Traditional Publishing: What’s It Good For?

traditional publishing

When I first started working in publishing, no one questioned the value of a publisher.

Now they do.

When I tell nonfiction writers they need to demonstrate to the agent/editor they have a big enough platform—enough visibility—to sell books without the help of a publisher, they’ll ask, “What’s the publisher for then?”

When I tell fiction writers that their work needs to be compelling, polished, and ready for publication before they query, they’ll ask, “What’s the publisher for then?”

Find the full article by Jane Friedman here: https://janefriedman.com/traditional-publishing-whats-it-good-for/

 

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer’s Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017). Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.
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REBLOGGED VIA: http://jmkeep.com/half-a-cent-per-page-is-not-a-living-wage-for-novelists/

Amazon has made some huge changes to how it’s paying authors for borrows under its Kindle Unlimited program.

Previously, all authors were paid the same for all books, regardless of length – an average of $1.39 that has constantly been dropping over the last 6 months.

Now, authors will be paid per page read.

Some of you may be cheering, saying this is much fairer of a system, and on its face, it appears to be. A novel takes more time to write than a short story, right? So it should be paid higher.

As a novelist, I disagree, and I’m going to outline why. I’d really like you to read through this and think about what the logical conclusions will be. I’m going to outline what the payout would have been in June, what it may be in July given the past fund amount and borrow amounts, and what it could be in 3 months time, so stay with me.

This is the information we have so far:

If this change had gone live in June, Amazon has given us the following information:

Base Fund: 11 Million

Pages Read: 1.9 Billion

Average pages per borrow: 210 (I got this number by taking the estimated borrows for June given the typical growth rate, and dividing it by the number of pages Amazon has released)

From this calculation, you can easily find for yourself that in June, we would have been paid $0.0057 per page, and some novelist may be clapping with glee.

So let’s look at July. Given the growth of the fund, and the growth of the borrows, we can estimate the following:

Fund: 13.7 Million

Borrows: 10,261,113

Average pages read: 2.4 billion

Average pages per book: 210

Payout: 0.0057

So it’s the same! Yes! Go novelists! Novelists writing over 240 pages (higher than the average) will be making the same as what they did before.

Except we have a problem…

Well, we have a lot of problems.

Firstly, this assumes that 100% of readers read 100% of the book. Now, traditionally when someone paid for a book, they are not likely to finish it.

Given the fact that Kindle Unlimited is a borrow program, people are even less likely to finish a book. Readers are able to treat the Kindle Unlimited program like a buffet, sampling different dishes to find their favourites, then going back to those for more. They leave the rest on their plate.

And there was nothing wrong with doing that.

So no, you won’t get 100% completion rate all the time.

Secondly, you’re not able to see when and where readers stop. Let’s say, for instance, you have a really strong book, with great cover, blurb, editing, the whole shebang. You do some promotion, except there’s something tripping people up at the end of Chapter 5. Let’s say that 70% of people stop here. Maybe it’s a clumsy or confusing paragraph, maybe it’s something the characters did. Maybe something shocked them and they didn’t like it.

So they stop reading.

Amazon isn’t going to tell you where they’re stopping reading. They know it, they just won’t tell you. They are taking the control that they could easily give you, and withholding it. This is vital information for people trying to make a living on their writing, and Amazon is not going to tell you how many people are even reading your books. You don’t know if you have 10 readers who only got to page 10, or 1 reader who read all 100 pages.

This is why the #releasetherate campaign started (which is created and supported by some of my favourite novelists, people who are making the vast bulk of their earning on their novels).

You can support #releasetherate on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thirdly, Amazon hasn’t informed Kindle Unlimited subscribers of these changes, but when their favourite authors start pulling out, they’re going to figure it out. If they’re only able to read 5 novels a month and 5 shorts a month, Kindle Unlimited is a bargain. But once they’re only able to read 5 novels a month, they might not be so inclined to go with the subscription model.

Readers are pulling out of Kindle Unlimited because of this change, make no mistake, and that will hurt novelists whether we want to admit it or not.

Fourthly, as novelists, we’re sacrificing the rights to publish our books with other companies for a three month period. In exchange, we’re able to discount our books or provide them for free for 5 days within that three month period. If your novel is selling for $3.99, you make $2.40-$2.80 per sale. I want you to keep this in mind, as it should affect your way of thinking about this all.

Finally, I want you to think in the future. What will these changes mean for novelists? The money has to be going somewhere, right? The borrows increase, the fund increases, the money is going into someone’s pocket.

