August 7, 2009
IBG remains on the bottom of the Amazon.com sales list with about one sale per three months. Ho hum.
I did experiment with a Facebook Ad. They were fairly easy to navigate, gave me 132,000 impressions for $50 of which there were 111 clicks of which there were 0 sales. As I said, it was an experiment.
The two things that self-publishing this book has done for me:
I now call myself a writer. It has finally clicked.
I'm not afraid of trying new things publishing-wise.
In the middle of this post (you always knew I was ADD) I signed up for a new marketing service recommended by someone I ran into whilst observing last Sunday's flood in Clinton (Hi Sally!) and will be trying it out as soon as they find my book. Hmmm. Is it really that obscure?
May 28, 2009
"I just wanted to email you and tell you that I LOVED the book In Between Goodbyes. I couldn't put it down and had read it by Tuesday. I saw you at the gathering in Qtown weekend before Easter. If you have some way to let me know when your next book comes out, please do." LJ.
"I really liked that sentence near the end of your book about love meaning paying attention. Works for kids, works for adults. If you didn't say anything else in your book, that alone would have been plenty." CHS.
"I kept meaning to write and tell you that I really enjoyed your book. I finished it in a weekend. Loved it!!!" KD
"This work, this book is wonderful. I am so impressed. The characters are richly portrayed, the story is so poignant. You did a beautiful, beautiful story. I’m now sharing it with family and friends." SD.
Luckily no one has yet told me it sucks and I do have friends that would tell me, believe me.
May 16, 2009
Just my own little rebellion.
April 18, 2009
So now I have to get into the mood to write on something that I haven't touched in, oh, six months. I think the first step will be to print a copy (on the back side of some scrap recycle), and read the thing through again. That way I won't write what I have already written.
April 15, 2009
Well, if you’ve read some of my past posts you probably would select the Romance. I want to take the next step and get published. I have nothing against POD and self-pub but a new experience is always at the top of my list. I want to see if I can actually interest somebody in the publishing world in my material. So on to farms, and handsome veterinarians and grumpy mares. But always with the other two in mind.
April 13, 2009
Today I got a note from one of my readers who bought the book from me at work. I'm sure most of them bought my book because it sat propped up on my desk for weeks at a time and they were just trying to be polite.
Disclaimer here: I don't report to this person and she doesn't report to me.
This work, this book is wonderful. I am so impressed. The characters are richly portrayed, the story is so poignant. You did a beautiful beautiful story. I'm now sharing it with family and friends.
She had the week from hell last week and took the book with her to bed at 7PM thinking to read herself to sleep. She finished it at 3AM. Sorry about that.
April 10, 2009
April 8, 2009
April 5, 2009
One of my friends asked me the other day about what gets me started sitting at the machine and writing. I tried to tell her that the sitting and typing was not the first thing that happened during the process. So I’m setting this down to try and clarify even in my own mind what triggers a burst of creativity.
First there is the trigger incident. For me this generally occurs when I am in what I consider my muse, New York City. I see someone or something and a story starts in my head. Why are they where they are? Why are they doing what they are doing? This story probably bears no resemblance to reality. If it actually did I think I would begin to need help.
One short story I wrote started when I saw a woman wearing what appeared to be only a black plastic bag curled up on the sidewalk next to a stone pillar of a building on 5th Avenue. First I noticed her, then I began to think of the circumstances that brought her there and then she began to talk to me. No, I don’t hear voices. Then again, maybe I do. The fantasy character in my head begins to tell me her story and it is at this point that I have to write it down or lose it.
March 10, 2009
At a signing you might just want to actually just sign your name. The full name that is identical to the name used on the book cover i.e., “James Little”, is preferable to collectors (if your book eventually becomes collectable) so that would be on top of your list. However if your name on the cover is Ignataz William Verboten Harmon Montebello Wigglesproof you might want to shorten just to save time: “Iggy Wiggles.”
Next best to that would be a personal address: “To Mary, best wishes, Iggy Wiggles” or just, “To Mary, best wishes, Iggy.” Best Wishes could be replaced by:
or just “Regards”
“Gratefully” (for someone who has helped you during your writing)
If the person is a friend, find something that you have in common and use it to personalize the autograph. If, for example you have had discussions about basing your characters on mutual friends you could write:“…and no, none of these characters is based on you.”Or“…sometimes art imitates life”Your personalization for a close friend might refer to an incident that you have incorporated in a book: “That time on the beach with you was my inspiration for this book.” Or “Miss Mixer inspired me to write this book just as she has inspired your beautiful poetry.”
If your book is non-fiction you might find referring to the inspiration comes easiest: “Your wonderful apple pie was my inspiration for this book” (a book on apple varieties of the Northern Hemisphere) or “Your devotion to wine lead me to write this book.”
