Today, we’ve got a unique duo of posts! One of my dear friends is interviewing another of my dear friends over at Nicole Storey’s blog! Melissa at Editorch is discussing her editing process and is offering a deep discount on her editing services as A GIVEAWAY! GO ENTER, QUICK!!!
On the other side of the globe, authors Heather Poinsett and Chris Dunbar are having an enthralling discussion at We Heart Bookz blog!
Don’t forget that you can still enter giveaways on all previous posts! Check out the schedule at Books and Broomsticks!
And there’s a scavenger hunt going on for a fantastic one-of-a-kind bauble! Are you participating? If not, you should be! If you are, keep it up! :-)
Author readings and book tours are not an essential component of the writing or publishing processes, and so these events have long been associated with a kind of miasmic purposelessness. Go to your basic reading and sit in the back row, where if you squint, you will see above the head of almost everyone involved—the writer(s)/reader(s), the audience, the publicist, the bookseller, the sales clerk(s) who set up the chairs and must wait around to take them down before heading out to an indie-rock show, the local reporter doing a trend piece on the decline of readings—a clump of thought bubbles bumping up against each other like trapped balloons, all imprinted with slight variations of the same theme, namely: “Why are we here?”
Writers (and to varying extent, their publishers) have long struggled to justify the relevance of readings, both to themselves and to prospective audience members. In 450 BC, for example, when Herodotus (a.k.a. “The Father of Lies”) published his nine-volume epic The Histories and soon after announced his intention to read from his work at an outdoor café/independent bookstore in Halicarnassus, he sent out the following message by runner: “You guys, I’m reading on Tuesday night—hope you can make it!—there’s going to be free booze ☺” To which his best friend nevertheless responded, also by runner: “Sorry, I’m going to be out of town ☹” which (although the record is unclear) we can assume was a lie, given that the event in question conflicted with a much-anticipated television broadcast of Sophocles’ Ἠλέκτρα.
Yet writers continue to promote their events, with or without the help of their publishers—and occasionally, the stars align and the event in question is deemed a success, or at least not a complete disaster. Here with advice, lessons learned as well as horror stories of readings and book tours past are authors Shane Jones, Laurie Weeks, Charles Yu, Tao Lin, Sheila McClear, Jon Michaud and myself; publicists Lauren Cerand and Brian Ulicky; and event organizer Jennie Portnof.
Post by Mathew Gallaway
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Over the weekend I was looking for a book on Amazon and I could not find what I was looking for. I was searching for a newly released title, so I expected that the Amazon Search may not pull it right up at the top of my inquiry however, I was more concerned for the long-term search results for this book as the author had not associated any keyword “tags” for his title. I don’t want to name names, but I will tell you this. The title I was looking for is one of the only books on the subject matter that covers an historic event that no one else has written about. Huge marketing opportunity for this book and the author did not include the name of the historic event in his marketing copy or in his Amazon keyword tags. It got me fired up.
Why Is My Book Not Selling?
Okay. Time for a confession. A Storm Hits Valparaiso is selling a little less than I had hoped. But that’s not what today’s post is about. This question – why is my book not selling? – is quite a common one and I would like to address it in a general way because I think many people slip up on the basics.
I would also like to use my new book as a case study, to show what steps I am taking to address somewhat tepid sales over the last couple of weeks. And in fact, the tide is already turning – thanks to a couple of tricks I pulled yesterday, but we’ll get to that.
As Seth Godin says, it’s far cheaper to design marketing into a product than to advertise it afterwards – and he’s right. But what does that mean for self-publishers? Well, if you don’t get the basics right, you are making your job incredibly difficult.
Too many self-publishers skimp on, say, editing or covers, then waste money on ads that do nothing for their sales. It’s not that ads are a waste of money per se – the right ad on the right site (for the right book) can have great results. But if your cover looks like something a drunkard knocked up the first time they used Photoshop, all the ads in the world won’t help.
So, the basics. After I skip through these, I’ll get into some marketing nitty gritty and my own bean-spilling. Stay with me, folks.
November is known by most literati as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. How it works: Start writing a 50,000-word novel on November 1 and finish by midnight on November 30th. (For in-depth details go to the NaNoWriMo.org.) I’ve participated in the event twice. First, let me share these three important takeaways from my experience.
1. It was unbelievably fun.
2. Being that productive gave me the shot of adrenaline I needed to write more.
3. I was terribly unprepared both times and ended up with 50,000 words of useless material.
OK, so “useless” may be a bit harsh, but when looking back at my past attempts I realized that if I had just did some planning and preparation, not only would I have been able to complete more words, they would have been the making of a publishable story. I bring this up because I believe that 1) You should TOTALLY try NaNoWriMo if you haven’t before—you won’t regret it and it will be one of the best writing decisions you make this year, and 2) spend the next few days preparing yourself to write a story that’s not only good, but has the structure to be great.
