Category Archives: Business

No, I Won’t Promote Your Site

How sad is that comment? As an author, I spend a fair amount of time searching the web for places to promote my books. I search and search, and search, and I find some. Lately, I have been finding some very cool and clever sites, but I won’t promote them or use them. Why not you ask?

My honest answer is snobbery–theirs, not mine.

There seems to be a rise in the number of promotional sites that will not promote your books unless you have a certain number of 5 star reviews. Really? Personally, I find this ridiculous, unfair, and discriminatory. It’s like saying that beautiful girls who are overweight cannot enter beauty pageants. What about this do I find so wrong? A few things.

1. If a book has 20 5-star reviews, it is already obviously doing pretty good and people are finding it and liking it. Yea, for them. If a book has no reviews, does that mean it is a bad book? Hell no! It could mean that no matter how many hundreds of FREE books the author sent out for review, the people who promised to post reviews have not bothered to back up their lip service to get the free books. And even the reviewers who said they MIGHT review never bothered (despite the fact that they have reviewed every Patterson, Grisham, blah blah blah books–even the reissues!).

2. By promoting only those books that have those reviews, these sites are taking away much-needed opportunities for possibly wonderful authors. The already known authors get the prime space and the other (not good enough) authors have no place to promote their books so they can become well-known and well-read. Kinda like collecting food and giving it to the millionaires who can afford to buy their own food, instead of feeding the less fortunate.

3. For me, this smacks of discrimination. By saying you are only going to promote the “Good” people, you are alienating the “Not good enough” people and systematically playing a crucial role in crushing their efforts to succeed.

Go get reviews and come back, you say? Where the hell do you propose we get those reviews when reviewers only want to review books by well-known authors and authors whose books they see promoted all over the place who already have good reviews?

Give away more free books so we don’t make enough money to actually offer to pay for the ad spots that we will be rejected for because we haven’t sold enough books to get more reviews?

This is really beginning to piss me off. I get so angry when I am referred to some promo site with high praise, only to discover that  I am not “good enough” to PAY THEM to help me promote my book. Really? Guess what, not only will I NOT promote your site to other readers, but I will whine and complain about your cruel and humiliating rejections and discrimination of me and my wonderfully talented and still un-reviewed fellow authors.

Too bad people have forgotten the golden rule. Some day you may need something from me…how will I react? hmmm

When publishing goes wrong…Starring Undead Press

When publishing goes wrong…Starring Undead Press.

This is a cautionary tale that should be seen by all. No publisher is perfect, but this goes beyond the lack of human decency.

When Life Gives You Lemons

You’ve heard the old saying, but reactions come in all shapes and sizes. Lately, my reaction has been…

When life gives you lemons, find the guy who planted the tree and kick his ass.

Many years ago I decided I wanted to be an author. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember knowing how to form words. I love words and stories. I love the way they make me feel. I love the way other people’s words can make me feel. I have written many books and stories, and for the most part, I feel good about them. Sometimes writing is difficult, but I can’t imagine not doing it.

Several years ago, I became a bookstore owner. It was the most glorious day in my life. I remember always wanting to own a bookstore. I love books. I adore books. I think they are among the most blessed things in existence. I loved my bookstore and I loved each and every book in its tiny little space. I did not like the day to day business of it. But I was good at it, for the most part.

Then I became a publisher. The idea of going out and being able to pick the stories that other people got to read, without the stress of having to write them, or sell them enchanted me. Seeing a pattern here? I have been running Echelon Press for more than a decade. Now, like the above activities, being a publisher is quite difficult. The days are long, the stress level is high, and the payoff is very low. But in this case, I cannot imagine not doing it.

Being a publisher is much like being on a roller coaster that dips and curves and rolls upside down, only you don’t get to wear a safety harness. You do get a rope with a loop on the end to hold onto so you can climb back into your seat when the car goes right side up again.

There are those people out there who are asking themselves, “What the hell can be so hard about being a publisher? You get to read books all day.”

Yeah, that”s it. We just read all day. ::snort:: There are so many things involved in being a publisher.

My top five favorite things about being a publisher are:

  1. IRS Audits.
  2. Authors who accuse you of cheating them out of royalties.
  3. Large numbers of bookstores going out of business.
  4. Authors who think their only job is to write, and the rest is up to the publisher.
  5. Retailers who don’t pay for the books they order and sell.

Okay, hopefully you got the sarcasm at the beginning of the list. There are so many other reasons I love publishing. The above list brings to mind the saying I started this post with. But I would be lying if I left it at that. Another saying comes to mind.

