Friday, June 29, 2012
Getting an editor, a ghost writer, a copy editor, even publishing your picture books on the digitals (which is more difficult than simply getting an unillustrated book up) is as easy as advertising on Craig’s List. In this economy there are many people looking for jobs in the field. A friend of mine advertised for a copy editor recently and got 57 replies. The important thing to know about writing is that you don’t need to do it all yourself. And you don’t have to let not being a writer stop you from writing about your area of expertise, particularly if having a book would help you with sales or clients.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Writing a book if you’re not a writer. Most everyone in business knows enough about what they do to write a book, BUT not everyone is a writer. Most people who don’t write can talk. Simply get a recording device and talk into it. Or start explaining your business in paragraphs as I am doing with publishing on the digitals and at the end of a few months you’ll have a small book. The important part about writing a book is that you start with a point of view. What part of your business do you want to explain? I have a book on writing for speakers. I have a book on character development. I will soon have a book on how to get published on the digitals. Each of them is about a certain aspect of writing.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The following advice is not specific to writers, it’s for everyone who is looking at generating a little more PR. I’ve gotten all kinds of coverage through subscribing to “Reporter Connection” and HARO “Help A Reporter Out.” Just Google and subscribe. Notices come to your email every day. On these sites reporters ask for experts of all kinds – for radio, TV, magazines, newspapers and blogs. If you fit what they are looking for, contact the reporter by filling out the form on the sites. In some cases it just gets your name out. In other cases it gets your business out. In still other cases it gets both. Some of the radio stations on HARO are weird, which is not a reason not to give them a shot. If you look on my URL Press Page you can see some of the interviews and reviews I’ve gotten in the past year many of them from these sources.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
If you are a writer bookmarks can serve as your business cards (your info on the back). That advice comes with a caveat. Business cards that are not the same size and shape as other business cards are annoying and apt to get thrown out really fast. That’s a note to people who aren’t writers as well. Get clever with design not with size, shape and material. A fancy card may look good but if I can’t staple it to my paperwork it’s useless.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Another marketing tip. If you are doing book signings – book signing parties – or other such things, include a bookmark in your book with your contact information on it. Include a thumbnail picture of one of your books. Your website address (where you have other books you’ve written posted), another item you’re marketing. Bookmarks can be made (20 on a page – two sided color and cut) by laminating at most print shops.
Friday, June 22, 2012
The best thing about posting on the digitals is that if you make a mistake with a title you can post it under another title (just mention that you did that somewhere in the manuscript) – experiment until you start selling. The same holds true with keywords and descriptions, with covers and with back of the book cross advertising. With paper books you can’t do that – so test market with the digitals and go paper once you’ve tested what you’re doing – that is of course if you feel you need to go paper – which most of us don’t need to do unless we need the books for back of the room sales. For the next two weeks I’m lowering the price on “The Initiative” on both Kindle and Nook to $.99 so you can save $4.00 on the purchase price. It’s a five star rated book which received rave reviews which is about the CDC uncovering a terrorist anthrax attack on NYC and Dr. Cassandra William’s fight to stop terrorists from using another anthrax bomb on the city which will kill millions.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Why the digital sites are so great. The big publishers and the agents and bookstores that are aligned with them do not support developing writers. They really only support the writers who don’t need their support – low hanging fruit. The digitals give you a chance to write, publish, market, find out what sells and why and to grow as a writer. There is no charge for publishing on the digitals. You don’t need an agent or a publisher. If you are a writer you’ll write anyway, you might as well get immersed in the business of writing and learn how to market what you write so you can make money doing what you love.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Having said a lot about Amazon and Kindle supporting their readers let me go to Barnes & Noble and Nook. Unlike Amazon Barnes and Noble’s Nook doesn’t require reviews to actually be posted by readers. On Nook I can upload five reviews in the back section (where I upload the book itself) and simply reference the source. Unlike Amazon which has the “Like” function, Nook suggests that you should have read the book before rating it. There is space at the bottom of the books sales page for star ratings and reviews. As with Amazon, the more a book gets noticed on Nook the more they push sales, so if you are a Nook reader the same requests for going to nook and giving my books five star ratings (that is until you have read them and want to give a two sentence review) would be great.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Amazon and Barnes and Noble have really good tracking systems so you can see what’s selling and what you may want to revisit in terms of descriptions, keywords, titles, covers and so forth. NOTHING is more fun than visiting the reports pages once you start selling – especially toward the end of the month. It is impossible to track Smashword sales so you wait and see what happens every quarter.