However, let’s look at the Amazon eco-system of 2 weeks ago, when the changes were announced (I chose categories where short literature is most often present):

1,003,037   Kindle Unlimited Books

(9%)    94,155   Erotica

(2.8%)   28,864   Poetry

(4%)   40,517   Short Stories

(10%) 102,000   Children’s ebooks

(5%)   55,000   Teen & Young Adult

(34.7%) 348,032   Kindle Short Reads

Titles that are categorized as Erotica are unable to be in the Kindle Short Reads section, so let’s assume, for arguments sake, that of the 1 million titles in Kindle Unlimited, around 400,000 are under 100 pages long, and we know according to Amazon the average length of a book read is 210 pages long. I’m not positive that Kindle Short Reads includes Children’s ebooks or non-fiction books, and if it doesn’t, this would add on at least another 100,000 books (bringing it up from 40% of the books being under 100 pages to 50% of the books being under 100 pages).

What will happen to the fund and how it’s paid out when those 400,000 books are removed from the Amazon ecosystem?

That is the absolutely most important question that the novelist has to be thinking about, because when the average page length creeps up from 210 pages, to 240 pages, to 300 pages,that fund will be spread thinner and thinner over more and more pages.

That means that instead of getting $1.35 for a 240 page book, you might have to write a 300 or 350 page book and hope that every single reader reads through 100% of the way.

Right now, short reads are skewing the average down. Once the short reads are gone, the average will go up. When the average goes up, the Amazon fund will be spread across a lot less variety in books, with a lot higher lengths.

This is how the landscape has changed in two weeks before the system even goes live:

+19,439  Kindle Unlimited Books

+616   Erotica

+468  Poetry

-1,947  Short Stories

+2,408   Children’s ebooks

+2,364   Teen & Young Adult

+6,852   Kindle Short Reads

But people in these categories are removing their books now, enmasse. What will the landscape look like once short reads are no longer making up 40% of Kindle Unlimited? What will the payout be for a 240 page novel in six months? In a year?

Amazon is making novelists think they’re going to come away the winner in this, but once the shorts are disappearing because people don’t want to earn less than 15 cents for a short story, I don’t feel we will be.

Let’s say you disagree. Let’s say you feel that if all the Kindle Unlimited subscribers read 1.9 billion pages in a month, that’s not likely to go up or down, whether those pages are divided among shorts or novels.

Let’s say, for argument sake, that you’re right.

1.9 billion is a low estimate. We are in what is commonly referred to as the ‘summer slump’. June was a month when the nice weather was finally hitting, people spending time with kids, getting ready for school to finish up, preparing for their vacation so they’re busy at work, etc.

In short, June is a month that historically people do not spend a lot of time reading.

Come October, once people are getting chilly and want to cozy up with a book? Those pages read are going to go up by a lot.

So novelists, I’m begging you… don’t write this off as a way to get rid of people you don’t feel are real writers (and while I have your attention, please stop saying that. Some of my favourite authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce and Margaret Atwood all wrote short stories).

Don’t act like this is going to be perfect for you, and that if you come out ahead in June, you will always come out ahead.

They are changing the landscape in a fundamental way, and it’s not necessarily going to be great for the novelist, especially for midlist novelists.

Yes, this change hurts short story authors most. People who write children’s books, travel guides, cook books, erotica, serials, and poetry will hurt the most, as this is a direct slash to the bottom line. These people have been writing and publishing before Kindle Unlimited, and will continue without it, and consumer dollars will still be spent.

Depending on how the market reacts, they might make out better in the long run than novelists as the price normalizes and consumers return to paying for short books at the usual rates.

You might argue that this gets rid of ‘scamlets’ but there were better and more efficient ways to get rid of them.

Short fiction authors haven’t been ‘gaming’ the system. They’ve been writing these books for years and enrolled them in Kindle Unlimited as a way to expand readership and, yes, potentially increase their earnings. But people paid $2.99 for travel guides and erotic shorts before Kindle Unlimited, and authors were taking a hit if you assume all borrows would’ve translated to sales.

You might argue that this will encourage better writing, and you’d be right if Amazon #realeasetherate and gave us information to better our writing. You might argue that it’s only fair that novelists make more than short story authors, and I wouldn’t argue.

But this is a bad move for everyone.

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ASMSG members asked, and we listened.

