I Am The So-Called ENEMY
Okay you guys, it's time to put you all in the get-along T-shirt.
You all might deny that Indie authors are publishers. Especially Indie authors.
But the fact of the matter is...Indies are no different than those so-called traditional published authors.
Go ahead, say no, no,no,no,no--I'm not like other writers.
So, I'm going to take that mask of denial off your face and show you how we all are similar.
Indie authors run their writing business how they want. And trust me, all of you are running a business. Amazon uses your SS#/EIN for a reason.
"Traditional published" authors are running a business, they just don't have to worry/control some of the aspects of the publishing side. They've handed it over to a partner--who they pay. These writers might feel like they don't have control, but the reality is they tend to give it away when signing the contract. They just accept that this/that and the other thing is non-negotiable. While there are some things that are a no-go, think long before deciding you can work with a non-negotiable.
You're getting paid. Therefore you are a publishing official.
Both Indie and trads get paid. Some get paid by different retailers, some get paid by one.
It's in the way you run your business. You can submit to different publishers and wait for a partner to pick you, or you can pick your partners to help you with this.
To truly be an Indie author, you need to write your stories down on college-ruled paper and make copies at kinko's, bind it with glue and sell it for how ever much. Everyone else, is an author/publisher no trad, no indie--no self-published, there's no such thing.
*Going off topic*
I like the term Micro-pub--you're now a micro-publisher, Congratulations! You'll have that title for the rest of your life.
*Back on topic-somewhat*
Maybe you have a vendetta against Penguin, Walmart and Google. Yay for you, but in my eyes the only thing that larger publishing houses ***might*** have an advantage is reader confidence and funds. That's it. Something anyone has the *possibility* to gain.
So have a hot cup of shut-the-hell-up and write. This big bad micro-publisher wishes you success.
ACTION ITEM: Stop calling my authors self-published! HHHEEEELLLLOOO! Am I even in the room here?
The Key Class ~ In the Nooz...
A romantic garden, fine delicacies, tea and good friends. This was how I spent my Tuesday. But, if you really want to see how it went I found this article: Afternoon Tea in the Garden Toasts The Key Class.
You might be asking me how this has anything with today's topic--publishing process--and I'd tell you that books are concepts and this is how they start. John Daly is the concept and founder of The Key Class which is supported by Macy's at Paseo Nuevo, Daniel Bryant Youth Center, Partners in education and others. The Key Class helps youths who need better social skills especially if they're going to get a job.
I think his video does the best job of explaining:
I was honored to be at the Afternoon Tea in the Garden compliments of John Daly because I published his book~ The Key Class: The Keys to Job Search Success.
John has been working in the Special Events industry for more than 30 years and a small gathering of about 100 people was nothing for him to coordinate.
In fact when I arrived a little early (at John's request) we saw his vivacious arms waving instructions to his staff setting up what I'd call "the goods" (chocolates, fruits, edibles in which I had ALL of them).
I cannot believe this man has "retired" from the events industry because you just don't have his passion without loving it and when you love something you never leave. He throws that kind of passion into the young men and women who desperately need guidance on how to interact with others.
As John Daly says in the video--he's seen a kid ready to be jumped into a gang and then make the turn after taking The Key Class seminars. The kids that take this class will always "belong" to him, just as the Special Event industry will always "own" him.
For whatever reason, these two careers work in a combination that just works and helps these kids. Shane Meares (above in the top picture) was one of those kids that took The Key Class.
All of John Daly's knowledge in helping others prepare for the working force, including but not limited to: young teens, adults, those with work, and those trying to find a job now have the benefit of learning John's secrets in the first volume of his book, The Key Class: The Keys to Job Search Success.
Even if you can't take the class you can still gain John Daly's insight from his book. You'll also directly help John fund his passion for these kids. When you purchase the print book it also comes with the kindle version for free which is my way of saying thank you all, for your support.
What do you think of when someone says "Publishing Process"?
Is it mysterious?
Do you think of a person uploading an ebook to Amazon?
making red marks on a word .doc?
on the phone making deals to bookstores?
What if I were to say that the publishing process has everything to do with finding out how to produce a book and make it available to the reader?
What would you say to a publisher trying to find out how to get on other platforms, like tablet, phones or ezines?
What does a publisher really do?
One might say a publisher produces the book and gets it to distributors.
One might say a publisher markets the books they produce.
Another might say they read manuscripts all day, reject them all and then go home to the family and watch TV all night.
I don't know about other publishers but I know what I do.
I think about my author's career. Not just about the book they have written, but about the book they will write. There is no greater honor to help a writer build a book, get it out there and watch it shine. But once out, it's time for the next book. It's time for a little marketing of the book you have.
I'm thinking, what's next? What is my storyteller going to write next?
You see, we don't have a product until our writers write it. Each book is a dream. Each author is an interpreter of that dream. When that dream is concrete, on paper and out into the world, the publishing process ends and the marketing begins. I'm not longer a publisher but a marketer.
