Author Truths for Beginners (Part 8)

Welcome to BOOK MARKETING FOR BEGINNERS with E. A.

Where all your dreams can come true . . .

but probably won’t due to limited budgets or effort.

pexels-photo-459971.jpegRule 1:
Neither you nor your book is worthless.

I hope you are taking notes because you will be tested on this. There are a huge number of people who will tell you this, usually so they can make a buck from you. If you have to give your work away online, as SO many people claim, then maybe the online marketplace is not where we should be trying to sell our books. My hardcover goes for $39.99 and it continues to sell here and there with me doing next to nothing these days to encourage those sales. My big large-print paperback still pulls in $24.99. So, how is it that we must entertain 99¢ or even free e-books?

I have a theory.

pexels-photo-288477.jpegImagine the aforementioned rich publishing executive sitting in their corner office high atop one of the BIG 5 publishing houses. Both they and their stockholders are worried by the ever-increasing number of indie-author e-book offerings that are priced roughly 66% lower than what the BIG 5 would like to be selling their e-books for. Pictures begin to coalesce in their mind . . .

They must go.

There are too many of them to kill . . . unless we could get them all in one place . . . Nah, we’d never get away with it, and the hit-squad required would make the venture cost prohibitive.
What if we created sites to take a pile of money from indie-authors using our industry people? Then, what if our people were somehow able to convince them that making NO money from publishing was a step in the right direction for their careers?
If they were all disheartened and broke, would they quit?
“Jane, get in here. I need you to take a memo.”

pexels-photo-206527.jpegYou may want to sit down and be drunk, or high, or both for these next few facts . . . this from a guy whose book takes a tough stance on escapism. What a fracking hypocrite!

According to statistics:

  • The average book will sell less than 250 copies. As soon as mine hits 251, I’m outa-here. I will be able to hold my head high and be able to boastfully state: I was an above average success as an indie-author. Whoever I am bragging to does not need to know the truth of it.
  • Each year there are more than 600,000 new books published to help to bury yours.
  • Each year the aging segment of the populace that still buys and reads full-length books shrinks a little more. Even novellas are a bit long for some younger readers. Enter the novelette.

The wealthy retired baby-boomers won’t last forever so if you are going publish a meaningful book, you had better hurry.

pexels-photo-221164.jpeg“What about groups and events on social media sites?
Won’t they help us reach readers?”

I would be lying if I said no, but we must put a VALUE on each of those based on our time spent preparing as well as the time spent on the activity. It goes to optimizing your time and the most PROFITABLE use of your time. If you won’t work for under $10.00 per hour anywhere else, why would you on social media?

In marketing:
COST vs. RETURN = VALUE

  • COST: whether expressed as hours devoted or in dollars, quatloos, whatever.
  • RETURN: your royalties.
  • VALUE: a measure of effectiveness expressed in PROFITS after deducting costs.

Yes, you read that right.

Your investment in marketing is supposed to sell at least enough of a product at a high enough gross profit to cover costs. Crazy, right? Would you stay with a Real-estate Agent who keeps telling you to lower your asking price until it’s lower than what you paid for your house? Sadly, some people will listen to so-called experts, but you are an author, ergo you is smart.

“But isn’t marketing expensive?”

So is that designer coffee you are drinking.

For about what you spend in a year on designer coffee (or tea or smoothies) from specialty shops, (+/- $5000.00) you can have a pretty solid book marketing plan that will not only begin to pay for your coffees again, but could do much more. It will depend on your reviews once the book is off and running.

If you self-publish or are published by a small press, make sure you have a marketing budget, however small, to get things rolling. Be aware, you must commit to your marketing plan for up to one year after your release, depending on whether your reviews warrant continuing.

Advertisements

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 7)

You will need my revolutionary new Bullshit-o-Meter 5000!

stock-vector-vector-illustration-of-a-meter-detecting-levels-of-bullshit-at-low-medium-or-high-399762697Special!
80% Off!
Save BIG!

Order before midnight tonight and I’ll also send you my HOW TO BECOME A RICH AUTHOR video with the same super deep discount, subtitled:

There Is One Born Every Minute & How to Fleece Them.

