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Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies Issue #101


By Joel Friedlander

Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for February, 2019. We welcome your submissions on topics related to writing, self-publishing, book design or marketing books.

A collection of outstanding articles recently posted to blogs, your reading here will be richly rewarded.

See the end of this post for links to submit your blog posts for the next carnival, or for participating Bloggers and Featured Bloggers to grab your sidebar badges. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Featured Posts

bloggingDaphne Gray-Grant presents How to establish a writing routine for 2019 posted at The Publication Coach, saying, “The vast number of words required for most books — about 80,000 — ends up intimidating many people. Worse, most of them think they’ll be unable to accomplish the writing if they DON’T devote at least an hour (or more!) a day to it. Instead, I’ve found that the best way to tackle a big project like a book is to work on it a little bit at a time, but do it every day.”

Martin CrosbieMartin Crosbie presents How Can I Gain More Subscribers for My Author Mailing List? posted at Indies Unlimited, saying, “Really great tips on how to build your list. We’ve figured out how to use Mailerlite or Mailchimp of some other mail delivery service, now how do we find readers who want to hear from us? Here are a few ways the IU staff builds their subscriber lists.”

Frances CaballoFrances Caballo presents How Not to Market Your Book – 12 Rookie Mistakes posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “Did you just publish your first book? It’s an exciting time, isn’t it? You’re probably thinking that now it’s time to market your book. To learn about how to market your book, you’re probably reading blog posts like mine and absorbing as much information as you can. Writers put so much energy into writing their books that they have little time to think about marketing them until the final edit is done. That’s when your head tends to come up and when you stop typing. You think to yourself, “It’s time to publish!””

Book Design and Production

Carla King presents Two Online Book Creation Tools That Are Worth the Money posted at BookWorks Blog, saying, “’s Tech Guru, Carla King, reviews two of her favorite online book creation tools that allow you to write, edit, share, publish and sell your books from the cloud, including examples of how they work.”

Dmitri Barvinok presents The reach of eBook platforms for Publishers from Kindle to Kobo posted at Front Edge Publishing Blog, saying, “THE POWERFUL REACH OF EBOOKS A QUARTER OF ALL AMERICANS read an eBook last year. In our Front Edge Publishing column this week, Director of Production Dmitri Barvinok writes about why eBooks remain a vital part of book distribution nationwide. In this column, Dmitri shares the latest trends in eBook sales and looks at the unique power and reach of several of the major eBook platforms, including Kindle and Kobo. Are you among those millions of eBook readers? You’ll find this a fascinating overview of how publishers are trying to reach out to you.”

Indie Author

Deborah Jay Deborah Jay presents Authors, are you applying what you learned last year to your current writing? #amwriting posted at Deborah Jay Author, saying, “I wrote this piece both to lay out for myself what I learned last year in my author journey, and to share with others in case it might help them move forward too.”

Lisa Lawmaster Hess presents Embracing My Options posted at The Porch Swing Chronicles.

Mary Patrick presents Are You Covered for Success? posted at Author M. J. Patrick, saying, “This blog follows a recent Indie author, M. J. Patrick, as she navigates through the mysterious of self-publishing. In a recent discussion about publishing woes and wins, choosing the right cover was well visualized when one author brought the same book wrapped in three different covers. This blog reveals the first cover – following blogs in quick succession will reveal the other two, ending with an interview about the entire process that teaches the value of cover design and getting it right.”

Sarah Bolme presents What To Do When Your Book is Pirated posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Authors should be more concerned about obscurity than piracy. This is the conventional wisdom. However, piracy does happen. When it happens to you, do you know what to do about it?”

Marketing and Selling Your Books

Brianna Long presents Why Snail Mail is Still Effective in the Age of the Internet posted at The Digital Reader, saying, “Now that brands can reach consumers through emails, texts, and social media, the idea of sending a physical postcard or promotional letter is obsolete, right? Nope! Let me explain why.”