What did they say? WE WANT EDUCATION!!
So here it is, the spring course of M4DBW, Marketing for DeadBroke™ Writers

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Marketing for DeadBroke™ Writers

Online Education
Sponsored by ASMSG
Presented by Joel Scott

 

Joel Scott is a published author with six educational books in the for Dummies series and nearly 100,000 books sold. He is also an experienced educator and speaker.

The Marketing for DeadBroke Writers course was initially designed and presented by Joel Scott for the Author Learning Center, a division of Author Solutions. That company was absorbed by Penguin, which in turn, was absorbed by Random House.  Since its inception in 2011 this course has attracted more than a thousand students. Earlier this year Mr. Scott ran this course exclusively for ASMSG members. And, it’s time to offer it again.

As the results of a recent ASMSG poll showed, our members feel the need for in-depth training on author marketing in today’s confusing world of social media and promotions. Joel Scott and ASMSG have designed a special set of online classes at a steeply discounted price exclusively available to members of ASMSG.

Here are a few quotes from prior students.

“This has been the best Author Learning Center webinar I have listened to!”

“I found the technical conversations the most helpful, and enjoyed when he gave a visual example of another Facebook page.”

“I am new to Twitter and this webinar helped fill in information on how to use Twitter.  Didn’t have the foggiest notion before and don’t like to stumble around in the dark.”

“The information about linking Twitter to your Facebook fan Page, and creating an audio excerpt [was really helpful].”
”Once again, not only do I appreciate your time and knowledge, I want to thank you AND the group for steering me away from a frustrating experience with my publisher and into the land of Self-Publishing.” 

“Living on the other side of the world, I found accessing the course online very easy.”

 

Here are some key parameters.

  1. Each of the ten online sessions will be about 45 minutes in length and will have a Q&A session.
  2. There will be an online survey prior to the first class to try to accommodate students’ interests and levels of expertise.
  3. Each class will be presented twice to accommodate peoples’ schedules and time zones. You can attend either one or both.
  1. Classes will be recorded for students to access later at their convenience, so if you have to miss a session, you can tune in later.
  2. Members signing up for the course will also receive a copy of Mr. Scott’s upcoming book, Marketing for DeadBroke™ Writers.
  3. The entire course costs just $69 – a significant discount just for ASMSG members
  4. The course begins in May, 2015 and there will be a class each week.

Scheduled Classes for 2015 Spring Semester

Schedule

Each class will be held twice, at 8:30 AM and again at 8:30 PM. All times are USA – Eastern. Based on enrollment we may add additional sessions.

We hope you see the value in these classes and your membership in ASMSG. We’re working to bring you every possible benefit to help make your writing, publishing, and promotions successful.

Even though it’s an online course, seats are limited. A portion of your class fee will be donated to ASMSG to fund development of additional author benefits. Sign up now while enrollment is still open!

[wp_cart_button name=”Buy M4DBW Now” price=”69.00″]

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If you have questions or concerns about the course, please feel free to contact Mr. Scott directly at j.scott@highrockinstitute.com

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ARC Read 4 Review Event! 11 #EroticRomance Novels FREE for #Review #ASMSG

 
Epic R4R Event with award winning authors: 
Travis Luedke, Patricia A. Knight, Kayla Stoner, Elizabeth SaFleur, S.N.Mckibben and newcomers: Marilyn Lakewood, Kris Michaels, and Rachel De Lune
Scifi Erotic Romance
Futuristic Erotic Romance
Contemporary BDSM Erotic Romance
Military Erotic Romance
Paranormal Romance

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Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press

NookPressAuthorSolutionsNook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand.

Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof.

Until now.

A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service.

NookPressAuthorServicesBloomingtonopt

You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.”

Author Solutions, Bloomington, Indiana. Image courtesy of Wikimedia, uploaded by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s something else located at that address: Author Solutions US headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana (pictured right).

Barnes & Noble has never disclosed that Author Solutions is providing these services, either in thepress release announcing same, the communications to Nook Press users, or on the site itself.

Indeed, Barnes & Noble refused to respond to three separate requests last November for information on same from Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader (now renamed Inks, Bits & Pixels).

Also, Barnes & Noble fails to disclose Author Solutions’ involvement to authors purchasing these services. The Nook Press Author Services site goes into great detail about these services but never once mentions that Author Solutions is fulfilling them. In fact, the waythe FAQs on the site are worded makes it sound like Barnes & Noble/Nook Press carries out the work itself – which is extremely misleading.

