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Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Okay, I’m finally getting it.  You want to be an author?  So you sit down and compose a masterpiece.  You find an enthusiastic publisher to get you out there, and then you sit back and collect the royalties.  Nope.  You’ve only done half your work.  Now the real work begins.  Whatever your publisher might do marketing your book – that is just not enough these days.  All the old models of selling books no longer apply.  What you really need to do is market yourself.  It is up to you, the author, to get out there and create a following.  Marketing can no longer be left to just the publisher.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it is finally coming home to me after I had a long two-hour conversation with my publisher this weekend about what I am expected to do as my part of the marketing program.  Wow.  Pant pant.  I won’t go into all the details but there are basically three parts to the operation.  1.  Internet and social media  2.  Personal contacts  And 3.  Author book sales

I may decide to describe these various programs as I explore each one, but let me just comment on one of the first projects I am going to do.  A YouTube video.  I have a friend who has a video legacy business.  She makes videos of family history.  Her website is www.heartfeltvideolegacies.com.  She is going to help me construct a nice professional looking video about 5 minutes long.  Since I have no money to do this, I am counting on help from friends.  I will have a short filming session, then serve lunch to all the helpers, and give them copies of my book, Divas Never Flinch.  While this may be small compensation, at least it will be something, and I hope will make for an enjoyable experience for everyone.

And I have sooooo much to learn about the other aspects of social media.  I am the original Luddite, but I will get my head around all this new stuff, and work my butt off to get the word out and make the kind of connections necessary to do my part of the marketing scheme.

One thing my publisher impressed upon me was how important it is to see myself as an already successful writer.  Just to be published is a major accomplishment.  She stressed that people are attracted to success, and it is very important not to be seen as marketing my book, but to be seen as a successful writer wanting to give back to the community by offering to teach writing courses, to give interviews, offering books to charity auctions etc.  There are many ways to participate in the community that will get you noticed.

I know I’ve only touched on the many, many avenues that I need to explore, but rather than lay them all out now I think it would be best to report on them as I move forward, trying each one and seeing how well they work.

And lastly I want to report that the print version of Divas will be available either later this week or next.  The book has been submitted to the distributer, but they need to work their magic, and then it will be officially available.  Will keep you all posted.

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I’ve come to a curious place.  I’m not sure where to go with this blog.  I’ve covered a lot of the topics I wanted to cover in my experience with writing, and there is not a lot to report just now on the launch of the print version of my novel Divas Never Flinch.  I have completed the review of the print version and it is now back in the hands of my publisher.  They have their own mysteries about the procession of the next steps.  All I know for certain is that they will be ordering a printed copy to review with a fine tooth comb, and make sure all is well before they launch the print version to their distributors – where they will have their own esoteric duties and responsibilities.

This leads me to the other subject of this week’s blog – Marketing – which determines the ultimate success or failure of a book.  There are 500,000 published books a year – 200,000 printed books – the rest ebooks.  And only a small percent of those books succeed in a meaningful way.

I have touched on this subject before, but it is becoming more urgent and up front for me now.  I have been so very pleased with my publisher up to this point, but this is where the excrement hits the fan right about now for Divas.  How successful will my publisher be at marketing?  Will they be able to launch the print version in a meaningful way?  I’m afraid this is here I am beginning to have some trepidation.

I’ve been reading a lot about the state of publishing today and it seems that most publishers – and that includes the big ones too – are at a loss as to how to market books these days.  All the old paradigms are no longer working.  Print ads, readings, book signings, emails, PR, book tours – all cost much more than they bring in.  And where are the bookstores any way?  It’s all sales on line these days.

It seems that the new paradigm is something called – at least by one source – the Tribal Author.  The idea behind this is that there is such a massive explosion of information these days through all media that it is now the responsibility of each author to build his or her own fan base.  This means massive work to establish and build followers through social media.  Oh boy.  That is exactly where this 71-year-old recluse just totally misses the mark.  All this social media stuff makes my eyes glaze over and I become inert and incompetent.  I have to be really, really honest here and admit that I don’t think I have the stomach, nor the ability launch the type of campaign necessary to create a tribe of followers large enough to insure the success of my writing.  I guess this leaves me with the prospect of dancing for rain – if you get my meaning.  I will just have to see what my publisher comes up with, and as for creating a tribe – well I hope it’s a tribe that also dances for rain.

