I admit it, we are clueless.

It took me four decades, to finally have an inkling. You can get well ahead of the curve by reading Ms. Creant, or you can let time and experience be your teacher. It’s your call; but as one who did it the hard way, I assure you I would have much rather read a book, had one like this existed in my youth.

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It’s not you, it’s me.

Perhaps I should explain myself, and how different parts of me are scattered across social media.

Choosing the best experience for you might mean we cannot be “friends”.

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At my core, I am a middle-aged man who works very hard to understand the behavior of both myself and other human beings. I will admit I am doing a little better with the former than the latter because I know who and what I am and how I was shaped. There may be no other point to our existence other than to discover ourselves—the “who” we are is complicated while the “what” we are is much easier. Let’s do the easy one first.

What am I?

  1. I am a human.
  2. I am a heterosexual male of that species.

What do I do?

They always leave out the implied ending of this question—for a living.

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  1. I am a non-fiction author.
  2. I am a writer for hire.
  3. I dabble in some business consulting, website design, and editing.

art-1301872_960_720Now the big question. . .

Who am I?

  1. It changes every day.
  2. I am just another flawed human being.
  3. I am someone who is looking behind the curtain of all my indoctrinations—familial; religious; societal; cultural—to see my programming.
  4. I am a seeker of truth which is a sucky pursuit. This brings us to the next one.
  5. I need to laugh, so I make snide, sarcastic, often inappropriate and misunderstood comments to help make the bitter pill of truth a little easier to swallow.
  6. As my self-awareness increases, I discard more and more of my original program in favor of ancient wisdom or “truths” if you will, which make me work on my humanness. There is much work to be done.
  7. If I shortlist this, I am pleased with my progress in compassion, empathy, sympathy, hypocrisy, ethics, scruples, and honesty, but I need more work on expectations, gratitude, judgement, tolerance, trust, and love.
  8. I am very concerned with how little time this incarnation of human civilization has left.
  9. Children make me smile. Each one is a blank slate with unparalleled memory capacity. If only we paid closer attention to the programming they receive.
  10. One of my few remaining beliefs is that a matriarchy might save us. The patriarchy has had at least 5000 years to get its shit together yet shows no signs of improving anytime soon. A civilization centered on economics only serves a few. Balance is the key to everything in nature and men just refuse to accept this paradigm. The patriarchy’s epitaph should read:

They discovered they could reshape their environment

and it ended them.

On that happy note, we will move on. This is the aforementioned sarcasm I spoke of.

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Twitter is my favorite place on social media because it is the least restrictive. Oddly, I am the most well-behaved there. If you compartmentalize your followers by making lists, you can end up with a personalized newsfeed. I recommend this for all authors who hate the social media obligation as much as I do. It will preserve your sanity for a while longer. On twitter you will get the best parts of me, for the most part, with little of my inner bad boy.

  • I re-tweet inspirational and philosophical words of wisdom daily.
  • I tweet my own mostly serious thoughts.
  • I tweet some book news.
  • My Ms. Creant site blog lands on twitter which will be mostly talking life and relationships from now on.
  • My E. A. Barker’s Blog Madness site also lands on twitter, and it is probably the only thing which could be construed as being offensive . . . and boy can it be offensive at times, when I take the gloves off. Yeah, this is a hockey term, and yes, I’m a Canadian.

You can find me on twitter @eabarkerauthor

I guess you could just follow one or both of my blogs, but you would definitely miss some fun . . . and I do like to have fun.

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Facebook is the bane of my existence. It is intrusive; your feed is next to impossible to manage unless you have a small circle; their idea of “community standards” would be laughable were it not for the disturbing fact they are willing to show the death of humans or animals, but a woman’s nipple is too much for their censors to bear; and yet I have four pages there. I might contact one of my psychologist “facebook friends” to help me figure out what in the f*ckity f*ck is up with that.

The public posts from my profile are squeaky clean; typically about life and saving the planet, although those damn blogs also show up. I guess we should change squeaky to pretty, or mostly, or kind of. If you are a facebooker, you can “follow” my public posts without seeing the bad boy stuff I share with my friends. You may miss out on some harmless humour, but you probably won’t be offended.

My E. A. Barker author page talks books, writing, author events, and libraries. I share most, but not all, blogging efforts to this page. THIS IS A SAFE ZONE!

My Author FYI page came about quite accidentally. It serves as a repository of all my research related to book publishing and book marketing for indie or small press authors, as well as a place where I wear my business-y hat. Only industry related blog posts land here. THIS IS A SAFE PLACE . . . or as safe as I get.

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If you cannot see the humour in this graphic, however inappropriate, you need not explore any farther.

My humor page is centered around relationships. The posts are there to make you laugh, but as usual, I employ few filters when it comes to seeing things for what they are.

woman-3156808_960_720Are you offended by nudity, vulgarity, or people who do not share your beliefs?

Do you remember when I said I am a flawed human being? If you make it onto my friends list, you will be treated to the full Monte. Actually that’s a lie, because facebook won’t let us show that, but you will get whatever strikes ME as funny, bizarre, cool, and I have been known to push the limits of facebook’s community standards just for the fun of it. I am against all things divisive. I am against all measures created to maintain division, the status quo, and to suppress badly needed conversations. If we cannot talk openly about anything, even if we do not agree with each other’s positions afterwards, then we cannot be friends. If you think you are up to it, you will find I am a loyal friend who is quick to help if I can, and you have my word, it won’t be dull.

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 10)

What happens when there are more books than readers?

We are getting close.

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Way to go mass media. Thanks to you, readership is in decline. Who saw that coming? The answer is everyone did, way back when it began in the1960’s. As is typical with the human species, we thought someone else would handle it.

