Friday, June 29, 2012

Do this, don't do that!

We have been working on getting published since 2009. We didn't know squat about doing it or how to go about it. So we hit the libraries, asked people, read magazines and anything else we could think of. We were told, 'Get an agent to represent you then all your problems will be solved!" o.k..  so we start looking into it. Write this way, not that way, put this in but not that, 3 lines, 5 lines, 3 pages or 5 pages. Submit in this font or as an attachment. No put it in the body. Everyone wants it differently. Jump through all the magical rings and maybe if you are really lucky you can get published! Well, that didn't pan out for us so we decided to go the indie route. Everyone said, you can do what you want, post what you want and be your own boss! Finally the golden ticket!
"ahem, excuse me but you can't post that on this blog, site, facebook page or myspace! Post this here, not there, like this place but don't be a drive by. visit often and post often, but don't promote on this site. O.k you can post on this thread but not on that one.

Why are you promoting here? you need to find your audience!

How do I find my audience?

We don't know, we just know it isn't here! Go to other sites, where they visit, but its not here. 
Don't spam anyone, help others out, but don't help yourself very much,
Make sure your book is polished to the best it can be! Make sure you have the right cover art! Make sure all your i's are dotted and your t's are crossed.

Does any of this sound like the old school way of getting an agent?

Wait a minute! I thought we were supposed to be independent! I thought we could post where we wanted! Be free of restricting confines of the same old routine of the old school ways?! I thought thats why we decided to go the indie route. This way we didn't have to jump through hoops and train trick ponies and do all the circus rigamarole! Wrong! It might be the "new and improved way" but it still has an aweful lot of feel of the old school ways. We still crave an agent to represent us and help us get into the big leagues. the brick and mortar buildings may not be there any more the confines of the walls haven't come down yet. 
No I don't know if there is a point to this blog other than an observation. We want the new and improved and yet we still use some of the same old fashioned rules. Maybe Amanda Hocking had it right in doing it the way she did. She wrote how she wanted to and published how she wanted to. She didn't conform to any rules. She just did it. typo's and all. Did people get on her about it? heck yes! but you know what? she sold an aweful lot of books and made an even bigger amount of money doing it her way. Yes she did get an agent in the end. Like I said, we are all aiming for that golden ticket. Right? 

Amanda Hocking did it, Other's have done it. Millions of us strive to do it. We try to do it the way Amanda did it and the way others did it. We follow and use anything we can to try and crack the code for that golden ticket. I'm not saying crank out the garbage of stories. But if you have a good story, people will see that, mistakes and all. They will know you have written a good story. O.k enough of my griping, I just wanted to make an observation and ask if anyone else has noticed how we seem to be still following the old ways even though we are supposed to be doing it a new way. It feels like we just went from the old time manual printing press, to the modern printing press to online print. Another way of making a book, still the same old hoops to jump through. Just something to think about as Independence day approaches. We fought for our freedom just to confine ourselves some more. Just a thought.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Go Indie -- Discover Indie Authors: SUMMER of INDIE AHEAD

Go Indie -- Discover Indie Authors: SUMMER of INDIE AHEAD: Summer of Indie is ahead. I will promote it all summer long and the authors in it -- if everyone in turn promotes Summer of Indie. I've tent...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What does it mean to you to sell?


Today I was faced with a real dilemma. A post showed up on facebook today telling us we should “Annoy the Pope and read our book.” Our book has werewolves, zombies and dragons in it. A couple of people have told us they won’t read it due to having un natural beings in it. They weren’t God made. I was told I should use that to my advantage. But at what price am I using it to my advantage by poking fun at Christians or more importantly God? This isn’t about whether you do or don’t believe in God, it’s about what I believe and what I feel is right. Maybe its because I am from the mid-west. Maybe it’s because I have been made fun of due to being from a single parent growing up in the 70’s in a small town. If I went to church I was made to feel different by others. I never wanted to do that to others.

A good friend told me I don’t have to jump on every band wagon that is a selling idea or marketing idea. I won’t hurt anyone or use anyone or cheat anyone. I guess I am what some might call an honest salesperson? Some would call a really bad salesperson. But I have to go with what I feel is right, whether it’s popular or not. I don’t claim to be self-righteous or a bible thumper, but then again, like Kim said, if it doesn’t feel right in your gut or heart. You don’t have to do it just to make a sale! Thumbing your nose at “the Man” or thumbing your nose at people in general, I have no problem with thumbing my nose at people in general but I do where religion is involved. Like the old saying goes, don’t discuss politics, religion or,, can’t remember the last one. I guess what I am trying to say, if I don’t think its the right thing to do as far as marketing goes, then I will not be doing it. Is there a possibility that I could miss the boat on potential hundreds of sales? Yeah, but at what cost?

