RSS

Tag Archives: self-publishing

Stop Talking About Your Book, Start Talking About Your Passion

Stop Talking About Your Book, Start Talking About Your Passion

My attention was recently brought to a discussion in the Author U group on LinkedIn, and it highlighted one tip that sometimes I think we as authors forget (or misinterpret): Stop Talking About Your Book!

Now, I know someone is thinking “If I don’t talk about it, how will they know?“, or maybe they ask themselves “How else will I make my book stand out?“.

To those thoughts, and any similar thoughts I respond: “What if potential readers are so turned off by your tactics that they don’t even give your book a chance?

We have all seen them: groups on Facebook filled with flyby promotions. Groups that ONLY these authors are visiting just to drop off their latest promo. Authors, you should know that your readers have left the building. Besieged by promotion after promotion with no dialogue, they have blocked or left this group and you are not promoting to anyone. Remember the other authors aren’t active either, they just want to drop a line about their latest soon-to-be best-seller.

Promote Your Passion

Elwood Billshot, author at Toolnet.us and a fellow Author U mate says this about how you can more effectively promote your book:

Many engaging comments in a variety of groups and conversations will generate interest in you as a person. Eventually this becomes an interest in your work.

The key to promoting your book is not Spam, it’s about relationships. If you are not sure where the line is, I recommend you read The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9 1/2 Ways to Get People to Love You by Cathey Armillas to fully understand what I mean. The relationships you create with fellow authors and readers is what will generate the interest you need and the sales you want. It’s a journey, it takes commitment, and as Elwood also says, “It’s all about persistence and attrition.”

Talk about why you chose this subject, what about it is near to your heart. People can connect to your passion and your ideas, if you let them in. Readers enjoy books because it gives them something to focus on, enjoy, and escape. Your conversations should be similar: give them something to focus on, allow them to enjoy their interactions with you, and then they may choose to “escape” with a book written by you, an individual who has proven to be interesting. This personal relationship can also make a lifetime fan and an influencer of your book.

A Personal Note…

I met Liv Warfield on my first Girls’ Night Out in Portland. She sang. I mean she SANG! Loved it. I got to talk to Liv after, and she was so friendly I just had to give up my $5 for her CD. I saw Liv Warfield often after that, I went to shows and I visited her store. I dragged my husband and every friend I knew to see Liv, and when her Prince-approved album The Unexpected came out I bought my copy immediately and I promote her every chance I get. To me, Liv Warfield is better than Beyoncé or Taylor Swift because she is REAL! I met her, I see her often and Liv Warfield is always friendly, so I feel like I know her. I also know others who have provided their stamp of approval from their encounters with Liv. It’s all about relationships.

Your Passion Makes Your Book Come Alive

This doesn’t mean you pass up the opportunity to strategically drop a promotional post in the appropriate sections of a group, and some will encourage this. Just remember that when everyone is selling, few are actually buying. As Judith Briles, The Book Shepherd says, “It takes deep, down passion to make a book come alive… it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or nonfiction.”

What’s your Passion? Post a quick, blatant promo for your book or service here!

RCarter-EventRochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, an award-winning book publishing company. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Self-Publishing Stigma: Do We Deserve It?

Publishing is on the cusp of the indie-publishing revolution. There are lots of reasons to be down on traditional publishing that self-publishing authors love to expound on, but the authorpreneur needs to clearly see the self-publishing practices that have caused the “stigma” that “elitist” publishing folks turn their noses up at. It;s the only way for you to DO BETTER and put these stigmas to rest!

It’s time to stop whining about the stigma and DO SOMETHING about it. I could write a list of all the mistakes I’ve seen in self-publishing (from an unknown author putting his/her face on the front cover to refusing to listen to Stephen King’s advice about the craft in his book On Writing). However, that would take twelve days. The number one, biggest mistake in self-publishing today doesn’t have to do with the cover design or the marketing. The biggest mistake in self-publishing today is: Publishing before the book is ready!

I know–this sounds oh-so simple. But the truth is that most brand-new authors truly don’t know what it takes to make a self-published book successful. Heck, many “veteran” self-published authors don’t know what it takes, either–they’re often the ones who created the often well-deserved self-publishing stigma.

Writing 60,000 words is easy. Did you just hear that symphony of gasps and indignant rebuttals from authors around the globe? Yes, I said it–writing 60,000 words IS EASY. It takes time, but that doesn’t make the act itself difficult. What is difficult is doing it well. Yes, some people are just truly more talented at writing than others. Does this mean that writing is not a learned skill that is improved by greater understanding and practice? No. It’s like any other art form: talent can only take you so far, and then training comes in to refine the talent.