So what is the publishing process?
You tell me! What is a publisher suppose to do?
It's war out there!
AMAZON IS TAKING OVER!
As a publisher I've got my eye out there looking at what other publishers are doing, what authors are saying and what people are generally freaking out about.
Usually, people stampede to the next dilemma and it's actually fun to watch everyone go round and round.
They get in a tissy over what Amazon is doing. Or Apple. Or Smashwords. Or Barnes and Nobel and on down the line to start again with Amazon. It's like a checklist.
However, I pose a question ~ If Amazon died tomorrow and all your books from that site were gone, what would you do? How would it affect you?
Conversely, if everyone BUT Amazon died tomorrow, how would it affect you?
You can answer this question by looking to the historians ~ history's story tellers. In fact I bet you can tell me what would happen by answering this question...when banks started failing, how did it affect you? If you live off your writing this is a question you should think seriously about.
If need be I'll sell books off the website. I will have books in every showcase possible. But there is a reason Amazon has become the 3rd largest search engine. It's easy, and they have the best prices.
Action Item: Think about the questions
Photo Credit: Ingólfur B via Compfight cc
Really, publishing saved my life.
If I didn't have this, well, it wouldn't be a good time.
The whole reason I got started in publishing was not for my own sake, but for the sake of two other writers. My mom and PAK (Patricia A. Knight). Okay, yes I was going to publish my own stuff, but I'd known they had books they wanted to publish and they were books that needed to be out in the world and those two were going to let them just sit and rot in bag until they found a publisher. So I became one.
I went into this journey with knowledge of marketing but no experience. But it keeps but in chair, hands on keyboard. Especially when you're scratching your head about how Amazon assigns its Page Numbers.
Amazon's rough estimate is determined by word count. Word count for me is 250 words per page. Word count for Amazon? 330 words per page.
So you can see where hard core paper back people trying to make sense of Kindle page numbers will just cause them frustration. I imaging they'll look for the page numbers on the paperback and when they don't find the paperback, they'll scratch their heads and say, I'm not buying 89 pages for ten bucks.
These are the things that keep publishers OUT OF TROUBLE. How? Because instead of beating up people, I'm beating up my computer.
I've haven't found a person in a review (YET) that says the story was too long.
They bemoan that they wasted their time on a novel, yes, because they finish that book no matter the cost in time for them. Fantastic you finisher! I personally don't have time and won't finish a book because while I might have paid for it, my time is worth so much more than ten dollars.
What I do see people say is the book was too short.
"I paid 99¢ for this and it was only 50,000 words! I'll never buy from this author AGAIN!"
Wow. Okay. Ummm...I thought it was about the story. I thought it was about how the story enriched your life not a word count goal you had.
So being diplomatic, I contacted Amazon to get the book page numbers corrected. End result...ACTION ITEM...go to CreateSpace, upload your eBook, get a fiverr to add some text to a back cover, wait the 5 days for Amazon and VOILA! Pages are now estimated from the printed book.
And that's how I was able to stay OUT OF TROUBLE with my beloved authors! PRINT!
Your book against the horde of Amazon
When a new book comes out in a series, I do a few changes to the previous book of the series. My checklist is as such:
1. Did I add the title of the new book to the back?
2. Did I attach a link to the new book?
3. Did I add an excerpt of the new book?
4. Did I add a personification (a "Dear Reader" note) at the end?
5. Did I leave a link to my email list?
These 5 very small adjustments create sales for your book, how?
I get addicted to a series and if I can just buy the next one after I've finished the last...I've just bought that book without you having to promote, send an email...nothing.
People love convenience.
Actually, let me rephrase that:
People will not go out of their way to buy your book.
I'm sorry, they won't. I LOVE Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs. I consider myself an avid fan of these authors because I actually go OUT OF MY WAY to actively seek their new books...eventually.
You see, I love their books, but do I buy them right away. You see, it's not convenient sometimes to buy their book when it hits the shelves.
I don't have enough money, it's not in the format I want, I don't have time, I'm stuck in Facebook land...whatever.
Don't sneer at me! You don't stalk your favorite author either...and if you do...seek help.
It took me a year to pick up Kim Harrison's latest book and I was waiting for it. But, if she emailed me or if I had a link to the next book when I finished the last--she would've had the sale *BOOM* right then and there.
At the very least link your back log at the end of your latest, greatest novel. The best promotion of a book is a book. Meaning, if you have two, three or sixty-nine books those other books are the best ways to say, hey, I have others...start thinking that your backlog is the payoff and you latest greatest will grow wings, save the world and make it a better place!
ACTION ITEM: Re-upload your kindle book with 2-5 five of the items listed at top.
Author Balancing Act
Photo Credit: Kalexanderson via Compfight cc
I surround myself with a group of authors of like mind and this past week, they have been the awesome while I've been the suk.
