Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The (2-Q's) of Being a Successful Published Author

I was recently on a writing forum and one of the continual questions I kept seeing were authors asking how they could get more book sales.  I also kept seeing people asking this other question to them?

"How many books are you selling?"

It seemed that many of them were selling between one or two books.  Now, as an indie author who self-published a few books several years back, I have to admit that this question about getting more book sales had always plagued me.  I guess like most indie authors I always thought if you write a good story they would come.  But, the truth was I had very few come to look or even buy my few books back in 2012' no matter how much social media advertising I did.  I have to admit as much as I loved writing I basically gave up this as a way of making a living income.  So, I just sort of wrote as just a hobby.  Speed up to 2016' and I discovered some very important things about self-publishing and here they are:

The (2-Q's) that every author needs to succeed in selling more books and gaining a fan following:

Q-1 =Quality
Q-2 =Quantity

Believe it or not, you cannot have one of the Q's without the other if you expect to make it as a self-published author.  Now, there are a few people who managed to be successful with just one or two books such as E.L. James with her "Fifty Shades of Gray" novel, but these successes are so few and far between.  Ms. James did self-publish "Fifty Shades of Gray" in the beginning but this book was discovered by a traditional publishing house which in turn made it the household phenomenon that it has become today.

So if you are wondering what you have to do if that publishing house doesn't come knocking and you want to succeed as a self-published author, you have to remember the (2-Q's).  So with all of this in mind, if you don't have at least 20 to 30 books for sale then chances are your one or two books aren't going to make a continual income for you.  I don't care how much social media advertising you do, the income you make will not be enough unless you have written a book that you know will draw a huge audience, and I have to admit that most of the time this doesn't happen.

Then there is the quality of the stories that you are presenting.  They say that there are six reasons why a book will convert into a sale and they are:

·       an amazing Book Cover
·       Book Title (They say that one to four words is best for a title).
·       a synopsis that draws the reader to want to read your story.
·       The look inside sample of your book. (The first 10%) is what Amazon will allow your reader to read for free.
·       Your price point.  (If you are self-published you really need to think about this.  You just can't sell your book at a high price if no one knows you.  You generally have to start low until you gain a fan following).
·       Reviews (This is a tough one if you are starting out.  But if you can give some free books out to readers and ask if they would give you a review you might be able to obtain the reviews that you need to help sell your book.  Please note:  This can also backfire on you if someone doesn't like your book and gives it a poor rating).

·       Although this was not listed as a conversion for selling your book it is one that I feel is extremely important to the indie author and that is KEYWORDS you attach to your book at the time of publishing it.  If you are selling your book on amazon this is critical because amazon is basically a search engine in itself; so this is how people will search for a book.  There are many videos on youtube.com that talk about amazon keywords and you should check some of them out before publishing your book.

So the end, if you are a self-published author and you want to know how to get more sales just remember the (2-Q's) = Quantity and Quality and you will find that you are on your way to becoming a successful published author.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Self-Publishing vs. Publishing

There has never been a better time to publish your work.  Are you a person who likes to write and are sitting basically on your writing.  I remember I wrote my very first book in third grade, and I have to admit it was pretty terrible.  Of course, at that time I thought it was the best thing I ever did.  As I grew into my teen years I continued to write and always felt as if my stories were getting better and better.  Yes, many of them usually went into drawers and never saw the light of day.  It wasn't until about twenty years ago that I actually tried finding an agent to try to get my work sold to a publisher.  If you've ever tried doing this then you know this was almost impossible.  I mean, take J.K. Rowlings, who published the infamous Harry Potter series.  It took her thirteen tries before her first Harry Potter book got accepted.  As for me, back then it never happened.  Don't get me wrong I tried. Heck, I tried a lot.

Fast forward to today in the year 2016', and publishing a book has opened up for anyone who wants to get their work published.  Kindle publishing has changed this for everyone.  In fact, this technology has literally caused a lot of physical book stores to go out of business.  Also, today the convenience and the affordability of owning a tablet or an iPhone make publishing a book through electronic transfer extremely in demand.  

So if you're still sitting on the fence, DON'T because of today in the world of publishing it's like a dream come true.  GET PUBLISHED TODAY!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Dreams vs. My Fears

     Many people have dreams of doing, or having great things in their lives.  People will tell you what they wish for, and will tell you that they hope that they will have it one day.  But, the one thing I hear a lot from people is that although they want something, they usually have an excuse for why they don't have it right now.  I can relate to some of these people because I have tried rationalizing in my own brain why I don't have certain things that I have dreamt of having in my life.  I think the fear of failure is always the limiting factor that most people live with.  Former, Basketball Superstar, Charles Barkley phrased it greatly when he said, and I quote: "If you are afraid of failure, you don't deserve to be successful."  I had to read that several times to myself before I realized that maybe some of what I wanted wasn't exactly what I wanted in the end. 

     I also saw another phrase from someone anonymous that read:  "Success… occurs when your dreams become bigger than your excuses."  I keep a copy of this above my desk and read this often.  Let's face it we can always think up excuse after excuse to why we're not doing what we really should be.  We can always think of reasons to why someone else is more successful than us.  A lot of times we say they are just lucky; but we never think about what they probably had to deal with to get where they are.

