Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Check out this great and data rich article on indie author earnings.  Eye opening!

http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/me-hugh-howey-and-legacy-john-on.html

It’s been two years since I’ve published a brand new book.  (I kind of had the first line from “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies in my head when I started this post.  Don’t remember it?  Take a second: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7vp28mGD7g).  For 1.5 years of that time, I spent most of it as I think authors hit by “writer’s block” do.  Making excuses but no progress.  (Okay, at this point I had to shut the song off, ’cause there was no way to write this with all that yapping going on).  Finally, like a cruise ship at sea, I started to turn my perspective around.  I started to write again.  Here are two things I learned from that downtime, and that will hopefully help you get through your own when it comes (because it will come):

MAKE PROGRESS AT ALL COSTS

No, General Eisehhower, do not take this too seriously.  Don’t alienate a loving spouse.  Don’t ignore your kid’s functions.  Don’t lock yourself in a room for three months with nothing than a generator and a computer (you need Vitamin D, for Pete’s sake–another aside, who the hell was Pete and why are we thinking about his sake?)  What I mean is do not let excuses get in the way of your writing.  And, what I mean by making progress at all costs is the following.  Keep pushing your next manuscript forward.  Even if you can only muster 100 words a day, keep moving forward.  Stasis is our enemy, as authors.  Set up a Google Drive account and put the text of your next book into a file on your Drive.  Why?  This eliminates the excuse that your book is on a home computer, and you’re on a train commuting to work.  You can open your Google Drive anywhere you can get connected, on any device.  That means you can basically write anytime you want, from anywhere.  It gives a new meaning to the phrase, “Toilet Book,” doesn’t it?  (I feel like putting this into citation format: See Seinfeld, “Toilet Book” episodehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NygOFsExGMU).

All right, you’ve agreed to set aside excuses and to push forward at all costs, yeah?  Good.  Now, what was the second part of my epiphany?

TO BE AN AUTHOR, YOU WILL WORK YOUR ASS OFF

I need you to notice something that is going to make you a bit sad.  I didn’t title this next section, “To be a Successful Author…”  You know why?  Because, even if you work your ass off it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be successful.  But, I can guarantee you that you won’t be an author, or successful, if you don’t do it.  What do I mean by “working one’s ass off?”  I say the following with a bit of pride, particularly for all of us authors who are still balancing the woes of a “regular” job and writing.  (To those authors that aren’t slaves to the grind of someone else’s dream, and who get to write 100% of their time, I salute you with a kiss blown from a hand that’s holding up a middle finger–hopefully those authors get the love and joking sarcasm that comes from this gesture).  It means waking up before the rest of the world is awake and writing down an idea that couldn’t stand being pent up in your head.  It means holding your smartphone over the side of the bed so that the light of the screen doesn’t wake your snoring spouse while you make edits to your book.  It means that instead of watching the next episode of CBS’s hit de jour, you’re reading books in your genre to perfect your craft.  It means that you will work your ass off, without knowing whether your book will sell, whether a publisher will pick it up, or even if people will like it.  Talk about a leap of faith, huh?

YOU CAN DO IT

(I don’t think I need to reference that one for you, right?)

It’s true, you can do it.  You just need to start.  You need to run the first block, and everyday thereafter take it one block, or even one step further.  I know hundreds of authors that are doing this on a daily basis—and they would all tell you they’re successful, in one way or another.

 

According to this article, Amazon is starting to raise prices on certain types of books.  Why?  Because it can–no competition.  

Read up and let me know what you think: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100866228

You got to sit at the big boys’/girls’ table–and then they realized you were sitting there.  Huh?  December 2012, Amazon announced KDP Select.  Tons of us jumped in, many of us made some really good money from it. 

That’s when things started to change.

Publishers started to complain.  Traditionally published authors joined in the cacophony.  Why?  Indie authors were shooting up the charts and that was taking money out of the pockets of people/companies with big money in the game.  That’s when downloads, which initially counted on a 1:1 ratio for your sales coming out of free, started to slip.  The ratio fell to the point where it is now.  Where is it now?  If you don’t get into the top 100 in free, might as well not do it.

If you sense a bit of an edge from me on the issue, you’re insightful.  No one expected the gravy train to last forever, but it was remarkable to see how quickly Amazon adjusted against indie authors to mollify the traditionally published world.  Now, Amazon takes away likes and tags from books.  Ask yourself this question.  Who did the best job getting likes and tags?

