Category Archives: Publishing

Book Marketing 101 – Don’t Write Crap!

The best way to sell your book…in three easy steps.

Write more books. 

Seriously. That’s the way to do it. Many experts say so. I didn’t believe them when I first read their advice, but turns out, they were right!

I’ve sold triple the number of books with two books published than I did with one, and this is BEFORE I put one of them for free to attract readers. Now – my sales figures aren’t anything to write home about, but I’m doing better than I was a few months ago. I think 3 books out will have the same effect and maybe a little snowball will form at the top of a hill.

Write more books. Sell more books. I advocate writing outside your series if you have one of those, short stories or a novella. Variety is the spice of life, and people like having choices and options. They may buy into the big series more readily if you have a short story out there that’s a good sample of your voice and style. Note I haven’t gotten around to following my own advice there, but I will soon.

Don’t write crap. 

I’m not suggesting you throw up just anything to increase the number of stories you have, because crap won’t sell the next book. In fact, it’ll have the opposite effect. Crap will get your name ruined. The buying public will see the crap, remember the crap, and will avoid it forever more. As well they should. With all the Indie publishing going on, and no quality control, the general public is having to sort through a lot of books. Fortunately, reviews are a reasonably accurate way to divide the wheat from the chaff. You need a few good reviews from readers you aren’t related to in any way to prove you haven’t written a load of it. Crap, that is.

Finish what you start. 

I despise writers who make me wait too long for the next book in a series. Hate them with a passion, I do. Okay, not really, but I did give up on George R. R. Martin for that very reason. I made a commitment to his story, knew it was going to be big, and then he made me wait years! for this last book, A Dance with Dragons. I was really looking forward to it. I went to the bookstore frequently and asked after this book pretty much the entirety of 2010, but then, finally,  I gave up. Sorry, I don’t have time for that kind of waiting game. Probably won’t go back to it, and definitely won’t until ALL the books are out. I may not go back to it ever, and that is something as a writer you probably want to avoid. Unless I’m at death’s door the way Stephen King was during the publication of the Dark Tower series, I will not be pulling that kind of years-long delay in pushing out the books of my series.

There are some important reasons why it’s a terrible idea, like forcing people to go back and reread the whole thing because it’s been so long since the last book came out. In the case of GRRM, his books are entirely too long for me to remember quite a few of the details. His books are too long to attempt re-reading. People are busy. Writers should respect that people are busy. Writers should not assume that people will remember every single detail from one book to the next, because guess what? They don’t. Making sure the series is published in a timely manner makes it easier for your readers to recall those details and they will be less likely to move on without you. If you have an awesome idea for a series and have the first few books written or planned out, make sure you can follow through to the end. The final words of my series – “Well,” she said. “Now it all makes sense.” Proof that the thing is actually written in a book called King and a promise that it will indeed come to an end in the not too distant future. I have a high level of confidence you’ll be able to remember the salient points from book #1 by the time you’re on the last story.

Follow through. Finish what you start. Write more. Don’t write crap. I’ll be able in a few short months to report on whether or not my theories are true after Telepath comes out. I hope I’m right, but if not, I’ll examine my three rules and make sure I’m not breaking them and keep at it. Oh, that’s the fourth rule.

Persist.

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Filed under Publishing, Reading habits, writing

Myth, where truth and lies mingle among friends and enemies

I’m happy to announce the arrival of my second novel in the Guardians of the Word series – MYTH. Now available on Amazon and coming soon to Smashwords.

I’ve written before about the Indie journey, about not going it alone and how rewarding it is to be able to say I did it! Of course, I didn’t write the book without help. The idea for this book came quite a number of years ago when I was beginning to realize I hadn’t found the start of the story! I wrote the middle first, moved toward the end a few books later and arrived almost at the end when I realized, there were more stories to be told, necessary for the overall plot of the series on the front end.