My son and I made promises to each other when we began this journey back in 2009. He promised we would get it written and I promised we would get it published and get it out there. I had no idea how to do either at the time. I have worked continually since then on getting it published and now marketing it. But today when I came across that post, it made me think. “Am I doing the right thing?” Do I have what it takes to market no matter what?” I had to face the truth of, no. I don’t have what it takes to market no matter what. But I can market in ways that won’t leave me feeling bad or like I took advantage or hurt someone else in the process too. I am sure there are marketing guru’s everywhere laughing at people like me right now because I am not like a shark in chummed waters going for that sale. But I have to look at myself at the end of the day and I have to look at my son at the end of the day. Will he be proud of who I am and who we present ourselves to be? To sum it all up in this rambling of a post, Will I be the next Donald Trump or the next Mark Zuckerburg? I seriously doubt it. But will I be able to be proud of who we are and what we represent in a time and age of instant gratification and the all mighty dollar? The answer is, “Yes.” Does this mean we could potentially be sacrificing sales? Again, probably yes. But I am keeping the promise to my son and leaving a legacy for him to follow. One he can be proud of.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Advertising with each other!

On MasterKoda this morning Alivia Anders had a wonderful and compeling idea. I will post the thread and let you all read it and decide for yourselves. I think its a very doable project that we would just have to iron the details out. Let me know what you all think!

 I'd like to open the floor to a curious little debate amongst all of us, as I'm trying to garner some information.
A little idea hit me on the head this last week, and I wonder why I haven't seen this sooner. Easily half of the traditionally published books (paperbacks mostly...) on the market have a small cranny of ads in the back of the book, past everything else as to not interrupt reading and usually showcasing new upcoming authors and classic bestsellers under the same house as the book was published under. Out of all the books I've bought with ads in the back, over half of them got me to buy another book from those ads, and I've almost always been glad I had.
My thought was- why do indie/self-published authors not do this? We're all aiming for exposure and offering to help each other, and this is a huge way. I can't believe I haven't seen or met an indie/self pub author who was looking for authors in a similar category for ads in the back of the book, either free or for a small charge like $1.00-$5.00. Am I the only one who's pondered this?
Here have been the replies thus far!
Bruce Blake I agree, Alivia. I have excerpts in the back of my novel from my upcoming novels, and used to include a free short story. When I originally published, I posted on FB (in my pre-MK days) looking for authorswith whom to do exactly this kind of cross-promo but didn't get any response. Rather than ads, I was looking to swap excerpts -- no cost, just a trade. The nice thing with digital self-publishing is that you can change your content at any time, so if anyone is reading this and wants to get together...
35 minutes ago ·
  • Jane Carroll Cowart Very interesting...I've never thought about it...sounds like a good technique....
    31 minutes ago ·
  • Linda J Alexander Solid idea, Alivia. Many small press/traditional publishers (mine included) do this. If an indy author chose this--I see no legit reason why not--I'd suggest a chg would be based on # of ads which could logically be added in that book, & how many takers. I think an even lower scale might bring in more ads.
    29 minutes ago · · 1
  • Alivia Anders The reason I say ads more than excerpts, Bruce, is because a single page visual is much more memorable when trying to grab a potential first new reader than an excerpt that requires them to read. But, at the same time one can argue that the excerpt will be more memorable than the picture ad due to the words and cliffhanger that author has offered for the piece to entice with.
    This is one of those things that has had me scratching my head. Per example, using my end of the book market, I wonder why I don't have authors like Willow Cross, or even Natalie Star in the back of my books, both digital and print. Big 6 do it all the time- and the know it works, because they're literally advertising directly to their source of income- people who read! (Plus, they usually stick YA in the back of YA, crime in the back of crime, romance in romance, you get the idea)
    As an indie author, this would be something highly feasible for us financially if we did it on the low end of things. And not only do we lift ourselves, but we lift each other in the process.
    21 minutes ago via mobile ·
  • Richard Thomas Banegas As usual late to the party again. I usually list my novels at the front pages of my book. Not sure how a swap or ad would work, because release dates of ones book may not correspond with another unless there is a central place to go to get that done.But I am game if anyone has a workable idea.
    19 minutes ago ·
  • Wendy Siefken You know Alivia Anders, you may possibly be the only one who has thought of this, I can't think of anyone else who has mentioned this. Its a wonderful idea though! how can we get this started? I am in and I know others who would gladly join in just to get exposure. I will help spread the word
    15 minutes ago ·
  • Wendy Siefken I would love to do an add in the back of YA books, just to help get exposure! and would love to showcase others to help them get exposure too,
    15 minutes ago ·
  • Wendy Siefken in the ebook we could put links to other books, like we do with the createspace e-book store, I know we can put hyperlinks to chapters, why not hyperlink adds to showcase other books? a picture with a two line sentence to grab the reader? nothing big, just a small blurb.
    10 minutes ago ·
  • Wendy Siefken I think the reason no indie's have done it is because we aren't organized and the whole indie thing is still relatively new. I think its a wonderful idea and I am going to keep this on top so that others see it too. Thank you Alivia Anders!
  • Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    What would I do if we became rediculously rich!

