Category Archives: Publishing

A Shot

By Benjamin Hock

A shot. It’s all we as writers ask for. We believe if the right agent read our manuscript, got to know our characters, their story, their life, that agent would fall in love with them as much as we did. Then we’d be off to the races. In pursuit of that book deal that might change our lives forever. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you haven’t heard of #PitMad. That’s what it is. ​A​ shot. One of a handful of ways to get your work in front of agents without the initial hassle of drafting a semi-custom form letter that can feel halfway between an E-Harmony and a Linked-In profile.

So when it came to pass the next pitmad contest was just around the corner I decided to take my shot at this once every three month opportunity and throw my hat in the ring as they say. Like any contest there are a few rules, which I won’t go over here. If you want to try your hand at PitMad you can find the rules and times at ​www.pitchwars.org​. But in true PitMad fashion I’ll describe the entire contest in 280 characters or less.

PitMad is like going to buy a scratch-off ticket. Most of them are losers. There’s some luck involved. The more you play the better your odds, and everyone wants to win the jackpot, however most of us go home a dollar poorer but can say it was a good time. That said the hardest part of PitMad is not the rules but the idea of taking the entirety of three plus years of work, 62,000 words, and summing it up into what amounts to a fortune cookie fortune.

How is this even possible? I agonized for days, writing over and over and over again this tiny billboard advertisement for my book that hopefully would stop an agent, if only fora moment, in their infinite scroll through Twitter. And if I did my job right, that agent would hit that ‘like’ button to tell me they are willing to take a look at my work. That’s right. All this for a chance to stand in line to get into the door. When the day of the contest arrived and the clock struck 7 a.m., like the morning bell of the stock market, a buzz of social media activity began to fly.

Writers littered the twitter-sphere with their own tiny billboards, including myself. My phone buzzed. A retweet. That must be good. More retweets equals more chances for agents to see it, right? A few hours pass. No likes. I post again, this time a revised version of what I essentially now consider micro-flash fiction. A few minutes go by and nothing. An hour. Nothing. Then ​ping​. The sound of a chime rings from my phone. I have a like. It’s from a small press publishing company.

Did their butt accidentally like my tweet when they sat down? No. They would like me to email them my first10,000 words. I followed up with my one and only like in less than twenty-four hours. My mind rushed with both hope and skepticism. Seventy two hours later I received a request for the full manuscript and a new excitement had risen within me, one of possibilities. I hit send and my book is on its way, zipping through fiber optic cables at the speed of light, to land on someone’s digital to-do stack.

Would I say taking part in PitMad was worth it? I can’t say for sure. This is still an experience in progress as I wait for either that next step into the door or that all too familiar email–thanks but no thanks. However, one thing is for certain, it was a good time.

The Marketing Side

By Terry C. Misfeldt

Professionals in the publishing business advise writers that the easy part of getting your story into print is the writing of it. The marketing side is the other half and should be considered the most important…unless you do not care how many books you sell and are only interested in holding that precious chunk of paper in your hands.

Trust me: The feeling of having a book in your hands with your name on the cover is an enviable feeling. It is symbolic of hours and maybe (in my case) even years of work to write, edit, re-write, edit, and think about what you have entered into a document in the hope they will be someone interested in reading what you have written.

That is where the marketing side rears its head. Go back to the simple process of thinking about who you have written your book for: Who is your audience? If you had a test reader from that target group evaluate your story and they were impressed, you know there is a good chance your book has a feasible chance of selling to that audience. Call it market research.

Now, how do you reach that group of potential readers to let them know it is available for purchase? Can you get in front of them through social media? It is a low cost approach to marketing if you can approach it wisely and avoid alienation.

For broader markets, consider media releases to home town newspapers, college alumni associations, fraternities or sororities, organizations where you are a member, family and friends. One-to-one E-mails can be effective in creating awareness. You must plug your book mercilessly and not be afraid to ask for a purchase. If you are hesitant to do this, think about a lawyer who hangs a shingle outside her office and wonders why no one is interested in hiring her.

The first principle of marketing is to make people aware of your work. If they are at all interested, they will check you out. Do you have a website where they can order your book? If they like what they discover (cover art, cover copy, blurbs, etc.) they will buy.

Blog about it. Tag everything you do with links to your selling page. Print up business cards with the cover on the back. This is the marketing side, and here’s an example: I recently published my first novel, Shevivor, which has an excellent cover designed by Angela Collier and is now available through Amazon and my website, https://www.terrycmisfeldt.com/shevivor. It is set-up for Pay Pal purchases.

