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Posts Tagged ‘books’

I know, it’s been a while. Not just for my blog, but writing in general. Life has a way of doing that.

On Friday night, the hubby and I headed to a baseball game. We’d planned to take our youngest, but he got sick. So, I offered the ticket to a friend of mine. She was super excited (and repaid us in bath bombs – thoroughly addicted to her stuff!), so off we went.

I was feeling happy by the time we got to our seats (first row, too!). I’d been able to walk from the train to the stadium, then down to our seats, without stopping. A year ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Amazing how much difference 60lbs can make.

Anyway, at some point my friend wanted to go get some food. Back up to the concourse we went. One of the things she got was fried grasshoppers to put on her tacos. We arrived back at our seats, and I agreed to try one.

Not high on my ‘need to eat this again’ list, so you know. More like ‘nope, never again’.

After I finished washing the taste out of my mouth with some hot cider, I said something in passing that a single grasshopper wasn’t nearly as scary as submitting my first book to a publisher. If can do that…if I can go through surgery and finally start get my weight going in the right direction…a single grasshopper is nothing.

That’s it, right there. The simple act of finishing writing a book takes dedication. Checking on the submission requirements, doing our homework, and having the courage to hit send on that email – not just once but dozens of times – is bravery.

When you get that contract, you’re not at the end of the work. There’s still the promoting and marketing. But we’re scared to get out there and make cold calls. Get disappointed when sales don’t meet our hopes. And we give up.

Thing is, you did the hardest part and wrote the book. You did the work to find it a home. Giving up now because you don’t want to put the time into promoting it is like that fried grasshopper.

You’ve come so far. This is the easy part.

BB

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Happy New Year! Took last week off for the holiday, head back to work tomorrow, but I’m more relaxed now.

Update for those of you who read my books! ‘Guarding Amber’ is done with editing! I hope to have it up for sale before mid-January. It’s my 20th title, which amazes me.

I want to talk about the business side of things. Most new authors sign a contract and don’t understand what it says. They only think that they’re with a traditional publisher and not a vanity press, so all should be good.

This is a business. Publishers invest money in your book, pay up front costs like making a cover, having it edited, and sending it past a proofreader. As such, they want your book to be successful because the only way they’re making back that investment is if it sells well. They take a risk on a new author, hoping that what they put into the book will be recouped once it’s up for sale.

Reputable publishers spell this out in the contract. It’s up to the author to read and understand it before they sign it. Percentages are spelled out, what each party is responsible for, etc.

Publishers don’t have to give you your books for free. They’re a business, looking to pay their operating costs and salaries. They do this by selling books. Screaming at someone that they’re ‘cheating’ or ‘stealing’ from you simply because they made money off your book shows your ignorance of the business. Your publisher making money is not an act of piracy. Any comparison along that line only shows that you’re a jackass.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of somebody else making money off of your book, then don’t sign with a traditional publisher. Self publish, or pay a vanity press, and go it alone. Signing a contract with a traditional publisher means they’re going to make money off of your book. Period.

For most first books, it won’t be much of a profit if any. The majority of first time authors won’t earn back what the publisher invested in the lifetime of the initial contract. An author who starts to complain about the publisher making even a dime off of them doesn’t get renewed.

Being a published author through a traditional house is a long term commitment for both parties. Authors have to keep promoting and writing if they want their sales to increase, and the publisher to renew their contracts. Publishers have to be up front and timely with both statements and payouts. It’s a system built on mutual trust.

Think of it this way. When you go to a bookstore, do you really think that the full amount goes to the author? Of course not, because the bookstore needs to make a profit or it wouldn’t be in business. So, they must buy the books at a discount. How can the publisher pay their editors or staff? They have to make a profit off of what they’re selling. Which is books.

This is a business, not a something for nothing scam. Sure, those exist. Friends of mine have been inundated with emails and such lately for them. Everything from ‘we’re starting up a library and want to feature your books – but I need your information and you don’t need mine’ to ‘enter our contest – there’s a modest $250 fee – please ignore that it’s brand new/no history of it online/no one’s ever won/the payout is exposure or $15’ emails.

Educate yourself before you sign that contract. Because, once you do, you’re bound to the terms. Even the ones you don’t like.