Thank God for:

  1. Authors who never stop trying to learn about the industry.
  2. Readers who aren’t afraid to try new authors.
  3. Bookstores that support ALL authors and publishers.
  4. Authors who write the stories from their hearts.
  5. Every person who ever took a chance on something unfamiliar to them.

I meant what I said about the guy who planted the lemon tree, but after you are done kicking his ass, try the lemonade, it’s almost perfect!

Independent Book Blogger Awards – Vote for me, Please

Bloggers, get out the vote!

I have successfully entered the Independent Book Blogger Awards. The polls are now open! It’s time to spread the word to my readers and drum up votes for my blog! Voting continues until 11:59 pm EDT, Monday, April 23. It is be okay with me if you want to Blog about these awards and let people know they can come visit my Blog so they feel good about voting for me.

There must be rules…

 

The rules: The polls allow one vote per person in each of the four categories, and voters must be Goodreads members so that we can accurately tally the results. When polls close, the top 15 blogs in each category will become finalists.

 

Winners will be selected from among the finalists by a panel of industry judges. Each of the four category winners will receive a pass to BookExpo America (June 5-7, 2012) with airfare and hotel accommodation in New York City.

For more details on rules and background on the judging process, please see the Contest Terms.


Key Dates:

  • Monday, April 9 (at 11:59 pm ET) – Deadline for entries
  • Tuesday, April 10 (12:01am ET) through Monday, April 23 (11:59 pm ET) – Voting
  • Week of May 1 – Shortlist of finalists announced
  • Week of May 7 – Winners announced

The awards are organized by the Association of American Publishers Trade Division members and Goodreads.

Let the voting begin!

It’s All Good!

I said I would work my way through, what I consider to be, the most popular of social networking sites. Today I am going to focus on Good Reads.

Because I know there are so many authors out there who abuse social networking sites for book promotion, I am going to remind you all that these are first, and foremost SOCIAL NETWORKING sites. They were designed to get like-minded people together and socializing–see the connection? In this instance, the topic of conversation is books. Woohoo!

So, with that in mind, Good Reads is the perfect place for us to talk about our books. Notice I did not say promote our books. So what the hell is the point? I know that’s most of you are thinking. The point is to promote our books. Whoa baby, confused? Your head spinning? Promote your books; don’t promote your books. ACK!

This is where you get to show how creative you are. Like any social networking site you should be developing those ever-popular relationships with readers on Good Reads. Don’t just sign up and blast all your new friends with snippets and excerpts on your books.

Here are a few suggestions on how to let readers know about your books.

  • Talk to them.
  • See what they are reading and discuss those books
  • Find readers who read in your genre.
  • Find readers who share your interest in topics.
  • Set up a discussion group for yourself and your books.
  • Set up an author page.

All of these things are quite simple, but totally useless if you don’t follow through on them. Do NOT ask a public question and then never respond to those who answer it. You need to converse with them. Interact. I promise it won’t kill you, despite what the media says to the contrary.

Before I go into the direct options for authors, please note how IMPORTANT the interaction with readers is. Don’t just blast people with your books. Let the programs do the work for you while you talk about books with the other readers.

  • Post the books you are reading.
  • Post your reviews when you finish a book.
  • Add books you’d like to read.
  • Randomly look at other peoples pages and comment on their reviews.

The key to interacting is to communicate with others. I know, we are often solitary creatures, but we alone will not make our books best sellers. We need readers to buy our books.

Good Reads Author Program http://www.goodreads.com/author/program

The first thing you should do if you plan to promote your book is to set up your Good Reads Author page. After you have done that, then you can look into all these other things.

Good Reads eBooks http://www.goodreads.com/ebooks

For those of you who only have eBooks, there is a section where you can upload books for giveaway (use your freebies). You can also use this section to put up excerpts for people to read and get a taste of your style.

Good Reads Giveaways http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

You can also do giveaways on Good Reads. You decide for how many copies and for how long people can sign up. I don’t suggest giving away large quantities, but it is a GREAT way to get attention.

Good Reads Events http://www.goodreads.com/event

This is a good one. I am a HUGE fan of events and I think more authors should find ways and places to do them. We don’t need no steenking bookstores to do events. The more unique, the better. But my point here is that Good Reads has a section specifically for posting your events. How cool is that?

Good Reads Self-Serve Advertising http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers/ad_home

Advertising a book has never been so easy, or inexpensive. I am on my second ad and while it was a not a huge success, I know of four books I sold because of the ad and I spent less than $10.00.

MOST IMPORTANT TIP!

