Friday, February 24, 2012

Successful Writing

E-publishing on Amazon is like fishing in an ocean: it's huge, overwhelming, and at any moment a huge wave could take you out. Could.

Truthfully, for most things in life we allow or make them happen. Luck helps, and bad things happen, but working -- and making sure we catch our fish (readers) -- requires a lot of ... work, continually. i.e. all the time.

I wish I could say that just by putting a book out in Amazonland means I'm through. Hands off, let the bucks come in. But, I know this isn't the case. Things that we value --and want-- require work to achieve them.

And this work requires patience.

I read this great post over at a super blog called Writer Unboxed. The post goes into detail about the five top things indie (independent) authors need to work on, work with and utilize to get those book sales. It was discouraging and encouraging at the same time. Mostly, the article was eye opening.

What does it say? In a sentence: In order to be successful as an indie writer, you have to think like an indie writer and reader. This isn't exactly what they said, but it's what I got from it. While it sounds redundant, it's also true for all writing, traditional or indie.

In order to be a good parent, I have to think and act like a caring parent should: care for them, not me. In order to keep growing my blog, I need to actually read other people's blogs: make it about them. Not me.

In order to be a successful indie author, it comes down to caring about the people who want to read your book. It sounds cheesy when I write it like that, but again, it's true. Give people free books (I am; The Puzzle Master will be free February 27, 28th and 29th on Amazon) communicate with them, answer fan mail, give them another well-written book.

Not for the money, not for the success and definitely not for the fame.

Real authors write because they love it. Yes, the rewards are nice. But, that aside, we write so our words touch someone else's life. A super cheesy line again. But super true too.

Bottome line: People wanted to be loved. Love them back. This is giving readers what they want.

In the end, I don't see how this can possibly backfire. You win friends, fans and a genuine respect for the writer/reader relationship.

I guess I'm in the right business after all...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Never Say Never

Okay, here we go.

So, you know that extremely worn cliche that says "never say never?" Well I'm going to use that cliche right now. Don't EVER say never because odds are in your favor that you will do the very thing you said you'd never do.

For example, over the past eight years, I've told my husband that I will never self-publish. Absolutely never. (Look at my last post to see reasons to why I didn't want to). It just wasn't for me.

Okay, now here's where I explain how I'm going back on that promise. I am self-published (e-published) now, and the book is up on Amazon Kindle today!

I've about a million feelings going through me right now: I'm completely scared that my work is no good, completely expectant, hoping for cool things to evolve from it, and I'm completely enamored that I can publish a book myself and see it on Amazon just like all the big-wig authors out there.

My book is called The Puzzle Master. It's a middle-grade/young adult novel about a boy who friends a girl whose sickness ends up salvaging his failing home relationships. Kind of deep issues for such a young person (and for young readers) but it was a story I felt needed to be told. And now it is. It's a great read for adults too. And you can go get it here!

Click that link, or the ten thousand (or five, really) links I've attached to this post. It's going for $.99. You just can't go wrong. If you like it, please do me a favor and give it a review. If you don't like it? Well, this is where I tell you not to review it. But that's no good either. Be honest and tell me if it stinks and why. I'd rather know.

Thanks for walking through my "never say never" moment (my husband though proud of my accomplishment, still has an indelible smirk plastered across his face because my "never" comment came to fruition). I can't believe my book is out there for the whole world to read.

What a fantastic time to be a reader and a writer. (One more plug... click here to get the book now!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

E-reading: Are you doing it yet?

Kindle E-publishing
A few years ago, when Kindle came out, I was hurt.

It sounds absurd, but as a writer, we view books as the actual evidence to verify our profession. How in the world was a writer supposed to be an author if their books were virtual? Did it count? Did it invalidate all the authors out there? What about the wanna-be authors who think they too can be authors all because their work is out there as a "book"?

Now that we've all gotten a chance to deliberate over it, buy our Kindles or Nooks or Ipads or other e-readers, it seems that none of that matters. My thinking that e-publishing debased authors and their platforms was incorrect. Why? Because good writers, whether physically published or virtually published, still need the readers -- the public -- to consider their work good in order for it to fare well.

I also used to think that e-pubbing was a cop-out; that this wasn't "real" publishing because an editor or agent or publisher didn't pick it up. I'm wrong on that too. How many books have you read, that once finished -- if you even got that far--you wondered how it happened? How fate lined up their work -- their awful work-- and had it published?

And how many e-books have you read that are absolutely mind-blowing, inspirational -- stories that go beyond average-- and wonder how they weren't picked up by an agent or editor in the first place?

Truth is, e-publishing is perfect for everyone. It's great for those who want to write, and can't seem to catch that big break into the actual book-publishing world. This is a new outlet; a way for them to see their words in (virtual) print. Which to me, is better than nothing -- and also better than lining your walls with rejection letters.

E-publishing is good for those who think they can write, but insist on throwing it into the e-pub arena even though their work is absolute trash. If your work isn't good, it won't sell. Word-of-mouth sales are an enormous issue with e-books too. If the reviews are disastrous, the book won't sell. If the reviews are decent, chances are good one person will tell another, who will tell another, who will tell another and so on.

E-publishing is also great because it's worldwide from the comfort of your own home: for those doing the reading or the selling. To think someone from the opposite side of the world can read your book and like it, is amazing! And that it happens instantly, and inexpensively, is just another two cherries on the top of this e-publishing sundae! Who wouldn't want to pay a $1.99 for a chance that the book is good rather than $24.99 and then regret not having spent the $24.99 on a pair of shoes?

If you refuse to e-read, it's okay. There's a lot of people out there who still love to feel the pages in their fingers or inhale the smell of the glue and cardstock, or take in the vivid colors of the jacket flap. Me included. Books will never go away. And if you're one of the lucky that has been published "for real", then kuddos (or extra chocolate on your sundae) to you.

But, I also don't think e-publishing or e-reading with go away for a very long time either. As long as we have writers, we will have readers. And if the reading can be instantaneous, in an instantaneous-driven world, we will have e-publishing. I think it's here to stay. I think it can be a great, great thing. And I think, it might just be what so many writers have wanted without needing to spend thousands on self-publishing (and boxes of unsold books in the years to follow.)

It may not be for everyone, but it might just be for me.

What about you?