BB

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Hey everyone! It’s gearing up to be a super busy weekend. 6 days until we see the new ‘Star Wars’ movie!

Yeah, that’s my fandom of choice. We can discuss that another time, though.

Everyone talks about being creative, finding inspiration from the things around them. You can read countless stories on social media about how a writer looked at a situation, did a mental, ‘what if’, and turned it into a story.

The thing is, inspiration isn’t enough to make it as an author.

You need the self discipline and determination to sit yourself down and finish the story.

You need the critical eye and willingness to realize that the first draft is just that – a draft – and changes need to be made. Some will be minor, others major. But no manuscript is print ready from the gate.

You need the fortitude to do your research and compile a list of agents and publishers.

You need courage to submit you m/s to said publishers and agents.

You need patience and the ability to put your ego on the shelf when edits come back.

You need the mental stamina and strength to promote your book.

This is work. Plain and simple. It’s not as easy as sitting down to a computer or notebook and vomiting words onto a page. If you can’t get find that strength within yourself, you’ll not like the job.

Don’t get me wrong. The highs of being a published author are AMAZING. Having someone get excited because they met ‘a real author’ or seeing them hug one of your books after you signed it gives you some of the best warm fuzzies you’ll ever feel. And this is one of the few industries where the nice guy finishes first. But you have to be strong, have to draw on a mental toughness every single day. Bad reviews are going to undercut your confidence. Months without sales will make your stomach fall to your feet. Authors pour our souls into our books. We breathe life into our characters and work hard to create worlds that readers will be lost in. When those bad reviews or no sales months come, they hurt.

You can’t simply wait for inspiration to strike. You have to roll up your sleeves and work if you want magic to happen. If you seriously think all you have to do is write, you haven’t been reading my blog long. LOL.

BB

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It’s Monday!

It’s been an interesting week since I last posted. In some ways, I’m still processing everything. And it was all good things!

First off, I found out I’m now on the short list for Author of the Year from Whole Life Activation, a group in London, England that celebrates women making a difference. I’m beyond humbled and honored. With a fair amount of excited in there as well. LOL. The ceremony takes place on November 10th. As much as I’d like to go, it’s not feasible right now. When you have college bills to pay for, spending $2k to go to a gala in London isn’t being fiscally responsible. No matter the outcome, I’m thrilled. While I don’t know the other three finalists, I’m certain that I’m in amazing company.

Today, I found out the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’ is a semi-finalist for the Authordb.com cover of the year award!

If I can be so bold, I need votes! You can go here (https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/23632-cover-contest-2017-guarding-charon) and vote/leave a review! Even if you think one of the other semi-finalists is a better cover, the votes are crucial. You don’t have to vote for me…just do it!

Being an author is a lot of highs and lows. You spend days/weeks/months/years even trying to get your name out there. All but begging for reviews. And then you get weeks like this last one. Where you find out that maybe you really are making an impact in the pond. Where you get hope that those small ripples will continue to spiral out and widen your readership.

And that maybe, just maybe, all the struggles to get there will be worth it.

BB

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Hey! It’s Monday! It’s getting colder out. I threw on a jacket this morning before driving our youngest to school. And am now swathed in one of my dad’s cardigans.

I want to talk about one of the worst behaviors as an adult. It’s not just a writer problem. But we need to stop whining on social media. Especially if you’re published or hope to be one day.

I’m not talking a simple ‘crap, the battery on my car died’ type whine. I’m talking the out and out pity party. Oh woe is me someone else did x and I planned to do that. Why are my sales so bad? Can’t you leave a review?

Shut up. Put on your big kid panties, grow a thick skin, and grow up.

Readers don’t care if you found out information ‘first’. They don’t care if your sales are bad. Because they’re dealing with real life as well. Throwing yourself a pity party on social media is just wrong. Especially if you’re doing it in relation to a book of yours.

Readers don’t care if my parents died 7 months apart. They don’t care if my van’s breaking down. They want to buy into the illusion that life as an author is AMAZING!!! Filled with celebrity guest dinner parties, calls and texts from Hollywood all day long (I’m here if they’re interested! LOL), and that my hardest decision outside of plot points revolve around what dress to wear to a premiere or if I’m buying a Lexus or BMW this year.