If authors don’t take the time to read books on the craft, take writing classes, learn the rules, get critiques, read other books in the genre, take the time to research the genre’s audience, write multiple drafts and rewrite scenes and sequences multiple times, etc. (I could go on, and on, and on…), the book will NOT be ready to publish. It won’t even be ready for the editor. Unfortunately, this has not stopped many books from being self-published before they’re ready for the marketplace, thus exacerbating and supporting the stigma self-publishing is fighting.

Self-publishing poorly is just too easy nowadays. There are too many publish-instantly-for-free buttons out there that keep duping would-be successful self-published authors into just “getting it out there,” preventing them from ever having success and inflaming the already red and itchy rash that is the self-publishing stigma. The answer is to STOP FALLING FOR IT.

Self-publishing is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. It should not be easier simply because you don’t have to go through agents or traditional publishers. It has the potential to be very rewarding–I would argue that it has the potential to be even more rewarding than traditional publishing. That is if it’s done right and well.

It’s time for self-publishing authors to quit jumping the gun. It’s time to put in the time, energy, and money (remember–time IS money, and it takes LOTS AND LOTS of TIME to make it right) to publish the right way. It’s time to take some responsibility–let’s stop the practices that make self-publishing deserving of the stigma. The success of the indie-author revolution depends on it!

Many self-publishers, like EverFaith Press, provide free consultations and manuscript assessments that can help you not only determine if your book is ready, but if not how to get it ready. You should also check out The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship. Order from Christian Books Today and get a free copy of Write Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur!

 

Tags: , , ,

5 Reasons You Should Self-Publish Your Christian Novel- Tips for Authorpreneurs

I speak to authors regularly to help them organize their writing and create publishing plans that fit their goals and economic status. While one of the biggest barriers to self-publishing is usually funds, the second usually is lack of information or research. Traditional publishing is nice if you have the patience  for it and don’t mind letting someone else take over, but for those who like be in charge here are a few good reasons to self-publish, as well as some major pitfalls.

5. No Rejections! This is one that resonates with every author. No one likes to be told no, especially if there is not a clearly identifiable problem with your manuscript. While this is a perfectly good reason to go the self-publishing route, which will ensure your publication, rejections are a motivation for some authors to improve on their work.

Pitfall: Without an honest, third-party assessment of your manuscript before publishing, you can end up with a sub-par product that destroys your reputation as an author.

How to Avoid It: Find a professional editor to provide you with honest feedback. Some have a process for this type of review, while others charge an hourly fee. The goal is to not only get feedback, but also suggestions on how to resolve your issues. Companies like EverFaith Press provide a Rubric with their manuscript assessments which allow you to see your problem areas and how you can fix them.

4. Editorial Control. This perk of self-publishing is great for authors who like to be in the know. You have the ability to interview and select your own editor, or at least set the parameters for success and their interaction with you.

Pitfalls: Selecting the wrong editor by going for the lowest cost only. Another big mistake is ignoring your editor. If you have selected your editor wisely, it is important that you take the time to weigh and value their input.

How to Avoid It: First, make sure that you request a sample edit. Any editor that takes on your book without first reviewing your manuscript is no one you should work with. They need to see your manuscript to determine if they can help you or not. Second. when selecting your editor, have a conversation with them about their editing style and how they work with authors. Vibes are not sufficient, but if you combine your “personality assessment” with their assessment of your manuscript and sample edit, you will have all of the pieces needed to make an educated decision.

3. Design Input. Many traditional publishers work on your design for you, and your input is limited if allowed at all. When self-publishing, depending on how you go about it, you are able to veto covers you do not like and creative control over the design concepts.

Pitfall: Design input is only a plus if you have options and are working with a skilled designer. Using a self-publishing press can be a benefit here, because they typically make deals with quality designers based on book quantities to get you the best pricing. When approaching the same or similar designer, your costs can triple and push you towards a cheaper more sub-par choice.

How to Avoid It: Look for promotional specials when you review the work of graphic designers, and make sure that they have experience with creating at least 5 book covers for print publications. Don’t hesitate to interview them, and if you really don’t have the time to do the legwork then visit small presses like EverFaith Press and Believers Press. They both have contractors who can provide sample work from established designers for you to choose from.

2. Higher Royalties. It’s good to get paid, and it’s even better when you can set your own rates. This is the number 2 best reason to self-publish, because you see an immediate return on your investment. It takes a while to recoup the publishing costs, but to many authors it’s worth it.

Pitfalls: There are four major pitfalls here 1. Not setting your own royalty rate, 2. Setting your rate too high to reinvest in your work, 3. Not setting your royalties aside for personal use and 4. Not using the book revenue to reinvest.

