Tag Archives: sales

The Beginning of the Journey

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When I woke up this morning, I had a notice about a new Blog post from one of the Blogs I subscribe to. That post was by Jenny Turner, who writes as J.R. Turner. Her Blog was entitled “The End of the Road.” I was going to respond on her Blog, but then I decided that I would do it here and toss in a few other things.

In her Blog, Jenny talks about the changes in her life. One of the things she mentions is the reversion of all her rights. Anyone who knows the situation, knows I was Jenny’s publisher. I have already had one person ask me what happened, why I reverted her rights to everything, like there was some horrible altercation or something. Let me be clear, I reverted Jenny’s rights because her contracts expired and she had previously embarked on her journey as a self-publisher. Jenny was with Echelon Press for nearly the entire time of its existance and she will always remain a part of its history, and a very important part.

Jenny is one of the most talented writers I have ever met. Her wit is sharp, her style is enchanting, and her ability is stunning. She tells a story almost as good as any writer I know. I sincerely hope that when she has reissued her works in her own venue that you will offer her the support she so richly deserves. If you have not read her work, you should, you will not be sorry!

I wanted to write this post to ensure Jenny and anyone who enjoys an awesome story knows that despite how Jenny described it, this is not the End of the Road for her, it is the beginning of an awesome journey.

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I Just Wanna Write

Okay, I am having one of those weeks. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of and overachiever. Have been my whole life. I tend to take on way more than I can handle and then stress out about not getting it done when it needs to be done. I know this, I admit this, and I apologize for this.

I am currently working on several projects that need to be done last week. I am editing three books, four short stories, and an anthology. Am I complaining? No, no, no. I love what I do and can only imagine doing one other thing.

I miss writing horribly. My husband says I need to spend half of my day working for others and half of the day writing and promoting my own books. I simply can’t do this. I have responsibilities and my personal pleasure cannot go before them.

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I was recently accused of focusing too much on my personal writing career and not enough on my authors. Really? REALLY??? A couple Facebook posts a day is too much? Seriously! I woke up this morning with an idea swimming around in my head that is begging to be written, but I plunked myself down in my chair and began working on edits for a client. I have added the idea to my idea file, though that file now takes up about 2 GB on my hard drive…sigh

Not sure why I needed to put this out here. I guess I just needed the people I am working for to know that I am working for them and once I am done with their projects, I might take some time to write. After all, I do think I am pretty good at it. 🙂

 

 

 

Dear Lendink

 

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how this book business works, but I do know that I am offended on your behalf. Recently, your site was shut down because a group of authors decided you were a pirate. I visited your site. I read your FAQ page. I did some research and as far as I could discover you were doing exactly what you said you were doing.

I did NOT see any signs of a wooden leg, a hook where your hand should be, or a skull and crossbones flag hanging anywhere on your site. Nor did I see an eye patch, though you might have looked quite dashing in an eye patch.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. Perhaps this is too late, perhaps not. I sincerely appreciate what you were trying to do buy leading readers by the virtual hand to the actual buy pages of the books I write and publish. I am constantly looking for new ways to market our books that do not require more time than I have to give. You did that, willingly, and legally, and you were cast out for your efforts.

::hangs head in shame:: I am sorry that not everyone felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt and to take the time to figure out that you were acting on behalves and in fact doing us a FAVOR.

I would like to let you know that should you get your site back up and running, you have my permission to LEGALLY promote my books on your site. This goes for anyone who wants to LEGALLY introduce readers to the books of Echelon Press. Don’t steal from me, don’t distribute or lend our books without ensuring that the authors and I are being full compensated within our legal rights. But by all means, if you want to post covers and links to where readers can BUY our books LEGALLY, you have my blessing and my supports.

I am certain I am not the only one angered at your mistreatment. You can find another supporter at the blog of April L. Hamilton. http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Respectfully,

Karen L. Syed

 

 

 

 

What was Satan Thinking?

 

First, let’s be clear on what I mean when I say POD books. This term has become so misused and misunderstood that it has actually resulted in lost sales for many. This doesn’t need to be the case.

POD stands for PRINT ON DEMAND. You’ll notice the word PRINT. Not publish or promote, PRINT!

POD is the process used by PRINTERS to eliminate the need for excessive runs of print copies. The printer simply waits until there is an order and then prints the specific number of copies ordered, removing the immediate potential for wasted paper.

I’m not sure why POD books have received such a negative reputation, but most booksellers and librarians, and now due to the overwhelming number of authors arguing about it in public forums, readers equate POD with lower quality books. This simply isn’t the case.

For over a decade, a multitude of publishers, both big and small, have been using the POD method for fulfilling orders.