This industry’s unique in that the nice guy finishes first. Publishers and agents want to work with authors without feeling stymied at every turn. They want to have a good working relationship, not an adversarial one. Which also means authors need to have a thick skin and know how to behave in public. Social media IS public. It’s the nature of the beast, no matter what site you’re using. And, yes, agents and publishers worth signing with WILL check your twitter and FB news feed to gauge what sort of author you are.

Nowadays, there’s more to this than selling your m/s. You have to sell yourself as a public person as well. If you can’t contain your sorrow over something trivial and whine about being cheated, it’s a strike against you.

From the moment you decide you want to be a published author, start acting like one on social media. Be professional and pleasant. Be someone others want to follow, read, and emulate. Think about the authors you admire. Do they curse at readers for not leaving a review? Do they scream about the ‘injustice’ of their agent/publisher? Do they fabricate drama because they need people to pay attention to them?

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s not the loss, because there’s no real loss. Every story that can be written has been. How you tell it, the words you choose, is what makes your books stand out from the millions of others on Amazon. People hate drama, especially manufactured drama where someone gets ‘hurt’ or ‘insulted’ over the smallest things. Guess what? Pirates steal my books all the time. They’re making money off of my hard work. But I’m not on FB, crying and whining about it.

It’s called being a professional. If you crave that much attention, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when you get published. Because publishers, agents, and readers don’t have time or energy to coddle you every time you get a bad review.

BB

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Hey! It’s Monday! I hope your weekend was a good one.

Almost three years ago, I wrote a post about the myth of the book store signing (here’s a link if you want to read it:¬†https://katemariecollins.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/the-myth-of-the-book-store-signing/). Now that I’m doing these on a monthly basis, I wanted to talk about the reality of these events.

First off, don’t go into one expecting to have a crowd of people waiting for you. Most often than not, people will think you work for the store initially. At my first Barnes & Noble event, I barely sold more books than I got asked where the restroom was. LOL. I turned it into a game at one point.

Second, expect to have long blocks of time (could be an hour straight) where no one comes over and wants to know who you are. You shouldn’t be on your phone much, or reading a book. Basically, don’t do something that makes people think they would be interrupting you. You’re going to have to sit there, smile, try to engage people who keep walking past you, and be bored.

Third, be nice to the staff! Don’t be that jerk author who is demanding that they announce you’re there every 15 minutes because there’s people in the store but no one’s paying attention to you. Don’t sigh, look bored, and snap at staff who are really there to do their job. Which doesn’t include catering to you and your whims. They gave you a table, chair, and ordered your books (or let you bring your own). They don’t get paid to fetch you water, or manhandle customers into talking to you.

Think of it this way. If you walked into a book store and saw an author, how would you approach them? How would you expect them to respond to you? Would you go up to someone who’s got their face in a Kindle or a phone? Who wore a look of utter boredom and exasperation?

In order to draw in readers, you have to be the type of author you’d want to approach. Yes, it’s a major accomplishment to get ‘big enough’ to get a book store signing. That doesn’t mean you get to unleash your ego and let it run amok. Put your ego aside and be humble.

Oh, and make sure you’re not bathed in perfume or cologne. You want to be clean, but a lot of people have allergies to scents. They won’t come closer if the aroma’s so strong that they can taste it from ten feet away.

BB

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Hey! It’s Monday! I’m blogging again! Woot!

I thought a lot this weekend about how I prioritize things when it comes to writing and promoting. And I realized something.

I spend a whole lot of time checking the ranking of my books. Or for new reviews. And a lot less on actively promoting my books.

But, that’s a little backwards. I should be concentrating on future sales, after all. I can’t turn back time and force readers to buy my books. Or leave a review. So, why do I check two or three times a day?

One of the common complaints I’ve heard from authors is that we don’t have time to promote. It takes too long to do x, y, or z. But we’ll spend more time checking for reviews than it takes to post a single tweet. And I’m as guilty of this as the rest of you.

So, I’m challenging myself to NOT check ranking and reviews until October 1st, 2017. Instead, every time I’m tempted, I’m going to promote one or more of my books on FB or Twitter. I’ll learn how to create better graphics for teasers. I’ll post something to Authorsdb.

I’m going to spend that time promoting instead of wondering why the numbers aren’t improving.

Who’s with me?

BB

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