I was sitting on the couch in my home in Montgomery, Alabama – talking to my now ex-husband about the story and about Maralt. Bad guys need their due, their moment in the sun, and so Myth was born to fill that necessity. I didn’t really want to go there, at first. I wasn’t interested in getting inside the mind of a truly evil person. After all this stuff has to come from inside my head, and I don’t consider myself an evil person. I’ve actually never met an evil person – bad yes, but not evil. A number of friends suggested I really dig into it, the things that make a good person fall into darkness. So with that advice in mind, I plunged right in, and the result is the birth of a conflicted soul who takes the hand of malice into his heart. That is Maralt. Myth is the story of how he got there.

Myth is also the continuing story of Dynan and Dain Telaerin, twin brothers who always get along and have never said or done a bad thing to each other. All it takes is one seemingly sweet Lady at Court to come between them.

Ok, that’s enough teasing, now for the link –

Myth on Amazon

Stay tuned. Book 3, Telepath, is in edits and well on its way to join the first 2 of the series on your bookshelf!

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Filed under Books To Read, fantasy, Indie Publishing, Paranormal, Publishing, Science fiction, writing

Self-publishing – Things I’ve learned since getting on the publishing merry go round!

I took a substantial break from blogging in October to work on finishing up the rewrite of Myth, the second book of my series, the Guardians of the Word. I rewrote the first book of the series, Chosen, and published it over the course of a year after having finished the entire 7 book series in 2010. Yes, there are 6 more books to come…or maybe 7 more, depending on how they get broken up to work in both ebook and print formats. I like the size of Chosen in print and most people who’ve read it, feel it’s the right length, both story-wise and the physical size of it. Myth was going to be over 120K. That’s a substantially larger book than the first. I didn’t like the feel of it, and when I took a hard look at what I had, decided to cut it about halfway, added some, subtracted some and after a solid month of steady working on it, I have another book to publish. It’s ready. It feels right, and I can’t wait to get it back from my beta readers who are kindly giving it a once over to see if they feel the same way I do.

Publishing Chosen took a full 3 months. Publishing Myth will take about one. Why? It gets easier to pull it off the second time through the process.

The first time publishing on my own, and I mean really on my own, without the advice of anyone other than KDP, Createspace, and Smashwords, the learning curve was much steeper. I made a lot of mistakes, struggling with the cover, getting the cover completely wrong, and then finally settling on the one I have now – except I’m about to change it too if I can ever get the damn program to work. (curse you GIMP, curse you!) I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, what the process was or how much effort it would take. The difference, of course, is now I do. I understand how to format the book for different outlets. I understand how long it takes for Smashwords to upload the document file, the cover, the bio and get my book out into the world! I’ve worked with KDP and Createspace now, so I’m more familiar with their requirements. It has been all around much easier this time to get to this place in time with Book 2. So if you’re on the fence about publishing, my advice? Go for it, but don’t go it alone.

Most importantly, I’ve found since publishing Chosen, the most amazing group of supportive authors in Indie Writers Unite on Facebook. Got a question? About anything? Just ask. Someone there will know and tell you. Generally, several members will have the answer you’re looking for, and several more will chime in with some from of encouragement or other. Just the other day, an Indie author came in feeling a bit down about crappy sales, not sure what to do, feeling blah about the whole experience. Some fifty or sixty posts later, she had a new blurb if she wanted, new mockup covers to choose from and the advice and encouragement of a huge number of people who’d all experienced the same thing at one point or the other.

It is critical to the Indie writer to find such a group. A place to go when feelings of defeat rear up. A place to commiserate how tough it is to do this Indie thing some days. A place where you won’t feel like you are the only person in the world experiencing this wild ride, the ups and downs, completely by yourself. No one knows everything there is to know about this business, from the technical aspects of it to marketing. Having a support group to ask questions of will make the publishing journey much easier, which is the main point. Being Indie doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

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Filed under Indie Publishing, Publishing