Go here to read the rest…
Post by Brian Klems
Note from Jane: I don’t usually run posts that feature or promote a single service or solution. Authors need to find partners who not only fit with them, but also fit with their work and their audience. In Scott Sigler‘s case, I think he’s found an excellent partner that helps empower his long-term author career. Read this as a case study in what a successful fit looks like, rather than as THE solution for every author. Now, without further ado …
Today’s guest blogger is entrepreneur Tay Nguyen. Tay is a co-founder or BackMyBook, a company that offers services and technology platforms necessary to guide authors through the rapidly changing world of publishing. Previously, Tay was a co-founder at DivX, an Internet video company he took to a $535 million valuation. He and his partner, GK Parish-Philp, formerly of mp3.com, are now applying their collective Internet experience to the publishing world.
Read the rest here…
Everyone knows the superstars of self-publishing, but many others are earning a living, selling foreign rights, and being courted by traditional publishers.
By Robin Sullivan
There have been many articles about self-published superstars like Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. While these success stories are noteworthy, we should look at them for what they are — outliers in the self-publishing world just as Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer are outliers in the big-six publishing industry. Most authors can never hope to reach sales in the hundreds of thousands for a single month, but there are more than a few who sell anywhere from 800 to 20,000. While selling books at this level would seem extraordinary by traditional publishing standards, the mere fact that so many self published authors have achieved this goal (with more being added each month), indicates that it is not an unusual occurrence.
Read the rest here…
You would think, as writers, that we would be perfectly gifted for writing top-notch press releases. It’s what we do for a hobby, a career or a passion. It’s our talent. But in my experience, being writer has been a handicap when it comes to creating press releases.
The problem is, most writers (including me) pride themselves on their creative license and flowery prose. Unfortunately, press release writing necessitates that we abandon both of those trademarks in favor of concrete parameters and succinct lines. I can’t tell you how many weeks of well written press releases were returned to me in my public relations writing class with enough red ink to paint a Target store. It took me a while to figure out that “well written” in press release terms meant short, sweet and to the point.
Writing press releases is like writing news articles—you’re basically putting together a piece that a lazy reporter could slap his/her byline on and run in tomorrow’s edition of the paper. You have to approach it from a journalistic standpoint (a basic one, at that, you’re not trying to be the next Woodward or Bernstein).
Read the rest here…
Post by Shannon
I’ve had a few folks ask me about the nitty gritty details of ebook formatting, so we’ll have a couple of guest posts coming up on that topic (my way of formatting my ebooks is having someone else do it for me, so I figured I’d bow to the expertise of others). We’ll have a post coming along that details the way to get in and tinker with the html and such, but today’s post offers a simpler solution. Thanks, Jeff Dvorak, for writing this up for us…
Read the rest here…
Post by Lindsay
I read this blog the other day: The Problem Isn’t the Books
I really think you should read it, mostly because it’s interesting, but also because I don’t want to rehash it. The main bullet points are this:
A NY Times article came out basically saying that teenage boys aren’t reading books anymore, and they (the author of said article) think it’s because of how few books are marketed toward teenage boys.
The blog I linked to is a rebuttle to that, but what they’re really rebutting is this quote:
Read the rest here…
Post by Amanda Hocking
Today I’m thrilled to be dishing it up with thriller writer extraordinaire Robert Browne.
Robert is an AMPAS Nicholl Award-winning screenwriter who ran screaming from the movie industry and jumped into writing novels.
His first novel, KISS HER GOODBYE, was recently produced in Chicago as a pilot for a CBS Television series tentatively titled THE LINE, by Sony Pictures and Timberman/Beverly Productions, with a script written and directed by Michael Dinner.
Before the jump, he developed screenplays for Showtime, Viacom, Saban/Fox Kids, Krost-Chapin, and Marvel. He was also staff writer for Fox Kids’ Diabolik, and a contributing screenwriter for Spider-Man Unlimited.
Read the rest here…
Article by J.E. Taylor
I began offering Kindle versions of some of my books when CreateSpace initially offered their Kindle Conversion service for the low price of $69. This service is for books already published using CreateSpace so my lone book with Lightning Source had to be converted by another service. I choose to use eBook Architects for that project and while it cost more, the results were excellent and I received a file for the Nook as part of the purchase.
Kindle sales have grown to the point that I sell more Kindle books per month than POD and the revenue is starting to add up. Despite my fears, and the fears of some authors, offering both POD and Kindle versions does not seem to have hurt sales of the more profitable print versions.
So, as I prepare for the three peak months of the year for sales, I have been considering which of my unconverted back list titles are worth the investment of converting to Kindle. Since I have sold a grand total of one book for the BN Nook, the cost of having a title converted to a Nook friendly format is just not worth the investment at the moment.
Read the rest here…
Article by Kevin S.