    Every morning we all get up out of bed and we try to start off with a positive outlook, but usually at the end of the day, we are just too tired to even think about our wishful dreams.  So many of us will just continue on day after day with the same boring routine while finding that we are not happy with what we are doing.  This happens a lot with self-published authors because when you're writing your book you often times wonder if anyone will read it or whether you are just wasting your time day after day on writing something that might never be read by the masses.  Plus, it's hard to write every day when doubt creeps in and makes you think that you are probably only writing to thin air.  I am sure some of the greatest authors around started out this way so as a self-published author you have to just make a decision to write for the pure love of it and throw caution to the wind.  You just never know you might be sitting on the next best seller.

   So the real big question is and I repeat:  When are your dreams going to become bigger than your excuses?

    This is definitely some food for thought, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

10 Tips to Combat Writer’s Block

     As a writer at one time or another, you will experience the dreaded writers' block. It's inevitable that all writers have faced it. I know I have over the years. I have also learned some different and creative ways to help combat writers' block that has worked effectively for me.

Tip 1:  Set a Deadline=

    What does this have to do with getting over writers' block that it deserves the number one spot? Well nothing actually, unless you count the fact that some of us will use writers' block as an excuse to walk away from our writing for long periods of time. If you place a deadline on yourself for finishing what you are writing, you will then know that you need to figure out an effective way to get beyond this dry spell and get back to work. I know from my own personal experience in writing that creating a deadline since I am a self-published author has helped me in completing four books so far and the fifth book is almost completed.

    If you currently have a traditional publisher then this probably won't be a problem for you because they normally give you a deadline, but if you self-publish this could be a roadblock if you don't put yourself on a deadline.  So first, what you need to do is decide how long it will take you to write whatever you're going to write.  Then give yourself a realistic deadline, and write it on a calendar if you need to. Keep in mind, though that this is subject to change because things do happen in life that could delay what you are writing about, but don’t under any circumstance let writers' block be one of them.

Tip 2:  Write out an Outline. =

    Outlining whatever you are writing before you start can help you to figure out where you want to take whatever you are writing to its final conclusion.  It will also help when dealing with writer’s block to be able to review your outline. Doing this just might inspire another idea of where to take your writing next.

Tip 3: Edit what has already been written. =

    If you are stuck; like say the middle of what you are writing, you might want to stop and just take the time to edit what has been already written before it. This could not only get some of the editing done; but once again, help to inspire you with an idea of what should happen next.  (Just be careful here that you don't get overly caught up in editing that you forget about trying to finish what you are currently writing).

Tip 4: Write something else. =

    If you have reached a spot in whatever you are writing where you are having difficulty coming up with something; but yet, you know about something else that is coming later in whatever you are writing about, then work on that chapter.  I can personally attest to doing this when I am writing and this has helped a whole lot.

Tip 5 Take a walk. =

    Sometimes in order to get the creative juices working again, you need to take a break. This is a very effective way to clear your mind. I have found that in some of my moments of writers' block this has helped a great deal. There is something about being out walking and getting some air; as well as a change of scenery that works wonders in combating writer's block. I can highly recommend this one.

Tip 6Go to the Bathroom. =

    Yes, I am sure many of you are getting a good laugh out of this one, but there is something about that room that really helps clear the mind. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that it's one of the few places where a person can go to be alone. Think about it, don’t you find a hot, bubble bath or even a hot shower relaxing? Let’s face it; this room has been nicknamed the restroom for a reason. (lol)

Tip 7:  Do some house work=

    There are a lot of things you can do like; cook, vacuum, do laundry, gardening, etc.  In other words do something else constructive, (but something that is repetitive), to where you can maybe think about your writing while doing it.  This can help to give you ideas as well; plus, you're getting some work done around the house while you're doing it.

Tip 8Watch some TV or listen to some music=

    This generally will put your mind on something else, but then at times this is a good thing to do.  Television and music can be inspiring in their own way. I can’t begin to count how many ideas I’ve gotten while watching TV or listening to music. Programs on television and some music can actually be quite inspiring to writers; so use it!

Tip 9Talk to someone about your writer's block. =

    I consider myself lucky for having two fellow self-published authors in my family. When I am having writer's block they are always there to listen to me and to offer suggestions.  We generally throw ideas at each other and hatch out scenes. We have also played out scenes in books to help come up with how they should go. In other words, one of us will play one character and someone else another. This can be fun, but can also help to make a scene come to life, and also sound quite natural. So if you have someone who you are close to who is interested in your writing, talk to them and get input when you have writers' block.  The odds are they will be able to help you come up with ways to move past your writers' block. (Internet writing forums might help you with this as well).

Tip 10Meditate or take a nap. =

    Sometimes your brain just needs time to rejuvenate. Sleeping can be a great thing because; once again, there are writers' such as myself who have had dreams that have inspired books or even ideas for books.

    So whatever you do during a writers' block moment, the key to getting past it is not to let it get you down which causes you to abandon what you are writing.  Remember most writers' write for the joy of it; not because they have to.  

An Introduction

     This blog was created to help authors and their needs so that they can do more writing and do lesser worrying about the design aspect of their writing trade.  Here in this blog, I will be featuring articles to help authors be more productive, and I will also help authors find ways of promoting themselves and their books.