Personalizing for a stranger might be a bit more daunting but the first step is to find out something about the person and relate it to your book. For instance, if a woman has a child in tow and your book is about a woman and her daughter you could say:
”May you have as deep a relationship with your children as Hope has with her daughter.” Or“May you never experience the heartbreak with your children that Mary did.”
If the person says they are a creative artist (doesn’t have to be a writer) you could use: “May our muses continue to inspire us.”
Non-fiction is easier to personalize for a stranger. They are buying a book in this case for a reason. “Bon Appetite” is always appropriate for a food or wine book. A short conversation with the purchaser can also yield things like: “may you find new ways to use the herbs from your garden” or “this should simplify your bookkeeping .”
As you continue to sign you will find yourself less and less reliant on stock phrases and more and more able to improvise your autograph. But it’s always good to go to your first signing with a few starters.
Of course, there’s always the blatantly commercial:“Thanks for coughing up the money for this book”
Share your own personalization templates in the comments section of this blog entry.
March 9, 2009
March 3, 2009
Aside from the wierd thought of some kid on Campus renting In Between Goodbyes for $24.99 for 120 days (why? the book only costs $15.99) all sorts of Cancer blogs have picked it up. I guess they use a search engine that trolls the contents from Amazon and finds the word cancer in the book. Guys, the references in the book aren't really uplifting. Perhaps you had better rethink those postings.
February 27, 2009
Have I set my expectations too low? I don’t really think so. In the past few months I have read several books about marketing self-pubs. They advocate aggressive marketing techniques using web sites and viral social networking outlets on the internet. Well frankly, if I did all that they suggested I would spend 18 hours a day 7 days a week on social networking for my book at a royalty rate so far of about $80 per month that’s pretty low pay. I could probably do better (and actually have done better) begging on the street with a bowl. How about an article on book marketing for introvert authors who have to work at a non-writerly job for a living? (There’s a Borsch Circuit joke in there somewhere).
So here’s my list so far for marketing:
Blog with lots of tags
Consider a commercial web site.
Keep writing, perhaps the next book will be published by a company that wants to market it.
February 25, 2009
In the current POD environment of self-publishing, there is little or no up-front fixed cash investment on the part of the author (I only paid for a CreateSpace upgrade) especially if you are something of a tech hound. I have invested in several books so that I can sell them to various friends and save for them the cost of shipping from Amazon.com. I also get a higher percentage of the take on these copies so I have been keeping a close record of my expenses. So far I have exceeded the actual out-of-pocket expenses of the book. I am free to order copies whenever I need them.
Additionally my POD publisher, CreateSpace is a subsidiary of Amazon so, as mentioned before, marketing can get viral at no expense to the author.
In the current state of the publishing market, as publishers decrease advances and ask authors more and more to do their own marketing (especially for the first-time author), there is a tipping point where getting ones book in print and marketing it by oneself may become more feasible than traditional publishing options.
February 24, 2009
After that initial exhilaration I sat back and resolved to be patient for the several days it would take to appear on Amazon.com, but it was only hours before it appeared. Almost instant gratification. The email blasts went out and I’ve been impressed by the sales that trickled in.
It was the side things that happened that impressed me even more, though. First Amazon put up the cover then provided a “look inside” view, all without my prompting. My next challenge would be to provide a Kindle copy for Amazon.com and to set my price. This was amazingly easy with MSWord’s “save as HTML feature. I proofed the HTML, tweaked it a bit and sent it on its way. At first it appeared as a separate entity on Amazon.com and I was wondering how it would get linked to the hard copy book. Google can be a wonderful tool and indeed Google took me to a board which assured me that Amazon.com would eventually make the hookup. True to the poster’s word, about 5 days later my Kindle version and my hard copy book were married on Amazon.com.
Sometimes it also pays to Google. I Googled the book this week and lo and behold Amazon.com seems to have a co-marketing agreement with Langton Information Services, an English bookseller, because my book was also in their online offerings. My, my.
So far how does this experience compare with traditional publishing? Well. I had spent a year trying to get In Between Goodbyes published. For whatever reason I couldn’t even get an agent and more and more publishers are refusing over the transom submissions. My self-esteem was at a new low when I started this process. Call it vanity publishing? Perhaps it is if you are just tying to get something published and don’t care about sales. For me, this is about finishing something and trying new things.
February 4, 2009
January 30, 2009
For example, the passages in In Between Goodbyes that relate to walking in NYC are all gleaned from my experiences in the City.
There's nothing like walking in absolute frigid weather in the city. Just when you think the wind has calmed and the sky looks a little bluer, you come to a cross-street intersection and the blast wipes you out, bringing tears to your eyes and carrying away anything you haven't nailed to your body.
Yet, for a moment, his eye was drawn to the street and a redhead, her head inclined toward her walking companion and the both of them leaning into the sharp wind off the Hudson.