IT SURE WASN’T TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED AUTHORS

So, free is largely dead.  Now, Amazon takes likes and tags away which hurts indie authors in a plethora of ways.  Is it a death knell to indie authors?  Certainly not, but it’s another data point in a trend.

And that trend is that not much has changed.

An important concept in the law, where I spend most of my time and make most of my money, is “standing.”  I ask myself, has the standing of indie authors changed in the last two years?  My honest answer is not really.  Will it change?  If it hasn’t changed yet, what will be the catalyst for that happening?

Do you really think they’ll leave the door unlocked and let indies sit at the dinner table again?   How full is your glass? :)

I started the AmazonLikes hashtag in August of 2011 out of a pretty simple observation.  There are hundreds of thousands of authors that have published their books on Amazon.  There are thousands of authors that I have followed or have followed me on Twitter.  Yet, I consistently see people struggling to get any “likes” on their book(s).

You may first ask, why does it even matter?

Good question.  It matters because there are hundreds of thousands of ebooks on Amazon.  Millions of paperbacks.  How do you sort through big lists when you have to?  Easily identifiable markers.  So, on Amazon, what are those markers?  For a book, it’s the cover image first, then the review ranking, then the number of “likes.”  To answer your question then, if the number of likes is the third most important thing people use in considering whether to consider your book further, should you ignore that?  To analogize that to something, such as sports, do you think a good pitcher in baseball will focus on their first two types of pitches, but ignore their third and fourth?  Nope.  Not a good one, at least.

So, if you’ve bought into the importance of the number of “likes” on your book’s page, then read on.  If you’re still a skeptic, best of luck to you.

With that framework in mind, I set about to figure out a way to increase likes on books.  There were already groups in Goodreads and elsewhere that focused on the venture.  I participated in those groups, but I found a couple things out.  First, people don’t reciprocate as well as they should.  Second, the groups were rather small in nature (i.e. 20-40 authors) so the number of likes that could be obtained was limited.  Sitting at a small desk at a hotel room, and talking to an awesome author named D.A. Graystone (check out his book Two Graves), I came up with the idea for #AmazonLikes.  

For people unfamiliar with it, here’s how it works.  You create a tweet that includes your book’s title, the link to it on Amazon, and the hashtag #AmazonLikes.  That’s it.  You tweet it.  Because you have included the hashtag #AmazonLikes, the post immediately goes into the hashtag stream.  This means that if you perform a search for “#AmazonLikes” on Twitter, your tweet as well as hundreds of others from authors doing the same thing pop up.

Getting it now? :)

What #AmazonLikes has created then, is a stream of authors tweeting their book’s link to each other.  People that participate can simply click on those links, like the books, and go to the next one.  If we do something SIMPLE, like going into the stream and liking 1-3 books a day, the results can be tremendous.

That’s where you come in!

Tweet your book’s link to #AmazonLikes.  You don’t have to ask someone twice to do something beneficial to them.  So, what I’ll ask twice is for you to get into that stream and help other indie authors out.  Without each other, we aren’t much.  Together, as we’ve seen, we’re a force to be reckoned with!

QUICK TIP #5CATEGORIZING YOUR BOOK

I’ve been organizing promotional events for a while now, and when sorting through authors’ books to invite or consider inviting, a recurring theme pops up.  I can’t tell what the heck category the books fall into.  To underscore this point, and to affirm that I’m not just some dolt that can’t figure out a book’s category, imagine you walk into a bookstore (you remember what those were like, right?) and the shelves are filled with books.  But, to your dismay, none of the shelves tell you what kind of books you’re looking at.

Now, imagine that, but on a website with millions of products, and hundreds of thousands of books!  Starting to understand the problem now?

My suggestions.  First, don’t hide the ball with readers.  Maybe you’re afraid that if you categorize your book, some readers won’t like your category and won’t buy your book.  Guess what?  That’s a good thing. You want some thriller junkie reading your romance and leaving it a bad review?  Or, you want some 70-year old devotee to steamy romance novels picking up your zombie apocalypse novel by accident?  Nope.

So, put the genre in the title like I’ve done, or place it prominently in your Amazon description.  Remember, the easier you make it for potential readers, the more sales you’re likely to get!