    I saw a post on facebook in regards to what you would do if you became as rich as J.K. Rowling. What would you do with the money? I saw someone else say they were inspired to write about it too. I began to think, like most would I suppose, what would I do? I think the first thing would be is obviously, pay off all the bills. second thing would be the normal, house, not too big and not too small, I still have to clean it.
    I would do what I have always wanted to do,  would be able to afford to do. I would start my own publishing company and help new and indie authors who are in far flung places get published. Help with editing and book covers and everything. I know of quite a few people I would employ to help with it too. Create a company that employed people and helped others get there too. I would use Kim Mutch Emerson's motto of helping each other and promoting each other. Not just helping with the book aspects but with life in general. I have seen authors who went from unknowns to stars over night and didn't know how to handle it. No one was there to show them the way. The took her, used her for the book and then cast her aside. I would make sure that didn't happen. I would be sure to coach every person on the pitfalls and some of the things to watch out for. There is room for all writers, There are so many good stories out there that the general population just doesn't get exposed to. I guess it would be like walking into the worlds largest library and trying to find one book in particular but you don't know the title or the author.
    I see so many good writers, marketers, editors and people trying to get a break in the publishing world. I would put myself and my son through college to get the education we would need to be able to say, yes we have an education we aren't just wanna be's. We have a degree to back us. I don't know if this is what the other authors would have done, because I couldn't find the link back again! This is what I would do though. I would help others realize their dreams. One person at a time.

    Saturday, June 2, 2012


    This is a warning, So if you are squeemish in the least little bit, please click away now. this is your last chance, I have warned you.
    This year has been a year of many changes. My youngest graduated high school. With it has brought on lots of mixed emotions. Empty nest syndrome and things like that. I keep thinking, oh it will only last a day or two. But no. I feel very lost and of no use any more. For over 20 years I had a purpose. That purpose was to raise, feed, clothe and make sure the kids went to school. Now what do I do? We are working on publishing more books. I am desperately trying to find a job. I feel about as useful as a door buzzer that hasn't been used in years.

    I was at a building today and saw a buzzer on the side of the building and felt like that buzzer. It isn't used any more. but at one time it had a purpose. Now, its just there. Empty nest syndrome? probably, a bit of depression mixed in? More then likely. How will I get out of this mess? I am not really sure. I can very easily visualize myself trying to dig my way out of a pit and not getting anywhere.  This coming Tuesday I am to go to Fort Dodge and get my class A CDL. I didn't have the money. I was going to reschedule. My youngest, darn him anyway. Came up and gave me the money to go. It was his graduation money. I am emotional, empty and just don't have a clue as to how to get out of it. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for but all I feel is empty.
    I have great friends here on the net and in the world. I have wonderful kids,  a good husband, and my health.  But just not sure where I fit in any more. for the first 18 years I didn't have children. For the last 26 years I have been a mom. While I was going to school I felt like I had a purpose. It felt like a job. I felt good and like I was needed. Now that is gone, I graduated, Kids are out of school, not needed there any more. Just not sure where I fit in any more.
    This year has been full of change. I don't know if it is a good change or not.  A friend of Hubby's had asked us to go on a cruise with them to Hawaii a year and a half ago. We said we would save up the money for it. That didn't happen. Life happened but the money never got saved up. I feel as if I let hubby down too. I would love to say I have a positive spin to add on to this, but at this point I don't have one. I don't have an upbeat outlook on this. I am not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I just don't know what to do. I will keep plugging away and keep trying but I just don't know where this is going to go or what is at the end of it. Sorry for the downer blog and sorry that it doesn't have a cheerful end or even a positive spin on it. Its just me.