There are SO many snake-oil-selling salespeople hovering around and feeding on unsuspecting authors that it would be laughable were it not for the authors who get taken for thousands each year by charlatans with lawyers or marketing packages that yield nothing.

gothic-1378352_1280

Here is my List of Hungry Zombies Authors Should Avoid:

a) Social media campaigns run by third party promoters who promise your book will be seen by their 100,000 followers, twice per day, seven days a week . . . If by being seen they mean scrolled right over, then there is at least some truth in their claims. It would be interesting to see how many fake followers they have, but who has the time. My Bullshit-o-Meter 5000 is humming.

b) ANY and ALL so-called reviewers who ask for money.

c) ANY and ALL so-called reviewers who ONLY accept print books for review. Some demand multiple copies. You will pay for the books and shipping, only to “mysteriously” begin to see used versions of your book appear on your book’s Amazon page, eBay or craigslist. If reselling your book isn’t already bad enough, they don’t review it either. This group fracked me out of hundreds of dollars. Don’t let it happen to you no matter how legitimate they may appear. They are scammers, plain and simple.

d) ANY and ALL so-called Book Awards asking for money.

e) ANY and ALL so-called Book Awards who ONLY accept print books for review. Some demand multiple copies. You see where this is going. There are a few that will give you the award by refining the categories down until you are the only one left in it, but you will probably have to buy into multiple categories—each with its own entry fee—to be sure of becoming an Award-Winning Author.

stock-photo-gold-winners-trophy-with-golden-shiny-stars-721703176Legitimate and meaningful book award organizations have a nomination process which begins with your book being referred to them by a trusted party. You probably will not even know this has happened until

THEY CONTACT YOU.

Hell, if you send me fifty bucks, I’ll give you my exclusive and very prestigious sounding award (because it is in Latin) that will make you an

Insignes Literatura Winning Author

You don’t even have to send me your book, just the money. If you get nine of your author pals to send money as well, I will build a website to legitimize the whole thing to the casual observer.

f) The We Will Handle Everything for You Publicity / Marketing companies will usually do what they claim, as long as your checks keep clearing. Typically, you will find options to suit any wealthy person’s budget, ranging from a basic book launch for $500.00ish to the Hillary plan in the tens of thousands. So, if you have a foundation with your name on it, you are good to go, but no matter which plan you choose, your royalties will never cover the costs. Publicists are for those people who write books to create a secondary revenue stream in support of their primary occupations. The best examples these days are politicians, scientists and celebrities who wish to stay in, or return to, the limelight. These publicity companies are often promoters of trade shows. Do not exhibit your book in EXPOs if you will not be there to network. I rolled the dice on this expense for a $0.00 return. It’s the equivalent of putting your book on a shelf in the Library of Congress for five days; nobody knows you are even there.

pexels-photo-327540.jpeg

g) ANYBODY who is selling you on the DREAM instead of tangible proven services. Their pitch usually goes something like this: ‘It happened for E. L. James and J. K. Rowling . . . so it can happen for you.’ This one has been known to break the Bullshit-o-Meter 5000.
These examples are anomalies. Forget about them.

h) ANYBODY who is trying to tell you to give away your work for nothing or next to nothing. There are more and more sites popping up everyday promising us that if we pay a small membership fee, mark our books down to where we no longer receive a royalty, and play well with others on the site, we MIGHT get a bunch of new reviews which COULD cause an upswing in sales even after the promo-period ends. My Bullshit-o-Meter 5000 has smoke coming out of it.

If any readers are willing to show me how any of the above mentioned actually grossed more royalties than they cost in either time or quatloos, I will happily print a retraction.
There is no magical formula that will sell any book to every person for little or no money. Marketing is mostly about common sense, or at least it was until the Internet came along.

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 5)

Doing the work is not optional.

In order to eat occasionally, keep a roof over my head, and keep the dream alive of one day being able to afford cocaine, I work with a variety of very different people who are mostly artistic types who were forced into becoming entrepreneurs. Most fiction authors and performers are creatives—right brain thinkers—who by their very nature have difficulty with the structured environment needed to run a business. In meetings, you can actually see their eyes glazing over as their brain’s dominant right side takes them to a daffodil covered sun-bathed meadow where unicorns run free, and where fairy dust falls from rainbows in an otherwise pure blue sky.

pexels-photo-255339.jpegStarving artists have always existed for a reason.

Artists want to work at their craft to the exclusion of all else. They are only interested in what moves them on an artistic level. This is why they have been exploited throughout history. When it comes to creatives, the more talented they are, the worse they are at focusing on the real-world DETAILS that will give them a fighting chance at success:
Budgeting
Cover photos and graphics
Titles
Subtitles
Blurbs
Author bio
Bibliography
Interior layout
Fonts
Meta data
Categories
Keywords
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
BIC & BISAC subject codes
If you are already phasing, you are probably destined for greatness.
Branding
Image building
Distribution
Marketing
Advertising
Promotion
Events
Appearances
Interviews
Press releases
Publicity
Revenue streams
Websites
Social media management
E-mail campaigns
Targeted marketing strategies
You get the idea.