Following a full two minutes of bruising her knuckles, she laid back against the tan brick wall next to the entrance to catch her breath and watch assorted discarded papers making their solitary way from last night’s excitement in Times Square down 45th Street to their eventual demise at the hands of the street cleaner on 8th Avenue.Paper takes on a life of its own in this windy world, it becomes animated and joins other discards in a ballet of the forgotten. Observing it makes writing more vivid.
Sometimes I hardly know how I can survive in the biting winter in the City. Sometimes I'm not sure how I'd survive in this pseudo country sitting where I live without my trips to the City.
January 25, 2009
January 24, 2009
I examined the current publishing industry. Certainly an up-front advance would be nice but, more and more the industry is giving smaller advances to first time authors and requiring more and more that they do their own publicity.
What is my goal? Well it certainly isn't being snubbed by the “in” girls while trying to get into the industry. It wasn’t doing my own publicity after I had spent a year blowing my own horn to get the book published in the first place. It wasn’t being out of control of my own book with regard to when and where it was in print.
But I don’t have the money for vanity or subsidy publishing. Then one day I stumbled upon LuLu.com. Voila! The new self-publishing. I could see my book in print and sell the book with any type publicity I chose. Now how do I do this?
To be continued.
January 23, 2009
Let me qualify some of that statement. First of all, I write because I have to. Those people you see on the paper float around my brain and demand to speak. Articulate or not they ask to be written down. Various versions of them have run about my head since I was about 14. Not necessarily the characters in IBG, back then it was a movie star turned infantryman in WWII and a couple of young nurses.
At any rate, they have demanded to be written down and I do so. In the past they have gotten moldy in my closet and eventually thrown out. One of my stories has been around since the early 90’s and will eventually get to print. One story started talking to me last night in the bathtub (ever try to jot down notes under a foot of water?).
IBG started about 4 years ago and came to a final form during NaNoWriMo in 2007. What’s NaNoWriMo? That’s a topic for another post but Google it for now and there’s plenty on their site to get you going.
I did the requisite mailings to selected agents and publishers. Only one asked for a full and then rejected. Most rejected on the strength of various iterations of my query pitch.
I’m easily intimidated. They scare me. But when I thought about it the whole thing was just another batch of kids from grade school telling me that I wasn’t as good as them and I got mad. They may have their place with bigger egos than mine but I wanted a safe place. Perhaps publishing wasn’t it for me but perhaps there was a space where I could survive.
To be continued…
January 22, 2009
This week I'll post on why I used self-publishing, why I prefer it, but right now I want to savor the idea of being published.
Find my novel HERE
January 17, 2009
She turned back to the door, coming nose to nose with the chipped sign:
KNOCK FOR ADMISSION
and thought, “Easy for you to say.” Lifting her fist, she shook it once at the sign and found instead that she was saluting the unshaven face of Alvin the doorman.
“And a lovely good morning to you, too, Miss Grumpy. Haven’t seen you at this theater in a few years,” he greeted her, holding the door open just far enough so she would have to slide against him to get in.
She provided him with a sharp elbow as she passed, but instead of descending to her old home in the basement or going up to her new home on the third floor, she pushed through the dusty brown curtain to the right, stumbled down three stairs so old they were held together with duct tape, and entered the world of the theatergoer, so different from her world of theater crew.
Careful not to touch the smudged brass handrail (it was flu season), she climbed and climbed the brown-carpeted stairs until she reached the gods, the very top of the mezzanine, and landed with a thump in a seat built for short-legged high fashion models.
For one moment she wondered if anyone would notice in the dinginess of the gods if she dumped her overfilled tea cup on the carpet, but instead she settled back in the dark to revel for just a few moments in the pomposity that was this old lady of a theater. Built in the 1920s, in a time already way past the excesses of the Victorian era, it nevertheless pretended to an opulence to which it had no right. There were too many layers of cream paint alternating with chips out of the plaster walls, too many threadbare spots on the chair upholstery, and too many fingerprints on the brass handrails. Still, the out-of-towners would be there to be dazzled by what happened on the stage, and their cursory glances at the décor wouldn’t surface the holes in the old lady’s façade. But for her, the lady was just as fake as she felt, and she imagined a certain camaraderie with the theater’s frayed edges and crumbling cornices.
Someone at the console threw a spot from above on the table in the middle of the stage, and she noticed that from the gods you could see the white tape marks on the worn black floorboards downstage. She leaned against the sprung back cushions of the chair in front of her and watched the dust motes rise through the strong rays emanating from the powerful lamp until she was called down to the stage by Jarrod.
(c) 2009 Christina Wible
January 10, 2009
Stay tuned here to learn when and where Ian and Hope will finally see the light of ...well, paper.