Friday, June 15, 2012
The third way to get noticed by Amazon is by Star Ratings. Star Ratings are between one and five - five being best. I usually get 4-5 star ratings for my novels. Stars -like reviews - are located on the sales page lower down near the reviews section. It’s always nice to be able to say you’ve gotten five star reviews or ratings. It also helps Amazon notice and then push your books. Amazon of all the digital sellers works hard to push its writers that sell. You’d think that would be a no brainer for a digital publisher since they make money on what you sell – I assure you it’s not.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The second way to get noticed by Amazon is by reviews. 20 reviews and you are definitely included in the “If you liked this book you might also like…” Reviews are usually never longer than a couple of sentences although reviewers often recap the stories as part of a review. It’s not necessary to do that but it makes writing longer reviews easier. All of this liking and reviewing is very, very helpful to the author. Although I have been fortunate not to receive bad reviews even those are helpful because they are feedback.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
When people “Like” your book on Amazon it changes the way Amazon algorhythms view those books. “If you liked this book you might also like...” The Like symbol is on the book sales page which comes up when you click on the books picture in a general list. Liking is close to the top. The more attention a writer and his or her various books receive the more Amazon pushes them.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The address for Amazon self-publishing is www.kdp.amazon.com/ kdp stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. Kindle is very separate from Amazon so if you have problems you have to contact them directly...just go to help when you are in Kindle direct rather than trying to contact them when you are in Amazon. You can get to them through Amazon help eventually. Amazon customer service is MARVELOUS. I am very impressed with this company I think they stay awake nights thinking about how they can make money creating opportunities for their authors. Very different from the publishing industry at large. Amazon also has the self-publishing opportunity Create Space which I'll write about at another time. I haven't used it yet but it's a way to turn a successful seller on the digitals into a paperback. It's downside is that Amazon products are being boycotted by the bookstore competition. Which is really dumb and is not a reason to avoid publishing on Amazon.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Another word about using pen names. Limit the number you write under because each one of them has to have content in order to build following. The more stories, articles and books you have under a pen name the greater your chance of being discovered. But even short stories (2500 words and up) take time to write. It’s better to write a great deal under a few names than to thin out each pen name’s content by writing under a great many names.
Friday, June 8, 2012
The reason to write under pen names is because switching from genre to genre under the same name can make your readers furious. Just imagine how a devoted Robert Ludlum fan would react if he suddenly used the Ludlum moniker to market a romance novel. Ken Follet did that and it was very bad for him as a writer. His agent actually told him not to do it. The agent was 100% correct. One author name for one genre is the unwritten rule. My goal in this group is to put my books on the best sellers lists. It will help me if you go to my books and Like them on Amazon at the top of the book’s sales page.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
A note about smashwords.com (which is a site that translates your book into the languages of eight other sites and is a path to I-Pad, Sony, Nook and Kindle if you want to consolidate). If you are using a pen name then you have to create an account for each name you are writing under or sign up as a publisher. It’s not difficult, but if you’re going the separate writers route Smashwords requires separate email addresses. My goal in this blog is to put my novels on the best sellers lists – so if you read books please check them out.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Smashwords.com is a great site to publish on first (before you upload to kindle or nook) because you have to have a clean manuscript in order to get it accepted by Smashwords. They also give great formatting directions on how to create clean copy . It’s amazing how many glitchy little things can get into your manuscript if you aren’t diligent. Publishing on the digitals and particularly on Smashwords takes special skills if you publish charts and pictures but for straight writing it’s really easy to use.
Friday, June 1, 2012
Publishing on Barnes & Noble (“Nook”) can be a royal pain in the beginning because their digital publishing company is so hard to find. Here is the address where you can sign up at pubit for your own publishing account – create an account or log in at the upper right hand corner - http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home.