When you couple media addiction to an educational system designed to disengage all but the most pliable minds, we find ourselves with a societal problem that goes way beyond the book marketplace; but I won’t go off on this tangent. Instead, we will get back to why it will suck to be you if you decide to become one of us.

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Trust the picture!

Look how much fun authors have.

Your author experience will mostly be decided by your expectations, your attitude, your budget, your commitment, and your reviews.

If you hold onto the best parts of yourself and enter into this well-informed, you can navigate these treacherous waters to find yourself in a strange new world full of worthwhile people who make your day a bit brighter.

Before you say I always wanted to be an author, be certain you are a writer or at least a good storyteller. Writing skills can be learned, but the ability to create an original story, and tell it in a unique way that captivates readers is what makes some writers truly special.

Don’t hone your skills by laying out $6000.00 to try to make a success of a three-star book. Try to get some short stories published first. Who knows, if it turns out you are really good, you may find a publisher who will foot the bill.

I wrote this blog series to let people see into our world. Being an author is not all gala dinners, cocktail parties, and book signings as television depicts; far from, and it is definitely not for people who are wearing blinders.

This is a real get up and get to work business 90% of the time, which is why we can get a little bit nuts with the other 10%.

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Not all of it sucks if you keep a sense of humor or act a little crazy.

There’s always therapy, various coping and escape mechanisms, or some combination thereof.

I see drunk naked visit to my therapist in that sentence.

She’ll love it!

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I tease my muse, at the end of yet another week in author hell, that I am truly ready to off myself. I detail how I will use the shower curtain rod, or the closet bar, or the plant hook in the living-room to hang myself just as soon as I can find my old cub-scout knot tying manual so I can make a proper noose. The left side of my brain always ruins the moment with mental images of me sitting on the floor rubbing my bruised ass while covered in a shower curtain, or clothes, or plaster dust. This is not how an authors life should end. It should be outlandish and romantic . . .

He kissed her and turned to run into the burning building across the street to save the crying baby. He never saw the speeding liquor delivery truck as he took those final fate-sealing steps.

It’s a start. I’ll polish it up and spring it on her next week.

 

The End.

 

Who is E. A. Barker?
I am a just a boy…
Standing in front of a bookstore…
Asking them to love me.

All kidding aside, I am an occasionally serious researcher who wrote a book about life with women, without having much of the needed foreknowledge of the book biz I shared with you here. Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control, I also did not have the working capital necessary to execute the most basic of marketing strategies like the one outlined in this blog. Now, I try to help others avoid the mistakes I made. My book echoes that goal as well.

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! is a non-fiction book chronicling one man’s journey to understand, cope, and make peace with our crazy existence.

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The large print 8×10 paperback and hardcover versions of Ms. Creant are available through bookstores and libraries around the globe from Ingram Spark.

ISBNs
978-1-77302-134-8 (Hardcover)
978-1-77302-132-4 (Paperback)
978-1-77302-133-1 (e Book)

The e-book options are many, and all can be viewed at:

http://mscreant.eabarker.com

My website is also the place to find the most comprehensive list of reviews.

© 2018 E. A. Barker

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 9)

And the winner is . . .

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NOT YOU!

Indie-authors cannot hang out with the cool kids.

Back in Part 7, I covered the book awards available to indie-authors, but there are other concerns about self-publishing which you should consider before investing in this game.

I was SO naïve going into this, I actually believed success would be about carefully edited quality words being packaged in a book worth keeping in a library. While all the these are important, the truth is self-publishing takes you out of the game. There are a number of mostly invisible barriers to keep pesky new authors out of the gated community of the mainstream publishing world.

They have carefully barricaded themselves in.

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They are fearful, so they created an uneven playing field to keep us out:

  • If you want to make any royalties at all, your self-published print-on-demand paperback or hardcover will be priced higher than similar offerings coming out of Ingram, even though you published with Ingram Spark. Being “a little pricey” is enough for many bookstores and libraries to look to lower cost books from better known traditionally published authors.
  • Many mainstream publications will not review indie releases.
  • Some mainstream publications will not review foreign releases.
  • Legitimate literary awards will not consider indie releases because they did not go through an editorial selection process.
  • Libraries tend to favor homegrown authors when selecting books and they often are influenced by opinions from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, or Booklist—most of which pay little attention to indie-releases.
  • If you publish using an AMAZONIAN COMPANY to produce your POD books, it is doubtful you will ever make a sale in a non-Amazonian brick and mortar bookstore. I begged two different neighborhood bookstores to order a friend’s book for me but they refused. They would rather pass on a sale than support the entity that is crushing them. The hostility level is that high.

Sad indeed.

© 2018 E. A. Barker

Who is E. A. Barker?

‘I am a just a boy…
Standing in front of a bookstore…
Asking them to love me.’

All kidding aside, I am an occasionally serious researcher who wrote a book about life with women, without having much of the needed foreknowledge of the book biz I shared with you here. Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control, I also did not have the working capital necessary to execute the most basic of marketing strategies like the ones outlined in this blog series. Now, I try to help others avoid the mistakes I made. My book echoes that goal as well.

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! is an entertaining non-fiction book chronicling everything we are not taught, but need to know.

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The large print 8×10 paperback and hardcover versions of Ms. Creant are available through bookstores and libraries around the globe from Ingram Spark.

ISBNs
978-1-77302-134-8 (Hardcover)
978-1-77302-132-4 (Paperback)
978-1-77302-133-1 (e Book)

The e-book options are many, and all can be viewed at:

http://mscreant.eabarker.com

My website is also the place to find the most comprehensive list of reviews.

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.