Reedsy Discovery Wants to Match Indie Authors to Readers

You already know that I am a huge Reedsy fan; they’ve got a wealth of tools to help writers draft, edit, and market their books, including the plot structure infographics I wrote about earlier this month.

Reedsy also featured this very blog as one of their 12 Author Websites That Get It Right, putting Nicole Dieker Dot Com on par with David Sedaris and J.K. Rowling.

Plus, in 2017, they invited me to judge a short-story contest.

So yeah, I’m all in for Reedsy, and as soon as my NEXT BOOK draft is at the ARC stage — which, since the draft is currently at 6,908 words, probably won’t happen until next year — I’m going to submit it to Reedsy’s new indie author service, Reedsy Discovery.

Reedsy Discovery lets reviewers share their favorite new indie books with an audience of eager readers

Here’s how Reedsy Discovery works (I’m going to go ahead and quote Reedsy here):

When you sign up to Discovery, your book will be presented to a pool of experienced and relevant reviewers that have been hand-selected by the team at Reedsy. For maximum suitability, they get to choose what they review — so make sure that your title, synopsis, and cover catches their eye!

Then, on the launch date of your choice (which, we’re imagining might coincide with your publishing date) your book will be promoted to thousands of registered readers who can then:

Browse your sample chapter 👀

Comment on it 💬

Lovingly admire your cover design 😍

Read your review (if you have one) 🤓

Upvote the book 👍

And purchase it through your chosen online retailers 💸

The Reedsy Discovery service costs $50, and I’m betting that being an early adopter might get your book a little more visibility, so if you’ve got fifty bucks and a book that’s in the ARC-and-marketing stage, why not give it a try? Use the Reedsy Discovery Launch Prep Checklist to make sure your book is Discovery-ready, and then send it out and see what happens!

Reedsy Discovery is also looking for talented book reviewers

You can also apply to be a Reedsy Discovery reviewer and get paid to read and review books — which is something I’m considering doing, but I don’t know if I can both be a reviewer and an author. (THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION FOR REEDSY, IF YOU’RE READING THIS BLOG POST. OR I COULD JUST EMAIL YOU.)

The reviewer payout doesn’t come directly from Reedsy; it comes from readers who can give you tips in exchange for your reviews:

When readers enjoy your work, they can send $1, $3 or $5 your way. These small thankyou’s can help you earn money from your reading addiction / passion.

I’m not sure how many people will tip Reedsy Reviewers — that’s still to be seen — so for me the draw isn’t the money. It’s the ability to grow my blog readership by getting Nicole Dieker Dot Com in front of a larger audience. (Remember that series of posts I wrote about audience-building?)

After all, every author whose book I review will share my review with their audience, and every author looking for a book review blog that’s still actively posting* will give Nicole Dieker Dot Com a visit, and so on.

But enough about me. This post is supposed to be about Reedsy Discovery, after all.

So go check it out — and then leave a comment if you’re interested in submitting your book and/or becoming a reviewer! ❤️📚💸

*If you’ve ever clicked through one of those “lists of book review blogs” — and Reedsy has such a list — you’ll learn just how many of those blogs are no longer actively posting reviews or no longer accepting submissions. But I love doing book reviews, and I’ve already decided that I’m going to do a weekly book review on this blog, so… let’s see if Reedsy Discovery wants me on their team.

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Read The Billfold’s First Book, Frugal and the Beast and Other Financial Fairy Tales

The Billfold’s first book, Frugal and the Beast and Other Financial Fairy Tales, is OFFICIALLY RELEASED! 🎉🎉🎉

Here’s what people are saying about Frugal and the Beast:

“The Billfold turns personal finance advice on its head, so it’s no wonder it would do such clever things with fairy tales. These stories reveal so much about who we are and how we live today.” — Mike Dang, co-founder of The Billfold and editor-in-chief of Longreads

“I never knew I need Rumpelstiltskin to involve Bitcoin or a parable about instant pots, but I’m so much happier now that I’ve read both. These stories will both delight and get you thinking about money.” — Lillian Karabaic, author of Get Your Money Together and host of Oh My Dollar!

The Kindle edition is $5.99 and the paperback edition is $10.99, but The Billfold earns roughly the same royalty either way so choose whichever one you prefer. Frugal and the Beast is also available for Kindle Unlimited, if that’s your thing! There are so many good ways to read this book, including reading the six fairy tales published for free on The Billfold (if you just want the free ones; if you want the full collection, you’ll need the whole book).

I am so excited to get Frugal and the Beast out to readers, and I hope you enjoy it. ❤️

Self-Publishing Update: Another Bargain Booksy Promo

Sales/Expenses Since August 9

Books sold: 29 ebooks, 0 paperbacks

Money earned: $56.83

Money spent: $35

Total

Books sold: 539 ebooks, 229 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $2,337.19

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $10,547.51


Just a very quick update today — I spent $35 on a Bargain Booksy promotion at the end of August (promoting Volume 1 in the hopes that it would also drive interest in/sales of Volume 2), and that promotion correlated with 11 sales of Volume 1 and 5 sales of Volume 2. At roughly $2 in royalties per sale, that comes out to $32 total… which means I didn’t quite break even on this promotion.