Finally, authors who use Nook Press Author Services are not informed that their personal details are shared with Author Solutions, along with explicit permission to use those personal details to upsell Author Solutions’ infamous marketing packages.

Theresa Horner – the General Manager of Nook Press and VP of Content Acquisitions – led the negotiations with Author Solutions, which concluded in October last year. When making the announcement, Horner explained to Publishers Weekly that Barnes & Noble plans to further expand the services offered by Nook Press to its users.

As with the press release, the communications with Nook Press authors, and the on-site information, Horner didn’t disclose that fulfillment would be outsourced to Author Solutions.

Horner’s employment with Barnes & Noble ended right after the deal with Author Solutions was concluded, but the contract between Nook Press Author Services and its users confirms her statement that Barnes & Noble plans to expand the range of services. There are clauses relating to all sorts of other services not currently offered, such as distribution of print titles and royalties relating to same, and it’s clear that Author Solutions will be fulfilling those services too.

It’s not hard to figure out why Barnes & Noble has gone to such great lengths to hide its partnership with Author Solutions – following the exact playbook when Lulu struck a deal with Author Solutions in March 2013.

Author Solutions has a terrible reputation in the writing community for the deceptive methods it uses to ensnare authors, its sub-standard and over-priced services, and its high-pressure sales tactics aimed at selling completely ineffective (and ridiculously expensive) marketing packages – and nothing has changed under Penguin Random House’s ownership.

All of this has led to a class action which has been running since 2013. Author Solutions, and its corporate parent, has attempted to get the class action dismissed on numerous occasions, but the case is still ongoing and the plaintiffs filed for class certification last week.

You might why Barnes & Noble didn’t run a mile from such a disreputable company facing a significant class action, but don’t worry, Barnes & Noble’s lawyers are on it:

ClassActionWaiver

It’s a pity such diligence didn’t extend itself to protecting the position of Nook Press users and finding a reputable service provider.

Barnes & Noble has now sold out to the worst possible company. In case it’s not clear what Author Solutions is aiming at with a deal like this, let me quote from the papers filed in the class action. Here’s further proof of the deal (AS = Author Solutions).

MotionToCertify1

And here’s the part which makes explicit Author Solutions’ aims with such deals. Partnerships like this are all about “lead generation”:

MotionToCertify2

Those statements are based on depositions of key Author Solutions executives, taken during the discovery process which concluded in January. The depositions specifically referred to above are those of Keith Ogorek, Senior Vice President of Marketing, and Don Seitz, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Both report directly to Penguin Random House’s company man, Author Solutions CEO Andrew Phillips.

I’ll be talking more about what those depositions revealed over the next few weeks, but if you would like to read the (lengthy) documents yourself, the Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Support of their Motion for Class Certification is here (PDF) and the deposition excerpts are here (PDF).

And that’s not all.

As mentioned above, the agreement that users of Nook Press Author Services have to sign makes explicit provision for sharing of personal data with Author Solutions for the purposes of upselling further services. Which means Nook Press users can look forward to being bombarded with phone calls and emails to buy useless YouTube advertising packages and worthless Hollywood pitching services.

InformationSharing

If you think you are safe because you have never used Nook Press Author Services, and don’t plan to, I’m afraid that’s not the case. I’m not a lawyer, but under my reading of the terms of the Nook Press Privacy Policy, Barnes & Noble already has the right to share the personal information of all Nook Press users with third party suppliers like Author Solutions.

NookPressPrivacy

We have come to expect this kind of shady behavior from Author Solutions, but Barnes & Noble should be ashamed of themselves.

A line in the sand needs to be drawn. Partnering with Author Solutions is not acceptable. Hiding that partnership from users of Nook Press Author Services is not acceptable. Sharing Nook Press users’ personal information with Author Solutions is not acceptable. And that message needs to go out very clearly to Barnes & Noble.

Meanwhile, avoid Nook Press Author Services like the plague.

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Multiauthor boxed sets: What’s making them so hot (and not)?

