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Thoughts on Blogging from an Anti-Blogger

SAIP_buttonOkay, it’s not that I hate blogs, I just hate blogging when I have nothing to say. Wait, when do I have nothing to say? Amend that…I hate blogging when I need to be witty and fun and I just can’t think of anything brilliant that any sane reader would want to read.

At the end of a long day of writing it’s hard to come up with anything creative. I’m tapped. The muse is sleeping.

But here are a few tips on blogging that I think are pretty important:

  • Blogging isn’t a requirement in life or in publishing.
  • If blogging feels like chore, don’t do it. You’re content won’t shine if you don’t love what you’re doing.
  • Would you rather people spent time reading your blog or your books?
  • If I see you lamenting that you -need- to blog, I’m not going to be very enthusiastic about your posts.
  • Blogs needs variety. Give me variety!
  • I’m busy. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
  • Despite how cute your kids are, I’m not interested in reading an in depth timeline of their lives, sorry.
  • I am however interested in learning new things. Picking up tips, recommended reads, things like that.

 

  1. So what have we learned? If blogging isn’t something you’re passionate about, don’t do it.
  2. Don’t waste your readers time with lack luster posts that would bore paint right off the wall.
  3. Do engage, educate, and entertain your audience.

What Other Authors Won’t Tell You

Doubt monsters suck.

There. I’ve said it.

For those still waiting to be published, it’s easy to look at published authors with envy. They’re where you want to be. But the truth of the matter is, being published doesn’t solve all your problems. The self doubt is only beginning.

Trust me on this. No matter how many readers subscribe to your facebook page and no matter how many copies you sold last year, you will doubt yourself frequently. If you don’t, I dare say you’re doing something wrong. Smile

Is it possible to murder your doubt monster? I don’t know. Let me get back to you.

What Other Authors Won’t Tell You

Doubt monsters suck.

There. I’ve said it.

For those still waiting to be published, it’s easy to look at published authors with envy. They’re where you want to be. But the truth of the matter is, being published doesn’t solve all your problems. The self doubt is only beginning.

Trust me on this. No matter how many readers subscribe to your facebook page and no matter how many copies you sold last year, you will doubt yourself frequently. If you don’t, I dare say you’re doing something wrong. Smile

Is it possible to murder your doubt monster? I don’t know. Let me get back to you.

What a Writer Wants

I’m generally one of those people who doesn’t write articles or workshops or discuss the industry unless I’m fairly sure I know what the hell I’m talking about. Likewise, I don’t like to read articles, or take workshops, or listen to discussions from folks who don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

But in this instance, for this series, I’m pretty sure I can speak, er, write, with some authority.

What started off as a rather cheeky, and perhaps a little snarky, post about publishing and publishers and why I need one has become more robust as I’ve thought about it. These thoughts have grown organically and I’m sure I’m not the only one who could chime in on the topic.

Over the years I’ve come to determine just what it is I want as a writer.

Why hadn’t I figured that out before? Like parenting, you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you pop out that first baby. Up until then you can read books and blogs on the subject, work hard at producing that little darling, but until that moment…until the publisher calls and says I want to buy your book…well, you’re still on the outside with your nose pressed against the glass looking in on the world of published authors, book editors, literary agents and the publishing industry as a whole.

What I’ve determined I want has come about after I did my research. Wrote a career plan. Followed it. Published with two different ebook publishers. And dipped my toe into the self-publishing waters via Kindle, BarnesandNoble and Smashwords.

So what do I want?

  • A publisher who respects my time and talent.
  • A publisher who promotes me and my books, rather than me promoting me, my books, and oh yeah, my publisher.
  • An editor who will give it to me straight. The good, bad and ugly.
  • A copy editor who will catch those little mistakes that sneak in after countless hours of reading the same manuscript over and over.
  • A publicity person who actually does their job. Who sends out books for review. Who promotes the publisher and the authors. Who has a solid plan for marketing the company and the books.
  • Publishers who are professional.
  • A publisher who pays on time, every time.
  • A publisher who doesn’t give excuse after excuse as to why something happened or didn’t happen.
  • A publisher who understands that distribution is REALLY important and actually goes after ALL the avenues available.
  • A publisher who understands that we’re in this together.
  • A publisher who respects their authors AND their readers.
  • A publisher who’s not afraid to take chance and swim against the current.
  • A publisher who’s stable and responsible and who understands how to run a business.
  • A publisher who wants to be a publisher. Not a baker. Not a photographer. Not an editor. Not an author. But a book publisher.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Indie Publishing. It takes great legs.