But hey, I sold sixteen more copies of my book and gained (assumedly) eleven new readers! That’s not nothing. ❤️

Self-Publishing Update: Exactly What Life Is

Sales/Expenses Since June 25

Books sold: 29 ebooks, 3 paperbacks

Money earned: $93.81

Money spent: $0

Total

Books sold: 510 ebooks, 229 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $2,280.36

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $10,512.51


I haven’t done an update in forever, but that’s because I haven’t had much news to share. Since getting back from my mini-book-tour I’ve been focusing on editing/managing The Billfold LLC (which recently transitioned from a partner LLC to a single-member LLC with me as the sole owner) and prepping my fall teaching schedule.

I’ll be able to announce a few more classes SOON, but I can announce one class RIGHT NOW: How to Get Started as a Freelancer, a four-week online course offered through Seattle’s Hugo House. The course runs from September 29 to October 27,  and you’ll get a new lesson (and series of assignments) each week that you can complete at your own pace. You’ll also get access to a discussion space where you can chat with other students (and me). I’m very excited; this is my first online course, and I’d love to do more in the future.

Unfortunately, you can’t register for How to Get Started as a Freelancer until August 20 — so I’ll send you another reminder in, like, two weeks.


The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 just got its IndieReader Review, which I’m sharing because it illustrates that this book does exactly what I was hoping it would do even when the reviewer doesn’t like it:

Meredith begins the book with a clear goal: she wants to write and put on her own musical. That plan is quickly thwarted, and there is nothing to replace it—she just survives. There is nothing for us to root for or care about.

“That plan is quickly thwarted, and there is nothing to replace it — she just survives” is kind of exactly what life is. (Can you tell I grew up loving Chekhov and Tolstoy?)

Arguably, Meredith does replace her original (naive) plan to stage her own musical: first she tries to get a job with a professional theater, then she works for her hometown community theater, then she goes to grad school, then she… well, I won’t spoil everything. But, and more importantly, she fails at a lot of stuff — and every time, she has to figure out how to survive and start over. As a Goodreads reviewer put it:

Helplessly creative and full of determination, it is Meredith’s story that struck me as the most interesting, and nuanced, and, well, real. And although she has her own, personal moments of happiness, to see a main character in a story genuinely grapple with how she can somehow make her creative pursuits a career was so refreshing. Nothing gets handed to her on a plate, and there are plenty of doors that get slammed in her face along the way.

So… yeah. The same story, interpreted in different ways.

Which is also (metaphorically) exactly what life is. ❤️

Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash.

Two articles about the writing and self-publishing process

This post was originally sent to my TinyLetter subscribers.

It’s been over a month since The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016 launched, and since then I have gone on a mini-book tour, taught two classes related to writing and self-publishing (with more to come), spent a long weekend at Disneyland, and, most recently, published two articles about the writing and self-publishing process.

The first article is at Longreads, and it’s titled How the Self-Publishing Industry Changed, Between My First and Second Novels. If you’re interested in numbers, earnings, expenses, and (for obvious reasons) politics, you’ll want to go read that one.

If you’re more interested in the process of writing, you should read my Draft Journal essay titled The Five Times I Tried Writing My Novel. It took me roughly two years to write the draft that became The Biographies of Ordinary People, but that was not my first attempt at telling this story.

It’s interesting to think about the ways in which “all the books that were not Biographies” changed, over the years. My first draft, which I started (and quickly abandoned) when I was in college, focused entirely on a college-aged woman — there wasn’t any family in it, just ambition.

In the version I started drafting while I was a receptionist in Washington, DC, the Meredith character was named Therese Gorrell, and she had been born in the rural Midwest — she wasn’t a transplant from a larger city, like I had been as a child. (In Biographies, the Grubers’ move is a natural starting point for the story; not to misquote Tolstoy, but you could easily say that Vol. 1 is “a stranger comes to town” and Vol. 2 is “a woman goes on a journey.”)

In the version I worked on in Los Angeles, which was the most fully-formed of any of the drafts, there were four Grubers: Rosemary, Jack, Meredith, and Natalie. That was the draft that was too much like autobiography, and it wasn’t until I added Jackie to the story that it began to come together as a novel instead of a retelling of my own childhood. I created Jackie to force a different set of family dynamics and ensure I wouldn’t just write what I’d grown up with, but she ended up becoming this character that I intensely admire (and in some ways envy), and she allowed me the ability to branch the whole “how do ordinary people make art” question down a different path.

There’s also a version where Meredith is grown up and is asking Rosemary questions about her life, and the whole thing is a framing device for flashbacks to both the 1990s and the 1960s, and I’m really glad I got bored with that idea because I’m already bored just explaining it to you. (Plus I would have had to do a lot of research about the ’60s.)

So. What I mean to say is that you should read the Longreads piece and the Draft Journal piece, and be grateful that you got the current version of The Biographies of Ordinary People, instead of all the other versions I discarded along the way.