The quality of the written word is determined well before the actual book ever goes to print, thereby eliminating the misconception that POD books are “bad.” It needs to be understood by all that POD, the method of printing does not account for the number of poorly written and edited books being sold in the market.

The biggest problem with the misunderstanding of POD is the ability for companies and authors to market and promote the books. However, with the proper education within the retail (and library) industries, bookseller and acquisition librarians could not only increase their potential sales and titles available, but could increase the variety of stories available to their readers.

Readers crave originality. They are tired of reading the same recycled stories by the same authors. Yet, they are deprived of any freshness in their choices, because the larger and more traditional publishers are reluctant to take any financial risk on the newer and more exciting stories written by unknown or new authors.

I would encourage everyone in the book industry to educate themselves and to recognize the value of POD books and to acknowledge the potential for increased sales. Give new authors a chance to prove that they have writing skill and the ability to tell a good story, no matter how many copies of their book is printed at one time.

Furthermore, consider the environmental impact of POD books. A traditional publisher may print 5000 copies of a paperback novel by a new author, and only sell 1500 of them. This means that the remaining 3500 unsold copies will be put into waste. Had the publisher used the POD process to print those books, they would have simply printed the 1500 copies as the orders came in and eliminated the waste. If you did this for 10,000 books in one year, imagine how much paper would be saved and thus less trees.

Bottom line, POD is not the work of Satan. It is simply a process used to print books in smaller quantities. Sorry, Dude, you don’t get credit for this one.

My final point refers to the availability and returnability of books produced using the POD process. The status of returns is not determined across the industry, it is determined by the specific publisher or author. This means that it is an unfair assumption for a bookstore not to carry a POD book, without first determining its returnability status.

We all have choices, but when we make a choice, that doesn’t give us the right to complain when that choice cause a problem.

I hope that after reading this post, more people who speak ill of the POD process will reconsider their “choices” and give authors a fair chance to sell books and entertain readers.

Will you?

Originally published at ©Life as a Publisher by Karen L. Syed
This can be reproduced in it’s entirety with no additions or corrections.

 

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 is a time suck?

Lately, I have been hearing this phrase a lot. Oh, first, let me explain that this is geared toward writers/authors. It will have only a small amount of relevance to the general reader who is not trying to market and sell books. Let me tell you a few of my least favorite phrases with regard to authors.

“Oh good another time suck. Pinterest can’t possibly serve any purpose when promoting a book.”

“Twitter is useless. It is just a time suck that serves no purpose.”

“People on Facebook are just lonely people who have no lives.”

Why would I want to be on Good Reads, it’s just a bunch of writers promoting to each other.”

“I don’t need a LibraryThing page. No one ever goes there.”

“What the hell is JacketFlap?”

“Blogs are overdone and outdated. Nobody reads blogs or comments so I am not going to waste my time.”

Come on people. Let’s think this through a little bit. Every single one of these has the potential to be a time suck. You know what makes it a time suck? When you sign up, follow a bunch of people and then never do anything else with it ever again. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s break this down one by one.

I’ll start with the new kid on the block.

Pinterest

Now, some might think this is a stupid concept, but it would appear that many more love the idea. I personally, LOVE IT. I have so many hobbies and interests that I never get to share or talk about with anyone. Pinterest has given me an outlet for this. No matter how weird the interest–one of my more popular boards is “How Does Your Garden Grow?

So, we know how this would work for the average Joe, and yes, folks, there are a ton of men on this network, as well as women. I get about 40 new followers a day. Problem is, I can’t follow most of them back. Actually, I can, but I won’t. This is where the time suck part comes in. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but when you add up all the little times they become one big time suck. What the hell am I talking about?

Requests from people who have signed up and either set up NO BOARDS or have set up one board with only the books they have published. This is not socializing, people, it is spamming, or as a new term I heard the other day reveals…pimping.

I don’t have time to sift through a bunch of people’s accounts when there is nothing to see. I simply don’t care. When I go to Pinterest, I want to know what you are into. I’m not saying don’t market or promote on Pinterest, I’m saying pimp responsibly. Show me what you collect, who your favorite artist is, and what your dream kitchen would look like. I care about those things. May seem silly, but I truly love getting to know other people like this.

So how does Pinterest help you promote your book? Set up a board with all the books and stories you have written. Then before you start following anyone else, pick your favorite hobby, your favorite places, and dog pictures you love and set up boards for them. After you’ve done that, then you are ready to begin following people, with the knowledge that they will get an auto-request to follow you back. Each week you can add a new board with a new interest and that will keep people coming back. Each time they come back, there is the potential that at that moment in time they will decide, “Hey, maybe I’ll read this book.” And you better have set up your book covers with direct buy links. You are not beating them over the head with your books, but you are putting up there for them to decide when the time is right to buy. ::hands raised to the heavens:: Ahhhhhh ::the glorious sound of understanding::

Lastly. Don’t just put up an account and never do anything with it. I spend no more than 10 minutes per day, sometimes every other day, updating my Pinterest boards and deciding who I want to follow. I often do it on the couch on my Kindle Fire as we watch TV after dinner. No time suck involved.