I have tried to enter a blog post a week up to now.  Not sure if I can keep that up.  So from now on I will post when I have something I think is significant to say.  Don’t want to waste anyone’s time with filler.  So till next time…..

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All of us have been influenced, in one way or another, by other writers.  When I first started out writing I thought that the influence of other writers might color my own writing, but I don’t think it has.  Perhaps when one is very young that might be a more likely outcome.  At that age one might be more inclined to copy the voice of a favorite author, but as one gets older it may be easier to find one’s own voice.  I think that is so my case.  However, I would like to discuss a few of my favorite writers and why they tickle my fancy so.

First is the adorable Jane – Jane Austen, of course.  In many ways I feel perhaps most influenced by her.  We certainly share similar circumstances.  Both of us wrote on our own, somewhat sequestered away, writing about the world we were observing around us – based on characters we were familiar with in a limited setting.  Her world was rural England in the late 18th, early 19th century.  Mine is 20 – 21st century, small town Santa Fe, NM.  I most admire her subtle satire of manners and mores, done with love and compassion.  Even her villains deserve your respect and understanding.

E.F. Benson, an English writer of the early 20th century is another writer I much admire.  His series of novels, collected together as Make Way for Lucia, are based on dominate women in rural England villages.  They delight me no end, and have given me inspiration for my own novel Divas Never Flinch.  He is little known, but should be more recognized.  I highly recommend checking out his writing.

Ethan Mordden is a contemporary author whose work throughly delights me as well.  He wrote a series of books on gay life in New York City that captures a time, place and a culture quite wonderfully.  I particularly admire his quirky sense of humor.  His work grew darker as the AIDS epidemic set in.  And has stopped writing this series completely, although he is still active in writing about opera and the theatre world.

Michael Cunningham is another writer I greatly admire.  Best known for his Pulitzer winning novel The Hours, I have read most of his work and find he is a beautifully descriptive writer.  Not the humorist like my other favorite writers.  But there is one passage in his book, Flesh and Blood that just takes my breath away with its evocative writing.

In all honesty I don’t read nearly enough, since I work a job and need to do my writing on weekends.  But I did want to share a few of my favorites.

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It seems to be the general industry practice that a traditional publisher will not consider an unpublished manuscript unless it is solicited by the publisher, or is presented by an author’s agent.  It would be a waste of time to try to query publishers directly if you are looking to get your book published.

The exceptions are the self-publishing houses that solicit manuscripts from authors who then pay the full cost to get their manuscripts published.  This is not recommended unless you are looking to publish just a few copies of your book – for instance, for a family history where there will only be a few copies needed, and no sales or promotion required.

However, the new trend in publishing is what is called subsidiary publishing.  In this arrangement you submit your manuscript to the publisher and they evaluate it just like a traditional publishing house.  If they believe the manuscript warrants publication they will offer the author a contract for publication.  With a traditional publisher the author might be offered between 8 and 10 % of the royalty.  However with subsidiary publishing the author can receive up to 50% of the royalties.  A big advantage.  However, the author will be requested to put up a certain percentage of the publishing costs as well – about 17 to 18% of the total publishing costs.  A number of major publishing houses are now offering this type of contract as well as smaller houses.

My first novel, Divas Never Flinch, was published in a subsidiary publishing agreement with Brighton Publishing.  Their website is www.brightonpublishing.com.  There is a lot of good information on their site about the various forms of publishing and it is certainly worth a look if this is a route to publishing you might wish to consider.  They also tell you how you may submit manuscripts to them.  My experience with Brighton has been very positive so far, but we are still in the process of rolling out the printed version of the book.  Of course, e-books are the new wave of publishing, and Brighton seems well versed in this process as well.  You will certainly want to consider a publisher experienced in e-book publishing.

I consider my experience with the publishing world to be modest at best, and I am certain there is much more that could be written on this subject.  However, this is my experience and I wanted to share it.

I am certainly open to comments and additions from any of you if you care to contribute.

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