Lately I’ve been

I had been writing for years, sounds like an opening sentence to a novel, but true I had stopped writing for a while and returned after my successful participation in the NanaWriMo 2011. The piece I wrote during the November challenge was published in June 2012. It is a crime novel with lots of action and a character driven by his love for his first sweetheart. Currently I’m writing a ghost story, sounds ordinary doesn’t it? A ghost story. But, it’s also about family and crime and two very strong women. One alive and the other dead, both lively though.

I read alot on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, WordPress, and several other social websites. In fact it takes up most of my time. However, the information on self publishing I find at these sites, you know the how to’s and what works for others, is beneficial, especially for new authors. I love creating stories. Let me say that again, I love it.

Publishing is a bit of a challenge but doable and Marketing sucks. I recently read a blog on the subject and the author suggested that authors stop tweeting a hundred tweets, and all the other marketing tactics and write. Huh? Yes, he suggested authors need many titles, especially more than one book to get noticed. You know what, I tend to agree. After reading the blog I did ease off the tweets, mostly the ones promoting my works. I still tweets stories I find about self publishing on the web. Why? I want to spread the word to new and established authors on what’s current in the self publishing world. I still catch up on FaceBook and GoodReads. I read what’s being posted or reviewed.

I learned about betas through these sites and thought instead of putting much of my free time into promoting and marketing why not focus more on my writing and since I obviously cannot stay away from social sites why not read the works of other authors, give reviews and maybe get one or two of my own work. So here I am. Instead of seeking reviews for an already published book. I seek opinions of my unpublished work before it goes live at Amazon or Smashwords. I found FictionPress on a Bing search. I’m three days old now. I’ve read and gave reviews, and though I’m no pro, I try to both encourage authors and alert them to typos or errors. I am a firm believer that authors cannot edit their own stories. Beta readers like those found at FictionPress can help authors polish their works to publishing quality. Does this take away from hiring a professional editor…maybe not. The more eyes on the story the better.

I recieve email updates on posts /authors I like from WordPress to keep up, but haven’t added much content myself, well actually none since late September. My time flies when ones busy marketing.

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New Authors, Fresh Voices

I’ve been working on my next novel The Genealogist’s Guests! You may ask yourself if you were researching your family history and your ancestors start appearing, in spirit form of course, what would it take to realize it’s not your imagination. When you hear the whispers, see movement, maybe a shadow, or a door opening on its own. Maybe your coffee has already brewed when you go to make a pot, or your computer is already turned own when you enter your office. Rationally, you may think to yourself there’s a perfect explanation, you left the computer on, made the coffee and don’t remember doing it, and the whispers are all in your head, but then what happens when your fireplace has a fierce fire built, your lawn in manicured, your evil ghosts, the menacing ex-serial killer ghost tries to kill you.  What happens when your neighbors find out your place is haunted, or worse it’s you that’s haunted. Here’s a little scene from the book:

George climbed back into his white Ford pickup truck. He looked back at Liz as he rolled along the driveway and as he faced forward he thought he saw a man in the tree line. He slammed on his breaks causing the gravel to stir. He captured Liz’s attention and she stood by her flower bed watching the peculiar way George moved around in his seat. George searched the tree line but didn’t see anything unusual. He saw Liz watching him through his rearview mirror. He threw the truck in gear and got on out of there. Liz searched the tree line herself and saw nothing unusual, except that it was a beautiful scene. In fact her acres looked as if someone had meticulously manicured it to a perfect setting. “How splendid,” she said. “My guest will approve.”

George wasted no time getting home to Margaret and when he charged through the door screaming, “It’s just what you said Margaret! She’s got some spirits over there. Saw it with my own eyes!” Margaret wasn’t surprised.

“Calm down George,” Margaret said. “We’ll help Liz. Now tell me what you saw.”

