can download here) contains useful information about everything you need to know from copyright to cover design. The press offers services to writers including editing, proofreading, design, formatting and printing.

In addition to this insight into the self-publishing process, we heard from local writer Gareth Davies who read several short stories: one scary, one serious, two silly, one sweet and one sexy. I particularly enjoyed the scary one. We also had poems from spoken word artist, Adam Jenkins, and some marvellously sad songs from Rosie Smith (aka oh peas!). Their work features in the magazine too. It was, altogether, an entertaining and inspirational evening.

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