I'm not down because I have awesome sauce days and everybody's going to have the rain splatter on your burger days too.
If you read this blog regularly you'll see the Cover mishap, the Free Kindle Book splurge, the endless cover passover for a new authors cover. But what's been amazing is watching my author's soar. They have been inspiration, support and awesome sauce this past week. I'm amazed at their ability to scramble about and make it look effortless.
Balancing life as an Author is much like having a dog. It needs to go for a walk. It needs food. It needs water. It paws at you for attention. It's not all writing.
Wait...what? Not all writing?
You have a life. That life requires balance. Sometimes you can't blog because, well, life happens.
What will help you balance life?
The answer is so easy that you'll prolly throw tomatoes at me. Drum-roll...
~ Ducks under counter ~
I use flash cards.
~ Ducks under counter ~
I use an app called Any.do
~ Ducks under sofa ~
~ Ducks behind refrigerator ~
and I have a To Do List Book that I use as well.
~ Splat. Wipes off tomato. ~
Organization is balance on schedule. My Ultrachron lite app is set to 45 minutes and every time that puppy barks at me I get up, walk around, take in some water and decide if I'm going to continue what I'm doing or go to the next item on the list. A side effect to this is I feel like I've done something. It feels good to cross off an item from the list.
ACTION ITEM: Try making a list, setting a schedule and seeing if that works.
I love bookbaby. I was totally planning on using bookbaby to distribute my author, Patricia A. Knight. I had everything just about set.
But I couldn't click the button to finalize the deal!
And I've finally figured out why.
I want control. Simple as that.
~ Downside; I have to check on 20 different dash boards to see sales.
~ Upside; I get to check on 20 different platforms to see sales.
Stephanie--WTF? What do you mean you don't want to have all the dashboards convieniently in one place?
Ummm...that's an upside to bookbaby, but what I realized while filling out the ONE form was--every platform does things a little bit different. How can ONE form complete everything for all platforms? For instance, Kobo allows me 3 catagories. Amazon 2. All romance is a different story as well.
And what if I want to update the book? I'd have to pay for each upload. Another deterrent (for me). I upload my author's books 6 times every month because "we found a comma out of place - fix it!"
See--who says publishers don't listen to their authors?
But I started hyperventilating because I have to get this book on all 200 sites TODAY!
No, Stephanie. No you don't. So I'm taking the advice I give my authors. One thing everyday. <--- ACTION ITEM.
I can do that. In a month the book will be everywhere. Once it's in place, the terror trio can slay the world!
Image created by SNMcKibben
I believe Agents might become Author Advocates.
You know what a publisher does, more or less, but what is an author's advocate?
In a sentence...an author's advocate is someone who will help you reach publication and teach you how to publish yourself by instruction.
You are not alone with an Author's advocate, but you have the freedom of self-publishing. Yes, this is a service and it will cost you in royalties. But in two years time I will expect my authors to either do it themselves or make me do it because I'm convenient. Not because they feel they can't publisher their own work.
I want to know that they don't feel helpless in the game of publishing. In two years, I expect a timid writer to feel confident they can just do it.
Then the author will gain the royalties--all of it.
Someday, I want have a site where my authors upload their books and get a 90% or 95% royalty. I want to use social media and opt in email lists to drive traffic to the site. I want my authors to make the bank.
The site will only be about books and authors swag. Secretly, I want to one day make Amazon say -- oh crap! We have to compete with her! And then I'll probably be crushed or bought, but it's a dream.
Back to an author's advocate. So while I am publishing my author's work, the real goal is to give them the inside look as to how it's done. I'd rather an author say, I can do it, but I'd rather pay Stephanie because she treats me well and she's worth the value I get.
Traditionally published authors have something I don't. I can't make Amazon have a pre-order page of your book. I can't make Amazon DO anything like traditional publishers can. But I can have pre-orders on your site. I can drive traffic there instead of Amazon. I can build an empire with my authors and author advocacy will abound.
Because it's what feels right. It's what feels ethical. Agents will become Author Advocates. The damn publishing contract will be a page long and everyone will listen to the ethical side of business. Okay, I can dream. But not everyone realizes that a contract is only as good as the people who sign it but here at Troll River--we do.
Action Item: Tell me what you think Agents will become in the future. Tell me what you'd like in an Author Advocate.
I thought I'd tell you about copyright pages but this post from The LL Book Review is thorough!
If you're looking for everything in a copyright page, go here!
Need to know how to make the © symbol? Click the link above. She gives all the info on whatever machine you use. (PC is holding down the Alt key and type 0169 on your keypad on the right.)
Where does a copyright page go?
What info should a copyright page contain?
What NOT to put on the copyright page?
See that link! It tells you way more than I could!
Action Item: Look over your copyright page. Is it though? Do you want to add something? Check out the LL Book Review link and see if you've got everything you need.
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
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