 

The novel is due for release in the fall 2012. Lot’s of work to do, next step get that book cover in the works. I’ve learned the hard way to hire someone to design the cover, along with editing. I self publish, not that I gave traditional publishing a good chance, I didn’t. The allure of self publishing and getting my works out to readers quickly excited me. I truly believe in the indies and have habitually scanned books on Amazon, reading those first chapters, searching for that fresh voice, that compelling story by the next best selling author-indie author. A huge variety of indie author’s works are now published through Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace to name a few, and more publishing companies are joining in on the fun. We, the indie’s are appearing on the New York Times best seller list and web blogs all over the internet. There’s real talent in the self publishing and I am excited to be a part of it.

What’s your take on ‘Paid for Book Reviews’

If you haven’t been over to the World Literary Café’s Facebook page you’ve been missing out on some good conversations.  The latest’s being a post about “Paid for Reviews.”  A FB friend found this New York Times’ Article (Look over to the right under my Tweets), The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy,  from the Business Day section and started a conversation at WLC’s FB page. Here’s my opinion of the news.

Here we are the self publishing, indie authors, who have either been shunned by or haven’t tried the traditional publishing route. We go at it alone, without the backing of major advertisers. In this piece it discusses five star reviews, the paid kind, and how there are  paid reviewers out there giving five stars reviews and they haven’t read the books.

Wait did I just write that right. It was the part of the article that stuck out for me. You mean I’d be paying someone to give  false reviews of my baby. Wow what does that do for customers? I’ll tell you what it does, it harms the reputation of all indies. They won’t come back and buy another, possibly from any indie author if the review falsely gives it five stars. This is not fiction.

Just imagine that you’re the one with the most fascinating, well written novel capable of being the number one best seller of all time and you can’t get the attention because some self serving person(s) out there saw a way to make a buck and thought it was a good idea to post bogus reviews, not seeing the bigger picture, that eventually led to the abomination of all indies. Our credibility. It feels very close.

I’ve been a part of writers groups and have read some extraordinary works, stories I had to finish reading right then and there. Seriously could not get off my laptop pieces that I would, without second guessing,  give a five star rating. Novels of such should not be overlooked because the author took the self publishing route.  We’ve come to a new age in publishing.

In self publishing infancy, where we are now, we need a program or a plan that assure indie’s are getting recognition without destroying the overall reputation.  False reviews isn’t going to do.  Ask yourself seriously is this the route you want? Wouldn’t it be better, more satisfying to have an honest review and then if need be, improve on your skills, perhaps take some writing courses, become a master of fiction with great reviews and recognition a hundred years from now?

We have fan pages, FB pages, author websites, and so on that reach, for the most part, us. We need to reach the everyday consumers out there, readers who by word of mouth can recommend our novels.  We need well written, edited works, with  great book covers, that knock the consumers off their butts, stories they can’t resist or stop talking about—and we need to advertise. I encourage authors out there to start looking into this avenue. Me, I’m going to take my local library up on offers of giving them a copy of my book, and if they love it…

Yes they will take and review indie books! They’ll know if its suitable for their shelves.

Once accepted I can then start my own little advertising campaign.  What’s your thought? There’s more to the article than what I picked up on, where should indies go from here? How do we assure our spot as an equal to the traditionals?

Value Your Work, Value Literature

As DOJ, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, and the like battle it out over eBook pricing here I am, a self publisher of one novel, thinking of my decision to price my book at 6.99. Good decision? I think so. I could have priced it at .99 cents… wait are you kidding me? I put a lot of work into that book! It’s not a short story, it’s a full novel. In my opinion there’s a fair market for short stories at less than a dollar price range. I recently read one and was pleased with my purchase. But should a full novel go for a buck? No! Authors! Do not sell your hard work out like that! A three hundred page novel should not sell for the price of a thousand word story.

I considered pricing  my novel at 2.99, a good price range for  new authors trying to attract the attention of readers I think, and I’ve watched many new authors sell a lot of books at 2.99. But what about the value of each? If a hundred thousand people purchased a book at 2.99 based on good reviews wouldn’t they do the same at a 6.99 price? I think so. I would, shoot I’d pay 9.99. So I ask, why price your book at 2.99? Ah yes, to get people purchasing, it’s a tough market out there. I feel you!