Anyone who thinks self-publishing is easy has another think coming.

Flamingo

Self-publishing takes great legs. And by that I mean there’s tons to do. Lots of legwork. But as any flamingo will tell you, it also takes balance. ;-)

I fear the success of some indie authors has made this realm of publishing seem far too easy. Write book. Publish book. Count your money.

Heads up, kids. It’s not that easy. You must write a GOOD book. Not just an okay one. You must outsource all the editing, cover creation, and other promotional aspects. You must distribute your book. There are dozens of Ts that need to be crossed and Is to be dotted. And then, if you get really lucky and you’ve built a solid brand, you might just get to count some money. And then, yes children, you must write another fabulous book.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

But please don’t under estimate the time it takes to do well in this business. Self publishing requires more hours than traditional publishing if you ask me. And at the end of the day, it’s all up to you. If I were you, I’d start working out on the stair-climber. Pronto.

Bad Reviews Can Boost Sales?

Here’s another blast from the past (blog posts I wrote a while back but never posted until now. ) This one is from February of 2011. Enjoy.

From: Bad publicity may boost book sales by Jenny Thai

“For lesser-known or new authors, bad publicity may actually be good news. According to a recent study co-authored by Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Alan Sorenson and Wharton Business School professor Jonah Berger, B.A. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, bad reviews can dramatically boost sales.

Earlier studies showed how publicity through product reviews can affect sales. The researchers found out that giving books bad reviews could lead customers to assume the book was bad, thereby significantly reducing sales. However, because negative information usually cuts down the number of product reviews, consumer opinions alone cannot explain why bad publicity may actually increase product sales.”

Well thank goodness for that bit of good news! :-)

In all seriousness, bad reviews sting but they’re a part of life. I get that. I have no problem with that. This latest research makes it a fine line between appreciating those brutally honest reviews that have you running for a pint of Rocky Road and hoping that those bad reviews will earn you a little bit of publicity.

Ultimately, there will always be scathing reviews. There will be reviewers who for whatever reason, have it in for the author. And there will be brutally honest reviews by a person who just didn’t like the book. It’s up to the author to sift through the bad stuff, learn from constructive criticism, and bask in the glow of the good stuff. (All of which, is easier said than done, of course.)

News Flash: Authors Aren’t Idiots or Are We?

Fireworks

Here’s another blast from the past (blog posts I wrote a while back but never posted until now. ) This one is from February of 2011. Enjoy.

* * *

Adventures In Publishing blogI was over at MJ Rose’s blog and I came across this Memo to Publishers: 8 Things Not to Say to Authors.

It’s disheartening to work so hard writing the book, then promoting the book and have a publisher play favorites or not even keep up their end of the bargain. To me, the reason to go with a publisher is because they’ve built a company (and a following) around distribution. They’d spent years and plenty of $ promoting and building a following. They provide editing and covers and everything that makes a book a book. They solicit reviews on authors’ behalf. Take care of distribution. Handle the paperwork.

So it really bugs me when publishers take a huge cut, then drop the ball and expect the author to pick it up and run with it. (Promotion, etc.)

For the traditionally published authors in the audience, I’m not telling you anything new. But for the newbies in the crowd, temper your expectations. It’s harder to get strong backing from publishers these days. Budgets are stretched, personnel is overworked and underpaid. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is feeling the pressure.

We’d be idiots to think that by going with a publisher our chances for success are greater than by ourselves. News flash: publishers expect you to write a fabulous book, build a platform, promote the hell out of it and yourself, and do it all with a smile on your face. I’m not saying that any of that is unreasonable. That’s a different post. I’m just saying, go into this biz with your eyes wide open.

photo cred: Rampant.Gaffer

Ready to Jump on the Indie Publishing Train? STOP!

 

Here’s a blast from the past (blog posts I wrote a while back but never posted until now. ) This one is from February of 2011. Enjoy.

* * *

Adventures In Publishing blogIn the comments of this blog post Zoe Winters says: it’s stupid to just rush and rush to meet an opportunity if your stuff isn’t ready for prime time. Because putting out crap or throwing together a sloppy business plan built on sand is not sane business.

That’s so true. All the sneering about self-publishing is still alive and well and it’ll only get worse if those who are choosing to go the Kindle route aren’t publishing quality material. It takes a lot of time and effort to write a great book, triple that and that’s what it takes to publish the book yourself.