 

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Multiauthor boxed sets consisting of six, eight, 12 or more e-books flaunt eye-opening benefits that authors and readers can’t resist. Authors love the collaborative efforts that can pay off with an expanded fan base, a boost in rankings, increased visibility, and a slot on the USA TODAY and New York Times bestseller lists. Readers love the bargains — a box full of e-books by their favorite authors for a dollar. Even after the royalties are divided many ways, the authors claim to make decent sales. Individual authors are also grouping novellas, short stories and novels into boxed-set collections and doing quite well.
BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES
Cat Johnson, author of the Oklahoma Nights series. “You are harnessing the power of many authors — their fan bases, their promotional potential. There are many authors, and each one has their own vision and ideas, deadlines and schedules you have to work around and that makes decision-making difficult. Formatting a book that length is a nightmare.”
Caridad PineiroOne Night Only Erotic Romance Anthology and Lucky 7 Bad Boys Contemporary Romance Boxed Set. “You get to meet and work with lots of awesome people who bring all different kinds of skills to the table. The hard part is coordinating that many people, trying to keep that many people focused …”
Stephanie Julian, author of the Salon Games and Indecent erotic romance series. “The positives are exposure beyond your own fan base. With several authors offered in a bundle for a low price, readers are much more willing to pay to read authors they may not have read before. The negative is the accounting that goes into royalties and wrangling that many authors.”
Shoshanna Evers, author of Make Me: Twelve Tales of Dark Desire Boxed Set and The Enslaved Trilogy. “The biggest positive of being part of a large, multiauthor project was all the cross promotion … everyone had great ideas on how to get readers excited about the boxed set.”
The authors who were interviewed said they worked with an accountant or lawyer to organize the finances and fill out tax forms, and some set up an LLC. Each author had to fill out an individual tax form and sent that to the financial person. Retailers like Amazon/BN/Apple won’t divide royalties among all the authors so it goes under one account and must be distributed later.
GROUP PROMOTION
When so many authors are working toward the success of one project, the results can be significant, but coordinating and planning can be challenging. Authors have the opportunity to network with those savvier in one arena of social media or the publishing business. Author AC James, organizer and contributor of the Spice Box, a 16-book boxed set including five USA TODAY and New York Times bestsellers (and me), worked directly with Mark Coker from Smashwords to set up the pre-order and secure other details at the various retailers. I believe every author in the Spice Boxboxed set discovered something new pertaining to promotion that will benefit their future books.
The authors interviewed used a variety of promotion. Some used paid advertising like Bookblast and the Kindle Fire Department, or used blog tour marketing services. Goodreads, Facebook and Google+ pages and party launches were popular promotion methods as well as regular posts on Twitter and Facebook. Careful keywords selection and pre-orders were also elements that helped drive sales.
Stephanie Julian: “Facebook party, hands down. It gets the readers engaged and interested.”
Shoshanna Evers: “We sent newsletters out to our mailing lists, told our Street Teams, shared on Facebook, on Twitter, etc. We all gave away prizes for various promotions.”
Cat Johnson: “We had some big-name authors in our bundle who had existing large and dedicated fan followings on their social networks, and who had newsletters with large mailing lists. I believe that was probably one of the key things that put us in the zone to hit the NY Times e-book list at No. 8, the combined print/e-book list at No. 11, and the USA TODAY list at No. 14.”

 