Iola Goulton presents 12 Steps to a Great Blog Post posted at Australasian Christian Writers, saying, “Blogging. It’s often considered one of the basics of a good author platform. But a lot of authors find writing a great blog post an unpleasant chore. 12 Steps to a Great Blog Post will help you write and publish great posts.”

Nate Hoffelder presents How to be a Better Podcast Guest posted at The Digital Reader, saying, “Virtually every marketing expert agrees that if you want to get your message out there in 2018, podcasts are the way to go. We’re told we need to launch our own podcasts, or at the very least be frequent guests on podcasts. This is all very well and good, but how exactly do you go about being a guest on a podcast? How do you make sure that the resulting episode is both fun for listeners and achieves your goals? I can help you with that.”

Sabrina Ricci presents Social Media Updates and Trends posted at Digital Pubbing.

Sarah Bolme presents Don’t Pull a Bait and Switch posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “The first few pages of your book are extremely important. You must draw the reader in right from the start. But, be careful that you don’t create a bait and switch.”

Susan Stitt presents How Do I Create Videos to Promote My Book? It’s easier (and more powerful) than you may think! posted at Front Edge Publishing Blog, saying, “Video marketing of books is the future, as in the right now future! We’re just getting started and already the results have been impressive. We have no stake with the companies mentioned in the story, just happy to share what is working for us.”

Self-Publishing Success

Belinda Griffin presents Finding the Ideal Beta Reader to Match Your Target Reader posted at BookWorks Blog, saying, “’s Reader Relationship expert, Belinda Griffin, explains how to find, select, and use the ideal beta reader who is aligned with your target reader for your writing and book marketing.”

Dave Chesson presents Setting Up Your Writing Business for Legal Protection posted at BookWorks Blog, saying, “’s Author Branding Expert, Dave Chesson, discusses how authors can legally protect their writing business by setting up a company to operate under, something he learned about the hard way. Dave hopes by sharing his experience (and suggestions) he can spare you a similar nightmare.”

Iola Goulton presents Paths to Publishing | Vanity Publishing posted at Christian Editing Services, saying, “This is the final post in a recent series on paths to publishing, and looks at what is often called vanity publishing … when the providers aren’t trying to convince unsuspecting authors that it’s actually self-publishing or indie publishing or even traditional publishing.”

Tyler Doornbos presents DIY Author WordPress Site: 5 Skills for Success posted at BookWorks Blog, saying, “’s Web Lead, Tyler Doornbos, offers video walk-throughs of the 5 basic tech skills required to build a DIY WordPress site in his latest series.”

Writing Tools and Tips

Amanda Linehan presents The Emotional Stages Of Writing A Novel posted at Amanda Linehan, saying, “Writing a novel can involve many emotional ups and downs for the writer. What does your emotional arc look like?”

Belinda Pollard presents Survey Results: The Pros and Cons of Beta Readers posted at Write, Edit and Publish Like A Pro, saying, “My survey about people’s experience with beta readers received a rush of responses. Writers clearly find manuscript feedback valuable, but also sometimes struggle with the process. The good news is that there are answers to the problems.”

C. S. Lakin presents How to Advance Your Plot with Careful Scene Design – 5 Steps posted at Live Write Thrive, saying, “Plotting is complex, and whether you “wing it” or plot extensively, there are 5 key steps that will help you stay on track when brainstorming a scene.”

Lisa Poisso presents Formatting your manuscript for editors and agents posted at Clarity: Tools and Skills for Authors, saying, “When you want your work taken seriously, it should look as though it deserves that respect. You want the publishing professionals you work with to be able to focus on the story and the words, not flinching at how painfully small the type is or how tired their index finger is from scrolling through production-sized layouts.”

Lisa Poisso presents How to revise your manuscript: a revision planner posted at Clarity: Tools and Skills for Authors, saying, “Early revision is about big-picture revision: plot, characterization, point of view, and so on. Don’t waste your time tweaking writing you may end up pulling up by the roots. Your mantra: Don’t fiddle—revise.”