Don’t be an asshat on the social networking sites. Don’t go blasting in with your book promotion and expect everyone to give a hoot. They won’t. Subtly goes a long way and since Good Reads gives us so many opportunities to promote our work, the only thing we really need to do is to get to know the readers so they know to go look for our stuff.

You can set up your account to post an update when you post a article on your Blog. You can also make sure that when you post a review it goes up on Facebook and/or Twitter. This gives you a little extra exposure without having to actually go to Facebook and get sucked into the cute kitty pictures.

Promoting through social networking doesn’t have to be hard and certainly doesn’t need to be a time suck. But like anything in life, you will only get back what you put in. Of this you can be sure.

What are you worth?

I’ve got a question for you readers out there. As an author, I am always looking for new readers who think I don’t suck. As a publisher, I am always looking for new customers.

Is there a difference? There seems to be a lot of debate on whether or not books that are free or priced low are of lesser value than the higher priced ones.

If you, as a reader, frequent the bargain shelves and gravitate to the FREE downloads in the online stores, does that make you less of a reader? If readers are people, then if you are less of a reader, then are you less of a person?

I am not one of the people who attributes price to value. There are many wonderful things out there that are free and priceless…love, respect, consideration, honor, why don’t those values translate in other venues?

Back to the original question. Do less expensive or FREE books because you think they might not be as good?

Where do you draw the line?

If you’d like to give my writing a try, you can check out Seducing Cupid on your Kindle for only $ .99 or if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can read it for FREE.

Talking to Myself

Here is the thing about social networking online:

Networking defined

1: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business

Are you with me so far? I’m thinking for many of you, not so much. It has gotten to be a real pain the arse to socially network on the Internet because too many of you don’t get it. It is a social EXCHANGE. Not a you come to all my sites and gather all the knowledge I have and give nothing back. Nope, not the way it works. You seem to forget the social before the network. Networking is awesome, you should do it, but do it appropriately.

Couple of differences between professional networking and social networking.

LinkedIn:

This is a professional networking site. It is not so much a social networking site. You should not sign up for LinkedIn expecting to make new friends and sell lots of your product. You should be looking to communicate with other professionals who have some kind of relation to your industry. People you can share your knowledge with and those you can also learn from. It is professional.

The key here is that when I give you some bit of information, you give me some other bit of information back. You, then me, you, me…see how that goes? Below is my quick lesson on how to use the three main networking sites.

Facebook:

This is a social networking site. But there are still points of etiquette involved. Don’t just share what everyone else posts. If you read an interesting article, share the link. If you see a cool image, share the link, if you take a funny picture of your dog, share the image. Or heaven forbid, just ask questions that you’ve always been afraid to ask. It’s Facebook, nobody is going to criticize you.

For example:

Why is it that when our eye itches and we pull out like 6 eyelashes at a time we don’t have huge bald spots on the edge of our eyelids? How fast do eyelashes grow back?

Twitter:

I have a friend who is a really hard-sell on this one. Something about inane chatter. Well, maybe to you, but in their network of followers they may all care what their friend is having for dinner. They may be swapping recipes. Or sharing book reviews, or all manner of things.

For example:

Because I am following lots of gardeners on Twitter, I am getting an overflow of links to various gardening sites which are helping me to get my garden in shape. Nothing inane about that. I also post links to books I have reviewed so others can know what I thought and perhaps help them decide if they want to read that book. I also have friends who live far away who I keep in touch with.

What I don’t do is shamelessly promote my company and my books in print with every single tweet. I do promote, but I make certain that I give my followers information they might be able to use and not just what I want them to know. It’s a common courtesy thing.

Pinterest:

This is a relatively new one and the jury is still out on whether it is good or bad and whether or not it will survive. I think it’s cool. I also think it is a great way to get to know people.Oh wait, there is that whole social networking idea again. Every day I get 40-50 notifications that people are following me and I should follow them back. Well, that is all well and good, but I have like 22 boards up on my Pinterest account with all manner of stuff. My Tinker Bell trading, Women in the Mafia, all kinds of things. What I don’t have are blank boards, or one board with only the books I have written up there.

Come on people. If you are going to take the time to set up an account, then set it up right and follow through. Profile, set up some boards, add one or two things each day or at the least every week. Give people a reason to actually follow you back.

I can tell you one thing, I don’t care if you are following me or not, if you have no boards, or your only board is “Books I Wrote.” I will NOT follow you back.

So I guess what I’m saying here is, if you want to socially network, then be willing to give back and don’t just be a greedy taker.