Authors, don’t be one of those people who shoves your books into everyone’s face and never gives them a reason to give a damn. Let them get to know you so they will feel as if they have a stake in your success. Readers do care about their favorite authors, and they like their favorite authors. Readers do NOT like authors who waste their time and never give them a reason to care.

Success by Default?

Okay, I am going to take a moment and speak out against the masses. This is more for writers, but has bearing on readers as well.

I recently (and very quietly) read the success book by John Locke (How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!) Let me start by saying, I am not bashing this book. It was okay. It offered some good advice that may or may not work for the masses. I am guessing he has sold a buttload of copies of it, and good for him! I mean that.

What I’m worried about is all the authors out there who have made this their new bible of sorts. Nowhere in his book does he promise that if the author does everything he did and exactly like he did it, they will find the success he has. NOWHERE! I went into the book expecting a little more and was a little disappointed. Not because it didn’t offer good advice, in fact I agree with a good portion of it and have been using his principles for some time and preaching them to the authors and writers I have met along the way. No, I’m not looking for credit, I am trying to make a point.

    • I blog. Actually I think I blog pretty well. I’ve never had complaints. I get plenty of praise, and I’m confident that I have a pretty good following. But how many of you have actually bought any of my books or short stories? You like me, right? So why not invest in my career?
    • I interact with people. Probably more than I should. I am a social networking whore. I admit. My name is Karen, and I am addicted to social networking. I don’t talk at people, I talk to them, and you talk back.
    • I write well. One difference between Locke and I is that I do care what people think about my writing as well as my stories. Of course I want my words to move you, but I don’t want you to get a headache trying to sift through crappy punctuation, grammar, and spelling. I will read one of his books (probably one of the westerns) and I’m sure I’ll be entertained, but I’m already prepared for writing that may or may not be good.
    • I invest in people. When I was going through some horrible times, years back, I turned to books as my refuge. You’ve heard people say that, but it’s true. Authors like Caroline Bourne, Jill Barnett, Rebecca Paisley, and all manner of others took me through some pretty dark days. Days that I readily admit could have ended in my death, were it not for the hope and inspiration their stories and their writing offered me. When I came through all of that, I decided I wanted to give back. I knew I wanted to write as well as them, and I wanted to tell stories that touched and affected the lives of others. I’ve spent the last 15 years offering to others what I took back in those days. I offer it with my writing and I offer it with my publishing.

 

Now, here’s my point. After reading Locke’s book, I was disappointed. I have done the things he spoke of and I have done them for years. Yet, I have sold nowhere near a million of anything. Why is that? Am I not working hard enough? Smart enough? Am I more confident in myself than others are in me? Whatever the reason, I would like to offer a bit of my own wisdom with regard to this matter.

Read books by people like Locke, and learn from them, but don’t put them on pedestals because they accomplished something. They are people just like us, and no matter how much you pay for a book like his, it will never guarantee the success he found. There is no secret to successful bookselling. It is something you simply must strive to do every day. EVERY DAY you must go out and tell people who you have written something that is so important to you that you are confident that in some way it will affect them. You must give readers a reason to make the investment in you. Will it work every time? Obviously not, or people would be interviewing me and not John Locke or Amanda Hocking.

They deserve the praise, they have both worked very hard and obviously very smart. Am I jealous? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. I don’t envy their success. I envy their ability to convey to others the value of buying their books and remaining loyal readers. I envy their ability to show others their personal value, because that is a huge part of their success. Readers believe in them. I want that.

Authors, there is no secret for selling millions of books. No book is ever going to give you that. People like Locke can offer you insight into how they did it, but facts are, you are not him. Your situation, life, and abilities are very different. It is the wonder of diversity. Read the books, pay attention, and then go out and find your own success. It’s out there for all of us, we just have to embrace it and nurture it to its full capacity.

Readers, embrace the authors you love. Continue to buy their books and help them find their success, but I urge you to keep your minds open and embrace what you don’t know with the expectation of great things. There are new authors exploding onto the scene with books and stories that will blow you away. Don’t be caught in the he said, she said trap of the industry. Things are always changing in the book world. Formats, styles, themes, everything. Don’t be afraid that if you set aside a paperback novel and try reading something on a Kindle that it will be the ruination of you and the paperback industry. It won’t. We live in a vast world that offers so much potential for growth and only if we explore and embrace all of our choices will we find what we are truly seeking.