Kobo Writing Life Podcast

This week's podcast is essential listening for all authors: Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware is joining us to share her most important advice for how writers can avoid being scammed. Writer Beware was co-founded by Victoria and Ann Crispin in 1998, is sponsored by SFWA, and its mission is to "track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry." Listen in as Victoria speaks with US Manager Christine Munroe about:

  •  The origins of Writer Beware in 1998. SFWA put a call-out for someone to monitor scams aimed at authors, and Victoria and Ann Crispin joined forces.
  • At that time, literary agent scams were prevalent. Victoria says she rarely sees them nowadays - self-publishing has shown many authors that they don't need an agent to publish. Unfortunately, self-publishing has also created a new frontier in writing scams, from digital publishers charging exorbitant fees for their services to would-be experts offering services they're not capable of providing.
  • The craziest scheme she has heard of to date (you'll have to listen to find out!).
  • How she and a team of volunteers find the time to maintain the website and blog. Also, why their investigations need to be so detailed: Writer Beware is often the target of lawsuits by the scammers they work to expose.
  • How writers can avoid being scammed: DO YOUR RESEARCH and educate yourself. There's no such thing as a free lunch - if it sounds too good to be true, and you have a gut feeling that something is amiss, don't ignore those instincts.
  • The best way to get started as a new author. Start broadly by reading books about the industry at large and the various options available to you. What's important is that you set goals for your writing and find the path that best serves those goals. Then you can dive into the internet as a resource for learning more about each aspect of the process, and checking that each company you're considering working with is reputable.
  • Additional resources for researching scams include Preditors & Editors and Absolute Write.
  • Victoria's publishing plans for the next year, which includes traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing paths. Victoria believes (and we agree!) that authors don't need to choose just one path for publishing, and stick to that path forever. Often a combination of options is ideal.

Following this conversation, KWL Author Care Coordinator Vanessa Ghosh shares advice for taking advantage of our free preview function on Kobo. Customers can preview the first 5% of the beginning of your eBook, so many sure to give them a peek into your best work—and don't use a dummy file when you're setting up a pre-order, as previews for pre-orders are also visible to customers. If you have questions you'd like us to answer on the podcast, email writinglife@kobo.com

Direct download: Victoria_Strauss.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am PST

KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Nancy L. Baumann about Bookarma, a platform that allows authors to leverage the community in their social media endeavors. In the interview Mark and Nancy discuss:

  • How Bookarma, an international marketing platform, allows you to break beyond your own personal marketing network and allows you to reach further
  • The user friendly manner of creating an account, adding social media and importing books simply by entering the ISBN
  • How Bookarma came out of Nancy's business as a non-fiction book coach as a way to help authors once their books were out in the market
  • The multiplier effect of authors supporting other authors by sharing one another's efforts in reaching people through social media
  • How the author queue works in terms of authors finding appropriate content to share with their followers
  • The importance of book covers and how a bad cover doesn't help a good book
  • The weekly webcasts that help authors with tips and suggestions on the best way to leverage Bookarma
  • The ability to filter your queue by genre as an author
  • The measurability that is built into the campaigns on Bookarma, such as the number of impressions and the number of clicks that another author made in the queue and then how many times the book was shared and the number of clickbacks that link received
  • How both traditionally published and self-published authors can use this tool

Mark then talks about the value of authors helping one another and how, as a bookseller for the past 20+ years he has paid attention to this in his own desire to help authors.

There is an ask for KWL listeners to email writinglife@kobo.com with any questions they might have that we can answer in future episodes as well as suggestions for guests and topics for future episodes. Please note that submitting a helpful question just might land you additional promotional placement at Kobo.

Direct download: KWL_EP036_NancyBaumann_Bookarma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33pm PST

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