As an Indie, you alone are responsible for editing, cover art, blurbs, did I mention editing? Let me put it another way. I’m currently in the process of rereleasing a book that was at a publisher for 2 years. It went through rounds of critiquing, revision and then 3 rounds of editing with my editor. I’ve decided that since I no longer have a word count constraint on the book that there is more to tell, more the characters want to tell. My readers have expressed an interest in knowing more about the world I’ve created. They want a deeper look into the characters. The cover for this book has been complete for two months. But I’m still revising the book to get it just right. Two months. On a book that was good enough to be published in the first place. It’s been to critique partners and will go back to an independent editor before it goes live.

Maybe Zoe and I are crazy for working so hard on our indie releases. But I know I cringe when I hear a writer talking about jumping on board the money train and releasing the first thing that comes out of their fingertips.

photo cred: Simon Pielow

Introducing Pay with a Tweet

Raise your hand if you’re guilty…

I’m raising my hand, both actually, because I’m totally, 100% guilty…

of wanting free stuff. Free gift with purchase? I’m so there! Free samples at Sams? Get in line. Free reads? You know it!

I’ve discovered an awesome way to share digital content with readers in a way that doesn’t cost them a dime and yet gives the author the promotion and recognition they deserve. Did you read the “doesn’t cost a dime” part?

As the website says: Get it for free! In exchange we just ask you to post a Tweet about it.

Got it? No cash. No loose change. Leave your ATM card at home people.

So what is this magical genie lamp? It’s called Pay with a Tweet and technically, you can pay with a facebook post too. You see, name recognition is more important than ever for authors these days. And since social media is such a large part of many authors’ marketing plan, Pay with a Tweet makes it super easy for readers to get free goodies while supporting the authors they love.

Here’s how it works.

The author sets up a Pay with a Tweet button. They give the file name where readers will download the free read along with a name of the file (usually the title) and a landing page that references this free read and payment button.

As a reader, you go to the author’s landing page, click on the Pay with a Tweet link or button. You’ll be taken to the Pay with a Tweet website and you’ll be asked to login to Twitter (or Facebook). Once you’ve signed in, you automatically bop right back over to Pay with a Tweet. The system is set up to send a single tweet to twitter via your account. The page has two text boxes.

The top text box includes a prewritten message by the author. YOU CAN EDIT THIS TEXT.
The second text box includes a short url. This URL takes you to the author’s landing page. It is not editable and it will show in your tweet (or facebook post).

As it says on Pay with a Tweet: Pay with a Tweet will only post this one tweet, not more. You can edit the text of the tweet, but not the URL. So whatever you will tweet, keep in mind that the URL to this download stays attached to it.

Once you press the big Post Tweet and Download Now button you’ll see a popup confirming that you do in fact want to post a tweet/post. Once you say “heck yeah, tweet it!” You’ll be taken to a download page. Just click the Get it Now button and the book is yours!

See? Simple as 1 – 2 – 3. Login. Post. Download.

You’ll have new reading material in a minute or less (depending on your internet connection of course.)

Want to test out the magical genie? I’m offering the latest chapter of my ongoing Free Read, Ready & Willing via Pay with a Tweet.

Everyone is an expert. Not.

Adventures In Publishing blogHello dear friends and followers,

I’ve been noticing a lot (and I mean a whooooole lot) of articles going by in my twitter feed lately about publishing, self publishing and what it takes to make it as an author these days. There are the haters (hi guys!), the disbelievers (howdy) and the evangelists (bonjour).

And everyone seems to think they’re an expert.

But I’d like to point out that hardly anyone is an expert these days. Of the books on my bookshelf that tell me how to get published and promote my books, none of them have any advice for writers like me. Why? Because these books are old. Even two years old is old at this point.

If you want to know who the experts are, look to the authors who are living this roller coaster ride. Look at authors who are successful today. Look to the authors who are constantly evolving, constantly bettering their craft, constantly working toward new projects and better things. Look at the authors who are pioneering the Digital Book era.

These authors are the ONLY ones, in my opinion, that can tell you anything at all with any degree of certainty as to what works and what doesn’t work. In other words, unless you’re living it, you have no idea what it takes to become an overnight success. You have no idea what it’s like to shoot up the online bestseller lists. You have no idea about the hard work that goes into writing, perfecting your craft and finally see that work pay off.

These are the experts you should be listening to. Everyone else, it’s just an opinion and they don’t have all the facts.

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