Photo by Dana Marin on Unsplash.

Self-Publishing Update: How Long Until I’m Back in the Black?

Sales/Expenses Since May 29

Books sold: 31 ebooks, 40 paperbacks

Money earned: $291.60

Money spent: $678.85

Total

Books sold: 481 ebooks, 226 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $2,186.55

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $10,512.51


Right now I’m $1,416.96 in the red, which represents roughly 500 book sales. Considering that Biographies Vol. 1 sold more than 500 copies in its first year, I could very easily assume that Biographies Vol. 2 will hit the 500 mark — which, when combined with any additional Biographies Vol. 1 sales, would clear out that debt and help me break even by, say, May 2019.

I don’t anticipate any other major expenses for either Vol. 1 or Vol. 2, now that the mini-tour is done. Any additional readings or classes will either be local or combined with other travel (e.g. visiting my nephew and doing a reading in Washington, DC). I’m not submitting Vol. 2 to any awards, since it doesn’t really stand on its own the way Vol. 1 does. All I have left, in terms of costs, are the upcoming promotions on BargainBooksy, Fussy Librarian, etc. — and those are, like, $25 each.

So here we are. I need to earn back the costs of this recent tour, and then anything after that will be pure profit. (I could get to the “profit” stage a little faster by separating out the “reading” and “teaching” costs — I counted all of my non-vacation travel expenses as Biographies expenses, but my hotel and food expenses on the day I taught at Hugo House might belong in a different category. That’s worth considering, actually, and maybe I should redo my math.)


I don’t know if you read Longreads, but last week they published my essay “How the Publishing Industry Changed, Between My First and Second Novels.” I absolutely recommend reading it, because it’s got all of the analysis of these blog posts plus extra research and more polished writing. Here’s an excerpt:

Even if Facebook weren’t force-choking our posts (and we don’t exactly have proof that it is, aside from all of the evidence), we’d still have to deal with the ways in which social media both amplifies and dilutes any message we try to share. Everyone is asking you to read their thing, whether it’s a Twitter thread or a debut novel. Nobody has time to read everything, and the novel is longer and costs money (or a trip to the library).

“Social media and the internet have been instrumental in destroying the economics of writing,” Bradley Babendir told LitHub. He’s specifically referring to book criticism, which used to be a valued, paying gig but is now dominated by crowdsourced reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Book critics still get work the same way that authors still get sales, but … no, I think that comparison stands.

I’ll leave you with that, so you can go read the whole thing. More news when I have news to share! ❤

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash.

Self-Publishing Update: The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 has been out for ONE WEEK!

Sales/Expenses Since May 13

Books sold: 68 ebooks, 29 paperbacks

Money earned: $275.67

Money spent: $293.34

Total

Books sold: 450 ebooks, 186 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,894.95

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $9,833.66


It’s been exactly one week since The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 launched, and during that time the book has sold:

  • 58 copies on Amazon Kindle (this includes the 35 pre-orders)
  • 1 copy on Barnes & Noble’s Nook
  • 1 copy on Kobo
  • 3 copies on Apple iBooks
  • 29 paperbacks

As a point of comparison, Biographies Volume 1 sold 85 ebooks and 58 paperbacks in its first week. Volume 2 hasn’t done quite as well, but you’d expect that for the second book in a series.

However, I also expect to sell more books over the next two weeks as I embark on my READING & TEACHING TOUR! (Is that what we’re calling it?) Here’s a recap of where I’ll be when:

  • Tuesday, June 5: Teaching “The Finances of Self-Publishing” at Seattle’s Hugo House. 6-9 p.m. Sign up here.
  • Wednesday, June 6: Reading and signing at Seattle’s Phinney Books. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Friday, June 8: Reading and signing at Portland’s Another Read Through. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Sunday, June 10: Reading and signing at Juneau’s Rainy Retreat Books, with music from Marian Call and Laura Zahasky! 5-6 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Monday, June 11: Teaching “Getting Started as a Freelancer” at Juneau’s 49 Writers. 6:30-9 p.m. Sign up here.

There will be more READING AND TEACHING in the future, but this is what I have scheduled for now!

I also wanted to let you know that I’ve already started receiving emails from readers telling me how much they enjoyed Biographies Volume 2. Those are the best kinds of emails to receive, because it means that my book is doing what I hoped it would do: connecting with readers.

Thank you, all of you, for your support as I launched this second book! I hope you all get the chance to read and enjoy it. ❤

Happy Book Birthday, The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2!

I am so excited to launch The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016 into the world!

If you pre-ordered your copy, I hope it arrived successfully and safely. (Also: THANK YOU!)

If you would like to order a copy, here are all the places you can get ebooks and/or paperbacks:

If you’d like to leave a review, Amazon and Goodreads are the best places for that. (Also: THANK YOU in advance!)

I hope you enjoy the second half of The Biographies of Ordinary People. I loved writing it, and I’d like to think the love comes through in the story. Guess we’ll find out together. ❤