So why did I price mine at 6.99? I think it’s a fair price for a new author. I know it’s a fair price for the work I put into it. If people like it they will purchase it, if not they won’t, nothing secret about that.  I, like everyone else can make many assumptions on what the eBook  pricing wars outcome will be, but the responsibility lies on us, the self publisher, to NOT devalue our work. I have never walked into a bookstore, you know where the traditional (published) books are and purchased a new novel for 2.99! Paperbacks that have filled shelves for years still go for 6.99! That’s where my fair price thought came from, let me explain.

If you feel you have a voice, a good story, something for a large population, or a select genre, whatever your fancy, don’t price your brand new voice, your talent for story telling, your place in the literary world-dirt cheap-for the sake of selling as many copies as possible for a quick buck.  Have faith in readers! They will find you at more than 2.99 a copy. The real challenge in self publishing is not with pricing, it’s with marketing. Letting readers know you have a product they will enjoy. For me self publishing also means we must keep the value of literature in its glory.

Borrowed Dreams

Recently there have been talks about a website called LendInk. I was concerned about it myself. I also wrote LendInk and requested my title be taken off their site. That same evening, after more discussions, I went back to the website to gather information on how the site operates but could no longer view it. My Norton antivirus screen popped up with its warning about the site.  I have since learned the owner took the site down after recieivng complaints. This link was sent to me to shed some light on the subject:

http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Perhaps some education on lending policies would ease tensions. I do not have the scoop on this subject, but what I do have is an opinion. Some would shine a positive light on the use of such “lending” sites. I’m certainly not opposed to getting my work out there to readers. In fact that’s why I give it free to begin with, I run the special to get interested readers with the hopes of a review or two. The review hasn’t happened but I keep hope, maybe even pray someone takes the time.

Getting back to the point, I want readers but, go figure a but right? I’m not in the know of how the, “lend,” sites actually work. For instance, there was no actual purchase of my title in the eBook format when my book appeared at the LendInk site. I know because being new to self publishing I obsessively check the stats! However, there were free purchases, my doing of course, I put the special out. I’m guessing this is how my title was picked up and sent to LendInk as a title that someone can borrow. Ok, I’m still not opposed to reaching readers. As a self publisher, not having the marketing support of a traditional publishing company, I, and all indie’s have to watch for ourselves.

So here comes the fear, My book is being lent to a thousand people and I haven’t sold a single copy, OMG! Do you feel me? How am I as a self published author to know just how many sites my title is being offered for free at, one, two, one hundred…more?

It’s a hot topic and I want to learn more about “lend” sites. If they are a benefit to authors, (self published), what are the true benefits? Is this program a good way of getting our works out there to readers, much like us giving them out for free? If so sign me up! But if I haven’t sold a single copy and my book is being borrowed a hundred times over without, and here’s what’s tearing at my gut, without a single review from any of the borrowers, I’m the loser.

I’m not savvy in developing these type of websites, but if I were, I’d without a doubt create one, but try and get retailers like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, etc., to provide a link to authors/publishers to my “lending” website where they can monitor the the borrows, maybe check off the total they allow to be borrowed, have borrowers leave a review for the author and future customers with a link back to the retailer (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.) where the review can be seen.

Now that’s lending/borrowing sense. But right now, self published authors are operating clueless, we don’t know where our books have landed in the world of borrowing, or the number of sites offering them. And if you’re a brand new author, new to self publishing, like me, it’s troubling.

It wasn’t easy

But I have published my book, Compelled,  at Smashwords, Createspace, and Amazon. I am excited about the new book cover designed by Donna Casey at DigitalDonna.com. Editorial service was done by Diane Reynolds.  I send a special thanks for your contribution to this book. I am equally excited about my next title The Genealogists Guest, but I have a lot of work to do with Compelled. Mainly get the news out that it is available. I’ve been reading about marketing, my true weakness, and much of what I gather is that social networking is key, along with word of mouth, and a few reviews. And so I have advertised, should I say, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites.

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