Louise Harnby presents How to convey accents in fiction writing: Beyond phonetic spelling posted at The Parlour, saying, “Do your characters speak with an accent? All of us speak in ways that are distinctive; we just don’t notice our own accents because they’re ours and we’re used to them. This article offers guidance on how to self-edit your fiction writing so that accents don’t become the primary story.”

Louise Harnby presents How to write thoughts in fiction posted at The Parlour, saying, “If you write fiction, chances are your characters will be thinking. This article shows you several different ways of conveying what’s going on in their heads.”

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky presents Energising your Plot posted at Mikhaeyla Kopievsky, saying, “An article that looks at ways to tighten the pace of your novel (particularly the difficult second act) using energy instead of conflict.”

Phillip McCollum presents Learning How to Learn Fiction posted at Phillip McCollum – Author, saying, “I’ve started a series on my blog that’s focused on optimizing the learning process (meta-learning) when it comes to writing fiction. We all want to become better writers, but what’s the “best way” to become better? That’s a question I hope to address.”

Zara Altair presents What’s Your Mystery Subgenre? posted at Write Time, saying, “An introduction to mystery subgenres for authors. Why you need to know your subgenre and how it will get you the right readers.”

Well, that wraps up this issue. I hope you enjoy some of the great articles here, and let other people interested in self-publishing know about the Carnival—Use the share buttons to Tweet it, Share it on Facebook, Link to it!

The next issue is March 31, 2019 and the deadline for submissions will be March 15, 2019. Don’t miss it!

Here are all the links you’ll need

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Wow! 100 Issues of Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies


This week we are celebrating the 100th issue of Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies.

This is our monthly “blog carnival” that’s been appearing since 2010. Although most blog carnivals have disappeared over the years, the support of the self-publishing community shows that this type of content curation is still prized by readers.

Since 2010 The Book Designer has become a high-traffic site with thousands of visitors every day, and the influence we are able to share with other sites in our community is one of the reasons we continue to put in the time and effort needed to host this regular feature.

What started as an experiment in sending outbound links to worthy sites within our community turned into an institution. These days, I see the badges of writers who have been featured bloggers over the years on so many sites.

Looking back, here’s part of what I wrote in the announcement post “Welcome to Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies” on October 6, 2010:

Last year when I started The Book Designer blog, I was looking for ways to find readers. I kept running into the advice to look for blog carnivals to participate in.

I had no idea what a blog carnival was. A gathering of bloggers, like a street fair? It sounded festive, and it turned out to be a great discovery.

When blogging first got started, bloggers would put out a call for entries to get other bloggers in their field to send in their best blog posts.

A compilation of the best posts submitted would be issued as a blog carnival. The links were divided into subject categories, and the carnival would come out weekly, or monthly, or on some schedule that suited the blogger.

Marketing With Blog Carnivals

As the number of blogs proliferated, there were blog carnivals for almost every subject area and niche. And why not? It works for both readers and bloggers:

Readers get a convenient, curated list of articles that are probably going to repay a visit to the contributing blog with good content and value. They are already gathered, vetted and sorted. This is one of the most valuable functions you can perform for the readers in your niche, because otherwise a lot of this content will go unread.

Bloggers get a chance to share their best posts with a wider audience, since all bloggers who participate in the carnival link to the post from their own blogs. Because the best blog carnivals are tightly focused on their niche, there’s a great chance that readers of other blogs will be delighted to find more great content in their area of interest.

If you are a nonfiction author with a blog on your topic, I would encourage you to check and see if there are any blog carnivals in your niche. Participating is an easy way to market your blog, and to find new readers.

Time for Something New

Blog carnivals don’t seem as popular as they once were, but they are still a great idea. While searching for carnivals to participate in, I found a number aimed at writers and writing blogs. And there’s Cathy Stucker’s great blog carnival oriented to book marketing, Selling Books.