Thanks!

Writing Perspective – Day 31 of 31

By Valerie Routhieaux

Day 31 – Marketing

It’s the final day and the final tip, which is good because I can’t think of any more. I need this one as much as anyone. Today’s topic—Marketing.

Your novel is finished and available. How do you market your work?

Set up your author page on Facebook. I’ve done that. Let people know when your book will be available, if you’re still writing, or where they can get a copy if it’s available. Post your book on Goodreads. Announce it on social media—not only Facebook but Twitter and LinkedIn and other sites that will help with getting the word out.

Have book signings. Get your business cards from Vista Print. You can also get postcards made and send them in the mail. Hand out your business cards to everyone you talk to. I’ve been doing that. Have books on hand to sell when people show interest. I have a few in my car, so they are always handy. Visit your bookstores to let them know you have books available. You might get them interested in putting them on their shelves.

If you’ve self-published, it’s difficult, but I’ve heard of people getting it done. They might even allow a book signing at the store.

Inform your television and radio stations you have a book coming out or available.

These are all the marketing tips I’ve heard about and/or tried. Good luck marketing your book. If you have any other marketing tips, please share.

Thanks for reading.

Writing Perspective – Day 22 of 31

By Valerie Routhieaux

Day 22 – Self-Publishing

Today, I’m going to deviate from writing to publishing, specifically self-publishing.

If you Google self-publishing, you will find many publishing options. Most, if not all, are expensive. When I started self-publishing back in 2012, that’s how I found the house I published with. It was an expensive package, at least for me as I didn’t have a huge income at the time, and my son was angry at me for going that route. I have since found a free, easy to use publisher—CreateSpace, now KDP Direct as they merged this past year. CreateSpace and KDP Direct are an Amazon company.

When self-publishing you need to be aware that no one will help you with revision, editing, or anything else unless you pay someone to do that. It’s all on you.

What I did when I found myself faced with editing my work, I bought several editing tools. I might have mentioned them before, but here are the books I bought to help me. English Grammar for Dummies by Geraldine Woods, The Artful Edit by Susan Bell, Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell.  Someone also sent me Harbrace College Handbook 9th Edition by John C Hodges and Mary E. Whitten.

These have been valuable tools in learning how to edit. Last year I also downloaded Grammarly the free edition, and prowritingaid.com, which I bought. These have been and continue to be helpful in my writing.

CreateSpace, now KDP Direct, gives you guidelines to follow along with templates to help with formatting your manuscript. If you submit your work outside those guidelines, they won’t accept it.

During the publishing process, you choose a generic cover or if you have one, download the cover. It must be 300 DPI. I have since found a great site for converting your pictures to 300 DPI. It’s easy, and most importantly, it’s free. https://convert.town/image-dpi.   CreateSpace/KDP Direct will review your manuscript to make certain it’s within their guidelines and send it back to you to review and edit. They do not give any suggestions.

It’s a good idea to edit your manuscript at this point, even though you have done so many times before you submitted it for publishing. You always miss something.

BEFORE you hit submit when you are fully satisfied with the manuscript, be certain to get your copyright. This will be your only charge as it’s your Library of Congress copyright. It’s generally $25. Unless it’s gone up.  I’ve missed this step on every manuscript I submitted. I thought I could get the copyright after I submitted it. You can’t. It must be done before you submit. Do not be confused with the ISBN you received as soon as you submitted your manuscript at the start of the publishing process.

Once you submit your manuscript for publication in the final step, it goes live immediately and people will be able to buy your book. It will also tell you how long before it becomes available in foreign countries. It could take up to a week for that.

After you submit for publication, you’re not finished yet. You have the opportunity to get your manuscript into an eBook or Kindle. It’s an easy process and it too will be live as soon as you okay everything.

As for royalties, Amazon pays out monthly. Because CreateSpace/KDP Direct is an Amazon company, your royalties come from Amazon to your checking account. Your royalties are delayed for two months. For instance, if someone buys your book today, you will receive the royalty for the book in two months. They pay out on the 29th of the month. You also don’t need to earn a certain amount to be paid. My smallest royalty was .07.

As for how much your book costs, you set the price. They give you guidelines on what to charge, based on the number of pages in your book. Once you determine the cost, they give you the royalty amount in the various currencies around the globe. You set this price for the paperback as well as eBook.

Are you ready to submit your book for self-publishing? I hope I helped with the process.

Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow’s Perspective: Reader Engagement