Caridad Pineiro: “Using social media in innovative ways with memes, hashtags and coordinated sharing of posts seemed to be a very effective way of getting the word out about the sets.”
PRICE POINTS
For some bundles, pre-orders helped boost initial sales. Many started with a low 99-cent sale price then either left it at 99 cents or raised it partway through to $2.99 to $5.99. The authors who were interviewed had their sets up for one to three months. As with anything e-books, writing and publishing, there is no right or wrong way.
READER FEEDBACK
Besides the bargain, readers will jump to download anything by their favorite authors. Some will read other books in that collection, other won’t.
After reading dozens of reviews for various boxed sets, I noticed why readers tended to give low reviews:
They didn’t like ALL of the stories. When you have a variety of authors in one collection with different styles of writing, it would be rare for a reader to love all the books equally.
The boxed sets received low reviews when the books were only teasers or incomplete books that were the start of the authors’ series. The aim for the collection was to encourage readers to by the completed book. This seems to some readers like a bait and switch technique that will only annoy readers. Readers would probably appreciate fair warning that the collection is only an introduction of each authors’ series, or a sampling.
Shoshanna Evers: “A lot of readers had read one or even a few of the books in the set already and enjoyed them, so they bought the set to get more dark erotica.”
Stephanie Julian: “Most readers are thrilled to be able to read a variety of stories for such a low price. And when they find your story and love it, that’s the best thing in the world.”
Caridad Pineiro: “In general, readers seem to enjoy having a mix of stories to choose from at such a good price, but many readers also said that they had a pile of books that had to be read. Because of that, it seems as if it takes time for readers to get to the sets, read them and review them.”
It’s difficult to say how long the boxed set trend will continue. Trends tend to die out to be replaced by the next big thing. The big bestseller lists may decide to disqualify the multiauthor sets from landing on their lists. Authors may find diminished sales as the trend fades. For the moment, boxed sets are still HOT. They’re popular and profitable and readers can’t seem to get enough.
Kathy Kulig is an award-winning erotic romance author whose works include BDSM, paranormal and romantic suspense. Her latest release is a boxed set titled Spice Box: 16 Novels of Erotic Romance, featuring Red Tape, her sizzling romantic suspense novel. Find out more about her at www.kathykulig.com.
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Electa Graham – Electa’s Blog
Blood and Reign – What I Have Learned
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The third book in my paranormal series is with my editor and will becoming out next month. I love this time. I love it for the same reason I love this time of year in my garden. Its the time when all things are possible. I’ve done my very best whether its making sure my soil has the right Ph and enough nutrients or I’ve created the best story I can and honed it until I felt it was as close to perfect as I could get it. Then the rest is up to so many factors it could make your head spin, but that’s also what makes this time exciting.
Once my book is out there, its up to my readers to decide how they feel about it. All I can do is take everything I have learned and give it the best possible chance of success. Farming is the same thing. I use everything I know to get the best possible harvest, but there are still factors beyond my control.
When I think back to when I published my first book I blush at how much I didn’t know. The only thing I had going for me back then was I knew I didn’t know a lot and I sought out people who did. I made friends with people who knew so much more than I did. I still can’t believe I had the balls to reach out and ask people for help, but I’m glad I did.
When I put out Blood and Loss I made my own cover and I didn’t edit it professionally. I didn’t have a “platform”.
I hadn’t even told anyone I was writing a book until it was out. I can’t believe I sold any books. It seems impossible that anyone would be attracted to something so amateurish.
The only saving grace was I wasn’t the only one and I learned from my mistakes. I thought I would discuss some of my mistakes so you can either learn from them, feel smug that you never committed the atrocities I did, or feel better about the mistakes you made.MISTAKE #1 I didn’t get a professional to edit my book.
I went through it a hundred times. Had others read it and pick things up, but it wasn’t nearly good enough. I almost died of embarrassment when I got Blood and Loss back from my editor. The amount of mistakes she corrected made me think I should go back to Middle School and take grammar all over again. Mr. Rackham my grade 7 and 9 english teacher was rolling in his grave. Bottom line in my opinion if you can’t afford to get your book edited then it might be a good idea to wait until you can afford it.

MISTAKE #2 I did the cover myself.
While not the biggest mistake I made I am much happier with the covers I have now. Despite what your mother always told you not to do, people do judge a book by its cover. Mine wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t look professionally done either. Now all three books have beautiful covers. I couldn’t be happier with them.

MISTAKE #3 I published then built my platform
I published my book and then I tried to sell it. The savvy smart authors, sell their book and themselves and then they publish. They are ahead of the game. I was just happy back then to have my book out there finally. An indie author has to be a marketer and a writer. It’s a lot of work and it never ends. You will always have to promote your stuff. Its part of the game.

I made a lot more than these three mistakes, but those are the ones that hurt me the most early on. Despite all that I did do some really smart things. I’ve made so many great friends. They have given me advice, helped me promote my books and given me encouragement. I can’t say enough about indie authors and readers. I have readers who help me promote my books. People I didn’t know before they read my stuff and now they help me get the word out just because they are sweet people. Then there are my fellow indie authors. What other business would you have so many people who would go out of their way to help you. They don’t get anything in return except my gratitude.

I’d love to list everyone here, but I’d miss someone one by mistake and feel horrible, but making new friends and getting to know new people is one of the best things about promoting my books. I only hope they feel I have supported them too.

What do I think you need to be successful besides all of the above? Well first take my advice with a grain of salt as I’m not exactly on the NYT bestsellers list, but it does come from observation, research and intuition. So here we go.

1) Write – seems like a big fat duh!, but you’ll never have monetary success from one book. You need to keep writing. Write as much as you can. I don’t just mean books. I mean anytime you have a chance to write do so. Having a website or a blog is a must. The only way to get better at writing is to write. The only way to communicate and gain a bigger audience is to write.
1a) listen to criticism. Its hard and sometimes painful, but listen to every critique of your work. It doesn’t mean you have to take their advice, but if you’re open to it, you will improve.