It’s business-y stuff.

pexels-photo-450271.jpegMany of the authors who come to me for a little help in some of the areas above, are wildly prolific writers who crank out books almost as fast as it takes me to write a blog like this. While I admire and envy them for being singularly focused on the best part of being an author—writing, I can usually see where they have taken shortcuts which hurt the quality, sale-ability, and visibility of their book(s) and or brand.

Haste makes waste!

I wonder if there is such a thing as publishing addiction? I can see how it could happen, and it would explain authors who rush to publish without doing all the work. The best I have felt in decades came as a result of typing The End for the first time. I poured a scotch, lit a cigar, and sat back to bask in the afterglow of my tremendous achievement; fantasizing about the possibilities . . . it was wonderful. Anything wonderful can be addictive. What if premature publication is actually the root cause of indie and small press books remaining in the weeds?

Premature publication is just like premature ejaculation.
In both cases, people are left wanting.

pexels-photo-256658.jpegControl your excitement!

You must put a long list of things in place before you announce your book to the world. One example of major impotence is most influential reviewers want an ARC or galley copy three months prior to the release of the book. [The typo stayed because it absolutely killed me when I saw it. My subconscious is hilarious.] Skipping over this step is the equivalent of saying: Reviews do not matter, it is the size of your catalog that counts.

That’s just nuts!

Reviews drive this business!
Reviews open doors.

man-hands-reading-boy.jpg

The top influencers in the industry are not the reviewers you might expect.
Follow these links to find the truth:

www.slate.co

fictionadvocate.com

www.thebookpeople.co.uk

You are only as good as the QUALITY AND QUANTITY of the reviews of your last book.

That is why I will not self-publish another one. There are just too many barriers which are designed to keep indie-authors in their place, which by the way, is anywhere outside of the mainstream book marketplace. Upcoming segments in this series will touch on a few examples. Stay tuned.

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 2)

pexels-photo-209257.jpeg

Even if you bleed on the pages there will be detractors.

This brings us to the second thing every aspiring author should know.

Social media is replete with anti-social behavior.

In fact, these sites are little more than a soapbox for some of the worst sociopaths out there. Also, regular use of social media has been scientifically linked to increased unhappiness, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicides.

I SO get it!

After spending three years in a social media prison of my own making, I drink way more now than ever before, and trying crack cocaine to escape the preponderance of insanity exhibited there, is no longer out of the question. It’s probably a good thing I am a starving author who cannot afford drugs. Is this change in my outlook towards escapism merely a coincidence? I don’t think so.

pexels-photo-58728.jpeg

Tips to avoid becoming this guy:

  • Spend only the time that you must on social media. It is not a healthy place. Social media burnout is a real thing. Just ask any of your author friends on facebook, and they will tell you all about it.
  • Do not expect reciprocity. You will probably LIKE and SHARE far more often than others return the favor.
  • Being an author means you have gone into the book selling business. Sharp business people realize “Time is money.” Understand that without advertising, maybe 1% of your followers might actually read your book(s). Budget your time spent on social media sites accordingly. Here is the math that no author I know, including myself, pays any attention to:

10,000 followers x 1% book buyers x +/- $3.00 royalty = $300.00 / your hours invested.

My social media investment is really taking off. I make 14 cents per hour, now that I have cut back on the time spent there; when only one year ago the number was 3 cents per hour. So, I have that going for me.

Why do it at all?

We do it for the 1%.

  • Engage with your very special 1%. Readers, reviewers, and supporters are what makes social media tolerable in small doses.
  • To preserve your sanity, learn to UNFOLLOW, BLOCK, or even UNFRIEND those who post police brutality, animal abuse, racism, sexism, posts promoting division, photos of the bandits ruling America regardless of party—basically anything in your feed which causes a revulsive response within you.

nuclear-weapons-test-nuclear-weapon-weapons-test-explosion-73909.jpeg

  • If you are a woman, opening your Messenger to a new male follower is like having to choose to between cutting the blue or red wire to defuse a time bomb several times per day. It’s an inevitability that you will make the wrong choice eventually and BOOM—dick pic.

These are YOUR sites to manage how you want.

Don’t let others tell you what you must tolerate in order to be “successful” on social media. Those days are gone. Social media no longer has the influence it initially had with agents, publishers or the book buyers of the world so keep the time you spend there in perspective. If you do this, you will find yourself with a significant amount of extra time to use on more productive pursuits like writing, e-mail campaigns, or trying to find a drug dealer in an upscale family-oriented neighborhood. It’s tougher than you think.