How to Avoid It: Being a smart business person is one of the key skills you will need to be a successful authorpreneur, but it’s not something you can learn overnight. The quick lesson (or reminder) is that you have to both pay yourself and set money aside to further your book marketing plans. Creating your own contract to set your royalty rate lets you make a little money back from your work, while reasonably setting aside the remainder for a business account. You can save that money and use it invest in any future book plans that you may have.

1. Access to Final Files. There are no major pitfalls here, and honestly It’s the most important reason to self-publish carefully. Many companies are happy for you to pay them to produce your work, and are only satisfied if they can keep you coming back for more. They force your hand by not providing you with your final files so you have to go through their more expensive channels for any print needs. EverFaith Press has the advantage on most self-publishing companies here, as it is in their standard agreement to provide the final files to their authors. They keep you coming back because their print costs are one of the cheapest in the POD world, and the turnaround time is phenomenal.

Pitfalls: If you do get a copy of your final files, make sure not to corrupt it! If you do not have the knowledge of InDesign or whatever layout tool they use, do not try to figure it out using your file. If you destroy it, you most likely will need to pay to have it recreated.

How to Avoid It: Maintain a back-up copy of all publication files, then make a back-up of your back-up. Preferably, you should store your files on a Cloud drive and on an external drive. This protects your investment and ensures that you have a copy of all final files for future changes or editions.

These are just a few good reasons to self-publish, and there are many reasons to traditionally publish as well. In the end it is up to you the author to decide what will work best for you.

Have you been published, or self-published your own book? What helped you to make your decision? Share your answers below!

 

Tags: , , ,

Video

How to Create a Book Trailer

by Shannon

•When executed properly, a book trailer can be the sharpest tool in your media kit.
•When executed properly, a book trailer can be the perfect attention grabber for potential readers.
•When executed properly, a book trailer can make your self-published title a legitimate, professional piece.

Do you see the common thread? It’s all about the first three words: When executed properly. A great book trailer can really set you apart from the competition, but a bad book trailer can set you back from the competition. That’s why it’s so important to be honest with yourself in deciding whether or not you can create a good a book trailer. Specifically, you need to ask yourself three questions:

    1. Do I have the time to create a book trailer?

    Odds are, you’re already up to your eyeballs in writing, managing your social media, soliciting reviews and performing other marketing tasks. Making a (good) book trailer takes some serious time and focus, if you don’t have much of either to allocate for the project it might be wise to hire someone who does have the time.

    2. Am I skilled enough to create a book trailer?

    Look, there’s no nice way to say this so I’m just gonna say it: Some people don’t have the skills to make a book trailer. You know who you are, don’t try to pretend like I’m talking about someone else. Whether you don’t know your way around the computer, you don’t have a knack for visual creativity or you struggle learning new things, it’s okay to acknowledge that your forte lies in other areas and leave your book trailer up to a professional.

    3. What is my book trailer budget?

    Even if you’re making your own book trailer, there are still costs involved. From stock photos and video to visual equipment and editing software, depending on how involved your book trailer is you could easily be looking at an investment of several hundred dollars.

The bottom line is this: If you don’t have the time, ability or budget to create a good book trailer, you should consider using a professional or not using one at all. But if you DO have the time, ability and budget to create your own book trailer, by all means dive in and create something spectacular!

Book Trailer Example #1: The 2012 Project

Step One: Write the script

Just like a regular movie, a good book trailer starts with a script. Your trailer should be no more than three minutes long and have a beginning, middle and an end. Begin with something engaging — text, music, video, etc. — that will grab viewers’ attention (usually a question or quote from the book works best). Bring their interest to a boiling point with a climax (the main problem addressed in your book) and then wrap up with a call to action. Do NOT give away all the details of your story, but put enough bait on the line to catch some fish.

Step Two: Put together your content.

Photos, video, text and music are the meat of your book trailer. You can choose to take your own photos and film some video yourself, or you can opt for stock images. iStock has a good variety of video and photos to choose from, as does Fotolia, but they’re not cheap. You can get away with the web quality video (no need for HD) but even so, a 30 second clip can cost $100. When you’re trying to fill 2 – 3 minutes, that adds up in a hurry. Still, it lends a professional quality to your trailer that might be worth the investment. As an alternative, you can also check out Flickr’s Creative Commons for some free photos (but many do require attribution so be sure to check).

Your music choice is also a critical element. Copyright is a big (BIG!) issue when it comes to using someone else’s songs in your trailer (as you’ve probably noticed when trying to view a YouTube video only to find out it was pulled for a copyright violation). You can choose to download some public domain music or visit iStock to purchase music clips or if you are musically inclined (or have generous friends who are musically inclined) you can compose your own music.