But I was disappointed to find no blog carnival for self-publishing. What’s up with that?

Since there are so many more bloggers writing about self-publishing, it seemed like a great time to start one up, so that’s what we’ve done. I call it Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies, and this month will be its premier issue.

Now it’s more than eight years later, and time to take stock of how this whole plan has worked out in practice.

Well, as it turns out readers have been avid consumers of these blog articles right from the beginning.

Providing lightly curated content—we publish all submitted articles as long as they meet the submission criteria—has resulted in a three-way win:

  • It’s a win for readers, who are increasingly deluged with content but have little way to figure out what’s authentic
  • It’s a win for bloggers, who receive attention to their writing and traffic to their blogs from Carnival readers
  • It’s a win for the host, since we satisfy a need of both these audiences, resulting in increased traffic, authority, and good feelings for “sharing the wealth.”

And even though blog carnivals are rare these days, perhaps you should think about staring one in your field of interest.

Statistics Tell the Tale

Perhaps through the accumulated statistics you’ll be able to get some idea of how broad a reach the Carnival of the Indies has achieved.

Here are some highlights:

Total number of issues: 100

Total number of articles published: 3,201

First issue published: October 31, 2010 (Halloween)

Largest issue (59): Issue #37, October 2013

Year with most articles published: 2013 (571 articles)

Topics by Articles Published

–Marketing and Selling Your Books: 1,117 articles
–Writing Tools & Tips: 861 articles
–Indie Author: 556 articles
–Self-Publishing Success: 305 articles
–Book Design & Production: 285 articles
–Ebooks & Ebook Readers: 77 articles

Top Featured Post Authors
Joanna Penn – 14 issues
Carla King – 12 issues
Mark Coker – 11 issues
Kimberley Grabas – 10 issues
Belinda Pollard / M. Louisa Locke / Helen Sedwick / K.M. Weiland / Dave Chesson – each featured in 6 issues
Dave Bricker / Louise Harnby – each featured in 5 issues
–Over 100 other bloggers chosen as Featured Post Authors


The Carnival of the Indies blog header and blogger badges were designed by Alodia Bautista

From the Editor

As many readers know, Shelley Sturgeon, the editorial director of the blog, does most of the work on the monthly blog carnival posts.

This can be quite a job, from maintaining lists of bloggers, notifying them, gathering and formatting the submissions, editing and verifying the entries, then making sure it all looks good and is ready for my contribution: selecting the featured bloggers.

Here’s what Shelley has to say about her part in the process of posting 100 of these blog carnivals:

“Each month, I process the submissions and do the initial review of the articles for Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies (known as “COTI” around here).

I reject the submissions that are too old or completely off topic (You’d be surprised by some of the off-topic submissions we’ve received over the years!) and the ones that focus on the promotion of products or services. Then I prepare the post draft for Joel’s review, send out the reminders and schedule the COTI tweets. It’s a fairly big job putting it all together each month.

“I’m a virtual assistant and had only started working for Joel a couple of months prior to the first issue of Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies in 2010.

“Until I’d worked with him, I’d never heard of a blog carnival, but I quickly realized the merit of the concept.

“At that time, I would regularly submit Joel’s articles from The Book Designer to other blog carnivals across the web, but those blog carnivals are pretty much all gone now, and have been for quite some time.

“To me, that illustrates how amazing it is that Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies is still chugging along quite nicely every month, featuring many articles each issue submitted by some of the best self-publishing authors and advocates on the web.

“One hundred issues and going strong! That’s quite an accomplishment! Thank you to all of you who have contributed, continue to contribute, and read our post each month.”

So thanks to everyone who has contributed to our roundup over the years. We plan to be here serving readers—and sending out links—for years to come.

If you have a favorite blog you’d like to see featured here, encourage them to submit their best articles here.

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