2) Advertise – it really is a must if you want to sell to more than family and a few people who stumble onto your book. I was listening to a podcast and there was a women who worked for KOBO and she said there were 300,000 e-books published last year. Someone coming across your book without advertising is like someone finding your McDonald’s cup at the dump. It could happen but…. I’ve been over 200,000 on amazon sales rankings. Even if you narrow that down by genre how long would it take someone to cycle through all those books ahead of you? So whether you do a free promo or put your book on sale or even just advertise its existence you need to do so. I won’t go on about what sites are the best, everyone has their favourites. I will say the sites that allow you to advertise to your specific audience are the best. If you write paranormal fantasy you don’t want your advertising in front of WWII buffs. If you write romance you don’t want your advertisement to be reaching out to the horror lover. You wouldn’t advertise adult diapers at a teen dance. Its a waste of money.

3) Network – I don’t just mean with other authors. Being an indie allows us to have a closer relationship with our readers. I have become friends with a lot of mine. Some have helped me sell my books. Other authors help you on social media. Writing rarely pays the big bucks. I find this part of the job rewarding and fun. Its a perk that I enjoy. If you dread being on twitter, hate facebook and you don’t even want to talk about google + promoting yourself just got a lot harder. I don’t know of being on these pages can really sell a large number of books, it never has for me. I can say you get to sell yourself and when I stop using these sites my sales go to nil.

4) Stick With It – I believe with my whole heart that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You need all these other things, but you also have to stick with it. I sell more books every year. Every time I put out a book or have a promotion more and more of my books are out there. I’m building an audience slowly but surely. Like anything else in life it takes hard work, determination and talent. There are exceptions to all rules, but all the authors I know who are successful have succeeded because they stuck to it and worked hard.

5) Change – Things change all the time. What may have worked last year now won’t get you even one sale. So experiment, research and keep up with whatever the new thing is when it comes to promoting. Once it was the freebie, now most think that’s not the way to go. You have your countdown deals, blog tours etc etc.

4) Have Fun – If you aren’t enjoying the process, you have to ask yourself, why put yourself through all that work. I sometimes get burnt out from all the promotion, but over all I love every part of being an indie author.

May 16th my book comes out. Blood and Reign. I am so excited for everyone to read it. So spread the word if you would be so kind. I forgot about reviews. Love em hate em need em. All equally true. If you have read my books or any other indie author please them them a review. It only takes 20 words on amazon and it really helps with sales

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The NightLife
Anyone up for a beer bath in Prague? Reblogged via @vicdougherty #Czech #Beer #Baddassary #ASMSG
 
 

Reblogged via Victoria Dougherty:

 

http://victoriadougherty.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/colds-first-annual-virtual-pub-crawl-thru-prague/