Keep your text to a minimum and for Pete’s sake make sure it’s legible! Unless your intention to create a subliminal message, don’t use a fancy font or blow up your text so it’s pixelated and unreadable. Most importantly, leave the text on the screen long enough for an average person to read it. Nothing’s more frustrating than text that blinks off the screen before you’ve had a chance to read it all.

Step Three: Add effects and transitions

Here’s where your movie editing software of choice comes into play. If you’re fortunate enough to have a Mac with iMovie you can probably skip this section because your computer will probably automatically add the perfect professional transitions and effects to your video with the touch of a button. But for us PC folks, we have a little more work to do. You don’t have to get over the top editing software to create a decent book trailer. Windows Movie Maker (included on most PCs with Windows) will suffice.

Available effects range from a standard zoom in/zoom out (perfect for adding movement to photos) to more advanced effects like film grain and adjustable speeds (slow mo or fast forward). Effects can enhance video and photos while transitions will smooth the flow of your trailer as it moves from pictures to videos and title screens. Transitions include simple fade ins/outs, page turns, breaking glass, and page insets.

Play around with your effects and transitions, but never make them the central focus of your trailer. When done right, they should accentuate your content, not become your content.

Step Four: Upload to YouTube and share!

When you’ve got your video done, open up a YouTube account and upload that piece of art! YouTube is the best place to both store and share your video, but you should also embed it on your website, share the link on your social media accounts, and add it to your media kit.

Book Trailer Example #2: The Faithful One

What’s your experience with book trailers?
•Have you made a book trailer before?
•Do you have a favorite book trailer you could share?
•Have you ever worked with a professional to create a book trailer?

Leave your tips, links and recommendations in the comments below, we want to hear from you!

 

Tags: , , , ,

PR Basics for Authorpreneurs: Create a Digital Press Kit

Decent book publicity often equals sales and one of the best first steps you can take to help yourself get the attention of the media is to have a comprehensive and catchy digital press kit. The goal of an online press kit is provide a quick and simple way for media and other important influencers to find out everything they need to know about you and your book in one place. A digital press kit isn’t just for media either; it can also be an easy way for others to see your credentials and accomplishments as an author at a quick glance.

What’s included in a digital press kit may vary from resource to resource, here are our suggestions:

    Book info – Include a succinct but detailed summary of your book (write it more like a news reporter, and less like a salesperson).

    Image of the Book, eBook cover – Include both a high resolution version and a low rez version for ease of use online.

    Author bio – Who are you? Introduce yourself in at least 3 sentences.

    Image of you the author – Include one high resolution version and one low rez version.

    Contact info – Include an up to date email address (and make sure it’s something you check often) as well as a phone number.

    Anticipated media Q & A – Think about questions a journalist might ask you in an interview and write the answers. What motivated you to write this book? What about this genre appeals to you? What inspired the title? Are you working on any other books or projects currently?

    Facts and figures – Include any interesting tidbits about writing your book here. (eg: “It took me 7 years to write this book and I did it all from the loft of the barn on my family’s alpaca farm.” or “I wrote the entire first draft of the book freehand.”)

    Book reviews – Display any positive things influencers are saying about you.

    Accolades – Show off any awards you as an author have been given or your book has received.

    Book excerpts – Present a chapter or partial chapter to intrigue fans and media.

Think we missed any essential components of an online press kit? Let us know in the comments section below.

-by Molly King

 

Tags: , , , ,

Video

The Faithful One, A Novel

Here is another great example for a Book Trailer, also created by the Coach2Publish team at http://www.livewritepublish.com

Buy Now: http://buy.christianbookstoday.org

Seth Jacobs has it all — a successful business, a mansion in greater Boston, a beautiful wife and three loving children. Yet, in a series of events beyond his control Seth loses everything, including his health. Struggling to find some understanding amidst his pain, Seth’s faith is challenged further by his wife Maria, who betrays him, and even his friends, who suggest that perhaps God has His reasons for inflicting so much suffering upon him.

At the end of his rope, Seth meets Lucille O’Hanlon, a young yet wise social worker who tries to help him realize the spiritual solution he so desperately seeks. Lucille also begins to fill the void left by Seth’s losses, and as they grow closer together, he must finally determine if their relationship is of God’s Will or just his own.

Seth questions God as we all do in times of hardship. With Lucille’s help, he finally receives an unexpected answer to his despair and is faced with decisions that will determine the new path his life takes.

A modern-day story based on the Book of Job, The Faithful One inspires us all to have a little faith no matter what.

Buy Now: http://buy.christianbookstoday.org

Book Trailer created by Live.Write. Publish! http://www.livewritepublish.com

 

Tags: , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: