Words I never want to hear: "Authors don't sell to other authors. We don't read each others books."
Silent, pregnant pause.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. Granted I don't read often as I'd like, but I still read authors in the genre I write. I read out of the genre I write. I read genres I'm not really interested in until a real storyteller jumps out at me and grabs my attention. Then I have to read it because a storyteller doesn't have a genre. Storytellers have your rapt focus because they are so good at their craft their writing goes beyond genre boundaries. Think Neil Gaiman.
But when authors say this--I don't know what to say. I can't tell you how many authors have read my stories. However, more important is how many authors that have promoted me.
Even if writers don't read your books, there is still the collaboration and sense of belonging when you find a good writing group. These people are your fans. Fans of you. They promote you through word of mouth. They are the ones that understand your triumphs your crazy notions or when you get excited because you figured out what the next plot twist would be. For most, your family doesn't understand--even if they are supportive. If they aren't writers, they will never understand and shouldn't be expected to. *pat, pat, pat* Yes dear, that's nice dear. I'm so glad you managed to get Bob the talking head into your story dear. The type of attention you want like, squeals and round eyes of admiration is not the type of understanding you'd get from anyone other than an author.
Here are some things authors do and why you should collaborate with other authors. Group Blogs, Blog Hops, Virtual book tours, cross promotions, and story ideas are the ones I can fire out right away. But the real truth of the matter is camaraderie. There is nothing like having a group to fall back on, to complain to, to have your back and give you a boost when you need one.
The fact is...authors do read other authors books. They also don't just buy them, they become fans and promote your work. It's what I call author coalescence. Two promoting your book is better than one. Five promoting your book is better than two. A thousand promoting your book is the road to success. Few get there alone.
ACTION ITEM: Before you say "Authors don't sell to other authors..." try buying another book that hasn't been written by an author or a group of authors. Hard--isn't it? Not many books out there written by machines, huh? Only those without a book shelf have the ignorance to deny the special bond writers can have with each other. The main action item here is--don't tell me authors don't read or promote other authors. I see it happen every day.
Oh No You Can't...format
My Dearest Writer,
I can not say this kindly, so I will get to the point. You are a writer, NOT a formatter.
Please don't f*** with word. I have PhD and am a ninja scholar in word. Please just let me do it. Don't push the tab button... no..,no..,no.,no, no,no,no,no!
.epub laughs at you and .mobi just gets confused to the point that it won't publish your book.
"But it looks great in PDF!"
Okay, but PDF is only good for fix page size. Do you have a kindle? Have you put a PDF on your kindle? Looks like *shit* doesn't it?
I love you, dear writer, so... if you absolutely MUST, give me your word file that you think looks like crappy text and ALSO give me a PDF of how you'd like for it to look.
Just let me do the formatting please. No double spaces because this one line needs to be with the other block of text. No hitting tab, no using bullets! And the bullets/tab combo is really a pain in the ass. Your adorable images at the top of every chapter...THEY AREN'T PART OF THE HEADING! Please just use normal style and click the center button on word after you insert the picture. No, you may not use drop caps. No you may not section break at odd places. NO YOU MAY NOT FORMAT YOUR BOOK!!
Publishing Woes: Why Google, Why?
Dear Google Play,
I would love to get my catalog on your site. You seem so friendly and awesome. I think you really have something there--being able to buy books on my phone--and well, I'd like to participate as a publisher.
But you make things really kinna hard. I mean, you're no iTunes or B&N but I think you're making it a bit more difficult than it really has to be.
Is it because I'm new? I know I'm fresh meat, but I'd really love a hand here. Reading on mobile is the future (more on that next week) and it's imperative I get on there.
But your help section is not help. Unless help is a spiral into frustration, pleading, hair-pulling, searching over-and-over-and-over-and-over times a billion to find how to fix what you want me to fix in which you don't really say what you want me to fix you just stare at me like Forrest Gump with nothing to say--there's no help.
I have a snickers bar. Can I tempt you with candy? I can't even pull on your shirt sleeve to ask anything. Why, Google, why? You're going to consume eBooks very soon because your on every smart phone in the universe. You going to become the Amazon of eBooks.
But not if we can't get our books on your site.
ACTION ITEM: Throw tomatoes at Google until they respond. :)
The Pandora's Box of Erotica
I find it a bit difficult to articulate my thoughts about the recent events where Amazon, Kobo and other retailers selling erotica got complaints and tore down all the indie publishers books down.
Even Luke's Tale: A STORY OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE got torn down. I suspect they were thinking unconditional "love" -- as in sex with animals. Hey, it has a dog on the cover, it MUST be about bestiality!! Wow, get your minds out of the gutter!
It's the music industry, the film producers and the Serial TV writers industry all over again.
But I have a different take. This is an opportunity.
It opens the doors to storytellers and an opportunity for marketers to do as indie musicians and indie film makers are doing.
People are incredibly micro-minded in this macro world. What I mean is, people who are interested in niches are able to find them. People have this whole world of the internet to search.
Those who want to live life by drinking from the fire-hose of the internet have their wish. Yet others wanting to find their "thing", their niche, have an easier time of it.
The good think about the niche is people want their niche to be small enough to know everything yet large enough to never run out of material.
More micro-publishers are going to pop-up, like Troll River Publications. And we will find our audience.
These micro-publishers will find a niche in celebrating and marketing books.
This is their chance to rise and make a living doing what they want to do. This book tear-down mishap isn't going to force indies out, the indie spirit is hard to kill.
Indies will find a way. They always have.
Indies are waking up to believing they are Small Businesses and Small Business is agile, creative, innovative. We will find a way.
I'm proud to be a indie publisher. And I mean a publisher who publishes others books, not just my own, but stories I love and believe in. I'm at the stage where publishers began. I don't see this banning of books as such a bad thing. It clears my mind to action.
I like how Nate Hoffelder asked: "Now might be a good time for indie authors to go completely indie and start supporting the truly indie ebookstore platforms like Gumroad, Indiro, and others."
He's got a great article on the subject. It's like anything else. What I think this all equates to are people who fear the world. When you fear the world, you make everything a fear tactic.
ACTION ITEM: It might be time to sell your books through your website. I've got a plan in the works for TRP. Go ahead, ask me what it is.
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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