Cold’s First Annual Virtual Pub Crawl Thru Prague

prague vole beer gut
Allow me to be presumptuous. I’m assuming that since you follow Cold, you love – or at least appreciate on some level – a great beer or five.
Back in the day when I was a Prague-dweller, beer-drinking wasn’t just for weekends or evenings. You could drink beer any time at all and with absolutely no social repercussions! My boss had a large cardboard box (I mean it could have fit three Barbie Dreamhouses fully assembled) next to his desk and it was piled high with empty beer bottles. In fact, I once sauntered into work around 9:00 am (or thereabouts) and was immediately assaulted by four drunkish colleagues – in addition to said boss – who proceeded to hold me down, lift up my skirt and spank me with a willow branch. I remember thinking during this whole surreal episode, “If this happened to me in America, I’d be rich.”
Men could be seen having a beer for breakfast and no one even blinked.
prague vole pouring beer
Would you like one of these with your coffee and pancakes, sir?
So, in honor of my Prague glory days, I thought I’d take myself and any willing Cold reader on little pub crawl through Prague. I’ll drag you to some of my favorite pubs and beer gardens – even some places I’ve never visited personally, but came highly recommended by Czech friends. I’ll wax nostalgic about wonderful hell-holes that have long-since closed. Communist slop-houses with dirty tablecloths, surly waiters (I’ve been told to “blow myself” for asking for a refill – no joke), food that gives a new Webster definition to the word “greasy,” emphysema inducing air, and great stories with even greater cheap beer.
I’ll even introduce you to where I first met my husband, and you’ll see why we’ve lasted so long.
Ah, so where do we begin? Being that it’s spring, I think we must begin outside, while we’re still sober enough to enjoy a good view.
prague letna view
Behold the Letna Park Beer Garden – hands-down my favorite spot to down a brewsky in Prague. Not only does it offer some of the most beautiful views of the city, but boasts a refreshingly un-diverse menu of traditional Czech food – like this goulash for instance.
prague goulash
They serve Gambrinus beer – at least they used to. It’s a beer named after the King of Flanders for his mythical brewing abilities. In truth, who cares? Because any beer you drink in Prague will be better than the sad, watered-down carbonated glug you’re used to drinking on most nights – even your self-respecting microbrews.
Moving along, once you’ve watched the sunset from Letna, you might be in the mood for something more…cultivated. A nod to Prague’s illustrious past, perhaps. In this case I’ve got two suggestions for you. The first is for the purist. For that, I recommend trekking on over to U Fleku, which is no less than a national landmark. U Fleku is, I believe, the only brewery in Eastern Europe that has been brewing beer for 500 years straight. They started brewing only a few years after Columbus discovered America, in fact, so they’re pretty damned good at it. The food is meh, but it hardly matters. The atmosphere is straight out of the 15th century – and there’s even a beer garden.
prague u fleku
And for something less historical and more posed, but really no less enchanting, you can try any number of medieval “themed” bars. Don’t get turned off by that description. They’re more often than not located in centuries-old buildings and decorated in a style that is totally organic to the Dark Ages. So it’s not like going to a Old World version of TGI Fridays. And the beer, no matter what, will be outstanding. Here’s an example:
prague medieval tavern
What’s great about Prague is that even what you might think would turn out to be a cheesy theme bar can have more magic than any place you’ve ever chugged a pint. The pub where my husband and I met, for instance, was and is still called Molly Malone’s. And yes, in addition to Czech varieties, they do serve Irish beer. But that’s where the similarities end. Molly’s sits in a centuries old building and becomes a fire-lit Pilsner fairy-land once the sun goes down.
This is Molly’s on the outside. I’m blushing.
prague molly malones exterior
For more traditional Czech pub encounters, you still have plenty of options – even if the pubs of yesteryear aren’t quite the dime-a-dozen they used to be. Most of them offer lace curtains, vole (the Czech version of “good ole boys”), families, bad hygiene, ladies who will happily show you a good time, accordion music, beer cheese (you don’t want to know) and no non-smoking section. I love them, but they’re not for everybody.
prague accordion
prague vole
My favorite Czech pub food is Smazeny Syr – or a breaded and deep fried block of cheese served with french fries and copious dollops of mayonnaise. Pardon me while I have my heart-attack.
prague smazeny syr
Don’t know where I can find a beer bath, but Czech this out anyway (bad, I know). Doesn’t it make you want to move there?
prague beer bath 2
And finally, but downright at the top of my list are the pubs of the bygone era – that magnificent time when communism was already kaput, and everyone was free to think, speak, do whatever the bejeezus they wanted to do, but the whole place was still trapped in a time warp anywhere between 1951 and 1968. It was when pubs and restaurants like Deminka and Slovansky Dum had yet to be privatized and still offered great, uber-cheap (as in a few cents) beer, awful food, and a staff that was chronically lazy, rude, utterly classless, smelly and could be counted on for absolutely nothing – except to bring you a fantastic beer.
At Deminka, a waiter actually slapped my head when I dared to pick up the menu off the table. “What would it look like if we let everyone touch it?” he demanded. When I asked for french fries in place of dumplings with my pork, I was told that “Only an idiot would ask for that. Everyone knows it doesn’t go together.”
Sadly, I could find no pictures of those establishments. You’ll have to use your imagination.
But know, that now matter what, at the end of the night you’ll always end up looking like this:
prague pass-out

Czech out Victoria Dougherty:

Victoria Dougherty Bio

author photo
Victoria Dougherty has for nearly twenty years distinguished herself as a master storyteller, writing fiction, drama, speeches, essays, and television news segments/video scripts.
In Prague, Ms. Dougherty co-founded the acclaimed Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting to sold-out audiences in several Czech plays – from Vaclav Havel’s riveting “Protest” to the unintentionally hilarious communist propaganda play “Karhan’s Men.” Black Box Theater was profiled in feature articles in USA Today, International Herald Tribune, and numerous European publications.
Currently, Ms. Dougherty lives with her family in Charlottesville, VA, and has recently completed a series of thematically linked Cold War spy thrillers. She is represented by Josh Getzler of Hannigan Salky & Getzler.
Czech out Vic’s new release: THE BONE CHURCH
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